To me, a car that you can't service yourself is worthless. A car that needs the manufacturer's permission to activate is not your car--it's owned by the manufacturer. And, when the manufacturer places a threatening call to the "owner" after he tries to get diagnostic information from his own car , well that's so far beyond crossing the line it's not even funny.
I think we're going to start seeing "jailbroken" Teslas soon after they start falling out of their warranty period. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. You'd think that out of the thousands of people who have already bought one of these cars, there might be one out there with both the skills and desire to actually own what they paid for.
On the other hand, it could just be that those who want to really own their cars would not consider buying a Tesla anyway, and those who have the skills are too scared of the legal aspects. I think at the moment, electric cars are still somewhat niche and don't really appeal to the demographic who would be modding their cars. The aftermarket community for existing cars basically doesn't care about emissions --- one of the biggest attractions of an electric. As a bit of a car-geek myself, I'll admit that electrics are rather "boring" and for the same reason I'm not so interested in the newer super-computerised vehicles either; it's the noisy, smelly, smoky, aggressive, obnoxious-mechanical-monster nature of petrol/diesel engines that's the really "fun" part. Batteries, electronics, and motors just don't evoke quite the same feeling.
If I knew I was going to have to drive a car to the dealership anytime something went wrong, I would not buy that car. It's a big hassle (especially if the dealership is any distance away) and almost always outrageously expensive for anything outside of warranty. And if it's something that I can't do myself, I'd rather take it to a cheaper local mechanic I know and trust.
According to the article, Teslas only have service manuals available in Massachusetts (and there only on an extremely expensive subscription basis), no independent shops, and doesn't have a working OBD-II port. That sounds like a nightmare to me.
Granted, it's way out of my price range anyway. ;)
So my wife takes it to our old, trusty local mechanic, and their repairs are a lot cheaper. I forgot if they could also advise us on whether this was reasonable in the first place.
I think my mother also often ended up at an independent mechanic after getting disappointed by official dealers. (My dad always drove leased company cars so didn't have to worry about this stuff. I know nothing about cars (but I'm glad my wife does).)
It's unlucky that they sold you a car where the brakes were soon to be replaced but they are really wear parts. However I was suprised to hear that also most of the electrical stuff doesn't fall under warranty. I'm from Germany so it might be different in other countries.
Of course, there are also crooks out there, so challenge is finding good shop, but once you did, there's absolutely no reason to not do business with them except for things like recalls.
And, of course, for older out-of-warranty cars - which is the vehicle of choice for a real lot of "non-enthusiasts" who just don't have money to buy a shiny new car that loses 20% of value right after driving off the dealer parking lot - there's absolutely no reason to prefer dealers if you have a competent independent shop.
Tires and oil changes are the two biggest service jobs on cars these days, since everything else is so reliable. But on a 10-year-old car, it's entirely possible to do more substantial repairs thanks to the OBD-II service tools that are available. You can get one of these scanners for $100 now (or less for a crappier one), look up any codes thrown by the ECU, which will tell you exactly which sensor has gone bad. As long as the manufacturer isn't intentionally making it so you need a dealership tool to do stuff, these cars can be quite a bit easier to work on that older ones since they tell you what's wrong.
I'm not sure why this thread turned into multiple attempts to convince me that independent mechanics are a good value that can do the same or better work than a dealer. I never claimed they couldn't, I stated that I don't think most people have a trusted mechanic that isn't the dealer. So far I've gotten a lot of down votes, anecdotes, but no data. I very well could be wrong, I was stating my opinion based on what I've seen and experienced.
Look at YourMechanic, it's filling a need in the market to link independent mechanics to car owners. It is using a verified user trust model to rate them. If the vast majority of people had trusted mechanics they wouldn't be gaining much traction in the market.
Yeah, I'm not sure how that happened.
>I very well could be wrong, I was stating my opinion based on what I've seen and experienced.
I'm not sure there's any easy way of proving it one way or the other really. Personally, I still see plenty of independent mechanic businesses; I live down the street from two of them now, at a prior residence a year ago in a totally different state, I lived down the street from another one that was constantly busy and had people working there at very late hours to get all the work done. Then why I go to dealerships (I was shopping for a car a while back) I find them all closed all day Sunday, and closed early on other days. If your service department were busy, you wouldn't be closed on the weekends.
So again, I don't think we can prove anything either way here, and I'm not so sure about "the vast majority of people having trusted mechanics", but I really don't think that the vast majority of car owners use dealerships for all their service. I think that people use them when their car is brand-new (because it's covered by warranty), and I think owners of not-too-old luxury brands (BWM, etc.) probably use dealerships more often, however I think people who own cars that are 10+ years old probably rarely use dealerships, if ever. People who have less money to spend on cars, and who buy used cars (or keep cars a long time) I believe are naturally going to look for better deals for car service, and that's going to rule out stealerships very quickly.
As for YourMechanic, I hadn't heard of that, but it sounds like a great idea. But if it's successful, I think that shows that a lot of people want a trusted (non-dealership) mechanic, even if they don't currently have one. Also, don't forget, a lot of people these days are more mobile, and move around from time to time, so they'll need a new mechanic when they move.
But with all that said, in the broader conversation I'd say I was wrong. Even if you don't have a trusted independent mechanic more people prefer that option, even if they use a different one every time, over the dealership.
