Tesla Model S 75.
Source: Tesla Motors
The cars made at Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, were Model S sedans made between 2012 and 2018 and Model X SUVs in model years 2016 to 2018.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla on Jan. 13 to recall 158,716 of its electric vehicles after it concluded the problems pose safety issues related to the center console screen. The NHTSA explained to CNBC the discrepancy between the recall numbers, noting Tesla’s recall figure doesn’t include vehicles that have already been repaired with a service part or an upgraded touchscreen.
“The eMMC controller wear-out condition can cause the loss of the rearview camera display, defrost/defog control settings, and exterior turn signal lighting, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a crash,” NHTSA said.
Owners of affected Tesla vehicles previously told CNBC the display on their media-control units would sometimes go blank, in part or entirely. The touchscreen issues interfered with drivers’ ability to use heat, air conditioning, defrost and defogging systems or to use their rearview cameras and Tesla Autopilot features while parking and driving.
As part of the recall, Tesla will upgrade the eMMC controller part inside the car free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 30 and, unlike many updates from Tesla, this fix cannot be done remotely.
— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.