This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
At the same time, Tesla's attention to quality and perfection and what-have-you will end up in them being heavily scrutinised. It's not that different from Apple in that respect; random mp3 player breaks, no problem. iPod breaks and the torches and pitchforks come into view.
According to statements from the company, the media coverage after the fires last year caused a sharp decline in the rate of Model S reservations. It has since recovered, but after these events Tesla started viewing poor public perception as an existential threat. The reasoning is that new and unfamiliar technology (battery propulsion) is scrutinized very, very closely and held to a much higher standard than the status quo. This is evident from the ridiculous headlines every time a Model S is involved in a fire. (Garage fires, house fires from unrelated accidents and the two floorpan fires + the high-speed crash referenced in the article). Poor public perception equals lower sales to an already skeptical public, and perhaps the second demise of the electric car.
A different strategy than the one Tesla is pursuing, would be to not change anything and just repeat the (correct) message that their electric cars are statistically much less likely to catch fire than a gasoline automobile. But this leaves them wide-open to PR attacks from skeptics and the established auto industry the next time an inevitable fire occurs. It's already been firmly established that there is a big PR machinery which will jump on any opportunity to call Tesla's technology into question - and there will be plenty of competition from the incumbent manufacturers. They're playing it safe.
This is how media bias works. They take something trivial like a car fire and make it the most important news item of the day. People start to think it's happening everywhere. There are billions of "newsworthy" things happening all the time. The selection of stories and insinuation layered on top of them by the news media can easily drive agendas and influence the public.
Edit: I see, someone else has quoted Schneier exactly on that already: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7487144
I personally would love to see normalized fire figures for other manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, etc.
Considering that a "random mp3 player" costs $6 on Amazon and that an Apple iPod costs over $200, I'd say people are totally justified to get upset. They spent the extra money expecting a product whose quality matched its price.
I'd say this is true of cars as well. When your used Ford Escort breaks down, you're hardly going to be surprised. When your exceedingly expensive Tesla breaks down and/or catches fire, you're going to be a tad upset.
That said, I'd say people lose all rights to be upset when they are the cause of the malfunction. You can't be too upset at a broken iPod after you drop it down a flight of stairs, and you can't be too upset at your Tesla catching fire after you ran it into a tree at 110 MPH. (I'm not saying the Tesla driver was upset mind you- I think all the Tesla hate is just coming from frightened car manufactures and the media.)
Actually the doctor who owned one of the Tesla cars that caught fire said the car saved his life. He was happy to have been in a Tesla and was going to buy another one (before Musk actually gave him a replacement).
Yes, the payment is higher, but I'd have no fuel expenses (currently ~$350/month), so technically its only $450 more a month (3 hours of my time).
I'm not worried about going with the smaller pack; it only takes 90 seconds to swap it with a new, higher capacity pack down the road.
What do we consider affordable? I haven't had the time to do this, but you could take US Census data (average/median income per zip code), derive a formula for percentrage of income someone can spend on transportation, and thereby determine what affordable is.
A Model S is definitely a luxury item at this time; on the other hand, if it was self-driving, and could roll into bays to recharge all in software, with access being on-demand (Uber, with no drivers), they wouldn't be expensive. It would be the same as a company buying airplanes and selling seats on said expensive aircraft.
Maybe we're looking at Tesla wrong. They're not selling luxury cars; they're bootstrapping a mobility company by selling to the wealthy.
I would agree with this statement 100%.
Model S vs the new Corvette Stingray
If you need more power than that, you might as well bolt a turbine engine on your car.
"1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car"
That sounds significant to me. It might be worth it but there are other ways to spend that time and money.
The high valuation of this company is equally irrational. It's a massive speculative play, so there's a load of volatility.
A plane? How about a plane with 200+ innocent, unsuspecting people on board goes missing, and all are now presumed dead? It's woefully ignorant to think the story is about the plane.
Anyway it's a bit of a Streisand effect. They are focusing on something and making it stand out even more.
When in the minds of the general public it very well would be forgotten. Or not even known about. Not everyone pays attention to what the tech press says, what hackers think, or what Road and Track cares about.