I would disagree, there have been a lot of electric car hotrods and DIY innovation happening for years, like the White Zombie and others linked below:
You've clearly never been behind the wheel of a Tesla. Please go drive one. Emissions were literally the very last reason for buying the car for me.
I completely get that there are irrational reasons for buying things, not least of which is "OMG teh shiny future!!1!", but these aren't really suitable for debate here because they're so hugely subjective.
Edit: having read through entire TFA: Tesla will even refuse to sell you parts, and call you talking about industrial espionage, if you try and tinker with their cars. Seriously, WTF?
Well, here in Australia, MB and BMW are ripping their customers off with prices nearly TRIPLE the US price. Tesla has priced their Model S similarly to US. So yet another reason, to add to the excellent list already posted, is the better pricing.
On top of that, I have no idea why you think Teslas lack tactile feedback (or at least are worse than BMW 7s), are only good in straight line speed, or have headspace problems in the back if you are 5'8".
Nonsense. You need tactile feedback while driving. You will not be using the center console while driving. You will not even be looking at it. All of the stuff you need while driving is tactile.
> trying to be a fast car but only really good for 0-60 in a straight line
LOL. I sense hurt feelings.
> no OBD-2 port as another poster pointed out
Why would it need an OBD-2 port when it has an API?
> bad resale value as this article points out
Article is wrong. The prices for used vehicles are quite good. Confirm yourself.
> literally having your head touch the car roof if you're over five foot eight and sitting in the back
Get a Model X if Model S is too small for you.
> can you please give us a rational reason except zero tailpipe emissions for buying a Model S over, say, a Mercedes S-class or a BMW 7-series?
I'm not a huge fan on the S, prefer the X.
1. Twice the storage of an ICE vehicle. No engine block = FRUNK.
2. Safety. It is the safest vehicle on the road. Period. Because there is no engine block slamming in your face during a front-end collision.
3. I never have to go to a dirty gas station again. I fill up at home.
4. No oil changes. No transmission failures. Fewer moving parts = less maintenance needed.
5. American designed, American built, no $$$ going to questionable oil interests.
6. That center console? Fucking awesome. Enjoy your 8 inch joke.
7. Over-The-Air software updates that actually add useful features. No, I don't need to go to the service center to update my software. LOL!
8. It drives itself? Autopilot! Nice!
9. It parks itself. Even parallel parking. Will even open the garage, drive itself in, and then close the garage after itself.
10. Supercharger network. Free juice all over the country and beyond. Fills up in 20-30 min.
I can keep going, but I think you get the gist.
> Tesla will even refuse to sell you parts
Ok. Ever hear of eBay?
> call you talking about industrial espionage, if you try and tinker with their cars
Don't fuck with cars that drive themselves. Please.
> Seriously, WTF?
I wouldn't mind having more control over software updates and generally having more control over the vehicle, but I understand why they made the decisions they did. If you don't, it's because you were never driven in an autonomous vehicle.
> LOL. I sense hurt feelings.
A Model S weighs something like 4700lbs, depending on battery? I suppose it depends on one's definition of "fast car", but I personally consider more than straight line performance, and lighter cars have a distinct advantage. I agree with Lotus's Colin Chapman: "performance through low weight".
> > no OBD-2 port as another poster pointed out
> Why would it need an OBD-2 port when it has an API?
Because OBD-2 is a standard with an entire ecosystem built around it.
> 2. Safety. It is the safest vehicle on the road. Period. Because there is no engine block slamming in your face during a front-end collision.
That is an advantage (also, it's on the heavy side and mass helps a lot) and it certainly tests well in crashes. IIHS statistics for injury and medical payments don't however support your statement that it is the "safest vehicle on the road". Porsche's 911 and Boxster have lower Personal Injury Claim frequencies (and the Boxster doesn't even have a roof!).
> 4. No oil changes. No transmission failures. Fewer moving parts = less maintenance needed.
There might be less maintenance needed on some of the drivetrain leading to a more convenient service interval, but there still is maintenance (tires, brakes, brake fluid, HVAC, battery, suspension, steering, etc.) to be done, and the longer service interval might make it more likely for problems to increase in severity before they're noticed. It's kind of a moot point, modern cars have overall excellent reliability on the drivetrain; luxury cars tend to have problems with the electrical system and associated accessories, especially after the lease period is up, and Tesla is no different.
> 5. American designed, American built, no $$$ going to questionable oil interests.
Overall design and final assembly, perhaps, but are you saying that the subsystem vendors are American too, to some degree larger than other manufacturers?
> 10. Supercharger network. Free juice all over the country and beyond. Fills up in 20-30 min.
It's not free, it's incorporated into the cost of the purchase.
My first thought at this statistic was to wonder if these drivers are less likely to survive to file...
What? Fast means fast. The Model S goes fast. It has better performance than cars it competes with, like BMW 5/7 series, etc.
Is it the fastest car? No. And why would it need to be? It's a luxury sedan, not a race car.
> Because OBD-2 is a standard with an entire ecosystem built around it.
It's an absolutely horrible standard and that entire ecosystem should die. Every car should have an open API that is easily accessible using any computer, rather than specialized equipment.
> IIHS statistics for injury and medical payments don't however support your statement that it is the "safest vehicle on the road".
Has anyone actually ever died in a Tesla? I believe one person did.
That was a couple of months ago. He was hit by a dump truck.
> luxury cars tend to have problems with the electrical system and associated accessories, especially after the lease period is up, and Tesla is no different.
I'll give you that one.
