The Tesla Model S Gets Recalled For Weird Overheating Problems

Morning Dump Tesla infotainment Model S

Tesla infotainment systems run into another snag, Rivian’s having a bad time, Bentley looks down on us poors. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

More Infotainment Woes For Tesla

tesla infotainment can overheat when fast charging
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

There are many things you could expect to overheat on a car, from tires to coolant to gearbox fluid. However, Tesla’s come up with a new overheating problem as some of its infotainment systems may overheat during fast charging. Yes, the infotainment. Now how the hell did they manage that?

According to recall documents, the problem traces back to crappy infotainment firmware on 2022 Model 3 compact sedans, 2022 Model Y as in “Y is this thing so bulbous?” compact crossovers, 2021-2022 Model S large sedans and 2021-2022 Model X gullwing-doored crossovers. What’s the failure mode like? During fast-charging pre-conditioning or fast charging itself, the infotainment processor might overheat badly enough to cause the display screen to lag or reboot. Now, this is definitely an annoyance regarding functions like climate control and speed, but some of the stuff displayed is a little more critical.

For instance, the gear display on a Model 3 is on the touchscreen. I know that the car’s Mercedes-style e-shifter has been around in various forms for years now, but a visual reminder of current gear selection is still necessary to prevent drivers from running into stuff and/or running themselves over. Speaking of running stuff over, it would be nice if the backup camera stayed operational considering Tesla’s lack of rear cross-traffic alert. Other things run through the touchscreen on certain models include warning lights and wiper settings, mildly important stuff that verges more on annoying than anything. Fortunately, there is a fix on its way. An over-the-air update pushed to all 129,960 affected vehicles is expected to clear these wonky firmware issues up and fix the infotainment screens. Until then, it’s best to be careful with Tesla infotainment.

Rivian’s Having A Really, Really Bad Time

2022 Rivian R1t 14
Photo credit: Rivian

Six months ago, Rivian was on top of the world. Between impressive vehicle performance figures, fantastic reviews, promises of mass deliveries, relatively good value for a premium electric truck, and a massive IPO, the electric truck company’s stock was trading for $179.47 on Nov. 16, 2021. Let’s just say that this winning streak didn’t last for long, as the hits just keep on coming.

See, Rivian was trading for $22.70 pre-market today, that’s an 87.35 percent decline since peak. So what’s been happening that’s hammering the electric truck company’s value? Well, we know about supply issues and the somewhat scummy price hikes to existing orders that eventually got walked back, but the latest decline in value comes from the potential of early investors pulling out. Rivian’s IPO stock lockup period expired on Sunday, so early investors like Ford and Amazon now have time to contemplate their next moves. What is an IPO lockup? It’s a contract provision so that when a company goes public, pre-IPO investors are prohibited from selling shares for a certain time after the initial public offering. With 180 days as a typical lockup period, now’s the chance for companies like Ford to sell shares, perhaps sooner rather than later. According to a CNBC report, the Dearborn-based peddler of Mustangs and F-150s might be planning to dump eight million shares of Rivian, potentially in advance of Rivian’s first-quarter financial report on Wednesday. Then again, Ford’s lips are sealed. In an email to Bloomberg, Ford refused to comment on the Rivian situation. I guess we’ll just have to hold tight and see what happens.

Bentley Goes Long

Bentayga Ewb 18
Photo credit: Bentley Motors

With the uber-luxe SUV segment running as hot as certain aforementioned Tesla infotainment processors, Bentley’s decided to gun for the Mercedes-Maybach GLS and Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the rear seat department. The new Bentayga Extended Wheelbase stretches out the Bentayga’s length by 180 mm (7.09 inches) to allow for a true ultra-premium rear seat experience.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure who gets driven around in cars these days. Sure, there are a few celebrities and old-money types who are willing to employ a chauffeur, but the majority of luxury car owners drive themselves. Still, it’s nice to see Bentley upping the Bentayga’s baller factory with a properly fancy rear seat package. Called Airline Seat Specification, both of these top-spec rear thrones feature 22-way adjustment and up to 40 degrees of maximum recline. More importantly, the seats have their own automatic climate control. No, not auto climate for the second row, auto climate for the individual seats. According to Bentley’s press release, the seats can sense the temperature of the occupant and surface humidity (butt sweat) to vary the mix of seat heating and ventilation. Is it overkill? Probably, but isn’t that the definition of luxury? In addition, the top-spec rear seats feature 177 varying pressure points each to enhance comfort on long journeys and a business mode with deployed footrests and an upright backrest to get more business done on the go.

