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Consumer Reports reliability of Model S - worse than average

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
8,837
16,980
Clark Co, WA
I would be surprised if it were otherwise. People forever underestimate the difficulty of building a truly new design. The Leaf may be battery powered but the drive-train is a comparatively small part of an electric vehicle. Most of the vehicle draws parts/technologies/manufacturing processes/suppliers/people from other Nissan models & lines. So Nissan has a dramatically smaller hill to climb.

Further, in producing a high power/high performance vehicle Tesla has made their job much tougher yet. So many things get more difficult when you're looking to put 500+ HP to 4 wheels instead of 120 to 2. And the challenges are exponential, not linear.

As I've said numerous times... the shocker is not that Tesla has had problems. It's that there have been so comparatively few. And Tesla has dealt with the issues admirably well so far.

I agree. Tesla is out in somewhat uncharted waters with the drive units. Other electric cars and even hybrids have electric motors, but Tesla is the only company mass producing high performance cars with electric motors. If you read some of the drive unit threads here it becomes obvious the high power going through the drive units has had some unintended consequences nobody really anticipated, or even saw before. It's basically a scaling problem. Something that wasn't a problem for a motor running at 100W becomes a problem when the same application it using 300+ watts.

Tesla was able to make the safest car ever built (I think only two people have died in Teslas thus far and both were weird accidents), produce a car with way more horsepower and performance than any sedan ever built, build a decent work around for the range problems on long trips, include more technologies never put in cars before this on top of the electric motor, make it look attractive, and have as few problems as they have had is just fricking amazing!
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,561
27,829
Texas
That's good, but sample size of 1 is not good enough. If you have a serious issue that's one out of a thousand, and you sell 50,000 cars, there's 50 people that are not happy at all, and a never ending thread on the intarwebs about how every car is doomed. People are really really bad at probability and risk.
Here's another data point. ~60k miles, no drivetrain replacement, but one charger and charge port replacement.
 
Here's another data point. ~60k miles, no drivetrain replacement, but one charger and charge port replacement.

You are a pretty gentle driver though, right Jerry? With all your hypermiling I can't imagine you put much stress on the drivetrain.

General point: Guys, there's no conspiracy theory here, no agenda. Consumer Reports is probably the most reputable, unbiased source out there. The fact is, there were some quality issues, and Tesla either has or needs to take care of them.

That's not to say the car isn't awesome. It is.
That's not to say the service isn't awesome and that Tesla hasn't gone above and beyond to fix issues. In the majority of cases, they have.

But let's not start ragging on Consumer Reports as if they have an agenda. Remember, they LOVE this car. I suspect they want Tesla to fix any remaining reliability issues more than anyone else.

Trying to discredit them is just silly, and makes us look stupid. Tesla got a smudge on their record. Fine. Fix the problems and move on, and I'm sure CR will be raving about them again.
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Moderator
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
210
You are a pretty gentle driver though, right Jerry? With all your hypermiling I can't imagine you put much stress on the drivetrain.

General point: Guys, there's no conspiracy theory here, no agenda. Consumer Reports is probably the most reputable, unbiased source out there. The fact is, there were some quality issues, and Tesla either has or needs to take care of them.

That's not to say the car isn't awesome. It is.
That's not to say the service isn't awesome and that Tesla hasn't gone above and beyond to fix issues. In the majority of cases, they have.

But let's not start ragging on Consumer Reports as if they have an agenda. Remember, they LOVE this car. I suspect they want Tesla to fix any remaining reliability issues more than anyone else.

Trying to discredit them is just silly, and makes us look stupid. Tesla got a smudge on their record. Fine. Fix the problems and move on, and I'm sure CR will be raving about them again.

100% Agreed.
 
That's the point I've made a bunch of times here and elsewhere. Same goes w/some BMW i3 forums (where the i3 REx seems to be pretty unreliable).

There are far more Leafs on the road and an order of magnitude even more Priuses, and yet we don't see this magnitude of problems (some serious) on similarly aged Leafs. Ditto for Priuses, even ones much older w/much higher mileage.


The Prius went through its catastrophic accelerator issues a few years back. Can't recall the number of deaths attributed to it but that recall was massive. As was the settlement.
 
I agree. Tesla is out in somewhat uncharted waters with the drive units. Other electric cars and even hybrids have electric motors, but Tesla is the only company mass producing high performance cars with electric motors. If you read some of the drive unit threads here it becomes obvious the high power going through the drive units has had some unintended consequences nobody really anticipated, or even saw before. It's basically a scaling problem. Something that wasn't a problem for a motor running at 100W becomes a problem when the same application it using 300+ watts.

