Tesla recalls 2019-2022 Model 3 batches for sudden loss of power that can happen at highway speeds
Tesla is recalling 127,785 Model 3 units for intermittent issues with power management occuring to the rear motor inverter. The recall is valid for China, but also includes 34,207 imported cars besides the locally produced vehicles from the factory in Shanghai. Some of the inverters have shown the tendency to fall out of specification after a period of prolonged usage, and fail to control the current properly. This could result in a sudden loss of power while driving, or the Tesla simply being unable to start when in park mode. If this wasn't an electric car, the "loss of driving power" euphemism could easily be replaced with the terminology used for ICE vehicles, i.e. stalling.
Needless to say, the first scenario is the more frightening, and anecdotal evidence from one Tesla Model 3 owner in China demonstrates that it can be outright dangerous. As the owner was driving at a highway speed, the screen of his Tesla suddenly flashed a warning that "The vehicle can no longer be driven, please stop immediately." Frightened by the rapid loss of power, and with a vehicle behind them in a tunnel, the driver barely managed to pull into the emergency lane with part of the Tesla sticking out as the inertia wasn't enough to get it there. He then called Tesla and road assistance and said that support couldn't immediately figure out what went wrong.
A further investigation by Tesla and China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) seemingly found that the issue has been with the faulty inverter control in question and a post on SAMR's website today just made the Tesla Model 3 recall there official:
Tesla Motors (Beijing) Co., Ltd. and Tesla (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. will upgrade the motor control software for the vehicles within the recall range free of charge through the remote update (OTA) technology; For the recalled vehicles, relevant users will be contacted through the service center to upgrade the motor control software for the vehicles, so as to closely monitor the rear motor inverters of the vehicles, and promptly replace the rear inverters with related faults free of charge to eliminate potential safety hazards .
Emergency measures: Before the vehicle is recalled to upgrade the software, users should drive the vehicle with caution, and contact the Tesla service center for overhaul as soon as the recall begins.
The issue affects Tesla Model 3 batches that have been produced between January 11, 2019 and January 25, 2022, while SAMR advises that owners with the inverter fault should drive carefully until the recall reaches their vehicle. The recall statement also adds that the software update is meant to "closely monitor the rear motor inverters of the vehicles, and promptly replace the rear inverters with related faults free of charge to eliminate potential safety hazards."