In addition to luxury rear seats, the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase is available with some interesting tech. Four-wheel-steering is on offer, as is Bentley Diamond Illumination which shines ambient lighting through perforations in the door card leather and a claimed 24 billion different trim combinations. Weirdly enough though, UK availability isn’t an option right now. I get that parking this behemoth outside the Groucho Club sounds like a bear, but come on. Imagine the presence. Should you happen to be the old-money type who has a chauffeur and wants something high-riding, the Bentayga Extended wheelbase is available to order now for an undisclosed sum. For the rest of us, expect this cushy luxury SUV to appear on buy-here-pay-here lots sometime around 2037.

Rimac And Hyundai Still Have It Going On

Hyundai Rm20e
Photo credit: Hyundai

Contrary to prior reports of a split between Rimac and Hyundai, Mate Rimac fired up Facebook to let everyone know that the Croatian-Korean collaboration is still going on and that reports to the contrary are “fake-news.” In addition, Hyundai has spoken with German publication Auto, Motor, Und Sport to confirm that the collaboration is still going on. Everyone waiting with bated breath to see the next fruit of Hyundai and Rimac can breathe a little easier.

See the last prototype of Rimac tech in a Hyundai shell was something very special indeed. The RM20e may look like a Veloster built for SEMA, but this pint-sized dynamo cranks out 810 horsepower and goes from a dead stop to 124 mph (200 km/h) in under ten seconds. Did I mention that it’s all electric? The battery pack may be small at 60 kWh, but it’s potent with an output of 600 kW and 705-volt fast-charging capability. If the RM20e is a testbed for high-performance electric tech, the Vision FK is a testbed for just about everything. The back half of this prototype uses Rimac’s battery pack to drive the rear wheels and a hydrogen fuel cell to drive the front wheels. In theory, this dual-power setup would enhance trackday session longevity, and tech from this vehicle could be coming to a production Hyundai sometime in the next few decades. Honestly, I’m glad that Rimac and Hyundai will continue to make cool stuff. After all, what’s hotter than high-performance engineering prototypes?

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. While electric powertrains and buzzword capital have made it much easier to make a car, how many of these electric vehicle startups will still be around in a decade? I’m fairly confident that Rimac will still be around thanks to their Porsche ties and extensive engineering contracting, I’m not so sure about Rivian or even Tesla.

Lead photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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35 Responses

  1. It’s not just investors that are affected by the lockup period (actually, sometimes they can sell some or all before it runs out) but employees who got stock or stock options. It’s pretty common for a lot of them to dump their stock and drive the price down, just because they’ve gone years with part of their compensation having no liquidity.

  2. We’re almost never going to be rid of Tesla, because it’s not a company, it’s a cult. That’s not an opinion, it’s a statement of fact. Ford Mustang fanatics will admit to flaws. Show a Tesla fanatic mismatched paint in person, and they’ll start screaming that it’s staged, it’s fake, and you’re just out to get poor Elon. That’s a cult, kiddos.
    And when Musk turns on them if people finally get smart enough to throw him out, they’ll go bankrupt in a year.

    Rimac’s a bit more of an open question, because without Mate Rimac, there is no Rimac as we know it. Unlike “poor” Elon who got fired even from places he owned outright? Mate Rimac’s an actual fucking inventor and innovator. He holds patents on rear-view mirror tech used in rear cross-collision detection systems (and now you know why Teslas don’t have it.) He’s an actual engineer who personally invented or conceived of a lot of the company’s technology.
    In other words, without Mate Rimac, their ability to move forward may be severely curtailed. At the same time, Mate is also a liability in that he is why the company refuses to move from Croatia. I don’t see them going out of business. But it’s a double edged sword. Without him, I only see them turning into a lesser Delphi. But with him, I don’t see them able to grow effectively.

