It seems Tesla is deliberately ignoring or trying to squash the aftermarket/custom-car culture which has basically existed since cars existed... and in contrast, Chrysler/Ford/GM are happy to sell you parts like engines and transmissions without caring whether they'll even be used in a car, and have been doing so for literally decades, so obviously they're aware of and not worried about any legal liability issues.
- The perception that people have of how dangerous gasoline is, is greatly over exaggerated.
- The perception that people have of how dangerous high voltage drives and lithium batteries are, is greatly under exaggerated.
With 15 minutes I can give you enoguh pointers to have you tinkering your gas engine safely.
No such confort exists if you are going to tinker with your EV
There are several dozen other companies that manufacture electric cars, and they will sell you shop manuals to service things, including the main battery pack.
As an intellectual exercise, searching for "leaf evb pdf" might lead to manufacturer procedures for diagnosing and servicing an electric vehicle battery system (with safety recommendations).
I know this isn't tinkering per se, but maybe tesla will someday do the same.
Even well trained engineers get zapped sometimes with capacitors that should be discharged by actually aren’t.
Power electronics can be very unintuitive because most people are used to tinker first with low voltage electronics like PCs, arduinos and things like that.
And I would go further to mention magnetism. I think the model S with its ac motor might not rely on magnets, but the model 3 and other cars probably have powerful permanent magnets that require a completely different kind of caution.
I just hope we can forge a path now rather than later. We need future scientists and engineers to be safe but creative.
Ancedata says some of the big 3 do care. A guy down the road from me ordered 500 engines from Ford. They followed up on the order and when he explained they were for airplanes, they cancelled it, saying they didn't want to be liable for an automotive engine in a plane.
His plan to turn his custom plane into a kit stopped at a beautiful one-off that sits in his museum when he isn't flying it.
If he was going to put the engines in a tractor, I bet they would have sold them, but they didn't want to be liable for something in a plane.
*Edit - it was 1000 engines, not 500. Also found a link some might find interesting: http://stonehengeairmuseum.org/1992-montaniar
You can put pretty much any engine you want in an airplane you build yourself, as long as you comply with the (reasonably light) homebuilt regulations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebuilt_aircraft
If he was building an experimental amateur-built (E-AB) category airplane,
then there was likely no regulatory issue.
OTOH, something about this story doesn't entirely make sense: who would get to the point they were ready to drop six figures on buying engines without, y'know, checking the regulations?
While his plan involved extensive modification to the engine and resale, the easiest workaround is to have the customer order the engine and freight it to him for modification. It would be expensive, but I do not see how it would have been impossible. This kind of aircraft would have been expensive in any case.
It sounds like other issues may have been just as big of a factor here as Ford's lack of interest.
Right, what kind of guy is this? The kind who built a full size, accurate working Stonehenge just for fun.
> If he was building an experimental amateur-built (E-AB) category airplane, then there was likely no regulatory issue.
For good reason. I imagine if a few people dies because the engine as sold didn't perform well/stalled under certain aeronautical conditions (upside down, low air pressure, etc) then it wouldn't take long for the lawyer hired by the kit maker to start pointing at the big auto maker at every chance they got, even if it ultimately was something the kit maker did.
What I wonder is how well all the various car engines work upside down :)
Honda is working with some small aircraft makers on fitting their automotive engines for air uses, if your neighbour is still looking.
Since this whole Tesla parts thing came up, I've always found it ironic that you can easily buy an entire powertrain based on the stereotypical half-century-old American V8 design and put it into a not-so-safe hot-rod, register it and drive it on the road (not that I'm saying that's a bad thing --- I'm a car enthusiast myself), but Tesla will refuse to sell you even minor cosmetic parts and quote "safety" as one of the reasons (and meanwhile, their misleading advertising for "autopilot" continues to generate deaths.)
edit: I see someone else had the exact same question with almost the exact same word choice too!
Plenty of people are willing to aid them. Go on Reddit and you'll find that it's impossible to have an adult discussion of repairs or modifications more involved than parts swapping without being drowned out by people screaming "hurr durr, muh public safety" or just down-voted into oblivion. You'll find no shortage of people willing to tell you that industry standard modifications (like lengthening truck frames), repairs (like welding cracks in steel wheels) or anything that modifies how a vehicle handles compared to stock configuration (like a lift kit on a Jeep) are fundamentally a danger to the public.
