The ‘fun police’ strikes again: Tesla recalls 595,000 vehicles after safety investigation

In this photo from May 2020, Tesla cars are loaded onto carriers at the Tesla electric car plant in California. Tesla just announced a new recall of 595,000 vehicles.
In this photo from May 2020, Tesla cars are loaded onto carriers at the Tesla electric car plant in California. Tesla just announced a new recall of 595,000 vehicles. Copyright Ben Margot/Copyright 2020/AP
Copyright Ben Margot/Copyright 2020/AP
By Giulia Carbonaro
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The music feature violates safety regulations for electric vehicles, according to the US traffic safety agency.


Tesla is recalling more of its vehicles from the market over issues that threaten the safety of drivers and passengers, for the eighth time in the past five months.

The company announced on Thursday that it will be recalling almost 600,000 of its ​​2020-2022 Model Y, X, and S vehicles, as well as the 2017- 2022 Model 3 - over its “Boombox”, a feature that allows drivers to play music while in motion.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - or as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk calls it “the fun police” - has deemed the Boombox non-compliant with safety regulations, as it has the potential to drown out alert sounds required for all electric vehicles.

Tesla shares were down on Friday morning, but that’s mostly considered a consequence of Musk trying to buy Twitter, according to Reuters.

Earlier this month, Tesla announced it will recall 7,000 Model X SUVs from 2021 to 2022 over an issue with its airbags. The NHTSA said they did not inflate as they should when the car windows are down.

The recalls are the latest in a long line of clashes between Musk and the US traffic safety agency that has left Tesla’s founder less than pleased.

The feud between Elon Musk and the NHTSA started last December when the US safety agency forced Tesla to recall almost half a million vehicles - Model 3 and Model S electric cars - from the US market because of issues with their rearview camera and trunk.

The news was shocking for the car industry world in general, but especially for market shareholders. Tesla’s shares fell by 3 per cent on the morning of December 30, when the news was announced.

But shareholders were bound to get used to similar announcements.

On January 27, Tesla said it was recalling almost 54,000 of its cars and SUVs from the US market because the vehicles were not fully halting at stop signs under their “Full Self-Driving” software.

Hannibal Hanschke/AP
Between Tesla recalls and attempts to buy Twitter, Musk has definitely made headlines this week.Hannibal Hanschke/AP

The vehicles involved were Model S sedans and X, SUVs from 2016 through 2022, 2017 to 2022 Model 3 sedans and 2020 through 2022 Model Y SUVs. Instead of properly stopping in front of a stop sign, as required by law, the vehicles just kept rolling at 9 km per hour.

Tesla later announced it would remove its “rolling stop” feature after the NHTSA said it could increase “the risk of a crash”.

Only five days later, Tesla came up with another announcement, saying they had to recall 817,ooo cars in the US over a problem with the seat belt alert of some of its vehicles, which was likely caused by a software error, the company claimed.

According to the NHTSA, vehicles belonging to the 2021-2022 Model S and Model X, the 2017-2022 Model 3, and the 2020-2022 Model Y, failed to comply with federal standards requiring an alert sound to be activated when drivers put their seat belts on.

And that wasn’t the end of Tesla’s recalling woes.

On February 4, Tesla recalled nearly 580,000 vehicles because of a problem with its “Boombox” which the agency said then for the first time had the potential to cover Pedestrian Warning System sounds.

On February 8, the company was forced to recall 26,681 cars - including some 2021-2022 Model 3, Model S, Model X, and 2020-2022 Model Y vehicles - because of a problem with its windshield defrosting and defogging systems.

According to a safety report by the NHTSA, a problem with the vehicles’ heat pump could have caused reduced windshield visibility under certain conditions, increasing the risk of a collision.


Then a problem with some of Tesla’s models came up when the NHTSA found that the rearview image came up on the display with a delay when drivers reversed the cars - some 2018-2019 Model S, Model X, and 2017-2020 Model 3 vehicles equipped with Autopilot Computer 2.5. Tesla then recalled 947 cars from the US market.

Replying to a Twitter user in February, who asked Musk why Tesla was recalling its vehicles over the “Boombox”, the billionaire replied: “The fun police made us do it (sigh).”

Judging by how things have gone in the last few months, it seems unlikely the latest recall will be Tesla’s last.

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