    Rivian, hold my coffee while I laugh my ass off. Their executives are silver spoon tech bros, with “I’m the smartest person ever” delusions, and no automotive industry experience. All those ‘investments’? That was Ford and the like buying permanent rights to any interesting tech they had. They have neither the money nor the intelligence to understand just how fucked they are. Nor are they smart enough or rich enough to compete with the R&D budgets.
    R1T? Yeah, good fucking luck with that. They’ve shipped what, a couple hundred? Maybe a thousand or two? At their worst, Ford ships over 50,000 F150’s a month. Pre-pandemic, it was over 70,000 a month. A month. GM ships over 40,000 Silverado 1500’s a month. Stellantis does half a million Ram 1500’s a year (no per-month numbers.)
    Once they ramp, Ford’s going to make more F150 Lightnings per month than cars Rivian will ever be able to make in a year.. And they won’t be finding the money to fix that.

    Ironically, Lucid is one I’d give some chance of having staying power, if they get their shit together. Not as a major manufacturer, no chance in hell. But as a niche, low volume manufacturer likely competing as an EV alternative to Maybach, maybe even Rolls Royce. But that depends very much on them realizing that’s their only realistic path forward. They seem to build a legitimately good product. They also have significant technology, IP assets, and consulting work – they spent 7 years doing nothing but that before starting on a car. Know why Rolls Royce can sell a few hundred to a few thousand cars a year and make money? Yep – they don’t just make cars. They develop and sell technology and expertise.
    But, that depends on them getting their shit together. They’re hemorrhaging cash and fighting companies who’d treat Lucid’s total assets as a rounding error. They have people with automotive experience up top. There simply is not a market for 20,000+ $200,000 luxury sedans per year.

      1. Not even remotely. To start with, they’d still be competing against long established, better connected players with infinitely more money than Rivian will ever see.
        Secondly, that would be a risky choice for any business when they can order a Ford E-Transit instead. Rivian might not be around in 12 months, Ford’s been around for 120 years. Businesses do not like risk. If they’re ordering a fleet, they’re going with someone who presents the least risk. And Ford’s already selling the F150 Lightning as a commercial / fleet.

        Case in point: Workhorse spent a fuckload of time and money crowing from everywhere that they sold UPS a whole 1000 electric vans.
        Know what percentage of UPS’ fleet that is? Not even 1%. UPS didn’t take any risk or make any commitment; they spent what amounts to pocket change to see if a technology is worth looking at. 1000 vans? They have over 104,000 road transport vehicles. And if they decide not to buy more? Workhorse owns all the risks and costs and UPS owns 1000 vans worth of scrap material.
        That was in 2018. Workhorse is exclusively focused on commercial (and a lot of stupid fad chasing bullshit, like drone deliveries.) They haven’t said word one about their Horsefly stupidity since a COVID-19 PR stunt in 2020. And they’ve never not been in dire financial straits.
        For 1Q22, Workhorse was able to recognize sales of … $14,299. (It’s on their 10Q.) That’s less than Ford’s profit margins on an F150.

        Why? Because UPS said “yeah, no, this other startup gave us an even better deal.” Arrival, who has yet to deliver a single vehicle, yet merged with a SPAC, announced they’d partner with BlackBerry for in-car systems, says they’ll be building special cars for Uber, oh and their CEO is a government-connected Russian oligarch.

        Oh yeah. I totally want to bet my small construction business on companies like that! Especially when it’s going to cost me $100,000 a truck. Let me just grab a cool million from the petty cash.

        Or this nice guy from the local Ford dealer can order me 10 F150 Lightnings configured exactly the way I want at around $40k each, negotiate a fair discount, arrange equitable financing, and when they break, I’ve got a shop around the corner that won’t have any trouble getting parts.

  3. “If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure who gets driven around in cars these days.”

    Isn’t this pretty much a China specific thing now?

    “I’m fairly confident that Rimac will still be around thanks to their Porsche ties and extensive engineering contracting, I’m not so sure about Rivian or even Tesla.”

    Porsche could dump Rimac just as easily as Ford is dumping Rivian. Of all the EV startups, the only one I have any confidence in surviving is Tesla. Tesla is too big to fail by now; if the market starts passing them by, they could easily buy a legacy automaker to stay viable.

