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Resolved: Service Incident in Europe

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by MindBender, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
    I'm sorry for the long read guys.

    Last Wednesday I drove from my home in Tilburg (The Netherlands) to Nuremberg (Germany), together with a college to visit the Embedded World trade show for a day. Normally this is a 2x 593km (368 miles) trip, but for the Tesla I planned in 2 SuperCharger stops, making the trip 2x 715km (444 miles). A bit of a detour, but I figured it would be a nice experiment.

    The route was planned and everything was prepared: I got myself a Dutch card to use public chargers and had German chargers enabled. The Hotel had kindly offered me a free VIP parking spot with an outlet to charge, and the exhibition center in Nuremberg had done the same and had arranged a temporary high power utility outlet to charge during my visit.

    When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I did what I always do first thing in the morning and that is to reach for my phone to turn on interior heating. But while doing so, I noticed that my car was charged to only 80%. Weird, because I ordered a full range charge the night before. Trying to start charging was to no avail. The app told me to check the cable. So I went outside and noticed a red flashing LED on my UMC.

    Now I had noticed a red flashing LED on my UMC before. But I didn't think much of it because so far it had always turned green when plugging in my car. I didn't think much of it: My TV shows a red LED too for the better part of the day and that means that it's turned off, nothing alarming.

    This time however, I couldn't get it starting to charge anymore. Unplugging, replugging, resetting and power-cycling the 3-phase output, all more than once, but nothing helped. It just didn't want to charge. But I had to leave to pick up my colleague and leave to Germany within 45 minutes. So I called Tesla Service. They told me that nothing's wrong with my UMC and that this LED means there was something wrong with the grounding of my utility outlet. I told them this outlet was new and had worked fine for two months, but their reply was that this especially happened on new installations. Now 80% is a bit few for the first SuperCharger, 289km (185 miles) away. I was suggested to drive to the SC in Oosterhout first, but that's 25km (16 miles) into the wrong direction, so not really beneficial. I asked if I could used the Tesla distribution center SC in Tilburg, but that one was out of order. Instead Tesla Service arranged me to charge at the showroom in Dusseldorf. Again a small detour, and not an SC but it would help.

    When I was close to Dusseldorf, power consumption and range looked really well. Well enough to drive to our original SC directly, without the detour to the Tesla showroom. So we decided to try that. But 100km (62 miles) before the SC the hills started and we wouldn't have much of a surplus. After missing a exit we got doubtful: The SC was still 25km away, and we had 15km of projected range left. We thought we could make it, but decided not to take any changes and drove to a public charger in Siegen, 10km before the SC. There we charged for 15 minutes using my until that time unproven charging card and continued our way to the first SC on a autohof in Wilnsdorf. We had lunch there and with full tummies a batteries we left.

    We figured we could skip the second SC and drive to Nuremberg directly, but we were in no hurry and decided not to take any changes an continued our voyage to the SC in Bad Rappenau. There we had coffee and with a full battery we left for Nuremberg. Half way on our way, another colleague called me to invite us for dinner. To meet up with him in time, I decided to step on it and at 19:00 we checked in at our hotel. I parked my Tesla at our VIP spot and plugged in the charger and there it was again: The dreaded red LED was flashing. Again plugging, replugged and reveres plugged, but nothing helped. Wiggling the cable got the green LED on briefly, but only for a couple of seconds. This really annoyed me, especially because I reported the problem before I left, even told the guy I was leaving for Germany and was told that it was not the charger.

    So I called service. The guy was friendly, but didn't really seem to know what he needed to do. I urged him to find a solution tonight, so that the logistics could that place that night. When I still had him on the phone when we arrived at the restaurant, I asked him to think of something and call me back when he had a solution. Nobody called back. When we left the restaurant at 23:00 I called back Tesla, to check on what they came up with. But the phone was answered by a local generic AAA service call center, both Dutch and German service. They tried to reach Tesla, but nobody at Tesla answered their phone. It was 1:30am now and it didn't look like any action would be taken before morning. As a last resort the call center gave me the phone number of Tesla Service USA. So I called them, from my Dutch contract cell phone in Germany, transatlantic. I haven't got a clue what that will cost me. The guy I talked to was the first one showing to be focused to get the problem solved. He even offered to get us a tow truck back to the nearest SC. But I figured that would be a waste of money, regardless of who pays the bill. So he escalated the case to make sure that Tesla Germany would take action the next morning, so I have a working UMC delivered at the exhibition center before noon next day, so I could still easily charge enough to get back to the SC in Bad Rappenau. It was now 2:30am, I was tired and wanted to go to bed.