> but are you saying that the subsystem vendors are American too, to some degree larger than other manufacturers?
Yes. Because Elon Musk is pulling a Henry Ford. They're more vertically integrated than any other car company. I'm not sure that's a good thing ... but it does support my point.
> It's not free, it's incorporated into the cost of the purchase.
Well, yeah. Someone has to pay for it to get built and to maintain it. It's free in the sense that I don't have to explicitly pay for it. It's just included and I can use it as much as I want.
The Model S and Model X are excellent cars. Not perfect, but excellent. There's a reason they're eating up the entire luxury market.
This is the excellent statement but coupled with the threat of being kicked off the warranty (which means no repairs whatsoever since no independent shops) and being assaulted by lawyers with charges of industrial espionage if you veer a little to the left or to the right does not exactly make it a model citizen. Hacking culture is all about doing things manufacturer did not think of. Yes, sometimes that can lead to screw-ups, including ones worthy of voiding the warranty, but so far it seems like Tesla is in full "besieged castle" mode, and even docs you mention are unofficial - which means a) they could change anytime and b) you could be charged with espionage for using it anyway.
It goes fast in a straight line, perhaps better than it's competitors. It's also portly compared to some of it's competitors, and not as nimble. Fast in a straight line is boring.
> It's an absolutely horrible standard and that entire ecosystem should die. Every car should have an open API that is easily accessible using any computer, rather than specialized equipment.
OBD-2 certainly has its warts, but it's an interoperable industry standard. I have a hard time believing that an OBD-3 or a legacy-free de novo interoperable standard would be any less wart-free. Some warts come from interoperability compromises, some from the industrial constraints, some from the bureaucracy. I'll take an interoperable standard over any proprietary API, no matter how nice that API might be.
> Has anyone actually ever died in a Tesla? I believe one person did.
Amazingly, this is not a unique feat! There's actually a growing list of cars that are without recorded deaths: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/1/1
> Yes. Because Elon Musk is pulling a Henry Ford. They're more vertically integrated than any other car company. I'm not sure that's a good thing ... but it does support my point.
I don't see any basis for your claim that Tesla is more vertically integrated than any other car company, and I don't buy it. A DDG search pulled up this short list of Tesla subsystem vendors, and there are plenty that are obviously not 'Murican: http://moneymorning.com/2014/05/08/tesla-suppliers-list-thes...
In fact, Monroney stickers I see online put the domestic parts content of a Tesla Model S at 50%, here's one: http://www.midway-group.com/inventory/2015-tesla-model-s-p85...
> Well, yeah. Someone has to pay for it to get built and to maintain it. It's free in the sense that I don't have to explicitly pay for it. It's just included and I can use it as much as I want.
A DDG search showed that some earlier Model S had a $2000 option to gain access to the Supercharger network, so that would seem to be a good estimate for the cost. The Monroney above shows it as "included", which I would say counts as explicit even though the price isn't transparent.
> The Model S and Model X are excellent cars. Not perfect, but excellent. There's a reason they're eating up the entire luxury market.
They certainly have a dedicated fanbase that should be the envy of any car company, and I understand why they are popular as peppy urban people movers. I personally find them soulless, but Tesla drivers would probably find the cars I enjoy to be vulgar and uncomfortable :)
As to the "eating up the entire market" article, my criticism there is that the other luxury marques have a more diverse product line with considerable overlap. Saying that the Model S is the single best selling car model in that grouping isn't informative if the cohort who would consider a Model S are buying a mixture of BMW models.
Right, because nobody has ever adjusted the air conditioning or radio while driving...
There's a button on the wheel you press for voice commands ...
I don't see what that has to do with America, except for 'Murica f'yeah
> 7. Over-The-Air software updates that actually add useful features. No, I don't need to go to the service center to update my software. LOL!
> 8. It drives itself? Autopilot! Nice!
Don't many cars have that to the limited degree already allowed by law?
I enjoy buying locally built products when possible, especially when those products are superior to anything else available.
Get off the floor and tell me what's so funny.
> Don't many cars have that to the limited degree already allowed by law?
No. Model S and Model X are the only cars available that drive themselves. Some other cars have cruise control that will stay within the lane, but it won't change lanes, break, or accelerate based on traffic conditions.
Supporting my argument. Tesla sits on an encrypted VPN, good luck with that. Maybe if you break into Tesla HQ?
You're better off going after the bluetooth (the key fobs/car are bluetooth) or NFC (the key fobs/car have NFC in case batteries die in fobs). There's also an ethernet port of sorts in the vehicle, although it has been disconnected with latest firmware.
Anyway, when it comes to Tesla, you'll have better chances of hacking into it with physical access. You are definitely not getting access to my car with "wifi".
Well, if you say so. Still, what about the locally built products? Oil isn't the only import needed for a traditional car.
The ethernet port, bluetooth/NFC key fobs all the chips, are made in china no doubt, maybe even many engine parts. Recources are exploited from mines outside America under bad conditions. The energy to load the battery is generated partially from fracked fossil fuel. America supports Saudis for a bit more than just oil and they sure don't care what the tax money was generated from. * In 2014, about 27% of the petroleum consumed by the United States was imported from foreign countries.* . Half the American designers are probably immigrated from India and China.
Our visions of the great US of A diverge a little.
Why would any web site support HTTP when you can use their proprietary protocol, only unofficially documented by some random dude by reverse engineering.
