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Mounting Problems With Tesla Model S – Driver Canceled Holiday After Electric Car Refused To Charge

Dear Rest of America

Isn’t the winter season just the best time of the year?

Despite major storms producing damaging winds and snow, we can often rely on a robust sport utility vehicle (SUV) to withstand such rugged weather.

Indeed, a turbocharged SUV is particularly useful during a Christmas vacation, helping us reach friends and family we haven’t seen in a long while.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the owner of a Tesla Model S, whose electric vehicle (EV) refused to charge just before Christmas Eve, despite being plugged into a battery Supercharger for several hours.

A recent study by Recurrent Auto published in December 2022 examined how batteries from 7,000 EVs performed in cold weather and revealed that freezing conditions significantly affect driving range.

But then again, some models perform differently under extreme weather than others—but the question is how badly?

Tesla EVs didn’t rate the best performance, losing 15 to 19 percent of range when tested at freezing temperatures. In contrast, the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace lost 8 and 3 percent of range, respectively.

On a fateful day before Christmas Eve, in the technologically advanced era of 2022, a radio presenter based in Virginia—the owner of a Model S Tesla—had his holiday plans wrecked after the EV refused to charge.

As posted in a TikTok video, Domenick Nati’s zero-emission vehicle stayed put at 40 percent battery no matter how long it remained plugged into a Supercharger in 19 degrees Fahrenheit weather conditions.

One freezing hour passed. And then another hour, but there was no difference in the battery level. Nati even attempted to charge the automobile at home, but this didn’t work either. He said in a statement to Business Insider, “It was very slow, and the numbers got lower as the temperature dropped. Eventually, it stopped charging altogether.”

Not one to give up—after all, it was the Christmas season—Nati drove to another Supercharger. Still, the battery refused to charge, and the Model S displayed the message, “Battery is heating—Keep charge cable inserted.”

With under 20 miles of range remaining, Nati left the EV plugged into the Supercharger and returned home. He even contacted Tesla’s customer support, but alas, there was no answer. The story goes that the Virginian canceled his Christmas plans, especially since there were no Ubers available in his local area. So that’s America in 2022—for one Tesla Model S user.

Tesla does offer some “Winter Driving Tips” on its website, including EV preconditioning by warming up the cabin and battery while plugged into a Supercharger.

The speed at which an EV charges depends on the temperature of its battery; thus, charging may become unattainable if the battery gets too hot or cold, and users are notified by an icon on an EV touchscreen and smartphone app. Drivers can then utilize an inbuilt navigation system to locate a Supercharger and prompt the battery to start warming up before reaching a Tesla station.

Hence, Nati’s modern Tesla would have resisted adding any range in freezing conditions; however, it should have eventually started charging once the battery heated up to a satisfactory level, right? Well, no, because even this appeared to be an issue with the slick Model S.

But Tesla’s technical glitches didn’t just start with Nati’s incident, nor will it likely end there.

According to one driver, the “full self-driving” software in their Tesla Model S braked unexpectedly on Thanksgiving last year, entangling eight vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area and leaving nine people with minor injuries, including a youngster who was hospitalized.

Videos showing the infamous Tesla automobile changing lanes and slowing to a stop were reviewed by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). However, according to a December 2022 report, the CHP could not confirm whether “full self-driving” was active at the time of the crash; a highway patrol spokesperson later said Tesla would have that information.

Tesla had previously limited access to drivers with high safety scores on its rating system. Ironically, the eight-car collision occurred just hours after the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced that its EV “full self-driving” software was available to anyone in North America upon request.

The report states that the Tesla Model S was traveling around 55 mph but then braked abruptly and slowed down to about 20 mph, consequently leading to a sequence of eight cars—all of which had been traveling at regular highway speeds—to come into violent contact.

The “full self-driving” software is designed to automatically keep up with traffic, follow traffic signals and steer into a different lane. However, this software demands the driver to be fully alert and prepared to take complete control of the EV immediately. As a result, Tesla has warned drivers that the software “may do the wrong thing at the worst time,” and Musk has told them to “please be paranoid.” 

Well then, why, in the first place, integrate unsatisfactory software into a high-risk environment, i.e., a busy highway, that suddenly causes a vehicle to brake and results in a domino effect of multiple avoidable accidents? And indeed, a standard expectation is that all drivers on a highway must stay alert, period; we must keep our expectations as law-abiding Americans—high.

As early as February 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating 416,000 Tesla vehicles after receiving 354 complaints of “phantom braking” over nine months. With the perpetrators being Tesla Model 3 and Model Y automobiles, the reported problem involved the “advanced driver assistance system” or ADAS feature, which automatically allows the EV to accelerate, brake and steer on highways.

More specifically, a report by the NHTSA states that:

“The complaints allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds. Complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive cycle.”

