Vulnerabilities for Tesla

Vulnerabilities for Tesla

While admittedly not having sufficient expertise on the matter, I do see some serious vulnerabilities for Tesla, mostly on the general perception / 'brand image' side of things.

1. The fact the driver can browse during driving.
2. The calling to question of lithium – ion battery technology for other companies, i.e. BYD cars catching fire, Boeing's dreamliner. This could affect the perception of li-ion as inherently unsafe.
3. The overall new and unfamiliar technology of Tesla, particularly reflecting past experience of Toyota with safety concerns (it was later found in 2011 by NASA that Toyota had no electrical problems, it was of course too late at that point).

I do see things that were done that minimize such vulnerabilities. For example, offering Boeing help
with their battery problems was a very smart thing to do.
With the issue of browsing, I think even offering an app that limits the browsing functionality when the car is on the move...

Overall, I do not notice a concerted effort to minimize such vulnerabilities, and would suggest perhaps there should be.

cloroxbb | 19 July, 2013

For the informed consumer:

1. Browsing is a non issue since drivers of every vehicle on the road seem to love to be distracted. Not localized to a Tesla vehicle.

2. Anyone who does research on Tesla's batteries will find nothing about catching fire, or the car being unsafe. Its quite the opposite in fact

cloroxbb | 19 July, 2013

I dont really see your "vulnerabilities" as vulnerabilities at all. Only the consumers that believe everything they hear/read good or bad, and don't do any of their own research, or going to be affected by these "vulnerabilities." IMO

dz4 | 19 July, 2013

Points well taken, but I'd add to that -
“consumers that believe everything they hear/read good or bad” are the vast majority of consumers.
I think to some extent everyone, if you factor in peer – pressure.

An illustration of that is the fact sales did drop in NY area following the NTY article.

Its always better to have preventive measures than later on being on the defensive on a matter.

cloroxbb | 20 July, 2013

and where exactly did you find the "fact" that sales dropped in the NY area?

dz4 | 20 July, 2013


the source of that was 'Elon Musk: New York Times Likely Cost Tesla Hundreds of Orders', (which is obviously not the same thing).

I believe my main argument still holds however.

EvaP | 20 July, 2013

The browsing while driving can be dangerous. Maybe, the screen should turn off automatically once the car starts moving to prevent unnecessary temptation. And start up only manually if needed.

With Google Glass, with time, they might be able to project data into the glasses so that the driver won't have to take his eyes off the road....

cloroxbb | 20 July, 2013


No worries. :)

I think screen turning off is a fix for a problem that either doesn't exist yet or isn't an issue at all.

Once we hear of crashes that happened BECAUSE of driver's browsing, then we shall need to see whats up. I don't think we need to fix what isn't broken yet...

If that were a problem, and the fix was to auto shutoff the screen, they should keep the static buttons lit though.

dz4 | 20 July, 2013


With stuff like the 'waze' app hitting the market and stats piling up about smartphone related distraction while driving I'd bet there will be some regulation down the pipeline.
Also, having such a screen could easily make Tesla a favorite scapegoat by other car companies and the media. By acting in advance you have the luxury of experimenting with different ideas to find something customers could like, without the judgmental eye of the public on you.
You could also save some people from deadly car crashes on the way.

dz4 | 20 July, 2013

Seriously, if any car company is in a good position to innovate on this front, its Tesla.
I mean, you could just get a 'hackathon' kind of event and get a bunch of ideas for safety apps that could be tested.
This could be turned from a serious vulnerability to another strength for your brand.
It would be preferable to do so before a serious accident of course...

jeanyvest | 20 July, 2013

Pro-guns will tell you "it's not the gun, it's how you use it"

Same thing apply to browsing while driving. It's not the car, nor the builder, it's the user. When people statr taking their responsibilities seriously, we'll have a lot less frivolous lawsuits.

EvaP | 20 July, 2013

I would hate to be killed by somebody who was checking his emails or was chatting while driving. Talking on the phone is bad enough, but that at least lets you keep your eyes on the road.

ian | 20 July, 2013

Unfortunately it's been proven that it's not your eyes being on the road that makes the difference. What you ned to keep on the road is your mind and attention. Just the act of conversing takes your mind off the road enough for you to be dangerous. Hands free or not.

dz4 | 21 July, 2013

I think the best way forward with the distraction issue could be having many different options ('apps') and let the driver choose what makes him the least distracted -
from having the screen turn unavailable when the car is moving to having just voice, having some features but not all, or no app / all features.

That way you pass the responsibility from Tesla to the driver, plus you are best positioned for different and conflicting state regulations down the line.
Its also probably the safest way since this is a very individualistic thing – I wouldn't expect a one rule fits all.

Also, if there is a longterm roadmap to introducing more automation into the driving experience you are bypassing the problem altogether and making driving much safer. Having a partnership with Google is a huge advantage for Tesla on the front.

Brian H | 21 July, 2013

Human nature suggests drivers will choose the most distracting (interesting) display that's safe ... until it isn't.

cloroxbb | 21 July, 2013


How about those that are looking at their phones while driving (texting)?

Either way, distracted driving is a problem. I just don't think anyone who currently owns a Model S, is using the web browser while driving. They are too busy having fun DRIVING.

If it was a boring old ICE, then maybe... Perhaps, to mitigate all of this distracted driving, they should mandate all ICE cars to be manual transmissions... Maybe that would lessen the problem... a little.

dz4 | 22 July, 2013

@Brian H

You are probably correct, and I wouldn't expect more than 5% of drivers choosing any 'safety' option at the moment, but this what could be called - 'the right answer to the wrong question'.

I think the right question aught to be – how do you best safeguard yourself against a sudden sea – change in attitude towards connectivity in the car?

This is obviously not a given but I'd argue its completely imaginable. All it takes is reports on the media for a few weeks about a terrible accident caused by distraction, and some hints of increased regulation in a direction that would make it hard to sell a Tesla in its current form.

I'd argue the best you could do is have many different options available. The ultimate solution would be to have driver-less cars, but that could be even 10 years into the future.

RyanW1019 | 22 July, 2013

I read in another thread on here that browsing is only available when the car is stopped. People were complaining about it and asking for it to be available at all times, so someone in the passenger seat could use it. Anybody able to confirm/deny?

dz4 | 24 July, 2013


Even if that is true, just the large screen and many control and media options are more than enough to get a driver distracted. This is obviously not a problem unique to Tesla, but it is a huge safety hazard nonetheless,
and it puts Tesla in a position to be easily scapegoated in the media and by competitors.

I wish they had a plan to mitigate this, it could really come back to bite them some day.

Vawlkus | 24 July, 2013

Backup camera + maps = screen would be on.