More than 500 Tesla Model 3s recalled for safety change

More than 500 new electric cars have been recalled within weeks of their release in Australia after a change to an important safety feature.

The federal Transport Department issued the recall for new edition Tesla Model 3 vehicles on Wednesday after the automaker made a controversial change to the vehicle’s child seat connection.

The alteration resulted in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) denying the vehicle a safety rating in Australia, even though the model it replaced had earned a five-star rating, and threatened to halt deliveries of the vehicle to customers.

The Transport Department said 505 Tesla Model 3 vehicles were affected by the change, which put the cars in breach of Australian Design Rules.

‚ÄúIf the top-tether restraint anchorage for the rear-centre seat is not accessible in accordance with Australian Design Rule 34/03, an infant or child car seat restraint cannot be securely attached to it,‚ÄĚ the recall said.

The redesigned Model 3, which began to arrive in Australia in December, put the child safety seat anchorage point beneath a panel at the rear of the car.

But Australian Design Rules state that passenger cars must feature anchors that can be accessed ‚Äúwithout the use of tools‚ÄĚ.

Motorists who bought the redesigned Tesla Model 3 vehicles will be contacted by the manufacturer to organise a service appointment.

The recall noted that until the vehicle had been altered, drivers ‚Äúshould not secure an infant or child car seat on the rear-centre seat or otherwise attach an infant or child car seat restraint to the top-tether anchorage‚ÄĚ.

The issue is the second time an electric car has faced action over child seat anchors after sales of the BYD Atto 3 were paused in 2022 over a similar issue.

Tesla remains the most popular electric car brand in Australia after selling more than 17,000 Model 3 vehicles in 2023, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

 

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)

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