According to a February 2022 opinion by The Verge, this technical problem—which has the potential to cause disaster and tragedy at a ridiculously avoidable cost—might be traced to Tesla’s decision to “remove radar sensors from new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.” This decision came after “Musk publicly expressed a desire to rely exclusively on cameras to power the company’s advanced driver assistance system.”

Businesses have deadlines and “launch dates,” and it’s not unusual for CEOs to pressure employees to finalize a creation. Thus, a mentality of “it’s ready when it’s ready” might drive many to release a knowingly faulty product due to intense pressure from executives to meet that seemingly holy deadline.

The problem with applying this kind of mentality to high-risk conditions is the potential for instigating absolute catastrophe; for example, a semi-working Autopilot integrated into thousands of vehicles driven on a busy highway; or a rushed vaccine inoculated into millions of people.

As you know, there’s never enough time to develop a vaccine against a viral infection with an average 98.2 percent U.S. patient survival rate because people are not dropping dead like flies, but we need to rush the vaccine at warp speed, bypassing animal tests and the typical 5 to 10-year development period, which might trigger adverse reactions and unnecessary human suffering.

And yes, we can keep tinkering with that “full self-driving” software forever, but there’s not enough time because people need to drive without actually driving but must stay “paranoid” in case the software glitches.

According to an NHTSA letter sent to Tesla in May 2022, the number of complaints over “phantom braking” just kept increasing, with the agency receiving 758 reports from Tesla drivers recounting terrifying incidents when their EVs unexpectedly hit the brakes at highway speeds.

And by August 2022, a Tesla Model 3 owner in San Francisco sued Musk’s company in a proposed class action, calling the rushed autonomous driving vehicle a “frightening and dangerous nightmare,” according to the lawsuit.

But hey, there’s a godly deadline to meet—and it must be religiously obeyed.

As expressed in an earlier piece, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted in August 2022 to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions, thus setting a zero-emissions standard across the West Coast. By December 2022, Washington and Oregon followed suit under the Advanced Clean Car II guidelines enacted by CARB.

Furthermore, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in August 2022, reserves $369 billion for “clean energy and “climate goals.” The bill also allows households with low-to-moderate income to receive a maximum of $7,500 in federal tax credits for a new qualifying EV or $4,000 for a used version. Indeed, between the state and federal tax incentives, some residents in Oregon can qualify for up to $15,000 in rebates over new EVs. 

With policymakers trying to steer motorists toward zero-emissions vehicles, they might want to ease off the pedal and pay attention to accelerating EV releases with malfunctioning components, which, at best, lead to canceled holiday plans and, at worst, death—all of which is reasonably more avoidable by driving a gasoline-powered car while sober.

But make no mistake, there is definitely a government and corporate push for Americans to go “carbon-free”, “net-zero” or “green.” And aren’t government financial stimuli tempting, especially for those who may be tight on disposable income?

As with many proposed solutions to a “problem,” that solution is compelling the consumer to abandon a product that has proven stability (i.e., a robust gas-powered SUV) or, conversely, embrace a product with unstable features (i.e., a Tesla Model S or similar) and tie the consumer to government dependence, wrapped up as an “incentive.” 

Good, decent, hard-working Americans concerned about their right to drive a safe car might want to form small coalitions with like-minded patriots at the grassroots level.

We have to both empower locals with knowledge and awareness of potential future policies and hold our elected representatives accountable to ensure our rights are protected.

  • In the former case, why not keep track of all the pros and cons of popular gasoline-powered vehicles and emerging EVs in terms of safety, long-term durability and costs, and plans to ban the sale of conventional cars in the next decade? If our state is not impacted, informing locals is still worthwhile because the “green” or “clean energy” agenda ultimately targets the whole of America.

  • In the latter case, our civic duty is to ensure that our elected officials are held accountable for their actions and behavior, and to protect our right to own property—which extends to the right to own a safe vehicle that isn’t integrated with a perilous glitch.

  • Themes to focus on might include “vehicles for safe highway driving,” “top robust cars’ safety” or “most durable cars on the road,” and not least, “protecting the American right to own a car, period.”

Our Founding Fathers’ belief in the separation of powers, and checks and balances, as included in the Constitution, was to prevent a republic from devolving into tyranny and prevent the will of the majority from becoming a tyranny. Indeed, our Founding Fathers believed that the purpose of government is to protect the natural rights of the governed—but with those freedoms comes a responsibility to continually assert and protect those very freedoms.

State representatives, regardless of how Republican-leaning, need to know that We, the People, know about federal plans and upcoming rules for other states, however more Democrat-leaning, over specific issues that could bleed into our local area—if we do not pull the brakes hard and defend our rights first.

Content syndicated from Dear Rest of America with permission

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Dear Rest Of America

Dear Rest Of America is a newsletter written by Cameron Keegan, who independently researches and writes about American politics, faith and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. To learn more, visit Dear Rest Of America and for questions, send an email to ckeeganan@substack.com

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