Tesla Recalls Cars, And Confirms Battery Deal With Australia

Tesla's Model 3. Image credit: Tesla

Electric car giant recalls 6,000 cars in the United States, and confirms $1 billion a year battery material purchase from Australia

Tesla is issuing a recall for nearly 6,000 cars in the United States over concerns about potentially loose brake caliper bolts.

The recall covers certain 2019-2021 Model 3 vehicles and 2020-2021 Model Y vehicles, Reuters reported.

Its filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it had no reports of crashes or injuries because of the issue and it will inspect and tighten, or replace, the caliper bolts as needed.

Tesla's Model Y. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Model Y. Image credit: Tesla

Brake bolts

Tesla reportedly said that loose caliper bolts could allow the brake caliper to separate and contact the wheel rim, which could cause a loss of tire pressure in “very rare circumstances.”

The world’s most valuable carmaker said that in the “unlikely event” there is vehicle damage from a loose or missing fastener, it will arrange for a tow to the nearest service centre for repair.

It comes after Tesla was reportedly made aware in December of a field incident involving a 2021 Model Y vehicle with a missing fastener on the driver-side rear brake caliper.

The company has since taken measures to prevent loosening of the bolts in the assembly process.

This is not the first Tesla recall.

In February the NHTSA had officially asked Tesla to recall nearly 135,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over safety issues.

That recall centred around faulty touchscreen displays, which on the surface may not sound like a safety issue at all. But in a Tesla, the touchscreen display controls nearly all of the vehicle’s functionality, from adjusting heating or cooling, through to folding the wing mirrors.

And the NHTSA was clear there is a possible safety issue here concerning incidents of media control unit failures, that has resulted in the loss of rearview camera and other safety-related vehicle functions.

The loss of the touchscreen can also impact windshield defogging and defrosting systems.

Battery Minerals

Meanwhile in a separate development, Reuters also reported that Tesla has confirmed it is to spend more than $1 billion a year on battery raw materials from Australia, thanks to that country’s reliable mining industry and responsible production practices.

It should be remembered that Elon Musk in July 2020 had urged the mining community to produce more nickel, as demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to grow.

But now Tesla is acting in trying to source more raw materials for batteries, when Tesla chairwoman, Robyn Denholm, reportedly confirmed the annual Australian purchase.

“We expect our spend on Australian minerals to increase to more than $1 billion per annum for the next few years,” Denholm reportedly told a Minerals Council of Australia event.

Tesla already sources three quarters of its lithium feedstock from Australia and over a third of its nickel, Denham said, without specifying a dollar figure.

“Australian mining companies do have a good reputation, great expertise, professionalism and are preferred by manufacturers increasingly concerned about meeting both today’s and the future’s ESG requirements,” she reportedly said in Canberra.

The comments are in line with a new policy underway by US President Joe Biden’s administration to rely on allies to supply of the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles.

Australia, alongside Canada and Brazil, are among the countries expected to benefit.

Last September Tesla was reportedly in talks with Canadian mining company Giga Metals about developing a large mine to give it access to a ready supply of nickel and cobalt for its electric vehicle batteries.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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