17 votes

Our Tesla Model 3 suffered a catastrophic failure while parked

49 comments

  1. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I think the writer's expectations are a tad high. Tesla came and collected the car on Christmas Day. That's a major public holiday, but they're out there picking up cars. The Tesla service centre...

    Our opinion on the service experience hasn't improved much in the subsequent days.

    I think the writer's expectations are a tad high.

    Tesla came and collected the car on Christmas Day. That's a major public holiday, but they're out there picking up cars.

    The Tesla service centre called them the very next day to give a progress update.

    And it took only three days, over a holiday period, for Tesla to examine the car and diagnose the problem.

    After a two-day wait, we were informed [...] that they are waiting for parts. Again, no estimated time was given for when we might be able to cease scrambling for backup transportation.

    This is exactly the same situation they would encounter if they owned an old-style petrol-burning car and it broke down. The mechanics/technicians have to wait for the parts before they can fix the car. Obtaining parts during a holiday period is always going to take longer than at other times, and the mechanics/technicians usually have no idea when the manufacturer will send the parts.

    I'm not sure what this person expected to happen. Is Tesla supposed to give them a free car while their car is broken? Most manufacturers and most mechanics don't do this. This is the sort of service one buys insurance for.

    10 votes
    1. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      Typically, any significant service time at a Tesla service center is accompanied by a loaner Model S. That's what most owners report when they have to come in for service.

      Typically, any significant service time at a Tesla service center is accompanied by a loaner Model S. That's what most owners report when they have to come in for service.

      7 votes
  2. [29]
    Akir
    Link
    It's nice they got notified about this. My car broke down twice since christmas while parked without letting me know anything. But seriously, I'm not even sure why this story was published. While...

    It's nice they got notified about this. My car broke down twice since christmas while parked without letting me know anything.

    But seriously, I'm not even sure why this story was published. While it really sucks when it comes to cars since we depend on them so much, defects do happen.

    6 votes
    1. [26]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is just what automotive magazines do: they write about cars. At the very least, the information included in this article is already useful to owners of a Model 3. I suspect that after Car and...

      I'm not even sure why this story was published

      This is just what automotive magazines do: they write about cars.

      At the very least, the information included in this article is already useful to owners of a Model 3. I suspect that after Car and Driver learns what the issue is, the article will become even more useful for Model 3 owners to read and keep in the back of their head.

      Articles like this are also nice for anyone who is thinking about buying cars.

      Finally, some people (like me) just find articles like this interesting. There are a lot of details to unpack already, even without knowing what the issue with the car actually is. This article goes way beyond just "our Tesla broke".

      10 votes
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        The car and the app already alert you to pretty much any status update on the vehicle. The article is relatively short but they don't know what the issue is yet. I do think it's strange they...

        The car and the app already alert you to pretty much any status update on the vehicle. The article is relatively short but they don't know what the issue is yet. I do think it's strange they weren't offered a loaner Model S while their Model 3 is at the service center; that's a pretty regular occurrence from those that report their service center visits.

        2 votes
      2. [24]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I'm not seeing what you're seeing then. What information is useful to Model 3 owners? Is there a high rate of failure? If that's the case, why isn't this a report on that instead of an anecdote?...

        I'm not seeing what you're seeing then.

        What information is useful to Model 3 owners? Is there a high rate of failure? If that's the case, why isn't this a report on that instead of an anecdote? Everything in this story is something that I would imagine Tesla owners are already aware of. The only thing they might not be aware of is how Tesla's auto services are, and those would also be better served by an article rather than a single anecdote.

        Sure, if one is searching for a car and considering Tesla, the details about the service and the breakdown notification would be great to know. But once again this is something an actual article about the subject would have been better for.

        It's only after I clicked on the link they had on the term "long term" that I realized that this car was meant to be tested for the experience driving it for 40,000 miles. Now I understand why it was published, but it still seems odd they would publish this article before they had answers as to why their car failed, since it's literally the most important part of the story.

        1 vote
        1. [23]
          hungariantoast
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          From the article: The car was parked and not moving. It does not seem like the car was turned on or running. The car alerted the driver, via a notification, that the car had failed and was not...

          What information is useful to Model 3 owners?

          From the article:

          with the Model 3 parked outside when he received an ominous push notification from the Tesla app that the car had "suffered a failure and will no longer drive."

          The car was parked and not moving. It does not seem like the car was turned on or running. The car alerted the driver, via a notification, that the car had failed and was not operable.

          with merely 5286 miles on the odometer.

          This occurred extremely early into the car's lifespan.

          Impressively, even on Christmas Day, Tesla roadside assistance got a tow truck to us in about a half hour, which brought the car to the closest service center: Toledo, Ohio, because Tesla isn't allowed to operate company-owned service centers in Michigan. That's only about an hour away from our Ann Arbor, Michigan, headquarters, far closer than when we had a long-term Model S in 2015 and 2016, which had to be serviced nearly three hours away in Cleveland, Ohio.

