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What if FSD doesn't materialize?

wdolson

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when the principal of the company makes statements in public they can be used in court, doenst have to be in a sales contract

Elon has already been sued a few times over things he tweeted. The SEC has gone after him for some of the crazy things he's said about the company that violated SEC rules.

The principal of the company is assumed to be making official statements about the company whenever they talk about it publicly. If they are talking up features that never happen or are extremely late, that can do potential harm to a customer.

To file a civil suit you need to be able to prove that you were harmed in some way, but when the Model 3 was new there was talk from Elon that when FSD became available it could be used as a robo-taxi while you were at work and it would turn into something that made you money rather than cost you money like a conventional car. There were people who bought FSD on their Model 3s to do just that and they financially stretched themselves further than they normally would have to make the purchase because they believed they would make that money back. Anyone who took a severe financial hit like repossession of the car or bankruptcy because of it would be a good lead plaintiff in a class action suit.

Other plaintiffs in the class would be anyone who bought FSD and never got any benefit from it because their lease ended, the car was totaled before it became available, or they sold the car. If and when Tesla announced that FSD is not actually going to live up to what has been advertised (capable of robo-taxis), everyone who bought FSD will be able to claim they are damaged.

I have a feeling that Elon still believes that full FSD is possible, but the financial people at the company have been banking cash for the day when they think they will have to shell out billions in refunds. For those who paid for FSD and that's their only damage, a refund should make them whole and that would be the bulk of the class. For those who had other damages, it would be a much smaller pool and Tesla may have to settle with them separately.

It's still going to cost Tesla billions to admit FSD isn't going to happen like they said it would.

I saw this recently, I'm not sure if it was in this thread, I don't see a link on this page, but it is relevant:
Tesla 'under Review' At California DMV for 'Full Self Driving' Claims

A ruling from any regulatory agency that FSD's advertising was misleading could open the floodgates.

I'm an Electronic Engineer by training and I've been programming embedded systems (as well as some other programming) since the 80s. I've always been skeptical that FSD would ever live up to its claims. In a world where all cars are FSD and communicate with each other in real time, plus other people who normally share the road like pedestrians and bicycles are not there, FSD is not that complex a problem. But one FSD car in a sea of machines controlled by humans plus humans on foot, the problems skyrocket exponentially.

I would hate to be an FSD programmer at Tesla right now. The pressure from both the real world and management must be unbearable.
 

wdolson

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Agreed. I would rather have a few practical features found on cheap Mazdas, like rear cross traffic alert. I am also not a fan of the way blind spot monitoring works. You would think with all these cameras it would show the camera feed of lane next to you on the display when you signal. Low cost Honda Civics have this. So, there are a few basics they need to get right before trying to figure out how to get the car to full self drive.

Top down backup cameras that show the vehicle and everything around it when you are backing up are getting to be commonplace. Tesla is way behind the trend here. They collect enough data to do it, they just haven't dedicated any resources to achieving it.
 

raptor5244

Active Member
May 10, 2019
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$50/month would be a bargain and I hope you’re right. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay $10k or the proposed $14k if they could get the same thing for $600/year.
I find it interesting how broad the range is for how much folks will pay for this feature, assuming it ever comes to fruition. I thought it was too expensive when it was $5k when I bought my car. Then it went to $6k, $7k, $10k and now you are saying they may go to $14k. Wowzers, I am in at $25 per month max. :) I mainly work from home so it would be a lot of money for the car to assist me in some way to the grocery store and out to dinner a few times a week.
 
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Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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when the principal of the company makes statements in public they can be used in court, doesn't have to be in a sales contract

It does if you're suing for failure to deliver on a purchase contract between you and the company.

The CEO making speculative, forward-looking, statements in general aren't contracts nor legally binding promises or obligations of any sort.

Now, if you've got Elon personally promising YOU, in a meeting of the minds type conversation, specific features by a specific time in exchange for buying a specific thing, you'd be on to something.

You don't though, so you're not.

Which explains at least in part why you haven't seen anybody sue over this yet.
 

Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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Elon has already been sued a few times over things he tweeted.

Really?

When?

AFAIk the only time was when he tweeted the pedo thing, having nothing to do with cars.

And he won that one.

The SEC has gone after him for some of the crazy things he's said about the company that violated SEC rules.

They went after him for one thing he said. Claiming he already has funding secured to take Tesla private.

Again having nothing to do with the actual cars.

Hilariously, the resulting settlement ended up with Elon buying 20 million dollars in TSLA shares, which has since gone by MASSIVELY in value... so the settlement reaped him a huge profit :)




The principal of the company is assumed to be making official statements about the company whenever they talk about it publicly.

This is factually untrue.

