Tesla Inc has informed China’s market watchdog that it plans to roll out software updates to over a million vehicles, adjusting braking functions and providing additional warnings about accelerator pedal use, the agency reported on Friday.
Though this move qualifies as a “product recall” under Chinese laws, according to the regulator, it is yet to be determined if drivers are required or eligible to return their cars to Tesla for potential refunds.
Starting May 29, the American automaker intends to release over-the-air software updates to 1.1 million of its Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, both imported and locally produced in China, as disclosed by the State Administration for Market Regulation in a statement.
The agency pointed out that the relevant vehicles did not offer drivers the ability to disable regenerative braking or sufficient warnings when the accelerator pedal was heavily pressed. These factors together could raise the likelihood of accidents.
The forthcoming update will reintroduce the ability to deactivate regenerative braking and provide alerts to drivers when they apply significant pressure on the accelerator pedal.
Regenerative braking is a feature that conserves energy while slowing down a car, transferring the excess energy to the batteries to extend its range. Tesla had removed the option to disable this function in cars manufactured after 2020.
Many customers in China appreciated this technology, also known as one-pedal driving, as it allowed them to stop the vehicle entirely without the need for the brake pedal. Nevertheless, some raised concerns that it could confuse drivers and increase the probability of accelerator pedal mishaps.
Chinese authorities have been examining a crash involving a Model Y vehicle where a motorcyclist and a high school student lost their lives, and three others were injured after the driver lost control of the car last November.
Tesla stated at the time that the vehicle’s brake lights did not illuminate while it was moving at high speed, and data indicated issues like the absence of any attempt to brake during its trip.