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Another 'Sudden Acceleration' lawsuit

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by Joelc, Dec 30, 2016.

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  1. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    I was wondering whether the strong regen effect has an influence on how new drivers to a Tesla (from ICE vehicles) react.

    If one is moving forward with gentle accelerator pressure and then lift off and the car slows significantly on regen, maybe the mind 'thinks' that pedal is now a brake?! So if the forward momentum is still too high, then the 'instinct' maybe to press the pedal again to brake.

    Maybe the 'average' driver then panics when the car moves forward faster so they mash the accelerator (to 'brake'...) and we all know what happens with an EV/Tesla when that is done - full instant torque and minimal time to react.

    Bit in the style of how one can react to a swing door that has Push written on it and one thinks "OK Push don't Pull" but then one Pulls anyway!!

    It does seem that these incidents happen at low speed, when the brakes are being used and usually (?) to drivers new-ish to EVs/Tesla. Begs the question of why not to i3s/Leaves etc - maybe just the power/regen strength of a Tesla exaggerates the effect.........

    Will fully operational AP2 refuse to let a Tesla drive into a wall..?!
     
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  2. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    #62 GoTslaGo, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    This is a big reason why I use "Creep". Put it in gear, it starts to go. If I'm wrong, I'm not pushing the accelerator, and my foot is automatically on the brake. Yes I'm older* and have driven lot's of other cars and transmission styles too.

    FWIW, one other thing that "Creep" helps me with, is that the Tesla doesn't have an On/Off button like an ICE. Several times I've moved the PRND stalk and waited for the car to move, to only realize that the car just "Turned On"...

    *In reference to someone else's post about this seems to be a problem with older folks (I'm paraphrasing), not to you (@Ulmo) specifically.
     
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  3. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    Yes, I've wondered this too.
     
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  4. mhan00

    mhan00 Member

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    Except if the driver was pressing the brake pedal like he said he was, not only would that have stopped the car even if the accelerator was stuck, but he brake pedal press would have been logged as well. For the logs to be wrong, there would have had to been a fault not only causing the car to suddenly accelerate (which would be difficult since, as others have noted, cars use multiple sensors operating in opposite directions for the accelerator, and if the sum of all add up, power is cut and a fault occurs) but also a simultaneous glitch not logging the brake pedal press, which is highly unlikely to occur at the same time. This *sugar* isn't new and it isn't unique to Tesla. Unintended acceleration is a well understood phenomenon at this point, and 99.9999999 percent of the time, it is user error.

    It also sounds like the driver tried to use his "celebrity" to attack Tesla first. Far better for them to make it clear that the driver is wrong instead of being wishy washy and making people think they aren't sure about what happened, when they are.
     
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  5. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    #65 AnxietyRanger, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    That is Tesla's version of it. We don't really know what the full exchange was.

    IMO Tesla could have made their point of view clear without "getting personal" with a customer who just had his living room blown up with his young son in the car. The optics are bad. Tesla has an aggressive way of responding to customer complaints and crashes such as this in public and in detail (there is a history). It clearly is intentional. I am just saying that there is IMO an unnecessary PR price to pay.

    Even if the customer is wrong, which is a perfectly valid line to maintain if it really is so (and I agree it most likely is so), there is rarely any need to go into such detail in public concerning individual customer cases. Especially the part about celebrity status and threats, there was no need to do that in public.

    Tesla too has a celebrity status and using that to pounce on an individual customer unnecessarily harshly and publicly can be viewed wrong by a number of people watching them. The public ridicule on this thread is evidence of that. It goes to the same "disposable customers" mentality that a lot of people have been discussing lately e.g. regarding: Pack Performance and Launch Mode Limits

    Tesla could have just issued a generic statement saying that they investigated the car and deny anything wrong with the car. IMO that would have been the smarter thing to do PR-wise. They could have added some diplomatic PR boilerplate about not wanting to go into detail to respect the customer in their unfortunate situation and wish the customer well, while stating that unfortunately as there is nothing wrong with the car, Tesla can not offer anything further.

    Makes more friends that way and achieves the same significant effect legally. It is even possible being more friendly and open (revealing the logs) with the customer could have avoided the court case. People talk a lot about saving face culturally here, but they also dismiss the fact that Asian cultures often appreciate personal appeasement as a solution. By making the customer look bad in public, they have guaranteed the opposite continuation.

