Rescindable Options

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Coronaphobia has taken away our freedom. Elon Musk takes back his options. At least, that’s how he sees them.

What’s bought isn’t actually sold. That would mean a permanent transfer of possession – of everything, from the wheels to the roof racks –  the person who bought having the right to sell and the person who buys later on assuming he got what he just paid for.

Turns out not.

People who buy used Teslas are discovering that they didn’t get what they paid for – because Elon took it back.

Or rather, turned it off.

Teslas aren’t just electric cars; they are electronic cars – including expensive software options like Ludicrous Speed, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability. These aren’t physical options, like a wheel/tire package or an upgraded stereo – but they are listed – and purchased – exactly like an optional wheel/tire package or upgraded stereo.

They are line-items (or packages) on the window sticker.

The traditional has been that once purchased, options become part of the car – forever – and included with each subsequent sale unless physically removed prior to the sale. Which the buyer, in that case, would notice and presumably be okay with. You go to see a used car and see someone took out the factory stereo. There’s a hole in the dash where it used to be. You’re either ok with this or you’re not. Regardless, it’s understood that the seller can’t remove the radio after the car is sold.

Well, it used to be understood.

But not anymore. Because Teslas are also connected cars – which means software options can be enabled and disabled at the discretion and thus, the whim, of Tesla – at any time and for whatever reason.

And there’s nothing you can do about it – because if you try to disconnect the car from its invisible electronic  tether, Elon will just disconnect the car. Cuing the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld: No car for you!

What’s happening, apparently, is that Elon is disabling paid-for (by the original purchaser) software options when Teslas get sold on the used car market and then dunning the next owner for them.

It’s like discovering the used Corvette you bought last night from the guy down the street that came with the 20-inch wheel/tire package up on blocks the next morning, with a note from Chevy advising you that if you’d like the wheels you thought you’d just bought returned to wire-transfer them $8,000 (the cost of the Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving options) .

Except that would be obvious theft and whoever snatched the wheels would be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution.

But Tesla – per usual – does the Moonwalk right past the rules everyone else plays by.

More accurately, Elon plays by new rules.

The rules of Corona’d America – where people aren’t so much laid-low by a virus but endlessly controlled by power-grabby corporations like Tesla, whose business model is based on the Company Town model. You never own anything, really. You’re just allowed to use it for awhile, under close supervision and with the ever-present threat that you won’t be able to use it at all if you do something that the Company Town’s Managers don’t like.

Managers like Musk, who sees himself as a member of a technocratic elite that will be In Charge from here on out. They know best – and they’ll let us know what that is. Take your cap off, bow and thank them very much.

It’s not just Tesla, either. John Deere is another such – using the same technocratic-electronic methods. People who thought they’d bought a tractor have discovered they only got a license to use software. Any violation of the terms of service and “their” tractor goes inert.

Deere, Tesla – and soon, more – regard the purchaser of their products not as owners but leasers, people who can be made to pay forever. And controlled – not just forever but right now, at any time.

You possess the physical vehicle but they own the code that makes it go. Or not.

Your “connected” appliances work the same way, by the way.

People ought to have gotten wise – and nervous – when news stories popped up about Tesla sending “updates” over the ether to cars it no longer owned – a technicality – altering how far the cars could be driven.

More – or less – than advertised.

There was the case of Tesla increasing the range of its cars – italicized to emphasize the point – during a hurricane, as a “nice” gesture to people trying to get out of harm’s way without their having to stop and wait while the harm caught up to them. And there is the more recent and not-so-nice case of Tesla reducing range to reduce the likelihood of a fire resulting from too much voltage – or rather, from defective design (a whole ‘nother story).

People whose cars went “x” miles on Monday woke up on Tuesday to discover their Teslas went less miles.

Without anyone from Tesla actually touching the car. This is how Tesla (and Deere and other “connected” companies) get to Moonwalk past the jailhouse where any used car dealer who snatched the wheels off a car he just sold or pulled the stereo or physically removed anything attached to the car at the time of sale/transfer would be cooling his heels if caught.

But that was pre-Corona’d America, where once you paid for something it was not only considered yours the law actually defended the proposition.

It’s no longer the case, of course. Because in Corona’d America, we don’t even own ourselves. Our owners tell us how much “range” we’ll be allowed today and maybe they’ll give us some more tomorrow.

