When is a Tesla roadworthy?

When is a Tesla roadworthy?

I've read the following story:

Interesting, isn't it?

In Germany, the (neutral) "Technical Inspection Authority" determines whether a car is "road-worthy". Moreover, when you buy a car (in Germany :-)), you are the "sole" owner of the car (including all keys and the like).

To me, it sounds very strange that Tesla reserves the right to "switch on the car" (sounds to me as the car seller would keep back the keys). Moreover, in the form

Tesla states explicitly (as far as I understand) that if the car is not road-worthy, it will not service the car (in my understanding, it will not "switch the car on") - to unlock the car is part of the service?

Who decides whether a car is road-worthy (Tesla alone)?

Can someone explain what exactly the term "Tesla-owner" means? To me, it sounds like you acquire "property", but "ownership" remains with Tesla)? The car is "yours", but Tesla can "lock it"?

Moreover, Tesla has no obligation at all to sell parts? What when I need a new rear-mirror? Tesla does a 10k€ "inspection" and then declares the car as not "road-worthy", refuses a repair and locks the car? (in fact, it is not road-worthy, because you are not allowed to drive without rear mirrors) ???

To Elon: an interesting business model: you sell a new car, declare it after one year as no longer "road-worthy" and switch it off. Tesla owners, buy a new one :-)

Any explanation?

vperl | 28 septembre 2014

What country you in now ?

vperl | 28 septembre 2014

What country you in now ?

Haeze | 28 septembre 2014

Out of curiosity... Did you even read the article ? The article said nothing about the driver's inability to drive, or unlock the car. Tesla only disables the car's ability to charge. They do so when a vehicle has had a significant enough accident to damage the battery pack itself, and it is done to be sure the cells will not short, and overload.

If you had read the entire article, you would see that Tesla actually IS offering to assist the owner with his vehicle, but he has to allow Tesla to inspect it (for FREE no less) to be sure it will not have any issues, but he is REFUSING to sign a liability waiver with Tesla.

That would be like going to your doctor saying you want them to swap out one of your lungs, and you refuse to sign any paperwork required to do so... then complaining that your doctor won't do the procedure. | 28 septembre 2014

To me it makes no difference whether you lock the ignition or you lock the tank - the car can, in either case, not be driven because of Tesla's action or no-action. So whether Tesla keeps back to ignition key or the tank key is just a minor detail (in my opinion) - but you are right.

Concerning the form: I read and tried to understand: as far as I understand, there is no neutral authority but only Tesla decides whether the car is "roadworthy" and has the right to keep it "disable to charge". However you may call it, Tesla decides whether you can drive the car or not.

In the form there is nothing said about the cost and the result of the inspection. As far as I understand it, Tesla may say: the battery pack is damaged and can not be repaired and - that's it?

The "liability form" is, in my understanding, not a liability form at all. As far as I read it, Tesla reserves the right to disable the car from re-charging - that's what the (neutral) TÜV does in Germany.

Still there remains the difference between property and ownership. Is this clearly stated in the US-contracts? Again, in Germany such a difference does not exist and, even in the case of a damage, a car seller can not keep the tank-key back (example: if you drive without enough oil, the engine will break, but that's your problem). In case the car is not roadworthy (as checked at an inspection) - the repair station can keep the car back but has it to hand over to the police and you can repair the car wherever you want - the TÜV will check whether the car is ok…

mailerwreck | 28 septembre 2014

I think these things happen. but it doesnt say anything about driver being unable to drive

Red Sage ca us | 28 septembre 2014

German_Tesla_Fan: Tesla Motors makes electric cars. That's all they make. They don't have some other drivetrain option to fall back on for the sake of profitability.

Recently it was revealed that Toyota asked the US government (NHTSA) to allow their upcoming hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, the FCV, to be exempt from regulations that required an automatic high voltage cutoff in the aftermath of an accident. In other words, Toyota wants to do the exact opposite of what Tesla has done. Certain types of accidents will render the Tesla Model S inoperable -- as a safety concern. That makes it so that emergency response personnel may approach the vehicle without being shocked while attempting to extricate occupants who may be hurt or unconscious.

Toyota will only make the FCV as a compliance car. They will sell thousands more of the Prius. They will sell many thousands more of Camry. Their apparent 'excuse' for not following the regulations with the FCV is that it will be a low volume car. So, given the overall survivability of the entire fleet of vehicles that Toyota offers in the United States of America, they feel the NHTSA should give them some slack on this one.

So please understand that Tesla doesn't have some evil ulterior motive for this particular salvage car being disabled. It was disabled as a matter of law, for the sake of safety. The individual who purchased the vehicle should have done his due diligence and spoken to Tesla about his intended purchase before he bought it. Tesla is going WAY out of their way to offer him an opportunity for them to verify if the car can, or should, be used again. But Tesla will NOT accept liability or responsibility that their inspection alone will guarantee its operation. The gentleman must understand that it may NOT be possible to safely reactivate it. | 29 septembre 2014

Thanks for your explanation, maybe I was not clear enough:
1. technical perspective:
- can Tesla "switch off" the car (electronically, remotely)? this is not to be confused with a self-blocking of the car because of an internal mal-function

2. direct selling / authorized dealers
- up to now, I understood that this is a "commercial issue" only, but that Tesla itself is liable for all the obligations of an authorized dealer?

3. Guaranty / Liability:
- can Tesla refuse to sell parts? In Germany, Daimler is obliged to sell parts (via dealers), that's part of the contract

4. Roadworthiness vs. economical total loss
these are - in Germany - two completely different terms:
- "economical" total loss is an insurance term: if a car has an actual value of 1.000€, but requires 2.000€ to repair, it is an "economical" total loss - the insurance will pay you 1k€ but not repair the car, however, the car may be roadworthy (imagine a very expensive paintwork damage)
- roadworthy: a term of technical inspection association (german: TÜV). The TÜV confirms with a certificate, that the car is roadworthy and you have to renew this certificate every two years - a very expensive paintwork damage has no influence on the TÜV plaque.

5. 3rd party associations:
In Germany, roadworthiness and total loss are confirmed by 3rd parties: the fair value is stated by a (neutral) expert, the roadworthiness by the (neutral) TÜV; neither the car owner nor the car manufacturer have any influence on their decision.
It's interesting that you say that the situation may be different for EVs - to me, that's surprising.

