Blog Post

More Bad News: Tesla Recalling Hundreds of Roadsters Over Safety Issue

After a bit of good news last week from electric vehicle startup Tesla — German automaker Daimler (s dai) invested into it a “double-digit million-dollar sum for about a 10 percent stake” — this week brought more bad news: The company is recalling 345 of its Roadsters made between March 2008 and April 2009 due to safety concerns with the rear hub bolts.

The Office of Defects Investigation says:

Bolts on some of these vehicles may be under-torqued and may become loose. A loose hub could lead to degradation in vehicle handling, and a rubbing noise from the rear vehicle…If the problem is not addressed promptly, the driver could lose control of the vehicle, which could lead to a crash.

Tesla’s version: It’s Lotus’ fault. Tesla says:

The rear, inner hub flange bolts on a small percentage of Roadster vehicles were improperly torqued during assembly by Lotus, the contract manufacturer of the Roadster chassis. Lotus is conducting a similar recall on some Lotus Elise and Exige vehicles…Tesla will make house calls to service cars at owners’ homes or offices or to pick up the car and take it to a repair facility if necessary. Service will be performed at no cost to the customer and will include a complimentary, full-vehicle inspection and software upgrade.

The recall affects at lot of Roadsters that have already been delivered to customers; as of mid-May, Tesla said it had delivered 400 Roadsters of them. The safety concerns are probably particularly aggravating to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, an infamous perfectionist. If you recall, Tesla faced Roadster delays back in 2007 because of technical problems with the transmission.