Customers view the Tesla Motors Inc. electric vehicle. Model X on display at the company’s showroom in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
Kilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty images
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Tesla in a letter on Wednesday to withdraw 158,716 of its Model S and Model X cars manufactured before 201
Affected cars manufactured at Fremont’s California car plant include the Tesla Model S sedans, manufactured between 2012 and 2018, and the Model X SUV in the 2016-2018 model years.
Tesla may refuse to carry out the recall, but will have to provide a full explanation of why the NHTSA, which can then offer further action. The seizure of 158,716 vehicles would account for about 10% of Tesla’s reported production by the end of 2020. Tesla produced its millionth electric vehicle in March 2020, CEO Elon Musk issued announcements at the time, and in the last three quarters by 2020 the company produced over 400,000 additional vehicles.
News of the letter was announced earlier by Reuters.
The memory devices in some Tesla MCUs have a limited “write cycle”, which means that they – and therefore the media control unit itself – will not work well or at all after hitting a certain number of program or erasing cycles.
Owners of affected Tesla vehicles have previously told CNBC that the display of their media control devices (or MCUs) will sometimes disappear, in part or in full. Touch screen problems interfere with drivers’ ability to use heating, air conditioning, defrost and fog systems in their cars or use their rear view cameras and Tesla Autopilot features while parking and driving.
In a letter to Tesla’s vice president of Al Prescott, the federal vehicle safety authority said problems with Tesla’s MCU could increase the risk of driver accidents due to “possible loss of beeps, driver detection and alerts.” which are part of Tesla Autopilot, the company’s advanced driver assistance system.
The incidence of malfunctions in the media control unit was up to 17% for older Tesla Model S cars (manufactured from 2012 to 2015) and up to 4% for cars manufactured by Tesla from 2016 to 2018, it is said. in the letter. And MCU failures are expected to increase as cars age and remain in use, NHTSA said, citing Tesla’s forecasts.
“Given Tesla’s MCU repair projects, even MINE [model year] The vehicles in question for 2018 will receive a 100% rejection of the MCU within approximately 10 years, “write the investigators from NHTSA.
Earlier, Tesla offered an “extended warranty” to reassure customers upset by the defect. As CNBC reported at the time, some owners who have paid to replace media management devices out of pocket will be able to recoup their costs under the extended warranty.
Read the full letter from NHTSA to Tesla.