Following pressure from U.S. regulators, Tesla recalled 134,951 Model X and Model S cars with touchscreen display issues that led to the loss of several safety-related features. The affected cars, made at Tesla’s Fremont, California, auto plant, include Tesla Model S sedans made between 2012 and 2018, and Model X SUVs in model years from 2016 to 2018.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Tesla on January 13 to recall 158,716 of its electric vehicles after it concluded the glitches pose safety issues related to the center console screen. “The eMMC controller wear-out condition can cause the loss of the rearview camera display, defrost/defog control settings, and exterior turn signal lighting, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a crash,” the NHTSA said in reference to the problem.
Owners of affected Tesla vehicles previously told CNBC that the display on their media control units (or MCUs) would sometimes go blank, in part or in whole. The touchscreen issues interfered with drivers’ ability to use heat, air conditioning, defrost and defogging systems in their cars, or to use their rear view cameras and Tesla Autopilot features while parking and driving.
The difference in the NHTSA’s figure and Tesla’s recall was not immediately clear. As part of the recall, Tesla will upgrade the eMMC controller part inside the car free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 30 and, unlike many updates from Tesla, this fix cannot be done remotely or over-the-air.