Without referring to its customers and in order not to succumb to the worldwide shortage of electronic components which is paralyzing some of its competition, Tesla has decided to remove one of the two electronic steering rack control units from its Model 3 and Model Y produced in Shanghai, CNBC tells us.
The lack of chips is global, and disastrous for the automotive sector. According to the firm AlixPartners, 7.7 million vehicles could not be produced in 2021 due to the shortage, including 500,000 for Renault alone.
Oh man, this year has been such a supply chain nightmare & it’s not over!
I will provide an updated product roadmap on next earnings call.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 29, 2021
Under pressure to meet – in this case beat – its ambitious production and delivery targets, Tesla was no exception.
Like others, Porsche deciding for example to place dummy chips in its vehicles while waiting for better, the firm of Elon Musk decided to operate some discreet if not secret modifications on some of its vehicles produced in China and sold on the market. Asian or European.
According to CNBC, these small arrangements with the electronic steering system could prevent the evolution of affected vehicles to Level 3 autonomous driving with a simple software update. And this contrary to what Elon Musk proudly claimed during the last announcement of the firm’s results.
“My personal opinion is that we will succeed this year in achieving Full Self-Driving at a level of safety significantly higher than that of a person. With cars in the fleet becoming self-driving via a software update, so I think we could end up seeing the biggest increase in asset value in the history of assets.”
Omission not possible
The omission decided by Tesla does not pose a safety issue for vehicles that have been modified. Intended to transmit to the road the movements impelled by the power steering, the box put aside by Tesla was a technical redundancy, a duplicate which we can do without without immediate consequence, at least for the basic functions.
On the other hand, there could be future technical and financial consequences for the owners of the vehicles concerned. According to some of the company’s employees, the boxes removed are thus imperative for the transition to level 3 autonomous driving.
If level 2 of autonomy, just like Tesla’s simplest Autopilot, is still accessible to them, the cars concerned will have to go back to the factory if they wish to be upgraded to the next step, promised with great drumbeat and trumpet by Elon Musk.
Billed at $12,000 by the company, the “Full Self-Driving” option will undoubtedly allow a significant gain in value on the now very popular second-hand market. Moreover, with the potentially very lucrative concept of “robotoxi” on the horizon, buying a Tesla can be considered a real investment, for individuals but also for companies.
This modification revealed by CNBC, which specifies that a debate took place internally as to whether or not to notify buyers, changes the nature or objectives somewhat.