The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed on Friday that they were reviewing whether Tesla should have recalled 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in May instead of issuing a software upgrade. The upgrade was launched due to a potential defect that could have resulted in battery fires.
An open investigation
NHTSA published the open investigation this week. The investigation outlines concerns from some owners that the battery management software update was due to a defect and that, furthermore, the update reduced their Tesla's electric driving range by 25 miles or more per charge.
The petition was filed September 17 by the offices of California lawyer Edward C. Chen on behalf of Tesla owners. But that is not all.
Chen revealed to Reuters on Friday that he strongly believed “and various reliable sources have indicated" that the number of Tesla cars affected by the faulty upgrade is much larger than 2,000. Back in August, a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Tesla owner by Chen claimed that Tesla “pushed out software updates despite knowing that the class vehicles would suffer from loss in range and performance.”
The suit further claimed that Tesla’s goal was “to avoid providing warranty battery replacements to rightful customers.” Tesla has yet to respond to the lawsuit in court.
An “overabundance” of caution
After an unfortunate incident where a Model S caught fire in Hong Kong, Tesla released a statement indicating it was revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and X vehicles via an update out of an “overabundance” of caution. The goal was “to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity."