Tesla has borne the brunt of quite a few quality control issues and has always come up with indirect solutions. But lately, they have started accepting some of the issues. Last month, they had accepted that a design flaw was causing a problem with the rear bumper in the Model 3. Now, they have acknowledged the infamous “eMMC issue” and are offering extended warranty for affected customers.
Tesla acknowledges touchscreen problem with eMMC, Warranty extended
The concerned component of this problem is the MCU (Media Control Unit) touchscreen, which kept freezing at times. The problem is seen primarily in older Tesla Model S or X vehicles, manufactured before 2018. This move comes after the NHTSA put some pressure on Tesla regarding safety.
The Fundamental Problem
Owners of the older Model S and Model X vehicles have been reporting this problem for quite some time now. Apparently, the touchscreen becomes less responsive over time, and it takes a longer time to power up. The screen freezes many times and has to be rebooted. On some occasions, there is also a total failure of the MCU.
Many of the owners felt that this problem is caused by the eMMC (embedded Multi-Media Card memory). The eMMC was overwritten to the point of failure, many people thought. Most people started calling it the “eMMC failure problem”.
Tesla’s Counter Measures
Tesla started taking certain actions towards improving the quality of their product. In 2018, they began delivering cars with a newer MCU, which seemed to take care of the problem in the newer vehicles. However, they did not acknowledge the existing problem in older cars and withheld warranty for this problem. They also launched a $2500 infotainment upgrade, which gave them a way to sort it out while also earning money. Most people facing the issue would buy the upgrade, as Tesla wasn’t willing to cover it under warranty.
Earlier this year, the issue started making headlines for the company. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stepped in and began an investigation. 63,000 Model S vehicles were the main focus of this investigation. All of these were manufactured before the new 2018 infotainment system.
Tesla Finally Acknowledges The Issue
Yesterday, Tesla finally acknowledged the problem. They sent out an email to many of the Model S and Model X owners. They have accepted that it was the eMMC causing the problem in the MCU. The malfunction results in a blank or intermittently blank screen but does not affect driving. Tesla is providing an extended warranty for vehicles which are less than 8 years or 100K miles old.
Furthermore, owners who have paid for repairs of the issue will be reimbursed. This will take some time, however, as Tesla will evaluate the issue for each person before they start handing out reimbursements. The details of the reimbursement will get delivered by February 2021.
The company has also acknowledged the problem, with a public message on their website. It clearly mentions that vehicles manufactured before 2018 are affected by this issue.
It is a good thing that Tesla has acknowledged the problem. However, it is important to note that the NHTSA had to step in before Tesla themselves made it public. The fact that Tesla tried to lure some customers into upgrading to the MCU 2.0 (which costs $2500) sours the deal further. The customers who did buy this upgrade might suffer in this situation. Tesla will say that customers cannot claim for warranty after paying for an upgrade. This will be a tricky situation for both Tesla as well as these customers.
Of course, the good news remains that yet another fundamental issue has been accepted by Tesla. And that they are willing to pay for the customers who were left high and dry in the last couple of years.