    1. Senior VP and above at Samsung in Korea get drivers; at least they did back when I was there in 2013. I was a VP and negotiated to have one for my 3 years at Samsung. Too bad that I only got a Kia. I never saw any Bentley-class vehicles as Samsung cars. Most were Hyundai Equus and a few BMW 7-series or MB S-class.

    2. I’m curious if China’s personal driver culture will change as Pooh Bear cracks down harder and harder on ostentatious shows of wealth. The back seat of a Bentley seems like the wrong place to be right now…

  4. It will be interesting to see Tesla try to maintain their lead as the traditional OEMs get serious and start churning out lots of EVs.

    Will their Supercharger network lock in enough customers to keep them afloat for another decade?
    When will they introduce redesigns of their existing line-up?
    Will the build quality of their vehicles be noticeable depending on which plant spit them out?

    1. Will their Supercharger network lock in enough customers to keep them afloat for another decade?

      I think they will embrace CCS and add it to a couple of stalls at some superchargers. The cars will transition to CCS but they will still benefit from vertical integration of the systems. Using nonTesla CCS will not be a smooth or convenient

      When will they introduce redesigns of their existing line-up?

      They have modified the S and X already in both exterior and interior though exterior was minor. The model 3 and Y both have updated interiors since their release. Probably won’t care for years or until sales slow. Normal car buyers don’t care that much about refreshes as car blog readers do. Tesla continually updates underlying components in an agile way so the parts running the vehicle change more often than the outside for good and bad.

      Will the build quality of their vehicles be noticeable depending on which plant spit them out?

      You already can. Contrary to popular belief, most new Teslas are fine. They make a lot of cars and only people who have problems get any attention. My Dodge had laughable gaps and quality issues. The front hood on my Scat Pack had a curve that did not match the front clip so it had a massive gap in the middle. Chinese made Teslas are perfect though. Seeing what Texas makes will be interesting.

      1. “Normal car buyers don’t care that much about refreshes as car blog readers do”.

        Not so sure about that. Non-car people notice a vehicle’s appearance first and the rest of us geek out about them methinks.

        When the Model S came out it was a stunning, Aston Martin inspired design and very well executed. The E, X, and Y are simply poor (IMHO) and uninspired executions of that original S design. I’d say that Tesla’s designs are getting a bit long in the tooth.

        That said, sales are strong but I’m not confident that they have a solid design philosophy to carry them forward, the CT sure ain’t it…

  5. Rivian will be fine. They have a big contract with Amazon to make 100k trucks, some of which are already on the road. The first EV that’s viable for serious commercial use. They might scale back to making only commercial vehicles though, like Isuzu and International Harvester (now Navistar)

    Tesla will probably survive as a cult company and may replace Elon with an adult that shares some of his characteristics but isn’t as childish.

    They’re finally going to make an Esclalade V (and possibly an ESV-V) with the 6.2L supercharged V8. This will be an awesome competitor to the Bentayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyga and Cullllllllllllllllllllllinan

    1. The Escalade V, even if they put the 1000HP ZZ632 engine in it, will not be even a remote competitor to the Bentley or the Rolls. It’s an entirely different world the other two are selling in.

      Maybe, just maybe, if they put a proper V-series engine in and extended the wheelbase they could divert a few sales. With years of dedication, Cadillac could play as equals, but they’d have to drop all their lower end models and stop building lower spec trim models, and they’re simply not going to do that.

      GM would be better of making a new brand if they really wanted into that space.

  6. Even if Elon wasn’t a giant douche wagon, which he is, I just can’t see buying one of their cars. It seems like 3-4 times per month there is a recall. Sure, most of them can be fixed over the air but it just seems like never ending issues with them. I’ve been driving for almost 30 years now (legally) and I think I’ve had to deal with 2 recalls. While I don’t think Tesla is going to go out of business I also don’t see them leading any sort of segment in the next 5-10 years. Of course, the world could explode tomorrow and all of this will be moot.

  7. I always thought it was weird that Ford invested in a company explicitly intending to compete with their cash cow. That relationship was never destined to be long-term.

    “Called Airline Seat Specification, both of these top-spec rear thrones feature 22-way adjustment and up to 40 degrees of maximum recline.”

