Skip to comments.“It’s A Brick” – Tesla Motors’ Devastating Design Problem ($40K battery replacement)
Posted on 02/22/2012 9:59:24 AM PST by fishtank
Tesla Motors lineup of all-electric vehicles its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a brick: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Teslas warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss.
More at link.......
I wonder what the cost of a Volt battery replacement is as well as the charging station. Correct me if I am wrong; but I think the Prius battery costs $4500 to replace. Battery is good for 100K miles. I don’t think it is part of any extended warranty.
Just a thought ... how about a warning light informing the driver that the battery is critically low; and then the battery disengaging while it still has a charge, and is capable of being re-charged.
It’s not rocket science, it’s not even very hard to do. In fact, it’s pretty basic.
But, what do I know ... perhaps they should consult with President Wiley E. Coyote (Super Genius).
An interesting thing about the Volt is GM will not let the battery go below half charge. That is supposed to double the life of the battery and avoid a lot of warranty issues.
So I guess you could be parked on the side of the row, with someone having a baby or dying in the back seat and a half full battery and not be able to drive to the hospital.
Without getting into a lengthy discussion like on a previous thread the 100+ year old Edison Battery used in the first electric cars has a life span of 100 years, can be fully discharged or highly overcharged without damage and with a top off of some distilled water away you go.
Unfortunately after a new method to increase energy density was developed Exide purchased the patent for that process and then shut down production. You can still buy the older technology though. Seems Exide did not want any competition from a 100+ year lifespan battery.
Too bad for Tesla it is a nice looking car and the motor is very well designed but like all electric vehicles the batteries suck and Super Caps are not the answer.
Battery protection apparently didn’t make it into the controller code. Maybe none of their engineers had never driven a car before? I mean, who would not know that it’s human nature to drive a vehicle in a low fuel situation until the last iota of oomph is expended?
Didn’t this company get tens of millions in the Stimulus?? Something like a half million for every car they ever sold?
Well, the Volt also has a gasoline engine.... which seems to miss the whole point of a Volt... lol
That is precisely what every other device with lithium ion batteries does. The deep-cycle issue has been known for a very long time.
Li batteries and lithium-ion in particular have very little current delivery capability once half discharged. The car might not have enough oomph to get up the slight grade on the way to the ER anyway.
That 1000 lb, $40K block of toxic chemicals is roughly equivalent to 8-10 gallons of gasoline.
And it allows the car to recharge off of coal in about 31/3 hours. Assuming you can find a connection...
And it has a life expectancy of ~7 years.
I’ll take a old Ford Escort station wagon. Thanks.
Just plain NOT an option. NO driver, owner, user should EVER be exposed to this kind of liability. Tesla effed up BAD....very BAD..... If you have 2 or 3 vehicles, it is very easy to understand that one or more of them could go unused and untouched for up to 2-3 weeks...
I’ve got three....one is an older BMW that sits for 2-3 weeks sometimes. Recently, I’ve had to charge up the battery twice, even thinking about having to replace it. You think I should have to pay $40K for it? (In comparison, Interstate Batteries charges $105.95 for an MTP-91 for the 328i.)
This company is D-E-A-D, period if this is true.
Don’t you mean “side of the Rhode?”
Don’t you mean “side of the Rhode?”
Could you please post the thread title or a link to that thread?
I have 5 motorcycles sitting idle in the garage in Idaho while the 6th is with me in San Diego. All vehicles have a Battery Tender Jr "pigtail" connected to the battery. My wife rotates the two chargers across the bikes every other week to keep the batteries in good shape.
He’d send stimulus dollars to “ACME Batteries” to come up with a solution. (And we know how those ACME solutions always worked for the Coyote.. ;-))
I work on Eglin AFB and there was one in our parking lot the other day. It looked just like the one pictured.
Here you go.
Maybe Government motors can take over Tesla and throw a few billion dollars at the problem and put a battery condition gauge/monitor on it.
Chevy should offer a Volt with no battery.
Now THAT’S a serious design issue...
The irony is that this $120k car could be protected with $50 worth of electronics to physically prevent that $40k battery from going fully discharged while it is not running.
What are the subsystems that parasitically are always "on?" What sort of current draw are we talking about? If the LiIon battery self-discharges without parasitic draws, how long can it just sit? No explanation. Crummy reporting.
Fundamentally, anyone who can afford to buy this beast (and get a taxpayer-funded "green" rebate) can afford the $40k to replace the battery due to neglect. Perhaps prospective owners should pass an IQ test before being allowed to buy one. How difficult is it to understand that 100 ft. extension cords should not be used? or that it should not be stored for weeks without specific precautions? Has Tesla even devised a way to allow long term storage of a fully charged battery (zero current draw)?
I will state the obvious. People who are drawn to the status aspect of this car are for the most part dumb as tree stumps, when it comes to science or technical knowledge, so we can all enjoy an application of cosmic justice, or Schadenfreude.
