NHTSA Asks Tesla To Recall 158,000 Model S, Model X Vehicles For Touchscreen Failures


Electric passenger car manufacturer Tesla has been asked to recall around 158,000 vehicles for problems related to display consoles. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked the company to recall affected Model S and Model X vehicles. The models that are affected are manufactured before 2019. The problem in the media control unit can result in safety concerns as it severs the owner’s access to various things. According to reports, the glitch can cut access to the backup camera of the vehicle, Autopilot driver assistance system, climate control, and others. This can lead to an increase in the risk of a crash.

The problem that the safety agency wants Tesla to fix is the issue involving worn-out flash memory chips. The faulty chips have been used in the displays of Model X SUVs manufactured between 2016-18 and Model S sedans launched between 2012-18. When a Tesla owner starts one of these two models, it eats away the entire space of the 8GB chip onboard the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor which ultimately powers the displays. The agency said that in around six years the displays become bricked. The first such issue was detected by the motherboard in 2019, NHTSA said.

A formal investigation was launched by the agency in June last year after many owners experienced the problem and complained about it. Tesla too is aware of the problem and this is why it launched a ‘Warranty Adjustment Program’ in 2020. Under this, the company offered repair if the problem occurred within 100,000 miles eight years. The electric car manufacturer also said that it would pay to customers who had already paid for the repair. Tesla has also launched over-the-air software updates which it claims will help in mitigating the failures. But NHTSA in the letter said that it believes that updates won’t go far enough. This is especially because the problem cuts access to the backup camera. It is now a federally mandated feature.