The recall regards Tesla’s media console units (MCUs), which could stop working and cause the car to lose rear-view camera footage and controls for windshield defogging and defrosting.
The problem with the MCU is the integrated flash memory device, which is slowly eaten up every time the vehicle is started – meaning every MCU will eventually reach capacity and fail.
Already aware of this issue, some Tesla owners have paid to replace it out of their own pockets, although the company has suggested that these people may be reimbursed.
In an email sent to affected owners, and seen by Sky News, the company states: “Tesla has decided to voluntarily recall certain Model S and Model X vehicles built before March 2018 that are equipped with an 8GB embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) in the media control unit because the eMMMC may malfunction due to accumulated wear.”
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The letter adds: “There is no risk to vehicle drivability, including no effect on acceleration, braking or steering, and we are not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from this condition.”
The announcement came just as Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive and usually a frequent social media user, posted he would leaving Twitter “for a while” with no explanation why.
“Tesla will upgrade, free of charge, the eMMC on your vehicle with an enhanced 64GB eMMC,” the company’s letter told drivers. “There is no need at this time to contact us as we will notify you when the parts become available.
“We kindly ask that you do not schedule a service appointment unless you receive a vehicle alert signalling memory storage device degradation or are actively experiencing a persistent blank centre display that does not recover after restarting the touchscreen.
“If you already paid for repairs that addressed the condition covered by this recall, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Tesla will share details about reimbursement and eligibility by the end of March 2021.”
Will Fealey, president of the Tesla Owners UK club, said: “We are very pleased that the eMMC issue has been rectified with a permanent fix at no cost to owners.
“The issue affected a minority of Tesla Owners UK’s 10,000+ members, but a large proportion of our early adopters.
“We’ve raised and worked with Tesla on this issue over the last 18 months to help debug and push for change and this result is testament to what collaboration can achieve.”
A spokesperson for Tesla confirmed the authenticity of the emails to customers, but was unable to immediately offer a statement.