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Tesla Motors, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Topics:  Tesla Roadster

Tesla Motors, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
June 24, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 121 (Wednesday, June 24, 2015)]
[Pages 36403-36404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15424]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0096; Notice 1]

Tesla Motors, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Receipt of Petition.


SUMMARY: Tesla Motors, Inc. (Tesla) has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2008 Roadster 1.5 passenger cars do not fully comply with 
paragraph S4.4(c)(2), of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. TESLA has filed an 
appropriate report dated August 1, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is July 24, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand to: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The 
Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except 
Federal Holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

    I. Tesla's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, Tesla 
submitted a petition for an exemption from the notification and remedy 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of Tesla's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 542 MY 2008 
Roadster 1.5 passenger cars manufactured from February 1, 2008 through 
October 29, 2009.
    III. Noncompliance: Tesla explains that if a fault is detected in a 
sensor, because the sensor is faulty, missing or unapproved, the Tire 
Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) malfunction telltale will flash for 
60 to 90 seconds and then remain continuously illuminated as required 
by FMVSS No. 138. However, the TPMS malfunction telltale fails to 
operate properly when a faulty, missing or unapproved sensor is 
detected and then the vehicle's ignition is cycled off and back on. In 
this situation, the malfunction telltale in the

[[Page 36404]]

subject vehicles does not re-illuminate immediately as required when 
the ignition locking system is re-activated. Instead, the affected 
vehicles must reach a speed between 20 mph and 25 mph for a maximum 
period of at least 90 seconds before the TPMS malfunction telltale re-
    Rule Text: Paragraph S4.4(c)(2) of FMVSS No. 138 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S4.4 TPMS Malfunction.
    (c) Combination low tire pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale. The 
vehicle meets the requirements of S4.4(a) when equipped with a 
combined Low Tire Pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale that:
    (2) Flashes for a period of at least 60 seconds but no longer 
than 90 seconds upon detection of any condition specified in S4.4(a) 
after the ignition locking system is activated to the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. After each period of prescribed flashing, the 
telltale must remain continuously illuminated as long as a 
malfunction exists and the ignition locking system is in the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. This flashing and illumination sequence must be 
repeated each time the ignition locking system is placed in the 
``On'' (``Run'') position until the situation causing the 
malfunction has been corrected. . . .
    V. Summary of Tesla's Analyses: Tesla stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:
    (A) Tesla states that they provide warnings and alerts in several 
ways above and beyond the minimal requirements of the regulations. 
Specifically, the TPMS on the subject vehicles automatically checks the 
wheel sensors fitted on the vehicle. The TPMS then checks the tire 
pressure from each sensor and that the check system for tire pressure 
occurs prior to the vehicle moving. The TPMS detects one or more new 
sensors (meaning different from those calibrated by the TPMS during the 
vehicles last ignition cycle), the TPMS will automatically ``learn'' 
the new sensors. After calibration, the TPMS will again review all four 
tires for any low pressure situation.
    If a low pressure situation occurs in one or more of the four tires 
on the vehicle, the system will continuously illuminate the combined 
low pressure/malfunction indicator lamp (MIL), thus providing the 
driver a timely warning of low tire pressure. In addition, the subject 
vehicles are also equipped with an auxiliary screen that provides 
additional warnings and information regarding a low pressure condition. 
When one or more of the four tires have a detected low tire pressure 
condition, the auxiliary screen in the lower portion of the center 
console area will automatically display an alert screen alerting the 
driver to a low tire pressure condition. In addition, the auxiliary 
screen will also display a diagram of the vehicle and note the tire at 
issue in a conspicuous manner. The system's auxiliary screen will also 
show the condition of all remaining tires. Information regarding the 
status of the tire pressures is available to the driver through a menu 
on this auxiliary screen at any time, even if the tires are properly 
inflated. This type of detailed information and multiple alerts ensures 
the drivers are well informed of a potential low tire pressure 
    (B) Tesla also states that the TPMS only fails to operate properly 
when a faulty, missing or non-approved sensor is detected and the 
ignition is cycled. Specifically, if such a fault is detected, but the 
ignition is then cycled off, then on, the MIL will reset, thus 
requiring the system to re-detect the fault or missing or unapproved 
sensor versus immediately re-illuminating the MIL from the previously 
detected fault. The noncompliance is confined to this one particular 
aspect of TPMS function. All other functions remain in compliance with 
the requirements of FMVSS No. 138.
    (C) Tesla further stated that although the MIL fails to re-
illuminate immediately after a subsequent ignition off/on cycle, the 
TPMS remains functional. As a result, the system will still accurately 
detect the continued presence of a fault in a sensor and illuminate the 
MIL anew. Specifically, after ignition off/on, the TPMS will detect 
anew the faulty, missing or non-approved sensor and the MIL will flash 
for 60-90 seconds before staying on. This will occur no more than 90 
seconds after the vehicle reaches a speed of between 20mph and 25 mph. 
Once illuminated, the MIL will remain on throughout the course of the 
ignition cycle, regardless of further operating speeds or other 
conditions. Moreover, the additional warnings via the ``fault'' display 
in the dashboard, and the auxiliary display warnings will appear anew. 
Clearing the new warning in the auxiliary screen will once again 
require the driver to actively clear the screen. Tesla believes this is 
especially effective in notifying vehicle operators in that the 
reanimation of the center auxiliary screen warning and subsequent 
action required to clear the screen ensures review of the warning by 
the driver.
    (D) Tesla says they have not received any complaints, noted any 
issues, or had any incidents or other issues relating to the failure of 
the TPMS module noncompliance.
    In summation, Tesla believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt Tesla from providing recall notification 
of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the 
recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Tesla no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, any decision on this petition does not relieve vehicle 
distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for 
sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after Tesla 
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority: (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8)

Jeffrey Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-15424 Filed 6-23-15; 8:45 am]

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