WRT the drive units, I completely agree. The drive unit in the MS is absurdly small for what it does. If you look at an industrial 500hp 3 phase AC motor & a corresponding 3 phase variable frequency drive, you will have something that is many times the size & weight of what is in the Model S. Tesla is not violating any laws of physics, but they're certainly pushing against them very hard. And when you do that problems will inevitably crop up. The positive is that after they've sorted out the issues with the drive unit, it will become very very reliable.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,561
27,829
Texas
[/B]

The Prius went through its catastrophic accelerator issues a few years back. Can't recall the number of deaths attributed to it but that recall was massive. As was the settlement.

The deaths were in other Toyotas, not the Prius. However some media put up a picture of the Prius while reading their story.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,345
4,263
Santa Barbara/New York
True delta does not have a statistical sample. I reported my last 2 cars there, but the guy got under my skin nagging me for quarterly updates. Also keep in mind that, since whole fleet under warranty and tesla service so accommodating, people tend to have more service visits than they would in hostile dealer environment where they are getting nickel and dimed.
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
8,837
16,980
Clark Co, WA
You are a pretty gentle driver though, right Jerry? With all your hypermiling I can't imagine you put much stress on the drivetrain.

General point: Guys, there's no conspiracy theory here, no agenda. Consumer Reports is probably the most reputable, unbiased source out there. The fact is, there were some quality issues, and Tesla either has or needs to take care of them.

That's not to say the car isn't awesome. It is.
That's not to say the service isn't awesome and that Tesla hasn't gone above and beyond to fix issues. In the majority of cases, they have.

But let's not start ragging on Consumer Reports as if they have an agenda. Remember, they LOVE this car. I suspect they want Tesla to fix any remaining reliability issues more than anyone else.

Trying to discredit them is just silly, and makes us look stupid. Tesla got a smudge on their record. Fine. Fix the problems and move on, and I'm sure CR will be raving about them again.

Over the years the only bias I've seen in Consumer Reports is they tend to be a little more negative on cars with poor fuel economy. They've been that way for 30-40 years. It isn't massive, and these days, most consumers who read their magazine probably have at least some concerns about fuel/energy economy, so I think it's a fair measure.

If you watch the Car Talk segments Consumer Reports make, they have been quick to point out the negatives of the Tesla. They like a lot about the car, but none of them liked the short range on a single charge compared to an ICE. They really didn't get how superchargers mitigate the shorter range problems. One asserted that anyone who can afford a Tesla also has an ICE they use for road trips too. And that was only a few months ago when they reviewed the P85D. The videos are all up on YouTube.

But the two Tesla models they tested scored as high as they did because CR is honest in it's reporting. The cars ticked so many boxes in the tests they scored insanely high and they were honest enough to report what they got straight up. The car's performance really is that good. The way they measure reliability, they don't have any direct measure for the service experience, so Tesla's very good customer service only shows up in how many people would buy a Tesla again. It's a gap in CR's system which they probably never thought to measure because most people get service from independent franchise owners (car dealers) rather than directly from the car company and service experiences are going to vary more based on what individual franchisees do than on any company policy.
 
The deaths were in other Toyotas, not the Prius. However some media put up a picture of the Prius while reading their story.
Correct. In fact, the Toyota SUA (sudden "unintended" acceleration) PR fiasco for the US market ONLY involved North American assembled Toyotas which used pedal assemblies made by CTS: denso and cts gas pedals compared - The Truth About Cars. The CTS pedals could stick and not return to their non-depressed position under certain temperature and humidity conditions.

NO Priuses were ever assembled in North America and hence they didn't use the affected CTS pedals. Japanese made Toyotas (at least for the US) used Denso pedals of a totally different design.

That said, Toyota did go around trimming the bottom of accelerator pedals on existing Priuses of the time (it was done to mine w/them asking me first) to reduce the chances of pedal entrapment via floor mat. They also made extra sure that your OEM floor mat (if you had one) was secured properly and that you weren't stacking other mats on top.

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Over the years the only bias I've seen in Consumer Reports is they tend to be a little more negative on cars with poor fuel economy.
At the same time, they don't necessarily give that many bonus points to cars w/good FE that don't otherwise do well in their tests and even if if they have decent reliability.

The Toyota Prius C isn't a good car, and here's why

Some Priuschatters were pretty upset about the Prius c's non-recommendation despite its very good FE. Consumer Report responds to criticism of their review | PriusChat was one thread some were up in arms.