    Maybe I’m just too poor, but I’ve never seen an airline seat that fancy. Perhaps something was lost in translation and this was supposed to be the “Private Jet Seat Specification”?

    “the seats can sense the temperature of the occupant and surface humidity (butt sweat) to vary the mix of seat heating and ventilation. Is it overkill?”

    Absolutely not! Automatic swamp ass protection sounds like a killer feature!

    1. “Selling off” is likely overstating it. It wasn’t made clear in the article, but Ford is selling a bit less than 8% of their holding. They’ll still own more than 10% of the company.

      I’ve never gotten into individual stock investing, but Rivian seems better than most if it bottoms out after earnings are reported in the $17 or 18 range. With their known orders on the books they can keep pumping out 35K vehicles a year for a little while as tech matures, then see whether commercial or consumer vehicles look more profitable long term for a pivot expansion. They won’t be a $150B company again, but they never should have in the first place.

      1. Not to mention that selling stock when a stock is at its lowest is generally considered “doing it wrong.” At this point, assuming the company survives, there’s almost nowhere to go but up. It may not ever again reach those highs from just after the IPO, but it’s also not as if Ford and Amazon are scrambling for cash and their only option is to take a huge loss on Rivian stock in order to keep the lights on. They can hold that stock as long as they want, and will sell when it makes the most sense.

  8. The issue with the overheating Tesla infotainment is because the computer is liquid cooled and it shares a loop with the main traction battery. Temperature is regulated by cleverly controlling valves and flow rates. When Supercharging, the battery is pre-heated and then gets even hotter durring the charge session. The “recall” probably involves changing a few values in the tables that control flow/valve position.

  9. I want extended versions of all cars. Nobody should have to feel cramped in the back seat.

    Once you go out with friends for a night in an Audi A8L or BMW 750iL, everything else seems inadequate.

    It’s just that much nicer to be able to offer your guests a real seat. I’m shopping for a used extended length sedan right now. It seems that here in the US, I’m looking at an Audi, like it or not, because BMW seems to have the less predictable and worse out-of-warranty expenses.

    I’d much rather have an extended Camry or Avalon.

  10. If Rivian sticks around, it’s going to be making commercial specific vehicles like the Amazon delivery vans. I just don’t see them competing against the F-150 Lightning. Tesla has some gas, no pun intended (okay maybe a little), left. Once everyone else gets up to mass producing EVs and invests in the R&D to improve the tech, Tesla will be left as a boutique brand. The only thing that’s kept it from being gobbled up by larger, more experienced car companies is the fact that it’s generated a fanbase that has grossly overinflated its stock value. If Tesla stock reflected its actual performance, it would have been easy prey for the old guard.

    1. I think it’s more than just the Tesla fanboys and Elon-stans. One thing that Tesla, Lucid, and Rivian all have is EV specific platforms instead of trying to convert an ICE platform into EV duties. VW has MEB but even with that they can’t figure out a frunk, interior space, or how to match Tesla’s range/performance. Ford figured out the frunk issue with the F-150 and Mustang and GM managed to get frunky with their new Hummer but we’ll see if this translates into their smaller vehicles. Meanwhile Lucid’s Air has full trunk, frunk, more interior space, and way more performance than it competition from BMW and MB.
      I agree Tesla’s stock in overinflated, and the established automakers can potentially be a threat, but only if they change their thinking about what’s possible with their platforms.

      1. There are plenty of innovative companies that don’t survive and get bought out and gutted. The regular OEMs are starting to take this shit seriously. Tesla is the leader without a doubt, but they’re expensive and don’t show any signs of becoming more affordable. That means that they’re only an option for the people with enough money to spend more than they should on things. That’s a small slice of market that may just be getting smaller.

      2. Tesla has first to market advantage which can quickly turn to a disadvantage though. Like you said look at the platforms and how bad the MEB and others are in range, power, packaging. Tesla succeeded because they threw out the rule book for good and bad. Can they continue their success?

        Rivian will be bought; their truck is superior to the F150 Lightning in every way. If you look at the Mustang MachE the hood is so long so accommodate that frunk compared to something like the EV6 which is shorter with a longer wheelbase.

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