Edit: I dunno why I was optimistic that HN would be any better.
But this is Tesla and Tesla doesn't have the same rules.
That's how you get wheels falling off from not being torqued, bearing failing prematurely, brakes improperly adjusted or pads popping out, and the list goes on.
Unless you have a tech you know and trust (preferably an independent garage) do not rely on the fact they are licensed to guarantee safety. I could spend the next hour listing off instances of shoddy or incomplete work by licensed folks.
Almost all of this as applied to hobbyists is corruption.
The amount of danger you can put yourself or others in without any involvement of automobiles is immense.
If you build an electrical device improperly it may catch fire and burn down your house and your neighbor's house and spread from there.
If you mix the wrong chemicals together you can cause an explosion, or produce poison gas, or create a large volume of something difficult to safely dispose of. These chemicals include things like propane and household cleaners that are available to anyone.
If you maintain unsanitary conditions where you live you can contract diseases that are communicable to others.
What prevents this from being more common is by and large not regulations and inspections of private citizens. It's the fact that people don't want uncontrolled fires or poison gas or staphylococcus and are generally cautious when doing things that are potentially dangerous.
And people don't want to destroy their $30,000 car or kill anyone either.
That's the point.
Assuming their assessment is correct, that a non-Tesla employed mechanic doesn’t have the training or quality controls, then my response to Tesla would be: “Document these quality controls and release sufficient information to allow a mechanic to become trained and qualified.”
In my view making this kind of information available should be required by law for any product.
AFAIK in the case of automobiles, it is already required by U.S. law. It is my understanding that they are obligated to make the same materials available to third party mechanics that they do to their own.
One, they have an online parts catalog. Except, where pricing and purchase information are supposed to be listed, they say "Contact Tesla". For everything. Down to the most inane of bolts and nuts.
So you could "Contact Tesla". Who will tell you that you are unable to order any of those parts. Down to the most inane of bolts and nuts.
Or you could go to MA, where they are required to provide servicing information. How does that work?
You call ahead, and make an appointment. You also pay a fee which, the last time I heard, was $295.
When your appointment arrives you show up at the location and are lead into a room. You are not allowed: a cell phone, a camera, or a laptop, any "audio and/or video recording device". Handwritten notes only. And you have a time limit.
That's Tesla's "commitment to corporate transparency" (the same one they quoted when they bailed out of an NTSB investigation), and their "approach to third party repair" in a nutshell.
How else are we going to save the environment if we don't switch to cars that are as disposable as smartphones?
It is, but they can charge some amount for it (not prohibitively though). The biggest problems in R2R generally in the U.S. seem to stem from misuse of the DMCA as a mechanism to prevent modification of physical goods by making those goods rely on what they can argue are copyright protection devices (and thus difficult to legally circumvent).
This culture ("F your emissions controls," "I the lay blue collar know better than the committes of degreed engineers who designed the thing") has never cared about safety, nor has the aftermarket ("fitness for purpose, engineering, warranty... to hell with all that, the only requirement for our product is that some idiot should buy it")
Improperly repaired and modified cars are a detriment to the safety of others on the road, but wishing the problem away like Tesla is doing is not going to help anything, they need to publish and make accessible the documentation like the real car makers do.
Mechanical failure is a fart in a hurricane compared to human factors (distraction, alcohol, run of the mill stupidity) when it comes to dangerous things on the road. Regulating mechanical condition is exponentially less effective once you start caring about more than the most basic things (e.g. heavy trucks with bald tires). That's why a handful of states have created then scrapped vehicle inspection programs. I get that it bothers people but mechanical failure is a tiny edge case compared to everything else. Why bother, there's other better things to spend our resources regulating if road safety is the goal. If mechanical condition mattered more than trivially this would be reflected in insurance rated between states with/without regulation covering this (inspection programs).
In my experience shitboxes with mufflers falling off and rust holes are more likely to damage community image than anything else.
Rust that's more than superficial can lead to structural failure, and improper crash repairs can cause this. These are definitely situations that leave the vehicle in a lesser state of crashworthiness.
A compromised exhaust frequently leads to more exhaust entering the cabin.
This gets into the roots of my socialist beliefs as caring for our injured comrades brings us all down. There are always better things to send effort and resources to than dealing with the loss of productivity, the costs to deal with whatever damage, and misery of loved ones.
