How Tesla is changing the world with technology
Tesla is a company that takes data and technology seriously. Its highly sophisticated cars, often praised as iPads with wheels, are equipped to allow for two-way connections between the car and the manufacturer.
Tesla instruments its cars to collect all kinds of data in the form of log files that are sent to their offices. This data is used to check and maintain the cars, improve services, analyze the performance of Tesla cars, and diagnose and resolve issues remotely, among other things.
For example, it can alert customers when parts are going to wear out, measure the mileage people are getting from a single charge and decide where exactly to build the next charging station.
It is also able to push software updates over-the-air, giving it the ability to adjust safety parameters, update technology features or just improve the driving experience without causing any inconvenience to the drivers.
Acknowledging that innovation is an ongoing process, Tesla opened up all of its patents in an unprecedented move for the automobile industry. Genuine altruism or not, this can be a huge boost for the electric vehicle segment and is a testament to Tesla’s progressive vision.
A word of caution
The most famous use of the data collected, unfortunately, has been in the controversial New York Times vs Tesla episode. It all started when Tesla approached the Times to do a story on its east coast supercharger network.
John Broder, a reporter for the Times, test drove the car and wrote a scathing article. In response, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, argued that the story was faked and questioned Broder’s journalistic integrity, making assumptions based on the logs from the car. Broder responded back and gave his explanation for the allegations by Musk based on this data.
This soon turned into a heated debate, with one man’s word over the other, before the public editor of the Times chose to seek an end to the matter.
The point here is not to question who was right or wrong, but to assert that data can sometimes be ambiguous and different conclusions can be derived from the same information. As many acknowledged, Musk went too far in questioning the integrity of Broder and saw the data the way he wanted to see it. Tesla needs to be sensitive in this regard and not alienate people by its use of data.
A loyal fan following
With all its efforts, Tesla has been able to differentiate itself not just on design and technology but also by providing its buyers an unparalleled customer experience. This has resulted in Tesla building a loyal fan base who would go to any lengths in defending the car.
As an example, a group of Tesla owners recreated the Times’ test drive in support of Tesla. They were able to complete the drive without any issues, much to Tesla’s delight.
Tesla still has a long way to go before it can justify its market evaluation and sustain profitability, and one of the most critical factors will be how effectively it can produce affordable cars for the common man, which in turn is contingent on reducing battery costs.
Nevertheless, Tesla has shown the world – and more specifically the automobile industry – the way forward and the importance of innovation. Its use of analytics has helped it connect better with its customers and give it opportunities to engage with its customers more often. This bodes well for Tesla in the long run.