Sunday, March 3, 2024

Tesla Navigates Recall Turbulence As Cadillac and Rivian Expand the EV Market

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As Tesla faces blowback for recalling more than 2 million of its electric vehicles, Cadillac announces its new Vistic EV and Rivian partners with AT&T.

A statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published earlier this week says that nearly all Tesla models dating back to 2012 have been recalled for issues with the car’s Autosteer function.

“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature,” reads the NHTSA statement. The recall applies to all Autopilot-equipped 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles.

Telsa says it is releasing a software fix that will be automatically sent to all affected cars — so Tesla owners won’t need to schedule an appointment at their nearest dealer. While that’s good news for the car owners, it’s not such great news for Tesla — the dominant EV producer in the U.S.

In a statement posted to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company pushed back against media coverage on the issue, calling a Washington Post article “egregious in its misstatements and lack of relevant context.” The company went on to defend the Autopilot system, saying that “safety metrics are emphatically stronger when Autopilot is engaged than when not engaged.” 

Cadillac Vistiq
Courtesy Cadillac

The news comes as luxury automaker Cadillac says it is further expanding its electric vehicle offerings with the introduction of the Vistiq. This new luxury three-row SUV fits in between the previously announced Lyriq and Escalade IQ. The Vistiq is part of Cadillac’s broader strategy to enhance its EV portfolio, following the unveiling of the 2025 Escalade IQ, Cadillac’s first all-electric full-size SUV, earlier this year. This SUV is celebrated for its iconic design and advanced automotive technology.

Cadillac also confirmed the upcoming 2025 Optiq last month, set to become the entry-level model in its North American EV lineup. The Optiq aims to captivate global luxury customers with its dynamic driving experience, with more details expected next year, the company said in a statement.

John Roth, Vice President of Global Cadillac, emphasized the brand’s commitment to an electric future. “Vistiq adds another compelling EV to the Cadillac lineup, reinforcing our commitment to an electric future,” Roth said. He highlighted Cadillac’s expanding presence across various luxury segments and its aim to dominate most luxury SUV categories in key global markets within the next two years. Additional information about Vistiq, including features and pricing, will be disclosed next year.

Telecommunications giant AT&T is also leaning into EVs, with the announcement of a pilot program to incorporate Rivian’s electric vehicles into its fleet. This initiative aligns with AT&T’s broader sustainability goals, which include achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The pilot program, launching early next year, will assess the potential of these vehicles to enhance safety, reduce costs, and diminish AT&T’s carbon footprint.

Rivian pick-up truck
Rivian helped to put electric pick-up trucks on the map. | Courtesy Rivian

AT&T plans to utilize Rivian’s commercial vans and R1 vehicles, though the exact number of vehicles to be purchased remains undisclosed. Additionally, AT&T will provide exclusive connectivity for all of Rivian’s EVs in the U.S. and Canada. This partnership will enable drivers to receive over-the-air software updates, continuously improving the vehicles with new features.

Hardmon Williams, Senior Vice President of Connected Solutions at AT&T, expressed the company’s commitment to a cleaner future. “This pilot program is another important step in our ongoing efforts toward sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and embracing a cleaner future for our operations,” he said in a statement.

But the EV market still faces challenges. “Bad vibes are rippling through the electric car market,” reads an October headline in Axios. Consumers appear to be cooling on EVs over the high sticker prices as well as concerns over recharging access, rising interest rates, and range anxiety.

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