On October 24, Tesla owner Sun Yi (pseudonym) received two emails, the content of which was about Tesla’s recall notice. “The notice stated that the owner’s vehicle needs to be replaced with the front suspension and rear suspension within the scope of the recall, and the time required to replace the front suspension and rear suspension for free is 3 hours and 1.8 hours, respectively.” Sun Yi told the Daily Economic News “The reporter said.
Just the day before Sun Yi received the above-mentioned email, the Defective Product Management Center of the State Administration for Market Regulation issued a message saying that Tesla Motors (Beijing) Co., Ltd. announced that there are potential safety hazards in the front and rear suspensions, starting from October 23 A total of nearly 30,000 imported Model S and Model X electric vehicles have been recalled.
But then Tesla’s attitude began to reverse. In a letter submitted by Tesla to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a few days ago, the company stated that the vehicle does not need to be recalled because the vehicle suspension is not defective and the damage is not a quality problem, but caused by improper use by the owner. . In other words, Tesla pointed the responsibility to the driver and said it would not conduct a recall outside of China.
In this regard, an owner of an imported Model 3 said helplessly, “I can only say that I raised a wolf, and now I am bitten by the wolf.”
This is not the first time Tesla has “flipped the pot.” In the recent frequent “out of control” incidents, Tesla has also given investigation results such as “there is no problem with the vehicle”, “there is no fault in the vehicle system”, and “the owner stepped on the wrong brake.”
A few days ago, Tesla stated in its “Car Safety Report for the Third Quarter of 2020” that in the third quarter of this year, during the third quarter of this year, during the driving process with the participation of Autopilot, an average of 4.59 million miles (about 7.38 million There will be a traffic accident within the driving mileage of kilometers. Compared with the data of 4.53 million miles (about 7.29 million kilometers) in the second quarter, the accident rate has improved slightly, but the improvement is not obvious.
At present, Tesla’s sales in the Chinese market are still on the rise, but the frequent “sweeping the pot” behavior has caused consumer dissatisfaction.
Netizens ridiculed the owner of “Dumping Pot”
Documents from the Defective Product Management Center of the State Administration for Market Regulation show that Tesla recalled some imported Model S and Model X vehicles with a production date between September 17, 2013 and August 16, 2017, totaling 29,193 vehicles.
“When subjected to large external shocks, these vehicles may experience deformation of the upper connecting rod of the rear suspension. When the vehicle continues to be used, this component will be further weakened. In extreme cases, it may break, affecting the control of the vehicle and increasing the risk of accidents. , There is a safety hazard.” The above-mentioned document said.
At the same time, Tesla will also recall some imported Model S vehicles with a production date between September 17, 2013 and January 15, 2018 for similar reasons, a total of 19,249 vehicles.
In the above recall, 18,608 vehicles that need to replace the front suspension link and rear suspension link are recalled at the same time, and only 10585 vehicles need to be recalled to replace the front suspension and rear link, and only need to recall the replacement of the rear suspension upper link. There are 641 vehicles on the pole.
According to incomplete statistics, as of August this year, Tesla sold more than 60,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in China. This means that the total number of Tesla recalls accounted for nearly half of its sales in China.
However, Tesla does not recognize the reason for the recall identified by the Defective Product Management Center of the State Administration for Market Regulation. According to foreign media, Tesla said in a subsequent letter submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “Because SAMR (National Market Supervision Administration) and DPAC (National Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Administration Center for Defective Products) believe that relevant models need After being recalled, Tesla can only choose to be forced to voluntarily recall the relevant vehicles. Although Tesla does not agree with the views of the above-mentioned agencies, it still chose the voluntary recall plan.”
Tesla believes that this part of the recalled models use the same suspension system as the North American models, but the probability of suspension problems in the Chinese market is 0.1%, while that of the rest of the world is only 0.05%. This can prove that Tesla’s vehicles are fundamental There are no defects, and suspension problems are also caused by improper use by the owner.
In response, an industry insider who did not want to be named told reporters that the recall of the vehicle by the Defective Product Management Center of the State Administration for Market Regulation was not an unprovoked decision. It must be determined that the vehicle does exist after strict investigation and evidence collection. In case of problems, the problem vehicles will be recalled.
