NHTSA rejects petition for formal investigation into Tesla’s battery administration software program – TechCrunch


The Nationwide Freeway Visitors and Security Administration rejected a 2019 petition requesting the company open a proper investigation into Tesla’s battery administration software program over allegations that an over-the-air replace was faulty and brought about fires in 5 autos.

The company determined to not open a proper investigation partially as a result of nearly all of these incidents occurred outdoors of america, in line with a doc posted on its web site. None of those had been associated to crashes and most had been parked.

As a part of its analysis, NHTSA reviewed 59 complaints out of the full 61,781 Mannequin S and Mannequin X autos from 2012 to 2019 included within the petition earlier than it determined to reject it. Out of the 59 complaints, 52 alleged reductions in battery capability and 7 alleged reductions in charging velocity after the software program was up to date. Log knowledge from the autos confirmed that the voltage limiting firmware was enabled in 58% of the complaints, however that subsequent updates restored some or all battery capability to these autos, in line with the report abstract.

The company did discover that an ideal storm brought about two of the fires that occurred in China in 2019. The autos had lately accomplished fast-charging classes, the batteries had been at a excessive state-of-charge and had been parked with the battery cooling methods shut off. The 2 autos additionally had histories of high-stress utilization.

Sources aware of Tesla’s battery administration system say if there have been really a scientific software program situation, far more than 5 vehicles would have caught fireplace. The extra seemingly causes of such rare points can be bodily defects from manufacturing or bodily injury in the middle of use, like placing lately Supercharged autos beneath excessive stress, which NHTSA says is extra widespread in China the place these fires occurred.

There have been additionally two fires that occurred within the U.S., however one concerned a automobile with no Supercharging historical past that was driving on the time of the hearth, and one other that couldn’t be linked again to the high-voltage battery system. The fifth fireplace occurred in Germany with a automobile that had been parked at a low state of cost for an prolonged time period.

“Given the absence of any incidents in america associated to quick charging, and the absence of any such incidents globally since Could 2019, it’s unlikely that an order regarding the notification and treatment of a safety-related defect can be issued as a result of any investigation opened on account of granting this petition,” the petition concluded. “Due to this fact, upon full consideration of the data introduced within the petition, and the potential dangers to security, the petition is denied.”

The report did say that the company would take additional motion if warranted, regardless of the denial of this present petition, if future findings establish safety-related defects.

At the same time as NHTSA rejects this petition, it’s nonetheless shifting ahead with a unique investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot software program after sure vehicles that had activated the superior driver help system crashed into 12 parked first responder autos with flashing lights, leading to 17 accidents and one dying since 2018. Tesla has till October 22 handy over detailed Autopilot knowledge or face fines as much as $115 million, a slap on the wrist, actually, contemplating the corporate’s second quarter internet revenue of $1.14 billion.


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