Yet Another Reason Not To Buy A Tesla

And why I want NO IoT (Idiot of Things) devices in my house.

Seems your Tesla, in addition to constantly sending location and road data to the mother ship, also detects if you install aftermarket power train mods and tattles on you. Tesla may then choose to remotly disable your car. (Or not… but the decision is not yours).

This is part of a growing trend of vendor lock-in for repairs and parts. Apple. Even tractor companies. You bought it, but they determine what you can do. Just say no!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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27 Responses to Yet Another Reason Not To Buy A Tesla

  1. philjourdan says:

    Could that be part of the market tank (which was almost all Tesla) this past week?

    I am not buying a snitch car.

  2. pouncer says:

    My Amazon Fire has decided that certain PDF books I have legally downloaded from the author’s website are DRM-protected and under such restrictive copyright that I shouldn’t be allowed to read them.

  3. beththeserf says:

    Yet Another Reason Not To Buy A Tesla.

    Okay, I won’t.

  4. Simon Derricutt says:

    Also see , where the increasing use of smart meters (and the legal requirement to install them here in France, at least) means that you may get up in the morning to find that your EV isn’t charged because the wind wasn’t blowing overnight (and of course the Sun wasn’t shining, at least on the PVs in your country). Taking that a bit further, of course, there was that proposal to use plugged-in EV batteries to support the grid, too, so that we can foresee the event where the half-charge that was left in your EV disappeared overnight, and instead of a car in the morning you have a brick that won’t go anywhere.

    More reasons not to buy an EV, though actually I would rather like to have one if I could afford it as a second car.

    As regards the tattling of the Tesla, I suspect that most EVs would do much the same in future. A home-brew version would be OK, though.

  5. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Under certain conditions, I’m thinking an EV in an urban area with mild climate might be a decent choice.
    Search-up “best golf cart communities”

    Numerous EVs are being introduced and states are going to real-soon-now introduce a road tax based on mileage. Thus, there is a need to know the use, likely by polity.
    If this concept does not move out of the study-stage in a year or so, I suspect there will be a filing made to force the issue.

  6. Bruce Ryan says:

    well, since I own a tesla model 3, I can tell you it is the best car I have ever owned. Best driving experience overall. I enjoy not going to the gas station. Plug it in at night and I’m done. Without a garage and 240 I’d say don’t buy one. The odds of any sane man moding the powertain of a tesla is zero. It is too quick.
    It is the safest car on the road, crash test wise and will move the car out of the path of oncoming traffic.
    I suppose Tesla could turn into a mean spirited monster and do the opposite some day but I’m figuring when we get to that point a car is only the tip of the iceberg.

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    The drive train mod is a gizmo that plugs into the controller and lets you get more zip (as if you needed it :-) it is a wire and electronics dongle.

    The Tesla version is $2k and the aftermarket one is $1.6k. My guess is about $200 of parts and software.

    From what I’ve seen, a Tesla would be great fun to drive and nice for typical commuting and around town.

    For me, it would only work as a second car. I frequently do long distance driving with time limits. I can’t take hour long fueling stops. Things like SFO to LA and back same day. Crossing the USA Orlando to San Jose (my record is 56 hours… total door to door- yes, not sleeping much).

    The spouse is uninterested after several crashes set the battery on fire and crisped the drivers. Crashes that ought to have been survivable.

    Then there is California “sometimes you have power” unreliables. I use my car as a 2nd generator when power is out AND need it to work for a week with power out post quake (lived through a 7.x and was responsible for recovering companies … I.e. not just sitting at home awaiting power)

    Then, when in Florida, need to go 600+ miles if a hurricane evacuation is called. They are set up for gas to work, chargers not so much. Eventually this might change, but not yet. Having driven back post hurricane, a long ways was zero power. Gas cans I can carry.

    So I need a gas primary car (most years it has been a Diesel with 450 mile range). BUT I’ve always had a couple of spare cars. So a disposable e-car for around town would be fine. But not at Tesla prices. Not interested in $60k being “gone with the wind”. Unfortunately, bottom fishing for old used e-cars gets you an expensive dying battery pack. I doubt I’ll ever find a used e-car for $5k with 5 years of battery life left. (I’ve done better than that with Mercedes gas and Diesel cars).

