Tesla To Replace Defective Drive Units On 1,100 Model S In Norway


Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors is currently working on replacing 1,100 defective drive units on Model S sedans in Norway.

Many Model S were delivered to norway in a short timeframe!

Tons of Model S sedans were delivered to Norway in a short timeframe!

Several Model S owners in Norway have reported issues with the drive units – including circular saw sounds and/or clunking noises/sensations.

CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk is personally dealing with the issue at hand. Musk sent an email to Model S owners in Norway stating:

“Unfortunately, this happened when a large batch of cars were produced for Norway, affecting approximately 1,100 vehicles. Approximately 1% have experienced premature wear out of the coupling.”

Tesla Motors has its current techs working at max to correct this issue.  The automaker is hiring additional techs right now in an attempt to resolve this problem as quickly as possible. The new drive units will be flown to Norway as soon as they are manufactured, supposedly some 300 units every week.

Tesla claims it’ll be able to resolve this issue completely within one month.

Source: Nasdaq, Norway Today.

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32 Comments on "Tesla To Replace Defective Drive Units On 1,100 Model S In Norway"

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More quality concerns; glad they are addressing it promptly. It will hurt Tesla’s reputation if this continues.

Promptly? That’s like 6 months too late.
Wonde, what it will do their bottom line. These don’t come cheap.

Faster than GM and the ignition shut-off issues.

Faster than Honda et al, and the air bag issues.

Plus, as far as I know, this Tesla issue hasn’t killed anybody.

Yep and the valet service really sucks when they come to your house to pick up your car.

Good timing. Right after the market closed for weekend.

Looks like it came out yesterday.

Dow Jones Business News, November 20, 2014, 02:05:00 PM EDT

Tell me about it. I had some (240) puts expire 64 minutes ago. Painful ride, like Tsunami bad.

The statistics show similar failure rates in other markets – meaning this problem is not a small batch only, but most likely all cars. Many are experiencing failures of unit 2-5 … and there is no proof the problem is fixed in the new DUs.

I wonder if Tesla’s staff is hesitating to assign a new internal part number. Doh!!!

It’s Friday. Cheers.

“The statistics show similar failure rates in other markets – meaning this problem is not a small batch only, but most likely all cars.”
Not sure where you are getting this. This is a 1100 unit batch and the 1% failure rate is within about half a year. I’m pretty sure the previous problem didn’t crop up that quickly.

“Many are experiencing failures of unit 2-5”
Define “many”.

Not sure where the 1% comes from, that must be actual failures where people are stranded (another one yesterday, by the way). I’m basing these numbers on the Norwegian forum, which is by far the most active worldwide.
Owners who had their DUs replaced seem to notice the “early warning” sounds after just a few 1000kms now that they are aware of what to listen for. And no, it’s not just the performance either.

I wonder what they mean by premature wear out of the coupling… And what they call the problem the rest have been having that is serious enough to replace the drive unit.

Yeah, we’ve know about this motor problem for a while. Hopefully they’ve got it all figured out and it doesn’t cost too much to make the repairs on all the cars in the field.

Elon said something about it being fixed with a shim. I doubt it is that simple of an issue but I guess it is possible.

A tempest in a teapot.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Does Tesla have a European site for tearing down and refurbishing motors or do they send ’em all back to the factory? Presumably, once they have a fix and procedures for implementing it, it’d be cheaper and faster to have a somewhat local depot handle all of the refurbishing, after swapping the motor out of customer vehicles.

Could also be legal issues with using refurb motors, though presumably they could be warranted for another 8 years/unlimited miles to alleviate concerns..

What an utter crap post where you cannot even cut-and-paste properly. There is no drive unit design issue, there was an issue during manufacturing with the performance DUs, which is still not great, but you could not tell that from this article. And the extra techs are not being hired to “resolve” the problem but to complete repairs to get owners’ cars turned around as quickly as possible. Here is the blurb from the WSJ with some actual context: “Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) said it will replace defective drive units in certain Model S cars sold in Norway after some owners reported the parts were wearing out. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk emailed owners of Model S sedans in Norway to acknowledge the problem, the company said. Tesla said a part connecting the drive motor to the gearbox could fail because it didn’t get enough grease applied when it was manufactured. “Unfortunately, this happened when a large batch of cars were produced for Norway, affecting approximately 1,100 vehicles. Approximately 1% have experienced premature wear out” of the coupling, the company said in a statement. The problem affects high-performance versions of the Model S, battery-powered luxury sedans. Tesla said it will… Read more »

I agree that this article is poorly written. There are several spelling and grammar errors. The comment about hiring new tech to help resolve the issue is riduculous. Tesla is not going to hire a new tech off the street to figure out the problem.

It’s not just performance DU’s, lots of non-Performance cars have the issue, even 60s. Musk can deny it if he wants, it doesn’t change the facts.

The simplicity of the Tesla system.
Just a motor and a gear reduction set.
How could there be so many failures?

Don’t ever whine at me about the Volt’s tranny. It’s more reliable with twice the gears.

These guys don’t know how to make reliable cars. Musk himself said in Q3 call, making cars is really hard.
It’s not like the few lines of code change in paypal software.

I agree that Volt tranny is good and people don’t know what they are talking about when they whine about the Volt.