So I would be interested to hear the technical aspect: can Tesla "block" the car and how?

Concerning all the other issues, I can not imagine that these things could happen with a BMWi3 :-)

Maybe I will contact Tesla-Germany in order to clarify the issue.

drax7 | 29 septembre 2014

German lawyer trying to create FUD for the purpose of discrediting tesla. Probably Paid to spew
Misinformation. | 29 septembre 2014

conspiracy theory? The article was US, Tesla's form is US. If the whole story is "common practice" in the US, fine. If GM uses the same policy for ICEs, surprising but also fine.

I have put concrete questions like: can Tesla switch the car off, is there a (neutral) inspection association etc. These questions can be answered without any emotions.

The reference to Germany is just from a car owner's point of view. I cannot imagine that VW/Porsche sells a car and reserves the right to switch it off (can they do it in the US?), or the TÜV confirms the car is ok and Daimler declares it as not roadworthy.

There are some legal aspects here but you do not have to be a lawyer to ask them.

Red Sage ca us | 29 septembre 2014

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!
I'm a Doctor, Not a Mechanic!

German_Tesla_Fan, you asked a lot of questions. I'll do my best to answer them. I do think that maybe there is a bit of miscommunication here though. Such is the difficulty of attempting to communicate with American Standard Idiomatic English over the internet with a keyboard.
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: Maybe.
Actual answer: Tesla Motors was accused some months ago by someone of dubious distinction of having the ability to remotely disable a Model S over-the-air using their internal network. Tesla has not to my knowledge ever done anything of the sort. When asked about this, Tesla said there is no such mechanism (ie, policy) in place. I take that to mean that if they wanted to, they could include such functionality in the firmware, but they haven't, and aren't likely to do so unless required by law (or insurance companies). Police officers and government agencies have the ability to use an EMP to disable a modern vehicle remotely, I'm sure that would work on a Model S as well if employed.
Tesla Motors is liable for all the requirements of an automobile manufacturer -- in the United States of America, anyway. Here, they don't have any 'independent franchised dealerships'. So their relationship is directly with their Customers, the end users of the vehicles.
Hmmm... I'm not sure why you used those words. In the US, they refer to financial, insurance, and legal obligations. Specifically, 'guaranty' has a different meaning from 'guarantee'... And 'liability' almost always involves imminent issues to be resolved by litigation. Yet you ask if Tesla must 'sell' parts upon request by owners.

At the risk of not answering the question as you intend or expect, I'll say this... Tesla Motors is obligated to have parts on hand to handle warranty issues. I think that a certain threshold/percentage is required and supposed to be available to last around five years, in case the company were to go under. If the parts are for warranty, they would be installed at a Tesla Service Center at no charge for the component or labor. Tesla has a program that will allow collision repair and body shops to become authorized to work on the Model S. Currently they only sell body panels to those firms and no one else. Tesla has no 'obligation' to SELL anything else, to anyone else.
Here, it seems we come to the 'meat' of the matter. In this particular case, both terms may apply. Since the vehicle was up for auction, and listed as 'salvage', it was almost certainly declared as 'totaled' by an insurance company, who had their own reasons, almost certainly financial, for doing so.

I know people who purchase cars at auction and from salvage yards. They learn everything they can about the vehicle before they buy. They inspect them thoroughly before putting in a bid. Those who do not have mechanical knowledge themselves make sure that they have a mechanic accompany them to inspect vehicles prior to auction. They do their due diligence to insure the vehicle they intend to purchase can be sufficiently operated to warrant whatever repairs must be done to make them worth owning or reselling.

It makes no sense whatsoever to me that someone would have paid nearly $60,000 for a Tesla Model S on salvage -- without first checking to make sure it was not at least minimally operational. Since it is an electric car, yes -- they should have checked to make sure it could be charged -- FIRST. Trust that now that this story is out, anyone who didn't have that on their checklist WILL from now on. Take note that most auctions are for less than $4,000 per vehicle. So one of this 'value' is very much out of the norm. And when a car is listed as salvage, the seller must tell you everything that they know is wrong with it -- if you ask.
In this case, the First Party is the manufacturer, Tesla Motors. The Second Party is the original Owner. The Third Party was the Insurance Company that said the car was Totaled. The Fourth Party was the Salvage Yard that put the car up for sale. The Fifth Party was the Idiot that bought it for so much at auction.

Tesla has no obligation whatsoever to the FIFTH PARTY, yet they are making concessions on his behalf -- ANYWAY.
You wrote, "It's interesting that you say that the situation may be different for EVs - to me, that's surprising."

I have no idea what you mean here. The situation would be handled pretty much the same for any car that was salvaged. The only difference is that Ford, General Motors, or Chrysler would have simply told the guy, "NO." simply because it was a salvaged car. Tesla Motors instead is giving him the opportunity -- at no charge -- to have a final determination made as to whether the car can be made operational, or will instead become a very shapely lawn sculpture. | 29 septembre 2014

again, many thanks for the explanation. Maybe you can clarify the following points:
1. from the article I got the impression that the car was not un-chargable because of a mal-function but it was simply "switched off". The car could have been "switched on" without any further action (inspection, repair) but Tesla refused to do so (for whatever reason). This is a pure technical question: in what situations (and by whom can the car be "switch off" and how and by whom can the car get "switch on". I would thank you if you could explain that point.

3. How I understood you Tesla is obliged to have parts "at hand" but is not obliged to "sell" them. That's completely different from any other car manufacturer: all parts have to be sold without any restrictions - buying a part and doing the repair are completely independent of each other). However, interesting to know.

4. As far as I understood the article and your post, the "salvage" was declared by the insurance company (probably for financial reasons) and has nothing to do with the roadworthiness of the car (as said, an insurance company can not make any statements about the roadworthiness of a car)

It is common practice (as you said), that someone buys an "economic total loss" car and repairs it to bring it in a roadworthy condition (certified by TÜV)

5. My understanding of the statements in the form was that Tesla reserves the right to decide whether the car is roadworthy or not and in the latter case refuses to service it (moreover, I got the impression that "switching the car on" is part of the service). It makes me wonder that a car manufacturer can decide about the roadworthiness and not a (neutral) 3rd party only - the technical inspection association (TÜV). Could this lead to a situation where you have a valid TÜV certificate but Tesla declares the car as "not roadworthy"?

