bugs in v4.0 --- $100K beta testers

bugs in v4.0 --- $100K beta testers

First let me start by saying I love my Model-S since I got it on Xmas eve, but I'm very disappointed in Tesla's effort here.

I turn on my car this morning and things just started gong screwy:
- Rear Camera didn't turn on when I shifted to reverse
- The display didn't even wake until I touched it (I have mine set to power on all the time)
- The display lighting was in night mode and didn't seem to recognize it was day time
- Once I start driving the Navigation was about as fast as an update using a 24.4K modem
- Then I noticed the turn signal "clicking" sound stopped

I realize none of these are major issues, but then I couldn't change the suspension settings either and it just seemed like I was at the mercy of whatever was going on in the firmware and who knew what else was off or not working.

While driving I got the notice that I should take it into maintenance so I did and the service folks were very helpful, but basically said this sounded like a known firmware bug in v4.0 ... that just appears. I'm a Sales guy for an enterprise software/hardware manufacturer so I've been on the receiving end of these conversations plenty so I was very understanding. He also mentioned that there was an update v4.1 that was deployed in limited fashion but there were some other bugs ... namely that it would put the car in sleep mode and not wake up. "Are you kidding me? How does this make it past QA? How are they putting firmware in cars that people are driving that could have such a major bug?"

What I'm not understanding of is that Tesla doesn't PROACTIVELY warn it's owners of KNOWN BUGS. I didn't pay $100K to be a beta tester and what really has me concerned is that I sure don't want to risk the safety of my kids in a car that apparently could shutdown on me at random times or have firmware issues that could do god knows what while I'm driving.

Come on Tesla. Get it together. This isn't some website where if you have a bug people can't shop ... this is a car with REAL people in it and if the firmware has bugs ... it can pose a major risk to people's safety. Please get this right ... for all of our sakes ... I love this car and I want to be supportive, but man up here take care of your customers.

jat | 11 January, 2013

Frankly, if you expected it to be bug free you shouldn't have been one of the early reservation holders. Basically, signature owners have been doing the alpha testing, and for the next few months the rest of us are doing beta testing. I have experienced a few software glitches, but it has actually been better than I expected (certainly better than my Windows machine).

Note that the two computers controlling the display have nothing to do with driving the car, so I don't think there is any significant risk to safety - you can reboot them while you are driving.

archibaldcrane | 11 January, 2013

Um, dude, just reboot your screen - all of those problems are fixed with a simple reboot. Just press in and hold down both scroll buttons until the screen reboots.

It's a computer. They don't run in perpetuity without locking up eventually. Same for your phone, your laptop, etc.

Just reboot it and stop freaking out.

sergiyz | 12 January, 2013

Disable deep sleep mode, and most of these will go away, but it will draw more power when the car is parked/idle.
4.0 was more stable but lacked some features, and I like throttle response on 4.1 much better.
Yes it sucks it's buggy, but the drive train is safe and are hopefully coming up with fixes as we speak.

// proud alpha tester ;)

EcLectric | 12 January, 2013

sam r,

I would be interested in hearing any constructive suggestions you might have. I'm sure nobody at Tesla is taking these things lightly. Once a bug occurs in a released piece of software/firmware, there is nothing you can do but try to fix it. I don't think backing off to some old version is even an option at this point. I am sure that these problems are the number one priority of the software people there. It will take some time to fix them because they have to make sure the car continues to be safe. In the mean-time, just remember that the nav screen is not driving the car - you are. Don't let some glitch in a non-essential system take your focus off the road.

There is a somewhat famous case of an airliner that crashed because the pilots fixated on a broken light-bulb in the cockpit and didn't notice that they had accidentally shut off the auto pilot, and had gradually descended until they hit the ground.

As others have said, you can still drive the car even while the computers are rebooting, so don't worry about the car functioning. The accelerator, brake and steering wheel are all you need and they don't have any 'bugs'.

Tesla-David | 12 January, 2013

I have the trip meter screen continually displayed on dash, and would like to remove it. Does anyone have a fix for this. Nothing I have tried seems to work.

