It was announced yesterday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging Tesla to recall more than 158,000 vehicles due to problems with their touchscreens.
Sure, it’s pretty lousy when you get the message that your vehicle may be down because of a manufacturing defect. But the real kicker is that Tesla isn’t legally required to fix them just yet.[Read: Meet the 4 scale-ups using data to save the planet]
In a letter to the manufacturer, NHTSA asked Tesla to recall some S and X vehicles because the touchscreens can fail after years of use, WSJ reports.
Since pretty much everything in a Tesla is controlled by the screen, its failure would compromise safety features like defogging the screen and reversing cameras. And that’s why the NHTSA got involved.
If Tesla does not follow the NHTSA’s request to recall the vehicles, the EV manufacturer must justify its decision and explain it to the authority.
If the NHTSA is not satisfied, it can take the matter to a public hearing and then enforce the recall through a court ruling. In this case, Tesla would have to comply.
The NHTSA’s recall affects Model S vehicles built between 2012 and 2018 and Model X vehicles built between 2016 and 2018.
This particular recall relates to a problem with the infotainment system’s built-in memory. Last November, the NAND memory used in the display’s built-in computer was found to wear out over time, rendering the entire device unusable.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s front man, previously boasted that these touchscreens were sourced from computer suppliers rather than automotive specialists. While this saved the company some money, the screens weren’t designed to withstand changes in temperature inside a car or the vibrations caused by driving, reports The Drive.
Many owners had Tesla fix them, but unfortunately the replacements also failed.
According to an analyst quoted by the WSJ, the recall could cost $ 300 million to $ 500 million. So much for saving money.
That brings us up to now and the intervention of the NHTSA asking Tesla to take action.
Since there is no PR department to be contacted, it is unclear what Tesla will do about it.
While the EV maker has previously fixed faulty screens on goodwill, safety recommendations from other agencies like the National Transport Safety Board are ignored. So it’s everyone’s guess.
If Tesla accepts the NHTSA announcement, the recall will become one of the largest the automaker has ever seen. If not, it could be the start of an intense legal battle.
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Published on January 14, 2021 – 14:19 UTC