EVs: If you build them, will they sell?

We had a short adjustment period to the center screens on our 3 & Y, but three things resolved it:

  1. There is very little we want to adjust after setting the automatic features, including adjusting the seats and mirrors to our pre-set individual preferences. You probably don’t change your brother’s pre-sets.

  2. We quickly learned where the “controls we rarely need” are.

  3. Tesla frequently updates the software and most of the changes are positive.

In the time we’ve owned them, there have been a couple hiccups that required us to re-boot the software. No big deal.

Lucid >> I would encourage anyone to stay away from Lucid. They are getting zero traction in the marketplace and I would be concerned about when the Saudi government will get weary of keeping the company alive. Then you’d be stuck.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


I’m going to go the other way. Why do I want regular updates at all on my car?

I like updates on my home computing devices. Those are incredibly complex, with potential unanticipated interactions with software that I install separately from the manufacturer. But I don’t need software updates for my printer. Connect it up and it works. I don’t need software updates for my keyboard or mouse or monitor. They just work.

In my car, all of the computing is done and integrated by the manufacturer. I can’t easily add or modify anything in the programming. I can’t install third party software that might have some unanticipated interactions. All of the code can be thoroughly tested and debugged, and there should be no problems with any of it.

As to entertainment systems, that is where things get tricky. We now want to integrate our mobile phones with our car. That introduces the potential for software issues, particularly as new phones introduce new features. It might be nice for there to be updates for that. But it doesn’t particularly bother me if there aren’t.




The only other car person who really went after costs to gain a place for the automobile was Henry Ford. We are not just talking a price cut but innovation. Having an MBA does not make you Elon Musk or Henry Ford.

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Of course not. It’s his car, not mine. But that’s irrelevant. That’s not where the problems lie.

To reiterate, here are my issues:

  1. Center screen. To find your current speed, you must look down and to the side. Then you must read some numbers, not a graphic display. Both of these take time and take your eyes and concentration away from the road - way more than looking straight down at a speedometer. For heavens’ sake, Tesla, just put a HUD on the windshield for this most basic of driving information.

  2. Ventilation. You have to poke around in that center display somewhere to find how to change the direction of the blowing air. Impossible to do while driving. Yet a simple adjustable vent is easy to do. And please don’t say it’s a set it and forget it thing. I’m in coastal So Cal. It can be 95 during the day where that air blasting in your face feels great, and 60 at night when you’d prefer to have some air blowing beside you and not at you.

  3. The “gear” stalk. I can’t get to reverse without going through drive. Why?

  4. One pedal driving. Yes, this one is adjustable, but I’m not going to change it - partly because I can’t find it. I did spend about 5 minutes one day sitting in my driveway trying to figure that one out. If you can’t find something in 5 minutes, the interface isn’t intuitive. So it’s not really the one pedal driving, it’s the interface.

  5. But I don’t like the one pedal driving either. With that, you always have to hold your foot somewhere along the pedal travel. There is no “coast” with no pedal applied. You’re either accelerating or slowing. In my urban/suburban traffic, there are a lot of stop lights. In my ICE, I spend a lot of time coasting up to the next red light with neither pedal applied. That lets you rest your foot. There is no rest for your foot when one pedal driving, save for any time spent stopped at said stop lights. Also, your pedal application is less accurate. With two pedal driving, I have the full travel of the accelerator to use for acceleration. I can use a small bit of pedal travel to get a small bit of acceleration. With one pedal driving, that small movement generates a much larger change in acceleration. It’s less accurate, which makes driving less smooth. I do a lot of jerking forward and back in the Tesla. Of course, none of this would matter if I could find the place to turn it off. But I can’t.

  6. Oh, the user interface. I thought I had that figured out, to change from displaying the music choices to the map display and on to the car to open the f/trunk. But there must have been some update and things are different again. Or there’s some other portion of the menus that I’ve never been in before.

  7. Real safety issues. You’re in a wreck. The car has decided to disconnect both batteries (traction and 12 volt) for safety reasons. Quick - how do you open the door? Front? Back? Hint - they’re different and you may not be able to get out of the back.

  8. While we’re on the doors, the exterior door handles are stupid. S/X - Tech for no good reason. That’s stupid tech. 3/Y - slightly better, but still uncomfortable to use.

And once again to reiterate - I like EVs. We need them. I want one. Teslas are fantastic as cars while driving them (sans one pedal mode, but that’s optional not required, so no demerits there). They’re terrible at a bunch of the non-car stuff that you use all the time in conjunction with the driving experience.

I’d compare it to having wonderful sex with the ugliest partner you can imagine. Great at part of the job, not so much at another.



Because your car is full of software. And that software is full of bugs. New versions of software fix those bugs and make your driving life smoother and easier. And safer in many cases. Pretty soon, NHTSA will require all cars to have OTA capability for safety reasons.

