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Recalled touchscreens were meant to only last 5-6 years

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2017 Tesla Model S

Tesla told regulators that the recalled touchscreens in nearly 135,000 Model S and Model X electric cars were only expected to last five to six years—much less than the average lifespan of cars on United States roads today.

Following a formal recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the automaker issued a recall this week of 134,951 cars, including the 2012-2018 Tesla Model S and 2016-2018 Tesla Model X over the potential for touchscreen failure.

Both vehicles use a 17-inch touchscreen (also known as the media control unit) not only for infotainment functions, but also for what the NHTSA considers safety-critical features, such as the window defroster/defogger and turn-signal chimes. The NHTSA also noted that screen failure could affect the Autopilot driver-assist system. It may also affect the federally-mandated rearview-camera display.

The government agency identified the source of the problem as the touchscreen’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and its integrated 8GB eMMC flash memory chip. When the chip reaches “lifetime wear,” it can no longer maintain file-system integrity, causing failure of touchscreen functions, according to the NHTSA recall notice.

2017 Tesla Model S

In a letter to the NHTSA, Tesla vice president of legal Al Prescott said that “given a reasonable average daily use of 1.4 cycles, the expected life would be five to six years.” He added that “NHTSA has not presented any evidence to suggest that that the expected life is outside industry norms of that the eMMC flash memory device itself does not comport with that average lifetime estimate.”

Yet that implies Tesla doesn’t expect its touchscreens to last the lifetime of the cars they’re installed in. A 2020 IHS Markit study estimated the average age of a car on U.S. roads to be 11.9 years, and the current recall includes some cars from the 2012 model year, meaning they’re almost 10 years old.

Tesla’s touchscreen-centric approach is something many other automakers are looking to copy, and that Tesla itself is doubling down on.

The revamped Model S and Model X still have big central touchscreens (now in a landscape orientation, rather than the previous portrait-oriented screen), but Tesla went even further by eliminating the turn-signal and gear-selector stalks. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the car will simply “guess” which way the driver wants to go based on sensor data and navigation maps. Tesla is expected to include backup controls as well, leaving drivers to use the touchscreen for selecting drive, and steering-wheel controls for turn signals.

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Autos

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car for sale

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1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Nissan scored some of its biggest racing successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, competing in the IMSA GTP prototype class and racing the Z32-generation 300ZX in the GTO class. One of those 300ZX IMSA GTO race cars is now for sale on Bring a Trailer.

Clayton Cunningham racing built seven factory-supported cars, which raced between 1989 and 1995. This car—chassis 004—debuted in 1990 and raced in 1991 as well, with wins at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen, seven pole positions, two fastest laps, and a 93% finishing record, according to the listing.

Power is provided by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive.

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Carbon-fiber bodywork vaguely resembles a stock 1990 Nissan 300ZX, but underneath is a bespoke chromoly tubular space frame. Chassis 004 debuted an extended-wheelbase layout intended to help cure handling ills with the first three cars.

After 14 races, chassis 004 was retired at the end of the 1991 season. It was used as a backup car, before being sold in 1997 to a Canadian owner. That owner left the car unused before returning it to Clayton Cunningham Racing in 2003 for reconditioning, according to the listing. The car then sat idle again until it was sold in 2017 to an Oregon owner, who entered it in vintage races. It was refurbished a second time before being acquired by the current owner in 2020, according to the listing.

Its worth noting that a similar car, chassis 002, built for the 1989 IMSA season, went unsold after being listed by Stratas Auctions last year. That car has at the same twin-turbo engine as chassis 004, but the earlier short-wheelbase chassis. It also never won a race; its best finish was third at Mid-Ohio.

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Autos

How to choose 35-inch or 37-inch tires

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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available with 35-inch or 37-inch tires when it hits dealerships this summer, and the choice really depends on how you plan to use the Raptor, according to Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Based on interviews with Ford engineers, the website advises that the 35-inch tires are better for high-speed off-roading, while the 37-inch tires are better for driving over large obstacles at slower speeds.

Both 2021 Raptor tires are from the BF Goodrich K02 series. The truck comes standard with 35-inch tires; the 37-inch tires are a $7,500 option. They’re also the largest tires available from the factory for a half-ton pickup truck.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The bigger tires come with various hardware and software changes, which should avoid the ride and steering issues that often come with simply bolting bigger tires onto a truck, Adam Busack, Ford Performance feature engineering supervisor for the 2021 Raptor, said in an interview with Muscle Cars & Trucks. Those changes include repackaged suspension, and calibration changes for the steering, powertrain, and anti-lock brakes.

Other notable features of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor include first-ever coil-spring rear suspension, increased suspension travel (now 14 inches in the front and 15 inches in the rear), and Fox internal-bypass shocks. The Raptor also moves to the current-generation F-150 platform, which brings increased structural rigidity and a new infotainment system, among other features.

Under the hood, the Raptor gets a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Output hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to surpass the previous generation’s 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Ford has confirmed that an upcoming 2022 Raptor R will get a V-8, but hasn’t released any other details.

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Autos

2022 Genesis G70, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: This Week’s Top Photos

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Electric Porsche Macan development

Genesis this week kicked off its European launch with the reveal of a sexy G70 wagon. It’s based on the updated 2022 Genesis G70 sedan, and sadly we won’t see it in the United States.

Electric Porsche Macan development

Porsche plans to offer an electric Macan alongside an updated version of the current gas-powered model. While we’ve previously spotted the updated gas model, Porsche this week provided a glimpse of the new electric Macan for the first time.

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another Porsche out testing was an updated Cayenne. Porsche’s Cayenne range is about to undergo its mid-cycle refresh and the changes look to be more substantial than normal. Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the more dynamically styled Cayenne Coupe.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

Mercedes-Benz reached a major turning point with the start of production of its first dedicated electric vehicle, the 2022 EQS. The big sedan is due in showrooms this fall with a 108 kilowatt-hour battery, or enough for 400 miles of range.

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

Lexus has a new generation of its IS sedan on its hands, one that boasts bold styling and a sport-tuned chassis. The car is more of a heavy update of the outgoing IS than a true redesign, and this becomes evident after a quick drive.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

2021 Acura TLX Type S

An alternative to the IS is Acura’s new TLX, which comes in sporty Type S guise. The TLX Type S is serving as the official pace car at this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round of the 2021 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, ahead of the showroom appearance later this month.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Chevy engineers were spotted testing a hotter version of the mid-engined C8 Corvette, and it’s likely the new Z06. We hear it will run a naturally aspirated V-8, and some video footage of the tester seems to confirm it.

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

The Land Rover Defender-inspired Ineos Grenadier is undergoing durability testing ahead of the start of production in 2022. That’s about a year later than originally planned, but a lot has changed in the past year, and that’s before you factor in the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

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