54 points by jbredeche
2 months ago
Has the quality of Tesla vehicles, specifically the Model 3, improved since production began? There were lots of reports of poor quality, inconsistencies and very long repair times when they first came out. Elon himself even said to wait until production reaches a steady state: https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-best-time-to-buy-t...
I have a Chevy Volt right now, but I sometimes wonder what I'd buy if it were to be totaled in an accident since GM made the (poor, IMHO) decision to discontinue the Volt.
My experience with quality as the owner of two Teslas, including a Model 3 purchased within the past year:
* Tesla fit and finish has improved but IMHO isn't yet quite on par with, say, MB and BMW -- e.g., panels and seals don't seem to be as perfectly aligned, and some gaps seem as if they're just a little wider than in those other two brands. However, I much prefer Tesla's interior -- modern, simple, uncluttered. Every other vehicle interior now feels cluttered and last-century to me.
* Tesla reliability has been amazing for me. No regular check-ups or oil changes required! And once the novelty wears off, the vehicles just keep working, and they don't seem to age as much. Our other Tesla is two years old now and its interior still feels brand new. It seems Tesla has chosen materials for the interior that feel "artificial" and "light" but somehow last and last and last without showing any wear and tear.
My Model 3 is over four years old, still running great, zero maintenance. (I have a lift and rotate the tires myself, so actually zero maintenance money out of pocket cost other than replacing the tires.) Tesla replaced the backup camera for free - they came to me to perform the warranty repair.
My Model Y is two years old, no problems.
Combined mileage between the two vehicles is just shy of 150K.
The fit and finish of my older Model 3 has always just felt a bit better than the Y. I had to fix a weird creaking emanating from the rear hatch of the Y - a loose panel.
My Model 3 is the vehicle I have owned for the longest time and used continually. I haven't even had a desire to look for a new vehicle, which is way outside of my usual car purchasing behavior. (I have owned - and spent way, way too many hours myself on maintenance and repairing ICE vehicles.)
So you seem spend 1000-2000 hours a year driving cars around… thank god I have all this time doing other things
I don‘t understand the downvotes. If you drive more than 10000 km a year with a car you are not only doing yourself a disfavor, you are also a huge liability for society.
The priority should be no travel > walking > biking > transit > car
Why make assumptions about the OP? Maybe he’s a doctor doing house calls or a surgeon driving to the hospital.
Or they just do long road trips once or twice a year
A long trip of 40000 miles? That‘s one long trip
I have roughly the same experience with my Model 3. Fit and finish is acceptable, matching the entry-level luxury vehicles I have owned in the past (vehicles from Acura, BMW, Infiniti, etc.)
The quality of materials is debatable since, for example, Tesla exclusively uses synthetic material and no leather. But as you point out, the durability of these materials seems very good. Even with routine leather care, my previous vehicle with a leather interior showed more significant signs of wear at the same point in its life.
Opposite experience, here. I've never had aesthetic, chassis, or body panel issues, but the M3P has been endless problems:
- I've gone through three 12v batteries in four years.
- I've lost 40% of main battery pack capacity in four years (the first chunk of lost range was within a month of purchase).
- The rear camera randomly loses signal while trying to back up.
- Wifi Radios are incompatible with Ubiquiti Nano HD radios.
- Software updates are a fun game of "ok, what won't work after this one?" or "Which critical UI functions did they move to a completely different place this time?"
- Autopilot has tried to kill me several times: usually with random hard braking for no reason, but once with a completely incorrect and sudden lane divergence.
- Most recently: the climate control system stopped working entirely a month ago. If I try to turn it on, the car has an electrical fault and I can't drive. So, I get to sweat profusely while waiting for a timeframe I can afford to be without the vehicle for the week+ it will be at the service center.
panels and seals are not as perfectly aligned, and some gaps seem as if they're just a little wider than in those other two brands.
I see this complaint a lot, but I've never understood how serious it is. Is it purely an aesthetic thing or does it actually effect the the longevity or road worthiness of the car in any way?