By the way, he can very easily create a profile for you, add your phone as a key, and then you can store all your preferences (seats, mirrors, drive style, presets, etc). Every time you switch cars, it’ll be setup perfectly for you!


But it’s not general purpose software. It is single purpose software.

My home thermometer has software in it. But it doesn’t need updates. It’s single purpose.
My microwave has software in it. But it doesn’t need updates.
My universal entertainment system has software in it. But it doesn’t need updates.

These are all closed systems. They don’t interface with unknown third party software.

My car is also a closed system (with the possible exception of the entertainment system). It doesn’t interface with unknown third party software. It should not need updates. All of the software in it can be tested in house.

Granted, a car is a lot more complicated than a thermometer or microwave or universal remote. But it’s still a closed system.

So why should a car need updates? Just having software is not reason enough to need updates. ** See below for my answer.

Does that personal profile include door handles (inside and outside) that make sense? Does it include properly adjustable air vents? Does it include basic driving information on a display behind the steering wheel where it is safer to glance at?


So why do I think Teslas need software updates? Because Tesla owners are testing the software for the company. FSD is just one. Even without FSD, your car is probably recording and reporting data back to Tesla to improve FSD. Even non-FSD features, like emergency braking and steering, are works in progress. I’m not saying the cars are unsafe because of this. But not every Tesla driver understands that they are using features that require supervision. I almost forgot Autopilot. That’s a work in progress, too. So it needs updates.

None of these are bad things. They are misinterpreted by some owners. (Hence idiots who engage autopilot then start to read a book or watch a movie.) And they may one day be great features.

In an ICE vehicle, all of the engine management programming is done and tested to meet EPA standards. Changes to that programming require another round of EPA testing, so generally aren’t done unless someone is caught cheating on the EPA tests. So it’s all the whiz bang features that might need updates.

Besides OTA updates to fix bugs, Tesla provides new features. Real new features. After I got my car they added a dashcam, camera activated security system and dozens of things not in the car when I bought it. Things like GPS map updates Toyotas (for example) that I have owned charged hundreds just to get new data.

I get it that you think the non-entertainment software in a car should be bug free and never change. But most car makers have had expensive recalls just to update software such as the recent Hyundai/Kia easy-to-steal bug. Sadly, this will be the norm



No, they didn’t. They didn’t add a dash can via software updates. The camera must have always been there. Or did they come out to your car and add one?

PS. I said thermometer, not thermostat.

Even single purpose items get a lot of software upgrades. 20 years ago I bought a Denon DVD player that had some issue with audio. Can’t remember what it is now but I took it back in and they fixed it but then it had a different issue that had to be addressed. I think I had to get it fixed 4 times and sometimes they kept it for a while. Back then I thought they were changing a card or chip but they may have just been applying different firmwares that couldn’t be done by the consumer back then

Now my Blu-ray player and receiver will automatically get a new software patch/upgrade to fix various issues and with rare exceptions, may add feature support.

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And how did they do that via a software update? You had a camera already installed and not doing anything? I’m confused.


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Why is everyone trying to convince Pete that he is wrong and that he needs to get on board? This behaviour is starting to look like a ‘cult’ - “you will just love all the new stuff and you will get used to it - and don’t forget the unicorns and rainbows”



Well, there are people who are both very self confident and convinced that others should follow what they do.



My thermostat has received periodic updates over the years. Why would anyone want to keep bugs that have been fixed??? I also have a few of those cheap Govee thermometers (to monitor various temperatures) and they also get periodic updates. We discussed those on the "Maintaining a Home"board a few weeks/months ago.

My entertainment systems also get regular software updates. They pretty much all do at this point.

To fix old features.
To add improvements to safety systems.
To make it more efficient.
To add features.
To make it compatible with other [external] systems that use interfaces that have changed.
To install “recall” updates (this is why NHTSA will eventually require OTA).

Tesla has really muddied the waters with deceptive names for some of their features. Maybe I can add a little clarity.

Autopilot - a cruise control feature that keeps your car going at a set speed, keeps it in the current lane, and will adjust speed based on vehicles ahead of you in your lane. Most new cars have this feature, at least as an option. It is a mature feature that most driver of newer cars understand and use relatively often.

FSD (“Full Self Driving”) - a self-driving feature that requires full human supervision at all times. It will drive the car, it will stop at red lights/stop signs, it will start when the light changes green, it will change lanes, it will avoid other cars whenever possible (crash avoidance), etc.

FSD Beta - The most recent version of software that will do all that FSD does, and will also navigate to destinations on all sorts of streets, including city streets, including stopping for lights and stop signs, merging, changing lanes as necessary. Still requires full human supervision at all times. It will literally do nearly everything, you pull out of your driveway, you enter a destination, and it’ll drive there, when you get there, you navigate the parking lot and park. It is really VERY impressive, but it only 95% of the way there (self-driving), and that last 5% will take some time to complete.

