The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rejected a 2019 petition to open a formal investigation into Tesla Inc.’s battery management software, according to documents posted to the agency’s website.
A driver petitioned the agency in September 2019 to initiate a defect investigation of certain Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles that received an over-the-air update of battery management software, beginning in May 2019. The petition cited five vehicles that caught fire, two of them in the U.S.
The agency’s Office of Defects Investigation agreed to evaluate the request in October 2019. The agency rejected the request on Sept. 28, citing the fact that the only incidents of parked vehicles catching fire while using Tesla’s Supercharging software occurred in China.
The rejected petition called for NHTSA to investigate 61,781, Model S vehicles from 2012 to 2016 with the battery firmware installed. The agency said it looked at 59 complaints related to Tesla’s battery software before it decided to reject the request for a formal investigation.