On Monday, Ford Motor Co. notified dealers that it would be issuing a stop-sale notice for the all-electric “Mustang” Mach-E. The note made mention that the high-voltage contacts on the battery could overheat and cause malfunctions — potentially causing the vehicle to lose power while in operation or even fail to start.
Considering how absolutely wicked battery fires can become, this was likely a prudent move on the part of Ford. Over the last several years, EVs have been getting some negative attention for fires related to charging or battery failures of late and Blue Oval is likely aware that any mishaps with the Mach-E will be amplified as a result. Nipping this in the bud immediately is wise. However, the resulting recall has defaulted to the industry standard solution of issuing a software update on the affected models.
Volkswagen cannot seem to get away from software issues on its newer vehicles. This problem botched the launch of numerous models, including the Mk8 Golf, and seems to have returned now that every single example of the car is being recalled in Europe.
Drivers have been reporting gauge clusters displaying incorrect data, infotainment systems going offline, keys failing, and advanced driving aids that are perpetually on the fritz. The latter issue has also resulted in Golfs engaging in some erratic behavior, like erroneously triggering their own forward collision-warning sensors. This has left more than a few drivers complaining about cars stopping randomly in traffic as the automatic emergency braking system came alive.
Tesla Software Version 10.0 Delivers (Potentially Alarming) New Autopilot Feature, Music, Movies, Video Games
Tesla owners who purchased Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot from the company will soon be able to enjoy new self-driving functions. Software Version 10.0 is officially out for the Model X, S, and 3 — adding new driver assistance features, navigation settings, multimedia libraries (music, movies, video games), security options, and a new karaoke mode.
Since the enhanced Autopilot features are the most notable by far, let’s begin there. Tesla’s new “Smart Summon” feature enables the vehicle to navigate through a parking lot sans driver, so long as the car is within sight. “It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain,” Tesla said in its Version 10 announcement.
However, the automaker noted that customers remain responsible for their vehicle’s actions and should be aware of the car and its surroundings at all times. If you didn’t purchase Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability, then there’s nothing to worry about. Smart Summon is only available if you’ve already bought into one of Tesla’s advanced driving suites. Version 10.0 does come with updates for everyone, though.
Careful not to skip any opportunity to build hype for his auto brand, Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that Tesla customers would soon be able to stream YouTube and Netflix videos from the comfort of their car’s interior. While it goes without saying, the CEO added that the feature would only be available while the vehicle is stopped until “full self-driving is approved by regulators” — as if that was the singular issue holding up autonomous vehicles.
The resulting comment thread led to a gaggle of other revelations. According to Musk, Tesla’s new pickup is slated to unveil in 2 to 3 months “maybe” and software version 10 is just around the corner.
Version 10 is claimed to come out as early as next month, incorporating games, new infotainment features (like text-message reading), improved Autopilot functionalities via FSD, better traffic light and stop sign recognition, and Tesla’s Smart Summon. However, Musk noted that some of these features will require the usage of the company’s paid premium connectivity package.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is correct in asserting just how poorly the media covers his company. We know that because, after he tweeted that Version 9 of the company’s software would allow the firm to begin enabling “fully self-driving features,” numerous outlets started claiming complete driving autonomy was just around the corner. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that isn’t what’s happening.
To be fair, much of the confusion came via headlines suggesting Musk had explicitly promised a fully self-driving vehicle. While that’s not even close to what he did, we understand that it’s a heading too tempting for many to refuse. We’re betting Elon grasps this concept as well, which is why he chose his wording so carefully. Frankly, the CEO probably comprehends the media far better than the media understands his company, and he regularly uses this to his advantage.
While several outlets clarified that Tesla was actually implementing a software update (with unclear ramifications in the body of their text), plenty glossed over that aspect of the story. Instead, they decided to tack on Musk’s earlier promise that the Tesla Roadster would be offered with a SpaceX package — 10 small rocket thrusters to improve the vehicle’s dynamics.
From the get-go, the nine-speed automatic designed by Germany’s ZF in the United States and built and tuned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was deserving of criticism. It was criticism that FCA could not righteously label as unfair, criticism the automaker could not deny.
“We have had to do an inordinate amount of intervention on that transmission, surely beyond what any of us had forecast,” FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said early last year.
The nine-speed, responsible for sending power from a variety of engines to the front wheels of a large number of vehicles, became a reliability nightmare for many buyers who either didn’t perceive its shortcomings on a test drive, or didn’t care. Unless drivers ventured well beyond posted speed limits, the nine-speed wasn’t even able to benefit from its ninth gear. Surely deserving of partial blame for the Chrysler 200’s demise, the ZF 9HP was clearly launched long before it was ready.
Nearly three years since my first exposure to the nine-speed in a 3.2-liter V6-powered Jeep Cherokee, I’m driving a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited this week. It’s a stunning minivan, and at CAD $62,340, it’s a minivan with which one needs a whole week to get a full picture. Yet only a few minutes into our first drive in the new Pacifica, it was clear that FCA had finally sorted the previously dreadful nine-speed.
Almost. Mostly. Sort of.
Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot water in a dozen states, to say the least.
For those awaiting when and where Tesla will build its first Gigafactory, the automaker announced the decision should come near the end of the year, and that said Gigafactory will have siblings.
Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.
Standby power — or vampire draw — allows consumer goods such as smartphones, cloud-enabled laptops and PS4s to wake up immediately to do whatever it is you need them to do. There are drawbacks, of course, such as the wasting of resources (money, electricity, the things that make electricity happen) and fires.
Speaking of fires, Tesla may need to cast more sunlight upon the S’s vampire draw issues, as it would appear their latest software update hasn’t done much to drive the stake into its heart if one owner’s experience is to be believed.
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- 2ACL Random fact: despite cratering sales and discontinuation, the 200 is regularly featured in national top 10 lists for catalytic converter theft.