Tesla Downplays Danger of 'Bricked' Battery

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I've bricked many things in my life, mainly phones and / or other small electronics, but I've never bricked a car with a $40,000 battery pack. How do you brick a Tesla? Apparently it is pretty damn easy:

A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

Thanks to awsiemieniec for the linkage!
 

aL Mac

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I don't understand we can have small embedded electronics that can have a standby current so small it will last a year or more but a car with a huge battery pack cannot last a few weeks?

I would expect it to maybe decay after some amount of time, but it seems a little bit extreme.
 
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That sounds like a MAJOR design flaw.

Which for the most part describes the overall car in general. I'm amazed how the company still exists after how many failed promises and performance failings they had. Especially at 80k-100k per car MSRP.
 

SockMan!

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Why doesn't the car or battery pack have protection mechanisms in place that prevent the battery from being completely discharged? Just about everything else with a Li-ion battery does.
 

ViperGrendal

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Green Jobs initiative? That and other gov't grants from the US and California. I wouldn't be surprised if they rangled up funding from other countries/states too. Hopefully they learn some things that can be applied to future technologies so it's not a TOTAL waste of tax dollars.

Which for the most part describes the overall car in general. I'm amazed how the company still exists after how many failed promises and performance failings they had. Especially at 80k-100k per car MSRP.
 

sfsuphysics

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Seems like this could have been easily avoided with a standard lead-acid car battery to power the "always on" items, like every hybrid car out there has.
 

GoodBoy

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I don't understand we can have small embedded electronics that can have a standby current so small it will last a year or more but a car with a huge battery pack cannot last a few weeks?...

Why doesn't the car or battery pack have protection mechanisms in place that prevent the battery from being completely discharged? Just about everything else with a Li-ion battery does.

Assuming the article is real, it has to be both cheap and easy to build in circuitry which can prevent this from happening.

Taking the article as factual, the owners manual supposedly states that the battery needs to have proper charge maintained. Therefore the owners should know better, and it seems like something the salesperson would stress to the new owner.

If you can afford a Tesla, you can afford these problems should they arise.
 

Ashbringer

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This is how cell phones work. When you discharge the battery too much, the phone can't turn on to even recharge the battery. Technically when your phone hits 0% battery, it's not totally dead. Still has enough charge to get the phone going again and to allow it to recharge.

Sounds like the same bullshit with Tesla. Only except Tesla tries not to make this system sound stupid.
 

CharonPDX

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Um, yeah, this seems to be a surprising oversight. Even the Prius protects its main "traction" battery. You can kill the small 12V "accessory" battery, which is necessary to start the vehicle, but you can't kill the traction battery this way.

You'd think Tesla would have a similar system: use a small 12V for 'trickle' power, and only engage the big battery when turned on. In fact, wouldn't it be a safety hazard *NOT* to do it that way? On the Prius, when the car is "off", a relay switch physically disconnects the traction battery from being connected to anything. If the 12V accessory battery is dead, you can't turn the car on to reconnect that, but a standard-style jump start will get you running again. The Tesla really should use a similar system - small battery for trickle-power when "off", which engages the main battery.
 

Ashbringer

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What many people here forget is that rechargeable batteries lose a charge over time. I think 1% power loss from the battery per month. Not including the accessories in the car that run idle. So it's not hard to see someone drive a Tesla dead, and leave it in the garage for months. Only to come back and find out the battery discharged too much.
 

okashira

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There is no design flaw and no oversight here. It's just how lithium ion batteries are. Nothing you can do about it, besides the *gasp* obvious - comminucate that the car must have good charge if left for an extended period of time. (up to 11 weeks for the roadster according to the article. And plugged in if stored longer then that.

As far as the battery bricking with the 100ft extension cord plugged in - I suspect the full story is not here. There's no way the parasitic load is that bad.


Tesla needs to communicate clearly to owners these important precautions. And I don't think it's a big deal. Just don't leave the car parked without driving it for more then a couple months. You shouldnt do that with any car anyways, just need to be even more careful about it with a Li-ion powered car.

Tesla should probably also provide a mechanical switch or something to disconnect the battery to limit parastic drains for special case storage situations.
 

tunatime

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better question how the hell is any battery pack worth $32k? if that is how much it cost to make then then there shouldn't be using them or they need to offer to replace it if it fails whit in x time or miles. just think if you bought a new car and the engine blew and they said sorry that's not under warranty for that
 

BigJayDogg3

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There is no design flaw and no oversight here. It's just how lithium ion batteries are.

