Tesla Model S Owners Report Improved Reliability
Improved reliability shows promise for new, less expensive Model 3
Tesla Model S owners reported their car’s reliability has improved in Consumer Reports' latest survey, giving the EV sedan its first above-average rating.
Because of the Model S’s improved rating, the all-new Tesla Model 3 EV predicted reliability rating also has improved, rising to average in CR's rankings. That's because Tesla’s less expensive Model 3 borrows much of its technology from its bigger brother.
Consumer Reports doesn't have data yet specifically from Model 3 owners, but it makes predictions on every new and redesigned vehicle based on the manufacturer's history and data from vehicles that share major components. Along the same vein, the new Kia Stinger sports sedan also gets a prediction of average reliability, even though Stinger owners have not yet reported their experiences back to CR in any survey.
Tesla declined to comment directly for this story. But in comments to company shareholders in June, Musk noted that the company sought to make the Model 3 less complicated than earlier Tesla models.
Musk told shareholders that “we have kept the initial configurations for Model 3 very simple. This is critical to achieving a rapid production ramp.”
He told shareholders that the Model X SUV was hurt by Tesla trying to be too ambitious. “I think it’s really an amazing product, but it has way too many cool things in it that should have really been rolled in with Version 2, Version 3, that would have been the sensible way to do it. We got overconfident and created something great that probably will never be made again,” Musk said.
Now, as the company works to roll out the Model 3 at mass-market levels, the number of options for buyers is limited. The company produced 260 sedans by the end of September, even though Musk predicted a schedule of 1,600 by that time.
Customers will have a few choices related to color and wheels and a few other options, Musk told shareholders in July.
“And then we will show what other versions are coming later as soon as we get configuration 1 right.”
As Musk notes, simplicity can be a virtue when it comes to reliability. The original Model S received a rating of Average reliability in its first year, but once more features and options were added in the second year, its reliability rating fell. How the Model 3's reliability will fare over time will be answered once owners get their hands on it.
Consumer Reports will put the Model 3 through its usual battery of tests once it has purchased one.