    So while I’d love to have a cheap old e-car (especially when I was in the “electricity included” RV Park :-) as an around town & grocery run car, I don’t see it happening. Maybe someday.

    Well before that: My ideal car was designed in the early ’80s by Volvo. Diesel electric hybrid. Station wagon at about 50 mpg. IF I could get a plug in like that with 500 miles on Diesel, I’d jump at it. But the project was killed off. Maybe someday.

  8. jim2 says:

    You bought it, you should own it. Period. You should have the right to use it, modify it, and repair it wherever, whenever, and however you want. We fight for your right to fix.

    Repair and reuse enthusiasts represented: 15M
    Member companies and counting: 400+
    States considering Right to Repair Legislation: 25+

  9. H.R. says:

    I have a Honda Fit (it’s true, everything fits in a Fit) and it’s zippy enough, but like all Hondas IMO, a smidge underpowered.

    I was considering a bolt-on turbocharger for my Fit soon after I bought it. It would have given me close to a 30% boost in HP. Wheeee!

    Looking into the matter, I found that any modifications, other than a precious few aftermarket options offered through Honda dealers, voided the entire warranty. So it’s not just the engine, but the bumpers, wipers, window motors… everything voided.

    I suppose that’s almost fair… sorta. But that’s all Honda had to say on the matter. No Big Brother “Thou Shalt Nots” or anything.
    Teslas are quite popular in my neck of the woods. We’re 4 seasons and Winter usually brings some below zero (F) days and often several weeks of single-digit temperatures.

    But in my neck of the woods, most houses have 3 or more vehicles at their disposal, so why not have a Tesla, particularly since there are still a lot of free charging stations scattered about in anticipation of the Great EV Revolution, which never came? I’d say they are probably driving their Acura or Lexus SUV when cold weather hits.

    I wonder if any of the local Tesla owners ever had or have any desire to modify their ride?

    I think I’ll search on aftermarket performance kits for Teslas when I get some idle time. I’d be surprised if there is a lot out there, but who knows? I’ll have to look and see.

  10. philjourdan says:

    You need another reason? The fact that it is software controlled was enough for me. Sorry, I BUY a car, I want to OWN It. Not some megalomaniac who has alternate plans,

  11. H.R. says:

    Well, I guess even Tesla has its share of gearheads who just can’t bear to drive a boring stock car like everyone else. That’s proof of good ol’ American red-blooded purchasers.

    Here’s a Tesla only performance company; Evannex.

  12. H.R. says:

    Rats! I thought that company also sold the motor upgrade kits I saw. Motor upgrades are out there, though, at $5k to $8k.

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Per the video, there is a law forbidding blanket warrantee voiding. The vendor must PROVE any aftermarket change caused whatever warrantee claim problem you present.

  14. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – This was a while back. Things change I suppose.

    The Fit is long out of warranty anyhow. I had considered adding the turbo now and having some fun with its remaining years.

    It would be a little screamer.

    Or I could keep it stock, add a mower deck and have the coolest lawnmower around ;o)

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Vendors STILL claim your warantee is 100% void. But it isn’t. They are just scamming you.

  16. A C Osborn says:

    Bruce Ryan says:
    21 September 2020 at 9:02 pm
    “It is the safest car on the road, crash test wise and will move the car out of the path of oncoming traffic.”

    Yes, straight in to the stationary white truck or van it didn’t see.

  17. spetzer86 says:

    It’s not just about expensive cars. Farmers are fighting similar battles keeping agriculture moving while not going broke:

  18. Bruce Ryan says:

    It’s not me saying it it is the official Government finding.
    Burning batteries are very rare, VERY rare, a little it of misleading news headlines. When your car won’t allow you to be hit by a red light running car, that is pretty good in my opinion. Or it pulls forward to lessen an impact from behind…

  19. stewartpid says:

    Bruce what is “very rare, VERY rare” is a Tesla owner / fanbois telling the truth about Tesla.
    Both Consumer Reports & Edmunds gave Tesla a poor rating – Edmund was the very worst of cars tested and CR was a not recommended as a used purchase. The last time I read a Tesla owner say she thought her Tesla was the best car she ever owned she had a new battery put in under warranty at around 65,000 miles and the drive motor replaced and numerous other little items repaired / replaced. She was trading her S in on a Model 3 & so still a believer but Teslas are not good cars when compared to the best that is out there. Plus they are stupid expensive for what you get.
    Re the fires …. most Teslas are not that old and the fire problem will increase as the cars age …. I sure wouldn’t want one in my garage while my family was sleeping!!
    However if you are happy with your car that is good for you and I hope u enjoy it fire free.

