Tesla Recalls Almost Every Car It Has Sold In China

The Chinese government says Autopilot can be engaged automatically.

The back of a Tesla car Model 3 is seen at a Tesla shop inside of a shopping Mall in Beijing on May 26, 2021. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)
The back of a Tesla car Model 3 is seen at a Tesla shop inside of a shopping Mall in Beijing on May 26, 2021. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)
Photo: Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

A regulator is actually regulating Tesla for once, Volvo, and VW’s internal-combustion engines get a sell-by date. All that and more in The Morning Shift for June 28, 2021.


1st Gear: Almost All Of Tesla’s Cars In China Need This Safety Fix

Thankfully for anyone with a Tesla in China, this can be fixed with a free software update alone, as Bloomberg reports:

The State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on Saturday that the action involves 211,256 locally produced Model 3 vehicles and 35,665 imported ones, as well as 38,599 China-made Model Ys. The California-based carmaker only began deliveries of the Model Y sports-utility vehicle in January, so the recall will affect pretty much every driver who bought one.

The Chinese agency said the vehicles’ autopilot systems can be activated automatically, potentially leading to crashes from sudden acceleration. In most cases, the fix should be able to be made remotely with an online update to the cars’ active cruise control feature. Tesla will upgrade the software for free.

I can’t help but see this news from two angles. The first is that it’s interesting to see yet another case of the Chinese government going after Tesla, not long after making headlines banning some cars from government parking lots over fears its onboard cameras would reveal some kind of state secrets. The Chinese government is heavily supporting the electric car industry there, and Tesla is a big and brash foreign competitor.

I also can’t help but relish how nice it is to see a government agency actually regulate Autopilot for once, as things are worryingly laissez-faire over here. I’m not looking forward to anyone crashing with the yoke wheel, but I won’t be surprised if I see it in the news soon.

2nd Gear: The Pacific Northwest Is So Hot You Can’t Drive On Some Highways

I moved out of West Coast almost a decade and a half ago, and I continue to worry that I’ll never be able to move back thanks to climate change. It’s still hard, maybe, for people in the rest of the country to grasp the record heat waves from temperature numbers in the news alone. How about this:


When roads themselves are coming apart, that is a good indicator it’s too hot.

3rd Gear: VW Also Puts Date On Ending Its Internal Combustion Engines

Audi just put a timeline to its internal-combustion engine production, so it’s not particularly surprising that VW has as well. From Reuters:

“In Europe, we will exit the business with internal combustion vehicles between 2033 and 2035, in the United States and China somewhat later,” Klaus Zellmer, Volkswagen board member for sales, told the Muenchner Merkur newspaper.

“In South America and Africa, it will take a good deal longer due to the fact that the political and infrastructure framework conditions are still missing.”


It’s not like we have any ongoing climate emergency here in the United States. Take as long as you need with us, VW.

4th Gear: Volvo Plant Going All-EV

Volvo’s South Carolina factory will be switching to only making EVS, as Automotive News reports:

The factory, opened three years ago, will become Volvo Group’s first all-electric vehicle assembly plant, executives told Automotive News last week. And it will be the cornerstone of the Swedish automaker’s ambitious plan to become an EV-only brand by 2030.

The 2.3-million-square-foot operation in Ridgeville, an hour northwest of Charleston, will be the “first company factory in the world building our all-new-generation all-electric cars — before Europe and before China,” Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said. “This factory will ... also be the only plant in the Volvo Group which only makes full-electric cars.”


I guess it’s probably easier to build EVs or ICE cars but not both at the same time, at least if you’re using a dedicated EV platform.

5th Gear: Daimler To Spin Off Trucks

For all of you fans of MANs and Scanias, there’s some hot news in the world of the European trucking industry! Daimler Trucks is getting spun off, as Reuters reports from Automobilwoche:

German carmaker Daimler is on track to spin off Daimler Truck, the world’s largest truck and bus maker, by the end of the year, its finance chief was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“We are right on schedule with the detailed preparations for this complex project and want to float Daimler Truck on the stock exchange as an independent company by the end of this year,” CFO Harald Wilhelm told the Automobilwoche weekly.


I was just thinking back to when Volvo (trucks) spun off from Volvo (cars) the other day. I wonder how many of these old pairings remain.

Reverse: Joe Biden’s Path To The White House Begins


Neutral: How Are You?

This weekend my coworker Erik Shilling and I drove some vintage Volvos at the company’s recently-renovated HQ in New Jersey. We could choose between a Volvo Amazon, a P1800ES, and an 850 T-5R. We drove two of them. Who do you think drove what, and what would you have driven?



We get road buckles during hot streaks every summer in Minnesota. One year, traffic cameras caught someone jumping one Dukes of Hazzard style.