Feds Spell Out Requirements in 2013 Tesla Model S Probe
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spelled out the timetable and the details it is seeking in the probe of the 2013 Tesla Model S following two battery fires in the U.S.
- Tesla's response to federal safety regulators is due January 14.
- Federal safety regulators are looking into the "function and operation of the actively controlled suspension system," among other things.
WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spelled out the timetable and the details it is seeking in the probe of the 2013 Tesla Model S following two battery fires in the U.S.
Tesla's response to federal safety regulators is due January 14, but the automaker can apply for an extension.
"If Tesla is unable to provide all of the information requested by the original deadline, it must submit a partial response by the original deadline with whatever information Tesla then has available, even if an extension has been granted," NHTSA said.
Federal safety regulators are looking into the "function and operation of the actively controlled suspension system, which affects or may affect the subject vehicle ride height, including but not limited to software and other programming modifications/revisions."
NHTSA said it is aware that the Model S may be equipped with an active suspension system that automatically adjusts the vehicle's ride height under certain driving conditions, such as at highway speeds.
The nine-page letter was posted Tuesday on the NHTSA Web site and is part of the standard routine for NHTSA after it launches a preliminary investigation into a safety defect. Such a probe sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.
The probe began in November after two fires in the Tesla Model S that started after roadway debris damaged the cars' batteries.
"Describe in detail all possible consequences to the vehicle from an impact to the subject component that damages the battery," wrote D. Scott Yon, chief of the Vehicle Integrity Division of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation. "Describe in detail how these possible consequences were addressed in the design of the subject vehicle and the limits of that design to prevent damage to the propulsion battery, stalling and fires."
Federal safety regulators also want detailed records of consumer complaints, field reports, warranty claims and property damage claims.
Edmunds says: The letter offers an insider's look into the thinking of federal regulators as they conduct their investigation into the electric car.