U.S. regulators ask Tesla to recall 158,000 cars

U.S. regulators have demanded Tesla recall 158,000 of its electric cars over safety concerns.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla on Wednesday (January 13) to bring in the Model S and Model X vehicles.

Regulators found that the cars' media control units could fail after years of use, leading to touch screens not working.

This would affect safety functions such as defogging, back-up cameras and the driver assistance system.

The agency said that during a review - "Tesla provided confirmation that all units will inevitably fail given the memory device's finite storage capacity."

It is unusual for the agency to formally demand a recall.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But it has until January 27 to respond to the auto safety agency.

If Tesla does not agree to the recall it must provide a full explanation for its decision.

Though small by number, the action represents a relatively large recall for Tesla, which has far fewer cars on the road than other automakers.

The company delivered almost half a million vehicles last year which was above Wall Street estimates.

Tesla's stock has surged over 700% in the past 12 months, as investors bet on an electric car future.

Last week, CEO Elon Musk surpassed Amazon's top boss Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person.