Tesla is recalling around 285,000 vehicles in China because drivers are switching on its Autopilot feature by accident. It plans to update the software remotely.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a black suit walks on stage in front of an image of a Model Y vehicle
Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks in front of a Model Y image in Shanghai. Aly Song/Reuters
  • Tesla will update software on about 285,000 vehicles in China, a state regulator said on Saturday.
  • Autopilot software will be updated on some Model 3 and Y vehicles, Reuters reported.
  • Drivers “easily activate the cruise control function by mistake,” the regulator said, AFP reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

About 285,000 Tesla vehicles in China will have their Autopilot software updated remotely because drivers were accidentally turning it on, a state agency said on Saturday.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced the remote software “recall” for vehicles made locally and abroad, according to Reuters and Bloomberg News.

Some drivers in China accidentally turned on the assisted driving software while in motion, causing their vehicles to either quickly speed up or slow down, the regulator said in its statement.

“Due to issues with the cruise control system … the driver can easily activate the cruise control function by mistake,” the regulator said, according to Agence France-Presse. “A sudden increase in vehicle speed will occur, which could … in extreme cases, cause a collision, posing safety hazards.”

Tesla filed the recall plan with the regulator. The company will begin the updates on Saturday, the regulator said.

The EV maker will update the software on 211,256 Model 3 vehicles made in China, along with 35,665 imported Model 3 vehicles. The software on 38,599 Model Y vehicles made in China will also be updated.

Insider reached out to Tesla for comment.

China remains the world’s top market for electric vehicles, and it’s an important market for Tesla. As Insider’s Anna Cooban reported, the company has invested in a Shanghai factory to produce vehicles, allowing it to offer more competitive prices in the region. Some analysts have worried Beijing may attempt to rein in the company.

The company’s China operations were “ramping up quickly,” CEO Elon Musk told investors in April. China and the US accounted for 69% of the company’s revenue in 2020, up from 56% in 2015, according to Morningstar analysts.

Tesla’s May sales in China jumped by about 29% from the previous month.