The 2024 Tesla Model 3 electric sedan is currently under investigation by Australian regulators due to a potential technical compliance breach.
“The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts is aware of concerns regarding the child restraint anchorage points in the 2024 Tesla Model 3 and is looking into this matter,” said Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts spokesperson.
“Road safety is a top priority of the Australian Government. That is why we have legislated road vehicle standards in place to ensure all road vehicles, both new and used, being provided to the Australian market for the first time meet critical national standards for safety, security and emissions.”
It’s understood the updated version of the Model 3 which recently began being delivered to Australian customers doesn’t have an accessible rear centre top-tether point.
This is despite the updated Tesla Model 3 being certified as a five-seater vehicle according to Australian government approval documents.
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 that “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 Tesla 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.
We have reached out to Tesla Australia in regard to this situation and will update this story if we hear back.
It’s unclear if Tesla will be forced to enact a stop sale until the problem is rectified, and if it will issue a recall for examples of the updated Model 3 that have already been delivered to Australian customers.
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.
Another potential option Tesla could enact is removing the rear middle seat belt of the updated Model 3 and reclassifying the electric sedan as a four-seater.