On March 3, 2020, we told you Tesla had finally started to offer MCUv2 upgrades that Elon Musk promised back on March 27, 2018. They cost $2,500. The problem is that NHTSA decided on January 13, 2021, that the failures all the original components had were a safety issue. In other words, it asked Tesla to replace the MCUv1 for free in a voluntary recall. GreenTheOnly told us Tesla took action: it lowered the upgrade price to $1,500.
This is not the first attitude Tesla has taken regarding the problem. On July 6, 2020, shortly after NHTSA said it would investigate MCUv1, we told you Tesla cut the warranty for the infotainment computer to two years instead of the previous four.
If you are not familiar with the issue, Tesla created the MCUv1 with an nVidia Tegra ARM-based CPU with an 8 GB eMMC flash memory chip. With constant logging and the increase of Tesla’s firmware, the memory card was sure to fail in a matter of three to four years, according to affected customers.
When it fails, the driver loses access to all functions controlled by the MCU, including HVAC, heating, lights, suspension settings, navigation, Autopilot, door locks, and other features.
NHTSA determined that the MCUv1 causes “loss of rearview/backup camera,” “loss of HVAC (defogging and defrosting) setting controls (if the HVAC status was OFF status prior to failure),” and “affects the Autopilot advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and turn signal functionality due to the possible loss of audible chimes, driver sensing, and alerts associated with these vehicle functions.” All these issues are safety concerns.
Tesla is already facing a class-action from Entewan Faragalla, who bought a brand new Model S on April 8, 2015. In the lawsuit, Faragalla said that he had issues with it “on countless occasions” until he was advised to replace the MCUv1 on March 9, 2020.
After paying $2,290.50, he realized Tesla had only replaced the defective MCUv1 for another one. That was when he decided to sue the company and represent other affected customers nationwide. The only proper fix for the issue is the MCUv2.
According to one of the affected customers that answered GreenTheOnly’s tweet, even Tesla officially admits that.
We will follow Tesla’s official reply to NHTSA’s request for a voluntary recall for the MCUv1 and its possible implications related to all customers that paid for a new MCUv1 – which Tesla told the NHTSA that will eventually fail – and for the MCUv2 upgrade as well.