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Home / Business / Tesla’s touch screen problem: NHTSA calls for recall of S and X models

Tesla’s touch screen problem: NHTSA calls for recall of S and X models



Brick wall with Tesla logo on it
enlarge / Due to design flaws, 158,000 Teslas will be bricked into its infotainment screens within 3-4 years.

Getty Images/Jonathan Gitlin

In November, we learned that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has conducted an engineering analysis of potential defects in Tesla̵

7;s popular Model S and X battery electric vehicles. On Wednesday, another shoe fell off when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notified the American automaker that 158,000 cars must be recalled to repair the defective touch screen.

The problem involves a component in the vehicle’s infotainment system, called the media control unit. There is an 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory chip embedded in the MCU, which can only be written to a limited number of times. Once this number of read/write cycles is reached (it takes about three to four years, depending on the amount of car driving), the touch screen will die. Unfortunately, in cars, this is a real problem, because touch screens are the way to access almost all controls.

Not being able to browse the Internet or play Podcasts in your car is obviously an inconvenience, especially in high-end cars. However, NHTSA is more worried about the fact that if the touch screen crashes, functions such as backup cameras and window defogging will also be lost, as will the sound alarms of other on-board security systems.

This issue is well known in the Tesla community and affects any Model S manufactured between 2012 and 2018 and Model Xs manufactured between 2016 and 2018. After NHTSA received 537 complaints from car owners, it asked if Tesla had more information about the scope. problem. It did it—handed over thousands of complaint records and more than 12,000 MCU replacement products.

According to Reuters, NHTSA has now taken the unusual step of telling Tesla that 158,000 affected vehicles must be recalled. “[D]NHTSA told Reuters that during our review of the data, Tesla provided confirmation that, given the limited storage capacity of storage devices, all units will inevitably fail. And seriously insufficient”, the law requires automakers to recall vehicles with safety defects.

Tesla does not have a press office to comment, and the company has not made any statements on its Twitter feed or CEO Elon Musk’s. Since then, the company has redesigned the MCU to use 64GB eMMC, so it should not affect the latest vehicles. The more popular Model 3 and Y are not affected by this problem.


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