One last point: while this car, at the end, may be a "5th-hand car", doesn't the manufacturer has the same obligations to this owner as to the first owner?

DTsea | 29 septembre 2014

No gtf. Tesla disables charging on wicked car. To re enable it, they offered to inspect it's condition. Your average shade tree mechanic is not competent to judge the condition of the pack... Tesla must insist on this for safety.

I am confident bmw will treat the i3 similarly and I believe gm has similar protocols for the volt.

no different t than gas cars being defiled when totalled.

DTsea | 29 septembre 2014

Sorry wrecked not wicked. And its not it's. .. Phone auto spelling..

Red Sage ca us | 29 septembre 2014

From my understanding, there are at least three different places where high voltage power cables might be severed either automatically, or as part of the rescue process for a crashed vehicle. There may be more. All those would have to be checked to ensure a complete circuit.

One of those locations is inside the trunk, behind a removable panel on the left side wall, that gives access to the inner wall directly behind the charging port. Cables may have come loose, or been damaged in the crash, or they may have been cut by rescue personnel.
The car automatically switches itself 'OFF' when a major accident is detected. As a matter of safety, emergency rescue personnel are trained (VIDEO, 37:08) to learn how to approach a Tesla Model S.
Like I said in the title: 'No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!' Tesla Motors has the right to decide they do NOT want to sell something, or determine whom they will sell it to. I'm sure there is diagnostic equipment or specific tools that traditional automobile manufacturers do not make available for purchase over-the-counter by the public at large, but that they sell to their dealerships.
Tesla Motors is right now a very, very small manufacturer. Their cars are built to order. It is a lean operation. They do not have a bunch of parts sitting around 'for sale' to the curious who want to tinker, or hobbyists who want to build project cars. Because General Motors may have used the exact same water pump on multiple vehicles from Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Buick over the course of decades, I can go buy one of those water pumps from a local parts store right now. They don't care what I want to do with it. They don't even care if I have a car that it fits. And the parts store will charge a restocking fee if I asked for a Chevy part and need to return it because I have a Honda. Tesla does not design their cars to be rolling spare parts conveyances.
Without seeing the car and examining it, all we know is that it is classified as 'salvage'. The responsibility of the seller is to disclose that is the case, and that it does not run. The responsibility of a potential buyer is to determine if the cost for the salvage vehicle is worth the risk that it may not be possible to get it running to their satisfaction. Thus it is the responsibility of that buyer -- before buying the car -- to have it properly inspected by qualified personnel. With a Tesla Motors product it is fairly obvious that the manufacturer's Service Personnel are the only ones qualified to make that determination. Yet, I'm certain that anyone with an IQ substantially in excess of their sneaker size should be able to tell if cables are cut upon cursory examination of an electric vehicle. The big, thick, orange cables are pretty hard to miss. He could have paid the $100 Service Ranger fee to have someone from Tesla come and look at the car -- before he bought it.
A third party can certainly determine if it is roadworthy. They can do that by examining the vehicle to see if there are parts that are obviously missing, or damaged. They can check to see if cables are cut. They can check to see if fluids are leaking, if battery cells are exposed, if the gearbox is cracked, if the frame is bent, if suspension components are crushed, if alignment is off-kilter... All of these and more would be pretty obvious to just about anyone who is mechanically inclined and everyone who had experience with automobile repair and diagnostics. That does NOT mean that Tesla Motors is obligated to do anything at all to a salvaged car that is determined to be 'beyond it's useful life'.
We don't know why it was salvaged. It may have been in a flood, driven into a lake, off a cliff, struck by lightning, in a fender bender, or it may have gotten towed away for having too many parking tickets... We know he bought the car without first checking to see if it worked.

No. Tesla Motors has ~*ZERO*~ obligation to the current Owner. None. But they are willing to help anyway, because that's the way they are... They do need to protect themselves from liability though. Because a guy stupid enough to spend $58,000 on a salvage vehicle that doesn't run is precisely the type of idiot who would decide to sue you using The Lemon King whether you get the car running or not. | 1 octobre 2014

To conclude the matter:

I have contacted Tesla Germany and got the following information:
1. in case of a "total loss", Tesla gets informed about this fact (probably by the insurance company?)
2. Tesla de-activates the "total loss" car "via Internet"
3. Tesla requires inspection / repair of a "total loss" car. After successful inspection / repair, the car is re-activated by Tesla
4. as long as the car is "total loss", Tesla refuses service and does not deliver any parts | 1 octobre 2014


you seem to use the word "Idiot" very frequently and frankly: so, just to inform you: the buyer acted not very stupid in my opinion: he bought a car (total loss) and repaired it for $8000. Obviously he understood very well the damage and was able to estimate the repair-costs - a bargain, up to now. As mentioned above, and in opposite to what you said, there is nothing "broken", the car may need no repair at all. The car was simply de-activated by Tesla because it was declared "total loss" by the insurance company, independent of its current technical status.

This is no technical matter at all, it's just a question of policy: if an insurance company declares a car as "(economic) total loss" and informs Tesla, than Tesla de-activates the car (assuming that the car is damaged, but without any technical check). After a successful inspection/repair, Tesla activates the car, which is, from the insurance company's point of view, still a "total loss".

This policy is unusual, but of course possible. So maybe the buyer should have known that he does not buy a car, but an (extra-ordinary) Tesla.

One final remark: as a matter of principle, I do not want a manufacturer to be able to de-activate my car via Internet, but maybe that's old-fashioned attitude.

Tiebreaker | 1 octobre 2014

There is a dude who bought a totaled Tesla Model S and is using it to build an extended Volkswagen bus. So it is doable.

There is a neutral party in the US to determine road-worthiness - each state has a DMV and some inspection rules.

This is like having an ICE car with a leaking gas lines and tank: start it and you have a fireball. Plug in the damaged battery, and you have a fireball, fireworks with popping cells and a barbecue. Tesla cannot allow that.

While there are plenty of independent mechanics who can tell a leaky gas tank, how many can determine the extent of a battery damage?

