Tesla bricking update: can other electric vehicles suffer the same fate? Unlikely

Remember all the way back to Monday, when "bricking" your pricey electronic gadget simply meant you needed to get a new iPhone to try and jailbreak? The electric vehicle world is still dissecting the charges that surfaced yesterday that a Tesla Roadster could be bricked – i.e., made inoperable – if the battery gets worn down to zero, as there are new questions cropping up about the motive behind the original article by Michael Degusta. That story continues to evolve, with Degusta now claiming that it was Tesla that leaked the name of Roadster owner #340, Max Drucker, who was a business partner of Degusta's and the source for some of the information in Degusta's original post.

As we noted when the story broke, though, something this big – an expensive EV battery dying – is something we would have expected to have heard about the first time it happened, not with the fifth car (as it being claimed). After all, people have been driving plug-in vehicles for decades, and "bricking" has not been a major (or even minor) issue among people who know what they're doing with an EV.

So we wanted to see if other EVs on the market might be susceptible to "bricking," now that EVs are slowly entering the mainstream. The world's most popular passenger EV, the Nissan Leaf, is apparently safe, as you can read after the jump.

Nissan's official statement reads:

The Nissan LEAF lithium-ion battery pack is the world's most advanced system and has been engineered to delivery outstanding, real-world performance for our customers. The Nissan LEAF battery pack will never discharge completely, thanks to an advanced battery management system designed to protect the battery from damage. One element of the battery management system is a failsafe wall that stops the battery from reaching zero state-of-charge, even after a period of unplugged storage. Globally, there are more than 22,000 LEAFs on the road that have driven more than 30 million miles, without any incidents.

Nissan has always been proud of the Leaf pack, even when some said the pack was under-engineered. Still, Nissan does make it clear that the battery needs to be taken care of. In the Leaf's battery warranty information, it says that to prevent damage to the battery, "Do not

The Li-ion battery discharges gradually if the vehicle is parked for a long time.

leave your vehicle for over 14 days where the Li-ion battery available charge gauge reaches a zero of near zero state of charge." The car's manual adds, "The Li-ion battery discharges gradually if the vehicle is parked for a long time. Nissan recommends charging the Li-ion battery every 3 months using the long life mode charging method to keep the Li-ion battery in good condition. Do not leave the Li-ion battery fully discharged or with a very low charge level for a long period of time." Nissan's Katherine Zachary told AutoblogGreen that "Parasitic load reduces state of charge after periods of unplugged storage. However, it can't dip below usable KW's, which is less than the 24 KWs on board."

We also heard from Coda Automotive's Larkin Hill, who said the all-electric Sedan's battery management system (BMS) was designed from the beginning to avoid bricking the car. We "have a BMS system that is designed to protect the high-voltage battery, and the system will shut down prior to complete depletion," she said. There are a lot of variables about how long a Coda can sit without being plugged in, she said, but the manual has similar recommendations about leaving it plugged in when it won't be driven for extended periods of time.

The only thing you can let sit for months on end is an antique with no moving parts.

Hill then made a point that is getting a bit lost in the kerfuffle: pretty much every single thing needs maintenance, whether it's a car, a house or people. "The only thing you can let sit for months on end is an antique with no moving parts," she said. For an everyday car like the Coda, that is supposed to be driven in cold weather or hot weather, that means following the recommendations. For example, when the temperature climbs over 120 or drops below freezing (even if the is just parked overnight), the Coda should be plugged in to activate the thermal management system. In other words, take care of your things, people.

Questions about the Mitsubishi i and the Ford Focus Electric have thus far gone unanswered.

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