Tesla's Dramatic Decline in Recalls: From Millions to Thousands

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has improved their vehicle recall rate drastically, accounting for only 2.7% of all recalls in 2023 so far
Tesla has improved their vehicle recall rate drastically, accounting for only 2.7% of all recalls in 2023 so far
Not a Tesla App

At Tesla's Investor Day 2023, a promise was made to enhance quality control and production standards. This year's sharp decline in recalls proves Tesla's fulfillment of that promise. Such commitment is vital, especially for an automaker that has always been in the spotlight, not just for its innovation but also for its challenges and the attention its CEO draws. A recent article by Barron's highlights that Tesla's recalls have seen a significant drop in 2023 compared to 2022.

Reduction in Recalls

While Tesla recalled 3.8 million vehicles in 2022, the figure stands at around 439,000 for 2023 so far, potentially setting the pace to hit about 550,000 by the end of the year. This suggests a marked improvement in Tesla's quality control and production standards.

The nature of Tesla recalls also distinguishes the company from others. Many of Tesla's recalls, like the recent one related to a warning light for detecting low brake fluid on Model X, are rectified through over-the-air (OTA) software updates. These OTA updates are efficient, cost-effective, and less disruptive for customers.

Elon Musk has emphasized the inappropriateness of the term "recall" for OTA updates, pointing out its anachronistic nature. In February, he posted on X: The word "recall" for an over-the-air software update is anachronistic and just flat wrong! As more manufacturers integrate advanced technology, we might see a shift in understanding and categorizing recalls.

Comparison with Other Automakers

It's essential to place these figures in context. The same Barrons chart indicates that other leading automakers have had their fair share of recalls. In 2023, major U.S. automakers collectively recalled over 16 million vehicles; in 2022 this figure was almost 19 million. Hence, when compared proportionally, Tesla's recall rate was higher than average in 2022 but considerably lower than the competition in 2023.

Given the emerging nature of the electric vehicle market and Tesla's prominence as a frontrunner, its operations have enhanced scrutiny. Recalls make headlines, not merely because of potential safety concerns but also because of the changing dynamics of the automobile industry with the advent of EVs. Both consumers and investors must understand recalls within this evolving context.

Tesla's proactive approach and OTA software updates set it apart. The declining number of recalls indicates Tesla's commitment to improving quality and safety, aligning with the company's goals outlined during its Investor Day event. Seeing how terminology and perceptions around recalls adapt will be interesting as the industry evolves.

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 Launches; Adds EV Charger Ratings Using Rivian Data

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 launched yesterday, and there are some pretty awesome features coming to all EV owners courtesy of Rivian. Rivian purchased ABRP last year and has made good on its promises to continue its improvement and ensure it remains open to all EV owners.

Charger Scoring

Rivian recently added a feature that would rate any chargers compatible with Rivian vehicles. The list of chargers includes Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) chargers, Tesla Superchargers and any other compatible third-party chargers. The charger score is automatically calculated based on the station's average top speed and reliability.

With the launch of ABRP 5.0, Rivian is integrating its charger scores directly into the free tier of ABRP so that all EV owners can benefit. ABRP users will now be able to see charger scores, and ABRP will automatically route users to chargers with higher scores if they are available on your route.

Google Automotive

Another cool feature for ABRP is that it will now be available as an app to install and use directly in vehicles that support Google Automotive. Any EV that uses Google Automotive, including Volvo,  Polestar, Ford, and GM will support the in-system experience, which will also provide data for charger scoring and routing.

This will be an excellent way to hold third-party networks accountable, which have commonly suffered from uptime or speed issues.

Tesla’s Implementation

Tesla previously implemented a “Qualified Third-Party Charger” program, that would allow highly-rated third-party chargers that meet a strict set of requirements to be displayed directly in the vehicle. However, this is currently limited to Europe and parts of the Middle East. Within North America, Tesla only displays third-party Tesla destination chargers in addition to Superchargers.

While Tesla doesn’t directly show charger scores, they clearly are tracking charge data, and are providing the cream of the crop of third-party chargers for navigation where the program is available. We’d hope that this implementation of qualified third-party chargers also comes to North America, as NACS is becoming the de facto standard for charging.

If Tesla does expand the display of third-party chargers to other regions, it’ll likely be similar to what we see in Europe today, and won’t be as open as Rivian’s implementation in ABRP.

Tesla Begins Testing FSD in China

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla was recently granted permission to test FSD on Chinese streets – specifically in Shanghai. Just recently, Elon Musk visited China and discussed the potential for FSD to come to China.

Gearing Up for FSD China

This is just the first step for Tesla to begin its customer deployments of FSD – Tesla conducts similar ADAS testing in North America, where special testing vehicles and testing employees run the latest FSD (Supervised) versions against a gamut of real-world, real-life tests.

Tesla has recently been working on translating FSD release notes into multiple languages, alongside building a data center in Shanghai and establishing an FSD Operations and Labelling team at the same center. These are the first, key steps to bringing FSD to a new market that has unique and different traffic rules when compared North America.

China doesn’t have the regulatory hurdles or challenges that Tesla faces in Europe to bring FSD and has been working with Chinese corporations as well as the government, which has now provided its official approval for FSD testing in-country.

We might even see FSD deployed to early testing customers in China by the end of 2025.

ADAS Competitors

There are quite a few competitors in the Chinese market already- with challengers like Xpeng and Xiaomi working on building their own homegrown systems, mostly driven by a mixture of cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors, and LIDAR. However, many of these systems face similar challenges to other non-Chinese competitors and don’t have the mileage under their belts to tackle Tesla’s dominating lead in data and data processing.

European Union

Tesla is poising itself for an FSD rollout internationally, with increased testing also taking place in the UK, France, and Spain – some of the key locations with unique infrastructure in the European Union. However, some EU-specific regulations restrict how FSD can perform – each and every action must be manually approved by the driver. Until that regulation is changed to adapt to systems like FSD, it won’t be making its way there just yet.

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