There are other car makers that can disable a car "over the Internet", over the air or via a satellite. I.e. GM has On-Star

Tesla and EVs are not for everybody.

@GTF, Tesla is definitely not for you.

DTsea | 1 octobre 2014

Tiebreaker +1 | 2 octobre 2014

there is a difference between "technical total loss" (TTL) and "economic total loss" (ETL). TTL means: "can technically not be repaired", ETL means "is (economically) not worth to repair". TTL is very rare today because almost everything can be repaired.

Tesla's policy is as follows (see my post): if Tesla is informed that a car is "total loss", Tesla de-activates the car via the Internet.

The following is speculation:
in case the actual case is TTL, the car can not be repaired. There is no need for Tesla to offer inspection, service or repair - the car is "dead". Tesla does not need to require a special contract form (what for?). Btw: there is nothing said here about a broken battery pack (like in your example of the leaking gas lines)

If the actual case is an ETL (my assumption/speculation), nothing is said about the technical status of the car. The car may be TTL, it may need repair or it may be roadworthy. If the buyer above was able to "repair" the car for $8.000, the car obviously was not broken in many parts/splitters. Neither the buyer nor Tesla claim that the car needs any service nor repair. The buyer requests "activation", Tesla requests "inspection".

If this is Tesla's regular policy, it should be stated in the contract of sale and no further "special agreement" would be necessary.

In both cases there is no need for a special agreement because everything is defined by a "regular process".

However some asymmetry should be noted here: while the "total loss" is first declared by a "neutral party" (like insurance, based on whatever facts), the "no total loss" is only declared by Tesla, not by the neutral party. It should also be noted that both declarations are completely independent of each other: Tesla may declare the car as "not total loss", whereas the DMV can declare it as TTL. On the other hand, an insurance company may declare the car as ETL, whereas the DMV would still certify the car as "not TTL", but Tesla refuses to activate the car.

So, informally speaking: while the buyer is and remains the owner of the car, Tesla takes possession over a total loss car (ETL or TTL).

Understand me right: such a contract seems to be legal. However, every Tesla-buyer should be aware of the fact that Tesla can - by their own decision - de-activate the car via Internet. If Tesla sells a car, it still reserves a master key. This at least is different from the common understanding of "buying a car".

It would be interesting to know whether all other EV-manufacturers (Nissan, Renault, GM, BMW) have the same policy?

I agree: Tesla is not for everybody…

Tiebreaker | 2 octobre 2014

@GTF, you are speculating, to your own admission. Including "Resla's policy".

Please read my post again, no sense for me to repost.

Red Sage ca us | 2 octobre 2014

German_Tesla_Fan noted, "This policy is unusual, but of course possible. So maybe the buyer should have known that he does not buy a car, but an (extra-ordinary) Tesla."

And this is all I was saying. He should have checked, with Tesla Motors, first. The company is new, handles pretty much everything differently, curiosity alone should have led him to explore their salvage policy.

German_Tesla_Fan stated, "One final remark: as a matter of principle, I do not want a manufacturer to be able to de-activate my car via Internet, but maybe that's old-fashioned attitude."

You've just noted that they only do this after a vehicle has been determined to be a total loss. That means it effectively belongs to the insurance company involved, because they 'bought' it, and are the owners. The insurance company is unlikely to have a need to operate the vehicle. A salvage yard is unlikely to operate it either. If a salvage yard sells it -- with a salvage title -- the presumption is that someone will be using it for scrap, or spare parts.

I'm fairly certain that just about anyone who purchases a new Tesla Model S is fully aware that the company keeps close tabs on all their cars. If Tesla does not personally examine every single car that is built upon its being declared a total loss, I don't see that as a problem. If Tesla offers to inspect a disabled, salvaged car, after someone purchases it, to determine its 'roadworthiness', I don't see that as a problem. If Tesla motors indicates that a vehicle is NOT roadworthy, and refuses to reactivate it, I do not see that as a problem.

In other news: If someone wants to refurbish a wrecked 1957 Chevy, that's on them. There have been a lot of changes to the regulations that govern safety for vehicles since that car was built. As we move into the future, it is best not to hold too firmly to 'old fashioned' notions of what car ownership and responsibility entails. | 3 octobre 2014

@RS (sorry for my maybe misleading English)

We have to distinguish the following types of documents for cars:
There is a "title/registration document" and "certificate". The first declares that you are the owner of the car (even without a driver license (you keep this document at a save place) the second that you are allowed to drive the car and that the car is roadworthy (you have to carry it when a drive a car). The certificate is certified by the TÜV.

For a "single part", there exist no such documents. A "salvage" car is still a car and therefore has a title. In the actual case, the buyer, when purchasing the car, also becomes the owner of the registration document. There may be no valid certificate if the car is not roadworthy. So we do not talk her about a "set of parts", but about a "salvage car" and the owner should have a title document and also a (maybe invalid) certificate document.

"Economic total loss (ETL)" only states that the car is not "economically worth to repair" (e.g. damage in paint work). It may have a valid TÜV-certificate. When buying a ETL-car, you get a (valid) title and a (maybe invalid) certificate.

Tesla brings a third "document" into play: the "Tesla Internet Connectivity (TCI)". So, when buying a "traditional" car, you look at the title and the certificate; when buying a Tesla, you have to look at the TCI in addition. To my knowledge, there exists no "document" for that so you should contact Tesla (otherwise, the car may be active when you buy it and de-activated when you're at home)

Tesla reserves the right to de-activate (in practice: disconnect from the Tesla Internet) an "economic total loss" or "salvage car" and reserves the right to re-activate it after inspection. There are 2 unusual things here: First, Tesla can - without your approval - de-activate the car. Second, Tesla can refuse the re-activation just based on their own assessment. In fact, Tesla acts as a third, uncontrollable, approval authority. There is the certificate (TÜV), there is the economic total loss (assurance) and there is the Internet-connectivity (Tesla). This, in my opinion, is problematic. If the TÜV only can check the roadworthiness and Tesla is "forced" to activate a TÜV-certified car, everything is fine.

What astonishes me: most of the posts here seem to assume that Tesla has mechanisms at hand to check a Tesla "technically better" than the TÜV - that's strange (from my point of view) - I'm sure that TÜV must have all tools and procedures at hand to certify a car (otherwise it's not a TÜV).

