- Austin Ramsey @austin__ramsey

Tesla attempts to skirt recall by saying that car CPUs are wear items

If the car's computers are just like the brakes, lights, windshield wipers, and tires... where does this end?! This might be a slippery slope!

MT Blake posted in USA News
8w ago
19.5K
Martin Katler @martinkatler

Martin Katler @martinkatler

The epic Greek mythological saga crossed with a Monday night sitcom - also known as Tesla - has gotten even better. They're now arguing with the NHTSA, regarding a requested recall, that their computers are wear items?! Think of all the items a dealer doesn't cover due to wear (think brakes, tires, windshield wipers, lights, damage to windshields, etc.) and then try to justify computers under this same doctrine. It sounds insane, but once you dig into it, they might be onto something.

The issue at hand is the Tesla MCU (media control unit) in the 2012-18 Model S and 2016-18 Model X. This computer controls the rearview camera, Autopilot, defogging, and proper function of the turn signals. This one computer is not a safety item nor should it last the lifetime of the vehicle - that is according to Tesla and specifically in a letter from Al Prescott with their Legal department.

Taneli Lahtinen @tanelah

Taneli Lahtinen @tanelah

Tesla "respectfully disagrees" (legal parlance for go f^&k yourself) with the NHTSA recommendation to recall all vehicles with the issue and provide a remedy (replace the part and if you're wanting to really geek out on the details there is an excellent article here). Where I think Tesla might be onto something is with the function of the computer itself. Do you need Autopilot? A window defogger? Certainly not a rearview camera? Turn signals... ehhh that's where it might get a bit blurry.

Bram Van Oost @ort

Bram Van Oost @ort

Now Tesla says they will comply with the recommendation, in the "spirit of cooperation" (more legal parlance for 'I hate working with you, but I need this money') with a recall, even if they don't agree. They will have a "voluntary recall and provide a free hardware remedy in addition to over-the-air firmware updates we have already implemented" according to the letter. The letter goes on to justify their disagreements and call the NTHSA an agency with "anachronistic regulations" - which is basically the same as telling the NTHSA 'fu^* you and the horse you rode in on'.

I'm frankly not surprised, as the world we're building won't have cars that need much maintenance. Other than wear items, your electric car won't need much dealer service. All the software gets updated via the world-wide-web and the brakes aren't used because of one-pedal driving and even the darned thing doesn't need oil. Tesla might be trying to set a precedence with their EVs as they really aren't the same as the dino-burning brethren.

Companies like Ford and GM wouldn't hesitate much to replace a part like the MCU. With all the issues they've had over the years their PR Department would want to get the jump on any negative press. I'm willing to bet the Tesla PR Department... oh that's right... nevermind.

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Comments (43)

  • It's typically Elon Musk

    Sheer brilliance on the one side, a total bellend on the other...

      1 month ago
    • I am pretty sure we can delve a little deeper. How about; Elon is a drug addict that has become completely lost in outer space. Everyone has ideas of grandeur but he has the gift of gab, using engineers all around the world without giving them...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • Boy, you must really dislike him.

      FWIW, I'm just as tired of the fanboys (you really don't want to be on A Tesla forum when you have some questions but also critical remarks) and the haters that just can't stop magnifying every error,...

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • Now they have a car to go along with the idiot that gets made every minute, or is that a sucker?🤔

    70 grand for a complete joke that can’t even have it’s gimmicks serviced or an ounce of integrity.

    Wearing items have moving parts as wear has to do with friction, or has Tesla done away with physics as well as common sense?

    Maybe having a space program is taking away from the ol R&D department???

    I wonder if they’re upgrading the original units with some of those wonderful, sustainable bamboo CPU’s... nice job buying the beta max of automotive design. Heavy industries don’t run on batteries, their radios do.

      1 month ago
    • electronics wear out. If you want moving parts - electrons move and create friction - wihch results in pretty high temps. Which means, there's wear, unless you done away with physics.

      It's just a major bummer that electronic components,...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • If properly built, solid state devices aren’t really ever supposed to fail.

      The pcm is not and has never been considered a wearing part

      They should consider standing behind their products instead of an excuse. Especially one that...

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • Yes, because without answering those recalls, it might be dangerous to the driver.

      1 month ago
    • Its obvious, and I don't know much about technical stuff

        1 month ago
  • Yeah, the difference being is that windshield wipers are cheap and easily replaced...

    A whole onboard computer is not.

      1 month ago
    • But that’s their problem. If it’s so expensive then it should built better from the beginning. If a computer breaks within 36 months it should be replaced by the manufacturer.

        1 month ago
    • 100%

        1 month ago
  • 2012-18 is a pretty wide range. A computer that works for 9 years is one thing, 3 is something different. What's the usual warranty on a laptop these days? One year?

    Electronics do wear out. There's friction, even if on atomic level, which produces heat - and lots of it - and that means wear.

    The remedy for that is to build in excessive volume of material. Which is what the military often does. But then you end up with stuff that is heavy, big, and expensive. None of which matters if you're building the next Hammer, but in a family sedan it's not the best solution.

    Another way is to make the systems modular, so that replacements would be localized and cheap. The problem with that is, you end up with a lot of connectors - and those fail on vibrations, plus they require a lot more work during assembly, and are prone to assembly errors. It's way cheaper and more reliable to print an integrated circuit.

    And so that's where we end up.

      1 month ago
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