More and more people are concerned about the environment and the sustainability of using oil and gasoline to power vehicles. Ethanol, propane, biodiesel, solar, steam, natural gas, and fuel cells are all alternative energy sources to the gasoline-powered engine. But so far electricity is the only one that has been able to have real commercial success.
Numerous car manufacturers are now offering electric or hybrid model cars to eco-conscious drivers. Just some of the electric cars on the market include:
- BMW i3
- Chevrolet Spark EV
- Fiat 500e
- Ford Focus EV
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric
- Mitsubishi i
- Nissan Leaf
- Smart Electric Drive
- Tesla models
- Volkswagen eGolf
Out of all electric car manufacturers, it seems that Tesla gets the most attention. Their initial strategy was to make a high-end vehicle for affluent customers – high price, low volume. Their next model would be mid-price, low volume, and the third generation of cars would be low price, high volume. Essentially, there would be a Tesla for everyone – eventually.
But Tesla has hit a significant snag recently that news outlets have jumped on. They are recalling 2,700 Model X SUVs due to problems with the hinge of their third-row seat backs.
The Current Recall
A few weeks ago at their plant in Fremont, California, Tesla announced the voluntary recall of the Model X vehicles that were built prior to March 26. They are warning customers not to have passengers sit in the back of the SUVs until the third-row seat backs are replaced. If the car is involved in an accident, the seat backs could fail.
Although Tesla says they don’t know of any incidents where the hinge for the third-row seat has failed, they conducted a crash test and noticed that the seat backs could potentially collapse forward instead of backward in certain accidents.
Jon McNeill, president of sales and service at Tesla, said, “It’s actually with the leverage of weight in the seat pulling it forward. So this would be an example of a front crash where the weight of the passenger seat belted to that seat could cause that latch to fail.”
The questionable third-row seat backs are provided by Futuris, an outside supplier based in Melbourne, Australia. Futuris will cover the cost of replacing the seat back for all Model X SUV vehicles.
The recalled vehicles will only take a couple hours to fix, and Tesla believes that all repairs should be done within five weeks. The recall will not affect the current production of the Model X, and Tesla doesn’t expect there to be any financial impact on their bottom line.
The recall for the third-row seat backs is the first recall for the Model X. The vehicles have had a few other issues related to design and production delays since the electric car was unveiled a few years ago.
Elon Musk, the well-known CEO of Tesla, has said that they may have bitten off more than they could chew when designing certain features within the Model X, which led to slower car production. But the seat backs hadn’t been an issue before this recall.
Back in November, Tesla announced another recall on all their Model S vehicles delivered before November 19 due to problems with the front seat belts. There was a Model S in Europe with a front seat belt that was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner. Although this vehicle was not involved in a crash and there were no injuries, if the car had been in a crash, the seat belt wouldn’t have been able to provide full protection to the person in the seat.
How Can a Recall Affect Me?
Whenever you’re dealing with a recalled vehicle or a dangerous children’s toy, you have rights as a consumer.
For vehicle recalls, you should be allowed to bring your car to the dealership and have the faulty part repaired or replaced without any charge to you. Hopefully, if you do have to get a defective part replaced, it happens before an accident or injury occurs.
If, however, your car was defective when you purchased it and caused injuries to you or a passenger in your car, you might want to contact an experienced Florida product liability lawyer. As long as you were using the vehicle as it was intended to be used, you may be able to receive compensation for any injuries or damages you sustained.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.