The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has officially asked Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X electric vehicles due to an onboard computer problem. This issue affects many of the functions of these vehicles.
The NHTSA began studying the problematic situation in June last year in response to an appeal from the owners of Tesla electric vehicles. According to them, the touchscreen of the computer becomes less responsive over time, the turn-on time increases, the computer freezes and requires a restart, and in some cases it completely fails. All of these effects are believed to be caused by the depletion of the onboard eMMC flash memory. Since 2018, the manufacturer has been using a new computer that has solved the problem, but the owners of old electric vehicles previously had to pay for a replacement computer out of their own pockets. It was only recently that Tesla recognized the problem as a design flaw and offered an extended warranty.
Given that many important features in Tesla cars are only accessible via the touchscreen, NHTSA considered the issue to be a safety issue, so changing the warranty was not enough.
According to official figures provided by Tesla at the request of NTHSA, the percentage of computer failures in Model S and Model X machines reaches 30% of a certain release date. In addition, some owners have found it difficult to replace or repair computers under the new warranty.
The source notes that the NHTSA request is a rare measure. Usually, automakers prefer to voluntarily announce a recall, without waiting for an incentive from the regulator.
Tesla now has two weeks to respond to NHTSA or announce a recall.