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Drive unit problems explanation by Elon

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Matias, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Matias

    Matias Active Member

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    From Conference call

    "Andrea James - Doherty & Co.
    Thanks for taking my questions. First one is I guess about quality control. Can you talk about the improvements you've made in quality control and where you think it needs to go? Maybe with a nod toward what's going on with the drive train systems?
    Elon Musk - Chairman and CEOSure. We definitely had some quality issues in the beginning for the [indiscernible] number of cars, because we're just basically figuring out how to make the Model S. And I think we've addressed almost all of those CARB [ph] production cars, I mean not all, but the vast majority have been addressed in cars that are being produced today.
    And we're also getting better at diagnosing what's wrong, because in some cases we, particularly with respect to the drive unit, we think that something is wrong with the drive unit but it's actually something wrong with another part of the car. And then we'd replace the drive unit and that wouldn't solve the problem because the drive unit was not the problem.
    And we had one particular case where there was vibration, and it was due to -- it was due to the -- a cable detaching itself and touching the drive unit assembly and causing vibration to be transmitted to the body of the car. And it was somewhat pernicious because if the cable moved a little bit and so that it didn't provide a conductive path, then you wouldn't -- the vibration would go away. If you replace the drive unit, you temporarily tuck the cable back and think the problem was solved and it was -- but then the cable would vibrate itself down and transmit the energy. So I mean that, you know, the cable thing takes us like -- it's nothing to fix it. It's like, virtually, it's like a $3 cable tied to solve it.
    So there's a bunch of things like that which are just [indiscernible] diagnosis of the problems that we've obviously addressed.
    There are a few items that will need a fair number of drive pans [ph] will need to be serviced. It's actually related -- one particularly is related to the differential, and we need to assume [ph] the differential. It doesn't require drive unit replacement, it just requires a technician to insert a Shim [ph]. We're going to have to do that on a fair number of cars. But that's like a $0.50 Shim [ph].
    So it's really -- I wouldn't assume that there's going to be some vast number of drive pans [ph] that will need to replaced, but there's several service buttons [ph] that we'll be instituting, many of which we've already have to address the issue.
    And every week I have a product excellence meeting, which is to -- which is a cross-functional group, so we've got engineering, service and production, and we go about all the issues that the customer is reporting with the car, and, you know, the action items that we addressed to get car ultimately to -- photonic ideal of a perfect car, that's what we're aiming for. Because although we -- I think we've got great service, but that service is no service. That's really what we want, is a car that never needs to be serviced. And I think we're getting there quite rapidly.
    Andrea James - Doherty & Co.Would you say you're satisfied more so with the quality control function and team you have in place?
    Elon Musk - Chairman and CEOI think at this point we've got an excellent quality control team. And we weren't there in the beginning but I'm confident that we're there now. I mean our aspiration is sort of order magnitude better quality than any other car. And I -- we'll keep at it unrelentingly until we get there.
    "

    I think the cable vibration problem might explain, why some people have needed several replacements.
     
  2. Denarius

    Denarius Active Member

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    Very interesting. This has been a concern of mine of late and the reason I'm planning on buying the extended warranty. I hope they've got all the issues solved.
     
  3. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    It certainly is interesting.
    Now we need to see what actually happens with new and fixed cars. Presumably we'll start hearing about cars being brought in for these fixes.
     
  4. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    Later on in the call, someone asked about the Edmunds car as well and all the drivetrain replacements. Elon mentioned that Edmunds' drivetrain was replaced twice for what ended up being the cable issue mentioned above. Those two replacements in retrospect were actually unnecessary and could have been fixed with a cable tie. This is a learning process for Tesla and I'm just glad they are willing to bend over backwards and do whatever it takes to get things fixed. I'm still wondering what the shim fix actually fixes though.
     
  5. loganss

    loganss Spaceman

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    Sounds like to me the drive train issue will be covered under a TSB so the extended warranty wouldn't matter in this instance?
    Am I thinking about this wrong and TSB are actually a warranty thing?
     
  6. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    It's great that he has addressed this directly in a public forum, and very reassuring to hear that most of the drive train problems have been relatively trivial at root cause. It seems one lesson learned is that overzealousness in the delivery of service can give a false impression of the severity of problems. Another quote from Musk: "imagine that when a single gasket went bad, you replaced an entire internal combustion engine; that's effectively what we were doing at first but in the future we will just replace the gasket."

    It's really a testimonial to Tesla that they were so aggressively proactive in the absence of a root cause explanation of what was happening, but it did cost them some public relation points. Those can be recouped now that there is some information about the true severity of the problem.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Platonic?

    bulletins
     
  8. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    If it's a TSB it should be applied regardless of your warranty status.
     
