The Chinese State Administration for Friday Regulation (SAMR) announced on Friday, May 12, that this massive recall involves more than 1.1 million Tesla vehicles produced in Shanghai from January 2019 to April of this year, including the Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y. (Related: Social media influencer exposes problems that come with owning a Tesla Model 3.)
Since Tesla arrived in China in 2014, the electric car company has sold about 1.13 million cars in the communist nation, meaning that the recall affects almost all Tesla vehicles sold in the country since its arrival.
Tesla noted in a statement that it plans to fix the issue with the braking and acceleration through an over-the-air software update, which will allow drivers to have more control over the intensity of their vehicle's regenerative braking system, which is the main concern of the SAMR.
Without more driver control over the regenerative braking system, which harnesses excess energy created when the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator, drivers can experience unintended acceleration, greatly increasing the risk of an accident.
The software fix will enable drivers to set the intensity of their regenerative braking and adjust the factory default state of the system. A system will also be added to notify drivers when they have pressed the accelerator for an extended period.
Concerns over the braking and unintended acceleration came after many Tesla drivers in China reported issues with acceleration and braking in their cars.
In one high-profile case, a Model 3 owner climbed on top of a Tesla vehicle put on display during an auto show in Shanghai in 2021, protesting the fact that her father nearly died when he was driving a Tesla because its brakes failed. The protest was captured on camera, went viral and made international headlines.
Tesla at the time issued an apology after facing even more criticism, but it never acknowledged any defects.
Nora Naughton, writing for the Business Insider, noted that the whole slew of recalls and vehicle defects is making Tesla look "more and more like every other car company."
She added that this is already Tesla's second massive recall this year alone. In the U.S., Tesla issued a recall on more than 360,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with its Full Self-Driving software in February.
"Racking up recalls in the U.S. and China is the latest sign that Tesla is maturing into just another car company," wrote Naughton. "Safety recalls are a common occurrence for large brands, and more likely to come in big batches when the company is building millions of vehicles a year."
The slew of safety issues is affecting Tesla's sales in China, which has become a major market for the electric car company, not only in terms of sales but also as a source of production. Revenue from the country climbed to more than $18 billion last year, more than six times what the company made in total in 2019.
But this year has so far been extremely tough on Tesla, especially for its Asian market. This is despite the price cuts on Tesla vehicles at the start of the year and other incentives like free Supercharger miles. Tesla's situation was worsened by the fact that Tesla owners in China complained that they missed out on these discounts.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself has made it clear that 2023 is an important year for the car company as it seeks to graduate from an early-adopter niche brand to a mass producer of reliable electric vehicles. The CEO recently told investors that the company plans to double its output this year to two million vehicles. Last year, the company's Shanghai factory produced almost 711,000 cars, more than half its global output.
Learn more about the flaws in electric vehicles at RoboCars.news.
Watch this video of social media influencer Luke Erwin detailing all of the terrible things about the Tesla Model 3.