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PSA - Reports that 2021.4.3 has broken 3rd part DC charging

Glan gluaisne

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Sep 11, 2019
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If this turns out to be correct, and that an update has indeed broken third party rapid charging, then that's a really serious indication of something that I've suspected for some time, which is that the software testing process within Tesla is not fit for purpose. That may sound harsh, but these are cars for which much of the software is super safety critical, more safety critical than many other cars, simply because just about everything on a Tesla is under software control.

Although we only get to see obviously visible failures, like this one (assuming this is true), we can sometimes speculate that other things may not be behaving wholly as expected due to probable software issues. What we cannot easily see are the problems that are not at all obvious most of the time, some of which may well be a serious accident waiting to happen if the wrong set of conditions happens to occur. If something as simple as properly testing the DC charging communication protocol can be omitted from pre-release software testing, then what else doesn't get properly tested?

This is not the first time that the charging system has suffered from major software bugs, either. The Model 3 was sold with what amounted to a fake compliance certificate for around 18 months, as AC charging did not comply with IEC 61851, even though Tesla claimed it did. That got silently fixed around June last year, but for the first 8 months I owned the Model 3 the car was non-compliant, in that charge point controlled timed charging did not work, neither did charge resumption following a power outage (even though the manual wrongly stated it did). We've also seen charging bugs appear more than once that impact the charge current setting, causing issues like the charge current being halved a few minutes after charging commences. Perhaps we can hope that it's just the team developing and testing the charging-related code that have issues with testing, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

For balance, I'm every bit as concerned about the VW ID.3, and it's major software problems. Compared to the approach used in aviation for software testing and qualification I have a strong suspicion that the automotive industry is lagging way behind. "Move fast and break things" may work OK when the most serious consequence of an issue is something like Facebook not working for a few minutes, but death can be just a couple of seconds away if something goes seriously awry in a car. Arguably, cars need a more rigorous approach to software testing and qualification than aircraft, as most of the time in an aircraft there's not anything close by moving at a high closing speed, so there's often more time to sort glitches out.
 

Glan gluaisne

Active Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,922
UK
I wonder if the issue is related to changing the Tesla rapid charging system so that it's compatible with ISO 15118? Other EVs already have this capability, which allows (amongst other things) "plug and charge" with any ISO 15118 compliant DC charger. "Plug and charge" works (as far as the user is concerned) exactly like the Tesla superchargers, in that vehicle identity and billing data is exchanged over the normal connector handshake signalling system, so that there's no need for the user to do anything other than plug the car in, no payment cards, no apps, no need to carry a wallet full of RFID cards.

Porsche, Ford and VW have already implemented an ISO 15118 capability into their cars, so perhaps Tesla has changed the non-supercharger communications code in readiness, but got it wrong, by stopping conventional rapid charging data exchange from functioning in the process. Seems feasible, especially as there are very few rapid chargers around that support "plug and charge" at the moment.

Worth noting that ISO 15118 also supports V2G over CCS, something that I believe Elon Musk has already referred to as being a possible future option.
 
If this turns out to be correct, and that an update has indeed broken third party rapid charging, then that's a really serious indication of something that I've suspected for some time, which is that the software testing process within Tesla is not fit for purpose. That may sound harsh, but these are cars for which much of the software is super safety critical, more safety critical than many other cars, simply because just about everything on a Tesla is under software control.

Although we only get to see obviously visible failures, like this one (assuming this is true), we can sometimes speculate that other things may not be behaving wholly as expected due to probable software issues. What we cannot easily see are the problems that are not at all obvious most of the time, some of which may well be a serious accident waiting to happen if the wrong set of conditions happens to occur. If something as simple as properly testing the DC charging communication protocol can be omitted from pre-release software testing, then what else doesn't get properly tested?

This is not the first time that the charging system has suffered from major software bugs, either. The Model 3 was sold with what amounted to a fake compliance certificate for around 18 months, as AC charging did not comply with IEC 61851, even though Tesla claimed it did. That got silently fixed around June last year, but for the first 8 months I owned the Model 3 the car was non-compliant, in that charge point controlled timed charging did not work, neither did charge resumption following a power outage (even though the manual wrongly stated it did). We've also seen charging bugs appear more than once that impact the charge current setting, causing issues like the charge current being halved a few minutes after charging commences. Perhaps we can hope that it's just the team developing and testing the charging-related code that have issues with testing, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

For balance, I'm every bit as concerned about the VW ID.3, and it's major software problems. Compared to the approach used in aviation for software testing and qualification I have a strong suspicion that the automotive industry is lagging way behind. "Move fast and break things" may work OK when the most serious consequence of an issue is something like Facebook not working for a few minutes, but death can be just a couple of seconds away if something goes seriously awry in a car. Arguably, cars need a more rigorous approach to software testing and qualification than aircraft, as most of the time in an aircraft there's not anything close by moving at a high closing speed, so there's often more time to sort glitches out.
It’s no coincidence Elon likes Cyberpunk and made light of the bugs, the ability to push out fixes simply leads to less effort in getting things right first time round. It becomes the culture.
 
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Glan gluaisne

Active Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,922
UK
My car had downloaded 2021.4.3 but I didn’t install it. Now that version has been withdrawn from the car and I’m offered to upgrade to 2020.48.35.5 instead

That's a bit weird, isn't it, being offered an "upgrade" to an older software version? Tesla told me that this was impossible when I asked (I wanted the speed display update rolled back to put it back where I could see it easily). The conversation I had with someone that sounded pretty knowledgeable was that there was no mechanism that allowed them to roll back an update and re-install an older version of the software. Even if I took it in to the SC (which was their original plan) there apparently isn't a way they can do this.
 
Could be related to the reports that third party rapid charging no longer works after the last update, perhaps? Seems a very good reason to stop the roll out if this is the case, as it could prove to be embarrassing if some owners get stuck somewhere because there are no superchargers nearby.

I tried a Dundee Council Rapid yesterday (eVOLT). usually very reliable. No Joy. This would support the hypothesis of duff software version.
 
Maybe I'm lucky!
This morning just to see if will charge, i used a 50kwh pulse/polar... is working.

20210216_082825.jpg 20210216_082833.jpg 20210216_083157.jpg 20210216_083207.jpg 20210216_084718.jpg 20210216_083245_capture.jpg
 

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