Part 9 of the Electric Car series (“The Electrilliad“)
Sadly, as expected, my car’s radios haven’t healed. However, I’m less sure that the hardware is fried. It’s time to entertain a different possibility: somewhere, something in the bowels of the car is disconnected. Either physically, i.e. a cable got loose, or logically, as in “there’s a software communications issue.”
Since the problem appeared after charging the car, I decided to plug it into the charger again last night. When I did, something weird happened: the main infotainment screen, the one that runs Android Automotive, can be used to adjust the max charge level, just like in a Tesla or other electric cars, but in this case the car was ignoring it. Even more: I couldn’t set the charge rate.
I had previously set the charge rate to 40A, the max that my garage EVSE can output. It was now set at 6A, and the adjustment buttons were grayed out. Nothing would make it budge.
Simultaneously, the driver’s display, which keeps track of the charging process, was weird. It thought the limit was 100%, and it was charging at “40 out of 0 amps”; on previous charges, this correctly displayed the current and the set charging rate.
Even weirder, the car actually charged to 90%, and then stopped.
So at least I won’t wreck the battery by overcharging it, but the lack of control over the rate, together with the fact that the driver’s display has no idea of what the other one’s doing, suggests to me that maybe there’s something other than the radios wrong here.
Polestar, true to their word, agreed to send a tech to check it out. Or, to be more precise, semi-true to their word, agreed that they will eventually schedule a tech to come check this out. They’ll call me before the end of the week to schedule. I appreciate the representative’s attitude; they’re all very good. I am, though, pretty annoyed that a large chunk of the functionality of my new, fancy car is offline and there’s no sense of urgency.
The next step in the DIY fix scale is unplugging the 12 V battery, for a full car reset. If the problem is software, this could fix it. But the battery is hard to reach, and I’m bad at keeping plastic pieces intact. So we wait.
In the meantime, and because despite everything I aspire to be an optimist, I put tint on the car and got it an entry-level ceramic coat. The ceramic coat gives it that wonderful super-glossy look. I like it.
Today, while working, I got a call from the tint place. An alarm blared in the background. A distraught woman asked for me by name, and begged me to turn off the car’s alarm.
As my car was safely in my garage, and being quiet, I didn’t understand. I said “my car’s alarm is not going off.” She replied “please go into the app and try to find something to stop the alarm!” I insisted: “My car’s here, at home.” She said: “Please help me and turn off the alarm!” I repeated, “my car’s in my garage” and she said “no, it’s here! The Polestar!”
Lady, I regret to inform you that you got a second Polestar to tint in a 24-hour span. What are the odds? I explained this to her, and she slowly realized that her best bet was to get off the phone with me, and find the unlikely owner of the unlikely second Polestar.
Speaking of tint, I got the top-of-the-line 3M tint. It cost much, much less than $1,500.
Speaking of Ford, how’s my favorite American car company doing? It turns out, they’re building me a car! Or, eventually, they will.
I contacted the Ford salesperson when I bought the Polestar, asking to cancel my order. I never heard back.
A couple of days ago, I got an email from the inventory manager at the dealership, asking me to sign verifying the specific configuration I was ordering. I replied, “Please cancel this order.” He replied, “what is the order you’d like to cancel?”, so I sent him the specific order number.
A few hours later I got this email.
Am I concerned about this? Not really. The dealership is clearly happy to get a Mach-E that will eventually be theirs to sell as inventory at a huge markup. Do I appreciate the inherent dishonesty? No, not at all. But Ford doesn’t want to talk directly to consumers, and I don’t have the time or inclination to chase down someone at Ford HQ and tell them in lurid detail that the dealership is lying on my behalf. Let them have this; it doesn’t hurt anyone beyond having the next person in line wait a little longer for their Mach-E. I tried to cancel, twice. I have the receipts to prove it.
I wait, patiently, for Polestar to send a tech here. If it doesn’t happen fast enough, I might just drive to Austin, go to the dealership, and wait there in the lobby until they fix it. The car is ONE WEEK old. I was not prepared to deal with a major malfunction this quickly.
Next: [Sigh] Support