I beg to differ.

I have several laptops that haven't seen a charger in months. None of them have had a large enough issue taking a charge that the battery no longer works. The battery life on one is reduced (though it being 7 years old may have something to do with that), but I can plug it into the wall, charge it, unplug it and have a good 2-3 hours of use.
 

NoOther

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Um, yeah, this seems to be a surprising oversight. Even the Prius protects its main "traction" battery. You can kill the small 12V "accessory" battery, which is necessary to start the vehicle, but you can't kill the traction battery this way.

You'd think Tesla would have a similar system: use a small 12V for 'trickle' power, and only engage the big battery when turned on. In fact, wouldn't it be a safety hazard *NOT* to do it that way? On the Prius, when the car is "off", a relay switch physically disconnects the traction battery from being connected to anything. If the 12V accessory battery is dead, you can't turn the car on to reconnect that, but a standard-style jump start will get you running again. The Tesla really should use a similar system - small battery for trickle-power when "off", which engages the main battery.

First, the Prius is nothing at all like the Tesla. You are comparing apples and oranges. A hybrid is not the same as an all electric car. The Prius has a gasoline engine as well as the electric engine. It has a very complicated system to prevent bricking. But it can definitely still be bricked. The R&D budget of Toyota completely dwarfs that of Tesla as well. Secondly, being as the Tesla is an all electric super car, it has to have enough batteries to fully power the car. The Prius relies on its gas engine to do accelerating and provide the most power, the electric engine kicks on for cruising, it also has systems to recharge the traction battery through braking. The Tesla cannot afford to put as many of these things in place as Toyota since 75% of the car weight is battery. They also don't have the benefit of having a gas engine to help charge up the battery while running.

There are many more things to consider as well besides just these few blatant differences. Using a 12V accessory battery may not be enough for some of their systems. Remember that the 12V batteries are used to kick over an alternator that then relies on a gas engine to initiate starting the car. Starting your vehicle uses the most amount of electricity in a gas car, but it is still only a fraction of the total energy needed to get it going. An all electric car relies on its battery source for this energy and a standard 12V car battery may not nearly be enough to provide it. So that is just one more thing to consider among a ton of things that make a modern car go vroom vroom.

As for this "flaw", I don't see the flaw. In this day and age of electronic devices and Li-Ion batteries we should all be used to the depleted state of batteries and bricking them. I literally just had my last phone go schizo and brick 3 batteries in a row when it ran out of juice. I do feel perhaps Tesla is not doing enough to inform their customers ahead of time, but really, what sales person wants to tell the horror story of how the customer's car may not start and need $40k to replace a dead battery...
 

okashira

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I beg to differ.

I have several laptops that haven't seen a charger in months. None of them have had a large enough issue taking a charge that the battery no longer works. The battery life on one is reduced (though it being 7 years old may have something to do with that), but I can plug it into the wall, charge it, unplug it and have a good 2-3 hours of use.

Huh.

Yeah, your laptop batteries, just like the battery in the Tesla, can stay off the charger for months without damage. I don't see where the disagreement is?

Run your laptop down to 0% charge, let it die and then leave it unplugged for 4 months. Let us know how that works out.
 

okashira

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First, the Prius is nothing at all like the Tesla. You are comparing apples and oranges. A hybrid is not the same as an all electric car. The Prius has a gasoline engine as well as the electric engine. It has a very complicated system to prevent bricking. But it can definitely still be bricked. The R&D budget of Toyota completely dwarfs that of Tesla as well. Secondly, being as the Tesla is an all electric super car, it has to have enough batteries to fully power the car. The Prius relies on its gas engine to do accelerating and provide the most power, the electric engine kicks on for cruising, it also has systems to recharge the traction battery through braking. The Tesla cannot afford to put as many of these things in place as Toyota since 75% of the car weight is battery. They also don't have the benefit of having a gas engine to help charge up the battery while running.

There are many more things to consider as well besides just these few blatant differences. Using a 12V accessory battery may not be enough for some of their systems. Remember that the 12V batteries are used to kick over an alternator that then relies on a gas engine to initiate starting the car. Starting your vehicle uses the most amount of electricity in a gas car, but it is still only a fraction of the total energy needed to get it going. An all electric car relies on its battery source for this energy and a standard 12V car battery may not nearly be enough to provide it. So that is just one more thing to consider among a ton of things that make a modern car go vroom vroom.

