Consumer Reports’ recent finding that the Model S’s reliability is only mediocre was a black eye for Tesla, but Elon Musk says that, while early drive units had a range of problems, most of these have now been fixed.
During a recent conference call, Musk assured stock analysts that the powertrains now rolling off the line are “excellent.”
“We are very happy with the quality of the drive unit,” said Musk. “We changed the goal of the drive unit endurance from being approximately 200,000 miles to being a million miles – basically we want drive units that just never wear out. That’s our goal. I think we made really good progress in that direction.”
For example: “We transitioned to automatic grease injection into the spline of the large drive unit – we had variation in how much grease was put into the spline and if not enough grease was put into the spline, it would have premature wear.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes has recalled its B-class EV due to a software problem with the Tesla-built powertrain. “In rare cases,” Daimler says, “the powertrain gateway control unit might send an incorrect signal…regarding the status of the high voltage contactor…temporarily immobilizing the vehicle.”
Unlike Tesla, Daimler does not offer any way to perform over-the-air updates, so owners will have to bring their vehicles to a dealership for a software fix.