Faced with Tesla’s “throw the pot” approach, netizens have come out to tease, “(Tesla means) a car can’t be driven if you buy it, you have to give it up.” “It’s not that my car is not good, but you can’t drive.” “Does it mean that I have to stop and carry it when the speed bump is bumpy?”
“6 seconds out of control” cited doubts
Tesla’s “sweeping the pot” car owners are not alone. On October 19, a Weibo real-name authentication user “Electric Pharaoh-” announced that his wife was driving a Tesla Model 3 at the intersection of Chongwenmen in Beijing. After passing a traffic light, the vehicle suddenly left the lane to the right and The steering wheel can’t turn. Eventually the vehicle rushed onto the bus platform, causing a traffic coordinator to be injured.
From the video of the vehicle driving recorder published on the Internet, it can be seen that the vehicle gradually deviated from the main road to the right as it was traveling, until it crashed into the handrail next to the bus station, and finally stopped.
After the accident, it caused intense discussion among netizens, and many netizens questioned whether the driver performed improperly. In response to this, the “Electric Pharaoh-” responded immediately: “My lover does not drive and play with mobile phones. After the accident, she has forgotten whether she was driving AP (Automatic Assisted Driving) and whether she had time to step on the brakes. After the accident The brain is blank.”
“Electric Pharaoh -” questioned the situation where the steering wheel deviation is difficult to correct, and the vehicle’s emergency braking function is not activated in front of an obstacle: “I hope Tesla can give an explanation for this situation.”
Some netizens also raised questions about this: “The computer will freeze, and the system will have problems after a long time of use. Will intelligent electric vehicles also have computer-like problems?”
In response to this, on the afternoon of October 20th, Tesla Motors (Beijing) Co., Ltd. certified Weibo account “Tesla Customer Support” in response to this matter, saying, “After surveying and data collation of the vehicle, the vehicle was in the accident The automatic driving assistance function was not turned on at the time. Until the collision occurred, no system failure including the steering system was found.”
For Tesla’s reply, netizens also described it as “throwing the pot”. Some netizens commented: “First, how to prove that any abnormality of the car is recorded. Second, even if there is a record, the program is really bug-free? If the programmer can find all the bugs, then there will be no bugs in the world.”
Some netizens also said that in order to prevent the “pan dumping” incident from happening again, the Tesla car needs to be equipped with a full range of in-car cameras.
In fact, in the process of checking the vehicle driving data provided by Tesla, “Electric Pharaoh -” affirmed that the brake system is indeed okay, but also raised questions: “The steering wheel of the vehicle is 8 degrees to the right, which lasts for 6 seconds. .Whether these 6 seconds is an intermittent problem, it has become an unsolved case.”
Recent “out of control” accidents frequently occur in vehicles
This Tesla “out of control” incident in Beijing has been the fifth Tesla “out of control” accident in China in 4 months.
On June 16 this year, a Tesla Model 3 in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province caught fire after a crash. This accident is the first domestic traffic accident involving a Tesla vehicle “out of control” this year. According to the owner Chen Yu (pseudonym), the vehicle’s speed suddenly increased from 50-60km/h to 127km/h, and the brakes were invalid. After the vehicle lost control and drove for about 8 kilometers, it finally hit the mound and overturned and caught fire.
However, Tesla does not recognize the above remarks made by the owner of Chen Yu. “According to the background of the vehicle driving data and on-site surveys, it was found that the system detected a few minutes before the accident and during the collision, the driver had a signal to step on the accelerator pedal, but there was no signal to step on the brake pedal.” Tesla said. .
“The vehicle must be out of control. Even if Tesla does not admit it, this is a 100% fact.” On October 21, Chen Yu said in an interview with the “Daily Business News” reporter that as of now, except for Tesla In addition to the conclusion that the vehicle does not have “accidental acceleration”, the traffic police has not yet given the final investigation result.
Chen Yu told reporters that in August this year, Tesla’s staff in charge of handling the accident had offered to provide compensation of about 100,000 yuan for the accident during the mediation process, but refused to claim that it was compensation. Chen Yu did not accept this.
