An electric vehicle owner was shocked when he jumped into his car only to find that a failed software update had turned off the vehicle completely, leaving a message on his screen telling him the car could no longer be driven without first being towed to a dealer for service.
The aggravated EV owner signed onto his Reddit account to post an image of his car’s dash screen that told him that the car was bricked — or totally shut down. The vehicle was a Ford, but didn’t the post didn’t describe the specific model.
“Unfortunately, a recent software update was not successful,” the screen stated in the image, which was first posted Dec. 19 by a user identified as “HandyMan131.” “Your vehicle cannot be driven.”
The image drew attention on social media as other users picked it up.
Owning a car is about to get *really* weird.
Ford might be first but won’t be the last. pic.twitter.com/WSgOoMx0hj
— Car Dealership Guy (@GuyDealership) December 26, 2023
The information went on to tell the “owner” of the car that he would have to call a tow truck operator to tow the car to a dealer to have the computer crash sorted out.
Now, I say “owner,” because do you really own something if it is 100 percent controlled by the manufacturer and dealer by remote connection? Clearly, the car “owner” did not have the ability to avoid an expensive tow truck fee, nor the dealer’s charge to fix the problem inside the car’s computer.
“HandyMan131” posted an “update” three days after the original image. From the language, the user sounded reasonably satisfied with how things worked out:
“Update: towed to the dealer and fixed in 2 days. Working fine again now. Ford corporate has been very helpful through the whole process, and even offered to extend my warranty because of this,” the user wrote.
Other Americans might not be pleased so easily — and there’s plenty more to worry about than software updates that go wrong.
How many other reasons are these corporate overlords going to find to shut down your car remotely? Late on a payment? Shut down. Bought an aftermarket part? Shut down. Had someone other than the dealer make a repair? Shut down. Is this in the future? They certainly have the capability to do these things.
And don’t even worry about governments tapping into this capability. Why, heck, that would never happen. Drove too many miles because of climate change regulations? Shut down. Drove in the “wrong” locale (See London)? Shut down. Drove too fast? Shut down. Didn’t put on your seatbelt? Shut down. Missed a toll on the toll road? Shut down. Don’t have a city tax sticker? Yep. You’re done.
What if you wrote something about how much you liked Donald Trump on Facebook, or Instagram, or X and you have lowered your social credit sore? Will that be enough for the government to declare you a threat and shut down your vehicle to prevent you from exercising your freedom of movement?
Wait until the government has control of this…
— D MaC (@McC_711) December 26, 2023
Furthermore, dealing with an EV is so complex that there was even a detailed set of instructions to tell the tow truck driver how to tow the EV without damaging it. It also seems like a recipe for disaster that towing an EV is so delicate that your car can be destroyed by such a common service as a tow.
It isn’t the only time an EV owner posted a shot of a bricked EV. Another Reddit user posted one puportedly showing a Ford F-150 Lightning was shut down and turned into a giant — and extremely expensive — paperweight because of a software update failure.
A New York state EV owner discovered just what that means when he suffered a $2,100 tow fee to get his Rivian EV towed from somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains to a Rivian dealer in Boston because he made the mistake of trying to drive the thing on a snowy day.
When the the R1S SUV tried to drive his EV through a small drift of snow on the roadway, the whole thing went haywire, trapping the drive train between drive and neutral, and bricking the entire vehicle.
That isn’t even to mention the fact that if you are lucky enough to have an EV that remains in working order you might still have problems finding a charging station that still works, even in lefty, trendy places like Los Angeles, where a recent study found that 40 percent of charging station stalls don’t work.
Then there is the problem with privacy. Many EV drivers are blissfully unaware that if they make the mistake of utilizing their car’s hands-free phone options and pair their cell phone to their car that the automobile’s computer downloads everything in the phone, including texting data, and stores it on the car’s computer. Worse, owners have no option to turn off data collection and also have no option to selectively delete that data except for a complete factory reset of the car’s electronics.
This means law enforcement authorities — agents of the government, in other words — can access that data whenever they feel the need. How’s that for “privacy”?
With these tentacles of electronics that can control our lives by corporations and governments remotely, Americans are losing more of their civil liberties by the day. How is this “progress”?
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.