‘Elon Musk, please help us’: Tesla owners start hunger strike over quality issues

Tesla owners in Norway have initiated a hunger strike to draw attention to quality issues with their vehicles. Tesla Hunger Strike

A group of upset Tesla owners in Norway has begun a hunger strike in the hopes of bringing attention to a long list of alleged quality issues with their luxury vehicles.

The dissatisfied Norwegian Tesla owners are attempting to make their grievances known to company cofounder and CEO Elon Musk.

“We believe that if Elon Musk is made aware of our troubles, he will solve the situation,” the group wrote on their website. “Please help us get his attention.”

The Tesla owners listed 29 issues with their vehicles, not specifying the exact models. It’s unclear if all of the owners participating in the Tesla hunger strike have the same make of car.

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The complaints range from various operational issues, like the inability to start the car in cold weather and dysfunctional autopilot features, to manufacturing issues, like loose front seats and improperly installed decorative mouldings.

The Norwegian Tesla owners also included several customer service complaints, including long wait times to speak to a Tesla representative.

The (extensive) list of complaints includes:

  • Car won’t start in cold or warm weather
  • Door handles won’t open in cold weather
  • Intense squeaking noise
  • “Bubbles” in seats
  • Loose front seat
  • Trunk lid filled with rain water
  • Autopilot does not work properly
  • Internet is slow and does not work as it ought to
  • The car creaks when you pass speed bumps and other bumps in the road
  • The lights do not work properly
  • Doors that open by themselves
  • Yellow edges around the display screens
  • Windows that do not close completely
  • Systems reset on their own
  • Problems charging
  • Rust problems on new cars (especially Model 3)
  • Poor paint quality means that the car has to be repainted
  • You were promised free charging throughout the car’s lifetime, but the new charging stations do not fit the car
  • Not all problems are solved when the car is serviced
  • You have to wait on the phone for a long time before Tesla answers

Since Norway has the most electric cars per capita of any other country and is Tesla’s top per-capita market, the Norwegian owners believe they are “the canary in the coal mine.”

The group’s website also links to a second page claiming a 2019 Tesla software update negatively impacted the battery capacity of any Tesla Model S manufactured between 2013 and 2016.

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There is a group claim attached to the webpage, urging Tesla owners to demand money back from the company. The claim per car is approximately €13,500 (almost $17,700).

Tesla has already settled two group lawsuits in Norway, from the spring and summer of 2018. The terms of these settlements are not known.

As a company, Tesla has had numerous quality complaints in the past, with Musk even acknowledging several faults.

In 2021, while appearing as a guest on Munro Live, an engineering and manufacturing commentary YouTube series, Musk said the company struggles to produce high-quality vehicles during the ramp-up period of a new model. At the time of the interview, Tesla’s Model 3 had recently been released.

Musk said Tesla buyers should purchase vehicles “right at the beginning or when production reaches steady state.”

“During that production ramp, it’s super hard to be in vertical climb mode and get everything right on the details.”

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In 2022, Tesla was ranked 23rd in the U.S. Consumer Report’s overall ranking of best car brands. According to CNN, the poor ranking was mainly a result of the brand’s difficult-to-use yoke steering wheel, which caused problems during various road tests.

Musk has yet to publicly reply to the hunger strike demands.

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