“In September, we also communicated two or three times. During this period, Tesla insisted that there was no problem with the vehicle. Not only that, but the other party no longer mentioned compensation.” Chen Yu said, “After the body is well, if Tesla is still unable to give a satisfactory answer, and I will take legal measures to defend my rights, and I will not rule out prosecuting Tesla.”
After Chen Yu’s accident, Tesla-like vehicle “out of control” traffic accidents began to occur frequently in China. For example, on August 9th, a Tesla Model 3 in Shanghai suddenly “out of control” rushed into a gas station in Yangsui, Shanghai. It not only crashed the anti-collision poles and other facilities, but also crashed three motor vehicles in the station and injured A staff member and a car owner. Regarding the cause of the accident, the Tesla owner described that at the time of the accident, he was driving west to east along Yang’s train of thought. In order to prevent hitting the earthmoving vehicle in front, he tried to hit the green belt to force a slowdown, but the vehicle lost control and went straight. Crash into the gas station.
On August 12, a Tesla Model 3 in a community in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province drove to the entrance of the community. The vehicle suddenly accelerated, smashed into the stop bar of the parking lot at high speed, and hit 14 cars in succession. The owner was seriously injured. The owner said that the vehicle suddenly accelerated and the brake failed when it was about 100 meters away from the parking lot. It smashed through the railing of the toll booth and rushed into the parking lot, causing an accident. “The main cause of this accident was that Tesla lost control and brakes failed.” The owner said.
On the afternoon of September 5, a Tesla Model X in Nanchong, Sichuan hit multiple vehicles and roadside pedestrians. The police report issued by the Nanchong Traffic Police Brigade showed that the accident has caused 2 deaths, 6 injuries and damage to multiple vehicles. So far, the police are still investigating the cause of the accident. Tesla said: “According to the analysis of vehicle data, the vehicle has not broken down. We will do our best to cooperate with the police in the investigation.”
Up to now, for the above-mentioned domestic “out of control” accidents, Tesla’s response is mostly “the vehicle is ok” or “still under investigation.” As of press time, Tesla and the car owner still have their own opinions on the cause of the recent frequent “out of control” vehicle accidents.
A Tesla insider clearly told reporters that it is almost impossible for Tesla to “accelerate unexpectedly” and fail the brakes.
But Tesla’s “accidental acceleration” out of control incidents did not just happen in the Chinese market. In January of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a petition containing 127 complaints of “accidental acceleration” accidents involving Tesla vehicles, involving 123 vehicles and 110 crashes, and 52 people were injured. . Tesla’s “accidental acceleration” vehicles involve Tesla vehicles produced from 2013 to 2019, including Model 3, Model S and Model X models.
In response to the above complaint, Tesla issued a statement for the first time: “The question about the hidden dangers of vehicle safety is the discredit of Tesla by short sellers, and there is no “accidental acceleration” in Tesla vehicles.”
Is the probability of autonomous driving “out of control” small?
“We analyzed the driving data of each accidental acceleration incident of the vehicle we learned, and concluded that the Tesla car operated normally in accordance with the design requirements in all incidents. In other words, the car will only accelerate when the driver accelerates the car. When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the vehicle will decelerate or stop normally.” Tesla said that in the actual driving process, if the driver accidentally stepped on the brake pedal and accelerator pedal at the same time, according to design requirements , The priority of the brake pedal will be higher. At this time, the accelerator pedal command will not take effect, and the motor torque will be cut off. If you continue to depress the brake, the vehicle will stop.
Regarding Tesla’s explanation, Cheng Hao (a pseudonym), a senior automotive technician who has worked in the front line for more than ten years, admitted in an interview with the “Daily Business News” reporter that as the originator of high-end intelligent electric vehicles, Tesla The probability of loss of control and brake “failure” at the same time is indeed very low. “If a similar situation occurs, I believe the relevant Tesla technicians have been involved in the investigation. However, if there is a similar situation, it may be because the probability is very small and irregular, and it is difficult for the technicians to find out during the test.”
