The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published a letter confirming that it has received at least 758 reports of phantom braking in Tesla EVs, a problem in which their brakes may activate unexpectedly, bringing the vehicles to a sudden stop on roads for no apparent reason. These complaints stem from owners of Tesla Model 3 and Y vehicles belonging to model year 2021–2022. The NHTSA’s investigation into phantom braking began last February, but at the time, the agency had only received 354 complaints, with no reports of crashes or injuries. Tesla has until June 20 to respond to the agency’s request for information.
Many owners wrote in their complaints that they feared a rear-end crash on a freeway.
The agency is now seeking information on warranty claims for phantom braking including the owners’ names and what repairs were made. It’s also seeking information on Tesla’s sensors, any testing or investigations into the braking problems, or if any modifications were made.
The letter focuses on Tesla’s testing of the automated systems when it comes to detecting metal bridges, s-shaped curves, oncoming and cross traffic, and different sizes of vehicles including large trucks. The agency also wants information on how cameras deal with reflections, shadows, glare and blockage due to snow or heavy rain.