          This sort of service information can be invaluable to potential buyers, but it also helps current owners who encounter this issue understand what is going to happen next with their car and to make arrangements.

          After a two-day wait, we were informed that there are issues with the rear drive unit, the pyrotechnic battery disconnect, and the 12-volt battery and that they are waiting for parts.

          Again, more important service information. This also gives us some insight into what the issue is and allows us to conduct our own online searches to see how prevalent this or similar issues might be.

          Notably, there had been no earlier warning messages that anything was amiss prior to the failure. The only oddity was that when at a nearby Supercharger earlier that day, the car was charging at only 50 kW, which is far lower than the usual 150-kW peak.

          Now current owners know that this is something to look out for and, if encountered, take precautions.

          After that slow-charging experience, the car was driven 10 miles to the holiday party where it sat for about an hour and a half before the notification of doom

          Probably a minor detail, but for someone who encounters the slow charging issue, it can help them guess if they have enough time to get home, or at least to a spot from which their car can easily be towed.


          Is there a high rate of failure? If that's the case, why isn't this a report on that instead of an anecdote?

          There doesn't seem to be anything in the article suggesting that this is a frequent issue, hence why this is a simple report about what happened with a test car.

          However, even if this issue isn't a currently known, common problem, reports like this and others will help reveal what the issue is and make the public aware.

          Everything in this story is something that I would imagine Tesla owners are already aware of.

          Tesla owners are already aware that if their car is charging much slower than normal then it might be about to die? I don't know, I don't think that's just going to magically be common knowledge without reports like this.


          As for publishing this article prior to knowing what exactly the problem is with the car, I don't think that's an issue, since Car and Driver can easily just update this article and/or publish followup articles.

          7 votes
          1. [22]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            This entire article is astonishing, but not for the mechanical problems it focuses on. Why would anyone buy a Tesla? You dont own it when head office can brick it at any time without warning. A...

            This entire article is astonishing, but not for the mechanical problems it focuses on. Why would anyone buy a Tesla? You dont own it when head office can brick it at any time without warning. A push notification and that's it? Your stranded? That's insane. What if the owner wasn't at a Christmas Party in Ann Arbor. What if, like me, they had a job that frequently took them out to the middle of nowhere with no food or water or way to get back to civilization? Some tech in Palo Alto fets to decide whether I'm stranded by a mechanical failure?

            How can I justify paying 50,000 for a machine that is never mine.

            1 vote
            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              Why do you assume the car was bricked by Tesla? My assumption was that the car just died all by itself, but there's a phone app which car owners install to monitor their cars. I assumed that when...

              You dont own it when head office can brick it at any time without warning.

              Why do you assume the car was bricked by Tesla? My assumption was that the car just died all by itself, but there's a phone app which car owners install to monitor their cars. I assumed that when the car died (all by itself), the car sent a notification (all by itself) of its fault to the owner via the app.

              10 votes
            2. [12]
              Autoxidation
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Your comment seems painfully uninformed. It's just like owning any other car; it's not leased/rented from Tesla (unless you are actually leasing it). I don't know... Wanting to get off of...

              Your comment seems painfully uninformed. It's just like owning any other car; it's not leased/rented from Tesla (unless you are actually leasing it).

              Why would anyone buy a Tesla?

              I don't know... Wanting to get off of gasoline? Stop funding oil lobbies that are destroying the planet? Enjoy driving an extremely sporty car for a fraction of the cost of that performance on an ICE vehicle? The look? Self driving? Safest vehicle?

              You dont own it when head office can brick it at any time without warning.

              Where are you getting this impression from? This article? This did not occur here. The car is never "off," it goes into a sleep state when not in use and turns on when it is interacted with, whether via the app or by opening a door/trunk. The software in the car detected an issue with one of the drive components and bricked itself, per software proctol, and sent a message alerting the owner.

              What if, like me, they had a job that frequently took them out to the middle of nowhere with no food or water or way to get back to civilization? Some tech in Palo Alto fets to decide whether I'm stranded by a mechanical failure?

              As opposed to... Any other issue normal cars face? Dead battery? Blown transmission? Lots of things can happen in vehicles. What this encountered is unusual and I don't recall reading any similar issues on either the Tesla forums or /r/teslamotors.

              How can I justify paying 50,000 for a machine that is never mine.

              They really start around $40k, but even then, you still own the car, just like you own a computer. It's a connected device.

