While there’s no denying that Tesla’s vehicles are forward-thinking and beloved by multitudes of owners, there’s also no denying that early production models of Tesla vehicles tend to have more than their fair share of kinks and usability issues. We saw it previously with the Model S and now we’re starting to see an increasing number of reports detailing problems with early production models of the Model X.
Following up on a Consumer Reports piece which lambasted the Model X for having one too many usability issues, Fortune highlights an early Model X owner whose experience with Tesla’s crossover SUV has been nothing short of an exercise in frustration.
Meet Byron Deeter, a venture capitalist with an apparent affinity for EVs. As one of the first owners to get behind the wheel of Tesla’s Model X, Deeter was more than willing to put up with a few minor frustrations here and there. And with good reason, most early adopters are reasonable enough to realize that sometimes the price one pays for getting in on the ground floor are a few kinks that still haven’t been ironed out.
Unfortunately, Deeter soon discovered that the kinks that came with his Model X were a bit more serious than he could have ever anticipated.
Deeter’s first problem was that the driver’s door wouldn’t open from the outside, prompting him to first open the passenger door and then reach across. Then the driver’s side door wouldn’t close.
“I could manually close it, but the car couldn’t sense that the door was shut, so the electric control wouldn’t latch,” says Deeter. “Yesterday, I literally drove to a meeting holding the door closed.”
Deeter later power-cycled the system, which cured the problem until he got back in the Model X this morning. He resigned himself to another day of driving with one hand on the driver’s side door, but as he backed out of his driveway, the emergency brake kept automatically engaging. He’d drive a few feet, be forced to stop, put the car in park and then reverse … before the entire thing began again. And, to make things even worse, the driver’s side window would no longer close all the way.
As Deeter explains it, the problems with his Model X quickly transitioned from minor frustrations to legitimate safety problems.
“It’s definitely a reminder that quality control with human mobility and safety is critical,” Deeter said to TechCrunch. “In this case, Tesla did push out some software and maybe some hardware that wasn’t quite ready for prime time.”
In a statement on the matter provided to TechCrunch, Tesla said they remain committed to fixing problems as quickly as they can.
“We are committed to making the world’s most reliable cars,” Tesla said. “While we have seen some issues with early Model X builds, the issues are not widespread, and we are working closely with each owner to respond quickly and proactively to address any problems. We will continue to do so until each customer is fully satisfied. This commitment is one of the reasons why 98% of our customers say they will buy another Tesla as their next car.”
Indeed, that’s perhaps the most interesting tidbit to take away from this saga: no matter what problems appear to plague Tesla vehicles, Tesla owners, by and large, never seem to regret their purchase.