Tesla warned to ‘urgently clarify’ whether UK cars are affected by 158,000 model US recall

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It comes after US regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sent Tesla a formal letter requesting a recall on a range of popular vehicles. This was down to the discovery of a range of software safety issues on a range of Model S and Model X vehicles.

The problem involves worn-out memory chips which were installed in cars between 2012 and 2018.

This has caused touch screens to fail which may increase the risk of drivers suffering car crashes.

However, experts at Which? Has warned Tesla must investigate whether British owners are at risk and “issue a recall” if a similar issue is discovered.

Natalie Hitchens, head of Home Products and Services at Which? said they expected the DVSA to step in if Tesla failed to investigate.

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She said: “These latest reports about a fault that prevents some Tesla owners from defrosting or de-fogging their windscreens, as well as the possibility of drivers not hearing warning chimes if something is wrong, are concerning.

“Tesla must urgently clarify if UK-owned vehicles are also affected by this fault, and if so issue a recall.

“If it fails to do this, we’d expect the DVSA to step in and force a recall.”

The issues also include the loss of rear-view camera images which could leave some drivers reversing into a dangerous situation.

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In the United States, Tesla has introduced some over-the-air updates to reduce some of the issues but the NHTSA said this was insufficient to address the concerns.

The NHTSA is adamant the issues were “related to motor vehicle safety” and has demanded Tesla “provide a remedy”.

Antony Edwards, COO at automation specialists Eggplant has warned companies need to ensure they have modern software testing solutions in place.

He said this was even more important as new software increasingly becomes integrated into vehicles.

Mr Edwards added: “Automotive technology is becoming increasingly commonplace and relied upon by drivers.

“However ensuring driver and vehicle safety needs to be a top priority.

“Faulty technology in these vehicles can sever a driver’s access to their vehicle’s backup camera, climate controls, as well as autonomous driving features, all which can increase the risk of a crash.

“In order for vehicle technology to be safely deployed and truly live up to their potential, manufacturers and other industry players must ensure that they have a modern testing solution to address the myriad new challenges that arise.

“Given the wide array of platforms and the intricacies of connectivity testing, this is no easy task.”

Electric car sales soared in 2020 with SMMT data showing a 185.9 percent increase on 2019 figures. 

Tesla’s Model 3 was the best selling vehicle in Decemebr 2020, outselling popular road cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta. 

In a statement online, Tesla has confirmed they will repair or replace vehicles which suffer the issue within eight years of being delivered and have less than 100,000 miles on the clock. 

A statement said: “We are aware that this component may malfunction due to accumulated wear.

“If this occurs, it could result in a blank or intermittently blank center display, or an alert indicating that a memory storage device has degraded and to contact Service.

“This condition has no impact on basic vehicle driving functionality and controllability, and we are not aware of any injuries or collisions relating to it.”

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