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NHTSA Politely Asks Tesla to Recall 158,000 Vehicles Over Failing Touchscreen

Ever since Tesla went mass market with the Model S, everyone knew in the back of their heads that reliability would be a recurring issue. One of the problems of the sedan and the Model X concerns the infotainment system, which has been deemed unsafe by federal watchdogs.
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After a preliminary evaluation by the Office of Defects Investigation in June 2020 and an expanded evaluation in November 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging Tesla to recall no fewer than 158,000 vehicles. It’s a modest figure in comparison to the Takata debacle and Dieselgate scandal, but also a huge blow to the Palo Alto-based automaker.

You see, chief executive officer Elon Musk once bragged about the trendsetting nature of these touchscreens by sourcing them from computer suppliers instead of automotive OEMs. The truth of the matter is original equipment manufacturers know a little more than computer companies what works and what doesn’t over many years of use and abuse.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the 17-inch tablet doesn’t hold up to vibration loads and temperature fluctuations, causing the portrait-oriented display to yellow, bubble, leak, and ultimately fail. WSJ also mentions affected safety functions such as defogging and the rearview camera. There are numerous horror stories from Model S and Model X owners confirming these concerns, but not all of them were treated to goodwill repairs.

The safety regulators have yet to force Tesla to recall the 158,000 vehicles produced from the 2012 to 2018 model year, but after 12,523 claims and complaints, the inevitable will happen at some point in the near future. If the EV specialist decides against the recommended recall, Tesla also has to provide the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a valid reason for it. In this scenario, the NHTSA could potentially drag the $810-billion company into a public hearing that would be followed by court action.

 
 
 
 
 

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