  9. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    #9 AmpedRealtor, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
    My take-away: We didn't know how to build Model S in the beginning and used early owners as guinea pigs. We now have a good quality team in place, but early on our quality sucked even though we were telling everyone that we were building the highest quality car.

    Gilbert Passin, the VP in charge of assembly and production, said in early Tesla and factory documentaries that the Model S will be of incredible build quality unlike what the industry has ever seen. Now that Elon has admitted they weren't there in the beginning, how are we to believe anything that we are told today? Clearly, the story can change tomorrow.
     
  10. SeminoleFSU

    SeminoleFSU Member

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    Was thinking the very same thing... And they seem to be putting a lot of shims in certain areas where there are tolerance problems. Those will eventually rattle loose and need to be adjusted or replaced. There's a possibility that the core components of the car will have a decently long life span, but all these little band-aids will mean you will constantly have to bring it in and have them adjusted or replaced every so often. I wouldn't exactly call that build quality on an order of magnitude better than other manufacturers. It sounds like something that could cause service/maintenance labor costs to balloon as more cars are added to the fleet... especially if they don't get it right by the time the X and/or Gen3 are available.
     
  11. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    Nah. It was just the sig's that got the prototype parts. The rest of us are cool. lol
     
  12. Matias

    Matias Active Member

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    It might also be good idea not to buy first Xes... of course it has much common with S, but certainly there will be new unexpected problems.
     
  13. Tedkidd

    Tedkidd Member

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    Is "quality" represented by words or experience?

    If your answer is "experience", what has been your experience? Would you define your experience as predominantly unlike any you've seen before - or not?


    Again, early adopters should be willing to suffer unforeseeable issues. If your temperament is better defined as early majority, definitely do NOT buy the first of anything or expect frustrating disappointment. This is almost a law of nature.
     
  14. rdrcrmatt

    rdrcrmatt Member

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    This reply leads me to believe you have no experience actually working on or building machinery, cars, etc, and is completely incorrect.

    A shim would be used between two non-moving surfaces. In the case of a differential shim, it would be placed between the outer bearing race and the surface the bearing mounts to. There will be no "consumption" of said shim and the tolerance will not been to be readjusted due to the use of a shim. Shims are not wear items.

    Now, in the case of the dash and interior components, their fix has been felt tape which will wear.. and tighter clips will also fatigue. Some fixes will wear out again, only after a longer period than the first part. But in all, most of those things would be considered normal maintenance for an owner who is fanatical about the vehicle being in as "like-new" of condition for as long as possible, on a Model S or any other luxury performance car.
     
  15. Zextraterrestrial

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    except the steering shims, so far anyways, seem to be a 'wear item' or at least they don't last as a 'fix'
    I think the little keeper bolts have too low of a torque/ bad bracket design (much more and you torque off bolt heads :eek: from experience)

    not sure about the drive shims. might be getting some of those soon
     
  16. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    Consumers need to use their brains, too. The first-year buyers of a product are *always* guinea pigs.

    And why would anyone expect a startup company to deliver better build quality than anyone else in the industry straight out of the gate? Tesla is using the same robots, parts and people everyone else is. There's no short cuts to higher build quality. That takes focus, work and time.

    Where Tesla stands out to me is their strong commitment to improving build quality and their willingness to retrofit existing cars to new car standards. As they learn, both the new and old cars get better. They can't retrofit everything but there are a lot of improvements getting added on to older cars. That's not something I see most manufacturers doing.

    IMO, Tesla's build quality at month 3 was about on par or better than US companies and lagging a bit relative to the best German companies. That's amazing for a startup. Given their commitment to improving my car over time, I'm very happy.

    I don't see how anyone can realistically expect Tesla to do anything more.

    I went in on a month 3 production car with eyes wide open and I'm very happy with the results. I'd rather have had the car earlier than wait and get a marginally better car later.

    And I'm not worried about shims. A shim will outlast the rest of the car if the shim is made out of the right material.
     
  17. Russell B

    Russell B Member

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    At least one of the Edmunds problems had nothing to do with a "cable" but the 12V battery. It bricked on a freeway on-ramp. I know the driver.
     
  18. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but what the people in the conference call were referring to were the three drive unit replacements.

    The 12V battery was a separate matter (edit: looks like it was replaced during the same service visit as the drive unit replacement, but it's not clear the 12V battery was the cause of that drive unit failure).
     
  19. Russell B

    Russell B Member

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    I was an early purchaser, loved the car then and now. However, I had all manner of problems to the point of trying to negotiate a swap for a new one without the issues. Once they admitted that the early units had defects we focused on getting them fixed and the last 5,000 miles are what I had always wanted. I am very high (500) on the X list and will probably delay my purchase until they get the bugs out of it. Never ever will return to an ICE.
     
  20. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Even for established makes, I tend to not buy the first year of a completely new generation for the same reason. It's almost inevitable there will be some bugs that will have to be fixed.
     

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