If you like the way a high-end electric car drives, there's little comparison between a Model S and the BMW/Benz.
And Tesla has completely changed the paradigm of car design and manufacturing. The fact that it can add self-driving to its cars with an over-the-air software update is amazing.
People might buy for the zero emissions but they stay for the ride.
People at hacking LEAFs already.
How many cars sold in 2016 can be activated without the manufacturer's permission? If you break your engine control module, who, if not the original manufacturer, can provide you a new one that works for your car?
(Serious question, no sarcasm.)
What do you mean with manufacturer's permission? The parts are sold independently of the vehicle as far as I'm aware. You can buy loads of ECUs for modern cars on the internet and there is no consequence of installing it.
We can only hope that a similar movement to Linux on PCs builds up steam up in the automotive space, as many of us
like being able to understand, adapt, and improve on our
Using public infrastructure is a privilege, not a right.
I agree. That's the way its going to go. People kill 40K/people a year in the US simply driving, and injure/maim hundreds of thousands. There's no way self-driving cars aren't better than that.
Want to build your vroom vroom car? Own the entire stack down to the atoms? You'll get to drive it at track day at a track, not on a public road.
> Personally, I prefer the latter even if it means I could get killed at any moment because the risk is all part of the experience; not only of driving but really just life itself.
Agree, but that sentiment will die a slow death over the next few decades, just as those fond of the horse and buggy are no longer with us.
The number of teenagers with driver's licenses is the lowest in history. Compound that with the 65+ cohort aging quickly, and older drivers being dangerous drivers (lower reaction time).
It's not a convenience delta. Its an experience and safety delta. We are talking tens of billions (if not more) of dollars in savings from taking the human out of the loop.
The value of such a statistic is questionable given that the minimum age for a license has increased of late.
That said, this is going sideways because I didn't make a complete and clear post originally. Never mind.
Not true. People kill 40K people by crashing their cars into them, not by "simply driving". Make crashing your car into people illegal and punish that. No reason to ban driving.
Except that people don't crash their cars deliberately, it's unintentional and unavoidable.
There's no point making it illegal to do something that only happens accidentally. People will still do it accidentally.
The only thing you can do is mandate changes to the system which remove the possibility that those mistakes will be made. Driverless cars are one possible change that we could make.
And people can still speed unintentionally by forgetting to check the speedometer every so often, but speeding is still illegal.
Not stopping at a stop sign or red light for a right turn is illegal, but people often times make "California Stops" unintentionally.
I am _not_ arguing you shouldn't be allowed to tinker with your vehicle. You're just not entitled to the source code that runs it (unless you buy a car from a manufacturer that agrees to that as part of the sale agreement), nor are you allowed to make modifications and take it out on a public road if you could cause harm to others.
I buy used cars and repair them myself. I wonder if this disqualifies me from ever owning an electric car? While more recent cars have begun down the troubling path of making less and less user-serviceable, most cars still have either official service manuals or 3rd party manuals (based on tear-downs), and a healthy after-market parts market.
You're "calibrating" the battery. This has been around on BMWs for a long time (my 2008 535xi had this). If you replace the battery yourself and obviously can't program it in, the car will bitch endlessly, but it'll still work.
The motorcycle comes with three keys: a red one and two black ones. The black ones will turn on the motorcycle but can't be copied. The red one can be copied and is intended as backup in case you lose the black ones. If you lose three the only way to turn the motorcycle on is to get a new ECU from the manufacturer.
I guess most modern cars are the same.
I think maybe I'm not going to sell my 1995 Nighthawk after all! Sounds like it might make more sense to just keep it running, simple and straightforward, without having to worry about all this fragile automation.
Tldr: You need the SKC to do it, only VW knows what the SKC is. Or you can hack the immobilizer.
Or, a second hand Tesla might have a much higher market value if it has a recent inspection certificate from Tesla. Tesla don't have to enforce this on this basis because the market will.
People don't do deep research and follow-ups on automotive incidents. Best-case scenario is they have someone do it for them, like Consumer Reports. Typical-case is they see a car with a logo on TV or on top of a salvage truck and they make a mental note to avoid that manufacturer.
Not sure how it works with official maintenance garages though. I'm sure there's a liability waiver signed somewhere, else there'd be a lot of big lawsuits about improper repairs by official maintainers. Unless there is no such thing as improper repairs. IDK
I imagine Tesla's ahead of the liability game right now. Meaning, I imagine they know exactly where, and when someone accesses their vechicles computers? I'm already calling them their computers? We are buying the cars? We own the vechicle? Right? I'll accept full liability after the warranty expires? Like always?
I don't like this trend towards, "Only the factory can work on the device." It's not fair. It's seems like it violates antitrust laws.
It's not just Tesla who doesn't want you to touch their products. It's a lot of companies. It's that Rolex, Patek, Audermars Piguet, any fancy watch you happen to have on your wrist.
I included luxury watches because people don't realize when the warranty runs out on that Rolex; good luck finding an independent Watch Repairer to fix it with Rolex parts.
See Rolex will only sell to authorized dealers. Guys like me, who refuse to pay some sham organization thousands of dollars to be become wotep certified, can't buy watch parts. Rolex wants you to send the watch to the factory, at factory prices. That boutique you bought it from, just sends the watch back, and adds charges to the final factory repair price. Which equals a lot of money for a simple service.
So, in all reality, if you can't bring/authorize repair of an item to whomever you want, including the owner; you are leasing said item? What am I missing?
