Tesla released a software update in May to reduce the risk of fire in its car batteries. The correction, however, was not well received by some customers and the National Road Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the company.
The American agency wants to identify whether Tesla hid a defect from its customers and whether the update, released on the Model S and Model X, is sufficient to guarantee security. If it concludes that it is not, the company may be required to carry out a recall with the affected vehicles.
The investigation was opened after a group of Tesla customers submitted a petition to NHTSA. The document accuses the company of using the update to “mask and cover up a potentially large and dangerous problem with its vehicle batteries”.
Drivers also claim that the update reduced the range of the cars on a full charge. “For most owners, shortly after upgrading their cars, it was discovered that they had suffered a sudden and significant drop in the amount of miles available,” points out the petition.
The group criticizes “widespread confusion and uncertainty” about Tesla’s goal with its updates and the security that the vehicles actually offer.
Tesla did not take a position on the actions of its customers. In May, however, the company said the update was released with “plenty of care” after two fires in Asia. At the time, the company said the fix would change settings in the battery management software, but did not reveal that the cars could travel a shorter distance per charge.