              6 votes
              1. [7]
                hungariantoast
                Link Parent
                Here are four instances of folks encountering what seems to be the same issue faced in the article: Rear Drive Unit Failure (Model 3) REAR DRIVE UNIT FAILED Rear drive unit fail Rear Drive Unit Failed

                What this encountered is unusual and I don't recall reading any similar issues

                Here are four instances of folks encountering what seems to be the same issue faced in the article:

                3 votes
                1. [5]
                  Autoxidation
                  Link Parent
                  Ah thanks. It's probably not the exact same issue, but they had similar problems. I'm really not seeing what the problem illustrated here is, other than Tesla should've definitely offered a loaner...

                  Ah thanks. It's probably not the exact same issue, but they had similar problems.

                  I'm really not seeing what the problem illustrated here is, other than Tesla should've definitely offered a loaner vehicle while theirs was in the shop. This is a handful of reports of an issue out of hundreds of thousands of delivered vehicles. There are always going to be some problems with some part for a fraction of the population, that's what lemons are. Tesla is fixing these for free. 3/4 of those threads you linked say they were given loaners, which is a normal expectation for any kind of long term fix for the vehicle.

                  4 votes
                  1. [2]
                    skybrian
                    Link Parent
                    It seems like there might be a UI issue with the alert saying essentially nothing about what was found. There is at least an excuse for a "check engine" light in traditional vehicles due to...

                    It seems like there might be a UI issue with the alert saying essentially nothing about what was found. There is at least an excuse for a "check engine" light in traditional vehicles due to limited space on the dashboard, but when you take it to a mechanic they can look at the code and explain it to you. With Tesla the data is in the cloud and interested owners should probably be able to click on a link to get a full view of the logs, the same thing the mechanic sees.

                    5 votes
                    1. Autoxidation
                      Link Parent
                      Oh I definitely agree with that.

                      Oh I definitely agree with that.

                      1 vote
                  2. [2]
                    hungariantoast
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah, I can't really comment as to how widespread this issue seems to be, but it is very much something prospective buyers and current owners should be aware of. For what it's worth, users on the...

                    This is a handful of reports of an issue out of hundreds of thousands of delivered vehicles

                    Yeah, I can't really comment as to how widespread this issue seems to be, but it is very much something prospective buyers and current owners should be aware of. For what it's worth, users on the Tesla subreddit you linked seem well aware of this issue.

                    As for the issue itself, it seems like it almost always happens early in the car's lifespan. I guess that's a blessing and a curse. Catastrophic failures that early into owning a car should not happen and are extremely unusual for any automotive brand, but it also means the issue will be fixed within warranty almost always.

                    1. Autoxidation
                      Link Parent
                      I think one of the topics you found the user had the issue happen around 30k miles, vs the ~5k of the others. But yeah, Tesla has a 120k mile warranty on motor and drive unit, so I don't expect...

                      I think one of the topics you found the user had the issue happen around 30k miles, vs the ~5k of the others. But yeah, Tesla has a 120k mile warranty on motor and drive unit, so I don't expect this will be an issue most people face.

                2. Autoxidation
                  Link Parent
                  Good detective work. It looks like that's exactly what happened to the Model 3 in the OP, given their update today.

                  Good detective work. It looks like that's exactly what happened to the Model 3 in the OP, given their update today.

                  1 vote
              2. [4]
                Loire
                Link Parent
                Ironic. You seem to be making your arguments from a fanboy perspective so I would ask you to actually read what is being written before racing to Tesla's defense. For example your first comment is...

                Your comment seems painfully uninformed. It's just like owning any other car; it's not leased/rented from Tesla (unless you are actually leasing it)

                Ironic.

                You seem to be making your arguments from a fanboy perspective so I would ask you to actually read what is being written before racing to Tesla's defense. For example your first comment is making an impressively literal interpretation about my assertion concerning ownership.

                I am making the point that you don't actually own the car if you don't have the freedom of use every other brand provides. You don't own it if it can brick itself at will. You don't own the car of you can't realistically take it anywhere but a Tesla service center for repairs. You don't own the car if Tesla can brick it for missing a software update. Sure you "own" the car on paper but you don't actually have the freedom that actual ownership entails.

                I don't know... Wanting to get off of gasoline? Stop funding oil lobbies that are destroying the planet? Enjoy driving an extremely sporty car for a fraction of the cost of that performance on an ICE vehicle? The look? Self driving?

                Can we maybe not resort to the "destroying the planet argument" when it has nothing to do with the conversation? Teslas aren't the only electric vehicles around. We are discussing practices specific to the company not ICE vehicles vs electric.

                Where are you getting this impression from? This article? This did not occur here. The car is never "off," it goes into a sleep state when not in use and turns on when it is interacted with, whether via the app or by opening a door/trunk. The software in the car detected an issue with one of the drive components and bricked itself, per software proctol, and sent a message alerting the owner.

                Again impressively literal interpretation. The problem is that the vehicle can brick itself in the first place. Whether or not it chooses to do so on its own is irrelevant.

