Tesla gains four spots in Consumer Reports' reliability survey

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla moves up five ranks in CR's reliability survey
Tesla moves up five ranks in CR's reliability survey

Consumer Reports released its annual reliability report, placing Tesla 19th out of 24 car brands. The publication continues to offer harsh reviews for Electric Vehicles placing the entire sector as the second least reliable choice for a vehicle, just ahead of full-size pickups. While this review certainly generated a lot of attention, it is entirely predictable.

Until recently, Tesla was practically the lone player in the EV space, and now automakers are rushing to get an electric car with their brand on the road as quickly as possible. But, of course, any product rushed to market will have issues, and a vehicle is a complex piece of technology and machinery that will show those issues 10-fold.

Big Drops By New EV Manufacturers

For example, Hyundai and Chevrolet, which have significantly pushed into the EV marketplace, dropped in year-over-year rankings. Chevrolet dropped ten spots, and its Volt is listed as the fifth least reliable car. At the same time, Hyundai's Kona comes in ninth. Mercedes Benz dropped to last place in reliability. Consumer Reports blames its drop on EV production as well. Ford is now ranked 18th, as many consumers reported issues with the Mustang Mach-E.

Jake Fisher, a senior director at Consumer Reports, told CNBC, "The automakers are using EVs as a technological testbed for whatever new technology they want to try out. By having all this new technology, there's a lot of potential problems with them."

Tesla Takes Unnecessary Criticism

Fisher's comment begs the question, why are full-size pickup trucks so unreliable? They've been around for a long time. However, the majority of media outlets are aimed at Tesla. Take Bloomberg as an example; it used Tesla in its headline despite their ranking actually improving and the company being ahead of five other brands when it comes to reliability, including Chevrolet (20), GMC (21), Volkswagen (22), Jeep (23), Mercedes-Benz (24).

Consumer Report collects data from consumers of more than 300,000 vehicles. There were 2,000 owners of Teslas included in the survey. Model 3 received an average reliability ranking, but Models S, X and Y ranked below average.

Hybrids Are Not the Answer

On the flip side, Fisher then promotes hybrids as the most reliable vehicles, "Today's hybrids are just as quiet and just as quick and nice to drive as the normal versions. The reliability of electric vehicles is not great. In fact, the majority are actually below average."

This comment is perplexing. EVs removed all of the components that can go wrong with ICE cars. Over the summer, Elon Musk tweeted, Time to move on from hybrid cars. That was a phase. That's a nicer way of saying what he's reportedly called hybrids in the past, "an amphibian in a transition from dinosaurs to mammals." Consumer Reports says that 1 in 3 consumers want a hybrid as their next vehicle.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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