Part of the reason is probably that cars (even in rust prone areas) don't rust nearly as quickly as they used to, and everything else on the vehicle, e.g. tires, brakes, suspension are much better and (in the case of suspension components at least) require much less regular maintenance. There's just no low-hanging fruit any more. GP is right, resources are better spent elsewhere.
Says vehicle inspections were considered and repeatedly rejected.
Regulation is not socialism. And being in favor of regulation or socialism shouldn't mean that you are against intelligent regulations that take into account costs and benefits.
I'll take streets full of gearheads tinkering with their cars over soccer moms ignoring grinding brakes until the rotor disc completely separates from the hat/hub any day.
With ICEs it's somewhat necessary to become more obnoxious in pursuit of greater performance. Faster ICE-powered cars tend to be noisier and stinkier, it's somewhat inherent.
Gearheads in the EV-era will be a lot less visible. You won't know who has upgraded their batteries, controllers, and motors. I wish Tesla would take a different stance on this and instead embrace and support the grassroots motorsports scene. GM Performance has already announced an EV crate motor, so it looks like GM might be taking the lead here.
The gearheads just have their cars sitting there in non-running condition while they tinker. The soccer moms are driving around with noisy distractions in the back seat.
(Only halfway joking. I have 4 kids.)
States with regular inspections tend to have more expensive cars, higher wealth, higher traffic density and so on. Those factors are going to drive insurance rates up as well.
People have been building electric cars independently for a long time, but it is a smaller culture since some of the parts (particularly the motors) are not commodities yet.
Let's not be pedantic - the ICE culture is millions strong, and generations old.
If you imagine batteries are much more dangerous to handle than mechanical car parts containing gasoline, you are not sufficiently familiar with gasoline.
> and software is much more important in a Tesla on the road
Doing things in software doesn't make them more dangerous than doing them mechanically. Removing the speed governor or modifications that increase power output have the same consequences whether they are implemented in software or hardware.
I wish I could find you a reference right now, but the FDA would strongly disagree with you.
Lithium batteries typically don't contain acid.
If your modified gas engine seems to work, you are quite safe. If your modified Tesla seems to work, it might well explode the next second..
I think you are overstating your case. I have seen cars on fire by the side of the road...although it is possible it started with an electrical fault.
I believe that it's not that rare for a model of car I own to have a leak develop in the fuel lines and drip fuel onto a hot manifold and start a fire.
You're making the classic mistake of assuming lithium-ion batteries contain metallic lithium --- it's called lithium-ion for a reason. Primary lithium cells, which are basically never used for EVs, do contain metallic lithium; but lion cells contain lithium salts and a dissolved solution of lithium ions in the electrolyte.
The electrolyte is a flammable organic solvent, but not more so than petrol. Lion batteries catch fire because the massive energy they store is released when damaged, and that ignites the electrolyte.
Battery fires can be hard to put out, but it's a solid component designed to keep the fire from spreading outside of it. If gasoline reignites you better hope you didn't get any on you.
Like any big company, they demonstrate every day why it’s so important to have independent service. As a company, they are too incompetent to run retail outlets, unable to supply spare parts for cars that are mostly unchanged year to to year, and unable to actually repair cars in the handful of service centers that exist.
Hopefully the successor company that buys them out doesn’t go down this path.
John Deere managed to do this https://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/ so it's all the history repeating. And I agree with you, the dysfunctional anticonsumer regulatory environment enabled this.
Can't use it anymore without installing a firmware upgrade now. Turns out, I have a license to use the device, just not to own it.
Slightly offtopic, but I recently bought a kindle paperwhite and jailbroke it. The process was a bit challenging but definitely worth it and makes it impossible for Amazon to mess with it.
I mean, none of us actually want to own a bus or a train, we just get on them and get off again when it's convenient for us. I have no interest in thinking about maintenance or service intervals or age of replacement or even how to actually 'drive' one.
What if that's the direction cars are going?
I understand that currently personal car ownership is deeply, deeply ingrained in the American psyche, but I do believe there can be a future where we don't own a car each, but rather just get in and out of them as they drive around autonomously. Why deal with paying for tires and brake pads if you don't have to?
I mean, I'm a car guy, and I'll probably always want to own some kind of "fun to drive car", but then again, I'm a dinosaur at 37, and to be honest if I'm just going into a city with mind-numbing driving I'd rather take public transit anyway. The stats on how few people under 30 don't even have (or want) a license clearly points to some changes coming.
