I inadvertently destroyed a falcon wing door on my new Tesla X and put the car out of commission within 24 hrs of owning it through no fault of my own (my opinion) and 3 weeks later still have no answer to when it can be fixed what it will cost, if I can get a loaner, etc. I'm one of the many people that would claim to be Tesla's biggest fan. And I will continue to be fan but I am growing a little frustrated after 3 weeks with little info. I was using the product and the UI/UX as I have done with great success over the past 2+ years on my model S.
First, I want to say Lee Woolley from the San Diego service center has been great through all of this. However, it's 3 weeks since the damage occurred and he isn't able to get information to me about when the car can be repaired, if it's at my expense or Tesla's, if I can get a loaner in the meantime, etc. what I have been told is that the factory won't delivery a painted door assembly to replace it and instead parts must be ordered, painted and assembled. No dates for delivering the parts yet so it's all in limbo.
I want to make my case, however, for why this was not all my fault. It would be great if the UI/UX folks at Tesla would consider the case I will make below. I have some experience in developing complex user experience / user interfaces myself and have been inspired Tesla's approach. Its a model for others. In fact, Tesla's are so intuitive, that I assumed consciously and sub-consciously that the experience I had built up over the last 2+ years on my Tesla S would transfer to the Tesla X. It didn't work out that way and I ended up destroying my new X within 24 hours of taking delivery. So, here is my UI/UX story for consideration:
How it happened - The Short Version
On the second day of owning my Tesla X, I was attempting to pull it out of my garage for the first time ever. I entered my Tesla X through the driver's door, sat down and closed the door, pulled the car into drive and began to roll forward. As I moved forward about 3-5 feet on to the driveway I heard a crunching of glass. I stopped and backed up a few few feet, got out and saw that the driver's side falcon wing door had attempted to open just as I had tried to roll through the narrow garage door opening. The door had caught the garage door frame and it was broken and bent. Lee Woolley confirmed that your data logs report that the signal that instructed that door to open at the moment came from the key fob. That key fob was in my front left pocket and can only have been activated inadvertently by somehow being pinched in my pocket as I bent to sit in the driver's seat. The whole incident from beginning to end was just several seconds.
How it happened - The Detailed Version
I had had the X for less than 24 hrs. I picked it up and went through the wonderful orientation experience with the Delivery Specialist. I drove it for 100 or so miles and finally brought it home to park it in the garage for the night. The next morning at about 9:30 I was in a hurry as usual and went to the garage, opened the garage door, walked around the X, and the front driver door popped open automatically per my settings. I hopped in, stepped on the break, pulled it into Drive, and started to pull out of the driveway. I think I recall an audible signal warning me of something but it must have sounded very similar to, or just like the seat belt warning that I always get from my Tesla P85 S. It definitely didn't sound different enough or urgent enough to warn me that I was about to destroy my car. I was not looking at the dash or visual warnings (I assume warnings were there) because everything seemed normal in terms of the audio warnings. Besides, I was trying to pull out of the garage so my eyes were focused forward and my ears were hearing what seemed like the normal warnings about the seat belt. As always, I do wear my seat belt but, like many people, I connect it as I am pulling out, not before I drive. I intended to put my seat belt on and was probably also in the act of putting it on but I don't really recall that detail. Anyway, I moved forward in Drive just a couple of feet when I heard the smash of glass and stopped. The driver's side rear falcon wing door had begun to open and had caught the garage door frame and smashed. I was shocked and saddened. Me, an experienced (2+ years Tesla driver) had just destroyed his new X within 24 hours of owning it, and had no idea that he was doing it. According to your data logs I had apparently (and inadvertently) triggered the back door to open via the key fob in my pocket in just the few second that I was attempting to pull out of my garage. My key fob was in my front pant's pocket as always. I did not intend to send that signal and I can only guess that it must have been compressed in my pants pocket against the key ring or something as I bent to sit down in the driver's seat. This is a scenario I could not have imagined. I had just entered the car a few seconds before and all of the doors were closed. I knew I had not attempted to open the back door so why did it open at that moment? The X is a car that is able to sense how to open the falcon wing doors in a variety of ways to avoid hitting anything. This is a car that can avoid objects at high speed on the freeway, change lanes, park itself, etc. This is a car that knows I am at home and in my garage and that space is too tight to even open the open the doors fully. So it would never occur to me that this intelligent car would allow me, through an unintended signal from a key fob in my pocket, to open a falcon wing door, just at the moment I was pulling out of my garage, and ultimately destroy the car. As I said before, there may have been warning signals both audible and visual as I am sure it is designed that way. But whatever audio signal may have been there was not differentiated enough or urgent enough to make a very experienced Tesla user such as myself to even notice that something was more wrong than my seat belt needing to be buckled. If I made this mistake, it will happen to others. Likely many others. Its not clear to me why the algorithms allow the X to move while the falcon wing doors are open or in the process of opening, closing, or unlatched at all? Or why a signal from the key fob is allowed to control the doors while the driver is in the driver's seat in the act of controlling the car via the driver's controls, breaks, steering wheel, and gear shift? Perhaps there is a lot of well considered reasons why this scenario is allowed by the software. But from my vantage point, the down side to allowing the X to move forward while the doors are in the act of opening can be immense. My specific scenario here should be considered by the UI/UX folks and put on the scale as a potential argument not to allow that scenario to occur. At least while the car is at home in a garage and beginning to drive out. With the Tesla S key fob I think its is very difficult to compress it in your pocket inadvertently to invoke any action. Its never happened to me. With the Tesla X fob, its now clear that its not only possible, but the scenario just occurred where it lead to tremendous damage to the car. Its a liability that I think should be reconsidered, not just in my case but for all other users as the scenario can cause tremendous damage.
My scenario above may be a usability corner case but I can predict with some confidence that its a fairly big corner case, its an expensive corner case, and that this scenrio will happen again to others without some revisiting of how the algorithms govern the car in the scenario that I have described above. In fact, the only other Tesla X in the repair shop in San Diego (Amato's) is in for similar damage to the falcon wing door while it was in motion. That owner has posted his experience in this forum as well.
I'm eager to:
- get my X fixed and start driving it ASAP
- get a loaner in the interim
- learn whether the repair is at my expense or Tesla's
- hear a response from your UI/UX folks about why the car is designed to allow the car to move with the falcon wing doors in motion (signaled by the key fob) while the operator is driving