Tesla recalls 135,000 cars over safety issue

(Washington) Tesla to recall nearly 135,000 cars in the United States, Model S and Model X, for a safety problem related to the on-board computer, after an alert launched in mid-January by the American agency of road safety, NHTSA.

The recall involves 134,951 cars, according to a letter from NHTSA forwarded to Tesla and released on Tuesday.

This concerns Model S sedans manufactured between 2012 and 2018, as well as Model X city SUVs produced from 2016 to 2018, whose on-board computer is equipped with an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.

This is one of the most important safety recalls encountered by Tesla. The number of recalled vehicles, however, is lower than the 158,000 the regulator requested from Tesla in mid-January.

NHTSA letter does not explain this difference. Tesla was not obliged to comply with the request of the federal agency but was obliged in this case to provide an explanation to NHTSA, which then decides.

For comparison, 158,000 cars represent almost a third of all cars delivered by the manufacturer in 2020.

Tesla will have to replace a part of the on-board computer of the effectively recalled vehicles.

This defect “may result in the loss of the rear view camera display, defrost / demisting control settings and the turn signal, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of an accident,” the NHTSA detailed in its letter.

The memory of on-board computers, especially the infotainment system (MCU), has a limited life cycle, which means that the system may not function properly after a certain number of programs. This problem can also cause deletions of memory cycles.

“During an MCU failure, the screen goes black and the rear view camera, also a backup camera, is no longer available to the driver. If the image is no longer available, the risk of an accident increases, which can potentially lead to injury or death, ”the regulator explained in its report published in January.

The problem can also affect Autopilot, the driver assistance system in Tesla cars, he warned.

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