I forget the name of the Act, but in the U.S. you are allowed to make minor modifications to automobiles, without affecting warranty. For example, you can change the exhaust, and car companies can't disavow you. I sound like The Donald?
I don't think Tesla is even under this Act, which makes there secrecy of product more troublesome.
If companies require us to bring product only back to the factory for repair, guys like me will never buy their product.
No, it doesn't. That's ridiculous. Antitrust laws are about monopolies, and Tesla does not have anything resembling a monopoly. They're a tiny, tiny fraction of the overall auto fleet (even for new cars), they're a very small manufacturer compared to the giants like GM, Ford, and Toyota, and even if you restrict yourself to electric cars they're not the only choice (Leaf, BMW i3, etc.).
What it does seem to violate, however, is the spirit Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975. In fact, the Massachusetts law which the article mentions was made precisely because of automakers making it nearly impossible for independent mechanics to service cars; this wasn't an issue in 1975 since cars didn't have computers back then, but now they all do.
>I forget the name of the Act, but in the U.S. you are allowed to make minor modifications to automobiles, without affecting warranty. For example, you can change the exhaust, and car companies can't disavow you.
Yep, that's the Magnusson-Moss act. They can only refuse to honor the warranty for cases where they can show the problem was directly caused by the aftermarket part or service. But the end-run around it is not providing service information and not allowing access to computerized tools needed to work on the vehicle. So if, for instance, as discussed in the article, GM makes it so that replacing the master cylinder requires the $10k service tool, they can claim they're not in violation of the act because you can buy the master cylinder (or even an aftermarket one), and the fact that you can't get the $10k computer isn't their problem because that's how the car is designed.
>If companies require us to bring product only back to the factory for repair, guys like me will never buy their product.
The problem here is: what do you do when ALL automakers do this? That's why we need laws preventing this behavior.
(That starts out with parts, but the guy eventually roots his own car.)
This seems particularly likely for the Model 3, given the likely "everyday supernerd" demographic, and simple missing features like working ODB-II interfaces .
P.S. it's kind of funny that people who make a living from the sale of goods with zero marginal production cost (i.e. additional copies of a program) get weirded out by "pay-by-value" from hardware manufacturers ...
Pikers. Sneak in there a hidden octa-core Xeon server running ... ah ... 'cloned' Oracle licences, and that's probably a cool million.
But that being said, a lot of Tesla customers are wealthy and they are probably happy to either get a new one, or send back to the factory/certified repair shop.
The fact is that Tesla simply isn't prioritizing user replaceable car parts yet. That's fine, as Tesla has a grossly different business model than Detroit.
Replaceable parts is the cornerstone of long-term reliability of machines. And it takes a lot of technology, design, and engineering to make that happen. Electric cars, as a newer technology, don't really know what parts fail in the long term, or what should be or shouldn't be replaceable yet.
In any case, I can imagine a set of gears that doesn't have any supply chain, and may be hard to replace. Just because a transmission is made of mechanical parts doesn't mean its actually practically replaceable: you need suppliers who are building the parts as well as mechanics (or books / guides) that share the knowledge of replacing those parts.
Similarly, I imagine that future electric cars will figure out what should be replaceable. Tesla clearly hasn't figured it out yet however.
Yes, but on the other hand it is best to view a car as a service, because this makes sure that the interests of the manufacturer (or service provider) are aligned with those of the user: no more "planned obsolescence"; and the manufacturer will plan ahead for recycling of materials because this is in their best interest (unlike when you buy a product, where the manufacturer couldn't care less).
This is becoming a new trend, and it is a good thing. The user pays for a service, and the provider has to provide the service for the optimal cost, without hidden costs such as for replacement, repair, etc.
1. If I wanted DaaS (Driving As A Service) I'd hire a taxi or Uber. I own my car(s) because I don't want to be dependent upon some service provider if I need to get somewhere.
2. When I buy something, I am an _owner_ not a user.
3. Unnecessary dependence on phoning home to the mothership is a huge mis-alignment between the interests of customers and manufacturers. This is why the "Internet of Things" has so far been a disaster (and will continue to be a disaster). Really, it should never be acceptable for your thermostat or your smoke detectors or your refrigerator, or yes--your car, to require constant permission from the manufacturer in order to work.
3a. To me, there are acceptable and unacceptable reasons for such devices to request connections back to home base, but it should always be optional (i.e. the device should work as advertised without connectivity):
- To ask for permission to continue functioning: Unacceptable
- To enable remote-controllability of the device by the manufacturer: Unacceptable
- To harvest customer personal information to be sold or used for marketing purposes: Unacceptable
- To report behavioral or analytics data for the purpose of improving the product: Marginally acceptable
- To enable remote-accessibility or controllability of the device by its owner: Acceptable
- To integrate with valuable 1st or 3rd party services which cannot be provided entirely from the device: Acceptable
> 2. When I buy something, I am an _owner_ not a user.
Yes, please get over it. If you don't own a car, your car will not take up useless spacetime. Imagine what cities could look like without parking spots!
I find the car I own to very usefully occupy spacetime. If I didn't I wouldn't have bought it. And I am glad that I don't have to phone home to Toyota in order to start it each morning or to repair it. Quite frankly, I don't care what a city would look like without parking spots.
The user pays for a service, and the provider then tries as hard as possible to lock them in so the cost can be maximised. The interests are fundamentally at odds in that the user has money and the provider has shareholders who are trying to pry it from the user's hands.