                As opposed to... Any other issue normal cars face? Dead battery? Blown transmission? Lots of things can happen in vehicles. What this encountered is unusual and I don't recall reading any similar issues on either the Tesla forums or /r/teslamotors.

                You don't blow a transmission with the vehicle turned off in the parking lot. A non-Tesla doesn't suddenly stop working because the software made the decision that a problem that caused no issue up to now is too critical to drive with. A dead battery is easily recharged, you aren't stranded calling a tow truck to ship your vehicle across state lines for repair.

                They really start around $40k, but even then, you still own the car, just like you own a computer. It's a connected device.

                My computer still works without the internet. I can still run the software. It also works with a virus. Or if it's overheating. Or if it detects a voltage error. I can open up and repair my own computer. I can take my computer to any repair shop I want to. I can modify my computer anytime I want. I can install whatever software I want to my computer and, likewise, remove any software I don't want. My computer can't decide to brick itself. It runs until it fails.

                The two are not even close to comparable.

                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  My fridge, my television, my microwave oven, my washing machine, my old-style petrol car - all these devices can fail and become bricks at any time. Motors burn out, fuses short-circuit, and so...

                  You don't own it if it can brick itself at will.

                  My fridge, my television, my microwave oven, my washing machine, my old-style petrol car - all these devices can fail and become bricks at any time. Motors burn out, fuses short-circuit, and so on. Something breaks and they stop working.

                  None of these devices are smart devices, or connected to the internet (the fridge and microwave oven were built before the internet was in popular use).

                  Do I own these devices or not?

                  5 votes
                2. papasquat
                  Link Parent
                  Your computer actually doesn't work when it's overheating or detects a voltage error. Failsafes built into the CPU and Motherboard will shut down power if it detects voltages or temperatures...

                  Your computer actually doesn't work when it's overheating or detects a voltage error. Failsafes built into the CPU and Motherboard will shut down power if it detects voltages or temperatures outside of a certain range, not dissimilar to what happened here, or what happens on most modern ICE cars if the ECU detects a temperature condition likely to cause irreparable damage. Not sure what about this situation bothers you more than those, other than they got notified via an app.

                  4 votes
                3. Autoxidation
                  Link Parent
                  Insults aside, do you have any citations for these concerns? The car does not "brick itself at will." An owner is not forced to take it to Tesla for repairs. Sure, you wouldn't have nearly the...

                  I am making the point that you don't actually own the car if you don't have the freedom of use every other brand provides. You don't own it if it can brick itself at will. You don't own the car of you can't realistically take it anywhere but a Tesla service center for repairs. You don't own the car if Tesla can brick it for missing a software update. Sure you "own" the car on paper but you don't actually have the freedom that actual ownership entails.

                  Insults aside, do you have any citations for these concerns? The car does not "brick itself at will." An owner is not forced to take it to Tesla for repairs. Sure, you wouldn't have nearly the array of options for servicing the vehicle from 3rd parties as an ICE vehicle, but that's from a lack of options, not from some kind of mandate. I have never heard of Tesla bricking a vehicle for missing a software update (which you are free to decline when they appear, just like any other software update).

                  Can we maybe not resort to the "destroying the planet argument" when it has nothing to do with the conversation? Teslas aren't the only electric vehicles around. We are discussing practices specific to the company not ICE vehicles vs electric.

                  It's the face of electric cars, and a major reason why I ended up buying one.

                  Again impressively literal interpretation. The problem is that the vehicle can brick itself in the first place. Whether or not it chooses to do so on its own is irrelevant.

                  It seems you fundamentally misunderstand the interaction here. I don't know how much more I can explain it, but this interpretation is incorrect.

                  You don't blow a transmission with the vehicle turned off in the parking lot. A non-Tesla doesn't suddenly stop working because the software made the decision that a problem that caused no issue up to now is too critical to drive with. A dead battery is easily recharged, you aren't stranded calling a tow truck to ship your vehicle across state lines for repair.

                  These are examples. Plenty of other issues can render a vehicle inoperable. Use a little imagination. ;) There's no fundamental difference here, and I would actually argue that Tesla's approach to drivetrain failures is the appropriate one, given the technology level of the vehicle. Would you not want to be informed of issues on your own vehicle before trying to start it?

                  My computer still works without the internet. I can still run the software. It also works with a virus. Or if it's overheating. Or if it detects a voltage error. I can open up and repair my own computer. I can take my computer to any repair shop I want to. I can modify my computer anytime I want. I can install whatever software I want to my computer and, likewise, remove any software I don't want. My computer can't decide to brick itself. It runs until it fails. The two are not even close to comparable.

                  From a Windows perspective, several of those issues would cause bluescreens. But you also don't entrust your life to your computer when hurtling 70 mph along a road. There has to be an extra precaution there for safety.