If you don't want to be part of it, just don't buy one and wait until the transition is complete.
1. They have massive 375 volt batteries that could absolutely kill you if you're a little bit careless.
2. They have that "autopilot" mode. And that feature receives OTA updates from Tesla. I could see improper service causing problems with autopilot that would put other people (drivers and pedestrians) at risk.
Maybe a solution is to separate some of the software features of a car (like autopilot) from the mechanical aspects. If you repair your car yourself, maybe losing out on autopilot and the like is a fair deal.
Homes have electricity. It can easily kill you if you're careless.
> 2. They have that "autopilot" mode. And that feature receives OTA updates from Tesla. I could see improper service causing problems with autopilot that would put other people (drivers and pedestrians) at risk.
Then the autopilot system is inadequate. Not tightening your lug nuts could cause your tire to come off at highway speeds. What's you're point?
I'm pretty sure the point is that designing software to run in specific conditions is different than designing software capable of running in all conditions. This isn't just about the driver, it's about other people on the road and pedestrians. Just because the autopilot is sufficient to drive the car under the constraints the car ships with doesn't mean it's sufficient if the motors are putting out significantly more or less power, and its ability to detect this if it exists is somehow compromised.
Tightening your lug nuts is fairly straightforward and easy. Verifying physical functionality of an AI driving system is not. The only safe way to react if it can detect the system is not as it should be is to disable itself and require manual driving. It should do this in the case of standard components operating outside of acceptable specifications as well.
Unless you're playing on the input side of the meter-box, it's extremely unlikely you'll be killed in any kind of modern building with a mandated-by-law earth leakage device.
Not saying I agree or disagree with the line of reasoning here, but there is plenty of current even in a North American 2-phase house's wiring to kill someone pretty quickly, no matter how well grounded the system is.
The rest of the circuits are not mandated to have GFCI (the correct acronym for those "earth leakage device[s]") interrupters, and so those circuits /could/ kill you if you were not careful. Yes, it becomes marginally more difficult without easy access to water or a concrete floor, but is still quite possible.
Somehow, however, we manage just fine.
On autopilot mode: if it doesn't have a self test of the sensors it depends on, there is a big problem already. Actually conventional cars have electric power steering which you could argue has similar risks.
There are more dangerous consumer goods. For example, microwave ovens have 3000 V power supplies at significant current: this is the voltage level used for executions. One mistake and you're dead.
If you break down on the side of the highway, what then? Where does the car get towed?
They absolutely have ways to book appointments at their service centers and provide loaner cars.
I can barely put 100k € in cash on the table and leave their place with a car and you tell me they have loaners like nothing standing around?
And for the whole of Germany there are 10 service centers listed on their website. That will be a long trip for a repair.
But what are they going to do? Carry around whole drivetrains in their "Service Car Model X" that comes to your house? Even if so, you need specialized equipment, hydraulic lifts etc. to repair things like that.
So what will their options be if they do not have their own (service) shops anymore except than picking up your car, bringing it to _whereever_ and fixing it there?
I don't see any and I think this can and will probably fire back on them.
They are not closing their service centers. They are closing the showrooms. They are totally separate locations. The showrooms are usually located in malls.
I think people are right to be skeptical, buying an automobile is a major financial decision for most folks, and warranty/repair is a very important part of that story.
Learned a new word today. Thanks. :-D
Rich is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to start his own shop, which I am not to sure about. So far they have invested in wheel balancers and alignment equipment, which has nothing to do with EV's, that's just car maintenance.
The dramatic fire happens after the Tesla batteries go in. Luckily some quick thinking saved the day and no buildings were burned to the ground.
Regarding his ambitions for a shop, I think that there is demand for the services of someone who knows the innards of the Tesla and happens to have a lot of spare parts. If a Tesla owner is going to have their car in repair for months and they have the choice of someone else having a look at it, to maybe fix it for less than what Tesla would charge then there is a niche there.
The crowdfunding is also about publicity. Sadly banks don't invest in businesses as a general rule, hence the crowdfunding option beckons for many people who should be able to go to the bank with a business plan, borrow the money at today's low interest rates and pay it off.
With crowdfunding you have to pay the funders something or be begging on a charitable basis. With the bank it should be a straightforward business proposition.