Coming back to the wrecked car example: sorry, that does not hit the spot: If I buy a Chevy, I get the title and it's mine. I can do a repair/refurbish etc. whatever I want. If I find an assurance company and get a TÜV-certificate I can drive the car on the road. If I own a closed-off road, I can drive the car without certificate at my own risk (!) - Chevrolet can not "lock" it.

If I buy a "wrecked" Tesla, Tesla will de-activate it. I have no chance to get a certificate nor can I drive it on a closed-off road - it's fully locked by Tesla - and only Tesla decides (by non-public, uncontrollable procedures) when it "activates" the car again. Of course, a "Tesla-activated" car is not (necessarily) roadworthy…

Concerning my old-fashioned attitude about the Internet. I simply do not like it when the NSA hacks the mobile of our chancellor :-(

vperl | 3 octobre 2014

I suggest you buy a Audi. Or a peoples car. We Americans are a frustrating and simple people, not as worldly as Europeans. Forgive us, please.

BrassGuy | 3 octobre 2014

My take is GTF is referring to "checks and balances." Tesla has sole authority to deactivate and reactivate a vehicle, and if Tesla decides they don't want to reactivate a salvage vehicle, the owner has no recourse. Tesla should spell out what meets their standard for road-worthiness, publicly, and be held responsible to reactivate if those standards have been met. | 3 octobre 2014


You got all my arguments to the point!
Many thanks for this explanation and clarification!

Red Sage ca us | 3 octobre 2014

I agree that American Standard Idiomatic English is probably among the worst languages on the planet to attempt to communicate with using a keyboard on the internet. But I use it far better than Spanish, and I'm horrible at German and Japanese so far. ;-)

German_Tesla_Fan suggested, "First, Tesla can - without your approval - de-activate the car."

Give me one instance of someone whose car was de-activated without their approval. This car was deactivated before [THE IDIOT] got it. Why should Tesla Motors contact potential owners of a salvage car, to let them know it was deactivated before they even knew it existed? Tesla isn't in the salvage car business. Tell me why Tesla should reactivate a car, when the current owner won't provide his signature on approval papers? A demand for service is not 'approval'.

Once Tesla Motors has been informed by an insurance company that the vehicle is effectively non-operational, salvage, destroyed... There is no reason for it to be connected to, updated from, or tracked by Tesla Motors' network. I would presume there must be some reason why an insurance company would contact the manufacturer about such an issue. I very much doubt that Tesla Motors is the only company they do this for... The OnStar system probably doesn't remain connected on salvage vehicles either.

German_Tesla_Fan stated, "Second, Tesla can refuse the re-activation just based on their own assessment."

And their assessment is based upon the safety of the vehicle to operate, and the likelihood that it has been, or can be made to be, fully roadworthy in all respects. It is made as an informed decision. It is not something that is done on a whim.

German_Tesla_Fan concluded, "In fact, Tesla acts as a third, uncontrollable, approval authority."

Uhm... Why would Tesla need to be controlled? Why should it matter if it is Tesla Motors, a technician at Jiffy Lube, or a supervisor at Pep Boys, or a manager at Midas, that tells you a car is not safe to operate on public roads? If it isn't safe -- IT ISN'T SAFE. Perhaps Jiffy Lube, Pep Boys, Midas, et al aren't interested in servicing electric vehicles.

It seems that your issue is that Tesla is the singular 'authority' on the cars they build. I don't recall anyone having a problem with that being the case for Rolls-Royce... or Ferrari... or Lamborghini... or Jaguar... or Porsche vehicles. For many years those cars were not serviced by anyone other than authorized shops, by people who were trained directly under manufacturer programs. Even today certain models of their vehicles are so exotic that no third party touches them at all. Why do you want a different standard for Tesla Motors?

Am I to understand that in addition to setting up Tesla Stores, and Service Centers, and Superchargers... You expect Tesla Motors to also lobby independent repair shops, to get them to agree to take time off for training, and install new diagnostic equipment, and learn an entirely different vehicle architecture, just on the outside chance that maybe, they might eventually see a Tesla product roll in, and then give it an inspection, and make a quote for work to be done, just so that person can then go to the Tesla Service Center and have the same work done -- for free -- under warranty? Something tells me that Jiffy Lube, Econo Lube-N-Tune, Pep Boys, Midas, AAMCO, and a whole bunch of other repair chains would respond with a hearty, hi-ho, "Hell NO!" to that proposition.

Näky | 3 octobre 2014

GTF, think activation from perspective of intellectual property rights of cars software. Prior owner of car contacted Tesla to deactivate the car as it was totaled. Tesla did comply.
Then new owner asks Tesla to activate cars software. Software is licensed to run only in specific hardware. Tesla asks to inspect car in question to check hardware integrity, because of its prior totaled status determined by earlier owner. Normal operation of software is needed for safely driving car at public roads.
Trying to run software in unlicenced hardware is infringement of IP.

I don't say that Tesla looks it this way. | 3 octobre 2014

BrassGuy summarized everything in a nutshell - perfect.

Just three remarks:
1. I have not the faintest idea how Tesla is "informed" about a total loss car. This information should not be given to the car manufacturer (that's, in my opinion, at least unusual)
2. Jiffy Lube… may "tell" me that the car is unsafe, but only the DMV/TÜV can "certify" it - and there are good reasons why this certificate can only be given by a (neutral) public authority
3. The DMV/TÜV certification process/procedure is publicly available. Everyone knows exactly what is checked, how it is checked and what are the measures. Moreover you always may request for a "double-check".

The principle of "checks and balances" (btw a basic US-principle :-)) should be applied and we should not depend on our belief that EM is doing everything right.

But again, BrassGuy told the whole story perfectly!

Red Sage ca us | 3 octobre 2014

Näky said"I don't say that Tesla looks it this way."

+1 UP! Even if they don't, that is a wonderful contribution to the thread! It is a good idea to confirm that someone hasn't stuck the innards from a salvaged Tesla Model S into a homemade tube frame chassis with a 1957 Chevy Bel Air shell over it... ;-)

Another way to look at it...

Someone loses their mobile phone... They contact the insurance department from their carrier... The original phone is disabled. The new phone is sent via courier. That person activates the new phone and continues using the service they paid for...