  20. Bob K says:

    “Tesla’s global network has inexplicably crashed, according to Elektrek, which cited users around the world being unable to access their cars via their mobile apps.”
    Network was down for 12 hours.

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    SPONTANEOUS battery fires are very rare. Impact battery fires only require the right kind of impact event (as the 2 high school graduates taking a corner too fast found out when they “hit the wall” and got turned to crispy corpses…). Also, one guy had some FOD thrown up from the road that punctured the battery. He parked the car and got out, then shortly it was shooting flames out the side of the battery pack; then engulfed the vehicle.

    Now are those counted in the statistics as “Fire” or “impact” accidents?

    It’s all well and good that the car tries to save you from impacts; be we have existence proof cases of “Flaming car post impact events”…

    Looking at the bottoms of my cars, I’m not willing to have “impact to bottom pan” be a potentially lethal event.

    Looking at crashes, I’m not willing to have “50 MPH in 25 MPH corner” be a lethal event.

    FWIW, were the battery as protected as my (relatively non-flammable) Diesel tank, I’d not care as much. Making it the bottom pan of the car is smart from a “solve my battery storage space problem” POV but not so good at protecting the battery from impacts.

    The battery MUST be considered just as much of a fire hazard as a gas tank. It has as much energy available, and the organics in it are fuel too. This may change with a different battery chemistry, but that will be later. MUCH later.

    A Tesla battery powered car that crashed, burst into flames and burned its driver beyond recognition Sunday evening along Flamingo Road in Davie repeatedly caught fire after being brought to the tow yard used by police, officials said Monday.

    The 4-door 2016 Tesla Model S was northbound near the 1300 block of S. Flamingo Road shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sunday when “the vehicle left the roadway for unknown reasons,” police said.

    The car swerved through three lanes of traffic, hit a median and some trees and burst into flames, killing the driver, identified by Davie police as Omar Awan.

    There are many more such stories. Almost all (except the 116 MPH crash in Florida) were accidents I’d walk away from in my 2 ton Mercedes with roll cage and crumple zones. ( I know of a similar era Mercedes that left the freeway at “over 100” rolled several times including an ‘end to end’ and was a crumpled mess, and everyone walked away.)

    I do think they are great cars to drive, and look great in the driveway. BUT, you simply can not ignore that in “normal” crashes they tend to burst into flame. More than gasoline? Probably not. But way more than Diesel.

  22. Another Ian says:


    Obviously it hasn’t happened to Bruce yet

    There is this response from an Irish member of the House of Commons back in BC called upon to apologise for a statement –

    “I called the honourable member a ***** it is true”

    “And he can punctuate that to suit himself”

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    FWIW, I am not against folks choosing to take an informed risk. I’ve jumped out of airplanes a few times and road motorcycles for years including in my 50s. Motorcycle riding is WAY more risky than any car. You can guess with that risk profile I’d happily jump in a Tesla for a ride.

    But, at the same time, I only road my motorcycles (yes, plural) on limited occasions and mostly in good weather. (Once I got caught in light snow turning to modest rain decending from a mountan cabin weekend). I tried commuting to San Francisco for a while as parking a MC is easier, but after 2 “near splat” incidents and palm numbness starting, went back to the car.

    So I’d be happy to drive a Tesla some of the time, aware of the collision risk. Just not every day, everywhere, without awareness of the particulars of that vehicle. Unfortunately, most people do drive it every day, unaware. For example, I’d never let a “teen to 20 something” male child take it out with friends. The result has good probability of being ludicrous mode into barrier and crispy kids (as has happened). Nor would I go cross the nation or on unimproved roads (I crossed Christmas Tree Pass near Laughlin Nevada in my 240D on dirt marked “4 wheel drive reccomended” only bottoming a few times on mostly dirt…but one rock into the battery would be very bad).

