Beta Engineering

There has been a bit of fuss on the blogs because it seems that Tesla is going to be shipping with a “beta” version of their transmission that they’ll have to replace within the year.

Tesla’s Chairman and New CEO Talk Transmission Snags and Raising Another $40M « Earth2Tech

It raises the obvious question “how many other cars have shipped with beta components”. Here’s my experience…

Many years ago I bought a Smart. At the time the initial wave of optimism (mainly pre-launch) had worn off and the company looked in trouble. In the empty showroom near the Eiffel Tower (actually in the 16th) they tried to give the impression that they were going places but it was obvious that the business plan was in trouble.

The result was that they offered us an amazing deal to lease the car and not buy it; we had the cash but they wanted to sell zero percent credit at all costs!

About two months later we took the car back for a service. It took two days for them to replace the tyres, shock absorbers, reprogram the engine management system, replace the wind screen wipers and, interestingly, replace part of the gearbox!

This must be a common practice in the industry to get the cars out the door.