                  If you had the knowledge and parts available, there is nothing stopping you from fixing your own Tesla. Rich Rebuilds is an excellent testimonial to this, or Medlock & Sons.

                  So mostly comparable, but not exactly, since you can't determine which software you install on the Tesla. Who knows what the future holds? A jailbroken Tesla could be an interesting device...

                  4 votes
            3. [8]
              zlsa
              Link Parent
              Ignoring the failure for a moment, would you prefer to be notified by push notification, or when you try to start the car and it doesn't work?

              Ignoring the failure for a moment, would you prefer to be notified by push notification, or when you try to start the car and it doesn't work?

              2 votes
              1. [7]
                Loire
                Link Parent
                I don't give a shit about the push notification. I find it unlikely the car wouldn't have worked had Tesla not bricked it. It's not typical that a seemingly "fine" vehicle "catastrophically" fails...

                I don't give a shit about the push notification. I find it unlikely the car wouldn't have worked had Tesla not bricked it. It's not typical that a seemingly "fine" vehicle "catastrophically" fails while turned off in park. The car indicated the possibility of a litigateable failure in the works and the company bricked the car to avoid liability.

                And thats the whole point. The "owner" had absolutely zero choice in the matter, nor do they even know if there was actually a serious problem. All they know is the car was fine (minus a slow charge they didn't register until after the failure) and then it's bricked in the driveway for no explicable reason. They didn't get to turn the key. They didn't get to make the risk assessment of whether or not to risk driving it home. A technician 2400 miles away in Palo Alto was notified by a trip wire in the vehicle and made the judgement call to brick the vehicle without so much as consulting the "owners". That's not how ownership works. They paid $50,000 to lease the vehicle that can be taken away from them at a moments notice.

                2 votes
                1. Autoxidation
                  Link Parent
                  You are making a lot of assumptions that aren't given here. There is no tech on the other side making some kind of judgement about the vehicle. The car detected its own problem and reported it to...

                  You are making a lot of assumptions that aren't given here. There is no tech on the other side making some kind of judgement about the vehicle. The car detected its own problem and reported it to the owner. People working for Tesla were never directly involved until the owner reaches out for service.

                  This is just like some other type of mechanical failure on every other vehicle. Just instead of the owner finding out it won't drive when they attempt to drive it, the car diagnosed itself and let the owner know there was a problem.

                  8 votes
                2. CedarMadness
                  Link Parent
                  From the report It sounds like what has happened to a few other people on the Tesla forums (usually while driving though). The rear motor developed a short of some sort for some reason, which blew...

                  From the report

                  there are issues with the rear drive unit, the pyrotechnic battery disconnect, and the 12-volt battery

                  It sounds like what has happened to a few other people on the Tesla forums (usually while driving though). The rear motor developed a short of some sort for some reason, which blew the main fuse (pyrotechnic battery disconnect), meaning the 400v battery was completely disconnected. The 12v battery kept the computer, modem, screen, etc. running long enough to send that notification that the car broke. Something similar happened to this person, although they were driving at the time. They waited 2 weeks for a replacement motor after a terrible roadside assistance experience.

                  A similar failure mode exists in most cars, it's called the fusible link. It's usually located on the positive battery cable and it blows if there's a short in your wiring harness somewhere that the other fuses didn't protect. In my case it blew because a squirrel decided to turn the wiring harness into his home, however I didn't get any notification on my phone that the car was dead, I was just unable to leave the next morning.

                  They should definitely improve the service experience. All they have to do here is swap the rear drive unit, replace the fuse, and replace/recharge the 12v battery. None of these should be that time consuming, and these are common parts that the service centers should stock. When my old car died, I was able to call the parts department of a dealership in town to get a new fusible link and part of a wiring harness the same day. I'm pretty interested in this story, since their car is going to the same service center mine would go to if it had a problem. I'm hoping they have a better experience than the person above, who waited 2 weeks just for the parts.

                  5 votes
                3. Akir
                  Link Parent
                  Here's the thing though: any car can fail in the driveway. One of the problems with the car was with the 12 volt battery. And in every car in the market today, it will not start when the battery...

                  Here's the thing though: any car can fail in the driveway. One of the problems with the car was with the 12 volt battery. And in every car in the market today, it will not start when the battery is bad.

                  2 votes
                4. [3]
                  emdash
                  Link Parent
                  I'm not the thought police or anything, but comments on Tildes shouldn't lead with this IMO: It's overly combative and introduces an excessively argumentative tone (even if that wasn't your...

                  I'm not the thought police or anything, but comments on Tildes shouldn't lead with this IMO:

                  I don't give a shit about the push notification.

                  It's overly combative and introduces an excessively argumentative tone (even if that wasn't your intent) into the discussion—if I received this in my inbox I would feel like Tildes was distinctly a less-nice place than I hoped.

                  Irrespective of your view you can phrase this more politely, and you should.

