Consumer Reports Glitch Preventing Tesla Owners From Participating In Summer Survey On Automobile Satisfaction

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A reddit post by u/skidz007 showed a disturbing detail about a Consumer Reports consumer satisfaction survey in regards to Tesla vehicles this year. The user shared a screenshot of their answers to the question, “On average, how many kilometers can you drive this vehicle on a full charge, before its battery is completely depleted of power?” The Consumer Reports survey is trying to force the owner to input a range that is lower than reality.

While this seems a little suspicious given the earlier behavior of CR this past spring in regards to Tesla, it is most likely just a strange glitch, not intentional. Many industries are biased against Tesla, but whether this is intentional or not, having a glitch that doesn’t allow you to put in the correct answer is not good for the research results.

In case it’s not clear from the tweet above, the user said that their 2018 Tesla Model 3 has a range of 454 km (282 miles). Consumer Reports didn’t accept that number and issued the following error text in red: “The answer is outside the valid range for this question.” For the user’s 2019 Model X, the answer to that question was also input as 454, and Consumer Reports again flagged this as an answer outside of the valid range.

Although this could be a glitch, many think it’s not. Some complained that this wasn’t the first time Consumer Reports issued misleading surveys “to get the answers it wanted.” And others noted that the methodology for getting at this matter was ignorant in general anyway.

In the original Reddit post, u/NotJim replied and said that this seemed like a strange question and that they had no idea how far they could drive their car until it runs out of power. This is because they don’t drive their car in that way. Others in the thread speculated as to why it was set up like this. Perhaps this form was set up to take multiples of 10 or something even though the question asked for a whole number. NotJim added that Consumer Reports could have set a maximum value thinking in miles and not convert miles to kilometers for surveys sent to people answering in km (note that the question shown in the tweet asks for kilometers). This actually makes sense.

Jake Fisher, Senior Director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports, replied to Nick Howard on Twitter about the issue and said that it clearly wasn’t right and that he would have programmers look into it. I agree that it’s not right, and my bet is definitely on the side of technical error, but I can understand why many of my fellow Tesla supporters would think this is intentional. It’s great that Fisher is trying to solve this, at least.

Many Tesla supporters, including myself, are quick to take notice when misleading media reports are published — which is more often than not. In April of this year, CR published an article on how to trick a Tesla with Autopilot engaged into thinking it had a driver in the seat, while the car didn’t have a driver. This was a response to the Houston crash where many outlets claimed there was no driver. Those claims were later debunked by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and others. The preliminary report noted that there was even video footage of the owner entering the driver’s seat. The report also showed that Autopilot abuse wasn’t a factor — the level of damage from the crash isn’t consistent with a 30 miles per hour collision, which is the fastest that Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) could have brought the vehicle in 550 feet. Read more about that here.

However, Consumer Reports and other media outlets didn’t wait for the preliminary report — and they didn’t report on the NTSB’s findings either. In regards to Consumer Reports, the article that was published was a how-to for those wishing to cheat Tesla’s Autopilot. (Note that you need to be incredibly flexible and slim enough to do this.) Nash from Tesla in the Gong, an Australian YouTube channel, shared his thoughts about this in a video that I analyzed. Yes, Consumer Reports was able to trick the Tesla into thinking there was a driver in the seat, but again, this takes a lot of work.

Additional Thoughts

I understand why many are quick to believe that this is intentional — the media’s bias against Tesla is alarming. The media is more than the writers, reporters, journalists, editors, photographers, and videographers who work in the industry. As an entity, the media has the ability to push narratives in a big way. If the media had treated Tesla fairly, it would have waited on the NTSB’s report before running wild with conspiracies about driverless cars killing innocent people. However, that makes a sweet headline that equals fast money via clicks.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider