Telsa CEO Elon Musk bemoaned on Twitter the recall of over 500,000 Tesla vehicles that were equipped with a feature to play preset or custom sounds from an external speaker. Called BoomBox, Tesla allowed car owners to play holiday jingles, a goat's bleat, or a fart sound outside the car, while the car is stationary or in motion.
The feature isn't a standard fitment on all Tesla cars but was added in 2020 through a software update. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) took notice of it and began investigating if the feature affected pedestrian safety. In its report, the NHSTA has included Tesla cars Model S, 3, X, and Y, dating back to those produced in 2017 and received the feature in subsequent updates. In all, the NHSTA Recall Report estimated that 578,607 Tesla vehicles were potentially affected.
Citing clause 141 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), the NHSTA said that vehicle manufacturers cannot alter the sound emitting ability of a Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) in an electric or hybrid vehicle. While the Boombox and PWS sounds were distinct, those emitted using the Boombox feature could potentially "obscure or prevent" the PWS from performing its function.
The NHSTA report revealed further that the Boombox feature can "enhance the conspicuity of the vehicle to pedestrians", but makes the PWS noncompliant with Clause 141, increasing the risk of collision. Therefore, all cars with the feature were found to be defective and recalled.
While Tesla will comply with the NHTSA's directive, it did not stop Elon Musk from commenting on it.
The fun police made us do it (sigh)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 13, 2022
Over the past month, the car company has faced a flurry of recalls for a wide spectrum of issues. A feature that allowed games to be played while the car was in motion was disabled close to Christmas last year, while a cable issue in the trunk and faulty latch assembly resulted in the biggest recall in Tesla history before the year could end.
Earlier this month, an issue with stoppages in the full self-driving (FSD) mode resulted in another recall, and now this. Luckily for Tesla, most of these issues can be resolved with an over-the-air (OTA) update of its software and costs the company very little, as against getting cars to service centers or dealerships to fix issues.
Tesla has already put this update into cars being produced at its facility since February 3, while delivered cars can expect the update later this month.
Those who enjoy the Boombox feature, enjoy it while it lasts.