Germany's motor transport authority investigating Tesla touchscreen failures

Key Points
  • Germany's motor vehicle authority KBA has initiated a probe of Tesla electric vehicles over touchscreen failures which pose a safety risk to drivers.
  • The probe follows a similar investigation by NHTSA, the US vehicle safety authority.
  • NHTSA earlier asked Tesla to conduct a recall of around 158,000 of its cars with flawed media control units installed, which lead to touchscreen failures over time.
A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Germany's motor vehicle authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, or KBA) is looking into safety risks related to touchscreen displays in Tesla cars and has asked the U.S. auto maker to provide information following a similar request by U.S. authorities, a KBA spokesman was quoted as saying.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) previously asked Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over media control unit (MCU) failures that could pose safety risks by leading to touchscreen displays not working.

A KBA spokesman told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that German authorities were in contact with the NHTSA and that the KBA had launched its own investigation.

"The result of the review is still pending," the spokesman added.

The U.S. auto safety agency made the unusual request in a formal letter to Tesla after upgrading a safety probe in November, saying it had tentatively concluded the 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles contain a defect related to motor vehicle safety.

A Tesla spokeswoman and a KBA spokesman did not immediately respond to e-mailed requests to comment.