Anyway, I wish Rich the best of success and his willingness to show incidents such as the fire.
I haven't seen really any commonality among packs or even motor designs. I am sure with sufficient volume the motors will eventually be a part that can be rebuilt, replaced, and such, but unless there is an industry move towards a standardized pack design its pretty much going to be full replacement and at the behest of the manufacturer.
Owning a TM3 my only real fear is an accident that requires replacement parts. My auto insurance is slightly higher than normal as my agent stated its flagged as difficult to repair and costly. The cost factor includes length of rental reimbursement.
People like to put EV adoption solely on range anxiety and some point to charging but long term it is also come down to ease of service and that must include choice of who does that.
This is a term that irritates me every time I see it. EVs have a range problem. You can't drive them long distances without running into charging issues and doing careful planning around it. Telsa has longer range and their network of charging stations, but it still requires planning to deal with. This is an issue with the cars, and to call it "range anxiety" feels like making it some kind of perceptual issue with the driver. Like hey dude, get over it. In my mind this is a subtle way to blame shift from the technology to the would-be customers. Tesla being the one company taking it the most seriously and providing good range and a network of fairly quick chargers. But still, cars don't have anxiety - people do and the problem here is the cars don't meet peoples expectations.
Have you met the types that compare EVs with 250+ mile range to the batteries in their electric weed eater? And act like an electric car will never work, because it could just konk out on you without warning? These aren't real things that happen.
Range problems (extra time taken, lack of chargers in certain parts of the country, etc) is a very different and also perfectly rational concern.
It doesn't help that people often conflate the two.
You do get over it. It takes a while to realize that you generally will have a full charge every day and you stop looking at the gauge.
But it's still a problem with the vehicle. Go ahead, take your EV on a cross country trip.
I worked on the Focus Electric and realized I couldn't even use it as a daily commuter without paying extra attention. Most days it would be more than adequate, but if for some reason I wanted to make a detour from my daily drive - like up to our motor manufacturing plant - it would not make it on the overnight charge. Granted, that car has fairly short range. A Tesla (or Rivian) should go all day in local driving, so they punt the range problem down the road to mostly long trips. But it's still a problem compared to ICE vehicles.
My problem with the wording is this: The shortcomings of EVs rightly cause anxiety in people. But lets stop focusing on the anxiety in the humans and start talking about the issues with EVs. Until companies change that attitude, they'll make things like the Focus, Leaf, Volt. Yeah, I think the Volt was a mistake but some people love it and feel that it addressed the range issue nicely. It did address the issues head on, just not in a way that I like.
If my car always gets 25 mpg or more, and it's got a gallon left, I could have some uncertainty about how far it is to the gas station, or exactly how much fuel I have, but I'm confident that my remaining range is going to be very close to 25 mpg x gallons left. Summer or winter, it's not going to be that different.
On the other hand, if I had an electric car that says I have 25 miles left, based on all my experience with batteries, I presume that is based on a complicated model that may be way off in accuracy with no warning. It also may decline in a very nonlinear and unexpected way. Particularly in extreme weather.
Of course, in reality my gas car stops reporting a miles remaining # when it gets to ~20 miles, for these reasons as well. It turns out that my experience with gas cars is that its based on a non-complicated model that may be way off in accuracy with some warning. :) Interestingly, it also declines in nonlinear and unexpected ways sometimes, though I haven't correlated it to weather.
Upside variation is not equivalent to downside variation. It seems to me like sophistry to say, well, it's tolerable for a battery to have 30% unexpected downside because a gas car has 30% upside when you go on the interstate (which would never be a surprise anyway).
If I have a car that gets 26 mpg in "city" driving, then I feel secure that it will not get significantly less at the worst possible moment, unless there is a major engine problem.
That said, I think the automotive parts industry is an incredible achievement and I’m constantly blown away by the availability of stuff.
Btw I run howacarworks.com and I’m working on a parts-based startup. I’d love to pick your brains. Drop me an email: email@example.com.
Usually cheap after market replacement parts in phones really act according to their price. I haven't seen a quality replacement part for these prices. Nothing close to the original anyway. As anecdata, every case I know where an iPhone screen was replaced with a cheap AM part it ended up being replaced again later with an official one. I'm not talking about Apple induced issues but problems with colors, banding, viewing angles, glare, touch response, thickness, etc. These are random articles I found while looking for pictures that highlight these issues  . I'm sure this can very well extend to batteries or cameras.