My Acura had some slightly misaligned panels and they never contributed any perceptible issue to the road worthiness of that car during my ~15 years of ownership. There were some interior rattles over time, but I've never had a car that didn't eventually develop some rattles.
I have not observed any panel misalignment on my Model 3.
I think you will like the model 3 more than a volt or a bolt.
I am in a similar situation as you. I want to get rid of my model 3 but I am not sure what to replace it with…
No EV exists with the same performance in that price range.
I do not like my model 3. Tesla service is not trustworthy in my experience. My car was delivered with minor fit and finish issues.
I despise the lack of apple car play or android auto.
If this is legit (and I don't really doubt that it is other than it's so rare to hear someone complain about Tesla while simultaneously owning a Tesla), then I'd love to hear more about this.
You say the car has minor fit and finish issues, but that's clearly not what would motivate you to get rid of it. CarPlay / AA is fixable I imagine.
Is there anything else that's gone wrong with your experience?
I say this as someone who has eyeballed the Model 3 but never committed, and I'd be interested to hear about any negatives (as the internet hype mafia makes it difficult to see these stories).
It is legit.
I don’t think CarPlay is coming. It is a product decision right? They want you using Tesla premium connectivity. CarPlay would let you bypass that.
Yes you are right the fit and finish on its own is not enough. However there shouldn’t be any fit and finish issues in my opinion. I paid the asking price so why am I getting a discounted fit and finish.
These are just a list of things that come to mind. It’s multiple straws that broke the camels back for me. Some of them are with the car itself and the others are with Tesla employees. All accumulating to me not trusting Tesla.
* 0-60 time increased after I placed my order and before the car was delivered
* sales team lied to me
* service advisors lied to me
* service management lied to me
* car doesn’t come with floor mats
* too many false positive “safety” alarms. Road side departure warning goes off a lot for me when I’m dead center in the lane. It’s really stressful for me and any passengers
* super chargers rarely charge at max speed
* supercharger musical chairs when the station is full
* phantom rattling noises from the cabin
* ui tweaks and “experiments” are annoying. Stop changing my interface
* playback of sentry mode videos is buggy
* non-standard charge port
* windshield wiper fluid sprays everywhere but the windshield
I could keep going. I’m just over the hype and don’t really want to deal with the company any more.
There are a lot of good things about it. I enjoy how the car drives and handles. The iOS app is great.
>They want you using Tesla premium connectivity. CarPlay would let you bypass that.
This is a stupendously, jaw-droppingly cynical take.
There is no way premium connectivity is making them any significant amount of money. It is so cheap! $100 / year last I checked. So Tesla is not basing any product decisions on that little pittance of money (remember, most of that money goes to the cellular companies that provide the networks, so the profit if any must be truly tiny).
And premium connectivity brings so much more than just music… video, web, traffic data, remote honk, remote light flash, remote viewing of live camera feed from the car's cameras on all sides, remote climate precooling / prewarming, remote control of other car functions, notifications about state changes, remote monitoring of charging status, notifications when charge is done, notifications of alarms… I mean the list is huge. You get all this with premium connectivity and none of it without.
You say the iOS app is great; connectivity with the car is one of the reasons it is great… I say all this just to make the point that just adding CarPlay would not make any meaningful number of people drop premium connectivity. What CarPlay offers is just a tiny little bit of all this.
So I'd look elsewhere for reasons why Tesla won't have CarPlay (and I agree they won't). Probably because they don't want to give up control of their UI to a massively controlling entity that wants to dictate so many aspects of what happens, and who also wants a cut of everything, including most likely things that are simply free with Tesla today.
There's quite a laundry list of other similarly oddly overwrought complaints that could be responded to above, but the only other one that really sticks for me is that sentry mode playback is indeed very flaky… but you know, that will be fixed in a software update.
Long story short, expecting CarPlay when Elon and Apple both want total control is a non-starter. CarPlay has too much baggage in the form of Apple control.
