The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation Friday into Tesla following a number of complaints about Tesla cars losing complete steering control or power steering.
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a part of the NHTSA, launched the investigation into the 2023 Model 3 and Y Tesla vehicles, which include an estimated 280,000 cars in operation from the company, according to the report on the investigation from the NHTSA. The car company, which is known for its line of semi-self-driving vehicles, is facing 12 complaints and one crash/fire following a loss of steering control, typically accompanied by a message from the car saying power steering assist is reduced or disabled. (RELATED: It Turns Out The Driving Range Of Electric Vehicles Is Even Worse Than Advertised)
“ODI has received twelve complaints alleging loss of steering control and power steering in 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles,” the NHTSA report reads. “Five reports indicate an inability to steer the vehicle. Seven additional reports cite loss of power steering resulting in increased effort to control the vehicle. A PE has been opened to assess the scope, frequency, manufacturing processes, and severity associated with this condition.”
— Flyin18T Motorsports (@Flyin18T) August 1, 2023
The investigation is one of several others from the regulator into Tesla in the past three years, according to The Associated Press. Other issues include crashing into parked emergency vehicles while the car’s autopilot feature is engaged, suspension failures, steering wheels falling off and seat belts not working properly.
The NHTSA announced a different investigation in July into a deadly crash in California involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 that is thought to have been using its autopilot feature.
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a letter on July 17 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, encouraging them to investigate Tesla over claims of potential conflicts of interest, misappropriation of corporate assets and other negative impacts to Tesla shareholders following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
The NHTSA deferred to the report when contacted, and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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