You might want to google "forward looking statements" while you're at it.


To file a civil suit you need to be able to prove that you were harmed in some way, but when the Model 3 was new there was talk from Elon that when FSD became available it could be used as a robo-taxi while you were at work and it would turn into something that made you money rather than cost you money like a conventional car.

"could" is speculative, not factual- especially when disclaimed with "when it becomes available"



There were people who bought FSD on their Model 3s to do just that and they financially stretched themselves further than they normally would have to make the purchase because they believed they would make that money back. Anyone who took a severe financial hit like repossession of the car or bankruptcy because of it would be a good lead plaintiff in a class action suit.

Then the 3 came out FSD was $3000. On a car selling for $50,000-$70,000.

If you get repoed because you spent an extra ~5% of purchase on an option you're an idiot. Best of luck in court on that.


Other plaintiffs in the class would be anyone who

Opted out of the standard arbitration clause- because nobody else can sue.

If and when Tesla announced that FSD is not actually going to live up to what has been advertised (capable of robo-taxis), everyone who bought FSD will be able to claim they are damaged.


You've finally stumbled upon a factual statement :)

Well... half of one anyway....

The pre-March 2019 buyers that would be true of... but Tesla only needs refund them ~$3000 each, and there's not THAT many of em so this wouldn't be a big deal financially.

The post March 2019 buyers, the only thing THEY were actually promised during the purchase that they haven't gotten yet is L2 city street driving.

Which we know already exists as roughly 2000 Teslas already have it.


It's still going to cost Tesla billions to admit FSD isn't going to happen like they said it would.

You....might wanna check your math there.

Take rate outside the US is nearly 0.

Inside the US it's guesstimated at 20-30 percent....and again only the pre-march-19 buyers would be owed a ~3k refund... which wouldn't come close to billions of dollars.


I saw this recently, I'm not sure if it was in this thread, I don't see a link on this page, but it is relevant:
Tesla 'under Review' At California DMV for 'Full Self Driving' Claims

A ruling from any regulatory agency that FSD's advertising was misleading could open the floodgates.

That is literally not what that article is about. Did you even read it?

The DMV is concerned that FSD does more than Tesla is advertising (and thus would need special permits and reporting in California during operation).

That's why the threat is on them pulling the permits for Tesla to test L3 or higher vehicles in CA.
 
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Webeevdrivers

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Jan 2, 2017
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I don’t think paying people back for FSD will bankrupt the company in any way and the reality is it’s probably still a couple years away before they start paying everybody back. By then Tesla will probably be in a better position to deal with the monetary hit. But they need to stop selling it NOW. I’m sure they thought it would work. But now they must realize that it’s not going to. Stringing people along for another year or two is not the right thing to do.

Since the last update we have had two violent brake checks. One for a cyclist 3 feet off to the side of the road and one for a pedestrian. We still use it but are switching off if there is absolutely any thing out of the ordinary now. We have more features than we did when we bought the car 16 months ago but operation is definitely worse.

Jmho
 

Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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I don’t think paying people back for FSD will bankrupt the company in any way

It won't. The math is pretty easy there. They've got massively more cash on hand than they'd need to do it.

and the reality is it’s probably still a couple years away before they start paying everybody back. By then Tesla will probably be in a better position to deal with the monetary hit. But they need to stop selling it NOW.

Nope.

Already covered this.

The change to what they were actually selling during the purchase process in March 2019 fixes this.

They deliver L2 city driving- which we've already seen in the V8.x beta and is expected to be better (and more widely available) in v9, and everyone they sold FSD to from that date forward is entirely whole and got everything promised at purchase

Only the pre 3/19 folks would need refunding if they never got beyond that.

Since the last update we have had two violent brake checks. One for a cyclist 3 feet off to the side of the road and one for a pedestrian.


You realize you're explicitly, per the manual, not supposed to use autopilot at all where there are cyclists or pedestrians in the first place, right? (barring you being one of those 2000 people on the V8.x city streets beta).

Autosteer in particular is intended only for use on limited access divided highways, where there's neither of those things (and no cross traffic either).
 

Webeevdrivers

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Jan 2, 2017
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Canada
It won't. The math is pretty easy there. They've got massively more cash on hand than they'd need to do it.



Nope.

Already covered this.

The change to what they were actually selling during the purchase process in March 2019 fixes this.

They deliver L2 city driving- which we've already seen in the V8.x beta and is expected to be better (and more widely available) in v9, and everyone they sold FSD to from that date forward is entirely whole and got everything promised at purchase

Only the pre 3/19 folks would need refunding if they never got beyond that.




You realize you're explicitly, per the manual, not supposed to use autopilot at all where there are cyclists or pedestrians in the first place, right? (barring you being one of those 2000 people on the V8.x city streets beta).