    4.5 Hours of restless sleep later I got up for a long day of tradeshow. Tesla Service Germany called me at 8:00am, but the first thing the guy said was that he didn't have any personnel to bring me a new UMC. Tossing one into a taxi and send it to the exhibition center wasn't something that occurred to him. Or to me, but I don't work for service. He offered me to send me one by mail tomorrow, but I replied that that's the reason I started to make calls yesterday, because and extra we cost us an extra €370 of hotel rooms and two billable days. The other two remaining 'solutions': I could either drive to a public charger on the other side of town and take a taxi to the tradeshow and back. Or I could drive to another Tesla owner to charge my car at his house. The first was logistically inconvenient and we wouldn't even know if my charging card would work there. The second wasn't something I would consider, but out of politeness I told the guy I would do that, thinking that I would just take my chances on driving back to the SC with the remaining charge. Half an hour later Tesla Service called back to tell me they had called their customer. I wasn't planning on going there, but because the customer was now expecting me, I called him to thank him for his kind offer, but that I would just take my chances. The customer asked me how much charge I had left and when I told him, he told me I would never make it to the SC. When I told him I had my public charging card as a backup, he told me that my card wouldn't work in Southern Germany. He had already left to his office, but at the end of the day we would be most welcome and I accepted his offer.

    At the end of the day we left the tradeshow straight to his home. Completely embarrassed I asked for his help. Fortunately he was a very friendly guy. We had coffee and chatted for hours, until my car was charged. With a couple of hours of delay, we were on our way home, to the SC in Bad Rappenau.

    I arrived home at 3:30am, way later than expected, and I slept until 9:30. My Tesla is on my drive way now, but two days later, my initial problem of the broken UMC still isn't solved, so it's completely useless with 10% of charge and no way of charging it. Fortunately I didn't sell my old car yet, and with that car I drove to my customer today. Not a single word from Tesla this morning, not a single word this afternoon after I've sent them my opinion on how they handled this case. Nothing. It's a bloody shame. It wouldn't be as bad if only they wouldn't have their mouth full of superior service...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Update
    At 16:30 this afternoon I received the following message from the Service Manager in Germany:
    I replied the following:
    I am mad as hell because I reported this problem two days ago, received no service in between, was on my own the whole time, and still didn't hear anything after reminding Service this afternoon that the problem still exists.

    I arrived home at 3:30am last night, with 10% charge left, but still no means to charge my car. Fortunately I didn't sell my old car yet, otherwise I would not have been able to drive to my customer today, missing a full billable day.

    I have sent Mr. Xxxxx an excellent bottle of vintage Port wine today for saving my day. I'd suggest Tesla does the same.

    But I'm actually insulted by the message because I'm really wondering what they are thinking and what purpose it served. A real service manager would have tossed a working UMC in a taxi and sent it to the exhibition center. As a very least he would have informed the Service department in The Netherlands about this case still not being solved, requesting his colleagues to send a new UMC to my home address. But instead nobody does a thing, and I'm without my car for the weekend. This isn't just poor service, it's no service at all, in my hour of need.
     
  2. The Froq

    The Froq Member

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    Lots of emotions.
     
  3. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    Hm, that's odd indeed. I have so far always received excellent support from Tesla even with them calling me about something I posted on the forum here and always following up for questions I've had either through e-mail or call from the service center manager in Copenhagen. Btw do you use your standard schuko outlet or the red plug? I'm charging at home with a special home charger so use the UMC only during trips and so far it's always worked 100%, but I've also always used only the red 3x16A plug that is by far more standard than the schuko ones and has less questions on grounding. I have heard of other people having issues with the ordinary plug though so I've decided not to rely on that usage at all if possible. I now book hotels etc exclusively with the red plug and have made my own extension cords (which btw I think I should test at home).

    But it does seem from your post that the german service center could have done more even though what you were expecting was above par service anyway :) I mean I'd never really expect a standard dealership to send me spare parts with a cab, but I could contemplate that Tesla might actually do it... Of course I've not yet been stuck with charging issues so can't say how it'd be ...
     
  4. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

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    Hardly; I've been friendly with anybody I spoke with until the end.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Perhaps it's inexperience. Who knows. But I counted on a ranger to help me out and they don't seem to have those here. They guy told me he could get me a charger by mail tomorrow, but I told him that was exactly why I spent so much time on the phone yesterday.

    I think it's all about expectation management. If they had advertised with: "If you've got problems, you're on your own!" I probably would have driven my diesel car there, possibly because I wouldn't even have bought a Tesla. The technology is new, people don't know what they can expect, and problems are a bit harder to solve. I think service should compensate that.

    I have charged using the UMC and a red plug at home so far. And it had shut down at 80% that night, but Tesla service said this was a grounding problem with my electrical installation at home, not a problem with the UMC. And they knew I was leaving vor Germany, because they made arrangements for me to charge in the showroom in Dusseldorf, because I wouldn't make the first SC on 80%.

    I've had a KeBa home charger in it's box for two months, but installing that was the first thing I did after I got back.

    Perhaps they guy didn't think of that. I didn't, at that time, but I'm not in service. I don't expect dealers to send parts by taxi either, but if they cannot offer road side assitance, I expect them to be creative enough to come up with a solution. Preferably one that doesn't involve me begging others to help me; That I can alway do on my own, and as a last resort.

    Anyway, I'm home now and it's all water under the bridge. In retrospect; Instead of taking Tesla Service's word for it, I should have tested the UMC in a regular outlet in the garage. If I had done that, I would have known the problem was in the UMC and I could have picked up a replacement UMC at Tesla Tilburg, 10 minutes from my home. Perhaps this is a nice extra step in the trouble shooting script ;-).
     
