Tesla tech is hot, but this time, it's a bad thing.
Tesla Motors will have to recall a total of 129,960 vehicles over a faulty center touchscreen that may pose a safety risk to drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the infotainment's CPU could overheat "during the preparation or process of fast-charging, causing the CPU to lag or restart." Potentially, this could mean the centrally-located screen is unable to display key information, such as warning lights, for example.
More worryingly, it may fail to display the rearview camera, increasing the risk of a crash or injury. Thankfully, just 1% of the near-130,000 vehicles are estimated to suffer this defect. This isn't the first time the company has been plagued with issues surrounding the center screen. Previously, 2012-2015 Model S sedans suffered from failing touchscreens, rendering the EVs near useless.
The latest touchscreen-related recall affects the brand's entire lineup; the 2021-2022 Model S and X, along with the 2022 Model 3 and Y are all at risk for this malfunction. The recall notice does mention, however, that these vehicles are "running firmware releases prior to 2022.12.3.3 except 2022.11.101.1." Owners will be notified of the defect by mail but, unlike more conventional recalls, a trip to the dealership won't be necessary.
Instead, Tesla will implement an over-the-air (OTA) update to remedy the problem. This software fix will improve the CPU's temperature and, naturally, won't cost affected Tesla owners anything. The electric car company has done this before when the NHTSA deemed Tesla's Boombox function a threat to driver safety. As such, Musk's carmaker had to roll out an OTA update to bring the vehicles back in line with government regulations.
The Model 3 Performance also suffered a recall recently after the NHTSA took issue with the speedometer display. When in Track Mode, the speedometer was said to display inaccurate speed information; essentially, it wasn't clear whether the indicated speed was reading in mph or kph. As such, 48,184 examples built between 2018 and 2022 received an OTA update to address the problem.
But, sometimes, it's not as simple as rolling out a software update. In 2018, 100,000 examples of the Model S were part of a fairly serious recall; bolts keeping the power steering motor in place had the potential to break off due to corrosion, leading to the loss of the vehicle's power steering. To resolve the issue, Tesla pledged to replace the bolts on all early variants of the Model S. Thankfully, such drastic action won't be necessary this time.