As for this "flaw", I don't see the flaw. In this day and age of electronic devices and Li-Ion batteries we should all be used to the depleted state of batteries and bricking them. I literally just had my last phone go schizo and brick 3 batteries in a row when it ran out of juice. I do feel perhaps Tesla is not doing enough to inform their customers ahead of time, but really, what sales person wants to tell the horror story of how the customer's car may not start and need $40k to replace a dead battery...

Eh, the key difference here is that the prius uses NiMh batteries that can be recovered and refreshed after total dischage. Li-ion batteries cannot.
Not only that, but if the prius were powered by Li-Ion batteries (like the Volt) the car could be (and probably is) programmed to start the engine to charge the batteries in an emergency battery critical situation.
 

jeremyshaw

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This is the same forum that smashed some show presenter about a review of a Tesla car, when it turns out Tesla never directly denied any of his claims, right? Simply because none of the claims were deniable?
 

Ashbringer

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I beg to differ.

I have several laptops that haven't seen a charger in months. None of them have had a large enough issue taking a charge that the battery no longer works. The battery life on one is reduced (though it being 7 years old may have something to do with that), but I can plug it into the wall, charge it, unplug it and have a good 2-3 hours of use.

Most laptops work without the battery, so long as it's plugged in. Cell phones don't work like that, and chances are neither does Tesla.

Rechargeable batteries have a circuit in them, used to communicate with the device. They're there to prevent the batteries from being discharged too much, or from being overcharged.
 

Gorankar

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Just buy the Lotus and be done with it. Hell, driven sanely the Lotus even gets decent fuel economy for a sports car.
 

NoOther

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Eh, the key difference here is that the prius uses NiMh batteries that can be recovered and refreshed after total dischage. Li-ion batteries cannot.
Not only that, but if the prius were powered by Li-Ion batteries (like the Volt) the car could be (and probably is) programmed to start the engine to charge the batteries in an emergency battery critical situation.

Once the Prius's main battery is depleted, it can only be resurrected by a proprietary machine at the Toyota factory. I have no idea what you are even referring to in that last sentence. How does that help the Tesla at all? The Prius and Tesla are still completely apples and oranges.
 

Starcrossed

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They need to do something about this. Electric car technology is new - shit happens. In other news, the is the warmest, least snowy winter I can remember in my neck of the woods.
 

toffty

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Electric car = the dumbest fucking idea since burning food for fuel!!!! /thread

Come back to me when you can drive your car 100 miles for $2.75 - actually free for me with solar on my roof. We're at (if not past already) peak oil and gas is not going to get cheaper.

I've owned a Nissan Leaf for 3 months now and hate driving a gas cars, so ancient. (funny that electric cars are as old :D )

P.S. To everyone: To better understand how growth works when related to gas consumption (and all other consumption problems) do yourself a favor and watch this 8 part video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL6A1FD147A45EF50D
 

Starcrossed

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Electric car = the dumbest fucking idea since burning food for fuel!!!! /thread

I know, right? The cowboy (literally) that I used to live with in New Mexico used to go around collecting grease to filter for his car from the local restaurants. I was like, "Dude, you need to get with the times and send off your cash to the Middle East for some REAL FUEL!" He wouldn't listen. I guess I was too much of a traditionalist hippy for him.
 

kohl

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Come back to me when you can drive your car 100 miles for $2.75 - actually free for me with solar on my roof. We're at (if not past already) peak oil and gas is not going to get cheaper.QA2rkpBSY&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL6A1FD147A45EF50D[/URL]

Dude that is nothing. I power *my* car with the neck butter that grows under Michael Moore's chins. Doesn't take much!
 

toffty

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Dude that is nothing. I power *my* car with the neck butter that grows under Michael Moore's chins. Doesn't take much!