Good write up. Thank you for the response I agree with you.
Thanks for your reply too :-).
Driving addiction could be a negative for some people. Seriously. The car is so fun it messes with your limbic system. For AWD and up models at least but I hear the RWD models are still fun. Myself I embrace the fun carefully while keeping the addiction in check, at least that’s what I tell myself.
I drove Kona EV for few months and I think EV's have just too much torque, especially at lower speeds. Extra torque from likes of Tesla at high speeds are great for overtaking, but going 0-60 in seconds is recipe for missing a corner. I don't expect this to be regulated, but it makes sense why most EV's cap on 8s 0-60.
The torque is there if you press the pedal down more than 1/4 or so but you barely need to touch the pedal. It’s just pedal control. Use of the torque is entirely optional. Most people don’t go 0-60 in three seconds while cornering.
Regen braking is wonderful in a Tesla though.
You would like to use both iPhone and Android at the same time? More importantly you would allow Google’s code to run in a car that you drive? I wouldn’t advise that.
If you have Volt and want a very reliable without troubles EV only substitute that is good value, take a look at Nissan Leaf. Yes there is talk it will be replaced in 2025, however it is the oldest and most dependable EV out there, current 2nd generation is exceeding the 1st in reliability, which was already the most reliable EV by far. It’s not sexy or has cool flat screens or futuristic controls. Instead it just works, well, and for low price. Some passengers don’t even realize they are in an EV until they notice it’s too quiet. I’m sure this comment will tick off lots of other fanboys who will come bashing it, but it’s nonsense.
Only if you want a battery that will die fast. Nissan made an insane decision early on to not heat or cool their batteries, and also not go with a battery chemistry that is resistant to degradation in the heat.
10 years in, all those early LEAFs have been scrapped or needed battery swaps due to like 75%!!! range loss in some cases! Meanwhile, Tesla, while notorious for fit/finish issues, has similar vintage cars that are still on their first battery with less than 20% loss of range.
Yes, the LEAF is "reliable." It reliably goes when you step on the accelerator, and everything else is reliable as well, except for the drivetrain, which reliably loses range to the point where the car is totaled because Nissan raised battery prices just as a tidal wave of vehicles needed them.
There's a reason Tesla is outselling every other EV in North America. Part of it is that they are able to source materials, but they are the only ones with a "good enough" mix of reliability and build quality on everything but the drivetrain, a bulletproof drivetrain, and a reliable and widespread charging network. Teslas aren't perfect, and there's room for a fast follower company to beat them, especially on fit, finish, convenience, and luxurious cabins, but that would require an Apple like attention to both detail and supply chains.
Totally false information.
Though a common misconception that comes from the Nissan Leaf being the first mass produced EV and the first to discover issues with battery degradation in hot or cold climates, this was an issue in 1st generation that is long gone, yet your out of date narrative has stuck in many minds.
Your 75% number is completely absurd and fabricated.
Teslas are a different price range than a Leaf and frankly not worth it my opinion.
Anecdotally, between friends and family, I know 5 people who have bought them and all love them. Tesla does rank near the bottom in "initial quality" but when you actually look at the numbers, it's not a dramatic difference. They have 25% more problems than the industry average, and are about equivalent to VW, which nobody seems to consider a low quality car. https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2022-us-init...
I have one of the first 5000 VINs released and it's been totally fine. Haven't had problems scheduling appointments with Tesla and getting work done. Cracked the roof with a bad bike rack once and they replaced it within a day.
Get a Model Y instead of a Model 3 if you can swing it and don't mind the crossover platform vs. sedan. The number of parts in a Model Y is even less than a 3 due to the gigacastings. Plus: hatchback! Who doesn't love a hatchback?
The Volt was an instant classic and you're very lucky to have one. IMO the best EVs right now are coming out of Korea but things are moving very fast and I'm expecting good things from the big 3.