                  10 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Loire
                    Link Parent
                    With all do respect, the usage of a lower tier curse in emphasis and not directed at the other poster should not make you uncomfortable. I understand there is a fine line to be found but I am not...

                    With all do respect, the usage of a lower tier curse in emphasis and not directed at the other poster should not make you uncomfortable. I understand there is a fine line to be found but I am not going to bubble wrap unpointed language for softer sensibilities, nor should anyone be expected to. This is a predominantly adult discussion forum.

                    But this is completely off topic for the thread and I'd be happy to discuss it further in PM's if you'd like.

                    3 votes
                    1. emdash
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      You know... I’d bet a lot of people are on Tildes precisely because we’re over that sort of heated discussion. We’re done with it. We see it on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit and on every other...

                      You know... I’d bet a lot of people are on Tildes precisely because we’re over that sort of heated discussion. We’re done with it. We see it on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit and on every other commenting platform online.

                      It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t your intent, the tone conveys its own message, and if that’s the level of heat you’re looking to introduce into a discussion, don’t be surprised if people decide they just don’t want to talk with you at all.

                      10 votes
    2. skybrian
      Link Parent
      A lot of people are curious about Teslas. The service experience seems rather different? Usually when something goes wrong you have some idea what happened.

      A lot of people are curious about Teslas. The service experience seems rather different? Usually when something goes wrong you have some idea what happened.

      3 votes
    3. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      Car and Driver does their "40,000" mile tests where they drive a car for 40k miles and see how well it holds up. Recently, in a rather funny article, they ragged on an Alfa for being a complete...

      Car and Driver does their "40,000" mile tests where they drive a car for 40k miles and see how well it holds up. Recently, in a rather funny article, they ragged on an Alfa for being a complete piece of junk, being in the shop for something like 20% of their ownership of it (and it was brand new).

  3. [15]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    First, here is a forum post about what seems to be the exact same issue: Rear Drive Unit Failure (Model 3) It contains some interesting information. From the Car and Driver article I assumed that...

    First, here is a forum post about what seems to be the exact same issue:

    It contains some interesting information.

    From the Car and Driver article I assumed that receiving this notification means the car won't start and that it truly is bricked. The forum post seems to confirm that.

    So I have to wonder, is the car bricked because it physically could not start, or is it bricked because something determined it should not start?


    EDIT: From what I have read since writing this comment, this seems to very much be a case of the car not being able to start, rather than the car "choosing" not to start, as the rear drive unit is necessary for the car to operate.

    Also, it seems like this part failure only happens extremely early into the car's lifespan, within 20,000 miles. I've also read people describing the part failing while they are actively driving the car.

    That's... fucking crazy. Why? Because when the rear drive unit fails, several other systems fail as well. There's no forward or reverse acceleration, no regenerative braking, and the car's power could shut off.

    Once the car powers down, what happens to the steering, braking, and other necessary systems? Does the steering wheel lock up?

    As someone who has driven a car off the side of a mountain thanks to the car shutting off, I can say from experience that a running vehicle suddenly losing power is extremely dangerous and very unnerving.

    And shoot, even if the car doesn't lose power, but just loses acceleration (which is guaranteed), that's still incredibly dangerous. Once again, I should know. I've been on an interstate and lost the ability to put the car into gear, being stuck coasting in neutral. It is not a fun situation.

    4 votes
    1. [14]
      Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      Is there really a difference here, and then does it even matter? What's the difference in the car being able to start and drive 5 miles when it is dead for good, or where driving it would cause...

      So I have to wonder, is the car bricked because it physically could not start, or is it bricked because something determined it should not start?

      Is there really a difference here, and then does it even matter? What's the difference in the car being able to start and drive 5 miles when it is dead for good, or where driving it would cause greater damage to the rest of the vehicle, or render the vehicle unsafe, versus recognizing these issues ahead of time and preventing them?

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        hungariantoast
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yes, the difference is that if the car is bricked because it cannot start, then that is a mechanical (or electrical) issue. If the car is bricked because it will not start, then that is the car...

        Is there really a difference here

        Yes, the difference is that if the car is bricked because it cannot start, then that is a mechanical (or electrical) issue. If the car is bricked because it will not start, then that is the car making an arbitrary decision for me and limiting my freedom to decide how I use it.

        What's the difference in the car being able to start and drive 5 miles when it is dead for good, or where driving it would cause greater damage to the rest of the vehicle, or render the vehicle unsafe

        Literally life and death in some situations. I don't know how much of an actual truck the Cybertruck is supposed to be, but folks are almost certainly going to go off-roading with it and take it to remote places. Someone could actually die because their Cybertruck refuses to start and limp-dick itself five miles out of the woods.