Meanwhile, someone finds the original phone... They call the carrier, because they have 'lost service'... The phone is now 'theirs' (finder's keepers, losers weepers) so does that mean the phone service should activate the old phone for them? Of course not.

For better or worse, for safety and security, the Tesla Model S is a connected device.

sklancha | 3 octobre 2014

I think I am missing the point completely. Is the guy who bought the salvage wanting to have the car activated BEFORE its' safety is verified? Would that be like me installing a salvaged gas heating system in my house and then asking the gas company to turn the service back on before it passes their inspection? And, if I did ask the gas company to turn my service back on, shouldn't I be rather grateful if they offered to do a safety inspection first? If I told them an uncertified friend already looked at it, should that be enough? Should it be enough that I paid for the gas heating system, or is it there responsibility to flip the switch, even if I refuse to let them do a safety inspection?

Red Sage ca us | 3 octobre 2014

Tesla Motors has no contract to provide services to this guy until he signs on the dotted line. Their agreement with the original owner was through the useful lifetime of the vehicle. Once it was totaled, listed as salvage, its lifetime, and the original agreement, ended. There is no obligation whatsoever to reactivate a dead car, and Tesla would not be acting responsibly to do so without verifying its roadworthiness themselves. I never do stupid things because someone else wants me to... Neither should Tesla Motors. Trust, but verify.

Larry@SoCal | 3 octobre 2014

Hot Rodders build / restore cars, often salvaged relics. Many elements are not available and must be created or re-created by the Hot Rodder.
Tesla is "a computer on wheels", a software based electric vehicle. The day will come, and perhaps this case is the first, when the restorer / salvager has to create his own parts - his own software - as it is not otherwise available to him. A task almost impossible. | 4 octobre 2014

your example with the mobile produces a skewed picture:
1. you buy a contract with an Internet provider (and get a SIM)
2. you loose the phone and contact the IP to de-activate the SIM - the IP only does this "by your request" (you have to identify yourself and maybe sign an agreement). The IP does not "have" the right to disable the connection, you "give" him this right! You are still the "owner of the right" and may ask for reactivation any time!)
3. AT ANY TIME, you may request the re-activation of the SIM and the IP is obliged to do so (you have a contract and the de-activation is just a "service" of the IP)
4. If you loose the phone, you are still the owner of the contract. You may ask for a de-activation and for a new phone. The old SIM is de-activate (by your request), you buy a new phone and get a NEW, DIFFERENT SIM. The old SIM is no longer valid, the lost phone is "dead"
5. And that's the point here: you cancel the contract and the SIM is deactivated (to my knowledge you don't have to send the SIM back). Now you sell the phone to someone else. The buyer can make a contract using "the same phone" but with a different SIM.

The analogy is: Tesla refuses to sell the new buyer a new SIM without "inspecting the phone"…

BrassGuy | 4 octobre 2014

The point here is Tesla is holding all the cards face down. While I think it's most likely Tesla would reactivate the car after ensuring the high voltage systems are intact, and possibly some standard safety checks that would be redundant because of state inspection rules, the possibility exists that they won't reactivate the car unless it's in showroom quality. The contract doesn't even specify Tesla would inform the owner why they failed it. It does specify that should they fail it, they won't sell him what he needs to fix it. | 4 octobre 2014


SamO | 4 octobre 2014

I think its important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy…The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy…

We are doing this because it’s like something else that was done..or it is like what other people are doing…slight iterations on a theme…

“First principles” is a physics way of looking at the world…what that really means is that you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there…that takes a lot more mental energy…

Someone could –and people do — say battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they will always be because that’s the way they have been in the past…

They would say it’s going to cost, historically it cost $600 KW/hour. It’s not going to be much better that in the future…

So first principles..we say what are the material constituents of the batteries. What is the spot market value of the material constituents? It has carbon, nickel, aluminum, and some polymers for separation, and a steel can..break that down on a material basis, if we bought that on a London Metal Exchange, what would each of these things cost. oh geez…It’s $80 KW/hour. Clearly, you need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell, and you can have batteries that are much cheaper than anyone realizes. - Elon Musk | 4 octobre 2014

From speculation to knowledge?

There is a lot of speculation here, very interesting ideas and analogies :-)

However, does someone knows how to ask Tesla to make an official blog-post about its activation policy?

SamO | 4 octobre 2014

It's common sense:

1. If the car has an internal failure, wrecks or shuts down, Tesla limits the car from being driven until examined by Tesla.

2. If a car is judged to be a total loss, insurance sells the car in THIS CONDITION as "salvage."

3. Anyone who buys a car in this condition understands that they take subject to Tesla's decision on road worthiness.

4. The car can still be parted and sold including batteries, unblemished body panels, electronics, airbags etc.

Larry@SoCal | 4 octobre 2014

Parts is parts, and that is all this guy has.

jordanrichard | 4 octobre 2014

If I had bought a MS for a relatively low cost why wouldn't I want the car inspected by the company that built it?

I guarantee you this situation is in the near future going to happen new ICE cars. | 4 octobre 2014

no, not common sense:
1. if the car has "technical" failures, the DMV would not certify it - no special Tesla inspection needed
2. a "salvage" is still a car (has a "title", not necessarily a "certificate" (hope the right words): the important point: "salvage" is still a car, not a set of parts. Moreover, "salvage" is an "economic" term, it says nothing about the technical condition of a car. As already mentioned, a car may be in excellent technical condition, but salvage (image a very expensive paint work damage). You may presume/conclude… that a salvage has also technical problems, but there is no clear indication for that.

3. Tesla makes not statement about "road worthiness" (in my opinion, only the DMV can do this), but introduces a new concept: "activation". Tesla simply de-activates the car without any (proved, obvious) technical failures

We should go back to BrassGuy's excellent posts - he simply stated the facts in a nutshell. | 4 octobre 2014

I don't think so - he bought a "salvage" car - that's still a car (has title) not a set of parts. | 4 octobre 2014

All the posts about "road worthiness" etc. miss the point:

Tesla is NOT making any statement about road worthiness, just about "activation". You should see it the following way:

When you buy a Tesla, you buy two things: first a car (as usual), second an Internet device under the following conditions: the only Internet provider is Tesla, so in fact it's a Tesla-INTRANET. Tesla may, independent of a DMV-certificate, deactivate the intranet device for whatever reason (no one in this thread has referred to an official document defining Tesla's activation/de-activation procedure). No Tesla-owner can appeal against these decisions.

