Patches continue to roll out for Tesla cars heading into late spring for the latest 2021 and 2022 models. This time, the problem is reportedly due to touchscreen display CPUs that are running too hot, forcing them to malfunction.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration sent a letter to Tesla Monday demanding a safety recall of 130,000 Tesla 3, S, X, and Y models from its 2021 and 2022 lines. The administration under the Department of Transportation stated that the infotainment system’s CPU may overheat, prompting it to lag or restart which could prevent the center screen from showing features like rearview camera, gear selection, or warning lights.
The company said it has had 59 field reports of the issue since January but have not had any reports of crashes related to the problem.
Tesla said it has already started free over-the-air software updates to improve CPU temperature management starting May 3. Affected Tesla owners will be receiving letters in the mail after July 1.
In April, the company issued updates for nearly 63,000 cars in the U.S. and China for not displaying miles or kilometers per hour when in “Track Mode”—potentially confusing users and making overall speeds difficult to determine.
Other recalls this year included an update to 54,000 cars that were reportedly rolling through stop signs. In February, when the company updated 578,607 vehicles to roll back Tesla cars’ “boombox” feature that allowed them to play pre-recorded sounds (AKA fart noises) in place of horns. In a tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was pretty glib over removing a feature that feds said could result in more vehicle crashes, writing “The fun police made us do it (sigh).”
Another 817,143 owners were impacted by a February recall for Tesla models not chiming to let owners know they have not buckled their seatbelts. Owners can check to see if their car has been or will be impacted by a recall here.
Tesla is not responsible for the biggest share of recalls this year. Ford currently has that honor with 27 recalls so far, impacting around 3.18 million customers compared to Tesla’s 2.25 million. Though in Ford’s case, the company has had to absorb the potential millions of dollars in costs when drivers are forced to take their car to dealerships for repair. Many other car manufacturers have said they are looking to put more cars on the road with OTA capability.
As CNN reported in March, remote updates to vehicles does have its advantages, especially since reported adoption of updates is near 100% compared to 75% for traditionally recalled vehicles. The issue, according to auto industry experts, is when human drivers are treated like “guinea pigs” for features such as Musk’s prized boombox feature, leading automakers to consider their big metal box more like a video game that can receive a day-one patch rather than the cause of rising death rates related to vehicle crashes. The National Safety Council has reported that car-related deaths have been on the rise over the past two years, emphasizing the need for preempting any potential safety bugs as cars grow more and more connected.
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