Dubai - The problem has been seen to occur in "very cold climates" where road salts are commonly used.
The global recall of more than 100,000 electric cars by US carmaker Tesla will have minimal impact on its fleet in the UAE as the "excessive corrosion" problem in power steering component of the cars has been found to occur only in "very cold climates."
In a statement sent to Khaleej Times, the maker of autonomous electric vehicles said it is proactively opening up a voluntary recall to retrofit a power steering component found in Model S vehicles built before April 2016.
In the UAE, some 50 Tesla electric cars haven been deployed by Dubai Roads and Transport Authority since September 2017 as part of a 200-car deal signed with the automaker in February 2017. In addition, a few residents also own Tesla cars.
"Since it is learnt that those 50 vehicles bought by RTA are post-2016 models, and given the fact that problem was seen occurring only in very cold climates, the question of recall in the UAE doesn't arise," said an automobile industry veteran.
Globally, 123,000 Model S vehicles are being recalled. Tesla Model X and Model 3 cars are not included in this recall.
The vehicles contracted by the RTA are two models - (S) from Sedan and (X) from SUVs.
The automaker explained that it has seen "excessive corrosion" in the power steering bolts of the affected vehicles. Even if the bolts fail, the driver would still be able to steer the car, but would have to use "increased force."
"This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed," Tesla said in its email.
The problem has been seen to occur in "very cold climates" where road salts are commonly used. But the company said it was recalling all affected vehicles regardless of climate, "to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment."
"In order to ensure safety, Tesla will proactively retrofit a power steering component in all Model S vehicles built before April 2016. (No other Tesla vehicles are affected.) There have been no injuries or accidents due to this component, despite accumulating more than a billion miles of driving," the statement said.
Model S was previously found by the US government to have the lowest probability of injury of any car it has ever tested, and we continue to test and update Model S to ensure is among the safest vehicles in the world, Tesla said.
Of the remaining 150 vehicles contracted by Dubai, the RTA will take delivery of 75 in 2018, and 75 in 2019.
The US carmaker opened its first electric vehicle showroom in Dubai - the 17,000 square foot retail store and service centre on Sheikh Zayed Road - in July 2017.
Incorporating electric cars into the national taxi fleet is part of Dubai's plans to become one of the smartest cities in the world - and particularly to meet the directives of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy that aims to convert 25 per cent of total journeys in Dubai into driverless journeys by 2030.