Source: Vlad Mitrache – AutoEvolution
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Tesla skipping the beta testing phase for its upcoming Model 3 electric sedan because that’s usually when a lot of the vehicle’s flaws get sorted out.
Traditional carmakers have been doing it for years, and Tesla’s move is seen as a great risk by many analysts. However, Musk claims that computer simulations can solve many problems that would have necessitated beta testing before and that the Model 3 will turn out just fine. But you wouldn’t really expect Elon Musk to say anything else, would you?
Besides, it’s not like going through all these phases guarantees success. If it did, then we wouldn’t be blighted by so many recalls. But while a door that makes a funny noise when it closes can be irritating, there are other malfunctions that can have a much bigger impact on the customer experience.
A car’s transmission (something the EVs can do without, further supporting Musk’s way of doing things) is one of its pivotal elements. It is responsible for sending the engine power to the wheels while also varying the ratios, so there’s always enough torque to get things moving. A bad transmission can really ruin a car.
That’s what Ford’s PowerShift transmission did for nearly 7,000 Focus and Fiesta owners who have now filed a mass action lawsuit against the American carmaker. The complaint says the gear boxes were prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.”
“Ford must be held accountable for design and manufacturing defects of the PowerShift transmission that has compromised the safety of the vehicles and cost owners significant loss in vehicle value, reliable transportation and time,” said Ken Stern, founder of Stern Law PLLC, the law firm that represents the plaintiffs, quoted by Automotive News.
Ford, on the other hand, refused to comment on a pending case, but it did say it was “committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles.”
According to the lawsuit, the vehicles affected by these problems are 2012-2016 Focus and 2011-2016 Fiesta sedans. The PowerShift is a dual-clutch transmission and the first one developed by Ford, which might explain why implementing a new technology did not go as smoothly as desired.