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Unavailability of Tesla Parts Lists/Diagrams and Service Manuals

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by JohnGarziglia, May 14, 2015.

  1. JohnGarziglia

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    This above is a quote from the thread: Tailgate Release Actuator Issue - Page 2.

    The refusal of Tesla to provide parts listings and diagrams, and service manuals, is troubling. I just wrote this below to an FTC blog post on the subject of Tesla (Direct-to-consumer auto sales: It’s not just about Tesla | Federal Trade Commission). It would be nice if we could get the FTC interested in encouraging Tesla to make parts listings and diagrams, and service manuals available to its owners and independent service shops at a reasonable cost:

    (My comment to the FTC): Thank you for your insightful comments on automobile manufacturer direct selling to the public.

    There is a companion issue that is directly in the purview of Tesla, however. That is Tesla’s absolute refusal to make available its parts lists and service manuals/diagrams to the public and independent shops.

    This issue should be equally of concern to the FTC. In fact, FTC’s support for direct-to-public selling should come with the quid pro quo of Tesla making its parts lists and service manuals/diagrams readily available to the owners of its cars.

    Tesla will only make available its service manuals when forced to by state law and then only to state residents at a high cost. Apparently Massachusetts is the only state that requires it. See: Service Manual Subscriptions.

    There are several reasons why automobile manufacturer parts lists and service manuals should be made available to Tesla owners and to independent shops. Tesla service only being available at a manufacturer-owned dealership appears to be somewhat of a restraint of trade. From a safety standpoint, having owners and independent shops working on an automobile “blind” to its part and service documentation puts both the car owner and the general public potentially at risk.

    Posts like this on the Tesla Motors Club site are not uncommon Tailgate Release Actuator Issue - Page 2. "I am having an issue with the tailgate actuator not working. Does anyone have instructions how to remove and replace this part? I have Tesla sending me a replacement actuator but they won't supply instructions."

    Tesla has now been selling their cars to the public since 2008. Yet, there are no parts lists nor service manuals available to owners of the cars. Is requiring Tesla to make available the parts lists and service manuals to its automobiles something that can be an FTC issue? Thank you. ​

    It would be nice if the FTC would forcefully encourage Tesla to provide parts lists/diagrams and service manuals. Asking Tesla itself does not seem to have yielded results.
     
  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Really hate seeing this mixed up with the dealership issue.

    It IS an issue, no argument. But state legislatures doing 'what is right' in the case of the sales model and protectionist laws should not be given excuses not to act. Stuff like this WILL be used by those who oppose selling direct. It shouldn't be pitched as a quid pro quo, imo.
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    True, but Tesla really should come clean on this if they want to avoid this being conflated with the protectionist dealer laws. They're unnecessarily giving them an opening.
     
  4. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    Exactly. While dealerships suck bad, one can go order whatever part they like. With Tesla, that is unfortunately not true. Obviously in this instance, the dealership model is obviously much more consumer friendly.
     
  5. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I think we're mixing two different issues. Is there anything about the dealership model that requires that they provide diagrams/instructions?

    Again, I am NOT arguing this shouldn't be available. I am only bothered by combining the two issues. I agree with Doug_G that Tesla should avoid this being raised as an issue. But it is not the same issue.
     
  6. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    Probably not, but dealers are not hostile with that kind of information. They will release this information when asked because it only makes sense not to piss people off. Tesla appears to not care about ill will at all.
     
  7. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Roadster 1305

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    Manuals

    While it would clearly be nice if Tesla released their manuals and such, I am not sure that failing to do so represents any sort of restraint of trade. They haven't said that other people can't repair their cars, they are just not going to help an independent shop do it. That is a whole separate issue than the issue of direct dealer sales and such. Personally, I have a local mechanic do some things on my 2 Teslas (eg, tires, brakes, etc) but when I bought the cars I had an expectation that only Tesla would work in them (which is sort of a pain since I live over 3 hours from the nearest SC). Tesla's not providing their diagrams and such to a local shop is not violating any expectation or trust I had.

    Nonetheless, I am curious why they won't share when, in the past, they have said they don't plan to make a profit on service. I suppose it could be liability—the first time someone misreads a diagram and electrocutes themself, a lawsuit could be filed saying the service manual wasn't clear enough—but I really don't know for sure!
     
  8. JST

    JST Active Member

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    The "right to repair" effort has been ongoing with a variety of carmakers other than Tesla, and is logically separate from the question of the direct-to-consumer sales model.

    As a practical matter, though, the majority of other carmakers out there (working through their trade associations) have reached a settlement that provides national access to manuals and parts information consistent with the MA law. The settlement was designed to prevent further state (or federal) action on right-to-repair. Tesla is, AFAIK, not a part of that settlement.