This may be acceptable for a phone (even in the $1000 range) but in a car it poses a genuine safety risk. Also it undermines the premise of the original expenditure with the car. If you invest $50.000 in a car you may have an incentive to not use a low quality battery pack for example.
And if you have a phone which is worth the investment, you'll likely pay more for the better replacement part. Maybe take it to the Apple store rather than the shady kiosk on the corner.
Likewise, there are a range of quality/price options for replacement auto parts. If I'm working on a car that cost me $1800 and is on its last legs, the aftermarket part for half the price of OEM is fine, even if it's only expected to last half as long.
People are perfectly capable of making those judgements calls and weighing the tradeoffs, as proven by the market for both phone parts and auto parts.
The battery itself /may/ be something of an exception. I'd imagine as they become more commoditized that concern will become less applicable.
You spent $50K on a car, you don't invest in a car, outside of some of very specific cases (some classic cars and some exotics that are reasonably expected to increase in value).
Obviously, not everyone has that problem, but distance to a dealer is on my mind, even for my ICE vehicles and it is "only" an hour away. I wouldn't want to go any farther than that.
People in general are poorer than they were 20 years ago, and that trend isn’t going away. Outside of the cohorts if folks who buy cars every 3 years, I think the values of EVs will crater as the novelty fades and repairs are a big question mark.
We’re probably drinking more coffee, buying and consuming more passive entertainment, games, flat screen TVs, and disposable everything.
In summary, if you want to live like someone in the 1920s, with 1920s technology, 1920s mobility, 1920s education and 1920s health care, all while defending your country with a 1920s military, you'd probably struggle to know how to spend your inordinate wealth.
Real income is, by definition, after inflation.
I'm honestly a little dumbfounded this is even a subject that people seem to be debating here. It's not a matter of "people in 2019 just have so much more darn stuff to buy than people in 1979 did."
Your second link shows cohorts other than the bottom 10th percentile showing real wage gains as well (see figure 3 both charted series and figure 4 2 out of 3 of the series).
Spooky23 introduced data to show a modest increase in real wages in the last 10 years.
It's great that I can get a decent laptop for $400, instead of $1,600, but that's barely a blip on my spending.
It should be no surprise that some categories have increased more than the average and others less.
An alternative scenario is synthetic fuels or hydrogen. But so far EV seems to most established solution.
Auto dealers will lose alot of revenue to EV. Every media outlet in every major and minor metro areas is dependent on auto dealers, and their message will get out. Every local politician knows the local auto dealers. Automotive is like 5% of private sector employment. The backlash will be huge for anything threatening to kill the golden goose. Nobody has an interest to care about carbon emissions.
EVs don't work for lots and lots of people as well. Half the people on my block don't have driveways. Millions of people live in apartments. Those folks are stuck as second class EV citizens. It will take a long time to build out charging infrastructure, and you'll have alot of resistance from citizens to EV mandates.
My guess is that you'll see EVs slowly climb up and stall out from a growth POV in the US until you see disruptive fuel cost increases.
Executives of automobile manufacturers are stuck so deep in the backs of our politicians that you can see them once they open their mouth.
After everything that happened around VW and "Dieselgate" nothing happened or changed. It's just depressing to see how this crisis is dealt with by doing nothing because manufacturers threaten with loss of workforce in Wolfsburg etc.
At the same time, the world outside Germany is not sitting still. If German manufactures do not make electric cars, companies in other countries will.
There is no reason to expect German car companies to lead in EV cars. But once demand and infrastructure is there, they simply have to provide EV models in a large part of the world or risk becoming obsolete.
So my estimate is that within one decade, most car companies will have quite a few EV models. Then there may even be an incentive to kill off support for car IC engines. I.e. maintaining one platform (for EV cars) is cheaper than maintaining one for EV and one for IC.
With the budgets companies like Mercedes, BMW or VW have, all they can deliver is the "I got money to burn"-i8, an electric smart at ridiculous prices or some concept studies like the GLC-based electric vehicle that Mercedes is planning to build. (Didn't have a closer look into the eGolf, maybe that one is solid, but as VW did what it did, I think it's dead, at least for me.)
So much money, so little innovation. I don't really get that. They all know how to build solid cars, but they fail, on purpose (?!?) so badly at EVs.
