Nearly 135,000 Teslas recalled after software updates tentatively deemed ‘insufficient’


Unsold 2021 vehicles sit at a Tesla dealership Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly 135,000 Tesla vehicles are being recalled due to a touchscreen malfunction.

In a letter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pointed to defective touchscreen displays, apparently causing a malfunction in the defrosters and backup cameras in the Model S sedans and Model X SUVs.

The Jan. 13 letter claims “Tesla provided confirmation that all [touchscreen displays] will inevitably fail given the memory device’s finite storage capacity” in vehicles equipped with the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with an integrated 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory device.

Tesla initially tried to avoid a recall and issued software updates instead, prompting the NHTSA letter, which is a step towards eventual legal action. The agency said it “tentatively believes these updates are procedurally and substantively insufficient.”

Now, Tesla says it will replace the screens’ computer processors starting March 30, but still stands firm in its belief that the failures are not a safety defect.

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation opened the investigation in June 2020.

NHTSA says this includes 158,000 MY 2012-2018 Model S and MY 2016-2018 Model X vehicles built by Tesla through early 2018, although Tesla agreed to recall fewer vehicles than that.

You can check if your Tesla is a part of the recall by entering your VIN here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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