Manufacturing has improved a bit, but these aren't designed to be high quality cars in the same way Toyota has worked quality into their culture. Also, improvement in initial issues has been unfortunately offset by reduction in service quality. It's impossible to get timely service appointments now.
Toyota may have reliable cars but they also have unreliable ones. Like their latest very disappointing and far from high quality EV that is also unreliable as the first batches were losing their wheels.
Disclaimer: I don’t like Toyota because of their disdain and lies about EVs.
They're a lot better than when the model 3 first came out.
There are still some fit and finish issues in body panels though, the standard is not up to any other manufacturer there.
In the price range for sure, but you can find a lot worse at lower prices. The Chinese and German Tesla are also fine in terms of body panel gaps.
343,000 cars this quarter. That means over the last 12 months, Tesla delivered 1.2M cars.
Looking at the trailing 12 months for every Q3 in Tesla's history, the story so far nicely resembles an exponential growth curve.
Given their profit margins are 3x industry average and with Berlin and Austin ramping up seems like Tesla is going to have a fantastic 2023, 2024.
The Cybertruck is going to have an incredible margin as well due to it's simplistic design.
Well, Tesla wants to get to 20M/year. Toyota and VW each ship around 10M/year today, so they still have a long way to go to meet their own goals.
Their current set of factories can scale up to around 3-4M, so watch for more factory announcements.
> Their current set of factories can scale up to around 3-4M, so watch for more factory announcements.
A lot of opinions about this. 3-4M is pretty lowball, as it would mean all 3 new factories are only going to be at about 1M each. Some say ultimate production numbers could be 2M for Austin, 2M for Shanghai, 1M for Berlin and 600k for Fremont, IIRC.
No matter what, I'd expect Tesla to announce their next factor(y|ies) pretty soon.
A bit disappointing to see Model S and Model X numbers lumped together, as well as Model 3 and Model Y numbers.
I'm sure the model S sells better than the Model X but I'm curious which of Model 3 and Model Y sells better...
Today they sell more Model Y than Model 3 and the gap will increase further in next 2 years.
In Shanghai factory they make 2 Model Y for each Model 3.
In Fremont they do both Model 3 and Model Y, don't know the breakdown. Possibly more Model 3 because that was the first car they made there and they still have more production lines for Model 3.
Austin and Berlin are only Model Y. They don't contribute much today (maybe 3k/week) but they'll ramp to 500k cars each within 2 years, hence the production (and sales) of Model Y will grow significantly while production of Model 3 not so much.
Can we get estimates by backing out revenue? I remember people doing that with Apple sales numbers (Jade!).
Based on what I see on the road, I think it’s more than safe to say Model 3 sells much better.
The model y is newer so that’s why you see fewer of them. I don’t know for other countries but in Norway it sells a lot more since it’s release: https://elbilstatistikk.no/
Are you familiar with the phrase "availability heuristic"?
Impressive numbers. The main problem for me is that the Supercharger network is not scaling at the same rate.
Well but the reality is the Supercharger network is doing a much better chance at growing along with Tesla numbers then other chargers do with the rest of the industry.
There is gone be an absolutely huge overflow of vehicles compared to charging infrastructure. Companies like Electrify America can already not handle the maintenance and upkeep of their stations and the ratio of vehicles to charges is about to increase massively as their initial deployed machines fail at ever increasing rates.
This is going to be a problem for a while. They can do their best to optimize the locations and stalls as they build out, but you'll be seeing photos of long lines of EVs waiting to charge for many years to come. If for no other reason that there will be very spikey demand in many locations.
I expect that many drivers will learn to simply avoid charging on certain days and places and stay close to home.
A major advancement for EV adoption would be mandatory standardization of CCS and mandatory conversion assistance or adapters for cars with other standards. There are not three different AC plug standards.
>There are not three different AC plug standards.
There actually are a lot more, esp in the 240v world in the US: https://www.bsaelectronics.com/pages/nema-plug-and-outlet-ch...
