On October 24, Tesla owner Sun Yi (ad.) received two emails about Tesla’s recall. “The notice states that the vehicle owner’s vehicle is in the recall range and needs to be replaced with a front and rear suspension, and specify the time required to replace the front suspension and rear suspension free of charge, 3 hours and 1.8 hours, respectively.” Sun Yi told the Daily Economic News.
Sun Yi’s e-mail came a day after the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration’s Defective Product Management Center announced that Tesla Motors (Beijing) Co., Ltd. had announced a recall of nearly 30,000 imported Model S and Model X electric vehicles from October 23 because of safety concerns in the front and rear suspensions.
But then Tesla’s attitude began to reverse. In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Tesla said the vehicle did not need to be recalled because there were no defects in the suspension and the damage was not a quality issue, but caused by improper use by the owner. In other words, Tesla pointed the finger of responsibility at drivers and said it would not recall them outside China.
In this regard, an imported Model 3 owner helplessly said, “can only say that the wolf, now by the wolf bite.” “
This isn’t Tesla’s first “shake-up.” In the recent frequency of “out-of-control” incidents, Tesla also gave more “no problem with the vehicle”, “there is no fault in the vehicle system”, “the owner on the wrong brake” and other findings.
Tesla said in its “Third Quarter 2020 Automotive Safety Report” that in the third quarter of this year, there was one traffic accident per 4.59 million miles (7.38 million kilometers) of auto-assisted driving, compared with 4.53 million miles (7.29 million kilometers) in the second quarter.
Tesla’s sales in China are still on the rise, but the frequent “shake-up” has caused consumer discontent.
The owner of the “dump pot” was teased by netizens
According to documents from the National Market Administration’s Defective Product Management Center, Tesla recalled some imported Model S and Model X vehicles with a production date of 29,193 vehicles between September 17, 2013 and August 16, 2017.
“In the event of a large external shock, these vehicles may experience deformation of the connecting rod on the suspension, further weakening of the component when continuing to use the vehicle, and in extreme cases breakage, affecting vehicle handling, increasing the risk of accidents and safety hazards.” The document says.
Tesla will also recall some imported Model S vehicles for similar reasons, totalling 19,249 vehicles, between September 17, 2013 and January 15, 2018.
Of the above recalls, 18,608 vehicles will need to be recalled for replacement of the front suspension link and rear suspension link, 10,585 vehicles will need to be recalled for replacing the front suspension link and 641 vehicles for replacing the rear suspension link.
As of August, Tesla had sold more than 60,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in China, according to incomplete statistics. That means Tesla’s recall accounts for nearly half of its sales in China.
Tesla, however, did not endorse the recall as a cause of recall identified by the National Market Administration’s Defective Product Management Center. In a subsequent letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Tesla said: “Because SAMR (National Market Supervision Administration) and DPAC (National Quality Inspection Administration) believe that the vehicles in question need to be recalled, Tesla can only choose to voluntarily recall the vehicles involved, although Tesla does not agree with the agency, but still chose a voluntary recall program.” “
Tesla argues that the recalled models use the same suspension system as the North American models, but that the 0.1 percent probability of problems with suspensions in china and 0.05 percent in the rest of the world proves that Tesla’s vehicles are not defective at all, and that suspension problems are caused by improper use by the owner.
In this regard, an industry insider, who did not want to be named, told reporters that the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration of defective product management center to launch a recall of vehicles is not an unprovoked decision, must be after strict investigation and forensics, to determine that the vehicle does have problems, will be the problem vehicle recall.
In the face of Tesla this “shake the pot” approach, netizens have come out to tease, (Tesla means) car bought can not drive, to supply up “not my car can not, is you will not drive” means too slow down with potholes to stop and carry over? “
“Six seconds out of control” is questioned
Tesla’s “shake-up” owners are no exception. On October 19th, a Weibo real-name certified user, Electric Lao Wang-, announced that his lover’s Tesla Model 3 was passing through traffic lights at the Chongwenmen junction in Beijing when the vehicle suddenly swerved to the right and the steering wheel was not moving. Eventually the vehicle crashed into the bus platform, injuring a traffic officer.
Video from the vehicle dashcam posted online shows the vehicle gradually straying from the main road to the right during the journey until it crashes into a hand railing next to the bus stop and finally stops.
