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Are MS owners receptive to after-market parts peddlers?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by bcsteeve, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    I'm new to Tesla. I've got a deposit down. I have a background in automotive parts, mostly electronics. My intention isn't to sling wares like its little Shanghai... but I have little doubt that I'll eventually figure out something I'd like in the car that isn't available or can be done better. My mantra in life has always been (to the chagrin of my mother) that, "I'm nothing special". It isn't as self-deprecating as it sounds... I mean that if I want/like/dislike something. I've already got a couple ideas but, of course, not having the car yet they are only that... ideas.

    When/if I do develop something, I would largely want to rely on a forum like this for getting the word out. Is that sort of thing allowed? If it is, is it something people view as positive or just annoying spam? Every forum is different. I've developed parts for Honda, Yamaha, and Smart recently and only smart was really a success, primarily due to its forums. The two primary sites allowed me to post "commercial" posts and the owner's were receptive (they were down-right grateful and most helpful, really). The Honda forum allowed it but the user base completely ignored the offerings. The Yamaha forum instantly banned me for life for offering something for sale without purchasing their banner space. So I wondered where this site and users fall on that spectrum?

    I'm just a one-man shop, not a big commercial enterprise. I don't have an "advertising budget" and, besides the cost, I prefer not to pay for ads anyway because I find it far more effective when my products and the people who buy them do the talking. I think I'm fairly talented in what I do, and may very well have something interesting to offer... but I don't go where I'm not wanted.

    Not trying to step on any toes. Just figured I'd ask before I go head first into development (been there, done that).

    Cheers.

    - Steven
     
  2. gizmoboy

    gizmoboy Member

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    It's been done here more than a few times, especially by artsci.

    But make sure you establish some credibility first...
     
  3. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    What you've described is more or less what happened to me. The slight difference is that I never started out with the intention that it would/could become a (small & part-time) commercial enterprise, I just kind of lucked into that through demand, and importantly, feedback and support from this community. I am now a TMC sponsor, but most of my posts are not to advertise anything, assuming my signature doesn't count, and I had hundreds of posts before the thought about FobPockets came up (which was a relatively obvious need once I actually got my Model S in Feb 2013). Still, many of my products spawned from discussions on TMC, and in the early days the entire business existed on TMC, via PMs and a shared spreadsheet (horrendously inefficient!).

    So, I think just be honest about when a thought about a potential product becomes something viable, and be reasonable about how you use the forum. There's already the Panjo marketplace for smaller volume sales which benefits TMC, otherwise there's the option to sponsor, just ping Doug. TMC has changed a lot over the past few years, but from your description it's certainly nearer Smart than Yamaha or Honda. Generally speaking TMC is a very reasonable, and collaborative space with members that tend to look out for each other, as long as someone doesn't abuse the privilege of being a TMC member.
     
  4. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Thanks guys. Yeah, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage, of course, because I'm late to the game, so to speak, and nobody knows me from Bob (no offense to Bob). Typically I'm more in on the ground floor and it just kind of happens organically. Its just this time I have an idea going in. And also, I'm waffling a bit on my decision to buy. Part of me says that if I felt the community were the type that, conceivably, I could financially benefit from having the car that it would push me to the right side of the fence. Does that make sense? I realize I can't bank on it, but I just thought I'd ask.

    Take the smart car example. The car came to Canada in '05 and I got one of the first (actually in late '04). I was an owner and one of the most active members of the fledgeling forum that popped up. The car didn't come with a few things I wanted, so I started designing. When it came time to sell, it was really dead easy because I was "one of the guys" and a trusted name. When the car came to the USA in '08 I had an in. I realize this is different because I'm not that guy to you all.

    Anyway, I'm good at what I do. I know that. And I take very good care of my customers. That'll speak for itself if/when the time comes. I'm driving my smart 5 hours tomorrow to the nearest Tesla centre where I'll be having an overnight session with a P85. I have some concerns about comfort (I'm tall. My right knee rubbed the center console a lot during the 15 min drive I did previously) and tomorrow's date with my dream girl (don't tell my wife) should see if we're compatible.

    Wish me luck!
     
  5. SteveW25561

    SteveW25561 Member

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    I hope you take the plunge.

    I think you mentioned electronics expertise. If you can crack the nugget of getting third party/standard or HD video to show on the touch screen, you'll have achieved a holy grail others (who have lots of video electronics expertise) have tried to do but thus far have not! No pressure though!
     
  6. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I don't think it's a disadvantage. Despite the success of the Model S, it is still a very small number of car that are out there compared to anything else from major brands. That means even if you have a great product and owners love it, it's still a very small number of sales. Your market is small. Customer service is time consuming and makes you no money, so make sure you have a product that doesn't require much customer service :)
     
  7. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    artsci has been able to achieve this. I'm sure if you hook up his front camera to another video source it will work.
     
