Tesla has faced plenty of criticism when it comes to safety over the years, usually relating to the company’s Autopilot driver-assistance software. Unfortunately, a new report from Reuters suggests the company may have even more safety-related complaints to deal with now.
According to the outlet, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be reviewing a “defect petition” that states Tesla was aware of a battery defect in roughly 2,000 Model S and X vehicles. Instead of recalling the batteries and eating the expenses associated with replacements or repairs, Tesla allegedly opted to issue a May OTA software update that affected the battery management capabilities of the cars in question.
Though this update could have largely prevented the defect from becoming an issue — it lowered car performance to avoid overheating and potential fires — it may not have addressed the core problem. Put simply, the petition claims Tesla took the easy route, letting its customers suffer with potentially-defective batteries and throttled charging speeds instead of addressing core hardware problems.
To be clear, for now, these claims are only part of an NHTSA petition, and should not be taken as gospel. Tesla vehicles have caught fire a few times in the past, but that’s not necessarily an indication of a general trend. If the carmaker issues an official response regarding this matter, we’ll update this piece to include it.