    And in general, now the history is such that one knows that if their crash ever makes it public, Tesla will go public with their interpretation of the logs - even if we do not hold them accountable. And if we do, they will go after the complainants in public. I guess this is the intent. But IMO it is unnecessary and will in the end alienate more friends than win them.

    It is certainly the more likely scenario the driver is wrong here and made a mistake. Some of the analysis on why a setup like Tesla (the nature of high-power EV, differences in creep and gear stalk setup etc.) could add to the confusion sounds plausible as well. I am just generally saying that since Tesla does not make the actual logs public (not even to this owner), and we have limited info, being absolutely certain about it might be premature. But yes, very, very, very likely the driver was at fault here.
     
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  6. bhzmark

    bhzmark Supporting Member

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    Tesla stalk controls are same as Mercedes.
     
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  7. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Obviously they are, since the stalks and window controls are actual Mercedes Benz parts at heart.

    However, coupled with the different nature of the EV drivetrain, certainly it seems plausible more confusion might occur. Even myself after two years I make more mistakes with the Tesla lever than with a regular gear lever. My pet peeve is going into Neutral accidentally while driving. That absolutely never happens with a traditional stick. I also recall at least one instance of being on reverse by accident, but I caught it early.

    This is not unique to Tesla or EVs either. Manufacturers using digital levers in the traditional place have had their share of confusion amongst drivers, I know I missed more gears on my Audi A8 digital shifter. More notably Jeep's was speculated to have been part of the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin: http://jalopnik.com/did-jeeps-recalled-gear-shifter-contribute-to-the-death-1782255715

    I think it is perfectly valid and helpful to consider all the scenarios that might contribute to this. At the very least, it helps owners avoid such instances and educate themselves/eachother, and possibly it helps understand and analyze these news.
     
  8. EinSV

    EinSV Active Member

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    So someone makes public BS allegations and files a frivolous lawsuit and Tesla should not explain to the public what actually happened? Tesla put the facts out, which is exactly what it should have done.

    I would love to see this guy and his lawyers be forced to pay Tesla's attorneys fees for filing a baseless lawsuit but unfortunately that's not likely to happen.
     
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  9. bhzmark

    bhzmark Supporting Member

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    #69 bhzmark, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    True. But His loss of face when the facts are displayed in court will exceed any atty fees. This guy is toast. He will be a sniveling embarrassment who endangered his sons life by stepping on the wrong pedal, and was too stupid and proud and concerned about his short term public face to quietly learn his lesson.
     
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  10. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    #70 AnxietyRanger, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    No, that is not at all what I am saying.

    Tesla could have made a diplomatic but firm response in public to that effect, while withholding unnecessary customer details (like claims of celebrity status threats) out of sheer great PR policy of respecting customers in general. Those could have been left to the court. Simply because it makes the company look more friendly towards its customers, as opposed to cold and hostile party to have grievances with.

    Something to the tune of:

    "Out of respect for our valued customers, Tesla has a policy of not discussing individual customer cases in detail in public. However, since the news has become public, we can state we have received a complaint with the car in question, duly reviewed the car and its logs, and found nothing wrong with the car. Its accelerator pedal was pressed by a driver and it complied. We sympathize with the customer in their plight and wish his family well. Unfortunately since there was nothing wrong with the car, there is nothing more Tesla can offer."


    My point is not just about how to deal with this one customer, though I think a friendlier approach might have even helped there. Mostly my point is about how Tesla as a company is seen dealing with its customers in general and how a different tone might result in PR gains.

    Tesla is a powerful entity and a huge celebrity in itself compared to a single customer. With great power comes great responsibility.
     
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  11. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    I guess this kind of public reaction may be part of what Tesla may have been aiming for when going public about it.

    I'd wager it is not an overall positive policy in furthering customer satisfaction and trust in Tesla.

    It makes both sides look bad, fair or not.
     
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  12. bhzmark

    bhzmark Supporting Member

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    Tesla's responsibility to shareholders requires it to respond to baseless allegations forcefully.

    And having a strong PR and litigation reputation discourages future frivolous allegations and litigation.
     
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  13. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    That is one way of looking at it.

    The other way is that Tesla uses its public muscle to discourage disagreement with the company and that it might happen even in a legitimate case. Instead you could find yourself publicly discussed on Internet with Tesla providing the juicy details. As we know, this has not only happened with lawsuits.