Like BrassGuy said: Tesla is playing with cards face down. Will Tesla de-activate a car if you do not do the annual service? What information is exchanged between the car and Tesla? (up to now, I got the impression that data is only sent from the car to Tesla, but now I understand that (whatever) data are sent from Tesla to the car!)

Jolinar | 4 octobre 2014

I'm European too and I understand you. In Europe we have neutral authorities which say you can drive the car safely. In the US are laws different and owner is not protected against such company bahavior I guess.

Somebody in this thread said that Tesla inspection is free. That is not true! Tesla states in AUTHORIZATION AND RELEASE FOR INSPECTION OF SALVAGE VEHICLE this:
"... and agree to pay the cost of such inspection based on actual labor performed pursuant to the invoice to be provided to you by Tesla"
Nowhere in the document is said what the cost will be. Even if Tesla waive the fee (as stated in the article) point 7 and 8 makes totaly legaly defenseless regardless if Tesla decides to activate the car or not.

Maybe you guys are used to sign anything, but I'm not...

Only defense I see is to pull out the SIM card used for monitoring from the car before the accident, which is not too practical if you want Tesla to monitor your car, which is nice feature of the car. Our car once had problem with charging and service called us even before we knew it.

I'm not sure what's right in this difficult/tough case. If I were him, I'd probably sign the paper, release them of any claims, complains, liabilities (and so on), but demanded the inspection (including any subsequent), if they really want to make any, be free as stated in the article. I'd pay for any repairs of course if I decided they are worth the money.

In my eyes, only neutral party (like German TUV) can say if car is roadworthy. Of course, TUV can cooperate with Tesla to get the necessary expertise to determine that. But the final word should be on neutral side.

Brian H | 4 octobre 2014


Every instance in your post.

DTsea | 4 octobre 2014

Gtf trusts his govt more than he trusts tesla.

Here in America it's the other way around.

Red Sage ca us | 4 octobre 2014

I've posted far too much on this subject today. I'm pretty much done. Below is what I put under one of the more contentious threads in the Model S Forum.

jvs11560: I'm gonna try real hard to not lambast you with what might be termed as 'personal attacks', on the offhand chance that someone other than you can be brought to the light.

"'Under the Magnuson-Moss Act', people have a 'RIGHT' to get their stuff fixed anywhere they want."

Perhaps you should stop by the Apple website and point that out to them.

"The act covers more than warranties."

Yet, the portion you chose to quote specifically covers warranties.

"Since Tesla is not like other companies, and the technology is different, that doesn't preclude the manufacturer from the current laws."

I am not, nor have I ever been, nor shall I ever be a lawyer. Something tells me you won't be either. But I do have a reasonably adept understanding of American Standard Idiomatic English, and the appropriate use of punctuation, and prepositional phrases, therein.

"The article is very clear. It states that Tesla is Blocking his car from being started."

Just so you know, I'm not going to bother reading any more articles on this subject. What is clear is that an [IDIOT] made a mistake that he is not willing to take responsibility for... What is clear is that an [IDIOT] wants to reserve the right to sue Tesla Motors... What is clear is that the [IDIOT] doesn't have a leg to stand on as it is, and won't even have a chair to lean against if he does the reasonable thing, and signs the waiver, as graciously offered by Tesla Motors.

"This car had $ 8,000.00 worth of damage. If anyone thinks that is a 'MAJOR Accident' then a lot more salvage titled Teslas are going to be showing up."

No, this [IDIOT] went to some hack that 'only' charged him $8,000 to 'make it look good'. It may have been only $2,000 worth of sub-standard work that was actually done for all we know. The work that needed to be done, after a full inspection by a qualified shop, may have totaled $45,000 to do it right.

"Tesla seems to be very proprietary here."

Well, DUH.

"Why should he have to sign the paper, or let Tesla examine his car, if the law says otherwise???"

The correct question is, "Why should Tesla Motors accept all liability for a car that has been salvaged?" And the answer, for reasonable human beings, is simply that they should not be that stupid.

"If Tesla goes chapter 7, does that mean that all the cars they produced can't be driven?"

I call [BOLSHEVIK]. There are specific requirements and regulations for all major production automobile manufacturers that allow for funds to be set aside up front to handle the eventuality of the firm going out of business. Fisker, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn, and Oldsmobile passenger vehicles are all 'out of business', but you can still get them all serviced and repaired. There is no reason to presume that Tesla Motors products wouldn't be as well. But no reasonable individual expects those defunct companies to provide warranty service to salvaged vehicles from those lines either.

jvs11560: So... If it is an AST Premium AT computer, I cannot be contractually obligated to replace or expand memory using AST memory chips. I can instead buy my memory from Micron, Corsair, Crucial, Geil, Patriot...

Sorry, Dude. That has absolutely NOTHING to do with Tesla Motors situation. Tesla hasn't sold the [IDIOT] anything. Tesla hasn't asked the [IDIOT] to buy anything. Tesla has simply asked the [IDIOT] to pretty please, with sugar on top, don't like, sue us and stuff.

Do you really think he didn't sign a release of some sort for whomever ~*ahem*~ 'fixed' the car for him? My guess is that they don't want to be sued either. I can't blame them.

jvs11560 mused, "The way I read this decision, Tesla, like Microsoft cannot tie a customer, which is what I believe Tesla is doing (Exactly)."

Once again, the [IDIOT] is NOT Tesla's Customer. He is a Customer of the salvage yard where he bought the useless husk brick of a dead car -- eyes wide open. He is the Customer of the repair shop that 'fixed' the car on his behalf. He has no ties to Tesla whatsoever. He can sign a waiver of liability to establish a relationship with Tesla, or turn the thing into a planter in his front lawn.

jvs11560 inquired, "Look, do you think this television station ran this article because they are anti-Tesla, or because they thought it was morally wrong???"

