Government regulators have opened yet another investigation into Tesla’s popular EVs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into reports of serious steering problems affecting two of the company’s most popular models, the Model 3 and Model Y, according to CNBC. The new investigation relates to an estimated 280,000 EVs in the U.S.
The agency announced that it had launched the probe, or “preliminary evaluation,” in a notice posted to its website late last week. The NHTSA says it has received a dozen complaints alleging loss of steering control and power steering in the 2023 Model 3 and Model Y. The notice claims that five of the reports cited an “inability to steer the vehicle,” while the other seven mentioned a loss of power steering “resulting in increased effort to control the vehicle.” The investigation, which began July 28, will attempt to determine the scope, frequency and severity of the issue.
One of the complaints cited in the NHTSA notice is from a driver who claims their Model Y lost power steering and “can travel only [in a] straight line forward or backward and cannot turn.” Another complaint, from a Model 3 driver, stated that the EV’s steering “felt stuck” causing the vehicle to slide off the road and crash into a tree.
Tesla, which dissolved its PR department in October 2020, did not respond to a request for comment from Robb Report on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, Tesla recalled 362,000 EVs equipped with its Full Self-Driving software, after the NHTSA found that the system might potentially increase the risk of crashes. The Verge points out that the agency is also looking into reports of “phantom breaking” and that steering wheels on the Model Y have fallen off. Tesla can address some of these issues with over-the-air updates, though, allowing drivers to fix the problem without having to make a service appointment.