Tesla has no more business being in business than Yugo.
Which isn’t anymore.
So why is Tesla?
Because political correctness, crony capitalism – and a hallucinatory desire to believe in a mirage; to refuse to admit that what you think you see in the distance isn’t actually there; that your mind isn’t playing tricks on you.
But then, the Yugo was just a bad car.
The Tesla is a bad electric car – and the electric part effaces the bad part. Electric cars can do no wrong – to an extent that is quite literally unbelievable. Unless you’ve seen it – and then you will believe.
Ok, how’s this:
An extremely embarrassing story broke the other day that two-thirds of Tesla drivetrains – their electric motors, specifically – are destined to require replacement before the cars reach 60,000 miles. This according to an independently commissioned Weibull Reliability Engineering Resources analysis of actual Tesla failure rates and customer reported problems to date (see here).
Before 60,000 miles roll by.
Let it roll around in your mouth for a little bit.
How’s it taste?
It is inconceivable that any normal car company could survive such a revelation. The likely – the near-inevitable – failure of the car’s very heart, the thing that makes it go? If a third of new Chevrolets needed a new engine before 60,000 miles elapsed, Chevrolet would not be selling cars at all.
But two-thirds of them?
People would be rioting.
And the government would be ululating the regulatory equivalent of allah akbar. Yet the government is silent. No outraged congress cretins are holding press conferences, demanding hearings. NHTSA is not threatening to recall the electric lemons.
Solely and only because these Teslas are a protected class of car, the affirmative action hires of the automotive world. We are not allowed to mention their failures, to discuss their inadequacies. Instead, we must do the four-wheeled equivalent of pretending that George Washington Carver is as historically significant a personage as George Washington. We must pretend that Elon Musk is a real life Tony Stark, a brilliant engineer rather than a crony capitalist.
His cars cannot be conceded failures – even though they are.
Economically, they always have been.
When you can’t sell a car (or anything else) at an honest profit, without needing “help” from government, then what you have to sell is (cue Donald Trump voice) a loser. Doesn’t matter that the Tesla is pretty or that it’s quick. It is not able to stand on its own two legs. It has to be subsidized. Both its manufacture and its sale.
Now we learn that it is also a mechanical failure.
That most of them – two thirds of them – will probably need their guts replaced before they reach 60,000 miles. It ought to shutter Tesla’s doors. Crater “sales.” But people – some people – will continue to “buy” (air quotes used because when someone else is “helping” you pay for your purchase – against their will – it is not really a “sale” and you are not really “buying”).
Because they believe.
IC cars are evil; electric cars are good – the future.
Electric cars predate the internal combustion-engined car. But 100 years ago, the IC car proved to be more practical – and much more economical. Electric cars became museum exhibits. Until government “help” resurrected them. Take away that “help” and they become museum pieces once again. They are still too expensive. Still gimped by functional problems such as inadequate range and unacceptably long recharge times.
But because of the Green Mania that sweeps the land, they are not only tolerated – they are venerated. And subsidized, to an obnoxious degree.
Using, of course, other people’s money.
The Weibull analysis measured the actual survival rate over time of a sample of Teslas from model years 2011-2013 to plot a graph of predicted future failures of these models generally.
Because an unusually high percentage of failures actually did occur among the sampled population, Weibull extrapolated a likely high failure rate among the entire cohort – that is, of all Teslas made during those model years.
When the story broke the other day, Green Car Reports – a publication very friendly toward Tesla – asked the company to reveal exactly how many electric motors it has repaired or replaced and the percentage of the total production (for model years 2012-2013) this represents.
Tesla has – so far – not provided any facts to counter the Weibull analysis. Instead, Elon Musk insists that the reliability of his electric wunderwagens has “doubled” – however that is quantified.
Musk is very good at PR. And at mulcting the populace to fund his ventures.
As for the objective data about Tesla, there is this Weibull analysis – and the earlier (and very embarrassing) Consumer Reports “worse than average” report card. So much worse than average that CR openly says the cars have “too many problems” to recommend buying them.
Coming from CR – which seemed to bend over backwards to give Musk favorable press for years – this ought to be devastating. A similar don’t-go-there directed at, say, GM would be fatal or at least extremely damaging.
Instant lemon aid.
But Tesla continues to get away with building crap cars – on our nickel.
Because they are electric cars.
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