        In the end though, what it comes down to for me, is that freedom bit I mentioned earlier. When I buy and own something, especially something mechanical, I expect to be able to get inside it, fuck with it, run it into the ground, and grind it into oblivion, if that is what I want to do. I don't believe in treating vehicles like software or services, disallowing access to them and putting restrictions on how they can be used. If I buy and own a car, it's mine. I ought to be able to do whatever I want to it and the car itself should have absolutely zero power over that. (Legislation on the other hand...)

        Vehicles should, until the moment I stop buying and owning them, be "dumb" devices when it comes down to it. Any "smart" capabilities they have should be entirely at my mercy.


        EDIT: When the rear drive unit in the Model 3 fails, the car turns off cannot run. So it's a "couldn't" issue, not a "wouldn't" issue.

        4 votes
        1. frostycakes
          Link Parent
          Is there no OBD equivalent for Teslas or other electric cars yet? If standard cars can output diagnostic codes, there's no reason why a Tesla shouldn't at least give a code with these errors that...

          Is there no OBD equivalent for Teslas or other electric cars yet? If standard cars can output diagnostic codes, there's no reason why a Tesla shouldn't at least give a code with these errors that gives an idea of what's gone wrong in the first place. Sure, OBD codes aren't the end all of car diagnostics, but at least they give an idea of where to start and how severe whatever problem is occurring is.

          2 votes
        2. Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          I guess I'm seeing this theoretical "will not start" case as a "if you drive this, it will shortly become permanently damaged/further damaged/unsafe to yourself and others." As in "technically the...

          I guess I'm seeing this theoretical "will not start" case as a "if you drive this, it will shortly become permanently damaged/further damaged/unsafe to yourself and others." As in "technically the car could 'start' but within the next mile the rear motor can overheat and explode/start a fire." And I'm not seeing a fundamental difference between that and "the car cannot start."

          I've never seen evidence for the scenario many seemed to be concerned about in here, where the car is technically safely drivable but software prevents it from doing so.

      2. [4]
        papasquat
        Link Parent
        The possibility of an override would be pretty important if, say, my wife was pregnant in the back seat, or I was driving someone to the hospital, or I was running for my life. As nice as a Tesla...

        The possibility of an override would be pretty important if, say, my wife was pregnant in the back seat, or I was driving someone to the hospital, or I was running for my life.

        As nice as a Tesla is, it's still not as valuable as a human life.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          Okay, am I missing something here? Is everyone taking from this article that any minor issue with a Tesla arises and the car refuses to drive? This is a major issue, likely something wrong with...

          Okay, am I missing something here? Is everyone taking from this article that any minor issue with a Tesla arises and the car refuses to drive? This is a major issue, likely something wrong with the motor which would render the car undrivable, and it is rare. We're looking at a handful of documented instances out of hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

          How is this not a comparable issue for 'regular' vehicles? I've had a wire harnesses melt, rendering a Saab completely dead before, and bad connector short a battery in an Audi (the current one and a brand new one I happened to have handy to replace it with).

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            hungariantoast
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I did some more reading and as best as I can tell, what's happening is the "rear drive unit" on the Model 3 is failing extremely quickly, typically within 20,000 miles on the car. I could be...

            I did some more reading and as best as I can tell, what's happening is the "rear drive unit" on the Model 3 is failing extremely quickly, typically within 20,000 miles on the car. I could be wrong, because I'm not very knowledgeable about electric (or Tesla) drivetrains, but the "rear drive unit" is the electric motor, I think.

            So what is happening is the electric motor is going out, and that is what is causing the car to send the notification.

            For the rear-wheel drive models, this means the car cannot run at all. For the all-wheel drive models, if the rear drive unit fails, then the car cannot run. If the front drive unit fails, then the rear drive unit can still manage.

            Anyways, as best as I can tell the car isn't "refusing" to start after detecting the issue. It (at least the rear-wheel drive model) physically cannot drive without the rear drive unit being operational. So this is a case of the car "couldn't drive", not "wouldn't drive".

            1 vote
            1. Autoxidation
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              It sounds like there's a small chance that part could be bad under rare circumstances, which to me is fairly normal. Not every car is going to be perfect and bad parts exist. I can shed some light...

              It sounds like there's a small chance that part could be bad under rare circumstances, which to me is fairly normal. Not every car is going to be perfect and bad parts exist.

              I can shed some light on this since I own the AWD Model 3. The rear motor is larger than the front motor of the vehicle (I think it's something like a 35/65 power split off the top of my head), and the rear is powerful enough to drive the car in the event the front motor fails, but the front isn't strong enough to drive if the rear fails. Or at least, I've seen the car able to drive without the front motor power but not the rear motor (it looks like this.

              The motors are actually sealed units and have oil in them to help lubricate the moving parts. They occasionally break, like this thread.

              1 vote
      3. [6]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Yes, there is a difference. When a car physically can not start, it means you turn the key (or push the button or whatever) and nothing happens. No matter what you try, that car isn't going to...

