At least Tesla offered to buy his Model X back.
The first and last time we talked about James Klafehn so far was in October 2018. He had just developed a range-extender trailer called T-REX, and Rich Benoit told us his story. We considered talking more about him in January 2020, when he reported his frustrating experience with his Model X. The video above shows how the T-REX and his Tesla got along. For the record, Tesla repurchased the Model X.
As Klafehn states in the description, he shot this video in September 2019. He was not sure to post it or not because he feared he could lose the warranty on his car due to the changes he made for it to accept the T-REX. Now that he no longer has the vehicle, Klafehn thought it would be ok to release the video, even if he fears Tesla can sue him for it.
In the video below, published on June 29, the T-REX creator states he reached a deal with Tesla and just received the check for the buyback of his Model X.
As you can see, he had to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and is not able to discuss the details of the deal, but is pretty satisfied with it. As usual, he was called a Tesla basher and FUDster. Anyway, he says he only wishes the company the best and that other owners have a better experience than the one he had. You can have a summary of how it was below.
The video is long, but clarifying of what Klafehn had to go through. It is not very different from the reports we often get from our readers. The Model X was pointed out by Consumer Reports as one of the least reliable cars around.
The main video in this article shows Klafehn’s first experience with the T-REX and the Model X. It appears that the computer registers the car is spending half of what it used to demand at a certain point. That seems to be an indication that is it getting part of the energy from T-REX.
That all said, Klafehn has a legitimate reason to fear a Tesla retaliation. Although he says “zero of the issues were related to my project, and all of them were 100% Tesla problems,” the company can claim the changes he made are the reason for the issues his car had.
Is that the case? Only an extensive independent investigation would be able to verify that for sure. As Klafehn states, Tesla has so many exclusive tools to assess its cars, such as the Toolbox, that it would be tough to have that analysis without massive interference from the carmaker.
The point is that Tesla can now use the main video and future ones with T-REX tests as evidence that he modified the car. Unfortunately for Klafehn, this can have unpredictable implications.
If Tesla decides to do so, it can try to cancel the buyback deal. It may also sue Klafehn for damages, for example. He would end up with the car back to his garage and a lot poorer. A better option for Klafehn, but not for other Tesla customers, is that the company decides to put the problematic Model X back on sale without fixing it, as it did with a Tesla Model 3 with paint issues.
The idea of a range-extender trailer is a fantastic one. It could have helped the Model X TFLCars.com bought perform way better when towing. It could be a new line of products for Tesla. The problem in Klafehn’s case was trying to do that with a brand new car, still subject to warranty and lemon laws. We hope his concerns do not materialize into something terrible. Sadly, Rich Benoit’s case with his latest video and Tesla cutting him from its referral program does not make them look unfounded.
Source: James Klafehn