Lastly they are attaching a negative to a positive emotion buying experience. People buy cars on emotion. And the whole idea of discussing safety and accidents in this detail on something that is an emotional purchase doesn't work in my opinion. It's raining on the mind game parade.
Do you mean ridiculous as in you believe that he is exaggerating, or ridiculous as in it is amazing that the car held up so well? I doubt that he would simply make up verifiable facts concerning a specific, well publicized accident to make his company look better. That said, it is quite clear from these facts that this driver is lucky to be breathing today regardless of what kind of car he was driving. If the guy had died, Elon would be talking about how such an extreme accident wouldn't be survivable in any car.
This being an edge case, it doesn't really sway me either way, but it is undeniable that Tesla automobiles are very safe relative to others. He is justifiably incensed at the negative media attention surrounding a very small number of incidents.
Remember the unintended acceleration crock?
Popular belief has there being an acceleration problem with Toyota cars. Slightly less popular is the correction that in fact it was all just senile old people and floor mats, nothing to do with the computers. Far less common is the correction that there were in fact technical problems with the cars.
Similarly popular belief has the McDonald's coffee lawsuit being absurd, because "everyone knows that coffee is hot and how much damage can it cause anyway?". Slightly less popular is the correction that the burns were in fact horrific and the coffee was stunningly hot, far hotter than industry standard. Far less common is the further correction that in fact McDonald's coffee was being served at an industry standard temperature, where "industry standard" is defined as how other companies also serve their coffee (Starbucks coffee is generally just as hot, and many companies serve hotter coffee than McDonald's was serving.) In fact, since the lawsuit, McDonald's hasn't reduced the temperature that they serve their coffee at. The only change that McDonald's has made since the lawsuit is adding warning labels, the coffee you buy there today can be just as hot as the coffee that burned Stella Liebeck... don't spill it on yourself!
In February 2011 the findings of a 10-month-long study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), aimed to identify the main cause of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus models. The study was requested by the US Congress and "enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity". The most common problem was drivers hitting the gas when they thought they were hitting the brake, which the NHTSA called "pedal misapplication.” Of the 58 cases reported, 18 were dismissed out of hand. Of the remaining 40, 39 of them were found to have no cause; the remainder being an instance of “pedal entrapment.”
What the NHTSA believed that they found in 2011 is overshadowed by more recent developments, mainly that Toyota was not being forthcoming with the NHTSA. In 2014, Holder said "Today, we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls," Additionally: "The cover-up is still there on the electronics issue," says Sean Kane, an auto safety expert for Safety Research and Strategies. "This (government penalty) sends an important message, but it's a mixed message." Furthermore it has become clear that Toyota's code was a clusterfuck and that the alleged failure modes were very possible.
My point is that in both the Mcdonalds case and the Toyota case, the issue is not nearly as clear cut as the two most popular points of view present.
Holder is wrong. This shouldn't be surprising.
There is really not much more I can say in response to such a substance-less comment, other than telling you that you should research the more recent developments in this situation before misrepresenting it again in the future.
It didn't stop in 2011 because there are careers to be made in slamming corporations for even bogus claims.
Corporations are more than willing to settle when the government is willing to take them to court. Guilt and innocence are irrelevant.
It's rather comical that many of the same folks who complain about the criminal justice system hammering individuals into pleading guilty when they are innocent fail to see the parallels with civil suits / government pressure and corporations.
By they I mean the Media.
I guess I should add some substance.
NASA's Toyota Study Released by Dept. of Transportation
WASHINGTON -- The results of a ten-month study by 30 NASA engineers of possible electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles was released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
"NASA found no evidence that a malfunction in electronics caused large unintended accelerations," said Michael Kirsch, principal engineer and team lead of the study from the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The studies cost over $3 million, including the cost of purchasing the vehicles that have allegedly unintentionally accelerated. Upon completion of the studies, the NHTSA will determine whether a formal investigation into Toyota is necessary.
ABC made a totally fake video demonstrating the alleged phenomena.
"Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington today before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation. LaHood first told the subcommittee that owners of Toyotas should stop driving them, then clarified his statement and told owners to get their cars fixed promptly."
Later LaHood told reporters it was "obviously a misstatement"
Toyota have been abused, IMHO, their "blame no-one else" culture is being rinsed by the US Govt.
It sounds like a proper mess. How curious that much is revealed that the NASA people didn't speak of. Maybe because it was ostensibly an investigation at the behest of NIHIST to demonstrate that they hadn't let Toyota off the hook.
It is also somewhat disturbing that these are not Toyota parts but parts sourced from NEC.
I'm still not convinced that Toyota deliberately hid their knowledge of system failure. A software update would have been much simpler than the millions of physical modifications they chose to make, including fetching customers cars on transporters because they owners were too scared to drive them.
"Just released car has amazing safety features that prevent any damage to the vehicle. Amazing advance of technology was made available by near instantaneous braking. Even going 100 mph a car can come to a complete stop instantaneously. After that wipers are deployed automatically to wipe off remains of a driver from windshield."
Any significant change of momentum will harm humans no matter how tough the car is. Newer cars are actually less rigid to provide a cushion to human drivers in case of such collision.
Edit: I meant less rigid in right places. If you observe crash test you could see how neatly car folded around drivers cage. Thanks drglitch for pointing that out.
I think that might be a Clarksonism...
The closest real world example is probably Nascar. Granted, there track design make head on collisions rather difficult but as cars regularly hit 190MPH you do occasionally get near head on collisions at around 120MPH which are often survivable. Best example I could find was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QVlj7...
PS: The much more common 60MPH drivers side impact is also survivable which I still find shocking.
I don't know about you, but I drive near cars & lamp posts much more often than I drive on an Autobahn full of brick walls.
Tesla buyers tend to be sports car buyers who want to drive fast. Whether this means we should expect accidents with more force or that Tesla should anticipate this and design accordingly is debatable.
reddit's /r/Justrolledintotheshop and /r/TalesFromRetail/ makes me wonder how people manage to use any product without killing themselves.
(this has apparently resulted in a number of deaths, as the power steering stops working)
But consider the possibility that the law had a loophole (or the law is simply inadequate in light of common expectations from the population) which brought the maximum litigation from crashes to a very low number. Although this simplistic view would suggest a very low cost, that would be unrealistic -- the actual cost should include heavy brand damage from consumer distrust in the products and even brand damage from raw ideological/moral basis. This is way promoting values inside companies makes sense -- you can't neglect humans have personal values and sometimes make non-economic choices to stay aligned with those -- so you have to adjust your "psychopath" economics towards consumer irrationality. In the end I suspect the optimal choice is much closer to Tesla's reaction than GM's.
I suppose technically it could value human life at a million zillion and three, but it's irrelevant because that value appears nowhere in the equation.
> Second, even if you assign an explicit finite value to human life, a lot of people will call that psychopathic.
I said "nonzero," not "finite." I suppose I should have said "positive." Nitpicking aside, the point is that being utterly indifferent to the life or death of innocents, except where it may directly threaten your net worth, is pretty psychopathic.
At the airplane industry it's the government that does this calculation, with a publicly known value of C. Also, airplanes don't have the kind of problem that cause an accident by itself, every issue can be corrected on several levels, and normally when the proper fix isn't instantly applied some other action is done to attenuate the problem.
On any advanced country, around here it calculates nothing, even yelling "Are you insane? Do you know how many hospitals we could build with that kind of money?" won't make they think about numbers.
Note that I'm not saying this particular case is justified. I'm just saying that it's a continuum, and I'm not sure how we should expect car manufacturers to draw the line on the continuum.
And you're being disingenuous by comparing a single Tesla incident to the entirety of the automobile industry's history.
Here's an article about road debris in a normal car (not even your Beetle, where it would have easily killed you): "a sizeable chunk of angle iron that actually tore through the bottom of the vehicle, found lodged in a portion of the backseat." (https://www.westerndirect.ca/learning-centre/insurance-news-...)
