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“It’s A Brick” – Tesla Motors’ Devastating Design Problem ($40K battery replacement)
The understatement. ^ | 2-21-2012 | Michael DeGusta

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 Tesla’s warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss.

More at link.......

KEYWORDS: green; tesla
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To: fishtank

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.

41 posted on 02/22/2012 11:26:56 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Myrddin

I don’t use trickle chargers unless it is something like a Lithium Ion. Even then that is a inconvenient option IMO

42 posted on 02/22/2012 11:28:40 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Wurlitzer; All
Newt is an internationalist, and is an progressive, a one world government proponent.

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 ...

43 posted on 02/22/2012 11:39:22 AM PST by geologist (The only answer to the troubles of this life is Jesus. A decision we all must make.)
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To: Western Phil

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).

44 posted on 02/22/2012 11:42:53 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture (Could be worst in 40 years))
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To: Jack of all Trades
Battery protection apparently didn’t make it into the controller code.

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.

45 posted on 02/22/2012 11:45:06 AM PST by cynwoody
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To: Publius6961

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&T’s 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&T’s network. According to the Tesla service manager, Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadster’s battery was dangerously low.

46 posted on 02/22/2012 11:48:34 AM PST by nascarnation (DEFEAT BARAQ 2012 DEPORT BARAQ 2013)
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47 posted on 02/22/2012 11:50:23 AM PST by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: Hodar

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.

48 posted on 02/22/2012 11:54:39 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Bartholomew Roberts

>>Don’t you mean “side of the Rhode?”

In Road Island.

49 posted on 02/22/2012 11:58:57 AM PST by Joe Bfstplk (People should enjoy the fruits of their labor. No labor, no fruit.)
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To: duckman

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.

50 posted on 02/22/2012 12:04:07 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Wurlitzer

He can only out run you for a little while then you will pass him as he sits out of juice on the side of the highway completely silent.

51 posted on 02/22/2012 12:26:20 PM PST by USAF80
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To: Publius6961

Out of Gas, half charge / No Mo Go left.

You know it Will Happen.

It won’t be an every day occurrence but it will happen.

52 posted on 02/22/2012 12:31:04 PM PST by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: nascarnation
Here’s what’s sucking the juice. You obviously didn’t read the text:
Tesla added a remote monitoring system to the vehicles

Not only did I read the text, but my long technical background conditioned me to reject ambiguity in critical processes, and NEVER to rely on inferences.
That Tesla "added" something does not clearly report that it is a feature on just the most recent models sold, or they recalled all previously sold cars. See the problem?

Since the article didn't include anything to the contrary, one must assume that ALL cars sold are prone to the same failure, upgraded or not.
In addition, the "added" feature could well, have been powered by a small additional rechargeable battery, which could monitor anything for weeks if not months. Monitoring would not need to be continuous. Unless the main battery voltage drops like a rock off a cliff, brief ( less than one minute) monitoring every 6 or 12 hours may suffice.

53 posted on 02/22/2012 12:37:25 PM PST by Publius6961 (My world was lovely, until it was taken over by parasites.)
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To: Publius6961
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.

I bought a Sears Diehard Security battery in the late 1990s. Main feature was a remote fob that disables the battery from starting the car. Secondary feature is that if the stored voltage dropped too low, then the battery stopped delivering power until the security fob was pressed. That way, you could still start the car if you ran the radio and accessories too long with the engine off.

Unfortunately, my remote fob died 5 years ago. Meanwhile, Sears had stopped selling the battery. Tried to get instructions on resetting the fob, with no success. I removed the security pack from the battery, and am still using the battery 12 years after buying it.

This old technology is what Tesla needs.

54 posted on 02/22/2012 1:00:55 PM PST by roadcat
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To: ImJustAnotherOkie
It won’t be an every day occurrence but it will happen.

Isn't that about a verbatim repetition of Murphy's Law?

My personal "blond moment" happened within weeks of buying my Prius in 2003. I bought it as my personal hi tech toy, to explore its capabilities and new technology, etc., NOT to save money on gas (gas was around $1.50 at the time.) I was commuting 70 miles round trip daily, unfortunately on a stretch of I5 with widely separated communities with gas stations, and a very heavy count of large trucks; two lanes in each direction.

I wanted to check the mileage possible on a tankful of gas. The Toyota brochure trumpeted 600 miles between full tanks, and I was determined to check reality and compare it to advertising BS.

I ran out of gas a mile and a half from the next gas station. I learned two very important lessons that day.

First, when totally out of gas, regardless of anything else, the speed drops from 60 or 70 to around 45 in a matter of seconds (exciting, when in the faster of the two lanes, and bumper to bumper truck traffic.) Second, the battery powered the car exactly one mile, before shutting down completely. That was a test of the robustness of the main batteries, and the sophistication of the computerized system control software.

A third lesson, learned over the next few months, is that the Prius has a fuel guage system more primitive and less useful than a Model T ford. The bladder system used in the gas tank allows it to read "full" and shutting off the gas pump between 80 and 90% af actual "full." I routinely forced an extra 1 to 2 gallons topping off without spilling. A strange design flaw on the part of Toyota. A Yaris, purchased in 2008, has the identical problem.

Just for information, the Prius regenerative system might work, but it never did for me, because it relies on jackrabbit starts and stops. Not my style. As a result, I NEVER got higher mileage in the city, as advertised. My commuting history settled on around 47 mpg.

As an unexpected bonus, if ODumbo is reelected and we are faced with rationing, I will laugh as I will be assigned more gasoline than I would ever need. All the abuse that I have received from the muscle car and pickup truck crowd will be the source of constant Schandenfreude.

55 posted on 02/22/2012 1:11:34 PM PST by Publius6961 (My world was lovely, until it was taken over by parasites.)
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To: Publius6961

You’re obviously smarter than the Tesla boys and girls, they pay big bucks, and are located in beautiful Palo Alto, Cal.

I nominate you to go save them!

56 posted on 02/22/2012 1:21:37 PM PST by nascarnation (DEFEAT BARAQ 2012 DEPORT BARAQ 2013)
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To: Publius6961

Constant abus? Just because it is an undertired, underbraked, underpowered, overpriced, overweight, auto.

They should have called the the Fantasy, Appeaser, or the Charade (Hyundai had that name first).

Whats funny is when I pass one I look inside the car and see someone who wants to stick their feet through the floorboard to make it go.

57 posted on 02/22/2012 1:34:04 PM PST by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: Gaffer
NO driver, owner, user should EVER be exposed to this kind of liability.

I'm astounded at this. ASTOUNDED, I tell you. Really, though, you leave your car at the airport for a few days and come back to a . . . brick? As I frequently say, I would laugh this off as the growing pains of a new technology if I wasn't being forced under pain of losing my house to help pay for it.

58 posted on 02/22/2012 3:27:26 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: Moonman62
Chevy should offer a Volt with no battery.


It's called the CRUZE ,, it's a decent car , it's less than half the Volts price ... and it gets up to 42mpg hwy ... in real life with extended mileage daily so the 25 miles of electricity doesn't distort the numbers ,,, they would both use equal amounts of gasoline.

59 posted on 02/22/2012 3:35:18 PM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: zeugma
One of the bikes in the garage is hers. There is another one of "hers" on consignment. She "outgrew" it about 212 miles from the purchase. Too bad. It has lost considerable value just from time alone. It is a 2007 Vespa LX150. It wasn't enough bike to keep up with the others in the household.
60 posted on 02/22/2012 4:29:13 PM PST by Myrddin
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