And now the official, long-form response from Tesla Motors on the bricking issue, which can be boiled down to: plug it in, please.

On the Tesla website, the company has addressed reports that up to five Tesla Roadsters have been turned into gorgeous paperweights that need a $40,000 repair because their batteries were discharged too low. The official but unattributed article (unless we're supposed to believe that "Tesla Motors" actually wrote the piece) says that bricking is "an irrational fear based on limited information and a misunderstanding of Tesla's battery system."

While noting that electric vehicles need, in general, far less maintenance than vehicles with an ICE and that, in any case, all vehicles require some sort of maintenance, Tesla asks its owners to remember to charge the car. Not at all times, but regularly. Here's where things get interesting, when Tesla lays out some definite times for how long its vehicles, including the upcoming Model S and Model X, can be left unplugged:

The earliest Roadsters will take over two months to discharge if parked at a 50 percent charge without being plugged in. From that starting point, Tesla has consistently innovated and improved our battery technology. For example, a Model S battery parked with 50 percent charge would approach full discharge only after about 12 months. Model S batteries also have the ability to protect themselves as they approach very low charge levels by going into a "deep sleep" mode that lowers the loss even further. A Model S will not allow its battery to fall below about 5 percent charge. At that point the car can still sit for many months. Of course you can drive a Model S to 0 percent charge, but even in that circumstance, if you plug it in within 30 days, the battery will recover normally.

Then there's this:

Model S and Model X will have batteries that can sit unplugged for over a year when parked with only a 50 percent charge. And when that year is up, all you need to do is plug it in.