Television shows have one job: fill the space between commercials. They don't care how they do it, as long as it gets eyeballs glued to their channel. They don't give a flying fig fart whether Tesla Motors is a 'moral' company or not. They would certainly prefer that when they report on a company that it is also a firm that advertises on their channel. I believe that newspaper, radio, and television executives think that Tesla Motors is 'getting over' on them, because they get lots of coverage, but don't spend any advertising dollars with them. But they get to report on such outrageous things when it comes to Tesla Motors, that it overcomes that issue -- while filling the space between commercials.

jvs11560 stated, "I have been wrong before, and I am man enough to admit that I will be wrong again in the future. On this one, I'm fairly confident that I'm on the mark."

I'm wrong all the time! Ask anyone here... ;-) But I'm right enough, as often as can be managed. I'm fairly confident that Tesla Motors has no real or implied, moral or financial, guaranteed or warrantied, legal obligation to help this [IDIOT] whatsoever. But they are willing to try, under reasonable conditions, because that's just how awesome they are. Ain't that grand?

jvs11560 said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Mr Elon Musk recently state that supercharges are free for all model S owners for life? If I watching Mr Musk during that interview, I would think that a salvaged Modle S qualifies."

OK. Fair enough. Here's your correction: What Elon Musk said, and I have reminded you of already, is that Supercharger access, and other warranties and offers are, 'FOR THE LIFE OF THE CAR'. A salvaged car, by definition, is beyond it's 'natural lifetime'. This guy is asking effectively for a reactivated, rejuvenated, refurbished... RESURRECTED car. He wants to cross the River Styx and bring it back from the dead. Tesla has told him, "Sure, fine. No problem. Sign here. We'll do the best we can for you."

jvs11560 said, "I do not think it's legal, and I'm not alone. If you don't think this will effect the resale value of your car, think again."

Precisely. You do not... think. Thanks for the admission.

Teo_ put forth for our consideration, "The right to repair laws in Europe say that Tesla must provide parts and custom diagnostics tools to independent repair shops. Tesla's approach is clearly illegal in Europe because the cars should be repairable outside Tesla service centers. This will hurt Tesla if they don't fix it. They should do so before they lose court cases. However it will eventually happen. What will fanboys do then? They will just move on to the next subject and pretend this discussion never happened."

I'm pretty sure that the issue at hand in this discussion is about a salvage car in the United States of America. Last time I looked, that wasn't in Europe. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that San Diego CA isn't part of the European Union. Everything I have said about this subject has been in regard to my own feeble understanding of US law.

Wouldn't it be great if this discussion had never happened? Wouldn't it be positively [FOULING] awesome if the [IDIOT] who bought the salvage car had an IQ that exceeded an order of magnitude above his sneaker size? Wouldn't it be superb if EU laws were known to not apply at all in San Diego?

I'm pretty sure that even in the EU, it is highly unlikely that laws regarding warranty and repair services apply to salvage vehicles held by a fifth party at the same level of enforcement as newly purchased vehicles owned by a second party.

AmpedRealtor: I had no intention of reading that salvage inspection waiver. Links to it have been posted over and over and over again... I hadn't clicked any of them. But since you posted it here, I went ahead and read through it.

As I thought would be the case, it is worded exactly as I expected it to be. It says exactly what I thought it would. I almost could have written the whole thing out myself, exactly the same way, sight unseen. Even when I commented on it, in this thread and others, I was merely imagining what it would say, and how it would read.

My conclusion? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that documents whatsoever. The [IDIOT] should have just signed it.

Thanks for sharing it with us!

This is how I would summarize the points of the above 'AUTHORIZATION AND RELEASE FOR INSPECTION OF SALVAGE VEHICLE'.
All original warranties are null and void.
We aren't giving you a new warranty.
We will not sell you a warranty, but you can pay for service rendered.
You are welcome to pay someone else to fix any problems, but we are only inspecting, not servicing, the salvage vehicle.
We will never provide services to a vehicle that is beyond repair and no longer roadworthy.
We do not sell spare parts over-the-counter or to unqualified businesses.
You promise not to get us mixed up in your mess.
You promise not to sue us over dumb [STUFF].
You know how to read, and have a user manual that will allow you and others to properly operate the vehicle, once it is determined roadworthy.
Nothing wrong with any of that at all. Sign. Or don't sign. Simple. | 5 octobre 2014

100! | 5 octobre 2014

GTF trusts his govt more than he trusts tesla. Here in America it's the other way around.

Well it's not a question of trust. Unfortunately, our govt. does not allow me to drive on public roads without a TÜV-certificate - so I have to bring my car in a "roadworthy condition" :-) (on the other hand, I feel sure because all other cars on the road are certified)

Tesla is not neutral, it is an "interested party" (and there's nothing wrong with that) - it has certain interests, and that's not the role of a (neutral) certification association. | 5 octobre 2014

Just to reach agreement on terms:

1. a car has a "title document" during its lifetime
2. the owner of the car possesses the title document
3. if a car is sold, the title document is handed over to the new owner
4. "salvage" is an economic term. It says "the car is not worth to repair" and says NOT "the car can not be repaired". A salvage car may be in roadworthy condition and may have a DMV-certificate. A salvage car has still a title document in the hands of the owner
5. if an insurance company declares a car as salvage, it does not pay for the repair of the car but only pays the "actual value"
6. in this case, the owner still has the title document at hand. It is very unlikely that the insurance company "buys" the car (why should it?)
7. if a salvage yard buys a salvage car from its (previous) owner, it gets the title document and herewith, is the (new) owner of the car
8. if a (new) buyer buys the salvage car, the title document is handed over to him and so he's the new owner of the car
=> a salvage car is still a car, not a set of parts…

1. The "road worthiness" of a car is SOLELY certified by a DMV (or TÜV)
2. Only the TÜV-certificate allows you to drive on public roads.
3. Terms, procedures and measures of the certification process are public and can be double-checked on demand of the car owner.
4. Road worthiness is independent of salvage. A salvage car may be road worthy, a not road worthy car may be in a "not-salvage" (term?) condition

All contractual obligations of a manufacturer are towards the "owner" of the car, not towards a person. A manufacturer is always obliged towards the owner of the title document.

That's, in my understanding, the situation in Germany - and therefore also the situation for Tesla-Germany and a German Tesla owner.

Any objections?