  8. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    ...maybe come up with an aftermarket insert to provide lighting for the sun visor vanity mirrors (...has been mentioned here on the forums before but AFAIK no actual product is available). And not some bulky clip on thing--just a small LED light in a housing that fits under the existing flip up cover with a coin type battery and a small microswitch).
     
  9. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    It won't, actually. The Tesla camera has some proprietary communications protocol they didn't fully figure out. That's why you need the Tesla camera and not any random COTS camera.

    There have definitely been both receptive and hostile receptions to add-on makers. In the latter, it was mostly where someone attempted to insert themselves into threads discussing similar parts available from well-established sellers. To my mind, your best bet, at least with the current makeup of TMC/Tesla Owners, is to document what you're up to as a behind-the-scenes. We love that stuff and eat it up.

    As long as you're courteous and receptive, it's a good time to get started. The community is still small and plenty young enough to build a name/brand. Best of luck.
     
  10. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Well, right now I'm stuck at a ****** restaurant in a podunk town waiting for roadside assistance to call me back from an hour ago. Charger won't connect. Not enough juice to get back. Not impressed.
     
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    What kind of charging station?
     
  12. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Are you in Hope at the Supercharger?
     
  13. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Yeah, I was. Tesla never did call back. That alone has me canceling this morning. On the 23rd or so attempt, it turned green and charged. By that time, it was too late to get to where I was spending the night so I slept in the car. That actually worked pretty well since the climate control can stay on. However, I sure hope these non folding rear seats aren't standard now! I saw Bjorn 's video with his folded flat and that is important to me.

    Anyway, I'm returning the car in a few hours.
     
  14. Soolim

    Soolim Member

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    Sorry to hear your bad experience on your extended test drive. I assume you tried all of the available Supercharger at Hope, so it could be some communication error from the car to charger for permission to charge, or could be a network problem in that area. Does not inspire confidence from this experience.
     
  15. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    What we developed is basically a switch that fools the system into thinking it's seeing the rear Tesla camera when it's actually seeing the same camera in the front of the car. But we've not had any success trying get other camera or other video signals to show on the touchscreen. I've run into many folks who think they can do this but not one has been successful.
     
  16. JunesongProvisn

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    For such a forward-thinking company with a rock star CEO, I fully expected them to have better customer service. My ordering process and delivery experience was so underwhelming.

    I do love the car though, so at least I have that.
     
  17. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    I think it's the exception vs. the rule. There's no defending any lapse in customer service, especially on a stranded 'sales opportunity', but unfortunately it happens to be best of them occasionally. Personally, I'd rate the customer service as excellent from the local Service Center, by an standard, and in the context of an automotive company, just amazing. The service out of the call center has been patchy for me though.
     
  18. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    It does seem pretty outside the norm. Certainly that's no excuse, such a thing should never happen, but we'd see a lot more complaints if it wasn't rare.

    Last year on the evening of July 4th I got a flat on the way back home from Carmel. No local places were open (being the evening on a holiday), so I called Tesla. They said on any other day they'd have someone from the nearest SC come pick us up with a loaner, but they were closed for the holiday. They offered to have a tow truck come pick up the car and send Uber down to pick up me and my family and take us home (still more than an hour away).

    The leak ended up being slow enough that we limped it home, and I had the Tesla tire repair kit so had no real intention of abandoning the car and taking Uber, but it was a nice offer. My local SC was notified and called me first thing in the morning the next day.

    So far I've been super impressed with the service when things go wrong.
     
  19. MrJones390

    MrJones390 Space Boat

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    I'd be delighted to have more aftermarket options
     
  20. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    That's too bad. I have found that it was difficult to get a connection with the charger two bays over from the transformer. Was that the one giving you trouble? I guess you must have tried others so it was probably the car. I'm sure glad I didn't have a bad experience with my test drive or I wouldn't have had 1.5 years so far of looking forward to my car every day. Service has always been great to me but I haven't needed them much and never urgently. I also think expecting you to get from Kelowna to Vancouver is stretching it, especially given the high elevation changes. When I considered buying the car, my very first post here was asking if I would make it to my cabin in Tulameen (30 minutes north of Princeton and 100km closer than Kelowna) and people told me to charge at the 80Amp Sun Country in Hope (no SC at that time) -- which I did my first trip, but later I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't need to. So perhaps lower expectations are better. If you call Hope a podunk town then you must have high expectations. I think is Hope is great. Yes, it's not Vernon, Kelowna or Penticton but the scenery is beautiful and the Blue Moose is great and hopefully wasn't the restaurant you complained about. It's just a couple of blocks from the SC. In fact, if the car had dual chargers, you probably could have picked up the km's needed at the 80amp Sun Country across from it unless the car also wouldn't charge from that one.
     

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