The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday urged a recall of Tesla vehicles manufactured in 2019 to repair a battery defect that causes sudden power outages, sometimes while driving.
Of the 5,819 electric vehicles sold in Taiwan in 2020, the top three models were all made by the US firm, the foundation said.
Owing to repeated battery issues, 338 owners formed a self-help organization to seek redress and approached the foundation with their complaints.
Photo courtesy of Tesla self-help group via CNA
A survey by the organization found that most issues were found in Model X and Model S vehicles made between the end of 2018 and 2019, foundation secretary-general Hsu Tse-yu (徐則鈺) said.
Of the more than 1,400 vehicles in Taiwan fitting this description, at least 122 have had battery defects, he said.
Of these, 16 drivers reported losing power while driving, leaving them stuck on the road, Hsu said.
Owners have also complained that Tesla repair centers do not have enough stock to replace faulty batteries, requiring owners to leave their vehicle at a garage for months until the parts needed arrive, Hsu said.
Tesla often uses refurbished rather than new replacement batteries that are “sometimes older than the vehicle itself,” he added.
However, even after repair, one owner said they still encountered issues.
Tesla owners all know that when driving on the highway, “you have to drive on the outer lane so that when you lose power without warning again, it is easier to pull over,” they said.
Another owner, Hu Ching-yao (胡景堯), said that battery issues arise regardless of mileage and at any time, including after charging, after parking and while driving.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications and agencies responsible for consumer protection should initiate an investigation into the issue, foundation chairman Terry Huang (黃怡騰) said.
Tesla’s Taiwan representative should also issue an explanation and offer a safety guarantee for repaired vehicles to put owners and other drivers at ease, he added.
Tesla Taiwan yesterday said that the company offers repair and replacement services to owners, and has sped up the resupply process.
The wait time for replacements has been shortened to two to three weeks, with plans to reduce it further to one week, it said.
While waiting for repairs, owners are granted a warranty extension equivalent to the wait time, a replacement vehicle or NT$2,000 in daily vouchers for transportation, as well as a discount for future tire replacement, it added.
Additional reporting by Yang Ya-min
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