So, will highly intelligent vehicles have “accidentally out of control” and brake failure, but the background can not be monitored? “This situation is not impossible, but the probability of occurrence is very small. However, all the information we can see so far cannot support our next conclusive judgment.” October 22, a person An executive of an intelligent driving company who did not want to be named told the “Daily Economic News” reporter that, theoretically, the above situation may happen, if the fault data is not uploaded back to the background in time. At the same time, in the testing process, because the triggering conditions of this fault event are more complicated, it is not easy to test out in the laboratory.
In fact, since 2018, Tesla has been publishing quarterly reports to compare the mileage of the car in each accident when the autopilot system Autopilot is turned on and off, in order to improve the safety of the autopilot system. Create a benchmark in terms of sex.
On October 26th, local time in the United States, Tesla released its third quarter 2020 automotive safety report. The report shows that in the third quarter, during the driving process of the automatic driving system Autopilot, there will be one accident for every 4.59 million miles (about 7.38 million kilometers) driven, compared to every 4.53 million miles (about According to the data of 7.29 million kilometers), the accident rate has improved slightly.
But for cars that have not activated Autopilot, but have enabled Tesla’s active safety features, there will be one accident for every 2.42 million miles (about 3,894,600 kilometers) driven in the third quarter of this year. In the third quarter of last year, this figure was one accident for every 2.7 million miles driven, and the situation worsened.
In the third quarter of this year, a Tesla vehicle that has neither the automatic driving system Autopilot nor the active safety function activated will have an accident for every 1.79 million miles (approximately 2.8807 million kilometers) driven. The data for the same period in 2019 shows that Tesla will have one accident for every 1.82 million miles driven.
It can be seen from the above data that from the second quarter to the third quarter of this year, after the automatic driving system Autopilot was activated, the accidents of Tesla cars decreased slightly, but the accidents occurred when the system was turned off and the active safety function was activated. The rate is up year-on-year.
In addition to the “out of control” problem, Tesla’s other system problems also began to appear. On the second day of Tesla’s “Battery Day”, Tesla’s system suffered a global downtime, which prevented company staff from handling deliveries and orders.
And the “smart summoning function” that Tesla has always been proud of is also experiencing problems. On October 21, a video of a Tesla car owner using the “smart summon function” to call was exposed. It can be seen from the video that after being called, the vehicle has repeatedly adjusted its position and angle, but still cannot get out of the parking space smoothly. It eventually collided with the BMW parked on its left side, and the Model 3 rear door and rear fender There were also obvious traces of scratching.
Not only that, on October 22, many car owners reported in the Tesla owner group: “After the vehicle is driven out, there will often be no signal and no internet.”
Regarding the various issues that were exposed above, Tesla either remained silent or gave a reply that “there is no problem with the vehicle” or that it is “under investigation.”
Tesla is more like an electronic product
Although Tesla’s “out of control” accidents frequently occur in the Chinese market and continue to “snap the pot”, consumers’ enthusiasm for buying Tesla vehicles has not declined.
According to data from the Federation of Travel Services, since May this year, Tesla’s sales in China have gradually increased, with sales exceeding 10,000 for five consecutive months. From January to September, the cumulative sales of Tesla in China exceeded 79,900, ranking it among domestic new energy sources. No. 1 among auto companies in sales.
The reporter found in the investigation that the reason why Chinese consumers are eager for Tesla is mainly because of its intelligent driving function.
On October 20, when the reporter visited the Tesla experience store, a prospective car advocate John (a pseudonym) told the reporter: “I plan to buy Tesla, and I tend to prefer new experiences such as Tesla’s smart driving. It can satisfy the yearning and curiosity of young people for high technology.”
But Zhang Han also expressed concern about the continuous occurrence of “out of control” incidents of vehicles. “If the vehicle has a problem of’out of control’, you will be very scared when driving, and worry that you don’t know when a similar situation will occur.” Zhang Han said that since he has decided to buy a Tesla, he has made corresponding mental preparations and will drive later. Stay more vigilant during the process and will not fully believe in Tesla’s smart driving features.
There are not a few people who have the same ideas as Zhang Han. “Tesla to me is more like an electronic product, just like an Apple mobile phone. I bought it for the purpose of experiencing smart driving functions.” Dong Hao (pseudonym) told reporters.
