Tesla service? Network outage and crashes cause anger

Image copyright Tesla Image caption Tesla sent this message to some Model S and Model X owners during the outage

Some Tesla Model S and Model X drivers have reported being locked out of their cars and being told to contact the company’s customer support centre during a crash during a recent server outage.

A report posted by Tesla owner Richard Hurley said the “core site” was down for several hours.

Tesla said it was “aware of the issue and working to resolve” but didn’t disclose what the problem was.

The company apologised for the disruption, saying it was working “very hard to tackle the problems at hand”.

Image copyright Tesla Image caption Elon Musk said he had an “excellent conversation” with President Donald Trump and invited him for a car test drive

Mr Hurley, from West Allis, Wisconsin, was one of the early ones to report the crash via the Tesla Motors Club community page .

“I was entering the garage when the issue occurred and the Tesla suddenly disconnected,” he told The Guardian.

“The issue lasted for a few minutes but I managed to get the car back online. The car computer has been telling me it’s a hardware issue and that ‘this is not a software problem’.”

Mr Hurley, who has owned the electric vehicle for two years, complained that he had to call Tesla’s customer support for several hours and was repeatedly warned of further downtime.

Tesla engineer Dave Cooper wrote on the forum that the issue did not affect the vehicles’ onboard software or wireless connectivity.

Mr Cooper offered to send battery inspection kits to those who were unable to get online.

But many expressed their displeasure that they had to contact Tesla to fix an issue which was initially known as an “issue within software” and which lasted for hours .

Mr Hurley criticised Tesla for treating the crash “like the annual maintenance it is”.

“It’s impressive that Tesla is able to recover after a short crash,” he said.

“However, the fact that I need to be able to get to the nearest Tesla service centre demonstrates to me that Tesla’s connectivity is essentially non-existent at this point.”

Image copyright AFP Image caption An industrial accident at the company’s Westall, California, plant sent lead dust and air particles into the air

The September 2018 crash included lead dust and air particles, and caused Tesla to apologise to its customers in October.

Tesla has also struggled to respond to questions from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about emissions testing procedures .

Its chief executive Elon Musk was one of several US politicians to meet with President Donald Trump to talk about electric cars in the White House.

But there was a delay in the launch of Tesla’s Model Y, which is planned to be the company’s SUV to follow the Model 3.

A consumer rights group in California urged the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the problem.

The Mercury News newspaper reported that California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Tesla had not responded to the agency’s complaints.

When asked for comment about Tesla’s poor customer service record and recent crash in the past year, the company said it had “redefined the standard for ‘salesmanship’ to which we will hold all Tesla employees”.

Tesla said it was “aware of the issue and working to resolve”.

“We always appreciate having customer feedback, and will review the information we receive.”

Image copyright Tesla Image caption The autopilot system in many Tesla vehicles is expected to become more sophisticated soon

In response to earlier complaints about being locked out of their vehicles , Tesla said its work “continues at a pretty much constant pace and this is what we deal with each day”.

Tesla Autopilot is the company’s semi-autonomous driving system, and has been used to assist drivers as well as drive fully on its own.

“It is one of the best things we have going with this car,” said Mr Hurley.

“I wouldn’t consider Tesla a friend, but at least I have good service. Tesla makes their money a bit differently from other manufacturers but their customer service is generally great.”

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