Or maybe not.

It ought not to be surprising that Elon, et al are doing the same.

. . .

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47 COMMENTS

  1. Remember the old jokes about “if Windows were to make a car…”, wellll it came true! This is the windows of automobiles LOLOL.

  2. So, I was reading Dr. Mercola this morning as I always do. Turns out hydrogen peroxide kills all virus and it was used for nearly 200 years before anti-biotics. Cheap and used in a nebulizer, $5 of it will cure what ails you. And surprise, surprise, surprise, Dr. Fauci said 4 years ago he used 1,000 mg of Vit C but now has reversed his view. He still hasn’t sent me any money.

    Here’s the article from Mercola I think everyone will want to read. https://everlast.mercola.com/r/?id=h32817d85,205ccf1b,20808cd2&et_cid=DM501465&et_rid=847347077

    • I think Shallenberger touts the nebulized hp thing, too. & I think he may actually work with “patients,” unlike “I’m not a doc, but I play one on the internet.”

      Never met Shallenberger. But I have shook the hand, looked into the eyes, body language, of the other one.

      Word to the wise or would be so…the loyal opposition to (we wants it all!)opathic “medicine” is very much closer to Mr. Hyde’s alternative than it is to debunking revealers of health & cures.

      It, the altists, exists “by your leave,” too. This ain’t a market. Ain’t no competition. Liston might wella’ been forced to throw that bout with Ali.

      Lotsa’ good cop bad cop.

      Lotsa’ throw the bums out, put the other bums in.

      Because there is no shortage of legitimate desperation out there, caught between these two pincers.

      Allo says HP chemotherapy’s cytotoxic to healthy cells, health-supporting fauna, too.
      Alt says nein.
      William Wallace says ride ‘round, take out their archers – I’ll meet ya’ in the middle.
      Which was swell, ‘til the middle went unmet.
      Been there, done that, in rhyming couplet.
      I.e., the alt’s can be just as iatrogenic as the allo’s.

      Trial & lots of error, cuz synthesis would queer a lot of hustles…………………& if 5 cents of hp was really all that, the geometric progression 6-degrees o’ separation suffusion would be at least as uncontainable as the way to Amway down line riches is claimed to be………….but it ain’t………….but Irwin Schiff’ll reveal the secret code to getting’ all those tacks outta’ yer feet………at least ‘til “by your leave” is revoked…or ya’ roll that last die, as all must…whichever comes first.

      • I know a woman who had an emotional breakdown. She jumped to the bottom of a whisky bottle and stayed till she was on the verge of death. They brought her back to life to the degree her heart continued to beat and then used HP therapy on her 3 times a week for several months. She looked good toward the end of it. She looked forward to every session, said it made her a bit more healthy. Turns out it has been used a couple hundred years.

        • Just pointing out the briar patchiness, Eight. And that for every rabbit that has got briar patch in it’s blood, there’s countless that don’t. Were that not so, as said, remedies & nostrums like this one’d be as autonomic as breathing – everybody’d know & everybody’d do & there’d be no keeping a lid on it.

          Gotta’ paraphrase cuz can’t find online this story was told in pre-internet days: Guy’s laying in a hospital bed. Bad shape. Doc comes thru on rounds, looks him over, says something in latin that amounts to “this guy’s a goner” but that the guy in the bed – who doesn’t know latin, but is pretty sure the doc’s a demigod – takes to mean he’s cured. And so he placebo’d on outta’ there.

          And maybe, once far enough outta’ the frame of the story of miraculous remission so as to not interfere with the intended moral, he keeled over & died of the same thing he’d been cured of.

          Put another way, the placebo:nocebo ratio is lopsided as hell & the needle in the hay’s still just as hard to find.

          So it’s like camel’s hump:camel:thru the needle’s eye…is easier than for noncompetitive made guys (& by your leaves) to enter the kingdom of gotcha’ sorted & solved, my good patient!

  3. Just like the pandemic, “CO2 causes climate change” is an illusion promoted as “science”, proclaiming “scientists” as “experts”, while little true science is involved, other than the science used by Hitler and Goering. The science of propaganda.