And Tesla has always adopted a radical attitude on the road to the development of intelligent driving. On October 21, according to foreign media reports, on Tuesday local time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that the company’s fully autonomous driving (FSD) beta software will be available to some customers that night roll out. However, Musk did not disclose which areas of the vehicle will receive the push.
“I don’t know the user groups and regions targeted by the fully autonomous driving beta software for the time being.” A person close to Tesla China said in an interview that at present, Tesla’s “fully autonomous driving” software has entered the market. Test the first stage, but only for a small number of users. At noon on October 22, Beijing time, Tesla released a message saying: “In October, we will rewrite the first FSD (Full Autonomous Driving Capability) software update-urban roads, and send it to a limited number of early experiences. Plan customers. As we continue to collect data, this system will become more powerful.”
“This time the test of Tesla’s “fully autonomous driving” function has achieved a qualitative leap for the development of the industry, and it is of great significance.” Li Xingyu, vice president of Horizon Market Development and Strategic Planning, told reporters that this test has made The “fully autonomous driving” function is no longer applied to a small number of test cars according to the research institute model, but is tested on production cars. This proves that the progressive autopilot technology route is the only way for the autopilot industry to develop forward, rather than leapfrog development.
But Li Xingyu also pointed out that at present, it is not policies that hinder the implementation of autonomous driving, but that the autonomous driving technology itself has not been proven to be mature. In fact, the policy is waiting for technology.
At present, it is not clear to the outside world what functions can be achieved by Tesla’s “automatic driving” software test. “The company’s autonomous driving team has been focusing on the rewrite of the neural network and control algorithm infrastructure.” Tesla only said that this rewrite can release the remaining driving functions.
So, how safe is the current Tesla fully automated driving function? Yao Qizhi, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, pointed out that some algorithms that can be generated by artificial intelligence now have considerable fragility and instability, which may be a very serious safety problem in autonomous driving, so artificial intelligence efficiency is not the most important criterion.
“Of course, we want it to be highly accurate and efficient, but we also hope that it has some other properties, such as meeting social standards or being legally acceptable.” Yao Qizhi said.
Shaken confidence in some potential customers?
The frequent “out of control” incidents and Tesla’s attitude towards this recall have not affected its sales in China, but they have shaken the complete trust of some potential customers in Tesla.
A noteworthy change is that a few days ago, Tesla’s official website in China announced that Tesla will terminate the implementation of the “Tesla Confidence Guarantee Program” on October 16, 2020. Tesla made it clear that the plan will only be available to customers with some outstanding orders before it expires. This means that car purchase orders after October 16 will no longer enjoy the protection of the plan. Even if consumers are dissatisfied with the new Tesla car, they will no longer enjoy the previous “7 days without reason to return the car” benefits.
“The cancellation of the’Confidence Guarantee Plan’ has something to do with Tesla’s frequent price cuts.” Cui Dongshu believes that because of frequent price cuts, more and more car owners use the “Confidence Guarantee Plan”. For Tesla, the corresponding input cost Will gradually increase.
According to incomplete statistics, in the past three years, the price of Tesla’s models have been adjusted more than 10 times, of which the cumulative number of price adjustments for the four models in 2019 is about 15 times. Since the beginning of the year, Tesla has made three price cuts, and the cumulative price cuts of the Model 3 series have exceeded 80,000 yuan.
Li Yan (pseudonym), a sales specialist at a Tesla experience store in Beijing, also said in an interview with a reporter from “Daily Business News”, “The company canceled this policy because of cost reduction considerations. In fact, it really uses confidence The “Guarantee Plan” has very few people, and there are special executive departments and personnel to implement this preferential policy. For cost-saving considerations, the company decided to abolish this department and devote more energy to better serving consumers. “
The reporter learned from He Kun (pseudonym), a salesperson at a Tesla experience store in Shanghai, that the impact of the “Confidence Guarantee Program” on its stores has already been revealed. “There are currently a batch of cars that have been cancelled due to price reductions, and the price will be discounted by 10,000 to 20,000 yuan on the basis of 249,000 yuan.” He Kun told reporters.
