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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard? 394

cartechboy (2660665) writes "When things go wrong with the Tesla Model S electric car, its very loyal--and opinionated--owners usually speak up. And that's just what David Noland has done. An incident in which his Model S didn't stop when he pressed the brake pedal scared him--and got him investigating. He measured pedal spacing on 22 different new cars at dealers--and his analysis suggests that the Tesla pedal setup may be causing what aviation analysts call a 'design-induced pilot error'. And pedal design, as Toyota just learned to the tune of $1.2 billion, is very important indeed in preventing accidents."
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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

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  • News for nerds (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlackPignouf ( 1017012 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @04:55PM (#46567777)

    Guy cannot drive and trashes expensive car, blames manufacturer.
    News at 11.

    PS: Apparently, "The Model S accelerator pedal is disabled if you press the accelerator pedal and brake pedal simultaneously."

  • by WilliamBaughman ( 1312511 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @05:09PM (#46567997)

    Toyota's fine was not just about sticking pedals (and initially making deceptive statements about the safety of those pedals). Toyota's fine was in part for claiming that sticking pedals were the sole cause of unintended acceleration when in fact multiple defects in Toyota’s engine software directly caused at least one (decided by a jury) other crash.

    An Update on Toyota and Unintended Acceleration Barr Code []

    U.S. Fines Toyota $1.2 Billion but Defers Criminal Prosecution Over Vehicle Safety Deceit - IEEE Spectrum []

    This is an important safety (and technology) issue that has flown mostly under the radar. I believe that is in part because journalists and the public believe they got their answer years ago, when in fact new evidence, expert testimony, and court verdicts have come to light. I think the issue is important enough that this misconception should be corrected whenever it's reported.

    My opinion, not my employer's.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @05:31PM (#46568341)

    Actually, his proposed solution is exactly what Audi, VW, BMW and Mercedes have implemented.

  • by Rakishi ( 759894 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @05:52PM (#46568605)

    All cars have gears including the tesla.

    The Tesla has a fixed single speed transmission so for all intents and purposes it has no gears.

  • Re:Tesla (Score:5, Informative)

    by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @06:43PM (#46569189) Homepage
    That's not really an intentional "feature" in Automatics... it just happens to be a design quirk created by Torque Converters... Since there is no physical 100% disconnect between the engine and transmission (like there is in a stick-shift with the clutch depressed) the car generates enough torque at idle that, unless you're physically braking the car, the torque "seepage" through the converter will result in your car creeping forward.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @06:58PM (#46569323)

    Actually, no. It has no gears. That is why it tops out at 125 mph. They tried to put gearboxes in there, but the motor blew them apart.

    Actually yes it does have gears []. See that thing that connects the electric motor to the wheels. That's a gearbox and contains gears.

    It has a gearbox with one speed. Motorists would refer this as having no gears. To use an internet analogy: it's like having your P2P software force you to have a fixed upload/download ratio.

  • For a car to have no gears, the drive shaft directly couples to the drive wheels.

    For a comment to have meaning, it must take the language into account. And in this case, your comment is entirely and completely wrong because the meaning of the word "gears" in this context corresponds to "selectable gear ratios".

    If you're not willing to speak English, perhaps the English-speaking web is not for you.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:52PM (#46570901) Journal

    As you may know, if you spin an electric motor by putting a prop on it and letting the wind spin it, you've just made a generator. You may also know that doesn't mean that the spin a motor powers itself, forming a perpetual motion machine. That's because the generated voltage is in the reverse direction from the direction required to make it spin (among other things).

    So what happens is that when you apply 12 volts to make a motor turn, that "generator effect" is producing 6 volts the other direction. If you put a multimeter on the motor terminals, it'll read 12V - 6V = 6V. So the spinning motor has 6V at its terminals. If it's not spinning, it doesn't work as a generator, so it has 12V on terminals. Guess which one has more torque, the stalled motor with 12V or the spinning motor with 6V? The motor with the full 12V (because it's not generating -6V) has more torque. Max torque, therefore, is at 0 RPM. Faster spinning means more negative voltage generated and lower torque.

    A manufacturer of the control circuit can of course ARTIFICIALLY limit the power to the motor at low RPM. If they set the control circuit to not ALLOW the motor to full torque, the car would see consistent torque. That's not because of the motor, though, that would be an artificial limit configured into the controller.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal