Braking defect prompts Tesla’s big recall in China

Tesla Inc. recalled virtually every car it’s sold in China due to a braking and acceleration defect that may increase crashes and safety risks.

The automaker will deploy an over-the-air software fix to more than 1.1 million vehicles produced in Shanghai from January 2019 to April this year, plus some models imported into China, the State Administration for Market Regulation said Friday in a statement.

The defect relates to Tesla’s regenerative braking system, which makes use of energy created when drivers take their foot off the accelerator by sending power to the car’s battery. The vehicles haven’t allowed drivers to set the intensity of their regenerative braking and don’t alert drivers when they’ve stepped on the accelerator for a long time, which increases the probability of pedal misapplication, China’s regulator said.

The software fix will enable drivers to set the intensity of their regenerative braking and adjust the factory default state of the system. The company’s cars will also start notifying drivers when they’ve pressed the accelerator for an extended period.

Tesla representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla sold around 1.13 million cars in China from 2014 through March, according to data from the China Automotive Technology and Research Center and Bloomberg Intelligence.

The company has come under fire in China several times due to drivers claiming there were issues with acceleration and braking in their cars.

In perhaps the most high-profile case, a Model 3 owner climbed atop a Tesla display vehicle at the 2021 Shanghai auto show and yelled that his father almost died when he was driving the sedan because its brakes failed. The protest was captured on camera, went viral and made international headlines.