Tech

Update your Tesla or fingers could be caught in the windows

Tesla owners ought to check for firmware updates, or risk their windows proving to be less than (h)armless.

According to what is technically a recall issued by Tesla and published [PDF] by America’s National Highway and and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this week, windows on affected vehicles may fail to detect obstructions and put customers at risk of a “pinching injury.”

Fingers, elbows, or worse may get caught in the window when closing, in other words. The technology to stop limbs and other stuff getting stuck is decades old, and Tesla’s having a million-car problem with it.

The notice estimates the issue affects roughly 1,100,000 US customers who have bought Muskmobiles in the past five years. That includes Model S and X vehicles manufactured between 2021 and 2022, Model 3s manufactured between 2017 and 2022, and Model Ys manufactured between 2020 and 2022.

The fault was identified by Tesla technicians late last month, and after weeks of testing the automaker has produced an over-the-air firmware update to fix it. The good news is most Tesla customers will thus be spared a trip to the dealership to install it.

Specifically, the software fix, we’re told, will recalibrate the vehicle’s automatic window reversal system to avoid potential injuries. Meanwhile, vehicles delivered to customers after September 13 have already been patched to mitigate the issue.

And at least as of September 16, Tesla isn’t aware of anyone getting hurt. But, if you happen you own an affected Tesla we recommend keeping your digits free of the windows until you’ve confirmed your vehicle is up-to-date.

While Tesla is combating finger-pinching glitches, Toyota this week is once again facing a hardware problem.

According to Reuters, Toyota may be forced to shutter its 10 production lines at seven Japanese factories for a period of up to 12 days as a result of an ongoing chip shortage.

While supplies of some chips may be improving, shortages of other components continue to dog the auto industry. Reuters reports that Toyota now expects to produce roughly 800,000 vehicles globally in October, around 100,000 fewer than expected.

In July the automaker blamed a combination of semiconductor shortages and COVID-19 for ongoing production challenges, which have stretched for months now.

In a tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk downplayed the fault, and hit out at the fact it has to be classed as a recall, even though it can be fixed remotely. One might imagine hundreds of thousands of flash motors having to be taken off the road and repaired, when that’s not really the case.

“The terminology is outdated and inaccurate,” the tech tycoon fumed. “This is a tiny over-the-air software update. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no injuries.”

And that’s not the only fire Tesla is trying to put out this week. On Tuesday, a Tesla Megapack battery at a California substation literally caught fire, driving officials to close several roads and instate a shelter-in-place order in the Moss Landing area of Monterey Bay.

The inferno at the 182.5 MW facility, operated by Pacific Gas and Electric, reportedly took roughly 20 hours to contain, partially because the standard practice for containing lithium-ion battery fires is to allow them to burn out.

The Register has reached out to Tesla for further comment regarding the recall and over-the-air update. Given the biz binned its media relations team in 2020, we might as well sent our request to /dev/null. ®




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