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Tesla recalls 6,000 cars as radar dropped from self-drive system
Elon Musk might have overstated Autopilot's capabilities, according to a report. Photo: Reuters

Fault with brake caliper could cause a loss of tyre pressure, increasing the risk of a crash, according to US regulator

(AF) Electric vehicle maker Tesla has initiated a recall of nearly 6,000 vehicles to inspect brake calipers for loose bolts as the carmaker removes a radar-assisted feature from its controversial “self-driving” system.

The recall, made public on Tuesday, involves as many as 5,974 cars from the 2019-2021 Model 3 and 2020-2021 Model Y ranges.

“The brake caliper bolts may be loose, allowing the brake caliper to separate and contact the wheel rim,” according to a document sent by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to Tesla after it notified the regulatory agency of the issue.

Contact with the rim may cause a loss of tyre pressure, increasing the risk of a crash, the agency said.

Tesla is not aware of the issue causing any injuries or deaths, according to the NHTSA documents, and the company will inspect and tighten or replace customers’ caliper bolts as needed.

The carmaker became aware in December 2020 that a fastener was missing from a brake caliper on a 2021 Model Y and began an investigation to see how widespread the issue was, according to the documents.

Tesla has taken steps to fix the problem on the assembly line, the regulator noted.

CONCERNS OVER SAFETY

The issue arises as Tesla is dropping radar sensors from its semi-autonomous driving system, Autopilot, raising concerns over the safety of the camera-only version, Tesla Vision.

Tesla aims to make the driver-assist system fully self-driving, and many in that industry are sceptical that a vision-only system will work, saying such systems face challenges in darkness, sunny glare and poor weather conditions.

Safety ratings groups have dropped their labels until they test newly configured cars.

In May, Tesla started delivering Model 3 and Model Y with a driver-assist system based on eight cameras mounted around the car – but with no radar.

The cameras, like eyes, send images to computer networks, like the brain, which recognise and analyse objects.

Tesla boss Elon Musk overstated the capability of Autopilot, California authorities concluded after interviewing a Tesla engineer, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

With reporting by Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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