    • BTW, just for laughs, the Earth (and all planets) already ARE greenhouses to the maximum possible. Space is like the glass in an actual greenhouse – it doesn’t allow heat to convect or conduct, IOW it’s an insulator. But radiation energy can escape. Earth is just like the Intn’l space station in that way. The ISS has to have air conditioning so it doesn’t get too hot, … and the Earth does too — it already is cooled by the fact that it’s not too close to the sun, so it radiates enough energy back into space to keep cool, and it’s ‘shaded’ by the atmosphere. Sooo, the whole ‘greenhouse effect’ is not just a big fat lie, it’s a scientific JOKE. If the Earth’s atmosphere got thicker somehow, like more C02 gas, or more water vapor, it would get cooler… it could never get hotter from that. And Earth ALREADY has huge oceans and huge amounts of water vapor in the air, which the water holds ALOT of heat energy, and obviously we’re not melting yet, because a denser atmosphere always makes a planet colder not hotter. But ‘they’ say just the opposite.

  4. Tesla really doesn’t want used cars and especially old cars. It’s “support” for its older vehicles is abysmal, and many of these cars aren’t even ten years old. They are as bad as computer companies are with computers that are older than a few years. But yet they go out of their way to block third party people that would support those older computers and cars.

    Most Tesla buyers are folks who get new cars fairly often and have the mindset that’s how all people should be buying (never mind that the vast majority can’t afford that). Just throw out the old (how green is that?).

    • There is no issue getting parts for old computer hardware on ebay. At least for the commercial grade machines I have which are about ten years old. There are numerous places that have acquired NOS inventories of parts or have inventories of parted out computers. Musk is simply a control freak who wants people to buy a new one.

  5. Does anyone know if the purchased Tesla downloadable content (launch cheat codes, for example) can be retained by the original owner and applied to a future Tesla purchase?

  6. Yet another reason to never bother with a Tesla.

    I hate “software as a service”. I used to be a full time graphic designer and used Adobe software. It was expensive software, but once you bought it, you could use it as long as you could. Which most graphic designers would do due to its high cost and the hassle of updating (things often break when “updating”, so you wait until the bugs are fixed).

    But Adobe no longer offers it that way, you can only get a subscription now. So now I can no longer pick up the very occasional (maybe once or twice a year) freelance job, because the monthly cost is too expensive to keep the software around. Bye bye Adobe!!!

  7. Tesla and John Deere are just extending the SaaS (Software as a Service) model.

    You never own or possess SaaS. It exists ephemerally, in the cloud. Tesla sharecroppers just get a temporary license to use it … as long as the rent is paid on time.

    All the venture capital honchos and coder bros in Silicon Valley are fine with this. Revenue enhancement, perpetual stream of income, etc

    What’s not to like? This, mutha:

    “SaaS-bro talkin’ ’bout the front rent, he’ll be lucky to get the BACK rent. He ain’t gonna get NOTHIN’.”

    Stick to geezer-mobiles that have no software (at most, firmware) and lack any internet connection through which SaaS-bro suckers could mess with it.

    As Uncle Joe Stalin might have said, no software, no problem.

  8. Now that this info is coming out, Tesla resale values should plummet. Even hard core Green Weenies don’t want to send the social message that “they are financial idiots .”

    I predict that new Teslas (and their revocable “options”) are suddenly going to become hard to sell.

    Elon has proven that you can get rich being greedy. But when you get Too Greedy, you invite financial ruin.

  9. Interesting reference to smart appliances. In CA the governor is threatening to use smart meters to turn off water and electricity to corona virus non-compliant businesses. A main reason for the smart meters – rationing of electricity (and water). But the elites will get all they want.

  10. I wonder if anyone has tried an LS swap in a Tesla. That might be cheaper than trying to rebuild the stupid thing with electric motors.

  11. I’ve had a chance to look at Teslas up close a few times, most notably a model X.

    Their fit and finish doesn’t match the price. When you sit in a Merc, Jag, or BMW of similar cost, you get a sense you are sitting (or riding) in something nice. Something superior. To me, they had the fit and finish of a Dodge 200. Not bad, for the cost for a Dodge, buy not what I’d expect a $60K + car to be. I thought the hatch on the Model X was really flimsy. Astonishingly so.

    It’s now a thing with me, to look over every Tesla I encounter. It’s pretty bad when you can see the misaligned trunk, or the iffy paint finish.