After the accident, caused a heated discussion among the vast number of netizens, many netizens questioned whether the driver was not operating properly. In this regard, “electric old king- ” the first time to reply: “Love does not have the situation of driving to play with mobile phones.” After the accident, she had forgotten whether to turn on the AP (autopilot) and whether she had time to apply the brakes, and the brain was blank after the accident. “
“Electric Old King- ” questions the difficulty of correcting steering wheel deviations and the fact that the vehicle’s emergency braking function does not start in front of it: “Hopefully Tesla will give an explanation for this situation.” “
Some netizens also questioned this: “Computers will appear Caton, and the use of the system for a long time there is a problem, intelligent electric vehicles will also occur similar to the computer problems?” “
In response, On the afternoon of October 20, Tesla Motors (Beijing) Co., Ltd.’s certified micro-blogging account, Tesla Customer Support, responded by saying, “After surveying and data collation of the vehicle, the vehicle did not turn on autopilot at the time of the accident.” Until the collision occurred, no system failures, including the steering system, were found. “
For Tesla’s response, netizens also used the term “dump pot” to describe. A netizen commented: “First of all how to prove that any abnormality of the car is recorded.” Second, even with a record, is there really no bug in the program? If programmers can find all the bugs, there will be no bugs in the world. “
Some netizens also said that in order to prevent the “throwing pot” incident from happening again, Tesla needs to add a full range of in-car cameras.
In fact, in looking at the vehicle’s driving data provided by Tesla, the “electric king-” questioned while confirming that the brake system was indeed no problem: “The steering wheel of the vehicle was 8 degrees to the right and lasted 6 seconds.” Whether the six seconds were intermittent became a matter of suspense. “
Recent vehicle “out of control” accidents are frequent
The “out-of-control” incident in Beijing is Tesla’s fifth in China in four months.
On June 16 this year, a Tesla Model 3 caught fire after an impact in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. The accident was the first accident involving a Tesla vehicle “out of control” in the country this year. According to the owner Chen Yu (ad.) self-described, when the vehicle suddenly from 50 to 60 km/h automatic speed to 127 km/h, and the brakes are invalid, the vehicle out of control about 8 kilometers, and finally hit the mound overturned on fire.
But Tesla did not acknowledge the car’s owner, Chen Yu, for his remarks. “After the background transfer of vehicle driving data and site survey found that the system detected a few minutes before the accident and collision, the driver has a signal to press the accelerator pedal, no brake pedal signal.” Tesla said.
“The vehicle must be out of control, and even if Tesla doesn’t admit it, that’s 100 percent true.” In an interview with the Daily Economic News on October 21, Chen Yu said that so far, the traffic police have not given a final finding, except for Tesla’s conclusion that there is no “accidental acceleration” of the vehicle.
Chen Yu told reporters that in August this year, Tesla’s accident management staff in the mediation process, had offered to provide compensation for the accident of about 100,000 yuan, but refused to say it is compensation. Chen Yu did not accept this.
“In September, we also communicated two or three times. During this time, Tesla insisted that there was no problem with the vehicle. Not only that, but the other side no longer mentions compensation. Chen Yu said, “After the body is well, if Tesla still can not give a satisfactory answer, I will take legal measures to defend rights, do not rule out suing Tesla.” “
After Chen Yu’s accident, Tesla’s similar vehicle “out-of-control” traffic accidents began to occur frequently in China. On August 9th, for example, a Tesla Model 3 in Shanghai suddenly “lost control” and crashed into a gas station in Yangying, Shanghai, crashing into not only the anti-collision pole and other facilities, but also three motor vehicles inside the station, injuring a staff member and a car owner. As for the cause of the accident, the Tesla owner described that he was driving west to east along Yang’s line of thought when the accident occurred, and in order to prevent the impact of the earthmmoff in front of him, he tried to hit the green belt to force a deceleration, but the vehicle lost control and crashed straight into the gas station.
On August 12, a Tesla Model 3 was traveling to the gate of a district in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, when the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed into an interceptor pole in the parking lot at high speed, hitting 14 cars in a row, seriously injuring the owner. The owner said the vehicle was about 100 meters from the parking lot when it suddenly accelerated and braked, knocked open the railings at the toll booth and crashed into the parking lot, causing the accident. “The main reason for this accident was that Tesla lost control and the brakes failed.” The owner said.
