Tesla recalls more than 50,000 cars over faulty electronic brakes

Ben Chapman
Tesla said the issue has not caused any injury and owners are safe to continue using their vehicles: Reuters

Elon Musk’s Tesla has recalled close to two thirds of all the cars it produced in 2016 after it emerged that electronic parking brakes were prone to not release properly.

Tesla said around 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles built last year are potentially affected but it estimates only 5 per cent of those will actually have the fault.

The brakes "may contain a small gear that could have been manufactured improperly by our third-party supplier", Tesla said on its website.

“We are recalling 53,000 vehicles total out of an abundance of caution,” Tesla said. “Because of the design of the gear, it is difficult to tell exactly which vehicles are affected.”

Shares in the company fell 1 per cent, closing at $302.51 (£235.96) following the announcement.

Tesla said the issue has not caused any injury and owners are safe to continue using their vehicles. Repairs can begin immediately, Tesla said.

According to Bloomberg, the faulty part was supplied by a unit of Italian manufacturer, Brembo. “We are working with Tesla to ensure the issue is resolved quickly,” a spokesperson from Bembo told the news organisation.

The announcement comes after a record 53.2 million vehicles were recalled in the US last year, according to the Transportation Department. Strong enforcement by the Obama administration saw car manufacturers issue 927 recall campaigns, beating the previous high set in 2015.

Tesla has a record of being cautious when it comes to potential technical faults. It recalled 90,000 Model S cars in November 2015 because of a report of a seat belt not being properly connected.

Mr Musk’s firm is under increased scrutiny as it prepares to rapidly increase its manufacturing output to support the new Model 3, which is generally considered to be its first mass-market car. The company plans to make 1 million Model 3's per year by 2020.

The highly-anticipated car is scheduled for release in July and has helped fuel a surge in the company’s valuation.

Earlier this month, Tesla eclipsed General Motors to become the most valuable car company in the US, marking a milestone moment fin the meteoric rise of a company founded only 14 years ago.

That news came just a week after Tesla surpassed Ford's valuation.