  12. Eric, there’s this schvatze on Youtube- I think his channel is “Rich Rebuilds”- he was a big Tesla fan- and bought a couple of salvage Teslas and rebuilt them, for himself and his wife. LSS, at first he saw that for all his work, he basically ended up paying as much to buy and rebuild the Teslas, as what just buying a couple of good, functional used ones would have cost, -not even counting the hundreds of hours of his time that he put into them- but what did he end up with? Teslas that were gimped even more than the average Tesla…as he had to put lower-performance motors in ’em….so his model S or X or whatever it was, essentially had the performance of a Model 3.

    Plus, fast charging is disabled (via Tesla)…as well as other options, like you mention. Now, a coiuple of years later, he is pointing out the lousy build quality of Teslas; how they are gimped by Tesla, and many of ther other caveats we already had long realized. Now he warns people, not only to not rebuild Teslas…but to not even buy functional ones!

    In other news: A company which was developing and making self-driving semis, has gone out of business. They said that the realities of having self-driving trucks were just too much to address on a practical basis.

    As I’ve been saying for a while now, the sun is (thankfully) setting on EVs and self-driving vehicles. The subsidies are going away (Not just here- even in China and india and othyer places); the electric infrastructure is not being massively upgraded; manufucturers are going out of business, or abandoning EV and self-driving production (Mazda is currently experimenting with seaweed-based fuel powered IC engine- but has completely abandoned EV plans…)

    I’ll bet within ther next few years, even European countries will rescind their “All-EV by 2030 or 2035” mandates….simply because this EV lunacy is not sustainable…and more people are starting to realize it- even before this dip in gas prices…..

    • I hope you’re right Nunz, but being in Europe you dont realise how sheepish the people here are…. and how keenly they buy up this EV BS In the UK the so called right wing “Conservative” government we have supports it (infact they are the one who pulled it forward). Personally I dont think that they will give up, and will use the UK as an ideal test case for it because we are a relatively small with mostly short drives, happily brainwashed nation which believes everything the government and media tells us (to the extent that they all stand outside clapping for the ministry of health which rations our healthcare) and is somewhat higher earning than other nations…. Furthermore citizens here for some reason love giving up their rights to the government…. so ive just come to terms with the fact that if I ever want to go for a good drive ill have to fly to the US or back to Pakistan (that is till they require us to be tagged and vaccined or something 😛 )

    • Nunzio, the technology for effective self driving vehicles, is just not ready for prime time. The underlying software is based on literally bleeding edge concepts, many of the implications of which are poorly understood. I’ve no doubt it will be possible eventually (if the companies involved survive the Greater Depression), but its likely going to be years.

      • Beej,

        The CEO of Starsky Robotics (The shuttering company) says:

        “Seltz-Axmacher wrote about the various challenges facing autonomous vehicle companies. He said the biggest challenge is that “supervised machine learning doesn’t live up to the hype. It isn’t actual artificial intelligence akin to C-3PO, it’s a sophisticated pattern-matching tool.”

        “Back in 2015, everyone thought their kids wouldn’t need to learn how to drive. Supervised machine learning (under the auspices of being “AI”) was advancing so quickly — in just a few years it had gone from mostly recognizing cats to more-or-less driving. It seemed that AI was following a Moore’s Law Curve.

        “Five years later and AV professionals are no longer promising Artificial General Intelligence after the next code commit. Instead, the consensus has become that we’re at least 10 years away from self-driving cars.

        “It’s widely understood that the hardest part of building AI is how it deals with situations that happen uncommonly, i.e. edge cases. In fact, the better your model, the harder it is to find robust data sets of novel edge cases.

        “Additionally, the better your model, the more accurate the data you need to improve it. Rather than seeing exponential improvements in the quality of AI performance (a la Moore’s Law), we’re instead seeing exponential increases in the cost to improve AI systems — supervised ML seems to follow an S-Curve.”

        Basically, “The Devil’s in the details”, and the costs increase exponentially when working out those details. And really, for what it would cost to build and maintain such sophisticated systems, what would be the point, since they’d still need drivers to maneuver the trucks in cities; to back them into bays; to unload them, etc. etc. It’s just too impractical and expensive.

        Some in the industry say self-driving cars could still be a thing, but that it would be at least ten years in the future…and we all know how that goes- like “We’d be living in colonies on the Moon by the year 2000”.

