The past couple of weeks have produced some interesting headlines for Tesla, with headlines from the last couple of days even driving the price of Tesla’s stock down. On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Consumer Reports released results from its Annual Auto Reliability Survey which forecasted Tesla’s Model S as likely to have a worse-than-average overall problem rate. This also meant the Model S did not receive Consumer Reports’ recommended designation. This loss of recommended status drove Tesla’s stock price down as much as 11% on Tuesday. There is nuance in Consumer Reports’ write-up of the Model S, though. While there was an assortment of complaints and potential reliability problems listed for the Model S, there was also high satisfaction among the 1,400 survey responses with 97% of owners saying the would definitely buy the car again. Anecdotally, if you read the comments on the Consumer Reports article you will find many a self-proclaimed Tesla owner saying they are quite happy with what they bought.
Then on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, news stories started popping up that Tesla’s recent over-the-air update that brought autopilot to many of its cars is causing close calls for some Tesla owners. Or rather, Tesla owners are causing their own close calls by not fully understanding that this autopilot function is still in beta and is not supposed to be used with your hands off the wheel. This update didn’t turn the Model S into a self-driving car. Hopefully no one injures himself or herself in the pursuit of curiosity.
Lastly, Tesla and the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) are in a potentially interesting legal situation with a mix of he said, she said going on. On October 9, an incident occurred out at the Gigafactory where two RGJ employees were caught allegedly trespassing on Tesla owned property, a scuffle of some sort ensued and one of the RGJ employees was arrested by the Storey County Sheriff’s Department. Interestingly, on October 13, Tesla released its version of events which placed all the blame on the RGJ employees (maybe rightfully so) and stated that the security guards responding were injured by the RGJ employees. Then, on October 19, a lawyer for the RGJ, Scott Glogovac, sent a letter to Tesla claiming “[t]his portrayal is scandalous and could not be further from the truth.” Glogovac claims the security guards rammed the RGJ vehicle with an ATV, smashed a window, cut a seatbelt and dragged an RGJ employee from the vehicle. Maybe the RGJ employees weren’t the only ones at fault. Who knows where the truth lies, but this may be an interesting local event to follow.