The reason the car "needs" to be protected from such damage is the media attention, not because it's unusually unsafe.
Media reports leave people thinking, "Electric vehicle? No thanks, too dangerous." Tesla's response leaves people thinking, "Well I have no plans to go 110 MPH through a round-about so I'll probably be OK." The latter is more accurate.
Edit: Sorry, "ever" heard.
Agree. I'd love to see what happens to the vehicle and driver if the object (say an alternator) hits the tire instead of the under-body.
Or skips up and hits the windshield.
I love this... I actually love that it probably pissed off Musk to no end the amount of attention the fires got and out of spite he went totally over the top and added ballistic plating to the bottom of the car as a super-constructive "fuck you" to everyone that bitched about it.
I am picturing this same thing happening at Chrysler or GM and I think 9 out of 10 CEOs would just let the whole non-issue blow over and go back to business - and the 1 CEO that would try and push for a ridiculous over-engineering solution like this would probably get shot down by the board.
That's why I like this, it's going way above and beyond because he can and because he believes in the vision he is selling so firmly that there is no wiggle room: "My cars are the best and goddamnit, I'm going to make them the best."
<standard disclaimers about personal viewpoints and preferences>
Just want to focus on the pursuit of perfection that I find so energizing - to put another way, if you had someone this passionate running each of the major airlines, I wonder what air travel would be like instead of the race-to-the-bottom experience it is now.
But on that note, I would say it's good PR in light of what's going on with GM. The current story in the media isn't so much the issues with GM's vehicles, but the company's negligence in not owning up to the problems.
So, Tesla is simply getting out in front and contrasting themselves with that story. There is virtually no risk that it will be seen as an admission, and every chance that it will play as a glaring positive differentiation.
BTW, the timing nods to this play. Rumors of fire issues and actual fires have haunted Musk for years now. He usually comes out defensive. But, suddenly, with GM's woes, he is taking these over the top measures. So, not sure that he was so much a visionary in this, as much as a fast learner.
That is not just PR. That is damned amazing engineering. That's the kind of description you get out of an episode of Knight Rider, not something in real life.
That's clearly evidence that these cars are designed and built to an amazing level.
Well, yeah, it's exactly that: a description, and a fantastic one at that. It makes no guarantees or even assertions about the efficacy of the changes. Instead, it plays up this explosive scenario, then concludes that they hope the changes will help prevent fires.
And, there's a reason it's not written in technical, engineering jargon with test results, etc. Instead, it reads like a Hollywood screenplay. Judging from your comparison to Knight Rider, it appears to be working.
>That is damned amazing engineering
So, I mean what engineering are you hailing as amazing here, with regard to the new announcement that was gushed over higher up in the thread? The part you quoted just briefly references bolting some plates on the undercarriage amidst a lot of hyperbolic crash talk from the pre-plates days.
Sure, there can be great engineering alongside good PR. The auto itself without the newly announced iron man suit is an impressive piece of engineering.
I'm simply saying that I wouldn't gush over the new announcement. The guy walking away without injuries was pre-crash plates and we have no evidence that the plates will actually help or to what extent. Just sensational, cool-sounding descriptions. There are a lot of things for which Musk deserves credit as a visionary, but this bit of PR could have just as easily been the brainchild of a relatively astute PR staffer talking to an engineer over lunch.
Really? Choosing a high-strength material, turning it into a sheet and bolting it to the bottom of a car is "damned amazing engineering"?
The survivability of the passenger is amazing engineering. That happened pre-announcement.
There are no sudden movements in industry. That shield is probably being developed since the fires happened.
Good explanation of Steve Jobs as well IMO
But I believe Jobs was "benevolent" to the product itself.
Jobs made billions. Your sentence is subsequently nonsense.
It's not always clear, but I think it's an important thing to consider. The size of a CEO's bank account alone is insufficient information for a meaningful answer.
Are you joking? Is this your serious view of reality? That dictators are fine as long as they make the country as a whole richer?