        I think the only way it’d ever happen, is if they had a special infrastructure (special roads) just for self-driving vehicles….which would be more absurd than EVs- I mean, if they’re gonna have to build such an infrastructure, and limit where they can go….we already have that- they’re called trains. (And even with trains, in their limited environment where things are much simpler, they even have to have a human watching over things for the self-driving trains)

    • Rich did well on the first one he rebuilt. The second one well I don’t think he even finished and he lost his shirt on that one. The third EV he rebuilt was a BMW. Then there was a saga of him buying a official used TM vehicle from TM. Basically with the way TM treats him there’s no way in hell anyone should buy one. If TM will treat high profile fans that badly how are they going to treat people who can’t do anything to help or hurt TM?

  13. IIRC, Tesla’s position is that the options were not paid for after all.

    So any purchaser of a used Tesla needs the original invoice (from the original owner) to verify any options were paid for at sale…not just a window sticker.

    Which makes it a royal PITA to buy a used Tesla.

  14. I think this goes to show how the world has changed. I first drove a model S some years ago when they first launched over here. The guy told me all the stuff like they can increase the range over the car air or activate autopilot or whatever other features are there on the car if you pay later because the thing already had all the relevant hardware… which I found interesting because the way I looked at it – its a no brainier to buy without paying tesla the 5k for the auto pilot or extra range – and then have it hacked (re-mapped as they call it in cars here) and get it for free…..

    Unfortunately I think its gone exactly the other way!! nobody bothers hacking them to get more out of them, instead just bowing down to Musk and paying him whenever he wants more!!

  15. I don’t see how TSLA survives in an environment where the traditional car makers face obliteration.

    The end of Musk as The Real Life Tony Stark (TM) meme may be one upside of the Coronavirus hysteria.

    • People might just realize Musk is a real life Elmer Gantry. But, as Mark Twain reportedly said, “It’s easier to fool a man than to convince him he’s been fooled.”

  16. Morning Eric,

    Musk has all the sincerity, compassion and showmanship of Peter Popov, yet most can’t see how slimy he is. I read the original article and there’s no wiggle room, this is theft, pure and simple. The author of the article is critical of Tesla but, inappropriately, allows for some ambiguity.

    “If you buy, say, a used Ford Ecosport (not my first choice, but you do you) that has lane keeping assist and active cruise control, and Ford somehow thinks you didn’t pay for those particular features and sends over a service tech to physically remove them from your car, I think we’d all consider that pretty wrong. We might even consider that theft. I’m not clear how what Tesla did here is any different”.

    No, we would, not might, consider that theft. Now, if Tesla stated openly that the option could be removed when the original purchaser sold the car, it would not be theft. But, only an idiot would buy such a vehicle thus “equipped”. On second thought, anyone who would pay 93,000 for a ridiculous, virtue signaling toy, is probably an idiot.

    BTW, I assumed that “ludicrous speed” was your term but dealer uses the term when describing the car he sold to his father in law. Is this really the actual name of the package? If so, even that reveals the double standard applied to Tesla.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  17. Much like a transfer of wealth, if a software update isn’t optional, it’s not in your best interest. If you can’t say no to a software update, you don’t own the product. Could you imagine paying extra for a better 0-60 or better MPGs. Not even just as the second owner either. Soon, it won’t just be an up front package, but a monthly payment package you’ll need to keep paying to get those specs.

    And these fanbois thought it was about saving the planet. Couldn’t happen to a better group of idiots.

      • And may history forget that they where our countrymen… Thats the tragic part of what we are seeing, and living through, Eric.

    • You’ve got that right Brandon.

      I’ve got several friends (acquaintances really) that support this and other similar ideological shit, and then complain when they’re victims of it.

      I rarely say anything but it doesn’t seem to even sent the cycle. Bizarre to say the least. Seems as if they’re used to and accepting of constantly getting reemed.

    • Tesla and John [not so]Deere have taken this to the extreme- but even many ICE car manufucturers are already practicing this crap at some level- i.e. on many cars now, you can’t just replace an electronic part by just installing it and plugging it in- the computer has to be reprogrammed to make it function- so even if you can physically replace the part, it will do you no good, because the car still has to go to the dealer for the reprogramming- so one is forever tied to dealer service (and prices!)….until they no longer support that car…at which time, it becomes obsolete and unusable. They are essentially making used cars a concept of the past.

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