Tesla Model S and Model 3 Get Recall in Europe Due to Frunk Lid

Our readers will remember that we have been tracking when Tesla recalls in the U.S. happen in China or Europe and the other way around as well. In January, we told them that a frunk latch recall for the Model S in the U.S. from December 21, 2021, only reached European authorities on January 4, 2022. On April 15, Europe seemed to have finally warned customers about it. However, the delay may have a good explanation: some Model 3 units are also involved.
Tesla Model S and Model 3 are involved in frunk lid recall in Europe 13 photos
Photo: Tesla
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You read that right. Instead of sticking to the defect Tesla disclosed some Model S vehicles had, European authorities seem to have investigated it and determined that it also affects the Model 3, which means that the entry-level Tesla can also have its frunk opening all of a sudden at highway speeds.

This is the defect description available on Safety Gate:

“At high speeds, the air inlet between the bonnet and the radiator grill causes vibrations in the hood. This can result in stress fractures along the bonnet latch striker and its separation from the bonnet, causing the bonnet to open. This obstructs the driver’s view, increasing the risk of an accident.”

The recall information only discloses that the issue affects cars made from 2014 until 2021, suggesting a substantial number of affected units. Some figures emerged, but we have not managed to confirm them yet. According to them, there are 84,147 Model Ss and 359,329 Model 3s with the defect, for a total of 443,476 EVs.

The report suggests all these vehicles came from Fremont, which would exclude the Model 3 made in China. However, Tesla started exporting the Chinese Model 3 to Europe in October 2020. As vehicles made in 2021 are also included, either that refers to cars still exported from the U.S. or Giga Shanghai is also affected by the issue.

We checked China’s SAMR (State Administration for Market Regulation) for information on a similar recall, and there is nothing there about this problem. It may be a matter of time, or Giga Shanghai may prove once again that it has better quality control measures than Fremont.

If you remember, the original problem with the Model S was caused by an assembly error. In Part 573 Safety Recall Report coded 21V-00B, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) explains that “the latch assembly may be aligned too far rearward,” causing the secondary latch to eventually fail to hold the frunk lid.

The European description of the problem suggests a design problem. It is the gap between the frunk latch and the front grille – not the radiator grille, which EVs do not have – that causes vibrations and stress fractures that make the frunk lid eventually open. We do not need to tell you the effects this can have on a vehicle traveling at highway speeds.

With this information, we could be in front of two different recalls or the same one, which European authorities investigated and determined to have more reasons than those Tesla disclosed to NHTSA in December. We’ll try to determine which of these hypotheses is the correct one.
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Editor's note: The gallery presents images of the Model 3 and Model S for illustration purposes. The title was fixed.

About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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