Tesla Voluntarily Recalls 40,000 Vehicles, Citing Flawed Update

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Matthew Holloway Contributor
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Electric car manufacturer Tesla has begun a voluntary recall of over 40,000 2017-2021 Model S and Model X electric cars due to the possible loss of power steering assist while driving on rough terrain or hitting imperfections in the road surface, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The firm headed by entrepreneur Elon Musk released an over-the-air (OTA) software update to the vehicles’ power steering systems after initially releasing a rolling update on Oct. 11 designed to detect unexpected steering assist torque.

Tesla said that, as of Nov. 1, over 97% of the vehicles under the voluntary recall have installed an update that has already addressed the recall issue, per Reuters.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filing described the issue that led to the recall.

“Firmware release 2022.36 changed calibration values for the electronic power assist steering (EPAS) system,” the filing read. “In rare cases on certain 2017-2021 Model S and Model X vehicles, the updated calibration values may result in reduced or lost power steering assist due to forces from external road dynamics (i.e., pot holes or bumps) being inadvertently classified as unexpected steering assist torque.”

“Reduced or lost power steering assist does not affect steering control, but could require greater steering effort from the driver, particularly at low speeds,” the filing continued.

The filing advises that when the failure occurs, in addition to the driver experiencing a reduction of loss of steering power, “an audio alert will trigger and a visual alert will appear on the instrument cluster.”

As of Monday, Nov. 1, Tesla identified 314 vehicles that produced alerts either for this issue or related to it between Oct. 11 and Nov. 1 according to the NHTSA filing. No injuries or deaths have occurred as of the filing, according to Tesla.

In response to multiple media outlets reporting the recall and linking it to a 5.11% same-day drop in Tesla’s stock share price, Maye Musk, Elon’s mother, criticized the press on Twitter. “My computer was recalled three times this month, but they called it a software update C’mon, instead of @Tesla recall, the correct term is update. It’s 2022, yet the media is acting stupid on purpose. Looking at you @BBCNews @Reuters @CNBC @Benzinga @Forbes #FUD,” she tweeted Tuesday.

Elon Musk has yet to publicly address the recall via a statement or social media.