The affected cars are Model S sedans manufactured between 2012 and 2018 and Model X city SUVs produced from 2016 to 2018, according to a letter to the electric vehicle maker released Wednesday, Jan.13. The regulator says its investigation has “Concluded that a defect related to the safety of the vehicle exists in the models examined”.
The memory of on-board computers, especially the infotainment system (MCU), has a limited life cycle, which means that this system may no longer function correctly 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 even death ”, explains the regulator.
This problem can also affect Autopilot, the driving assistance fitted to Tesla cars, warns the regulator.
Tesla is not obliged to comply with the request of the federal agency but must in this case provide an explanation to NHTSA, which will then notify. The group led by whimsical billionaire Elon Musk has until January 27 to respond.
NHTSA’s request is in any case a headache for Tesla. 158,000 cars, for example, represent nearly 32% of all cars delivered by the manufacturer in 2020.
It also comes at a time when the Californian company is in full stock market rise, fueled by the assumption in the financial markets that electrical technology is the medium-term future of the automobile.
Tesla’s market cap stood at $ 810 billion on Wall Street on Wednesday night, nearly $ 100 billion more than Facebook. Elon Musk, who owns 18% of the capital, has become the richest man in the world on paper.