Consumer Reports says Prius C most reliable 2012 vehicle - didn't help

They don't like these either, despite good FE: The new Yaris is the only Toyota car rated too low to be recommended
CR Faults Honda Insight for Its Ride, Handling, Noise, and Rear Seat: Consumer Reports http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/.
 
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I bought my model s just a few months ago, 85 kwh battery, dual motors. It has been the most amazing machine you can imagine. The fact that I just pulled out of my garage a few days ago and auto pilot was installed and works perfectly well is just a tiny insight into how far ahead this car is from the rest of the world. I am approaching 10,000 miles since June and I have driven it up on steep dirt roads and lots of two lane back roads. It is robust and as long as you are conscious of the fact it's low and wide it will go more places than you thought.I am a winemaker in Mendocino County and I live 70 mile away in Sonoma County. Commuting is fabulous. I have to figure out how to find out the status of the Supercharger station in Ukiah. I lived in Ukiah for 40 years and am around the area a lot on business. The proposed site is great. Within two blocks are 6 non- chain from good to great restaurants , and it's in the downtown walking shopping district .
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
8,837
16,980
Clark Co, WA
At the same time, they don't necessarily give that many bonus points to cars w/good FE that don't otherwise do well in their tests and even if if they have decent reliability.

The Toyota Prius C isn't a good car, and here's why

Some Priuschatters were pretty upset about the Prius c's non-recommendation despite its very good FE. Consumer Report responds to criticism of their review | PriusChat was one thread some were up in arms.

Consumer Reports says Prius C most reliable 2012 vehicle - didn't help

They don't like these either, despite good FE: The new Yaris is the only Toyota car rated too low to be recommended
CR Faults Honda Insight for Its Ride, Handling, Noise, and Rear Seat: Consumer Reports http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/.

Yes, a car can give you a terrible driving experience but be reliable and another car can give you a superior driving experience, but not be reliable.

No system is going to be completely free from bias. And kind of review system includes some subjectivity. For the various places reviewing cars out there, CR is probably one of the least biased.
 

BoerumHill

not great not terrible
Apr 23, 2015
736
218
New York, NY
Tesla Reliability Lags Its High Performance | Consumer Reports - YouTube

Highlights:


  • based on 1,400 Model S owners annual reliability surveys
  • array of problems = worse than average reliability
  • nearly every survey noted Tesla's rapid and effective response to issues
  • most repairs fall under warranty at no cost to the owner
  • highest owner satisfaction of any car
  • 97% of owners would buy the same car again

We all know what the headlines read, but overall it's pretty even handed treatment by CR.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,345
4,263
Santa Barbara/New York
Bayes would tell you that since CR and TrueDelta stats go in the same direction over time, the validity of both their databases is mutually reinforced.
Anyway, as I said elsewhere, Elon has the best stats and he will not reveal them. But he is not an anomaly: capitalism is more secretive than ever. It has never been so hard to know what you really buy, since corporations easily convince corrupt politicians it would be suicidal for them to reveal all their "trade secrets". It is understandable since capitalism is in reality economic war, and in a war it is crucial to avoid letting your enemy know what you are really up to. Meanwhile, customers do not have the right to perfect information in the market and Adam Smith is a fraud. The reality of capitalism from the point of view of the customer is that there is no duty to clearly, fully and honestly inform customers before they hand their credit card if what they buy is crappy, or worse: carcinogenic.
Trade secret - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Elon's defense so far is quite weak: he does not offer his own stats, just a couple of tweets, revealing he only cares about one thing: 98% of Model S owners would buy it again. It is not a stupid defense. But it is not a transparent one.
Tesla owners who really care about the truth could set up a website dedicated to stats about the Model S. It could prove useful to negotiate a free warranty extension if the reliability is really that poor.

CR has a statistical sample. Look at true delta site. They clearly don't. One is valid, the other not. Doesn't matter if they agree.

The problem is not capitalism, it's legal system. Nobody can say what they really want to.

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Corporations are not in touch with reality. They are in touch with accountancy, the filter through which they see reality.

generalizations are always wrong.
 
CR has a statistical sample. Look at true delta site. They clearly don't. One is valid, the other not. Doesn't matter if they agree.

200 is alright according to Kolmogorov. So Bayes can enter on the stage triumphantly. More or less.


The problem is not capitalism, it's legal system. Nobody can say what they really want to.

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generalizations are always wrong.

It was a short answer to a short comment. So yeah, compared to a whole book, it lacks nuances. But generally, accountancy is the ultimate arbiter, and analytic accounting rules corporations today. Along with Edward Bernays.
 

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