NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation to assess potential issues related to a loss of power in 2020-21 model year Porsche Taycan electric vehicles.
The agency's Office of Defects Investigation has received nine complaints from vehicle owners and two field reports alleging "a loss of motive power while in motion at any speed without warning to the driver," according to a NHTSA document.
The investigation was opened Monday. The agency said 12,146 Porsche Taycans — an 800-volt battery-electric vehicle with an auxiliary 12-volt battery — could be affected.
Porsche on Friday contested NHTSA’s estimated number of affected vehicles, stating it has delivered a total of 6,552 Taycans from the 2020-21 model years in the U.S. through the end of the first quarter this year — the German automaker’s last reporting period.
A spokesperson for Porsche Cars North America said it wasn’t sure where NHTSA’s population figure came from, “but it bears no relation to the number of Taycans in this country, either sold or in transit or inventory.”
Porsche said it is aware of the nine customer complaints and has received the NHTSA inquiry.
“We are already underway in addressing this issue and look forward to answering NHTSA’s questions and quickly resolving the underlying issue, should one be confirmed,” the spokesperson told Automotive News. “All Taycans remain safe to drive. We are not aware of accidents reported in connection with this issue.”
NHTSA said a loss of charge in the 12-volt battery "may deactivate the entire electrical system and prevent the vehicle from operation."
All complainants allege the loss of motive power occurred without warning and that no error messages about a battery issue displayed during or after the vehicle stalled, according to the document. Some of the complainants allege an error message appeared stating an "electrical system error" and to park the vehicle in a safe place.
Six of the complaints also allege owners weren't able to restart the vehicle once they lost power.
U.S. safety regulators will evaluate the scope and severity of the alleged defect and assess any potential safety-related issues.
Most NHTSA investigations start as preliminary evaluations, in which agency engineers request information from the manufacturer, including data on complaints, injuries and warranty claims. The manufacturer can also present its view regarding the alleged defect and may issue a recall.
After the evaluation, NHTSA will either close the investigation or move into the next phase. If a safety-related defect exists, according to NHTSA, the agency may send a "recall request" letter to the manufacturer.