One of the prevailing narratives surrounding Tesla is that the company isn’t so much an automotive company as it is a tech company. And truth be told, the description fits. Tesla over the past few years managed to shake up the entire auto industry by incorporating any number of novel tech-oriented innovations into its vehicles. As a prime example, Tesla was the first auto company to introduce over-the-air software updates that enabled users to take advantage of new features after driving off the lot.
Unfortunately, though, a Silicon Valley-esque approach to automotive design can sometimes lead to frustrating usability issues. A new report from Business Insider claims that some older Tesla models are experiencing a few glitches wherein the 17-inch touchscreen in-dash display simply stops working. Other users, meanwhile, have noted that older versions of the Model S have simply stopped charging.
Is this a widespread problem? Hardly, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for as Tesla vehicles accumulate more miles on the road. Remember, the Model S didn’t start shipping until the summer of 2012, which is to say that it remains unclear how the cars age relative to their gas-powered counterparts.
That said, the culprit behind the aforementioned glitches appears to be a flash storage chip.
Some older Teslas are reportedly running into an issue stemming from the embedded flash memory on the vehicle wearing out, which can cause the cars [to] have problems charging and the built-in screens to stop functioning.
In the last six months, Tesla owners repair professionals and have reported and discussed the problem on online platforms, including YouTube, Twitter and Tesla-related message boards.
As to the underlying issue, a Tesla repairman not affiliated with the company explained: Tesla vehicles “create so many logs in the car, they write to [the chip] so fast that it basically burns them out. They have a finite amount of writes; they can only do so many writes. The amount of logging they’re doing is excessive.”
Incidentally, Elon Musk took to Twitter a few days ago and intimated that the issue has been addressed, perhaps via a software update.
While there’s no reason to assume that Tesla vehicles will start breaking down en masse at any point in the future, it will certainly be interesting to see how well, or poorly, Tesla vehicles age in the years ahead.