Which I'm sure still costs more than 2.8 cents / mile (or free in my case). Being free from oil and not supporting OPEC is fantastic! I would recommend everyone buy an electric car (or at least a plug-in hybrid) but I know there are many who are so loyal to OPEC that not supporting it would be among the greatest sins! :rolleyes:

There will be many electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the coming two years. For anyone interested in learning take a look here: http://www.plugincars.com/cars


As for the roadster problem: Unless you have no brain you'll never drain your battery; simple as that.
 

avatardelta

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Tesla Brickster, 40 grand for a replacement battery , fuck that.

for 40 grand I could probably buy a light truck, fill the bed with batteries and replace the engine with an electric one. Lots of hookers and blow to spare.
 

NoOther

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Which I'm sure still costs more than 2.8 cents / mile (or free in my case). Being free from oil and not supporting OPEC is fantastic! I would recommend everyone buy an electric car (or at least a plug-in hybrid) but I know there are many who are so loyal to OPEC that not supporting it would be among the greatest sins! :rolleyes:

There will be many electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the coming two years. For anyone interested in learning take a look here: http://www.plugincars.com/cars


As for the roadster problem: Unless you have no brain you'll never drain your battery; simple as that.

As soon as they make an electric car as fun to drive as mine, for the same price, I would be all over it.
 

BigJayDogg3

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Huh.

Yeah, your laptop batteries, just like the battery in the Tesla, can stay off the charger for months without damage. I don't see where the disagreement is?

Run your laptop down to 0% charge, let it die and then leave it unplugged for 4 months. Let us know how that works out.

I did...the battery charged and continued working without any obvious damage.
 

BigJayDogg3

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Most laptops work without the battery, so long as it's plugged in. Cell phones don't work like that, and chances are neither does Tesla.

Rechargeable batteries have a circuit in them, used to communicate with the device. They're there to prevent the batteries from being discharged too much, or from being overcharged.

This is a laptop that charged, and then had the power cord removed leaving it running off the battery.

If we're talking leaving the car unplugged for like a year then ok. I'll accept that as being at least moderately acceptable. But many of the Lithium ion powered devices I own have not been on a charger for quite some time...they charge and run on battery power without any obvious problem. I know eventually due to the abuse I've given these batteries they'll eventually refuse to take a charge. But that hasn't happened so far.
 

NoOther

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This is a laptop that charged, and then had the power cord removed leaving it running off the battery.

If we're talking leaving the car unplugged for like a year then ok. I'll accept that as being at least moderately acceptable. But many of the Lithium ion powered devices I own have not been on a charger for quite some time...they charge and run on battery power without any obvious problem. I know eventually due to the abuse I've given these batteries they'll eventually refuse to take a charge. But that hasn't happened so far.

What are you trying to prove Jay? That isn't at all what we are talking about. We are talking about unplugging a battery so it has no current, then draining it fully so it has no charge. That is not at all the scenario you are presenting. Just charging a battery and running it til it no longer powers the laptop is not the same as fully draining the battery. If you then took that battery when it could no longer boot up and leave it connected to something that was still using some of its power for months, it would fully drain and then be inoperable.
 

CharonPDX

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First, the Prius is nothing at all like the Tesla. You are comparing apples and oranges. A hybrid is not the same as an all electric car. The Prius has a gasoline engine as well as the electric engine.

Really? :rolleyes:

I was comparing the electric parts, if you didn't read.

Remember that the 12V batteries are used to kick over an alternator that then relies on a gas engine to initiate starting the car. Starting your vehicle uses the most amount of electricity in a gas car, but it is still only a fraction of the total energy needed to get it going. An all electric car relies on its battery source for this energy and a standard 12V car battery may not nearly be enough to provide it.

The reason the Prius has a tiny (barely larger than a motorcycle) 12V battery is because it doesn't turn the alternator. The Prius has no alternator. All the 12V battery does is power the accessories (like a standard gas car with the engine off,) and switch a relay to connect the traction battery pack. All engine-style electric power comes from the traction battery pack (the electric system starts up first, then uses one of the electric motors to start the gasoline engine if/when needed.) When the car is "off", this traction battery is completely disconnected specifically to prevent it from being drained at all. (Well, obviously all batteries suffer some small amount of drain, even with no load, but with such a large battery pack, that drain is so minor the car could go years before it drained.) That is my suggestion for the Tesla: A small 12V (that takes up very little space,) and a relay. Power the "standby/off" components off the 12V (really, I can think of no legitimate reason that the car would need to draw so much power that it would drain a motorcycle-size 12V that quickly,) and use the 12V to "power up" the main battery when you choose to "start" the car.
 
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