I will look forward for more thorough technical analyses of the fundamental problem, and the obvious beartrap created and technical design neglect that the Tesla designers and engineers exercised.
Don't have to worry about charging my bike since it's my only one, and I ride it every day. :-)
I’m thinking maybe Al Gore finally *did* invent something! :)
Sure Bob, I made a handful of posts regarding the Edison (or nickle/iron) battery which has many positive attributes but like everything else it is not perfect. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2848984/posts
Given its longevity and low toxicity it would seem a great starting point for at bare minimum an interim method until something better came along.
If other issues with electric cars and their power source are addressed, removing a larger battery and replacing it with a smaller one would not be a game changer. Right now we are experiencing politician induced technological grid lock.
Can you give us a link or a clue of the name of the thread for those who missed it?
Sounds like a basic fallacy in the definition of half discharged.
I suspect you've oversimplified to the point of meaninglessness.
I suspect the battery can't fall below 50% (gross overcaution, I think) but only if the gasoline engine and/or charging system malfunctions.
I had just responded to Bob with this link then saw your post:
I truly hope Tesla resolves this issue and can bring the cost down. It is a neat vehicle albeit not with all the ease and range of gasoline.
Last summer I was riding my GoldWing on an expressway and saw this red sports car gaining on me real fast. It was a Tesla. When he blew by me the only thing I could hear was my bike (and unless you ride a GoldWing you don’t know how quiet they can be).
It was just like wooooooosh and he was gone. Nice looking car but like all electrics needs a better power source.
I don’t use trickle chargers unless it is something like a Lithium Ion. Even then that is a inconvenient option IMO
Not to be trusted. He is very intelligent, great history teacher, and should be in a high ranking position , perhaps in maybe the budget. or working out the housing and banking debacle.
He simply is not conservative at heart. It is a false promotion
check out the following link for yourself ...
No, it’s just that storage capability and discharge rate are two completely different things.
I have electric R/C helicopters. At 4.2v/cell they take off like a rocket. At 3.8v they will sink to the ground (although I don’t usually let the batteries get that low). There is still energy stored but it can’t be discharged at a high enough rate to usefully turn the rotors (and would damage the batteries if you could).
There are millions of laptop batteries out there that have to cope with this same issue. I wonder how many lines of code my computer's battery contains.
Here’s what’s sucking the juice. You obviously didn’t read the text:
Tesla added a remote monitoring system to the vehicles, connecting through AT&Ts GSM-based cellular network. Tesla uses this system to monitor various vehicle metrics including the battery charge levels, as long as the vehicle has the GSM connection activated4 and is within range of AT&Ts network. According to the Tesla service manager, Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadsters battery was dangerously low.
Problem isn’t from daily use type stuff, it comes into play if you decide I want to put my car into storage for 6 months for winter... you can’t just throw a tarp over it and forget about it, you better have that sucker plugged in the entire 6 months, or at least, check on it and plug it in from time to time.
>>Dont you mean side of the Rhode?
In Road Island.
The Prius battery is WARRANTED for 100,000 miles. That’s not a measure of “how long it lasts”. Most cars for example have 60,000 mile full warranties, it doesn’t mean the car is going to stop working at 60,001 miles.
The warranty is longer in California, because it’s part of the emmissions system, and there are no special batteries in California, so it is assumed the battery would last the same length of time in all cars.
I have two Prius cars. One has 10 years and 102,000 miles with no battery problem, the other is at just under 8 years and 120,000 miles with no battery problem.
The retail price of the battery is over $4000; however, when I totaled a Prius and looked into parting it out, I found that you can generally get gently used battery packs for $1000 or so. I can imagine people out of warranty going that route.
There haven’t really been wholesale battery replacements yet. It is assumed that when there is, Toyota will start recycling and refurbishing (internally, the batteries are d-cells, so they will be able to pull them, measure them, and rebuild packs with the good ones for a fairly small cost relative to building an all-new battery pack).
The Prius maintains it’s battery between 40% and 80% of charge, so the “wear” on it is virtually nil. And the battery is not quite an “integral” part of the system — I mean, you can’t go without it, but if it merely manages to hold charge, you can still mostly drive the car, the battery is just like a “flywheel” storage medium for generated electricity.
The Tesla problem is that they have a lot of electronics on board that drain the battery. The management system shuts most of them down when the battery drops too low, but then it can still drain at a slow pace, and if you don’t have it plugged in, eventually the batteries will drain.
BTW, the Prius has a similar problem, with the 12-volt battery. It runs the locking and key detect mechanisms, and if you leave the car long enough, the 12-volt battery will be dead. In the older Prius, the 12v battery was so small, this could happen in weeks. The newer Prius and the newer replacement battery for the old one last months. But it is recommended to disconnect the battery for long-term storage (this is actually true for other modern electronic-lock cars).
The stupid thing is you have this huge charged battery, and can’t start your car because you can’t turn on the computer to start the inverter. But I’ve jump-started the Prius with a 12-volt portable drill battery.
Every car has something. On the bright side, I have yet to replace the brakes on either of these cars.
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