Autosteer in particular is intended only for use on limited access divided highways, where there's neither of those things (and no cross traffic either).

That’s actually a good point. But we kind of got used to it being a little less dramatic. But yah, good to be reminded of the limitations.
 

Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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True but the share price would be destroyed if they admitted FSD was never happening and paid people back... It also might see Elon ousted from senior positions though thats more doubtful.

Share price would take a significant hit on the announcement, but wouldn't be destroyed.

Their car business alone is going to be an insane profit machine, something that's been clear for a while to folks looking deeper into the quarterly reports, and will start getting really obvious to everyone pretty soon (Q2 this year is likely to finally have scaled enough to produce significant net profit excluding regulatory credits, and things only keep scaling from there as S/X deliveries ramp back up and production from Austin and Berlin starting coming online later in the year)

Keep in mind the ARK invest target for share price in the BEAR case, with -never- reaching autonomy, is $1500 share (currently share price is in the low 600s, so that's still a 150% gain in the 5 year window they target for their price).

Their base case, which uses a 50% chance of autonomy in the next 5 years, targets $3000 a share, or a 5x in 5 years.
 
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Cyberax

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Jul 28, 2015
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They deliver L2 city driving- which we've already seen in the V8.x beta and is expected to be better (and more widely available) in v9, and everyone they sold FSD to from that date forward is entirely whole and got everything promised at purchase
Not so fast. I checked the recent-ish purchase contract (post 2019) and it does NOT define exactly what "Full Self-Driving" is. While the website uses weasel-words dodges, the contract has nothing.

In such cases courts are just as likely to interpret "full self-driving" as "full self-driving".
 
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wdolson

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Really?

When?

AFAIk the only time was when he tweeted the pedo thing, having nothing to do with cars.

And he won that one.
Elon Musk, Tesla board sued in lawsuit alleging ‘erratic’ tweets violate fiduciary duty – TechCrunch

Musk and others are named.

They went after him for one thing he said. Claiming he already has funding secured to take Tesla private.

Again having nothing to do with the actual cars.

Hilariously, the resulting settlement ended up with Elon buying 20 million dollars in TSLA shares, which has since gone by MASSIVELY in value... so the settlement reaped him a huge profit :)
[/QUOTE]

I don't see anywhere he had to buy Tesla stock. He and the company each paid $20 million in penalties to investors who had been harmed:
Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations. Among other relief, the settlements require that:


  • Musk will step down as Tesla’s Chairman and be replaced by an independent Chairman. Musk will be ineligible to be re-elected Chairman for three years;
  • Tesla will appoint a total of two new independent directors to its board;
  • Tesla will establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk’s communications;
  • Musk and Tesla will each pay a separate $20 million penalty. The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process.
SEC.gov | Elon Musk Settles SEC Fraud Charges; Tesla Charged With and Resolves Securities Law Charge

The SEC is after him again for violating this agreement:
SEC watchdog says two Elon Musk tweets violated settlement deal

This is factually untrue.

You might want to google "forward looking statements" while you're at it.

When someone is talking to investors, they can use forward looking statements, when you are selling a product to consumers, that's advertising statements and selling something for future delivery and then not delivering is called false advertising. False advertising claims can range from over ambitious claims to complete and deliberate fraud. The penalties for the latter are more severe, but the former is still grounds for a lawsuit.

Then the 3 came out FSD was $3000. On a car selling for $50,000-$70,000.

If you get repoed because you spent an extra ~5% of purchase on an option you're an idiot. Best of luck in court on that.

There may be some people who took measures to set up a company to rent out their cars as robo-taxis. There will also undoubtedly be lawsuits that eventually get thrown out of court, but once the lawsuits start, there will likely be a flood.

That is literally not what that article is about. Did you even read it?

The DMV is concerned that FSD does more than Tesla is advertising (and thus would need special permits and reporting in California during operation).

That's why the threat is on them pulling the permits for Tesla to test L3 or higher vehicles in CA.

I did read the article. They believe Tesla has been misleading in their statements about it, telling the public one thing and the state another. It's unclear whether they think Tesla is delivering more than they told the DMV they were delivering or if the DMV is investigating because there are discrepancies between what they are telling the DMV and what they are telling the DMV. The DMV wants to know exactly what Tesla is going to deliver.

True but the share price would be destroyed if they admitted FSD was never happening and paid people back... It also might see Elon ousted from senior positions though thats more doubtful.

Tesla almost certainly has enough cash to pay people back for an FSD fail and pay off people for the lawsuits. What would be a bigger hit is the damage to the reputation of the company and the stock price would take a severe hit for a while. It will almost certainly come back over time, but it might drop back to around $200 a share for a while.