EcLectric | 12 January, 2013

Hi Tesla-David,

I recall that on my delivery, my DS showed me that the left scroll wheel was able to scroll between different Apps being displayed on the left side of the speedometer. I don't recall right now how it got to this state, but you might experiment, possibly holding down that left scroll wheel for a second. I know that wheel controls the volume normally.

xx2014xx | 12 January, 2013

I love this car and am looking forward to my model X, but I long for the days when people didn’t think it was ok to "Just Reboot". Many hardware and software systems are up 24/7 for years and do not have "Memory Leaks" or poor modular design.

Somewhere along the way programming became a lost art or it all got outsource (off topic). I have headaches from work dealing with tools that don't work because the companies think it is more important to change then correct and stabilize a software product.

The last thing I want is to be driving my peaceful electric car and to have to keep resetting poorly written software.

This isn’t rocket science it’s about hiring quality software programmers who take pride in their work and don’t expect others to have to perform their testing.

jat | 12 January, 2013

@xx2014xx - I agree the windows mentality of "reboot then reinstall" to fix problems pervading everything else is a shame. However, I think it is unrealistic to expect perfect software on the Model S at this point. Would you rather they waited 6 months to deliver the car while they got everything just right on the one piece that can be updated later? Personally, I would rather get beta-quality software and have all the hardware right than perfect software and hardware "bugs" that require replacing parts at a service center. Never mind the fact that if Tesla delayed shipping the Model S by 6 months while getting things perfect they probably wouldn't be around to ship any cars.

Could they have employed some more software developers the last couple of years and had the software advanced from where it is today? Probably. Could they have open-sourced it and received help from the software engineers who appear to be over-represented among EV buyers? Certainly, but then you also risk losing competitive advantage over other manufacturers, and risk losing control over the experience they project.

They apparently did spend the time on all the software running lower level parts of the car -- has anybody had any glitches with how the throttle responds, power steering, etc? That seems more important to me, so I am perfectly happy with the tradeoffs they have made so far. That said, if in 6 months we are still having these glitches, I will consider it a problem.

jinglehyme | 12 January, 2013

I'm in Pasadena too! But I have a little different take on the reboot. When I first experienced the glitches caused by the failed firmware update I was concerned that major systems would be effected, but in fact, it drove fine. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and called Tesla. They informed me of the known problem and told me how to reset the main screen. In 3 seconds all the functionality was restored. It was kind of like re-starting a MAC.

This impressed the hell out me. No service call, no trip to the service center, no cheap–o rent a car.

The other problems are a different matter. Mainly the creaking sunroof, dash rattle, and now the glove box will not stay closed. Someone at Tesla needs to address the quality control issues current owners are experiencing. How about a quiet recall?

Richard M | 12 January, 2013


Here's how I change what the dashboard display shows on the left and right of the speedometer: simultaneously press and then release the steering wheel click wheels. Then, use the left click wheel to scroll through choices on the left, or the right click wheel to scroll through choices on the right.


Brian H | 12 January, 2013

Finish!! select your choice ... how? Don't EVER get in the Tech Writing business! Users will be screaming in frustration over omitted steps continent-wide.

Carefree | 13 January, 2013

I think what is missing is honest and early communication from Tesla on these bugs. How hard could it be for GB to send a message to all Tesla owners reassuring them that Tesla is aware of these bugs and is working on a fix. In the meantime, please use the reboot sequence as a workaround.

Many Tesla owners are more than willing to be the beta-testers, BUT at least Tesla needs to make an effort to keep that community informed, which is NOT happening right now. It would be so easy! | 14 January, 2013

I have gotten warnings that my traction & stability control are disabled a few times when driving in cold weather. Each time I resloved by turning off the vehicle and then turning it back on (the steering wheel reset did not do it). Dropped by the Tesla service center & they looked up the error messages on my vehicle via the internet. They told me the times that these error messages had occured. It will be studied & resolved remotely. I will be notified if there are any issues requiring me to bring it in. This is far different from the "bring in the car next time it occurs" I would get in my younger years.

benjamin.brooks | 14 January, 2013

You mean 14.4K modem? Or 28.8K? ;)