    I can see that having a detrimental effect to long-term customer satisfaction, that might be of interest to shareholders as well. There is a reason why many companies have privacy policies of not discussing customer relationship details in public, as it erodes public trust. If the company discusses other customers, next they could be discussing you... that kind of thinking.

    And I agree, that seems to be Tesla's intent. They seem to be trying to make public examples out of disgruntled and/or crashed customers. Maybe it is their legal strategy. I think it may backfire PR-wise.

    It is perfectly to okay to disagree, of course. I'm just thinking Tesla could easily get both here: nice PR and a firm legal position.
     
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  14. bhzmark

    bhzmark Supporting Member

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    This customer isn't privately "disagreeing" with Tesla about some matter of opinion.

    Public and false allegations, especially those made in a filed complaint, must be responded to publicly.
     
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  15. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    #75 AnxietyRanger, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    That is of course your opinion, but that is not a fact. For example, Tesla could have chosen to respond only in court and comment publicly no comment in on-going litigation, other than denying the complaint. That is common. The response would have been in the form of their legal response.

    Or they could have taken the more diplomatic suggestion I made to counter it. Nothing there suggesting they had to counter things with details of e.g. celebrity status threats. Tesla could have been nicer, while being firm. There were many options here, many alternative paths to take.

    Or they could attack the customer with unflattering details as they chose to do.

    All of these were options with different potential outcomes, of course. But all - and many other reactions - were quite possible IMO. We of course disagree on the choice to take, but I hope we don't disagree on Tesla having more than one exact choice. Surely you agree Tesla did have a multitude of options to approach this, instead of just this one particular?

    p.s. As for the court case, there are two sides and two claims. We shall see over time what the facts are, so far we have limited data. I agree the customer is very, very likely wrong here.
     
  16. Zythryn

    Zythryn M3 Silver, M3 Midnight Silver

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    Isn't the layout in the Mercedes identical? After all, the gear stalk IS from Mercedes.
    Gear controls vary a lot from different manufacturers, and even different models.

    If an improvement to the gear selector can be made, but definitely not, under any circumstances, should they move it to the screen.
     
  17. McRat

    McRat Well-Known Member

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    All cars are required to have a black box. This is because of the airbags laws.

    There will be zero doubt what position the accelerator pedal was in. This is direct sensor data.

    To prove the case, they need to prove the car will accelerate when the pedal position is at 0. Which is possible. And provable. And unlikely unless they can point at a faulty component after the pedal.

    The odds of a coding error only affecting a very small percentage of cars? Unlikely to the extreme. Code is code. It does the same thing when given the same data.


    Young people are too busy texting to realize they ran into a building?
     
  18. disagree

    disagree hos epi to polu

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    I get what you're after here. But in this particular case the guy threatened to blackmail and make public false allegations -- and no doubt Tesla would only reveal this if they had it documented. Discouraging threats seems like a positive thing to me. Frivolous litigation is a real problem that puts a burden on everyone.
     
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  19. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate you got the general point - that was the important part. Though I think your appreciation of discouraging threats might unfortunately hit many legitimate grievances as well as what you'd call friviolous. It is hard to separate the two, especially when Tesla might have big self-interests in the game too...

    Small note regarding this case, I think it is possible the person filing the suit genuinely believes the car accelerated on its own. He may also think Tesla has something to hide due to refusal to share the logs with him. So, while I agree the customer is probably (very, very likely) wrong, I wouldn't quite be ready to call it a frivolous lawsuit yet. What you any of us do if we genuinely believed the car accelerated on its own and the manufacturer won't share the logs they use to claim the opposite... Also, for whatever reason, there have been quite a few unintended accelerations with Model X reported. I can see how it could look to a person.

    Anyway, my point about good PR vs. bad PR stands even in the case of frivolous lawsuits, because the point isn't this case only, but the appearance it sends to other customer complaint cases as well. I.e. is this a customer friendly company or will they air my grievances in public using their far mightier voice than a single customer's....

    I get it that some people clearly disagree with my stance and am happy to agree to disagree. :)
     
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  20. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Possibly, we don't know if the threat was true. There was the case of the fellow with the suspension problem that made a stink and Tesla came out and stated he lived on a long dirt road and that's why his car broke, which folks on the forums were able to independently verify wasn't true. (He lived on a paved road in suburbia). Tesla never corrected that statement, and it was interesting they put it out there.

    So they aren't always as careful with their public responses as one might expect from a large company.
     
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