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Tesla To Recall 285,520 Model 3/Ys In China Due To Autopilot ‘Unintended Acceleration’

Chinese Regulators announced today, Tesla will recall nearly 285,520 imported and made-in-China Model 3 and Y vehicles due to issues where owners can inadvertently engage autopilot while driving.

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulations, the regulatory body in China in charge of automotive recalls, has announced today Tesla will recall nearly 285,520 imported and made in China Model 3 and Y vehicles.

This follows months of sustained unintended acceleration and brake failure FUD attacks thrown at Tesla in China.

For the most part, the saga began when a customer protested Tesla’s Shanghai Auto Show booth claiming her Model 3 crashed due to the brakes in her vehicle failing.

This lead to a media circus resulting in parts of the Chinese communist party harshly criticizing Tesla and forcing the EV maker to issue a “deep apology”.

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However, the brake failure and unintended acceleration accusations continued even going so far as a story circulating on Chinese social media claiming a city in China has banned Tesla vehicles from its streets due to brake issues.

This prompted Tesla to step up closed-door engagement with Chinese regulators and the EV maker also made it easier for owners to get access to crash data stored in their vehicle. However, despite Tesla’s efforts, the FUD attack continued leading Elon Musk to voice his frustration.

And now the saga continues with the State Administration for Market Regulations saying the recall will include 35,665 Model 3s imported between January 12, 2019, and November 27, 2019; 211,256 made in China Model 3s produced between December 19, 2019, and June 7, 2021; and finally 38,599 Model Ys produced between January 1, 2021, and June 7, 2021.

The recall intends to decrease the likelihood of owners of these vehicles unintentionally activating Tesla’s autopilot system which can, in turn, result in unintended acceleration possibly leading to a crash.

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The regulatory body has put forth two scenarios where drivers can unintentionally engage Tesla’s active cruise control system. Number one is when the vehicle is in drive and the driver toggles the right control lever to try and switch gears and two when the vehicle turns sharply and the driver accidentally touches and toggles the right control lever.

And once active cruise control is engaged by mistake, if the cruise speed set by the vehicle is not the current speed, and the current speed is lower than the set speed, the vehicle will automatically accelerate to the set cruise speed, and a sudden increase in vehicle speed will occur.

This will, in turn, according to China’s Regulatory body, might affect the driver’s expectations, possibly leading to misjudgment of vehicle control and in extreme cases, the vehicle may collide posing safety risks.

The potential flaw was discovered as a result of a defect investigation carried out by China’s State Administration for Market Regulations.

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However, when distilled down, the issue is relatively straightforward and simply means, the regulatory bodies in China want Tesla to make activating autopilot require more steps or make acceleration when autopilot is engaged more gradual.

This is change Tesla can simply make with few lines of code and push out to customers with an over-the-air update. As a result, the recall will only require owners to remotely update their vehicles’ software, and will not require owners to bring in their vehicles to a service center.

So what do you think? Will this update finally stop the sustained FUD attack on Tesla? Or do you think it will make it worse? Also have you ever activated autopilot accidentally on your Tesla? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: Tesla Insurance Is Coming To European Countries Also, see Why Tesla Chose the 18650 Battery Over the 4680 In the Model S Plaid

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    June 28, 2021 - 3:57PM

It is funny that they are trying to link a couple drivers accidentally turning AutoPilot on with unintended acceleration. There are dozens of ways that people can drive ANY car incorrectly to make it unsafe, but it's not the fault of the car.