On the afternoon of September 5, a Tesla Model X crashed into several vehicles and pedestrians in Nanding, Sichuan Province. Two people were killed, six were injured and several cars were damaged in the accident, according to a police alert issued by a large team of Nando traffic police. So far, the cause of the accident police are still under further investigation. “Based on an analysis of the vehicle data, it is shown that the vehicle did not malfunction,” Tesla said. We will do our best to co-operate with the police investigation. “
So far, Tesla has responded to several “out-of-control” accidents in the country as “vehicles are no problem” or “still under investigation.” As of press release, about the recent frequency of “out-of-control” vehicle accidents, Tesla and the owners of the two sides are still the same word.
A Tesla insider told reporters explicitly that it was almost impossible for Tesla to have an “accidental acceleration” and brake failure.
But Tesla’s “accidental acceleration” of out-of-control events isn’t just happening in the Chinese market. In January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a petition containing 127 complaints of “accidental acceleration” of Tesla vehicles, involving 123 vehicles and 110 crashes, and 52 injuries. Tesla’s “accidental acceleration” vehicles involved Tesla cars manufactured between 2013 and 2019, including model 3, Model S and Model X models.
In response to the complaint, Tesla issued a statement saying: “The question about vehicle safety concerns is that short-makers are smearing Tesla, and there is no ‘accidental acceleration’ in Tesla vehicles.”
Low probability of self-driving “out of control”?
“We analyzed driving data from each vehicle accident acceleration incident and concluded that Tesla cars were operating as designed in all events. That is, the car accelerates only when the driver lets the car accelerate, and when the driver presses the brake pedal, the vehicle slows down or stops normally. Tesla said that in the actual driving process, if the driver inadvertently simultaneously depressed the brake pedal and accelerator pedal, according to the design requirements, the priority of the brake pedal will be higher, at this time the accelerator pedal instructions will not work, the motor torque will be cut off, continue to press the brake, the vehicle will stop.
As for Tesla’s explanation, Cheng Wei (a real name), a veteran auto technician who has worked on the front line for more than a decade, admitted in an interview with the Daily Economic News that as the ancestor of high-end intelligent electric vehicles, Tesla’s chances of losing control and “failure” of the brakes are really low. “There is a similar situation, and it is believed that Tesla technicians have stepped in to investigate. However, if a similar situation does occur, it is also possible that because the chances are very small and irregular, the technician will find it difficult to find during the testing process. “
So, will highly intelligent vehicles “accidentally lose control” and brakes fail, but not monitored in the background? “It’s not going to happen, it’s just a very small risk.” But all the information we’ve seen so far doesn’t support our next conclusive judgment. On October 22nd an unnamed executive at a smart driving company told the Daily Economic News that, in theory, this could happen if fault data is not uploaded back in time. At the same time, during testing, the trigger conditions for such fault events are complex and not easy to test in the laboratory.
In fact, starting in 2018, Tesla has been creating a benchmark for improving the safety of Autopilot, a self-driving system, by comparing the mileage of cars at the time of each accident when autopilot is up and down in the form of quarterly reports.
On October 26th, Tesla released its third-quarter 2020 auto safety report. The report showed that in the third quarter, there was one accident per 4.59 million miles (7.38 million kilometers) of driving under autopilot, a slight improvement from the 4.53 million miles (7.29 million kilometers) in the second quarter.
But for cars that didn’t start autopilot but activated Tesla’s active safety features, there was an accident in the third quarter of this year for every 2.42 million miles (3,894.6 million kilometers) it traveled. In the third quarter of last year, that number was one accident for every 2.7 million miles traveled, and the situation worsened.
Tesla, which has neither autopilot nor active safety features activated, had an accident in the third quarter of this year at 1.79 million miles per vehicle. That’s the same time in 2019, when Tesla had an accident every 1.82 million miles per hour it was traveling.
As can be seen from the above data, from the second quarter to the third quarter of this year, the self-driving system Autopilot has slightly reduced the number of accidents in Tesla cars, but the accident rate when the system is turned off and active safety features are activated is up year-on-year.
And in addition to the “out-of-control” problem, Tesla’s other system problems are beginning to emerge. Just a day after Tesla’s Battery Day, Tesla’s system suffered a global outage that prevented company staff from processing delivery and orders.
And the Smart Calling feature, which Tesla has always prided itself on, is in question. On October 21st, a video of a Tesla owner calling using the Smart Calling feature came to light. As can be seen from the video, the vehicle after being called, many times to adjust the position and angle, still can not drive smoothly out of the parking space, and eventually with the BMW parked on its left side, and model 3 rear door and rear wing also appeared at the obvious marks.