All I'm saying is that different dictators achieve different things. Some 'dictators' enrich their countries, and some 'dictators' impoverish it. Similarly, some 'democracies' enrich their countries, and some 'democracies' impoverish them.
That's all I'm saying.
Apple grew from zero to great; Jobs lead it. This is all the correlation I feel entitled to dare, did reading the biography grant you more? (Again spiteful. Sorry. So this is how aggressive comments are written...)
Capitalism without democracy is what we want!!! /s
I think "positive example" is too vague a term. What do you mean by positive example?
I think something to moderate Musk's thin skin wouldn't be a bad thing but I certainly agree that the absolute power to do what ever he wants coupled to his technical depth has and will continue to see him changing the transport industry.
I mean, I can understand GP computing devices, but this is a bit concerning. Not just for security reasons, but because it dramatically decreases the control you have over the vehicle.
Maybe I'm beating up a dead horse here, but I'd much rather take my car into the shop and have it updated than have a packet sent out over LTE.
They just added a feature in the 5.9 update that is pretty important to me (hill assist) and I've n
Comparing a niche (expensive) car manufacturer to major airlines isn't really an apt comparison. First, airliners are mass transit. Second, the airliners used to be very much nicer than they are now, it was market pressures that drove them to where they are (combined with the deregulation that was also due to people wanting to pay less).
A better comparison would be to compare Tesla to some of the General Aviation aircraft that are available. The [DA-40](http://www.diamondaircraft.com/aircraft/da40_xls/index.php) would be a reasonable starting point and could likely be afforded by the types of people who can afford a Tesla.
Of course, because around here we're taught that executives from the Valley are smart, and everyone else are clueless "MBAs".
First, realize that it's a lot easier for Tesla to undertake changes like this, not because they are oh-so-awesome, but because they are operating on a scale a magnitude (or two) smaller than bigger auto companies.
Second, the larger companies do react to such problems, a specific case being the "exploding gas tanks" in the Crown Victoria's. If memory serves me correctly, in the early aughts it was discovered that Ford Crown Vic (and the same-model Mercury Grand Marquis') were exploding due to rear impact collisions. The problem was severely overblown in the media, and the reality was that the significant uptick in real-impact explosions of these models was due to the fact that these were cars used by police around the globe, and hence had a higher probability of being parked on the side of the road and, hence, a higher probability of being impacted from behind at high speed and sometimes exploding due to the gas tank being ruptured.
So, like Tesla, Ford tried to explain, "Look, if you take any car and park it on the side of the road and it gets slammed into, from behind, at high speed, it has a chance of exploding. These cars are parked on the road more often than other cars as emergency service vehicles".
But, nobody wanted to hear that (which I agree with), so Ford set about solving the problem through engineering. They ended up developing some sort of impact resistant gas tank bladder. Case closed.
So, TL;DR: try not to compare the issues that Tesla faces to those of much (much) larger companies. Tesla is not magical.
I know this is not specific to Tesla, but it's still really cool. :)
(Tin foil hat mode) Imagine the implications of some malicious third party gaining access to that process.
The actual roll out of the firmware is of course staged - in Tesla's case, they likely roll it out to all of their employees teslas for a period of time, and then to a candidate group, and eventually everyone.
The team that actually pushes the firmware, is completely separate from the team that builds, and signs - they have a fairly detailed set of procedures that ensures a quality push, which is their entire focus.
The likely difference, is that the process I described, usually took 4-6 months after the code was completed, whereas Elon Musk/Tesla can probably spin it around in 4-6 weeks.
If so then you're right, they've made a terribly unsafe decision.
But if you have to stop the vehicle, put it in park or off, before it actually updates the software, then a bricked car isn't exactly dangerous, just a massive inconvenience and a source of incredible frustration.
You might object that a dead battery can cause that. But I take constant preventative measures, can tell when a battery is starting to go, and I can fix a dead battery.
(Yeah, radios deliver ads, but I don't have to listen to the radio. Can you imagine if your car ran banner ads around the spedometer?)
Finally a business plan where modern advertising makes any sense: Torture based freeware. "Send us money and we'll stop. Here are the products you'll hate today..."
