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Discussion Starter #1
This is a fascinating story and has implications for anyone wishing to repair a Tesla in the future...

A San Diego man bought a high-end Tesla at auction for nearly half price, but now he can't get the company to activate the car.

Peter Rutman purchased the 2012 Model S Signature at auction in March for $50,000 then spent another $8,000 fixing it.

He says repairing the car has been easy; dealing with Tesla has been the challenge.

"I'm blacklisted all across the country," he said. "Nobody's allowed to help us. They're not allowed to sell us parts. They're not allowed to service the car. Nothing."

http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/San-Diego-mans-58000-nightmare-with-a-Tesla-Model-S-277017201.html
 

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Discussion Starter #2
At the beginning of this weeks EVTV show they had an interesting discussion about the "right to repair" and potential class action...

 

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Hmm... I can foresee this guy being wheeled out at every future "Tesla v. Auto Dealers" trial in the USA.
 

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So if I understand it right, the car was "wrecked" but repairable. He asked Tesla to turn it back on, they said "not until we look at it" and that "look" included the option for them (the creator of the product) to declare "this is completely unsafe and should not be put back into service" and the guy said "no thanks, just turn it on".
 
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I've been following this thread on TMC. As I understand it:

The guy bought a salvage car, fixed it up, then asked Tesla to switch it back on.

They told him that they would need to inspect the car first, at his cost, and only if it was roadworthy (in their opinion), would they switch it on. Otherwise they may quote for additional repair work before the car can be activated.

They also asked him to sign some kind of waiver/indemnity. He is refusing to do this, no one on the linked thread is sure why.

The other case is a guy who is using a stripped down Model S as a platform for a campervan project.

We all know what can happen when an unmodified EV catches fire, so is it unreasonable for Tesla to take this approach with cars that are (a) more likely to be a fire risk due to accident damage, or (b) have had safety or fire control features removed (knowingly or unknowingly)?

I wonder if we'll see more of this from other EV manufacturers in the future.
 

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So if I understand it right, the car was "wrecked" but repairable. He asked Tesla to turn it back on, they said "not until we look at it" and that "look" included the option for them (the creator of the product) to declare "this is completely unsafe and should not be put back into service" and the guy said "no thanks, just turn it on".
I think that the parts of the document (that Tesla are requiring him to sign) that he probably objects to are:
(5) if Tesla determines that sufficient repairs cannot be made to the Salvage Vehicle, Tesla will not service the Salvage Vehicle;
(6) Tesla will not sell any vehicle replacement parts directly to you or any non-Tesla certified body shop;
So they are saying that if they think it is too badly damaged, it's game over; and he will not be able to ever get any work done by anyone other than a Tesla certified body shop (not even changing a light bulb)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A number of people are proposing "right to repair" legislation including Jack Rickard (watch from 2:10:47);

 

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I thought right-offs were rated by severity and the worst couldn't be put back on the road. Presumably block exemption just means you can buy the parts, it doesn't mean that the repaired vehicle can be used on the road.
 

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I thought right-offs were rated by severity and the worst couldn't be put back on the road.
The insurance company sold it with salvage title which allows it to be returned to the road... Tesla cannot have the final say here and I predict it will be tested in court and Tesla will lose in both the US and EU.

Interesting background post here;

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/salvage-title
 

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The insurance company sold it with salvage title which allows it to be returned to the road...
A vehicle on salvage title cannot be used on the road. The USA like the UK requires a safety inspection before return to the road. There's no guarantee that it can be used on the road. Indeed people go to prison for title fraud. One wonders what the UK inspectors would make of a request to return a written-off EV to the road as I doubt they have the means to validate the safety of the electrical systems without manufacturer support.
 

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After a short exchange with @Kevin Sharpe on twitter this morning after he linked to another site running this story, I wanted to write a bit more than 140 characters. This is one of those stories that seems to draw people to one site or another - with very few in the middle. It's a headline grabber for sure, with most of the headlines seeming to be against Tesla.

I'm on Tesla's side - and this is my thought process. Whenever I try to follow the arguments for and against something I don't fully understand (I am no mechanic / vehicle engineer / technician / whatever they are called these days), I try to replay the scenario in a context I do understand. In this case, computer software. Websites specifically.

So I build CustomerX a bespoke website. I host it on my own private servers which I don't give out public access for uploading and downloading. This gives me cost saving benefits of not having to secure a multi-user system. If the code needs changing or maintenance, I do that and charge CustomerX an appropriate hourly rate for my services - or for free if its included in some sort of 6-12 month deal, for example.

After a few months, CustomerX says they want to take their website somewhere else - some offshore developer says he can make changes for half of my costs. No problem. I zip it all up and give it to them. As far as I am concerned it's their software. I'll also make it clear if there are any parts of the system which won't function if they require access to other parts of my internal server setup.

Another few months later, CustomerX comes back to me and says, we've made some modifications, can we put this software back on your severs.

Well, not a problem as such, but I am going to want to do a line-by-line inspection of the code before I put it on the server to make sure it's not going to compromise my systems. Not only do I have obligations to make sure my other customers data is also secure, but I have my brand and reputation to think of too. If their modifications cause a failure of other sub-systems, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy customers - not just one.

