Tesla Recalls 135,000 Vehicles Over Faulty Chip That Can Brick Touchscreen


Tesla is recalling 134,951 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs built at its Fremont California plant as a result of an infotainment screen that will “inevitably” fail, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The issue goes further than simply the infotainment system, though. When it fails, the screen bricks, which prevents drivers from using the backup camera or the climate controls and can also hamper advanced driver assistant features.

A backup camera is required by the NHTSA while a lack of climate controls can prevent drivers from defogging their windows, to name just a few of the issues that can stem from the failure. The NHTSA, therefore, argued that the issue “constitutes a defect related to motor vehicle safety.”

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The specific issue hampering the infotainment system comes down to its 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory chip which “fails when the storage capacity is reached.” The administration estimates that the chip has a 5- to 6-year life expectancy which, for a component providing integral safety functions, is insufficient.

In January, the NHTSA asked Tesla to recall 158,000 vehicles due to this issue. The discrepancy between the two numbers is due to the fact that “the affected vehicles in the Defect Information Report don’t include vehicles that have already been repaired with a) a service part with the 64GB eMMC; or b) an upgraded touchscreen,” a NHTSA representative said in an e-mail to CNBC.

The vehicles affected are Model Xs made between 2016-2018 and Model Ss made between 2012-2018. Tesla said that it is unaware of any injuries or incidents related to the matter and that it will replace the components with new ones whose life is longer. Anyone who has already replaced the component at their own expense will be reimbursed.


Updated: February 2, 2021 — 8:42 pm

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