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When an out-of-warranty EV fails, who you gonna call?

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My friend Jim loves his 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric. It only has 87 miles of range, but Jim estimates that about 70% of his family’s annual vehicle miles are on the B-Class Electric. That’s why it was so disappointing when last year the motor started whining so severely that the car was nearly undrivable. To add insult to injury, the local Mercedes-Benz dealership quoted $18,000 to get it fixed by replacing the entire powertrain.

I felt somewhat responsible for Jim’s predicament. Jim spent his 30-year career at the Environmental Protection Agency before retiring a couple of years ago. I helped Jim think through his decision about getting an EV in late 2014. There weren’t many choices at the time. Ultimately, he was swayed by the style and comfort of the B-Class powered by a Tesla powertrain.

A few months ago, he wrote to me:

Here’s my problem in a nutshell. I’m out of warranty (four years or 50,000 miles). And perhaps out of luck. Maybe we should drive it until it dies.

I need to investigate what exactly the whine is. Is it a bearing problem? Will the car suddenly die? Who knows?

The Mercedes-Benz dealership subsequently reduced the repair quote to $12,000, giving Jim the motor at cost and 20% off labor. But that was still pricey for the six-year-old 87-mile EV.

After scouring the internet, Jim discovered that a surprising number of the few thousand cars with early Tesla powertrains were experiencing similar problems. The three problematic models are first-gen Roadsters, Toyota RAV4 EVs, and Mercedes-Benz Electrics. Jim sent me these two links:

http://www.mybclasselectricdrive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=644

http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=251&start=510

I replied with the names of Bay Area EV-loving mechanics to get a second opinion. And he discovered in one of the forums that QC Charge in San Marcos, California (about 30 miles north of San Diego) does repairs on those three early EVs that all use nearly identical versions of Tesla’s powertrain.

Jim told me:

I’m going to ship the car to QC Charge and have them service the motor. The total cost with shipping is around $5,000. Hopefully, it is repairable, and we buy some time to consider what our next EV will be.

Tony Williams, the founder of QC Charge, started the business in 2012. One of his first products was an aftermarket quick-charge port that allowed owners of the Toyota RAV4 EV to charge just like a Tesla Model S. The two vehicles use a similar powertrain — but Toyota decided not to include a quick charger on the electric RAV. (Only 2,600 of those Toyota SUVs were built. QC has equipped hundreds of them with its quick-charge hack.)

QC Charge currently offers dozens of EV adapters, extension cables, and kits. And they do a robust business of repairing those Roadsters, RAVs, and B-Class Electrics. “Last count I have 17 cars out front,” said Williams, who has repaired several hundred EVs.

He explained the situation that Jim and others driving out-of-warranty EVs might face.

The mechanic in a Toyota shop or a shop is not going to pull apart a motor. That’s not their normal business.

They troubleshoot the cars, and they replace the parts. That’s their bread and butter. That means that for the motor, for instance, there could be a $3 part broken on it, a speed sensor or something, and they’ll replace the entire motor.

So they might charge 15 grand or more for a $3 part.

Williams recounted multiple stories of owners of the three Tesla-powered models who had entirely given up hope on cars that had completely stopped moving. Dealerships told these owners that the only option is a new motor. But Williams was able to get the vehicle running in 15 minutes with inexpensive parts on his shelf.

Here’s how QC diagnosed Jim’s car, which was not difficult. Take note that Tony William owns four Teslas, all bought new from the company. He’s a fan of the company’s constant push toward innovation. Our phone conversation was delaying him from taking his first drive of a Model Y that just arrived at his shop.

Williams explained what happened to Jim’s B-Class EV:

It’s a Tesla-related design problem. The inductive motor eats up the bearings.

The power is going through the field, which goes to the rotor which makes it spin, but a whole lot of that power is going through the bearings because it’s a conductive path to get between the field and the rotor. If you can imagine that much electrical energy constantly going through those poor metal bearings, they start to pit the bearings and the bearing races, and then, of course, the bearings fail.

Electromagnetic energy needs someplace to go, so it needs a discharge path. There’s a discharge charge path on the motor, but it’s pretty inadequate.

Williams said there are only two bearings ­— one on each end of the motor — each measuring about two or three inches in diameter. The bearings are the only moving parts of the motor.

He explained that the bearings also take the brute impact of driving over bumps and potholes — and they can be inadequately lubricated after years of use.

Williams is fully aware that the EV market will soon grow to the point that there will be thousands, and then millions of electric cars coming off warranty ­— and neither traditional automakers nor Tesla will be able to cost-effectively help all these owners with out-of-warranty cars.

We hope to franchise a model for repairs of electric vehicles with all the things we’ve learned in the last eight years. We do heavy maintenance right down to the component level. A normal repair shop does not do that.

Williams said that he is “actively working” to set up franchises, train them on EV repair, and provide support of deep-level expertise and parts as necessary. What I see in Williams’ plan is the beginning of a nationwide network of independent electric-vehicle repair specialists that needs to develop for the burgeoning EV world.

Meanwhile, I heard from Jim a few days ago.

We got the Mercedes back on Saturday. No whining sound!

Jim said the bill was going to be a fraction of what the dealership was going to charge. He added, “Hopefully we’ll get another five years out of the car.”

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Source: https://electrek.co/2020/06/12/when-an-out-of-warranty-ev-fails-who-you-gonna-call/

Automotive

Rivian adopts mobile service model for maximum convenience

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Rivian Service promises to provide a proactive and personal approach to mobile vehicle service. Rivian seems to have developed an intricate mobile service model to make vehicle care more convenient for R1T and R1S owners.

Over-the-air updates will support Rivian’s mobile service model to optimize a vehicle’s performance continuously. Most of the over-the-air updates will take place at night, making it more convenient for owners.

The company’s mobile service will also be backed by Rivian Remote Care, enabling the company to perform comprehensive diagnostics from afar. With Rivian Remote Care, technicians can proactively identify most vehicle problems even before the owner notices them.

Credit: Rivian

“We’re remotely diagnosing vehicles and pre-ordering parts if needed. By the time we arrive for your mobile service appointment, we’re ready to resolve your issue on the spots,” said Edwin, a Rivian Service technician.

Rivian will have a fleet of mobile service vans ready for deployment at any time. Rivian mobile technicians can attend to calls at an owner’s home, workplace, or anywhere service is needed within the United States and Canada. Rivian plans to expand its mobile services as it reaches other markets.

Rivian technicians will also bring vehicles that need extensive care to service centers and return them to owners afterward. The company will provide a loaner to owners while their cars are cared for at the service center. Rivian has not specified what vehicles will be used as loaners.

Rivian plans to open over 40 service centers in the United States and Canada soon. More service centers are planned for the future as Rivian grows. The company has also established a network of Rivian-owned and Rivian-certified collision centers for bodywork and exterior damages.

Rivian Service seems to go hand-in-hand with the company’s warranty coverage. Rivian’s warranty system is also quite intricate. It includes a Comprehensive Warranty, a Battery Warranty, a Drivetrain Warranty, and a Perforation Corrosion Warranty.

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, email us at [email protected] or reach out to me at [email protected].

Rivian adopts mobile service model for maximum convenience

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/rivian-mobile-service-details/

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Lucid Motors, Rivian sued by Illinois car dealers for direct sales

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Lucid Motors and Rivian were sued by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, and some individual franchised auto dealerships in the state for selling vehicles directly to consumers.

The numerous plaintiffs are accusing both Rivian and Lucid of violating state laws that require new vehicles to be sold through franchised dealerships. The direct-to-consumer sales platform has become popular with electric car companies, especially Tesla who has never operated through dealerships. While each of the aforementioned automotive companies does have showrooms in operation to display their products, they do not have salespeople or sales managers who negotiate prices with customers. The costs are the same for everyone, a strategy that has alleviated a lot of stress from the car buying process.

In May 2019, the dealers, the Secretary of State, and Tesla entered an agreement that would consent to the automaker obtaining no more than 13 dealer licenses in Illinois. This allowed showrooms to sell vehicles to customers, but it only applies to Tesla and not to Lucid and Rivian.

The new lawsuit against Rivian and Lucid alleges the Secretary of State of “turning a blind eye to Rivian’s unlicensed sales operations,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We have no choice but to file this lawsuit, both to protect consumers as well as the hundreds of franchised dealers across the state who contribute to the local economy,” Pete Sander, the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association President, said. Sander represents more than 700 auto dealers that operate over 2,300 franchises across the state.

Credit: Lucid Motors

The Illinois Vehicle Code and the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act were cited in the lawsuit. These mandate that all vehicle sales to the public “must be made through licensed and independent franchised” dealers.

Lucid operates out of California and has its main production facility in Arizona. The company recently opened a sales studio in Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago that is home to several large corporations like Ace Hardware and Blistex. However, Rivian is based in Normal, Illinois, and the lawsuit seems to affect it more than Lucid simply because of the company’s base location.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office issued “an informal opinion” last summer that stated new automotive manufactures are not expressly required by law to establish franchised dealerships to sell their cars. This gives companies like Rivian and Lucid the opportunity to sell their products directly to customers unless the lawsuit filed by the numerous plaintiffs moves forward. A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office said they would review the complaint when it comes to their office.

Lucid Motors, Rivian sued by Illinois car dealers for direct sales

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/lucid-rivian-lawsuit-direct-sales-ban-illinois/

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Elon Musk’s Starlink Beta meets opposition from India’s industry body

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It appears that Starlink is facing a challenge in India, a country expected to receive coverage from the satellite internet system sometime next year. 

The opposition against Starlink was initiated by the Broadband India Forum, which has written a request to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The forum asked the bodies to block SpaceX from pre-selling the beta version of the satellite internet service in the country. 

As noted in a report from The Economic Times, TV Ramachandran, the industry body president, argued that SpaceX does not have the necessary license or authorizations from the government to offer its beta services in India. 

The Broadband India Forum represents companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hughes, and Microsoft. In its request, the forum asked the bodies to “urgently intervene to protect fair competition and adherence to existing policy and regulatory norms.” It also noted that SpaceX seemed to be “non-compliant to existing guidelines” in India.  

Explaining further, the forum added that Starlink does not have its own ground stations in the country, nor does it have the satellite frequency authorization from the ISRO and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). According to the forum, these are needed for a company to be allowed to offer beta services in India. 

SpaceX, for its part, has not issued a statement about the matter. In a statement to the Times, a senior TRAI official has stated that the issue brought up by the Broadband India Forum “would be examined.”

SpaceX is currently offering pre-orders for the beta version of Starlink in India for a fully refundable deposit of $99 (about Rs 7,000). The satellite internet service is poised to compete with other satellite communication services such as the Bharti Group and the UK government-owned OneWeb, which is also expected to launch its services sometime in 2022. Competition may also be coming in the form of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which is yet to provide internet services, even in beta form. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us for news tips. Just send a message to [email protected] to give us a heads up.

Elon Musk’s Starlink Beta meets opposition from India’s industry body

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Elon Musk to become board member of Endeavor Group Holdings: SEC Filing

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk will join the Endeavor Group Holdings Board of Directors ahead of the group’s Initial Public Offering, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission says.

Musk, 49, currently spends his time with Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, but will join the Endeavor board in the coming months, the filing says. He is currently listed as a “Director Nominee.” However, the filing describes what Musk’s eventual position will be.

“Mr. Musk is currently a director nominee and will become a member of our board of directors at or prior to the pricing of this offering,” the filing says. “Mr. Musk was selected to serve on our board of directors because of his professional background and experience running a public company, his previously held senior executive-level positions, his service on other public company boards and his experience starting, growing and integrating businesses.”

Endeavor includes several well-known brands under its parent company, including talent agencies WME and IMG, and premier mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship, most commonly referred to as the UFC. The UFC was purchased by Endeavor’s WME-IMG joint venture in July 2016 for $4.2 billion.

ALSO READ:

Elon Musk announces $30M donation to Cameron County, TX schools, City of Brownsville

Endeavor had attempted to launch an IPO in the past but pulled the plug on the effort at the last minute in the Fall of 2019 when market conditions were unfavorable. The company may have sensed it wouldn’t reach its fundraising goal, according to Deadline, and opted to wait for better economic circumstances.

It also skipped 2020 as a possible date for its IPO due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite pulling in less of a profit compared to 2019, CEO Ari Emanuel stated the company remained resilient despite the tough circumstances and is attempting to initiate an IPO in the coming months.

“As challenging a year as 2020 was, it underscored the strength, creativity, and resilience of our people who mobilized time and time again in the face of overwhelming odds,” Emanuel wrote in the S-1 filing. “We made difficult decisions but worked as a team to find creative solutions and best position the business for the future.” The company reported $3.5 billion in revenue last year, down $1.1 billion from 2019.

The filing for the possible Endeavor IPO indicates the company wants to raise $100 million, but this number could ultimately change.

As long as Endeavor can raise the correct capital and it avoids any other dicey economic uncertainties, it will trade under the “EDR” ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.

Elon Musk to become board member of Endeavor Group Holdings: SEC Filing

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/elon-musk-endeavor-group-holdings-boardmember/

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