Tesla may be tanking the EV industry

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/04/tesla-may-be-tanking-the-ev-industry.html


For someone who claims to be a longtermist, Musk engages in a lot of short-term, race-to-the-bottom thinking.


I wouldn’t call this tanking… This is like saying that someone building affordable housing is “tanking the value of homes”. Dropping the price of tools is good - it’s only bad if you think of them as assets!


My thesaurus challenge today will be: con artist, grifter, or manufactured disaster capitalist… :thinking: I hope consumers who want to escape the grip of Big Oil ASAP don’t fall for the recent pearl-clutching claims that there’s not enough demand for alternatives, manufacturers aren’t ready to produce anything better (or as profitable), and we can’t make significant changes until 2050.

Joe Biden Reaction GIF


IDK but I would think twice about buying a used electric car anyway mainly because now you are even closer to the time the battery needs replacing. Tesla battery replacements will hit you up for what $20 - 30k?


I’ve been avoiding EVs for two major reasons:

  1. The price compared to the same dino-drinking model is ridiculous.
  2. The whole ‘collapse the entire control suite of the vehicle to a single display’ issue, which creates a single point of failure. I have a longer rant stored on my other computer about that. (along with having to take you eyes off the road or pull over to change something, and the inconsistent UI/UX, and the fact that one good impact in the middle of the screen renders the entire thing useless until that massively overpriced tablet is replaced- oh wait, that part’s been discontinued. sucks to be you, can we interest you in this year’s model? we promise we’ll keep a stock of display panels for longer than the vehicle’s warranty this time. /sarcasm )

That’s not the main purpose of this pricing policy, though. With Tesla, it’s not altruism or environmental longtermism. It’s a loss-leader tech industry enshittification strategy that fundamentally affects re-sale value (a consideration that can exist for consumers apart from asset speculation) across the entire industry.*

While dropping the price of tools is a good thing, it becomes less good if the trade-off is poorer quality and less durable tools (e.g. notoriously poor fit and finish compared to other EV manufacturers, the battery replacement issue mentioned by @Akimbo_NOT). See also Harbor Freight.

To extend on your analogy, if the most affordable housing in a city is being built is by a corner-cutting slumlord who’s taking a loss in order to dominate the sector (focusing on shiny and superficial cosmetics while skimping on plumbing and electrical and HVAC – see von Clownstick’s real estate organisation), it will ultimately hurt the entire sector.

We need fairly priced, quality tools that will function properly for a long time. It’s questionable whether Tesla delivers any of those things.

[* With Musk, it’s also an attempt to hurt public transit, to which he seems philosophically opposed despite its greater potential to reduce per-capita emissions.]


one good impact in the middle of the screen renders the entire thing useless until that massively overpriced tablet is replaced

this is definitely a concern. Pretty sure Tesla’s lower-end models are all but inoperable without it.

oh wait, that part’s been discontinued. sucks to be you, can we interest you in this year’s model? we promise we’ll keep a stock of display panels for longer than the vehicle’s warranty this time. /sarcasm

I think something catastrophic would have to happen to Tesla for this to be an issue.

Musk’s statements about the cars being worth more in the future due to added capabilities were always ridiculous, but it’s hard for me to believe that too many people other than the most hardcore fans really believed that.

Of all the things that Musk deserves criticism for (and it’s a long, long list) reducing the price at which new electric cars are sold is somewhere way, way towards the bottom.

I don’t know how much of the blame for dropping used car prices can be laid at the feet of Tesla anyway. Used Nissan leafs (why isn’t the plural “leaves?”) have been really really bad at maintaining their resale value since the beginning. Not having a great way to know the condition / remaining lifetime of a battery pack is a huge issue for all electric cars.


at least there’s no one at the helm likely to make any terrible business decisions


I can only speak for myself but the thought of buying an EV second hand feels really questionable to me, more so than a regular car. Fixing up issues in an EV seems like it’s many times more expensive, and there’s really not a lot of options for getting them fixed besides going to a dealer so you’re going to pay top dollar no matter what.


I question who is driving this conversation.
Comparing EV models to each other serves to show how increased competition is hurting Tesla. Factor in their notoriously poor build quality which becomes evident over time, and it is not a surprise that Tesla’s have the greatest depreciation - they start at the highest cost/value and therefore have the furthest to drop.
A better comparison would be depreciation between fossil-fuel versus EV across market sectors, e.g. truck vs truck, midsize vs midsize, etc.
There are many calculation models for depreciation of fossil-fuel vehicles, and many of them show similar depreciation to this so-called catastrophic EV killing depreciation.
Does Carmax-owned Edmunds favour status quo?

One example is linked below.


While I distrust Musk intensely, I’m also not a fan of Hertz; I used to be a Gold member and paid through the schnozzola every time I rented a car from them. Electric vehicles have not yet hit mass acceptance in 'Murica. It will happen at some point.


Definitely true for the battery today. Which is clearly an expensive part to replace.

But, beyond that one part, what else would worry you?

That little old lady who only dove 3K miles a year for a decade. That car sounds great, until you hear that the oil was never changed and the gas mostly just sat there for long periods. Now you’re trouble shooting the engine, gas line, gas tank. Sure, they are distinct parts instead just the monolithic battery. There’s more suppliers for them today too, but in 20 years the same is likely to be true for batteries. It’s just a long haul until we get there.


I have a used EV and I though this was true but in UK there is a trade organisation for non-dealer garages that can repair EVs called HEVRA which is a godsend. Recently got fixed for 400 versus 4000 at the dealer (BMW).

EVs generally need less maintenance as mechanically they are simpler and less moving parts than a device that has to contain controlled explosions thousands of times a second. Don’t believe the ICE FUD.


Any of the electric components in the car including the in-wheel motors, and as you said the battery is a concern. Maybe price-wise it shakes out to being similar cost-wise with a gas car, but as i mentioned your options for getting a gas car serviced are going to be more varied than with electric.


How often have you smashed your dashboard that that is a major concern?

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I do want an EV eventually, but besides potential repairs i’m also concerned about charger availability, charge time and cost of electricity. I live in TX and occasionally drive long distance to see my parents, from friends here that have EVs i’ve seen what a hassle charger availability and charge times can be. Also electricity in Austin is expensive so for now i’m waiting until the tech is more improved


Maybe, but one disturbing trend in automotive design (both for electric and ICE vehicles) is that the automakers are building everything with custom, model-specific parts now. It used to be that common components like air filters, headlamps, spark plugs, etc were used across not just a wide range of models but also across a wide range of manufacturers, so it was easy to find compatable parts for most cars in stock at any local autoparts store. Nowadays every model of car seems to have its own custom headlamp assembly that can only be purchased from the manufacturer. And there are a ton of different battery configurations for electric cars, which get updated frequently across model years, so it doesn’t seem likely that, 20 years from now, a typical parts supplier will carry in stock whatever battery pack was used in a specific model of Mazda across just a 2 year period 15 years prior. (I hope I’m wrong.)


A set of SAE standards for battery form factors and charger connections would solve this, as then you can create an aftermarket of replacement and remanufactured parts. Most of these batteries now are an array of cylindrical cells, which means they could be rebuilt, but at present the manufacturers have a monopoly on that.