After the “Confidence Guarantee Program” was cancelled, Tesla’s (TSLA) stock price fluctuated significantly. Judging from the Tesla stock price chart, from October 15th to October 20th Eastern Time, Tesla’s stock price fell between 2% and 2.69%, and the stock price fell from $461.3/share to $421.94/share .
Frequent “out of control” accidents also caused volatility in Tesla’s stock price. Public data shows that from September 1 to the close of October 16 EST, Tesla’s stock price fell from $502.14 per share to $439.67 per share, and the market value evaporated by $32.956 billion, almost losing a Ford car. Market value.
But the dazzling third-quarter financial report still gave Tesla the confidence and motivation to move forward at a high speed. On October 22, Beijing time, Tesla’s third-quarter 2020 financial report showed that in the third quarter of this year, Tesla’s revenue reached 8.771 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 39% and a month-on-month increase of 45%, higher than market expectations. 8.36 billion U.S. dollars; net profit was 331 million U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 131% and a month-on-month increase of 218%, achieving profitability for 5 consecutive quarters.
In terms of production and sales, Tesla set a new record in the third quarter of this year. The latest delivery data released by Tesla shows that in the third quarter, Tesla produced approximately 145,000 electric vehicles and delivered 199,300.
Tesla once again made it clear in the above financial report that the company will maintain its annual target of 500,000 vehicles. This means that in the fourth quarter of this year, Tesla’s delivery volume needs to increase by 30% on the basis of the third quarter, exceeding 181,000 vehicles.
In this regard, some analysts believe that Tesla is unlikely to complete the 500,000 sales target, because the seasonal average and median growth rates are 9% and 14%, respectively. “Although it has become more difficult to achieve this goal, 500,000 vehicles are still our goal.” The person in charge of Tesla said that the realization of this goal mainly depends on the quarter-on-quarter growth of Model Y and Shanghai factory production. And the further improvement of logistics and delivery efficiency. “
Investment bank Baird analyst Ben Kallo said in a research report that “gross margin is a key variable in the third quarter.” The above financial report shows that in the third quarter of 2020, Tesla’s overall gross profit margin reached 23.5%, and the vehicle gross profit margin reached 27.7%. This means that Tesla still has enough profit margins to reduce prices. “Tesla’s gross profit margin performance can reflect its various aspects from regulatory credit, product pricing, battery costs to manufacturing scale,” Ben Kallo said.
At present, Tesla is upgrading the production capacity of Model Y in Shanghai, Berlin and Texas super factories, and will start delivery in 2021. At the same time, Tesla Semi trucks will also be delivered from 2021. “We will continue to increase investment in the products planned by the roadmap.” Tesla made it clear in the financial report.
“Since the development of a start-up company, Tesla’s market acceptance has become higher and higher, and its products have also begun to be tested by consumers.” Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the National Passenger Car Market Information Association, believes that Tesla is speeding up production At the same time as market promotion, it is also necessary to ensure the improvement of product quality.
Reporter’s Note: Behind the high sales volume still need to bear more responsibility
Tesla, which was once locked up by the loss-making “curse” and lacked cash flow, has grown amidst the bad news of the outside world and has become the world’s most valuable new energy vehicle company.
As the company’s business conditions continue to improve, Tesla now has the confidence to plan and invest in the future. A sentence in the financial report left a deep impression on the reporter: “We should have enough liquidity to support the product roadmap, long-term capacity expansion plan and other expenses.”
At present, Tesla’s brand effect and rapid development are enough to affect the development of the global new energy automobile industry. A previous research report by JPMorgan Chase made it clear that the popularity of Tesla Model 3 and its aggressive pricing model will drive the penetration rate of new energy vehicles throughout China.
But whether it is the increase in brand influence or the rapid increase in sales, behind the market and consumers’ recognition of the Tesla brand and product quality. The increase in market share and industry influence also indicates that Tesla will shoulder higher social responsibilities.
However, the recent frequent “out-of-control” accidents of vehicles and system or APP downtime have all issued early warnings to Tesla, urging it to pay more attention to product quality while urging it to develop rapidly and expand production capacity. Produce higher-quality and safer smart electric vehicles and actively listen to the voice of consumers, so that Tesla can go further and better.