The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA has asked electric car maker Tesla Inc. to recall about 158,000 of its Model S and Model X vehicles for possible safety-related defects due to incidents of media control unit or MCU failures.
The display control failures can lead to the loss of ability to use rear-view cameras and other safety-related vehicle functions.
The recall is for Tesla Model S sedans made between 2012 and 2018 as well as for Model S SUVs of model years 2016 through 2018.
The NHTSA noted that certain of these Model S and X vehicles were equipped with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with an integrated 8GB flash memory device. Part of this 8GB storage capacity is used each time the vehicle is started.
The flash memory hardware could fail when the full storage capacity is reached, resulting in failure of the MCU.
The MCU is the vehicle’s display screen, which controls certain aspects of performance subject to Federal motor vehicle safety standards and other safety-relevant functions.
Specifically, failure of the display consoles could result in the inability to use rear-view cameras as well as loss of defogging and defrosting setting controls.
It also adversely impacts the Autopilot features, as well as turn signal functionality due to the possible loss of audible chimes, driver sensing, and alerts associated with these vehicle functions.
The NHTSA noted that data submitted by Tesla showed MCU failure rates to be as high as 17 percent for Model S vehicles of model years 2012 to 2015, and failure rates of up to 4 percent for the Model S and Model X vehicles of model years 2016 to 2018.
The failure rates will continue to accelerate as the cars age and remain in use, as shown in Tesla’s projection models, the NHTSA noted.
Tesla had said in early January that it delivered about 499,550 vehicles in 2020, representing an increase of 36 percent from the prior year. However, the deliveries slightly missed the company’s most recent guidance of 500,000 vehicles.
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