In a report by news outlet Electrek, 130,000 Tesla vehicles were recalled due to a CPU overheating issue found in certain models featuring Ryzen APUs, which can cause the vehicle’s infotainment system to slow down or turn off. Fortunately, a software update has already been released to fix the issue.
The overheating problem is triggered during the vehicle’s battery pre-conditioning process while driving or during the fast charging process, where too much of the vehicle’s cooling power is diverted toward the batteries. This leaves the infotainment’s Ryzen APU to fend for itself.
The only Tesla vehicles affected are certain 2021 and 2022 Model S sedans, Model X SUVs, and 2022 versions of the Model 3 and Model Y. The issue has been confirmed to only affect Tesla infotainment units featuring AMD’s more power-hungry Ryzen APUs. Older vehicles powered by Intel Atom processors are not affected.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the overheating issue occurs when the car enters into its pre-conditioning phase, where the car batteries are prepared for fast-charging while the vehicle is en route to a Tesa Supercharging station. However, overheating can also happen when the car is stationary while being fast-charged. In either case, most of the cooling power is diverted to the car batteries, but not enough is left over for the vehicle’s infotainment system — causing the CPU to overheat. We believe this problem occurs because the car’s liquid cooling loop is shared by both the infotainment’s CPU and the car’s batteries.
The only reason it is affecting Ryzen APU versions of Tesla’s infotainment system is because of the higher TDP these processors require compared to their Atom predecessors. Apparently, Tesla forgot to adjust the cooling parameters for these Ryzen APUs, which is why they are overheating.
Thankfully there is no immediate safety risk involved with the overheating issues — like a fire. However, the recall is still required because the central infotainment screen controls many of Tesla’s critical functions, including the speedometer, gear selector (Model S, Model X), navigation, climate system and more. Once the Ryzen APU starts overheating, it can cause the infotainment system to slow down severely or force a black screen, forcing the system to restart itself. Either way, the overheating effects prevent users from using these critical functions. It should be noted that primary vehicle functions (steering, accelerating, braking, turn signals) are not affected.
Over-the-air software updates for the affected cars are already underway. Fixes were first pushed out on May 3rd, according to APNews, so we suspect all affected vehicles should have the new software update shortly.