    I believe that Tesla could take the position that neither the settlement nor the MA law requires them to do anything, because both are phrased in terms of giving independent shops and consumers the right to the same information provided to franchised dealers. In that sense, the question of co-mingling the two issues does arise, simply because of the way that these proposals have traditionally been worded. It's my impression that Tesla agreed not to take this view in MA as part of a quid pro quo, but I don't have a cite for that and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong/misremembering.
     
  9. BartJ

    BartJ Member

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    In my opinion the only reason for this is that Tesla wants to protect their intellectual property.
    and they are damn right.
    I can imagine that bmw and mercedes would love to get there hands on tesla's internal service manuals for example ....
     
  10. Panicopticon

    Panicopticon Member

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    This isn't an issue. Auto makers have extremely competent reverse engineering departments. They buy cars, disassemble them and document the findings. Products from these groups are in every way better than any manufacturer released factory service manual you're going to encounter...

    I'd say its almost certainly a liability issue -- there is a common body of knowledge about servicing gasoline engine vehicles and risks associated with it, that just simply doesn't exist for electrics.
     
  11. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    I could not disagree more strenuously. This point is raised over and over and it is absolutely backwards. BMW and Mercedes have the resources to purchase a Tesla and take it apart. That will tell them MUCH more than any service manual. I don't have those resources. Withholding this information hurts me and other Tesla owners in a very direct and measurable fashion, and does not slow down competitors to any appreciable extent.
     
  12. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    Didn't Tesla release the rights on all of their patents?
     
  13. Panicopticon

    Panicopticon Member

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    Patents aren't really the same thing as an actual implementation. The patent is a high level description, it takes a fair bit of work to realize a similar design from a patent. Less work is required to go from RE to a similar design. There are legal ramifications to both approaches...
     
  14. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    I doubt it.

    The service manuals are 90% about the body/chassis/electrical systems in the car, which is all pretty standard. The proprietary stuff which competitors would mostly be interested in (motor, power electronics, battery, firmware, etc) are largely treated as single non-serviceable components.

    Remember that the original thread here is about a roadster tailgate release actuator. Do we really believe that BMW/Mercedes are dancing around in glee at the prospect of getting hold of the service manual for that?

    Given that Tesla treat service as a non-profit centre (and with what we see is done under warranty, I think we can all agree on that), and that we know the manuals exists (they are online for authorised service centres), I can only conclude that Tesla don't release the manuals because they don't want non-authorised people DIYing their cars. I can disagree with that (I think it hurts them more than the benefit it gives), but I can also understand the thinking behind it.
     
  15. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I suspect part of the reason is that working on an electric car with 380V components is actually dangerous. Unless you are trained (ie. more than just reading shop manual warnings), then you can be putting yourself in danger. My brother in law is a GM mechanic, and they had to have special isolated bays, special procedures, and special tools to work on the Volt due to it's high voltage.

    Also, the Model S changes hardware soooo often that any "shop manual" actually needs to be integrated into a VIN database so that you know what you actually have under your hood. One car might have completely different tire pressure sensors, bluetooth antennas or modules, and brake system. And it isn't done by model years like other car manufacturers. With the same option package, I'll bet there are 200 different variants running around...
     
  16. spaceballs

    spaceballs Member

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    If the person just pulls the service disconnect on the battery pack the car becomes as safe as any normal car that's off. With one exception i.e. don't take apart the battery pack.
     
  17. BartJ

    BartJ Member

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    OK, I guess you'll right, didn't look at it from that perspective.
     
  18. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    This seems straight up protection for their service centers profit.

    While Elon has said they don't want them to be profit centers, the cost and pseudo-requirement of annual service is evidence that is not the case. While, like many things there are multiple reasons for it, and I'm sure not wanting to deal with the negative publicity that would occur if an indy/home mechanic hurt themselves, or broke the car is certainly occurred to them. I bet its more an issue of the right hand not talking to the left, where what Elon says in public is not what is actually set as corporate policy.
     
  19. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Charging for annual service (which isn't annual unless an owner decides to make it annual) is not proof of service center profits. Those service centers have costs; building and property leases, taxes, equipment, employees, electric bills, water bills etc... That's a lot of money that needs to be covered before any sort of profit is realized.
     
  20. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    No, they did not release (vacate) any rights. That would backfire, in that someone (anyone) else could file covering the same claims, and therefore lock out Tesla and/or the industry.

    What Tesla did is publicly state that anyone could use their patents. The exact wording was: "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology."

    This is MUCH better for anyone trying to develop in the same conceptual areas. Knowing that someone holds the patent and will leave you alone is infinitely better than the patent space being unclaimed.
     

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