The manufacturer will also not plan to recycle the thing unless they're in the EU where they're legally obliged to do so. Does your mobile contract include handset recycling?
It isn't entirely clear to me if 'rent-seeking' is the appropriate description here though. You aren't being forced into to this type of arrangement and are free to purchase from other vendors. I'd like to see a bit more regulatory capture, government mandates, and so on before it makes sense to me to start talking about 'rent-seeking'.
For example, the byzentine dealership laws in many states and the lobbying by dealers to maintain the status quo via legislation seems more like rent-seeking to me.
Open design products allow small companies to compete on add-ons like maintenance and repairs, even though they can't offer whole cars.
You seem to forget how much these cars cost. Anyone who can afford $75k-100k for a car is not that likely to want to spend a lot of their time hacking their car.
By contrast, the car I now have, a lowly Mazda3 (costing between about $17k-30k; a nice model can easily be had for about $20k or so) has a touchscreen infotainment system running Linux, and a bunch of people have been busy making hacks for this system, even including getting Android Auto running on it! But when you can get a car like this for less than $20k, that means you have a bunch of young owners, probably in college, who have the skills and spare time to mess with that stuff and spend time on forums talking about it. There aren't likely to be many Tesla owners in college; they're likely to be middle-aged at the youngest, and have a McMansion and family to take care of; that's not someone who has a lot of free time to hack on car computers.
You sure about this? Because I am sure many of the Teslas are just leases and with how the calculation looks it's more interesting to get a new car at the end of the leasing period than to try to buy it out.
This seems to fly in the face of evidence, considering Tesla directly facilitates aftermarket sales:
Against that "Musk guaranteed the Model S would hold 50% of its value after three years, and he backed the assertion with his own private money."
which implies he's pretty keen on a healthy aftermarket.
It's an ideal car from my point of view. They're a necessary evil in most parts of the country, and the more they become like a 2-year contract iPhone the better.
For everyone else who makes sane financial decisions, we kind of want a car that will be repairable 10 years from now. Besides, the majority of people can't afford a new car anyway, and rely on the used-car market.
The people who buy used-cars will greatly appreciate long-term repairable cars, even if the "lease 5 cars over 10 years" crowd cycles through cars and flaunt their disposable income... someone is typically going to end up purchasing those 2-year old cars and then run with them until they die.
I'm not sure this is inherently bad or good. I don't like it personally, but I do see the reasoning. Self-driving cars probably shouldn't be hackable, and the first attempts need to be airtight as possible (what with the media jumping at every chance to spread FUD). But it concerns me that the days of opening the hood to hack away at your pickup truck might someday, largely, go away... That's not good for anyone.
There are at least two major components that "wear out" in power electronics - capacitors and power transistors. Traditional vacuum-impregnated motor winding insulation also has a wear-out mechanism.
Electrolytic capacitors have both an electrolyte breakdown and dryout at extended temperatures and voltage. Film capacitors also have a (much slower) dielectric breakdown. Power transistors have two wear-out mechanisms: one that is based on thermal cycling of the wire bonds and one that is based on thermal cycling of the solder between the transistor and direct-copper-bonded substrate.
Datacenter-scale UPS addresses both of these with field-replaceable modules. The main AC and DC capacitor banks are replaceable in advance of failure, and power transistors are field replaceable in much larger power modules, typically only after a failure.
Vacuum-impregnated motor winding insulation is typically not completely void-free. The high dV/dt that a direct-connected inverter imposes on the windings causes large repetitive voltage spikes across the winding insulation. The voltage spikes trigger partial discharge in the voids, which in turn erodes the insulation.
IMO, long-lived electric cars should at least have capacitor banks that are schedule-replaced, and drive modules that are replaceable after failure. With the level of diagnostics and history monitoring available today, we should be able to replace both components in advance of failure as well.
Do electric cars have lower maintenance, longer life, and higher reliability than ICE cars? Definitely, probably, and probably, respectively. But "lower", "longer", and "higher" don't mean "zero", "forever", and "infinite".
The Tesla vehicles are "missing" a lot of parts that rust, corrode, and cause engineering challenges. One of the main ones behind the exhaust system. Speak with a series of car mechanics and they'll invariably tell stories of cars that never received an oil change until something fails.
There are videos, pictures, and documentation of Tesla being able to swap drive trains, etc.
Put together, Tesla is able to better protect the frame and body from corrosion by separating it from the same parts that usually "Carry this along". That's a lot of text to say they reduce the surface area and mass of corrosion and failure prone parts.
This isn't to say I agree, but I find the information all fascinating (as a car guy). The best way to make a car, in my mind; more serviceable is to increase the protections from rust and corrosion. Otherwise a simple brake pad ends up being an entire brake system upon repair attempt. In regards to electronics; they can go in sealed compartments and be easily serviced. How awesome. They can also just as easily be replaced by a superior implementation.
Anyways, your post made me ramble a bit but I'm trying to determine if I agree with the original post or not.
I also have to compliment Ford on building a low maintenance vehicle that is also cheap and simple to repair when it does go wrong.
Pretty much (probably 100%) of all parts on the car are available super cheap as chinese replacements because the model was around for so long and so many of them are still on the road (I just replaced the car window regulator - normally a few hundred $$, got it on amazon delivered for $23).
Made to be serviced/repaired. Quite a bit of fun doing it too. You can pick one up for $2k and it will probably do another 200k miles no problem.