Because this is the Internet, and when someone is wrong, you are obligated to correct them!


Thank you for understanding.

I’ll fess up and admit that I am playing a bit of a role here. But it is for exactly the purpose you mention, to expose the groupthink that often goes along with a certain car brand. Their fans see everything they do as good and wonderful. How did you put it - unicorns and rainbows?

The lapse in critical thinking is interesting to note on a board dedicated to critical thinking on a different topic - macroeconomics.

There’s also a bit of looking at differences in needs and preferences. What one person wants and needs is often different from another person’s. This overriding love for a product can show up in another flavor of groupthink - this product is right for me so it must be right for everyone else, too.

On the other hand, there is one point where I am quite sincere. That single center touch screen is dangerous. I’m waiting for the next iteration of Ralph Nader to come on the scene and proclaim that is unsafe at any speed.



I have to say this triggers memories - many years ago (many) I created my first social media account (I was in IT and thought I needed to understand where this was going for work reasons, hence my username of ‘theKingOfMIS’) - and I spent my first year trying to correct all the idiots posting stupid stuff on various forums. I discovered how little people want to know actual facts and how much stupidity was out there. I gave up and moved on. However, I am now ‘fully retired’ and may, on occasion, try to set the world right!

So; leave Pete alone, he is correct and he is also entitled to his opinion even if it is the correct opinion!



Thank you for the defense, I appreciate it.

I am pretty sure MarkR meant that in the best way possible, partly because he believes it, and partly because he appreciates the occasional sparring as much as I do. He missed the smiley at the end, but I read his comment as if it were there. :wink:



For anyone who’s been on the Internet for any appreciable amount of time, THAT particular comic is the epitome of an implied smiley.

While typing my comment, I entered a smiley emoji and then purposely deleted it immediately because of the implied smiley that was already present.


Mark, you ignorant …

Smileys came into use specifically so people don’t have to rely on implied emotions. (Smiley or frowny deleted for comic ambiguity)



Why post your opinion on a social media discussion board if you don’t want anyone to comment on it? Weird.

A car doesn’t. But a car designed so that its performance can be continually improved by software updates is potentially a better product.

A tradition typewriter also needs no software updates. But my productivity is increased by using a word processor because of additional features that are continually being improved by software updates.

An easy defense for an unpopular opinion is to accuse everyone else of “groupthink”. One test of that assertion is to look at the empirical evidence. What we know is that contrary to the popular opinion from as little as five years ago, a vehicle capable of online updates and with a single center touch screen has become one of the best selling passenger vehicles in the world. Strongly suggests that the touch screen is not a big negative and increases the possibility that the capacity for over-the-air updates is a big positive.


I’m not seeing a lapse in critical thinking. On either side.
I like the back and forth specifically cause it causes me to think about the topic/s.

For instance: the center screen issue.
I’m currently using voice, via my phone/Google, commands more and more. “Hey Google. (Short pause) call Bob Smith”.
Hey Google open Pandora.
The phone alarm sounds, I say “Stop” and it stops.
Therefore, I’m thinking that any wanting to touch physical knobs, slider controls, etc, is gonna be a non issue for me.
Sometimes my phone is in my pocket, and it responds to my voice commands.

I’ve never owned a vehicle with great HVAC venting. I have been in many vehicles in which I vent with “good enough”. The comments are useful.
Ditto the seat position.

The ICE business plan is
*“you get what you bought, and if you want new and improved, you gotta buy new. Give us more $$$$.”
This includes software upgrades.

Tesla seems to use a different philosophy
*“How do we make that previously sold model better - for free?”.
Or perhaps it’s
*“How do we reduce the friction of owning our car?”.

I do NOT have/own a Tesla, nor one on order.
I have a RAV4. I like it, but IMO it’s a mediocre device.
I do NOT like Toyota, the company. It’s hidebound and focused on maximizing it’s income, by screwing the customer. IMO.
I’ve had this same POV for the Prius, Malibu, Dodge Ram, '75 Chevy pickup, Datsun B210… Etc. The old car makers had the consumer over a barrel and developed a WHOLE ECOSYSTEM for “screwing the customer”.

IDK if I’d like a Tesla vehicle or not.
Some things about Elon, I like. Some things not so much. But, I think Tesla is disrupting the ICE bureaucracy with innovative user experience. This is forcing the old school companies to offer better user experience, too.
I like that TSLA, the company, has changed the “screw the customer” paradigm.

THAT is my INVESTING thesis for TSLA. I do own stock. (There is more to the investing thesis, too.)

I don’t see me as not thinking critically about it. I know that when I put some $ on the horse, I tend to glamorize the pros and dismiss the cons. Therefore, these type threads are useful.
I do appreciate the back and forth comments.