Tesla is now threatened with a recall of Model S and Model X from the production period until spring 2018. The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) is currently examining such a measure, a spokesman for the authority teslamag.de confirmed on Monday, after the Bild newspaper on the weekend had reported about it. It is about the media control unit (MCU) in the two electric cars, whose lifespan is apparently finite, said the spokesman. The news is astonishing as last week the KBA rejected a complaint from a German owner about the MCU problem.
US agency requests Tesla to recall
The media computer for earlier Tesla Model S and Model X, known as MCU1, has a relatively small memory chip built into it, which can become slower due to frequent writing after a long period of use and ultimately fail completely. Tesla mitigated the problem with software updates, but was unable to completely solve it. The US traffic safety agency NHTSA opened an investigation last June over many complaints about it. In mid-January, she asked Tesla to call back all 158,000 Model S and Model X models with MCU1 in the United States. The company now has until the end of the month to either agree to this assessment or to provide additional data against it.
An affected member of the German forum Tesla Drivers and Friends (TFF) took the public request by the NHTSA as an opportunity to contact the KBA and also to request a recall for the older Model S and Model X. Five days later there was an answer that can also be read in the forum and actually sounds clear: “However, the facts you have complained about do not lead to serious risks in the sense of the ProdSG,” it said after a declaration of the legal situation under the Product Safety Act. In the case of the failures described, the vehicle remains “basically controllable”; if necessary, the journey must be interrupted when the problem occurs.
KBA: “Possibly new on board”
If the TFF information is authentic, the KBA was informed about the decision of the comparable authority in the USA eleven days ago, but, according to the information from six days ago, saw no reason to take any further action on the matter. When the German procedure started, he could not say, the spokesman said at the request of teslamag.de. The US procedure is known to the German authorities, he confirmed. It is possible that in the meantime further findings have emerged that made an examination necessary. “We may have got back in,” he said.
According to the NHTSA, the MCU problem at Tesla is relevant to safety because the computer is not only used for media playback, navigation and vehicle settings, but also for controlling the air conditioning, the sound of the indicators and the reversing camera. It is not known whether the TFF member referred to this in his submission, but at least it can be found in the NHTSA information he cited. According to the KBA spokesman, it is unclear what the result of the now confirmed review in Germany will be.