I’m a fan of standardisation, but:
> There are not three different AC plug standards.
There were four different AC sockets just in my childhood home — BS 1363, BS 4573, and two different sizes of BS 546.
Now I live in Berlin, I don’t use a single one of these.
The most major advancement to EV adoption would be not just standardizing chargers but standardizing battery modules and allowing third party diagnostics and repair.
mandatory standardization can kill innovation. what a hell it would be if Chademo had been the mandatory standard.
Yeah it would have been great if car companies each had their own proprietary version of the gas nozzle and their own gas stations that would only work for their own brand cars.
you're talking about mandatory differentiation per vendor? that would suck.
that contrasts with vendors free to settle on what works for them all, perhaps innovating along the way, rather than being told what works for them uniformly.
No, I'm talking about what would have happened if we didn't standardize things like the gas nozzle/pump early on with ICE cars, which made them more universal.
There is no need for multiple styles of charging plug design (the physical interface). The innovation would be in the internals that negotiated the rate of charge, like USB devices do with fast/regular charging. I can still charge my 10+ year old devices with modern chargers that are capable of outputting 2-3x more current than my old device can handle, because it automatically negotiates a lower rate, using the same type of plug.
We've had the period of standards competition and CCS has won. Now is exactly the right time to standardize.
CCS won in Europe because the EU mandated it. Tesla won in the US because they have majority of marketshare and built out a nationwide fast DC charging network on their own .
If they get federal funds to enable CCS, fine, otherwise keep the advantage to drive sales and let legacy automakers flail in the wind. There is no political appetite to mandate CCS in the US. That’s the cost of hesitating and a half assed approach to an EV go to market strategy (Tesla has sunk almost $1B into its global fast DC charging network, VW only did through Electrify America because it was a Diselgate settlement requirement).
> If they get federal funds to enable CCS, fine, otherwise keep the advantage to drive sales
There's no advantage to a proprietary charge port. Closed charging networks are dumb infrastructure. Tesla is slowly realizing that switching to CCS will lead to higher utilization and reduced costs:
> Tesla has sunk almost $1B into its global fast DC charging network
Then Tesla can spend some more to change the plugs over to CCS, just like they did in Europe.
>CCS won in Europe because the EU mandated it. Tesla won in the US because they have majority of marketshare and built out a nationwide fast DC charging network on their own .
Does it really matter? Tesla offers both standards on their superchargers in Europe, and I'm sure (in their newer car designs) the digital and electronic components are ready to support both standards. I agree it's annoying to have two different plugs, but at this point isn't it basically a cheap retrofit? (At least for new-model Teslas and superchargers... I do worry that older Teslas might get left behind.)
It only matters if you own a non Tesla BEV in the US and require fast DC charging for your transportation needs.
Tesla locked the superchargers to Tesla vehicles as a business decision, not because of cables. According to news reports they plan to open the network later this year. That will require some minor charger upgrades, but I doubt they'll terribly difficult. In addition to gaining access to the Tesla network, CCS users can also look forward to the deployment of more non-Tesla CCS chargers since the market will soon demand it (given that every other car manufacturer appears to have converged on that standard, and they're likely to build a lot of cars in the long run.)
The much gnarlier situation is for us legacy Tesla owners. We'll still have access to the supercharger network, but we'll be sharing it with non-Tesla vehicles. Meanwhile we won't be able to use any of the non-Tesla chargers that get built. It sucks to own a Betamax when everyone else is about to settle on VHS.
i DC fast charged via my J1772 extended thingy with the two extra prongs, countless times, over 7 years, in North America.
Tesla Superchargers aren't the only DC Fast chargers in NA, for going on ten years. But they're more common, it seems.
Is this even true? Cumulative sales of plug-in cars in the U.S.A. looks to me like it still favors the SAE charger connector.
PHEVs don’t count for these purposes imho, fast DC charging is wasted on their charge curve. They can make due at legacy J1772 connectors.
Market share and cumulative fleet size are two completely different things.