The next car I will buy, or will have provided by my company, will surely be an electric one. Maybe a KIA, Hyundai, or Renault, not sure yet. But I don't see any "German car" really up for comparison with things like the Zoe, Niro, Kona.
Well, I'm not saying it's a fantastic car, but given the existence of the i3, I think you are overstating your case.
His YouTube channel is here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfV0_wbjG8KJADuZT2ct4SA
Once you get to the level at which you're comfortable working on any one of the subsystems alone there's a snowball effect. Rebuilding a flooded car isn't fundamentally harder than any individual repair. It's just a bigger job. It's mostly a question of available resources (space and cash flow being the two most common bottlenecks) and motivation.
If you read the article, his net cost for the one Tesla he drives was $6500. This is because he bought two junked cars for about $30k, assembled the one "Good" car out of the combined parts, then was able to resell the remaining duplicate good parts for the difference.
> bet $30k on a broken car
and spending $30k on your "hobby". I think it's just a shift in mindset.
That said I absolutely support what this guy is doing, I'm just saying allowing your highly computerized car to also be hackable without adding new safety risks adds a lot of engineering expense to it and I can see why Tesla doesn't want to allow that. I don't want people messing with the source code of my libraries that I release and then suing me when they unsuccessfully tried using it to calculate how much fuel their plane has left.
When I started to become concerned about the mass weaponization of autonomous systems I looked into what was actually happening in the field. Tesla is by far the safest out of any consumer-car company with respect to cybersecurity. (Waymo is safer, but their cars aren't in the possession of consumers yet.)
There are some other car companies (e.g., Audi) that are better than others, but many of them are downright disasters. Because many large car manufacturers refused to sell tools to engage the software that is used in cars, but mechanics want to interact with it anyway, what they've resorted to doing is relying on third party diagnostic tools. Most of the times these tools are running some horrible out of date version of linux or, if they're lucky, an Arduino.
Many of the components within automotives are vulnerable. Ironically, some that tried to take safety seriously often bought into promises from vendors that didn't work out as expected. For example, QNX was damn vulnerable (broken SRNG, admin password backdoor, etc) and it's in countless subcomponents of vehicles of many types, including cars, but also military tanks and freight trucks. (I've even heard that it's been used in scarier stuff, like nuclear power plants, but that's third hand.)
Anyway, I don't have all the answers or information, but at least as things stand right now, I'm with Tesla on this one. The last thing we want for our computerized cars is Joe programmer teaming up with Jane mechanic thinking they know what they're doing when they don't.
Longer term I think driving on public roads should itself be illegal once things are autonomous, but even then, allowing hacked autonomous cars on the road are still a problem. It points towards a future where self-owned cars just aren't allowed on roads anymore. If you traveled in time 300 years and landed on the spot a major highway existed in the present, what would be there?
the road :) that's your line. a hundred years from now.
I think they just don't want the hassle, AFAIK they keep the ECU mostly a black box even to first-party mechanics as well (because in the U.S. if they show it to their first party mechanics, they are generally obligated to sell it to third parties at a reasonable price as well). Third party, and even open source, ECUs do work well though (emissions control being a bit more difficult to get right, mind you, and some of these projects are mostly abandoned by now); I don't think it's really that hard to swap it out, the sensors are mostly passive components.
Larry Ellison can shove it. People are going to figure out how to repair their own vehicle no matter what. You can't hide DIY information like that, someone will eventually figure it out and document it.
To lawmakers - the "Right to Repair" law clearly has a loophole. What is to stop other auto manufacturers from going to an online only sales model in order to bypass the law? Might wanna fix that.
Rich is a true engineering rock star for pulling off what he did with the Tesla. And I fully support his right to do so and think Tesla should be more supportive to the backyard mechanics. But if he was trying to do the same thing by kludging together a couple of broken, fully-autonomous cars? I think that is where I would draw the line.
Absolutely you do. I expect there to be a certain amount of certification and oversight in safety critical systems - perhaps similar to how the FAA regulates repair and maintenance for general aviation.
For that matter, would you be OK with Tesla open sourcing their existing lane keeping/auto pilot system so current owners could hack it however they want?
