Norway’s safety regulator launches an inquiry into Tesla’s suspension failures

Tesla. Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/ Austin Ramsey

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Stockholm/IBNS: Norway’s traffic safety regulator is conducting an inquiry into suspension failures in Tesla’s electric cars, a development that may lead to a recall, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) told Reuters.

The senior engineer at NPRA, Tor-Ove Satren, revealed that the agency initiated the investigation in September 2022, urging Tesla to assess consumer complaints regarding lower rear control arm issues in Model S and X vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

Satren said that the NPRA might recommend a recall for all model years of the S and X vehicles if it deems the rear lower control arms to pose a “serious risk.”

Alternatively, the agency could close the review with no action if no safety concerns are identified or decide to extend the investigation.

A decision is expected by Christmas, and the NPRA holds the authority to order a recall if the automaker declines.

Tesla has not responded to requests for comment. The NPRA’s inquiry follows a recent Reuters investigation that highlighted how Tesla had attributed suspension and steering part failures to “driver abuse,” despite being aware of the defects.

The report, based on internal documents and interviews with former employees, including service managers and technicians in Norway, indicated that Tesla aimed to reduce repair costs amid escalating warranty expenses.

The NPRA review in Norway stemmed from over 10 customer reports in 2022 about suspension parts, particularly the control arm, unexpectedly breaking.

The Reuters investigation disclosed a pattern of control arm failures in Norway, a significant market for Tesla in Europe.

According to the report customers reported incidents such as “Control arm broken off. This is damage MANY other Teslas have received. Direct traffic hazard” and urged the regulator to take action.

Another customer noted, “On Saturday, the suspension broke on our Tesla Model S; only luck that no serious accident happened.”

Satren mentioned that the NPRA received reports from consumers claiming control arms broke shortly after being inspected by Tesla service centers.

One owner shared an experience of having the rear right control arm checked in June 2022, only for it to break two weeks later, despite assurances from a technician that it had no issues.

Since entering Norway in 2013, Tesla has been a dominant force in the country’s electric vehicle market.

The NPRA initially sought a meeting with Tesla officials in September 2022 after receiving customer concerns, culminating in a final meeting this month, reported Reuters.

If a recall is recommended or ordered, the issue may also be reported to the European Union’s Safety Gate, alerting Tesla owners and EU member states to the potential for suspension failures.

Satren noted that Tesla has recently modified the lower rear control arm, although many cars with existing issues are still on the road.