Not only that, but on October 22nd, a number of owners reflected among Tesla owners: “When a vehicle drives out, there is often no signal, no network.” “
Tesla has either remained silent on the issues that have been exposed, or given a “no problem with the vehicle” or a response that is “still under investigation.”
Tesla is more like electronics
Consumer enthusiasm for Tesla’s vehicles has not declined, despite the frequency of “out-of-control” accidents in the Chinese market and the constant “throwing of the pot”.
Since May, Tesla’s sales in China have climbed, toppling more than 10,000 vehicles for five consecutive months, and from January to September, Tesla’s cumulative sales in China exceeded 799,000 units, ranking first in the domestic sales of new energy vehicles, according to the U.S.-China Federation.
Reporters in the investigation found that The reason why Chinese consumers are flocking to Tesla is mainly to value its intelligent driving function.
On October 20th, during a visit to the Tesla Experience store, a would-be car advocate, Han (a real name), told reporters: “I’m going to buy Tesla, more inclined to Tesla’s smart driving and other new experiences, it can meet the young people’s yearning for high-tech and curiosity.” “
But Mr Zhang also expressed concern about the continuing “out-of-control” incidents involving vehicles. “If the vehicle has ‘out of control’ problems, it can be very scary to drive and worry about not knowing when something like this will happen.” Now that he has decided to buy Tesla, he says, he is prepared to be more alert during late-stage driving and will not fully believe in Tesla’s smart driving capabilities.
People who think the same way as Zhang Han are not in the minority. “Tesla is more of an electronic product to me, like an Apple phone, and I bought it to experience smart driving.” Dong Yu (ad) told reporters.
Tesla has also been aggressive in its development of smart driving. On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company’s fully self-driving (FSD) beta software would be available to some customers that night,media reported. Musk, however, did not say which areas of the vehicle would receive the push.
“We don’t yet know the user base and regions that the fully autonomous driving beta software is targeting.” A person close to Tesla in China told reporters that Tesla’s “fully autonomous” software is now in the first phase of internal testing, but only for a small number of users. At noon Beijing time on October 22, Tesla announced: “In October, we will rewrite the first FSD (fully autonomous driving capability) software update, Urban Roads, to send to a limited number of early experience program customers.” As we continue to collect data, the system will become even more powerful. “
“This test of Tesla’s ‘fully autonomous’ capabilities is a significant leap forward for the industry.” Li Xingyu, vice president of market development and strategic planning at Horizon, told reporters that the test, which allows “fully autonomous driving” to be used in a small number of test vehicles in accordance with the Institute’s model, is no longer in production vehicles. This proves that the gradual self-driving technology route is the only way forward for the self-driving industry, not leapfrog development.
But Li Xingyu also pointed out that at present, it is not the policy that prevents self-driving to land, but the self-driving technology itself has not proved to be mature, in fact, the policy is waiting for technology.
It’s unclear what tesla’s push for “fully autonomous driving” software tests will do. “The company’s self-assisted driving team has been focusing on infrastructure rewrites of neural networks and control algorithms.” Tesla said only that the rewrite would free up the remaining driving features.
So how safe is Tesla’s fully autonomous driving feature today? Yao Shizhi, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, points out that some of the algorithms that artificial intelligence can produce today are quite fragile and unstable, and may be a very serious safety problem in autonomous driving, so artificial intelligence efficiency is not the most important standard.
“Of course, we want it to be accurate and efficient, but we also want it to have some other properties, such as meeting social standards or being legally acceptable.” Yao said.
Some prospects have shaken confidence?
Frequent “out-of-control” incidents and Tesla’s attitude to the recall, while not affecting its sales in China, have shaken the full trust of some potential customers in Tesla.
In a noteworthy change, Tesla’s official website recently announced that it will terminate its “Tesla Confidence Assurance Program” on October 16, 2020. Tesla has made it clear that the plan will only be available to some of its outstanding customers before it expires. This means that car purchases after October 16 will no longer be guaranteed under the scheme, and consumers will no longer be entitled to the benefits of the previous “seven days without a reason to withdraw” even if they are not satisfied with Tesla’s new car.
“The cancellation of the Confidence Assurance Program has something to do with Tesla’s frequent price cuts.” Cui Dongshu believes that because frequent price cuts have led to more and more owners using the Confidence Assurance Program, the cost of input will gradually increase for Tesla.
According to incomplete statistics, in the past three years, Tesla’s model prices have been adjusted more than 10 times, of which the four models in 2019 cumulative price adjustments about 15 times. Since the beginning of the year, Tesla has cut prices three times, with the Model 3 Series reducing prices by more than $80,000.
