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My Disappointment with Tesla

I never expected to be disappointed with a Tesla. I decided to replace my 2018 Subaru Outback with a Tesla Model Y, which arrived at the beginning of June. I had great anticipation for the leap in technology and the new driving experience of an electric vehicle. But a few items, completely based on Tesla’s design choices, degraded by daily driving experience, and have given me a bad taste for the brand.

The first time I backed out of a parking lot space, I realized that the car would not recognize someone with a shopping cart, or another car about to come behind me. I thought this must be some setting that I had not enabled, so I searched the menus, and then headed to Tesla forums. No rear cross traffic alert, as I had on my previous vehicle, and that is available on less expensive vehicles.

Next came the phone issue. I knew that I could press on the steering wheel and say “call Joe, home”, but I did not realize what would happen next. What happens next is that the call is not placed. Joe’s name appears on the large screen, with choices of his home and mobile numbers. This mandates a distraction from the road, and a hand for the touchscreen to select the appropriate number. I get around it by pressing a button on my phone, and the call is placed appropriately. Once again a choice of the designers.

Last but not least is the blind spot story. Unlike some other vehicle manufacturers, Tesla has decided not to use warning lights on mirrors to indicate that there is another car in the blind spot. So, what do they do? They have an audible warning and a view on the screen. Once again, attention is taken away from the road. And the system only indicates when there is another car in your blind spot. There does not appear to be an attempt to add intelligence to warn in some way when another car is rapidly approaching your blind spot when you have activated a turn signal to the right. It seems with cameras pointing in the right direction, this should be possible.

What were the designers thinking? Were they so focused on autonomous driving, that they ignored ‘human’ drivers? I am looking forward to some software updates. Hopefully, these and other items will be addressed to enhance the driving experience. Who knows? I may wind up being a happy customer.

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