Huge Tesla recall hits almost a half-million EVs

In a surprising turn of events, 2021 may not turn out to be a great year for Tesla. Various technical faults in as many as 475,000 vehicles forced Tesla Inc. to recall those cars in the U.S. Having to recall almost half a million cars is bad enough on its own, but as Bloomberg notes, that number is nearly equivalent to Tesla's deliveries last year — and this applies to global deliveries, not just those within the U.S. This means that Tesla was forced to recall almost as many cars as it was able to produce and deliver within this past year.

Two kinds of vehicles are affected by the recall: Model 3 and Model S, although Model 3 was hit harder and is in the vast majority. Tesla is planning to recall up to 356,309 Model 3 cars made between 2017 and 2020. There are also as many as 119,009 Model S vehicles, all from 2014, that are being recalled due to technical defects.

While the technical faults found in these two Tesla models could potentially be dangerous, it seems that Tesla is choosing to act in time. The company received 2,305 warranty claims that may be related to the problems found in Model S and Model 3 vehicles, but there have been no reports of any injuries or deaths caused by these defects.

Why is Tesla recalling Model 3 and Model S cars?

Model 3 cars are being recalled due to issues with the trunk of the vehicle. According to Tesla, the cable harness that is attached to the rearview camera may become damaged by opening and closing the trunk. As a result, the camera fails unexpectedly, which could prove to be dangerous.

The issues with Model S cars are more serious, even though the recall affects a smaller portion of Tesla's deliveries. Tesla described the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an official filing. The front trunk latch in Model S cars may potentially be misaligned. According to Tesla, this would mean that the secondary hood latch would fail to work and the front hood could fly open mid-drive. As this could obstruct the driver's view of the road, this problem has the potential to cause more accidents than the issue with Model 3 vehicles.

Although more Model 3 vehicles are being recalled, it seems that Tesla may be doing this largely as a safety precaution. According to The Verge, Tesla's estimates conclude that only 1 percent of Model 3 cars will be affected by this problem. When it comes to Model S vehicles, up to 14 percent of the recalled cars may be affected by the issues with the misaligned front trunk latch.

What's next for Tesla?

Bloomberg reports that Tesla's shares saw a drop of up to 3% that was potentially caused by the massive recall. However, looking at the bigger picture shows that Tesla can probably afford this: Its stock has gained about 50% just this year.

While having to recall almost half a million cars is a big deal for Tesla, it's not that rare in the industry as a whole. Almost 28 million vehicles have been subjected to recall just in 2020. Not all of Tesla's issues end in recall — nearly all of the vehicles recently sold in China (over 285,000) had to receive a software update earlier this year due to a safety issue that has now been resolved.

Tesla is hoping to fix the issues with both car models. The problem with Model S cars is, according to Tesla, something that vehicle owners can easily fix at a service center. Owners of Model 3 cars will need bigger repairs that Tesla has pledged to take care of by installing a new cable harness and guide protector.