Tesla removing some automatic window features to comply with NHTSA regulations

A few months ago Tesla issued a “recall”, which was in actuality an over-the-air (OTA) software update, to correct an issue with the automatic window reversal system in nearly 1.1 million vehicles. Following the recall, Tesla is now removing some automatic window features in order to comply with NHTSA regulations.

According to a message from the Tesla Service team sent to an owner shared by Tommy (via Teslascope), the automaker will be removing the ability to remotely control the windows through the app (vent and close), the ability to automatically close the windows upon locking the vehicle, and the automatic closing of the windows when entering Car Wash Mode.

While these are convenience features perhaps the most frustrating part of this action is that owners will no longer be able to open or close their windows until you have pressed the brake pedal.

All of these features are being removed in order for Tesla to comply with requirements set out in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 118, Section 5, a copy of which we have included at the end of this article.

Based on other similar messages received by owners these features may return at some point in the future open “further development” of a software update, but there is currently no timetable for when that update will be ready for deployment.

Going by the issue in the recall the problem appears to that the window’s response variations to pinches exceeded the regulated requirements. Some of these features have already been removed from production vehicles since around the time of the recall in September and October, like the ability to vent and close windows through the mobile app and closing windows upon locking the vehicle.

Teslascope added that these changes will impact cars in the United States, although based on how closely Canada follows regulations in the US we expect to see these features removed on Canadian vehicles as well, as our Model Y delivered in October does not have mobile window venting or the option to close windows on lock.

You can read FMVSS 118 Section 5 below, or the entire regulation here.

  • S5. Automatic reversal systems. A power-operated window, partition, or roof panel system that is capable of closing or of being closed under any circumstances other than those specified in S4 shall meet the requirements of S5.1, S5.2, and, if applicable, S5.3.
  • S5.1. While closing, the power-operated window, partition, or roof panel shall stop and reverse direction either before contacting a test rod with properties described in S8.2 or S8.3, or before exerting a squeezing force of 100 newtons (N) or more on a semi-rigid cylindrical test rod with the properties described in S8.1, when such test rod is placed through the window, partition, or roof panel opening at any location in the manner described in the applicable test under S7.

    S5.2. Upon reversal, the power-operated window, partition, or roof panel system must open to one of the following positions, at the manufacturer’s option:

    (a) A position that is at least as open as the position at the time closing was initiated;

    (b) A position that is not less than 125 millimeters (mm) more open than the position at the time the window reversed direction; or

    (c) A position that permits a semi-rigid cylindrical rod that is 200 mm in diameter to be placed through the opening at the same location as the rod described in S7.1 or S7.2(b).

  • S5.3. If a vehicle uses proximity detection by infrared reflection to stop and reverse a power-operated window, partition, or roof panel, the infrared source shall project infrared light at a wavelength of not less than 850 nm and not more than 1050 nm. The system shall meet the requirements in S5.1 and S5.2 in all ambient light conditions from total darkness to 64,500 lux (6,000 foot candles) incandescent light intensity.

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