With that said, 2011-2012 Volt do have that service bulletin that some Volt has the bearing sleeve issue that is pretty expensive to repair (covered under warranty). GM changed the design in 2013 to correct that issue.


The Tesla drive motor/gearbox issues are far from new. This might be a unique issue, but in the Toyota RAV4 EV (Tesla Model S drivetrain), replacement motors for “milling sounds” (Tesla’s term, not mine) is fairly regular.

I currently own four vehicles with these drivetrains (3 RAV4 and 1 Mercedes B-Class), one with a replaced motor at 11,000 miles and that replacement (now with 45,000 miles) is making the milling sound.

It’s not a huge issue for me, as they can swap out the motor in one day.

My one month old Mercedes motor also has an oil leak. Quality control is certainly a weak point with these motor issues.

Well I don’t have a dog in this fight, and don’t have any puts against tesla. But the uncanny thing is that I don’t understand how this condition has transpired. That’s a huge failure rate, and it always deals with pushing a part beyond its reasonable limits. All gear manufacturers that I know of discuss first with the customer the LEVEL of loading namely class I, II, or III, the first one being very smooth loading of the gear reducer, or individual gears themselves if the customer is going to manufacture his own reducer. Since Tesla would be a LARGE customer in anyone’s book, I just can’t see how a situation could develop, unless they flatly ignored design advice I’m sure offered. Not mentioned here, and I don’t think its a european problem since I haven’t heard of any tesla 3 phase plug problems, only the single phase 14-50 adapter in the states, which I also don’t see how that problem developed unless they just didn’t have anyone ‘seasoned’ enough to properly evaluate electrical equipment. To their credit they handled that problem with a fusible plug, so while the plug may not be any better, at least it won’t start… Read more »

I’m guessing here so don’t quote me; but, the source of the problem might be the amazing stall speed torque of Tesla’s electric motor and the idea of utilizing all that torque for fast acceleration off the line. Perhaps a slower ramp up would help fix any premature wear of the mechanical driveline components.

Tesla has 9.73:1 gearing ratio. That is over 4,000 ft-lbs of torque at 0 rpm. I seriously doubt the tires can handle all that torque without traction control “detuning” it.

The problem is that if the gears can’t handle it, then Tesla should detune it or upgrade the gears further. It is a simple derating issue.

The common “excuse” that Tesla got too much torque and gearing box can’t handle it is just a Tesla fan club’s excuse which is pretty ignorant. That can be fixed by having a more expensive gearing box with special alloy gears or change the tunning design.

A higher powered ICE car can get similar torque at gearing box by revving the engine and then drop the clutch as well…

If you mean a slightly slower ramp up it wouldn’t matter sincer helical gears are constantly meshed and there’s almost no backlash. The ultimate torque is either ‘acceptable’, or its too high for the gears. Larger gears would solve the problem. A side issue is whether the motor screams along too fast for the pinion, but thats a side issue which I also have for my Roadster. It would have been more efficient in either the Roadster or the S to make the motor run less revolutions per mile (and end up with a more efficient, easier to cool, but unfortunately physically larger motor – but the Tesla guys seem to like ‘screamers’. My motor in the roadster runs 14,000 rpm @ 125 mph, 7,000 rpm @ 62.5 mph, etc. This would also improve the efficiency of the gears. If you mean much slower ramp up then you’re really talking about less horsepower to accelerate the car, but then you are just illustrating that the gears are much too small for the job, something anything gear manufacturer JUST HAD to warn TESLA about, and they must have ignored the advice. Oh sure, if they had this problem in one in… Read more »

Big deal, EVERY SINGLE GM vehicle this year has had a recall and it isn’t much different with other manufacturers, even the luxury/premium ones.

Yup, Not a big deal to me at all, since apparently neither of my cars, neither my 2011 Volt, nor my 2011 Roadster, have inadequate gear reducers.

(The early roadsters had this problem, but as you say, BIG DEAL, because the problem was fixed prior to my purchase of it)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I believe the Volt is still recall-free, while the Spark EV had one for a hood latch that could rust.

The Volt had that recall about strengthening the battery box/ attach structure after the the Volt that flipped over, leaked, and then caught fire like a week later. I think mine also had an air bag sensor check recall.

As part of that recall they also forced customers to return the ‘model 2’ Voltec 110 volt EVSE for a ‘Model 3’ unit with (for me), a too short attachment cord which was heavier, presumably to drain heat away from any Ramshackle recepticle it might be plugged into. My ‘model 2’ worked flawlessly, but then I only used a ‘SPEC GRADE’ recepticle, since there was a warning in the Owners’ Manual that to my mind held GM harmless regarding ramshackle recepticles: “Warning: This is a HIGH-POWER Device. Have a Professional Electrician evaluate any recepticles you plan on using, and take adequate corrective measures, prior to energizing this device.” The 2013-2015 VOlts took this bedwetting to an even further degree by making the car charge at 8 amps EVERY TIME, forcing the owner to make a Deliberate Decision to change it to 12 amps every time. Reminds me of all the stickers on ladders, basically telling you not to use it because you might fall off. They’ve become a little more lenient with the 2016, using the customer’s location to set the charge level. The slight opening for a nuisance lawsuit is that the customer might at times plug into a… Read more »