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Sweden threatened to ban Tesla sales over unclear over-the-air update and Autopilot concerns [Updated]

The Swedish Transport Agency is threatening to shut down Tesla’s sales in the country for 6 months over unclear concerns about Tesla’s over-the-air update capability and Autopilot.

Update: the agency says that it could be closing the investigation – though it’s unclear why they have threatened a sale ban. 

Reports started coming out of Sweden today about the Swedish Transport Agency sending a letter to RDW, the Dutch regulator and European authority used by Tesla to approve its vehicles for European roads.

They reportedly think that there was something wrong about the approval of Tesla’s over-the-air software updates.

Anders Gunneriusson of the Swedish Transport Agency told the Swedish media SVD:

“We do not think that Tesla worked according to the type approval from the Netherlands. We find the approval given to be contrary to the law.”

They apparently have a specific problem regarding updates to Tesla’s Autopilot system dating back in 2015, but they are not going into detail about it.

Maria Lantz, a Tesla manager in Sweden, said that the company’s updates comply with EU’s approval system:

“All product updates we make in cars in Europe meet all applicable type-approval requirements within the EU and we are reviewing any changes that may affect the type approval with the responsible authorities. In this way, we can continuously improve safety over the life of the car.”

Gunneriusson said that they could ban Tesla sales for 6 months if they find “serious safety risk” as part of this inquiry:

“In the legislation, we have a clause that means that Sweden will stop the sale of Tesla cars for six months if there is a serious safety risk.”

No specific safety risk has been reported by the agency so far.

Tesla’s sales are fairly small in Sweden. The California-based automaker only delivered just over 1,200 in the country last year, but that is expected to change with the arrival of the Model 3 in the coming months.

In just about a month of opening Model 3 orders in the country, Tesla already has about the same the number of Model 3 orders in Sweden as the number of Model S and Model X orders combined for an entire year.

The first Model 3 vehicles for customer deliveries are expected to arrive in Europe next week and Tesla officially received homologation for the vehicle in Europe a few weeks ago.

Update: The Swedish government issued an official statement to that they “closed the case on Tesla”:

“The Swedish Transport Agency will not temporarily prohibit the sale of Tesla in Sweden. The matter concerning a safety system in the model model S is now completed by the authority. The media has stated that the Swedish Transport Agency is considering temporarily prohibiting the sale of Tesla in Sweden, as there has been concern that the vehicle has serious road safety deficiencies. As a Member State in the EU, Sweden may prohibit the sale of a vehicle for six months if such suspicions exist. However, it is not relevant. “This is a case we have been following for three years and we are now finishing because we see the risk of accidents with the autopilot system being reduced,” says Anders Gunneriusson, senior advisor at the Swedish Transport Agency.”

Electrek’s Take

This is a strange one to me. I read a bunch of translated Swedish media reports about this and it really doesn’t make much sense.

None of them were really able to get across what they are specifically worried about here.

If we have Swedish Electrek readers who have a better handle of the situation and who want to enlighten us in the comment section below, that would be appreciated.

Update: I gathered a little more information and the news here appear to be that they are considering closing the case, which originated back in 2015, but they are also raising concerns over RDW’s approval of Tesla’s over-the-air updates, which they seem to think doesn’t comply with a new set of EU regulations for automotive over-the-air updates.

Hence the threat to possibly shut down sales, but Tesla argues that it is in compliance and was approved by RDW. Therefore, Sweden’s road authority issues might have more to do with RDW than Tesla.

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