A Californian man is suing Tesla and demanding a refund on his Model X automobile after experiencing multiple problems with the car's automatic doors and autopilot – just the latest in a series of complaints from early adopters about quality issues.
Barrett Lyon filed a lawsuit against Tesla Motors in Placer County Court on 13 May over his brand new black Model X, complaining that the electric car's automatic double-hinged falcon wing power doors keep whacking his and his wife's legs and when they slam shut.
"The doors do some weird, wicked things," Lyon told US law news site Courthouse News Service. "If you get in and slide sideways and accidentally tap the brake, the driver's side door slams shut on your leg. That's not a very nice thing to have happen to you."
In addition to suddenly slamming shut, Lyon claims that the Tesla Model X doors also suddenly flung open in their garage, causing damage to the doors and other property, including other cars that were nearby. The power doors cannot be disabled as they are one of the car's key features.
California's Lemon Law
The lawsuit makes serious allegations about user safety, stating that the autopilot causes the car to swerve into different lanes when it rains. But that's not all – the complaint states that the car's touchscreen freezes repeatedly, the second-row seat causes the driver's seat to fold forward, and the auto-park feature "does not work 90% of the time".
Lyon is suing Tesla using California's Lemon Law, which is designed to protect consumers when purchasing cars. If a vehicle manufacturer is unable to repair a vehicle to conform to its own warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the state requires the manufacturer to replace or repurchase the vehicle, but the law is only applicable during the warranty period, or within the first 18 months after delivery.
Lyon says that he had no problems at all with his previous two Tesla cars – a handmade Roadster and an early edition Model S – but he cannot have a car that doesn't work properly, and Tesla has been unable to repair the problems with his vehicle. He is asking Tesla for a full refund for the car, as well as a refund on the car's registration fee and damages for breach of warranty and the cost of the lawsuit.
Others have experienced problems with the Model X
Unfortunately, Lyon's problems are far from isolated – numerous early adopters of the Model X have reported quality issues about the power doors, double vision in the windshield at night, freezing touchscreen, windows that won't open or close all the way, problems with climate control, as well as multiple problems with finishings like panel gaps and paint spray quality (detailed in a long PDF document posted by user Pheadrus on the Tesla Motors Club forum).
And in April, Tesla itself discovered a problem with the recliners on the third-row seats, which meant that they could fold forwards during a crash, and had to recall 2,700 vehicles to replace the seat backs.
The automobile manufacturer has a history of teething problems with its cars – when the Model S was first launched in 2013, it was considered by some to be "the world's most expensive beta test" thanks to the copious amount of problems discovered by early adopters.
But today, the Model S is well-reviewed and it became the first car ever to get a full 100 points from Consumer Reports in August 2015, so it is hopeful that Tesla will be able to fix the problems highlighted ahead of its next car, the highly anticipated Model 3, going on sale.