A Tesla car in China on January 4, 2021 (illustration).


Long Wei / Costfoto / Sipa USA / SIP

It is a blow to the image of the car manufacturer.

The American road safety agency, NHTSA, has asked Tesla to recall 158,000 cars in the United States for a safety problem related to the exhaustion of memory in the on-board computer and in particular the information system. entertainment.

The affected cars are Model S sedans manufactured between 2012 and 2018 and Model X city SUVs produced from 2016 to 2018, according to a letter to the electric vehicle maker released Wednesday.

A limited life cycle

The regulator says its investigation "concluded that a defect related to vehicle safety exists in the models examined."

The memory of on-board computers, especially 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.

“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.

A non-binding request

Tesla is not, however, 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 Elon Musk has until January 27 to respond.

Recalling vehicles may be a headache for Tesla.

The number of 158,000 cars represents almost 32% of all cars delivered by the manufacturer in 2020.


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