So, while the issues surrounding Roadster #340 continue to develop, at the very least we've learned that bricking should be an incredibly uncommon issue moving forward.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 44 Comments
      Mladen Kalinic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah because 90% of ICE vehicles would just start up beautifully after sitting for a year. No repair costs required.
      Firefly
      • 2 Years Ago
      When you make a battery powered EV and try to convince the masses that other than recharging, this is IN NO WAY different than owning an ICE vehicle, Tesla must realize that the term "idiot-proof" was coined because of the existence of idiots...
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The issue of battery maintenance and charging regimens, have always been a potential consumer difficulties in EV acceptance. On the one hand, it's easy to have little sympathy for someone who purchases a Tesla Roadster and can't be bothered to read the information about battery charging and act accordingly. On the other hand, as EV's become more mainstream, owners can not be expected to have such intimate interest or technical knowledge as early adopters. The next generation EV's must be 'idiot proof', to allow a more user friendly experience of ownership. But these are fairly minor problems, in what is a still rapidly developing technology.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Here's your regimen: charge it at least once a month. If you have ever owned a cell phone, you are already familiar with this procedure. Your cell phone battery would also die from a combination of self discharge and parasitic drain if you discharged it fully and stuck it in your desk for 2 months. People learned to change the oil in their cars every few thousand miles in their cars so that their engines wouldn't sieze up. They can also ( eventually ) learn to charge their car once and while too.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @2WM The easier you can make operating something the easier it is to sell. You may be quite right about how easy something is, based on your own experience. However, if you are hoping for mass sales, the easier the operation, the easier it is to sell!
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Heeyy.... thanks for actually clearing some of this, mr. Blanco.
      Jon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do the model S and X have contactors that open when the vehicle is off? Do they have 12V batteries or are all the vehicle electronics run by the HV pack even when the vehicle is off?
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jon
        From the engineering diagram I've seen of the Model S it doesn't have a 12V battery (personally I think it's a bit backwards for an EV to have a 12V battery), just like how the Roadster doesn't have one. Most likely it uses a DC-to-DC converter just like the Roadster. But it definitely has contactors that can disconnect the battery, because that is required for the DC charging capability that it has. How it uses that contactor is unknown. For example, does it disconnect the BMS at a certain voltage, something that everyone says is will prevent battery "bricking"?
          JP
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          The Roadster does indeed have a 12v battery, as do most EV's, though I'm not sure about the Model S. Having a 12V battery allows it to smooth current flow during high demand startup loads for accessory motors and such, and allows the DC/DC converter to have an easier time, and not be oversized.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          "The Roadster does indeed have a 12v battery, as do most EV's, though I'm not sure about the Model S" I stand corrected then. Originally the Roadster only had one/two of the "slices/sheets" in the main pack act as the 12V source, but I guess they changed that design (maybe because of balancing issues?). According to the following threads, the 12V was only added in the 2011 model year for backup/safety purposes (it's a very tiny motorcycle battery so the lights/flashers and critical systems like the ABS, SRS, VDS, VMS can still function even if the main pack is disabled) and not as any type of buffer. 12 volt accessories primarily use the DC-to-DC converter and supposedly all the systems/accessories can still run directly from that converter even without that 12V battery (so it's only for backup). http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/4849-12-volt-accessories http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/4560-Voluntary-fix-offered-for-Roadster-models-2-0-and-2-5/page3 Those threads also describe the contactors he asked about.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yay!
      mustang_sallad
      • 2 Years Ago
      "And when that year is up, all you need to do is plug it in." Don't even need to jump start the 12V circuit? That's surprising to me, I wonder how they pull that off. If this is true, I'm guessing that means plugging in for charge can somehow close the HV battery contactors without requiring a 12V battery, maybe down to their proprietary charging connector.
      Jim McL
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is there a secondary market for used EV batteries yet? Sure there may be a few modules that are damaged and cannot be recharged, but I suspect most modules in the battery pack have significant life left in them. I want to put a solar panel system on my roof with backup batteries in the basement in the next year or two, and I would rather not use the typical lead acid battery array. Lead acid may be cheap but maintenance is high and life span is low. Should be easy for used Lithium Ion batteries to outperform new lead acid batteries. But as far as this Tesla owner being clueless that he had to keep the car plugged in? Even the electric scooters at the grocery store have a big sign on the back saying "PLUG IN ALL NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT, AND AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY". I suppose Tesla could put a sign like that in the windshield that the end customer has to remove and see if anyone can miss it. Seems like this guy must have spent old money to buy his Roadster, he sounds like a spoiled teenager. Not many people smart enough to make enough money to afford a Tesla are dumb enough not to read the instructions. Then again, I worked for a guy in the 1990s who ruined his very expensive car by not only never changing the oil in 45,000 miles, but never even checking the oil. I heard him trying to argue with the dealer on the phone about it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just ordered my Model S. I'm taking a huge leap of faith considering I live in Atlanta, GA where Tesla has no presence and the infrastructure does not take kindly to EV cars. However, I believe in Tesla and I stand behind their products, even though they haven't been around that long. As for the whole 'bricking' issue, it doesn't concern me. I own several cars and because of that fact, the batteries on some of them died due to lack of driving. Of course, it didn't cost me $40K to replace them. Anyway, the way I see this issue is the negligence of the driver not Tesla. He didn't plug it in as he should have. Anyone knows a battery charge does not last forever. Reading the story of the person complaining, he stored his Roadster while his house was being fixed? That sounds kind of weird. Why would you store your car? However, if he's like me where I own several cars and he decided to take one over the other. Whatever the case, he should've realized the car battery is going to die and should have gone back at least once to charge it up.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      If ever a battery failure occur, can they change it because it's carrefully installed into the floor and that is hard to remove and install a new one.
        goodoldgorr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        If ever tesla discover a new battery breaktru can they install this new battery in a old tesla model s cuz they seam hard to reach.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          It's hard to say which is harder to reach. Both are so heavy you're going to need a lift to separate the car from the battery. Neither is buried inside the vehicle, they are on the outside (under an easily removable panel on the Roadster).
          Naturenut99
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          Not too hard for Tesla technician. They have the equipment to make it easy enough. (relatively speaking) No EV maker has designed or would design a car so that the car owner can easily remove, repair and/or replace the battery pack. It's a dangerous undertaking, and only those well qualified should do it. It's not like putting a couple AA's in a device of your choice.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        i've seen the battery module for the S. It is bolted to the unibody with 40+ bolts along the rocker panels. And it's so large you would probably more think of the car as being bolted to it than vice-versa. Nonetheless, Tesla says they can unbolt the battery from the unibody and replace it.
          Naturenut99
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Even from the very beginning they said the battery would be able to be "swapped out". Now we may not still be talking about swapping them out just to go for a longer trip, but the design is the same.... easy enough to change.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can't seem to find an explanation of bricking, cause or effect. "Neglect" doesn't say much.
        Naturenut99
        • 2 Years Ago
        @diffrunt
        The owner did not follow proper procedure. He left it too long without a charge. He left it in a low battery state of charge and then didnt come back to charge it for about 2 months. That is neglect. It's in the manual to keep a proper SOC.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      As I've mentioned on the other battery threads, Tesla is a new company selling new technologies and systems. It makes sense that their earliest cars would be the most likely to have issues. As the company has grown they have learned how to improve their tech with the newest cars being able to sit for a year. I'm sure that is under optimal circumstances. If the car was in Canada or Tucson, Arizona then an owner should be more cautious. Common sense...
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