A few weeks ago, Consumer Reports removed its "recommended" seal of approval from the Tesla Model S because of potential reliability issues. Since then, Elon Musk took to twitter to defend his EV and try to provide extra context:
Consumer Reports reliability survey includes a lot of early production cars. Already addressed in new cars.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 21, 2015
He also mentioned on the company's third quarter earnings call that they were trying to make their drive units much more reliable, aiming for a life of 1,000,000 miles instead of 200,000.
Tesla gets top rating of any company in service. Most important, CR says 97% of owners expect their next car to be a Tesla (the acid test).— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 21, 2015
But the company is not done trying to show that they take reliability seriously, and that potential Tesla customers shouldn't be scared away. In a new email, the company basically says: We're fixing the issue, and even if you have a problem, we'll take good care of you.
The email says:
Close communication between customers, service, and engineering enables us to receive feedback, proactively address concerns and quickly fix issues. Customer feedback in the last three years has helped us increase the reliability of our charging equipment and infotainment system, reduce braking noise and improve the fit and finish of the Model S interior.
In the last 12 months alone we’ve decreased reliability issues by half, and improvements have been made at no cost to our owners. If hardware does need to be fixed, we strive to make it painless through our four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (and eight-year/unlimited mileage battery and drivetrain warranty). Even if potential issues have a low likelihood of causing future problems, we fix them. It's why 97% of Tesla owners expect their next car to be a Tesla.
To our owners we say: Thank you. Uncovering and resolving quality and reliability issues on an ongoing basis will allow us to continue to innovate and drive to accomplish our mission of a renewable transportation future.
The company is clearly in damage-control mode, but if this episode pushes them to focus even more on reliability, some good will come out of it in the long-term. After all, the Model S is still a relatively expensive and low-volume car. When the Model 3 comes out at a much lower price point and is made in much bigger quantities, reliability will truly be a make-or-break element (it's a lot harder and more expensive to fix hundreds of thousands of vehicle if a defect is found).
Here's a video created by Consumer Reports about their downgrade of the Model S. It gives an overview of their reliability survey:
Don't forget that these potential reliability issues don't take away from the rest of the vehicle. Consumer Reports gave it a perfect score and "best overall car" rating two years in a row (it even broke their old rating system with 103% and made them change it).
Via Tesla, Electrek