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Earlier this month, we reported on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall notice to Tesla after the agency concluded that the car manufacturer’s media control units (MCU) had issues with potential safety risks. The NHTSA requested Tesla recall 158,716 units that included Model S vehicles produced between 2012 – 2018 and the Model X SUV produced in 2016 – 2018.
The NHTSA’s report found the MCU defects were becoming more common in senescent vehicles and came with a higher chance of failing functionality that could put the driver and other road users at risk.
Tesla was given until 27 January to respond and the US-based car maker has done just that by recalling 134,951 of its Model S and Model X vehicles. The NHTSA explained the why Tesla agreed to action the recall short of 23,765 vehicles compared to the original recall request.
“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.”
As part of its recall process, Tesla notified owners of the relevant vehicles who received a comprehensive email outlining the issue with questions and answers. An extract of that message said:
“Tesla has decided to voluntarily recall certain Model S and Model X vehicles built before March 2018 that are equipped with an 8GB embedded Multimedia Card (eMMC) in the media control unit because the eMMC may malfunction due to accumulated wear... If a malfunction occurs, you may experience a persistent blank center display that does not recover after restarting the touchscreen, loss of certain functionalities, and/or a vehicle alert to contact Service.”
While Tesla has agreed to comply with the recall, its VP of Legal Affairs, Al Prescott clarified that this does not indicate their all-electric vehicles have defects and issued the following statement:
“Tesla recognizes that even when a component is not designed to last the life of the vehicle, a defect may still be found if it wears prematurely. However, that is not the case here. NHTSA’s anachronistic regulations are unfit for situations where there is no safety defect, but nevertheless the manufacturer immediately can improve vehicle performance, including safety performance, without the cumbersome need for physical repair.”
Even with Tesla’s compliance, it does not conclude the NHTSA’s inquiry into Tesla vehicles. It will continue to assess reports from customers regarding the functioning of the MCU displays and related features.
Tesla also confirmed that those customers who had paid to replace their touchscreen units or the eMMC will be reimbursed after meeting validity requirements. Additionally, the EV car company said that owners of these particular Model S and X vehicles don’t need to rush into booking a service to get the hardware fixed unless they have actually experienced problems with the MCU that could not be resolved through firmware update or system reboots.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE FOR NEW MODELS
While Tesla manages the recall of over 130,000 vehicles, the company is also looking ahead on its production timelines of its newest fleet additions. Initially, it was expected that the Roadster and Cybertruck would be in production by now, however, this month during Tesla’s earnings call for 2020, CEO, Elon Musk spoke out on timeline changes.
Regarding the Cybertruck, Musk said the design changes are now cast in stone and it’s just a matter of getting the right equipment in to manufacture the futuristic looking truck, “we're actually going to be using even bigger Tesla machines for the rear body of Cybertruck because we've got, obviously, it's a bigger vehicle and you've got a long truck bed. So, we'll be using an 8,000-ton casting press for the rear body casting as opposed to 6,000-ton for Model Y."
On the Roadster, Musk said it will be arriving somewhat later than anticipated and for those who have put down their deposits will now have to wait until 2022. It may still be worth the wait as Musk claims the $200,000 Roadster is a rocket on wheels with a 621-mile range and a top speed of 250-mph.