  5. JoeNe

    JoeNe EU P 1662

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    I hope their service gets better in time. Now you're charging using your Keba at home?

    Still no new UMC delivered?
     
  6. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

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    I'm confident that it will.

    Yup; Works like a charm. Not much faster though: Twin chargers doesn't mean twice the charging capacity, apperantly. Using the UMC I got 3x 16A, with the Keba I get 3x24A.
    And I was dumb enough to get the KeBa with RFID: If I forget to show the card after hooking it up, I will have a nice surpise in the morning...

    Friday evening I got called by a guy from Tesla Service Tilburg. He told me he had read about my situation and het asked if he could bring me a new UMC that same evening. I was happy to accept, but when he said he couldn't give me an exact time because he was at home and needed to drive to the Service Center first, I politely thanked him for his offer, because it no longer solved an immediate problem. I was going to installe the KeBa first thing Saturday morning anyway.

    But he wanted to have the problem solved, so I agreed to come to the Service Center Saturday morning, and there a received a brand-spanking-new UMC. Which is now sitting in the trunk, still untested ;-).
     
  7. JoeNe

    JoeNe EU P 1662

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    Strange. I can go up to 3x26A
    And I also have the RFID authentication. But it's a routine. Plugging in the cable and swiping the RFID. I even programmed my 'Love To Load' and 'Blue Corner' RFID's into it. So the Keba RFID can stay at home. You never know who gets stranded up your drive way without juice ;-)
     
  8. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

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    Still a far cry from 32A...

    I have tried that too, but after removing power from the Keba, those other cards no longer worked. And re-learning doesn't work either, so I'm just walking around with my Keba Master keycard.

    Thought about that too, but it has a contact input, allowing you to enable it with an electronic signal. I think I'm going to hook up this input to my domitica system, so I can enable the charger from my phone. Together with my phone number on the charger, I'll be ready to return the favour.
     
  9. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    That's a generic limitation by Tesla. Same way single chargers are limited to 13A right now, even on 3x32A circuits. The sad part is that from what I understood during the EM + JB recent Eurotrip the "fix" isn't only software, but also hardware, which sucks for me as I'm ~1000km from nearest SC.
     
  10. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I am sorry that you find out about that just now, but since autumn all EU cars are firmware limited to 13A per phase and charger. That is 26A if they have twin chargers. Tesla is currently working on a fix that will include rollout of firmware 6.0 and a replacement of the high voltage junction box in every EU Model S.
    Perhaps you can schedule a date with your service center to schedule the hardware swap as soon as the upgrade become available.

    check this drama thread
    Reduced charging current after FW upgrade V5.6

    Edit: Mario beat me, but this is 2:0 for the physicists :smile:
     
  11. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

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    Hm, that would have been something worth mentioning in the release notes, instead of repeating the same WiFi connectivity feature with every minor update...

    But I'm good with it. I have twin chargers and for now I can live with 26A, as long as they will come up with a solution in the near future.
     
  12. Nichen

    Nichen Member

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    If Tesla wants a piece of Europe...they MUST concentrate on service. When people are buying cars as expensive as Teslas....they truly need to get the best service out there.
     
  13. GSP

    GSP Member

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    MindBender,

    In Bjorn's latest video (#6) from Norway he showed a new Mennekes portable EVSE that Tesla is giving to Norwegian owners to replace their UMC. It probably works better with various grounding paths, and Tesla might give you one if you ask.

    Good Luck,

    GSP

    Bjørn's Tesla Model S videos - Page 25
     
  14. JoeNe

    JoeNe EU P 1662

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    You didn't take ranger service? :p
     
  15. Beckler

    Beckler Member

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    Expecting automotive issues to be fixable right away isn't realistic for any company. But for one that is brand new and just installed in Europe, it's unfair. The thread title can reasonably be interpreted that service is bad throughout Europe. Sorry, that doesn't follow from your single experience.
     
  16. huntjo

    huntjo Member

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    Well the service guy on the phone agree to look for a solution and call the OP back. And he didn't. So I agree this was poor service. It may be a fluke, but it was a point of failure nonetheless and should be corrected.
     
  17. cschock

    cschock Member

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    I hope you raise this issue with Tesla Corporate, specifically Jerome Guillen. I am sure he would want honest, well meant feedback on how the service roll out is going in Europe. And sorry to hear about your bad experience.
     
  18. MindBender

    MindBender Bite my shiny metal ass

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    Exactly my point. And it was a fixable problem: We already identified the broken part, it is user replaceable and it is available. The only problem to solve was logistics and doesn't require a unique solution to get a part moved for 300km in 12...18 hours.

    I'm not expecting a miracle: If it weren't the UMC, the car must would've needed diagnosing and repairing by a technician and I would have understood an 18 hour time scale isn't always feasible.
     
  19. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

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    It is unreasonable to interpret one man calling you back as Tesla has bad service. I suggest you get the title of this thread changed.
     
  20. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I have adjusted the thread title to more accurately describe the thread content. -mod
     

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