Tesla purports to be the savior of the planet, and they’ve gained a very loyal following thus far – but how come more people aren’t calling them out yet?
I’m going to give fair credit where credit is due, and this isn’t intended to be a bias bash on Tesla. At heart, I’m a muscle car guy, but I can appreciate the application of electric power as both a supplementary and primary propulsion method.
What I can’t appreciate, is being deceived.
I think it’s time to call Tesla out on a few inconsistencies I’ve noticed as we move closer to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Like it or not, they are proliferating into your neighborhoods faster than a rabbit farm on a bad batch of Viagra; but with Tesla identifying itself more closely to a software company, rather than an automobile manufacturer, should we all just be ok with bait-and-switch cronyism from the company?
There are a few unprofessional observations I’ve made about the company, all of which lead me to believe they should actually be held to a much higher level of accountability than we’re currently imposing on them.
Your Submission Is A WiFi Update Away
We’ve seen Microsoft abuse the daylights out of “Recommended Updates,” and even go so far as to install subversive software patches that “track” more data than you’d probably feel comfortable with them having. The “Telemetry Updates” are reported to “improve the user experience,” in essence – but with big-data projected to penetrate the $100 billion mark in 2027 (effectively doubling in size in the next decade), we’re not stupid.
Tesla uses an “over-the-air” software system that automatically scans for WiFi networks to connect to, and prompts you to install the software updates as they become available. Many owners complain that they don’t even know what the software updates are doing to their cars – until the damage is done.
The F-150 Could Stop Quicker Than Tesla A Model 3
There are numerous complaints (by owners and critics alike), citing the questionable business practices of the carmaker, and Elon is often quick to chastise opposition. You could be a Tesla owner, a journalist, or even an employee – he’d publicly discredit you with the quickness of a Model S. But why did he back down, like a puppy, when Consumer Reports put his car on blast?
Because he knew he was caught.
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The Model 3’s braking distance was criticized by Consumer Reports as being “far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested, and about 7′ longer than a Ford F-150! Although the two vehicles (when appropriately equipped) can weigh nearly the same amount, a Tesla being unable to out-stop a light-duty pickup truck is absolutely ridiculous!
But the most interesting facts, are in the details.
1.) Consumer Reports talked to a Tesla spokesperson, who claimed “their” stopping distances (from 60mph – which will be the assumption for the duration of this article) to be as short as 133′.
2.) Consumer reports verified the stopping distance to be 130′ – for the first stop only! They would be unable to produce the result again, even after allowing the brakes to cool.
We can only assume then, that Tesla either has a non-standard testing method or used the shortest distance possible. Car and Driver would also report erratic stopping performance of the same Model 3.)
3.) To fix the issue, Tesla simply released a software patch.
My beef with this resolution is the timing, as well as the ease at which it was remedied. Did they not find these same results during their own testing? Did they not sufficiently test their cars? Did they not Google the F-150’s stopping distance, at least once, to see how far off-base they were?
Power Sapping Updates
As technologically impressive as it is to have remote updating capabilities, Tesla abuses their power more disturbingly than Microsoft, essentially making you, the consumer, a testbed for free research and development. They’ll put a cute spin on it, like citing the need for “continual development to improve blah blah blah for the consumer,” but I feel like they should have resolved a lot of these issues BEFORE RELEASING the car to the public. That would have been the responsible thing to do, anyway.
However, this is only a piece of the larger puzzle that shrouds the Tesla in mystery. Some owners have noted performance decreases after using “Launch Mode” too many times. They were not notified that the permanent power reduction had taken place, and most people weren’t aware that such a feature even existed.
But the selling point of the car was its stellar performance, was it not? Tesla would claim that the power reduction was to protect components from premature wear and damage. But, if a car needs protection from itself, how well is it really designed? Why not engineer the car to withstand an acceptable level of performance from the get-go, and set limiters accordingly?
If I buy a glowstick, I’d expect its performance to diminish in intensity after so long – is that what we should expect from Tesla now, too?
Shoot It Straight
All we can really ask, as a consumer, is for our trusted brands to “shoot it straight.” The Tesla is a great car (and a revolutionary technological advancement), but I don’t feel they should be exempt from the same standards as everyone else, just because they can “update-away” a problem in a few days.
You work hard for your money; shouldn’t it work hard for you (consistently)?