And the best bit? FAR FAR more environmentally friendly than a new Tesla. I'll leave that up to you to figure out ;)
(Learned this from experience installing Chinese-made replacement parts in my 90's VW)
I saw one for two Renault Espace models. The old one was so crumply compared to the new one, that the new one didn't even deploy airbags because there was no need. Both got top safety ratings when new.
You'll come away with the conclusion that the standard crash tests, which are well designed for common accidents, are still just a small minority of serious accidents.
And the most horrifying thing that I came away with is the number of wrecks where there is 'car' where the passengers should be. Even in trucks and SUVs.
The strongest cars ever built historically are still the strongest cars on the road, even though there have been some great innovations that they miss out on.
This is just for fun really, not trying to make a point with it, but this is an old Volvo destroying other cars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R95yOXPoR_s
Here's another video where the Volvo's passenger compartment doesn't even change shape while the other car's is completely crushed:
Although a downside is that, as the joke goes, "a Volvo doesn't need a crumple zone; it uses the other car." Not so good if the other car also happens to be a Volvo...
Verus newer cars the crumple roles are very much reserved
Electronic stability systems also do a great job of preventing a lot of crashes.
New in general is much better than old. But, it gets complicated.
The strength of the cage the passengers are in hasn't improved much, what has is how they behave in very specific crash tests. Go outside of that (go off a bank and roll down the hill over and over) and you'll find an old GL750 Volvo or '79 W116 merc will still have kept it's integrity in the passenger compartment (the doors will probably still open) where most modern cars would be crushed, passengers included.
Basically the bottom line is if you're going to buy an older car, get one that is still considered safe today. That leaves you with all mercs, volvos, most BMWs and Saabs from the post-airbag era. And get ABS - avoid the accident in the first place.
The common US and EU standard crash test don't cover all real world crash situations and it has been shown in various recent tests that many newer car that got a 5 star rating aren't that safe in the real world. They were specifically designed for the well known crash tests, if another car hits you in a different angel or overlap, you have bad luck. Watch old episodes of the Top Gears TV series where the drive in "christmas special episodes" through Africa, Asia, etc with old cars - old Mercs and Volvo's survived, other cars failed because of mechanic or electronic issues.
That's why people care about electric cars.
The model 3 (once you can actually get hold of it) will cost you $35,000 up front, plus about $7,000 in electricity for 200k miles at prices of 13-15c/kWh, plus about two battery replacements - battery lifetime is 8 years or 125k miles - at $10,000ish a pop - for a TCO of $62,000 plus repairs.
10,000 gallons of gas in 20 years equates to about 40 gallons per month. At $2/gallon, this is $80 per month. If you plug these into a compound interest calculator (https://www.investor.gov/tools/calculators/compound-interest...) with -$80 for the monthly addition, you find that at a 3.25% APR you can pay for your gas and still have the principal remaining at the end.
3.25% is currently higher than you can find for any US bank account, but as you say, there are definitely places in the world where this is possible. At 1% (still high by US current standards), you'd have $15,000 of your principal left at the end --- a $5,000 difference from not receiving any interest. Worth considering, but not too likely to be a deciding factor.
FWIW 3.25% happens to be exactly what a term deposit will pay here in mexico for 90 days+
I understand that banks in other countries wouldn't do that, however you don't have to take much more risk over a bank to get 3.25% in most of the world I would imagine
Here's an article showing the breakdown for California: http://watchdog.org/232083/california-gas-taxes/
And here's for New York:
But since the articles are using a different base price per gallon, I'm not sure what the actual difference is.
Here's a map comparing average San Francisco, California gasoline prices (one of the highest in the US) to Tucson, AZ (one of the lowest): http://charts.gasbuddy.com/ch.gaschart?Country=USA&Crude=t&P...
Highly dependent on where you live. Here in Texas it was $30,000 when gas was expensive; it would be $17,000 at current prices.
(I'm in the market for a cheap car and am genuinely interested in your answers ;-)
If somebody decides to replace their 2013 model, it's basically 100% odds of staying on the road, and that car being on the road maybe represents one less new car that could have been made. But person who buys the used 2013 might be selling their 2001 to someone who takes it and then scraps their 1992 model. The net effect is one new car being manufactured, and one old car being scrapped. We can't take each transaction in the chain and say "This sale prevented a new car from needing to be made and saved a bunch of energy and material costs, and so did this one, and so did this one."
That's only with respect to the manufacturing side, or what we'd call "embodied energy". There are considerations from ongoing costs too, like how the gas mileage (probably fine, I've clocked my 1998 Civic at around 32 MPG) or emissions (I have no idea) compare against a newer car.
I do appreciate your point, but I think people are far too afraid of older cars and they are scrapped too soon.
I was hoping to convince some folk in this tech community that old cars can be a good idea. Save money, have fun, help the environment. Hell, buy an old Rolls Royce... why not?!
Hell, I drive a 2003 model year car that isn't going anywhere.
I think what GP is getting at is if you start optimizing first for reuse, there's a lot of cars we wouldn't need to build.
1) Increase in total number of vehicles in use (relatively level 2008-2013, a quick google didn't find newer data)
2) Old vehicles taken off the road being replaced by new ones
The net effect of a particular person buying a slightly used car over a new one is basically nothing. The big picture only changes when people are choosing to keep an old car on the road for longer.
I can't find a free source of the data, but I know in my state 10+ year old auto registrations spiked from 2008 onwards.