So I give CustomerX a form to sign saying that they have to cover the cost of this inspection, and if I do find any code which does not meet my security requirements they have to get it fixed first. I will be willing to quote for those fixes, although they can go back to someone else if they want. If they do go elsewhere, then the process repeats until I'm happy with the quality of the software. I'll also have no obligation to maintain any other parts of the software that the offshore developers might not have even touched.

Is my position that different from Tesla's?

I agree with the view point of being able to "self repair", but I also agree with Tesla's viewpoint. Unfortunately you are no longer just buying "a car". You are buying a component of a larger system.

I'm not sure if there is anything specifically in the terms of sale as I don't have access to one, but I would not be surprised if you don't actually ever "own" the software components in the car. Like that copy of iOS, Mac OS or Windows, Andriod, etc that you're using right now. You don't own it - you're granted a licence to use it under very specific conditions.

All Mr San Diego needs to do is to get someone else to write him a vehicle management system! :-D
 

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I doubt they had car insurance 100 years ago, let alone Cat 4 write-offs!
Nope but people have done EV conversions on regular road cars, for quite a while. These don't even need IVA approval, simply an MOT when next due.

A vehicle on salvage title cannot be used on the road. The USA like the UK requires a safety inspection before return to the road. There's no guarantee that it can be used on the road. Indeed people go to prison for title fraud. One wonders what the UK inspectors would make of a request to return a written-off EV to the road as I doubt they have the means to validate the safety of the electrical systems without manufacturer support.
My understanding was for a written off car to be put back on the road you only need a new MOT, and an identity check. So the safety inspection is only an MOT. If we are saying an MOT isn't a suitable safety check for EV's that's a different story! This would be a massive step back if we require MOT's for EVs to require the original manufacturer to certify the car, rather than an independently approved network of VOSA stations :(

Another few months later, CustomerX comes back to me and says, we've made some modifications, can we put this software back on your severs.

I'm not sure if there is anything specifically in the terms of sale as I don't have access to one, but I would not be surprised if you don't actually ever "own" the software components in the car. Like that copy of iOS, Mac OS or Windows, Andriod, etc that you're using right now. You don't own it - you're granted a licence to use it under very specific conditions.
I think it's more like you put some hidden code in your original site that tied it to your server's IP address.

CustomerX, goes to put his software on someone else's servers. The new hosting company are perfectly happy to do this as it passes their code validation checks, but the site refuses to run due to your hidden protection. You now have the customer over a barrel, refusing to tell them how to remove this protection until they pay you an arbitrary fee.

This is the exact content in the "purchase agreement" (apologies for the formatting, I copied an pasted it from PDF) . No mention at all of licensing of software.

It does state I should have had some region specific attachments.... I never received these :(

Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement
Terms & Conditions
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Discussion Starter #16
EVTV - Your Car Still Belong To Them (here)

Tesla remains an enigma. After announcing he was effectively “open sourcing” his Tesla Model S, apparently Mr. Musk feels it is appropriate to actively “disable” cars that have been wrecked until they can be proven safe, to his satisfaction, by a Tesla inspection. Mr. Peter Rutman, who cachinged out $50,000 for a salvaged Tesla, was treated woefully by the wider media who paternalistically labelled the entire affair a matter of caveat emptor – buyer beware.
 

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Nope but people have done EV conversions on regular road cars, for quite a while. These don't even need IVA approval, simply an MOT when next due.
Last time that I registered a conversion I think that I needed an engineer's report to register the change of fuel type. Mind you I did write my own

An MOT does little more than check that the HV cable insulation is intact. I would suggest that's far from adequate to check that a high voltage vehicle is safe.

A UK Cat A write-off is badly damaged that there is no possibility of future use, no matter who inspects it.
 

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@Nick think about this.... do you seriously wish to be prevented from repairing your car (or having it repaired) just because it's an EV? Do you wish to be prevented from registering a conversion as you did before?

We are already seeing extortionate charges for parts and service from mainstream dealers and this will get worse if we allow OEMs to restrict our choices.

Jack Rickard also makes an interesting prediction (here) on the potential cost of insuring these cars in future (and IMO the impact on resale values);

I assume most of our viewers know how the salvage trade works. Basically, you wreck your Tesla. The only ones authorized to repair Tesla’s are Tesla. The insurance company contacts Tesla for a repair estimate. On receiving it (in shock) they almost always total the car. Simple aluminum body repairs ARE expensive, but not that expensive. This is going to drive insurance for Tesla Model S vehicles through the roof. Within a year, it will undoubtedly be the most expensive car in the world to insure.
 

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@Nick think about this.... do you seriously wish to be prevented from repairing your car (or having it repaired) just because it's an EV? Do you wish to be prevented from registering a conversion as you did before?
My sole desire is that a car, whether repaired or converted, doesn't represent an unacceptable risk to its owner, users, passers-by, or maintenance personnel. I'm not exonerating Tesla, rather I'm saying that some inspection regime is desirable.
 

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Tesla are just asking to inspect the car first. Because they haven't been allowed to by the owner, discussing the outcome of such an inspection is pure speculation.

Do Nissan reactivate written off Leafs without any kind of inspection? What is Renault's policy for the Zoe?
 
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