They could even remove products from their list after payment from manufacturers.
This is a much wider and rather tricky issue (how do I know that my Bitcoin exchange is performing cold storage correctly and consistently?)
You could answer: more regulations and oversight. Doesn't solve the issue.
All you have to do is browse http://www.reddit.com/r/justrolledintotheshop and you'll see so many people are not capable of having general maintenance done. Like this: http://imgur.com/a/VEeR9 the guy wanted to only have the flat tire repaired even though a strut went through his hood! Or this that is supposed to be a brake rotor : http://i.imgur.com/xhz90Bq.jpg
Swissair 111 crashed because the operator installed a new entertainment system which overheated.
A lot of serious systems made by serious people still end up with stupid problems.
And it might be safer and cheaper to have the option of fixing problems when you find them, because if you don't have that option, you're forced to weigh the costs of a recall against the risks of the issue for every little thing.
I doubt Toyota will ever retro-fix the obvious software flaws. Tesla however sounds like they get it. Although many of us won't be buying an $80K vehicle any time soon, I expect that these kinds of innovations will trickle down to the mass market as people start to become dimly aware of the benefits.
Hey, people might even start to ask why all cars can't be made as survivable as a Tesla S.
If you purchase Nav though, you get GPS turn-by-turn guidance in an additional heads up display on the dashboard. That option is supposed to eventually cost money to update, I think after 5 or 7 years? And it probably won't be cheap. That said, it is really nice that it doesn't get 5 to 7 years stale before you have to pay for an update. I like the model.
I've purchased licenses for multiple software packages and at the scales that these car distributors work at, it's ridiculous to think that their actual gps data costs aren't nominal (ie, pennies) per vehicle.
"Default ground clearance" means the distance between the ground and underside of the car, yeah? How are they able to control that with software?
Tesla just started pushing out OTA updates to firmware 5.9 this week. One of the big improvements in it is bringing back the option to select a low height mode. When the problems mentioned in the article happened, they pushed out a rapid update that disabled the automatic low suspension setting entirely. Frankly, this upset a few of the vocal owners on the teslamotorsclub.com forums because they understood the risk and felt it was slight enough they preferred it versus the reduced handling and performance at a higher ride height.
The re-introduced low height is enhanced to allow the driver to set the speed at which it will change height. This is satisfying most if not all of those owners.
Driving a car that gets better as you own it instead of worse is a game changing model in my opinion.
The software must tell the dampers to ride a bit stiffer stopping the car body being pushed lower at high speeds.
EDIT: Looks like Tesla does indeed use air suspension: http://www.teslamotors.com/de_AT/forum/forums/air-suspension...
This is different than simply adjusting the characteristics of the electronic suspension - this actually raises and lowers the car non-trivial amounts. I think a D3 A8 can raise up 4-5 inches from highway level to bumpy dirt road level...
I am genuinely curious what the raise/lower range for the tesla is - anyone know offhand ?
Seriously. Its a nice little niche.
But, it says "By Elon Musk" in a large font slap bang in the middle of the screen just under the title of the piece when you open the page. I really think this might be down to your powers of observation rather than any oversight on their part.
If I read something 'by Elon Musk' on Medium I normally:
- Assume it's not Elon Musk, but rather someone who hates Elon Musk
- Start reading it in an Elon-Musk-Bond-Villain persona
You were stating what you normally do when you read something saying that it is by Elon Musk on Medium.
To claim that you have a normal behaviour for a given situation would usually presuppose that it is a situation you have previously encountered, more than once.
nailer filled in the template to illustrate the response to the template, not to assert that they had encountered this specific variant before.
The use of 'normally' implies having been in the exact situation, but it's possible to have a default response to a situation without having been in it. In context it is very easy to figure out nailer's meaning. It is ridiculous of you to fall back to 'completely and utterly mental'.
1 point by utefan001 175 days ago | link
I am sure it is easier said than done, but it seems like the batteries simply need to be better protected. Something like a carbon fiber or titanium under shield.