So I'm going to disagree on "few hundred dollars", at least here in Canada where the road salt eats cars.
And tires, I see that as a consumable like gasoline, so wouldn't include that in the few hundred dollars.
That isn't the only concern though. In a high speed collision against a modern 5-Star vehicle the people in the Mercedes are pretty much toast.
I think it's possible you could upgrade the safety of an older vehicle in many ways, but realistically most owners never would beyond tires and modest braking improvements. And you'll probably not see "city stop" like systems or airbag cocoons become common aftermarket systems anytime soon.
I don't agree with your statement about the high speed collision though. If it's front on, the strength of the passenger compartment and the weight of your vehicle vs the other car are the most important thing, in which case the Mercedes is likely to come out even or better.
Check out the ~30mph crash test footage: http://youtu.be/8ye-EIymm2k
There's others on YouTube. It doesn't look pretty. A low belt-line doesn't help either (or so I've read, I'm not an automotive engineer).
I get the old car love. A P1800 or Volvo Amazon would be so cool. But you have to accept that even vehicles that were at the top of their game a decade ago are going to get the bad end of the stick in a wreck with a new vehicle. There's a 5th Gear video of a last-gen vs new Espace out there as well. Both 5-star rated at release. The new one absolutely demolished the old one. And we're talking about a much smaller time gap in releases here.
The W124 has only gotten more attractive with age. It's reliable and easy to service. It's better environmentally than running out and buying a Tesla. That's all admirable. and adults are totally capable of those outweigh safety for themselves.
But motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children and teens if you exclude suicide and cancer. If you could do something that would have a potentially large impact on that stat, as a parent, it's kind of hard to ignore.
(Which wow, that seems like a pretty stark class issue I've never considered before.)
Mine is an E320 wagon. Any W124 or W126 chassis is a good bet as it's before Merc started going down hill in build quality.
Although going by year is a little arbitrary (a 1995 honda vs a 2005 GM SUV?) I do support the concept.
Personally I'd like to see most city centers car free.
This is also completely ignoring the fact that older engines are more likely to have various parts of their engine and emission systems degrade over time, reducing their effectiveness.
Yes, bikes, mopeds, taxis, busses and trains would be more efficient than cars in many places, and electric versions of those are better for the environment too. (Special addendum defending electric bikes: the assumption here is that they displace car journeys not non-electric bike journeys.
Are you referring to this sort of analysis?
This is basically in tandem with the John Deere story - the consequences of proprietary software bleed into the physical world and cause an incredible amount of difficulty for people who do not even recognize what the problem is. Tesla can only get away with all this because of how digital the car is in the first place.
"Drives around car"
Alternatively, disconnect the steering column and drive off a cliff.
There are a thousand easy ways to kill yourself making uninformed modifications to any motor vehicle, by its nature. Its a ton of steel that goes up to a tenth the speed of sound. If anything, the reduced complexity of electric vehicles gives you fewer vectors for wrongdoing to screw yourself over. You can break any number of parts in a combustion engine to make it fail, whereas in an electric vehicle all you really have is steering column + drivetrain + battery pack.
Seems that the chance of death from a gasoline explosion is much greater than an electric shock (of which a gas engine also has through smaller wires traditionally over longer runs).
I've definitely had my share of gas spills working on cars and boats. There are also very high voltage sparks going on. Then a gasoline car has several moving parts w/ vibrations while electrical motors are relatively vibrationless (assumes less chance of vehicle falling on you).
Not that that really defends Tesla, though. Cutting off an owner from dealer parts supply because their car is salvaged is unprecedented as far as I know. And the cutthroat attitude that every part of the car is a trade secret is ridiculous.
I think the biggest challenge for Tesla when they release the Model 3 will be scaling up their service network while scaling down costs. $70,000 car owners are generally willing to pay $400-$800 every few years for a dealer service. $30,000 car owners aren't. And for most manufacturers, scaling dealer service is a franchise : they need to supply parts, training, and certification, not a whole service department. For Tesla, it's a brave entry into a challenging core business.
$400-$800 isn't too bad for basic maintenance.
Depending on the contract the relevant design information may also put in escrow in the event the manufacturer goes under and spares are no longer available.
For comparison, Zond and US Windpower died more than a decade ago but the owners are still keeping the machines going. It can be a challenge but it's not the end of the world.
So if regular maintenance items can be replaced, and body damage can be repaired, I don't see the complaint.
Source: Friend's Tesla recently needed some body work to repair a dented door.
As for the issue at hand, yes, it's mentioned nearly at the beginning of the book, when the narrator is discussing the motorcycles each character has and why they chose it, mentioning the two views. If I recall correctly, there's no discussion, it's simply there to give an example of the concept of quality that the author is trying to define. Anyone thinking that the book has anything to do with actual motorcycle maintenance (or worse, trying to use the advice) didn't understood the ideas and concepts of the book.
 The tinkerer, open view, exemplified with an old motorcycle (of which I don't remember the make) vs the "it just works", closed view, using a brand new BMW.
The difference is cars need regular maintenance and computers don't. The author is claiming maintenance on Tesla's is difficult, but he dismissed the point that they might not need regular maintenance like other cars.
I think only time will tell (a justification on most of his points) whether Tesla is the Mac of cars, or if Teslas still need regular maintenance.
Consumer Reports claims that Tesla does not have high reliability. Defective drivetrains are far more common than they should be.