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The big fix! Tesla 'recalls' more than 1.1 million cars to address braking concerns in China

Tesla models in China will again have adjustable regenerative braking.

Tesla is the target of a massive ‘recall’ - if it can really be called that - in China, as the nation’s government compels the electric car brand to reimplement some features that no longer exist in its models.

Tesla’s regenerative braking, which slows the car once the accelerator is no longer depressed to help recoup some energy for the battery, was once able to be set between ‘normal’ and ‘low’ modes, the latter allowing more coasting.

Now,  China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) says Tesla must reimplement the feature alongside a warning for “when the driver depresses the accelerator pedal deeply for a long time”.

The SAMR issued the recall after it “initiated a defect investigation”, deciding that Tesla must implement the changes to more than 1.1 million cars..

“Starting from May 29, 2023, some imported Model S, Model X, Model 3 and domestically produced Model 3 and Model Y vehicles with a production date between January 12, 2019 and April 24, 2023 will be recalled, totaling 1,104,622 vehicles.

“The vehicles within the scope of this recall do not allow the driver to choose the energy regenerative braking strategy; at the same time, the driver may not provide enough reminders when the driver depresses the accelerator pedal deeply for a long time. 

“The superposition of the above factors may increase the probability of mistakenly stepping on the accelerator pedal for a long time, which may increase the risk of collision and pose a safety hazard.”

While the SAMR is referring to it as a recall, the cars will not need to be returned in a physical sense - Tesla will reinstate the option to adjust regenerative braking and create the acceleration warning via an over-the-air (OTA) update.

Late last year, another ‘recall’ of around 1.1 million cars was announced for Tesla’s windows and their ability to stop from closing on objects - which was met by Tesla CEO Elon Musk calling the terminology of a ‘recall’ “outdated & inaccurate” when the solution is an OTA update.

The option to adjust regenerative braking was removed in 2020, though the option will likely return for owners in all markets.

Chris Thompson
Journalist
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in...
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