Tesla ordered to recall 158,000 cars over “safety defect”

A blow for Tesla, while the Californian company is in full stock market rise. The American road safety agency, NHTSA, asks the brand to recall 158,000 cars in the United States for a safety problem linked to the exhaustion of the memory of the on-board computer and in particular of the information system –entertainment.

The cars concerned are, on the one hand, the Model S sedans manufactured between 2012 and 2018.

A Tesla Model S / LP / Yann Foreix

On the other hand, Model X city 4x4s, produced from 2016 to 2018, according to a letter to the electric vehicle manufacturer made public on Wednesday.

A Tesla Model X / LP / Yann Foreix
A Tesla Model X / LP / Yann Foreix

The regulator says its investigation “concluded that a defect related to vehicle safety exists in the models examined.” The memory of on-board computers, in particular 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.

“The risk of accidents increases”

“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 injuries or even death, ”explains the regulator.

This problem can also affect Autopilot, the driving assistance fitted to Tesla cars, warns the regulator.

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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 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.

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