The reality is level 5 is a pipe-dream except for a few situations and I don't expect to ever see it widespread until they resolve the situation where the road is snow-covered, ditch is full of snow so can not be easily identified, it's snowing moderately heavy and there's oncoming traffic, while driving at night. Oh, and it's in a rural area so maps are somewhat lacking in accuracy. When that happens I'll believe it.
EVs are an unknown quantity for most people, if someone repaired their Tesla badly and something happened, all that would be reported is 'Tesla catches fire', but you wouldn't see 'petrol powered Ford catches fire'.
So I think its understandable that Tesla would want to be protective. That's not to say that I think they should be allowed to do it though. One would hope that there's an independent testing regime to check that the car is actually roadworthy.
Surely the battery is a petrol tank, and electricity, petrol.
Something burns releasing energy. An empty battery will release less energy than a full one, just like a burning fuel tank.
Wife and I were seriously considering a used Model S but there is no chance we'd go through what he did to buy a used car.
So is the notion they can.
What's truly at stake here is the right to try.
Imagine a "mechanic" who duct-tapes it, then charge it, the person can put everything on fire and injure people. Then others will sue Tesla. I haven't heard of mechanic setting regular cars on fire when repairing them though.
I understand the right of owners to repair their propriety, especially in a time where we consume too much stuff, but a Tesla is just to dangerous for people to work with.
There are plenty of ways to get cars with gasoline engines to catch fire, and any attempts to sue every other manufacturer over the poor work of shade-tree mechanics is already something that has been dealt with for decades.
Moreover there are other manufacturers that are long as annoying to deal with as Tesla, particularly exotics -- they're just that, annoying -- that do things by the book, no worse than any certified manufacturer mechanic.
Hell, some independents are invaluable. My personal mechanic has had to have video calls with Porsche Classic (in Stuttgart) to tell them how Porsche badly did work (at great expense) on cars like the 959, that he then had to do right, because Porsche's official Classic restoration shop effed it up. He's functionally restoring lost knowledge at Porsche because the domain knowledge of those cars was lost -- and you'll find independent mechanics for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, etc. that are also equally invaluable to keep classics running and dead reliable, and helping the manufacturers out by providing training, and ensuring there's a (very profitable) customer base with an interest for the old metal.
I buy and repair/flip lots of popular used commodity cars -- including hybrids -- as a hobby. Hybrids are increasingly popular for me because there's demand, and most mechanics haven't bothered with them yet, so it's a pretty easy $1800 - $2500 to turn around a Prius that needed a rebuilt battery from a reliable battery re-manufacturer that stands by 6-year warranties on their battery packs.
I've met Rich a few times at car shows. He's not a knucklehead, and Teslas aren't rocket surgery. Those battery packs are a different beast than the 40-50kg packs in a hybrid, but if you can remove a rear subframe with the engine, transaxle and rear suspension from a mid-or-rear engine sports car with a 6-to-12 cylinder, you're ready for a Tesla battery pack replacement.
I think the problem might be that a lot of people will assume replacing the battery in a Tesla isn't much different from replacing the battery in their 1998 Toyota.
Electric cars are kind of new, and it will take a while for our culture to catch up.
You clearly haven't been around many repair shops or performed your own auto maintenance. It's not that hard and does happen from time to time.
Another thing to think about is how many times have I heard of stories where a mechanic or oil change tech forgets to tighten something, oil or fuel leaks, drips onto the hot exhaust manifold and starts an engine fire... while driving.
The properties that make engine oil last thousands of miles without breaking down in the conditions you find inside an engine also make it very hard to ignite if not mixed with something more flammable (trust me, I've tried, it won't stay lit on its own). Fluid based vehicle fires are usually the result of transmission fluid or power steering fluid which are more flammable. Fuel based fires are pretty rare (for how flammable gasoline is) because safety standards all but require OEMs to over-build the fuel systems. Also due to the nature of engine designs (you kind of need the exhaust ports on the head so the manifold goes somewhere therabouts) it's quite rare to have a situation where it's possible for an engine oil leak to reach exhaust system parts in any appreciable volume. Remember, if you're losing that much oil the car will likely stop for other reasons long before it catches fire.
A bad repair is not on tesla, it's on the mechanic doing the work.
With the degree of autonomy that cars like Tesla come with, there are whole new battlefields which courts will have to figure out first.
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. There regulations for what you can and can't drive on the road. If you're talking about someone setting fire to their car and hurting themselves or others, they'd be liable.