The Silicon Valley motto “move fast and break things” may be great for software or even smartphones, but it is not going well when it relates to cars. Jarle Kvalheim, from Tek.no, wrote that he is fed up with electric cars being delivered to customers without being fully tested. That implies customers are paying to test products that should be mature enough to be put for sale, and he mentions multiple examples of that.
If Tesla came to your mind, it is the company with more examples of issues that should have been solved with enough testing, but it is far from being the only company on his list. He starts with the Volkswagen ID.3 that he bought and had multiple issues related to software.
and even the reasons Volkswagen had to sell the ID.3 before it should: reducing the fine it would get for not complying with 2020 carbon emission targets. A software update would have solved most of the issues, but some still wait for a solution.
Regarding the Tesla vehicles, Kvalheim names two issues with them. The first would be a problem with the Model 3 and its heat pump, which would not be working properly, making drivers face an icy cabin.
Kvalheim also mentions the Polestar 2 problems, the Kona Electric fire recall and 12V battery issues, the charging faults on the Audi e-tron, a software glitch that made MG cars have a range of 44 kilometers, and finally the Jaguar I-PACE, which would have rear doors that allowed sand and dust to enter the cabin.
The Norwegian writer names these issues as an example that things need to improve in the electric car world. He is concerned that authorities are not doing a good job at making sure these cars will be safe enough to be sold, but not only that.
As some companies sold the cars without offering a test drive, Kvalheim argues that people just took some stuff for granted just to find out the cars did not offer them, such as rear speakers on the ID.3. His car probably came without them, and he is not the only one to complain about that, according to his text.
Kvalheim is also worried about updates. Pointed out as one of the best benefits Tesla offers to its customers – for allegedly improving the cars over time – he is afraid that these updates can make them worse, just like some smartphone updates already have. When Tesla capped the Model S' battery packs voltage, it was sued by owners unhappy to get less range than they did before the updates.
It is not clear if legacy companies will keep the “move fast and break things” strategy in 2021. Their excuse to do so in 2020 was the carbon emission fines. Regarding Tesla, it does not seem to plan to stop it, as the LFP Model 3 proves. Or Autopilot and FSD being under beta testing, for that matter.
What we know for sure is that regular customers are not happy about that strategy. In the long run, that can harm EV adoption: if people feel they will have more issues with electric cars than they do with combustion-engine vehicles, they may resist the shift, even if that is not Kvalheim’s case. He is pretty happy with the way EVs drive, but he only knows about it after taking the first step. That’s precisely what the Silicon Valley motto can prevent.