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Tesla recalls over 26K U.S. vehicles over software problem

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Tesla Inc is recalling 26,681 vehicles in the United States because a software error may result in windshield defrosting problems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Wednesday.

Tesla told U.S. regulators the error may cause a valve in the heat pump to open unintentionally and trap the refrigerant inside the evaporator. Tesla will perform an over-the-air software update to address the issue.

The recall covers some 2021-2022 Model 3, Model S, Model X, and 2020-2022 Model Y vehicles that may not comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard. It is the latest in a string of recent recalls for the Texas-based EV manufacturer.

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Tesla said it was not aware of any injuries or crashes related to its latest recall but NHTSA said it could reduced windshield visibility in certain conditions, which may increase the risk of a collision.

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The company said it was prompted by complaints from customers in December over loss of heating performance in extreme cold weather conditions.

Tesla on Jan. 15 released a software update to address the issue as a precautionary measure. After discussions with NHTSA and Transport Canada, tests were conducted to assess the compliance of new vehicles delivered with the software command.

Under scrutiny from U.S. regulators and some lawmakers, Tesla has been issuing a number of recalls in recent months, including many for software issues.

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Tesla has issued at least nine U.S. recalls since October as it faces government investigations into its driver assistance system Autopilot and an in-vehicle game feature.

In January 2021, Tesla agreed to recall 135,000 vehicles with touchscreen displays that could fail after NHTSA took the unusual step of formally seeking the recall.

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The agency said touchscreen failures posed significant safety issues, including the loss of rear view or backup camera images, exterior turn-signal lighting, and windshield defogging and defrosting systems.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter)

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