Tesla Rolls Out Warning Light Font 'Over-the-Air Recall' Fix, but There's More to It

Tesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fix 6 photos
Photo: @pmsyyz via X
Tesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fixTesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fixTesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fixTesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fixTesla rolls out warning light font "over-the-air recall" fix
The NHTSA notified Tesla that the warning lights might not have big enough fonts, and the EV maker issued a voluntary recall. This was blown out of proportion by some media outlets, questioning again the opportunity to use the word "recall" for such minor updates. Tesla solved the issue via the 2024.2.2.1 over-the-air update, and now everyone wonders why the NHTSA forces Tesla to mail a paper letter to its owners.
Tesla owners and fans have long argued about using the term recall for simple issues that can be solved with a software update. Well, in some cases, the term is well warranted, considering that some problems can endanger people's lives if not appropriately dealt with. In others, it's just food for FUD propaganda, with minor changes required to comply with some obscure regulations.

The most recent example was the voluntary recall Tesla issued to change the font of some warning lights in its vehicles. Apparently, icons that include text, such as ABS, Brake, or Park, were too small. The NHTSA argued that drivers would get distracted if they tried to read the text. Tesla agreed, hence the voluntary recall. However, some news outlets exaggerated the so-called recall, making it sound like more than two million Teslas are unsafe to drive.

Tesla has already issued a software update to solve the problem. At the time of writing, more than a quarter of all cars in the US were displaying the new warning icons with bigger text instead of the previous pictograms. However, under the NHTSA rules, Tesla must also send paper letters to all owners, more than two million of them. This is incredibly wasteful, both for the environment and taxpayers' money. The letters have no purpose but to confirm that owners must do nothing to get the update. An email or text would be a more appropriate means of communication in this particular century.

In light of this recall, Tesla fans argued that the term recall must also be reconsidered. Several terms were proposed, with "software recall" among the more popular. However, as Tesla rolled out the fix, it also showed that it prefers the term "over-the-air recall." The 2024.2.2.1 software update brings the larger text to the US customers and the adaptive high beams to the Model 3 Highland owners in Europe. It also includes improvements for all other vehicles.

Arguably, the most important are the pre-charging optimizations. Following this update, your Tesla will be aware of the power level of each DC charging station so that the battery will be more accurately pre-conditioned. Thus, charging will be more efficient when you set a DC fast charging station into the navigation system. Tesla also redesigned the Trips menu to make the trip meters easier to read. The All Apps menu has also been changed to display all apps, including those pinned as favorites.

The revamped Additional Vehicle Information menu under Controls > Software is a nice addition. Owners can check here whether their car is compatible with third-party DC fast charging stations, be they CCS or NACS. This information suggests that not all vehicles are capable of charging at third-party NACS stations. This is the same as current CCS compatibility, which, for some Tesla EVs, requires an additional charging module.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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