Tesla Australia has notified customers deliveries of its updated ‘Highland’ Model 3 are set to resume next week.
In a communication to customers, Tesla said the compliance issue that forced it to stop deliveries is close to being resolved.
“We are pleased to advise that we are finalising this matter by ensuring access to the vehicle’s rear-centre seat top-tether restraint anchorage point,” the company said in an email to customers.
“At this time, we expect to recommence deliveries in the coming week where your order will be prioritised for delivery.”
It hasn’t specified just how it will ensure access to the anchor point. It also hasn’t confirmed when it will issue a recall to rectify the issue on vehicles already delivered.
Some customers have already received updated delivery dates as early as January 27.
If you place an order today, Tesla’s website says you’ll take delivery sometime between February and April 2024.
Tesla halted deliveries on January 17, advising customers there was a technical compliance issue but saying it expected deliveries to resume within weeks.
Uniquely, Australian Design Rules (ADRs) stipulate any rear seat with a seatbelt must feature a top-tether point for a child seat, though ADR 34 requires it to be more accessible based on the wording.
ADR 34.6.1 states “clearance shall be provided around each ‘Child Restraint Anchor Fitting’ to allow latching and unlatching, without the use of tools, of the ‘Attaching Clip’ to the ‘Child Restraint Anchor Fitting’ when it is installed in the vehicle”.
The pre-update version of the Tesla Model 3 had a top-tether anchor point for the rear middle seat that could be accessed by a flap on the parcel shelf.
It’s understood the updated Model 3 does still have the rear middle top-tether anchor point but it can’t be accessed as there’s no flap on the parcel shelf.
It’s worth noting the updated Model 3 does have accessible top-tether points, as well as ISOFIX points, on the two outboard rear seats.
In 2022 the BYD Atto 3 was subject to the same technical compliance issue as its rear middle top-tether point couldn’t be accessed, with carpet on the seat back blocking it.
BYD’s local distributor EVDirect was forced to pause deliveries for several weeks until the problem was resolved. It also recalled already delivered examples to fix the issue.
Honda made the decision to classify the current-generation HR-V as a four-seater rather than a five-seater in Australia due to there being no top-tether point for the rear middle seat, removing the rear middle seat belt.
While it didn’t explicitly say this compliance breach was the reason, safety authority ANCAP declined to carry over the pre-update Model 3’s five-star rating, leaving the updated model unrated for now.
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