    My point being you must know the best use profile and risk profile for your vehicles. So I’d be happy with a Tesla as my commuter car (typically under 50 mph on controlled urban streets, few curves) where collisions are unlikely to violate the battery pan. (While being aware any FOD bang to the bottom means stop and inspect). Or for grocery runs or going to the movies. I just can’t justify the cost for that limited use, and I can’t accept the limitations and risks for my out of town driving.

    FWIW: For a while as a roving consultant, I was driving about 30,000 miles a year. Likely over a million miles total by now. So lots of exposure to Aw Shits. I’ve taken out both tires on one side of the car TWICE. Once a pothole on mount Tamalpais (I.e. no where to go, mountain or cliff) and the other a board with nails on the freeway. I’ve had more hard object Foreign Object Damage FOD go bang under the car than I can count and had 3 or 4 windshields bite it. One deer at night at 70 MPH and one near miss deer (not counting the time I was a passenger and my Dad was on a causeway bridge and right at the end of it a deer jumped on the road, taking out the engine). And more.

    So I see a world where you WILL have a collision. Likely several. One or two at some speed. Especially in mountains or rural roads where animals and FOD are frequent. And many many cases of “crap dinging car all over”. Any car that can’t take that without inferno is not for that use case.

    But give me an electric for around town, with low cost electricity, I’m happy. When in the RV park, I’d be happy to have the big Mercedes parked for weeks and use even a golf cart for shopping and such. A Volt or Leaf even better. (But I’m too cheap to spring for a Tesla just for groceries and a night out). Folks regularly made the one mile run to the shopping center via golf carts, even the guy with a 5th Wheel towing Diesel Truck. It just makes sense.

  24. philjourdan says:

    I tried commuting to San Francisco for a while as parking a MC is easier, but after 2 “near splat” incidents and palm numbness starting, went back to the car.

    Try doing that on a 10 speed! My boss got so freaked out (it was only 2 miles) that he required me to wear an orange vest!

    The only time I did not ride the bike was when it got down to -5. Did that number to HS in Deutschland and when I got to school, I could not bend my fingers for half an hour! And had a smile frozen on my face!

  25. Another Ian says:

    September 25, 2020 at 11:01 am · Reply

    Tesla’s latest battery plan.
    Tesla have just had another presentation of their future plans.
    Much of it revolves around a new battery “Cell Format” and construction/production method.
    Lots of tech detail i wont bore you with, but they are claiming to be developing a new “4680” 25 Ah capacity , lithium, cell design (thats 46mm dia and 80 mm tall), with special “tabless , dry electrolyte, construction internally”.
    One of the key points is that they claim they can produce these new cells faster and cheaper.
    Cut to the chase… by 2030, they claim they will be producing 3000 GWh of cell capacity per year ( which is 100 times more than current production from their “GigaFactory).
    Also claimed , is a cost reduction of 56% for assembled packs, ( currently analysists calculate Tesla’s pack cost is us$219/kWh ),..
    The only snag is….. currently this new “wonder” cell is not yet developed for production and the equipment to produce it does not exist !
    If you have an hour to spare..its all here ..

    Those boys sure know how to sell an idea !”

  26. E.M.Smith says:


    I went to U.C. Davis. It is a campus closed to cars. 18,000 bicycles all trying to change classes at the same time. The main intersection (in front of 194 Chem. IIRC) looked like a giant European Round About at rush hour with a zillion bikes whizzing around.

    I was in the furthest dorms away. I’d guess a mile or two. Then moved off campus to an apartment about 5 miles away. Downtown was also a few miles from the campus. You took bikes everywhere except your home town and the liquor store outside of town ;-)

    One year I decided to not wear shoes for the entire year. I had (still have!) a Schwin Varsity 10 speed with metal non-clip in pedals with ‘teeth’. But had nice 1/4 inch calluses at the end of summer, so went for it. That year it snowed. A few times.

    So yeah, I got to ride a steel pedal 10 speed barefoot in the snow for several miles a day.

    Oddly, by maintaining my callus level and acclimating to the weather as it came, it wasn’t that bad. A bit of discomfort as you first hit the cold, then it was OK. I also found I could grip the pedals with my toes and pretend to have clip-ins ;-)

    FWIW, crashes in front of 194 Chem could be spectacular. Like when the peloton all goes down ’cause one rider near the front has an Aw Shit. But circular. Then it would back up down the 4 approaches.

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