Li Yan (a real name), a sales specialist at a Tesla experience store in Beijing, also told the Daily Economic News that “the company canceled this policy out of cost reduction considerations.” In fact, very few people actually use the Confidence Guarantee Scheme, and there are dedicated executive departments and personnel to implement this preferential policy. For cost savings reasons, the company decided to withdraw the division and devote more energy to better serving consumers. “
Reporters from a Tesla experience store sales staff in Shanghai, He Kun (ad.) learned that the “confidence assurance plan” offline to its stores have been shown. “There are a number of cars that have been re-booked because of the price reduction, and the price is 10,000 to 20,000 yuan on the basis of 249,000 yuan.” He Kun told reporters.
Tesla’s (TSLA) share price has fluctuated significantly since the cancellation of the Confidence Guarantee program. Tesla’s share price fell between 2 percent and 2.69 percent between October 15 and October 20, from $461.3 a share to $421.94 a share.
The frequent “out-of-control” incidents have also sent Tesla’s share price into a swing. From September 1 to the close of trading on October 16, Tesla’s share price fell from $502.14 a share to $439.67 a share, evaporating $32.956 billion in market value and nearly inging the value of a Ford, according to public data.
But the bright third-quarter results still give Tesla the confidence and momentum to move forward at high speed. On October 22nd, Beijing time, Tesla reported revenue of $8,771 million, up 39% year-on-year and up 45% month-on-month, above market expectations of $8.36 billion.
In terms of production and sales, Tesla set a new record in the third quarter of this year. Tesla produced about 145,000 electric cars and delivered 199,300 in the third quarter, according to the latest delivery figures.
Tesla reiterated in its earnings report that it would keep its annual target of 500,000 vehicles sold unchanged. That means Tesla’s deliveries will need to grow 30 percent from the third quarter to more than 181,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter.
In response, some analysts say It is unlikely that Tesla will meet its 500,000-vehicle sales target, as the seasonal average and the medium are up 9 percent and 14 percent, respectively. “While it has become more difficult to achieve this goal, 500,000 vehicles remains our target.” Tesla officials said the goal would depend largely on quarterly quarter-on-quarter increases in production at Model Y and the Shanghai plant, as well as further improvements in logistics and delivery efficiency. “
“Gross margin was a key variable in the third quarter,” Ben Kallo, an analyst at Baird, an investment bank, said in a research report. Tesla’s overall gross margin was 23.5 percent and vehicle gross margin was 27.7 percent in the third quarter of 2020, according to the results. That means Tesla has plenty of profit margins to cut prices. “Tesla’s gross margin performance can be reflected in everything from regulatory credit, product pricing, battery costs to manufacturing scale.” Ben Kallo said.
Tesla is currently upgrading model Y production capacity at superstells in Shanghai, Berlin and Texas and will begin deliveries everywhere in 2021. At the same time, the Tesla Semi-Trailer truck will be delivered starting in 2021. “We will continue to invest more in the products planned in the roadmap.” Tesla made it clear in its earnings report.
“From a start-up to the present, Tesla’s market acceptance is growing, and its products are beginning to be tested by consumers.” Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the National Passenger Vehicle Market Information Association, said Tesla needs to ensure product quality improvements while accelerating production and marketing.
Reporter’s Note: High sales behind the need to bear more responsibility
Tesla, once locked in a loss-making “magic spell” with cash flow, has grown in the sound of the outside world and has leapt to become the world’s most valuable new energy vehicle company.
As the company continues to do well, Tesla now has the strength to plan and invest in the future. “We should have enough liquidity to support the product roadmap, long-term capacity expansion plans and other spending,” the report said. “
At present, Tesla’s brand effect and high-speed development, enough to affect the development of the global new energy vehicle industry. A previous JPMorgan report made it clear that the popularity of the Tesla Model 3 and its aggressive pricing model will drive penetration of new energy vehicles across China.
But whether it’s the increase in brand influence or the rapid increase in sales, behind the market and consumer recognition of Tesla’s brand and product quality. The increase in market share and the growing influence of the industry also bode well for Tesla’s higher social responsibility.
But the recent frequency of vehicle “out-of-control” accidents, system or APP downtime, all the way to Tesla to warn, urging it to develop at a high speed, expand production capacity at the same time, but also pay more attention to product quality. Make smarter, higher-quality, safer electric cars and listen to consumers so Tesla can go further and better.