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Tesla Tells China it Needs to Update Software on 1m Cars

The EV-maker has informed China’s State Administration for Market Regulation of the update which will apply to imported and China-made models

Tesla EV charger seen at Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai
Tesla will update the software on Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y marques. Photo: Reuters


US EV giant Tesla has told Chinese authorities it needs to update the software on 1 million of its cars in the country. 

Tesla said the software updates will allow changes to braking methods and more warnings about the use of accelerator pedals, China’s market regulator said on Friday.

The action is described as a “product recall” under Chinese regulations, the regulator added, but it was not immediately clear if drivers might need, or would be eligible, to return vehicles to Tesla for refunds.

The automaker will issue over-the-air software updates to 1.1 million units of its Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y cars, both imported and China-made, from May 29, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement.


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It said the concerned vehicles did not allow drivers to turn off regenerative braking or provide enough warnings when drivers stepped on the accelerator pedal hard, which, combined, could increase the risk of collision.

The update will restore the option of switching off regenerative braking and warn drivers when they step hard on the accelerator pedal, it added.

Regenerative braking works to save energy from the process of slowing a car, feeding the surplus to batteries to increase its driving range. Tesla had disabled the option to switch off the technique on cars produced after 2020.

Some consumers in China welcomed the technology, also known as one-pedal driving, as it enabled them to bring a vehicle to a complete halt without use of the brake pedal.

However, others complained it could confuse drivers and increase the risks of misstepping on accelerators.

Chinese police have been investigating a crash involving a Model Y car in which a motorcyclist and a high school girl died and three people were injured when the driver lost control of the vehicle last November.

At the time, Tesla said videos showed the car’s brake lights were not on while it was speeding and data showed issues such as there being no action to step on the brakes throughout its journey.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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