Tesla asks U.S. safety agency to declare speed display issue inconsequential

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo hangs on a building outside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tesla Inc filed a petition with U.S. auto safety regulators saying that 612,000 vehicles produced since 2012 do not fully comply with federal safety standards because displays can be switched from miles per hour to only metric measurements, documents released on Friday show.

The automaker asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to declare the noncompliance issue inconsequential to safety, according to the agency's filing.

Tesla said it corrected the issue in production in September and that more than 75% percent of the affected U.S. vehicles have accepted the firmware update released in September.

Tesla said if vehicles are set to only display to kilometers, all functions tied to speed limit like Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Speed Assist will "convert mapped data from mph to km/h, resulting in the vehicle speed automatically matching the appropriate speed limit."

Tesla added that vehicle operators can change the display back to miles per hour, saying the option is "easily located in the display menu and is not buried in sub-menus."

Tesla said it has not received any reports of crashes related to this issue and noted that NHTSA granted two petitions for inconsequential treatment involving speedometer unit display noncompliance to Volkswagen AG in July and BMW in 2015.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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