The recall would have involved Tesla’s Full Self Driving technology.
A recent over-the-update for Autopilot was not accompanied by a formal recall.
If Tesla does not respond to the NHTSA, they face civil penalties of up to $115 million.
The issue here is not that Tesla sent out an over-the-update (OTA) as it is a semi-regular occurrence. The issue is that the OTA involved changes to the company’s Full Self Driving (FSD) and Autopilot self-driving technologies. The NHTSA is currently investigating Tesla cars and SUVs from 2014-2021 model years due to a series of collisions with first-responder vehicles.
The NHTSA’s investigation into Tesla opened last August and the timing of this latest OTA for the FSD is suspicious.
“Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” Gregory Magno, chief of the vehicle defects division at NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, wrote in the letter to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field quality.
The NHTSA, according to Automotive News, is now demanding that Tesla submit a chronology of events that have led them to develop and send out the OTA. The Agency will also require that Tesla provide a list of vehicles that received the update and whether they intend to file a safety recall.
Tesla has until November 1st to respond to the NHTSA. Failing a timely detailed explanation, they face civil penalties of up to $115 million, or pocket change for the world’s richest person.