I’m curious how you come to that conclusion without some serious cherry-picking. It is a mistake confuse number of available models with units sold.
The Nissan Leaf had by far the greatest market share among non-Teslas in North America prior to the Model 3 launch. Moreover, most of the Leaf’s competition, either “compliance” EVs or PHEVs, were sold without any DCFC connector. After the Model 3 launch, Tesla has dominated market share in the US.
How long do we need for The Market to automatically converge on a single plug? By my read they've had over 12 years to do it and Tesla still has a custom connector. Are they offering their superior connector to other manufacturers and they're not buying? Are there extreme patent fees on the predominant connectors? Why do you think standardization would be bad here, specifically, right now?
People are buying them even at these prices? Y is at the price point S used to be a few years ago.
Impressive. I guess there is no crisis
There is a crisis for many, and a sharp divide in our society where some are thriving while others are struggling to survive.
And it always has been like this. But it seems to get more and more extreme.
Those thriving are stealing from those struggling to survive? Or has the pie grown larger?
Depending on how you feel about unions and labor power, you could argue that those thriving have been stealing negotiating power from those struggling, and that this has led to the growing divide between classes.
If the pie grows with credit and industry, but those slices are used to control other slices of the pie; can't both be true?
People are paying more than MSRP for used Teslas because the waiting list for some models is so long.
That's also happening for a lot of other electric cars, and popular newer gas cars like Jeep Gladiators and Broncos.
Even ordinary cars. The Honda dealer offered to buy my used Insight for 20% more than I paid for it 2 years ago, and it's not even a plug-in hybrid.
Prices will come down as supply, from Texas and Germany, starts to ramp up and meet demand.
But why did Tesla head their ship data with a picture of a truck they don't make?
By that same premise SpaceX should never show off any imagery about where they're planning to go (Mars), or what rockets they're planning to build. You've no doubt seen the past renderings of what they plotted Starship to look like, and that projection changed repeatedly across many years.
It's quite obvious why Tesla put that image at the top: the building and deployment of the truck is aspirational for the company. There is nothing wrong with that. All other automakers, without exception, do the same thing in regards to aspirational future products, and they do not get mocked for it nearly as much as Tesla does.
A truck they don't yet make is not the same notion as a truck they will never make.
Isn't limited production of Tesla Semi supposed to start right about now, 2022 Q4, IIRC?
Balsy move to use the Semi as the header image.
Well, today we learned why. 
I want to see figures broken down by regions, especially in Europe and China.
If I was in charge I’d be tempted to only make model Y. It would pick up all the demand and it’s probably the cheapest to make. And you’d save money not running four different production lines.
I am generalising but if you have 4 models currently and stop making 3 of them (75%) you run the risk of alienating 75% of prospective customers surely?
Not if each models' consumer preferences size vastly differ. For example, I am sure that Model 3 has much more of a mass market attractiveness than Model S, if only due to being half the price (and smaller).
I agree, which is why I said in my post that I am generalising. I am sure that the market size for each model is not exactly 25% but nonetheless, if you ditch models you ditch access to specific markets.
Shame we don't have the model sales numbers from Tesla to be more specific here.
There is some validity to that argument.
Ironically, Tesla receives a significant amount of criticism/hate for the small size of their product line up (four models, where each pair of two is very similar: X & S, and Y & 3). Many analysts and critics fail to appreciate how much market opportunity exists for a single very well-executed vehicle per major category, such as "small SUV."
Produced 365,000 cars in 90 days.
That's 3 cars per minute.
Another quarter of stagnant growth, I suspect the stock price will return to earth soon (which is maybe 5 to 10% of it's current market cap).
In what world is 42% yoy growth in deliveries stagnant?
In this world? Their share price assumes > 200% annual YoY growth for the next 6-8 years at least. Stock price is down 15% in the last 5 days (GOOG up 4%, META up 4%, F (ford) up 2%: not a general market movement) so the market seems to agree with me?