For any company having to pay out large chunks of cash is never going to be good, and it's even worse for a publicly traded company.

Between fallout from FSD failure and the SEC case coming back, Elon could be forced out of the company. It's unlikely Tesla will go out of business. They are too entrenched at this point, but they would take a pretty severe hit from it.

Not so fast. I checked the recent-ish purchase contract (post 2019) and it does NOT define exactly what "Full Self-Driving" is. While the website uses weasel-words dodges, the contract has nothing.

In such cases courts are just as likely to interpret "full self-driving" as "full self-driving".
Courts can apply a "reasonable person test", especially when a definitive definition is lacking. And a reasonable person would assume that "full self driving" means you can sit in the backseat reading Twitter while the car does everything.
 

Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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You can name anybody you want in a lawsuit. Doesn't mean there's any real case there.


Numerous folks have sued god for example.


This lawsuit is filed by a short-seller who has sued Tesla in the past (and never won a case). It's to get bad press for Tesla, not because anybody did anything illegal.


I don't see anywhere he had to buy Tesla stock

He did not "have" to.

He chose to, as way of making up for the fact Tesla had to pay a fine. He bought that same amount of stock. Which has since gone up massively.


The SEC is after him again for violating this agreement:
SEC watchdog says two Elon Musk tweets violated settlement deal

Not really.

Your story says they sent him emails complaining about his tweets. That's all they did.

They did not "go after him" and the emails are from 2019 and 2020.





When someone is talking to investors, they can use forward looking statements, when you are selling a product to consumers, that's advertising statements and selling something for future delivery and then not delivering is called false advertising. False advertising claims can range from over ambitious claims to complete and deliberate fraud. The penalties for the latter are more severe, but the former is still grounds for a lawsuit.

Again your understanding of the law is... not accurate.

Not everything a CEO says about what they might do in the future is "advertising statements"


There may be some people who took measures to set up a company to rent out their cars as robo-taxis.

There may but that would be stupid since nothing in the purchase agreement promised they'd be able to do that in any specific timeframe at all.

In fact even Elon repeatedly pointed out there'd be need for regulatory approvals and other delays in many places even IF they get the RT tech working in the first place.

There will also undoubtedly be lawsuits that eventually get thrown out of court, but once the lawsuits start, there will likely be a flood.

Probably not. Since most of these cases are on contingency and lawyers don't like to work for free.



I did read the article. They believe Tesla has been misleading in their statements about it, telling the public one thing and the state another. It's unclear whether they think Tesla is delivering more than they told the DMV they were delivering or if the DMV is investigating because there are discrepancies between what they are telling the DMV and what they are telling the DMV. The DMV wants to know exactly what Tesla is going to deliver.

And Tesla has been very clear on that point. Everything currently being delivered is level 2. The next thing TO be delivered is city streets, which is also L2.

Nothing in the current sales process promises the customer anything beyond L2 either (and hasn't since march 2019)
 
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Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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Not so fast. I checked the recent-ish purchase contract (post 2019) and it does NOT define exactly what "Full Self-Driving" is. While the website uses weasel-words dodges, the contract has nothing.

In such cases courts are just as likely to interpret "full self-driving" as "full self-driving".

By contract I'm including what you are promised during the purchase process- which explicitly tells you it's all L2.
 

gearchruncher

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Sep 20, 2016
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By contract I'm including what you are promised during the purchase process- which explicitly tells you it's all L2.
What sources do you include as "promises" during the "purchase process"?

If it's not the literal words in the MVPA, but instead words on tesla.com/autopilot and tesla.com/support/autopilot, why would other statements made by official Tesla sources not also be considered? I've failed to see anyone pull out a contract that explicitly lists the performance required by Tesla. Only pointers to other tesla descriptions and advertisements, but somehow a limited set of those appears to apply, and not others.

Also, what situation do you think someone is in if they bought in 2016?
 

Knightshade

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What sources do you include as "promises" during the "purchase process"?

Things the buyer is shown, or has to click through/on, to purchase FSD.

They describe the thing you are needing to actively click a button to choose to purchase.

If it's not the literal words in the MVPA, but instead words on tesla.com/autopilot and tesla.com/support/autopilot

Yeah I'm not talking about those URLs at all.

Only the stuff you are shown as part of your purchase, because those are the only things we explicitly can be sure a buyer is seeing.



Also, what situation do you think someone is in if they bought in 2016?


Same answer. What were they promised as "the thing they are buying" during the purchase process.

For pre March 2019 buyers that's (at least) L4 driving capabilities. Maybe, arguably, L5.

For post 3/19 buyers it's L2.
 

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