autoevolution
 

Tesla Warned NHTSA of Chinese Rear Motor Inverter Recall, But Nothing Makes Sense

On April 7, Tesla recalled 127,785 units of the Model 3 due to a rear motor inverter defect in China. Among these cars, 34,207 were imported from Fremont, meaning American vehicles are also affected. Tesla warned NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) about the Chinese recall but did not present plans to repair them in the U.S.
Tesla Model 3 rear motor inverter has a massive recall in China that explains a lot 24 photos
Photo: via TMC/eBay
Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3 rear motor inverter has a massive recall in China that explains a lot
According to the agency, Tesla notified it about the mandatory repair in China because of the TREAD Act. In other words, all manufacturers have to report foreign recalls to NHTSA. However, Tesla did not warn the agency about similar measures for vehicles sold in the U.S. We’ll invite you to try to make sense of this.

As far as we know, there is nothing different in the rear motor inverter of the Model 3 made in Fremont and the one made at Giga Shanghai. If there were, the imported American Model 3s would not be subject to the recall in China. Yet, 34,207 of them are.

Tesla told Chinese authorities that the issue was caused by “slight manufacturing differences in the power semiconductor components of the rear motor inverters.” The primary possibility is that this is caused by a design flaw for it to affect vehicles made in China and in the U.S. Having the same power semiconductor supplier for both factories could also explain that. Still, we do not believe that is the case.

When Tesla had a suspension knuckle recall in China, the company had no problem throwing Ningbo Tuopu under the bus for the defect. The EV maker publicly named its supplier as the responsible for the issue. If a semiconductor manufacturer were to blame, Tesla would have done the same with them.

Supposing the Model 3 made in China differed from the American one in that regard, vehicles produced in Fremont would not be involved with the Chinese recall. As they are, there is no explanation for those sold in the U.S. not to be affected.

There are strong signs that they are. Many Model 3 and Model Y units presented rear motor failures like those described in the SAMR (State Administration for Market Regulation) recall report.

As we wrote on April 6, ConsumerAffairs disclosed that the Model Y was presenting a high number of rear motor failures. With what the consumer organization revealed and a quick search, we found 18 people affected by the problem. Considering that the Model 3 and the Model Y share components such as motors and inverters, these guys should contact NHTSA and tell the agency what happened.

NHTSA told autoevolution it is “reviewing all data sources, including Early Warning Reports, and maintaining ongoing discussions with the manufacturer.” A quick check on the complaints against the Model 3 shows motor failure cases involving it. The agency “urges the public to report any concerns about a safety defect that is not part of a current recall.” In other words, if you have a motor failure, you should report it.

NHTSA stated that it is “empowered with robust enforcement tools to protect the public, investigate potential safety issues, and take action against non-compliance.” The agency also promises that it will act immediately “if the data reflect an unreasonable risk to safety.” Talking to SAMR would help them understand why the recall is necessary for China and not the U.S., even when it includes vehicles made in America with no specification differences.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Editor's note: The gallery presents images of the Tesla Model 3 for illustration purposes.

About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
Gustavo Henrique Ruffo profile photo

Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
Full profile

 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories