I mean, literally fell, damaging the steering gear. Before you start to think that I am writing this article to please Tesla’s short sellers, let me give you some background on the story. We’re a group of three Tesla lovers – in fact, EV enthusiasts in general. In 2017, we bought a used Tesla Model S 85D to start a shuttle service business between Poland and Germany. We didn’t just buy it, however – over time we risked our savings, our marriages, and our reputations to fund this vehicle (the marriages were the most difficult). We’ve all been called Tesla fanboys countless times, and we’ve enthusiastically completed hundreds of test drives in our Model S, while trying to grow our shuttle business. It’s a crazy story – probably completely unique – and it’s just the craziness of the story that inspired us to finally write the article about it.
We’ve been running Tesla Shuttle for a few years, the business model has undergone at least a few significant changes, we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, and although we’ve been in some sort of purgatory since the COVID-19 hit, the dream still persists for some. measure (it varies between the three of us and is probably the strongest in the mind of CleanTechnica CEO Zach Shahan).
One beautiful day in July 2018, a great opportunity presented itself and we signed a contract to provide Tesla shuttle services to a big event in Cologne, Germany. To join our Tesla, we arranged to rent four more, a mix of Model S and X vehicles, and we were all ready for this major order. Four days before D-Day, I received a call from one of our drivers saying the car would not drive and displaying a “Car Needs Service | Reduced steering assistance. From heaven to hell.…
It’s time to call Tesla service. Now know that we are in Poland in 2018 which means the nearest Tesla Service Center is in Berlin, Germany. Going directly is generally impossible, going through the general call center is easier but quite often unnecessary – sorry to say – because you are assisted in transmitting your file to … your nearest service center, which often does not did not follow up.
Having no time to waste and hoping we would deal with a minor issue, we decided to send the car to the only private garage that deals with Teslas in Poland. We hired a car transport trailer and sent our beloved Tesla 300 km (186 miles) into the city of Poznan.
In the meantime, I begged the mechanic on the phone to work overtime and wait for the car to arrive, and also take a quick look and maybe fix the problem. He agreed to wait. He took a quick glance. And, no, he didn’t solve the problem. He called me and said something like, “I don’t know how to say it, but the front engine fell off. ” Can you repeat that please? I quickly realized that he had never seen anything like it and that it was super exciting for him. He sent me pictures of the damage and generally tried to support me but left me with no hope. (Note that the Teslas, of course, don’t have motors, and it was one of the motors that broke down. More details below.)
Plan B, therefore. We managed to hire another Tesla in Cologne, and the day before the event, we transported our Model S to the service center in Berlin (350 km / 217 miles).
Yes, readers, that’s a good question to ask: Why did we need to rent another Tesla? Why didn’t we just get a replacement car from Tesla? Well, again, there’s no right way to put it – Tesla’s Polish customers weren’t eligible for replacement cars in Germany. I was told on the otherwise friendly helpline when I inquired about this. It’s not easy to be a second-class customer, but we survived.
The event was a big success and we even won some money (it was then spent on the Tesla repair bill, but what the heck).
What happened to the vehicle? The answer is stated in the invoice we received (unfortunately, in German). He says something like this: “The front drive unit and the steering gear are damaged. The FDU broke from the front right bearing and fell on the steering gear, damaging the steering gear cap. Basically some bolts broke and the housing fell on the steering gear and damaged it. The repair was carried out under warranty (what a relief). A few other small repairs to the front wheels were done commercially (what a disappointment) and successfully ate our event revenue in Cologne.
So, yeah, shit happens to Tesla owners like every other vehicle owner. For us, it was bad timing. At the end of the day, we’re still as excited about Tesla and EVs as we were a few years ago, when Poland was still an EV desert. A car breakdown will not change that. Additionally, we know that Tesla’s manufacturing has improved dramatically and that the Model 3 and Y (as well as the modern Model S and X) have far fewer weird issues like this. We paid the price for being early adopters (or “innovators” / “enthusiasts” as the technology adoption curves call us), and as such, we didn’t mind. too much a lot.
Appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Tech or Ambassador – or Patreon Patron.