        Is there really a difference here, and then does it even matter?

        Yes, there is a difference.

        When a car physically can not start, it means you turn the key (or push the button or whatever) and nothing happens. No matter what you try, that car isn't going to move because a key component is broken.

        However, if an algorithm in the car's computer decides the car should not start, that's a judgement call by someone. Whoever programmed the algorithm decided that a certain input should result in the car being deactivated. What if the programmer was overly cautious? What if (for example) the only problem is that the battery doesn't hold charge as efficiently as it could? The car could still be charged enough to drive it to a service centre. But the programmer and their algorithm have decided that the car should not start. Not that it can not start, only that it should not.

        Can not start is a physical fact. Should not start is a subjective judgement call.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          Until there is evidence for some of those examples, we're just playing what if statements. A motor failure, like in this circumstance, literally means the car is inoperable or unsafe to drive. I...

          Until there is evidence for some of those examples, we're just playing what if statements.

          A motor failure, like in this circumstance, literally means the car is inoperable or unsafe to drive. I think it is fundamentally better to identify and take necessary action on those issues and prevent further damage and/or harm to the user than wait until it is too late.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I'm sorry I provided examples to illuminate my explanation. Those hypothetical examples appear to have distracted you from the core of my explanation. I'll try again, more simply. The difference...

            I'm sorry I provided examples to illuminate my explanation. Those hypothetical examples appear to have distracted you from the core of my explanation.

            I'll try again, more simply.

            The difference between "can not start" and "should not start" is that "can not start" is an objective physical fact, while "should not start" is a subjective judgement call. In one case, the car simply will not start. In the other case, someone has programmed the car to refuse to start in certain circumstances. It might still start. It might still drive. But it has been programmed not to.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Autoxidation
              Link Parent
              I just covered this in a different comment but it appears to apply here as well: I guess I'm seeing this theoretical "will not start" case as a "if you drive this, it will shortly become...

              I just covered this in a different comment but it appears to apply here as well:

              I guess I'm seeing this theoretical "will not start" case as a "if you drive this, it will shortly become permanently damaged/further damaged/unsafe to yourself and others." As in "technically the car could 'start' but within the next mile the rear motor can overheat and explode/start a fire." And I'm not seeing a fundamental difference between that and "the car cannot start."

              I've never seen evidence for the scenario many seemed to be concerned about in here, where the car is technically safely drivable but software prevents it from doing so.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                To borrow your own words: "Until there is evidence for this example, we're just playing what if statements." You don't know, and I don't know, what criteria the programmers used to decide their...

                I guess I'm seeing this theoretical "will not start" case as a "if you drive this, it will shortly become permanently damaged/further damaged/unsafe to yourself and others."

                To borrow your own words: "Until there is evidence for this example, we're just playing what if statements."

                You don't know, and I don't know, what criteria the programmers used to decide their car should not start. It might be anything from the low-impact fault I mentioned to the high-impact fault you mentioned. We simply don't know.

                And that's part of what I've been saying. The criteria used for this "don't start the car" algorithm were chosen subjectively by human beings, and we don't know whether they were restrictive or expansive in their thinking.

                1 vote
                1. Autoxidation
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  But we do have evidence for Tesla's with other issues still being in a drivable state. If the front motor fails in an AWD model, the car is still drivable (but with a warning). For an oil leak in...

                  But we do have evidence for Tesla's with other issues still being in a drivable state. If the front motor fails in an AWD model, the car is still drivable (but with a warning). For an oil leak in one of the motors, the car is still drivable. The car is capable of driving even with the touchscreen inoperative. This condition is still drivable too.

                  So far, I think we've only seen a handful of cases where the car is completely undrivable. This rear motor failure issue, and a hard computer failure. Other have reported battery issues that can render the vehicle undrivable.

                  With this context, do these concerns of "programmers deciding the car should not start" seem justified? To me, no. There's no evidence for it.

                  The vast majority of Tesla owners report no real problems with their vehicle and it has the highest satisfaction rate of any car. (alternative to CR link)

                  2 votes
  4. [2]
    json
    Link
    I can't see what it says about what the failure was. What was the failure? Is it known why?

    I can't see what it says about what the failure was. What was the failure? Is it known why?

    2 votes
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      I think that's part of the problem—the owners are kind of just in the dark as the readers are. Tesla's service has always been one of their less than very good areas.

      I think that's part of the problem—the owners are kind of just in the dark as the readers are. Tesla's service has always been one of their less than very good areas.

      3 votes
  5. emdash
    Link
    Well here I posted a thread hoping for some light discussion, and it turned into another heated tit for tat argument. Good job y’all, good job.

    Well here I posted a thread hoping for some light discussion, and it turned into another heated tit for tat argument. Good job y’all, good job.

    2 votes