It's a brick.. What's true about this blog???

It's a brick.. What's true about this blog???

I'm a reservation holder for a Model S. A friend pointed me to this blogpost regarding the battery warranty that Tesla has.

What's true about this blog? Is it a BS story or do I have to worry?

Peter Spirgel | February 24, 2012

My take is this. Do people understand that every machine requires maintenance? Of course! Although, many people procrastinate or ignore scheduled maintenance. I think that IF, as reported in the article, once the batteries in the Tesla fully discharge the car can't be recharged is true, people (prospective buyers) IMO are rightly concerned. After all, rechargeable batteries have "gone dead" on all of us - take your cell phone as an example. On the few occasions when my cell phone has died, I simply recharge it and it's good to go. If this is not the case for the batteries in the Tesla, then people will worry about this scenario.


I for one have confidence that Tesla has adequate protective measures planned to make fully discharging your batteries beyond repair an extremely remote possibility and one that would require overt negligence on the part of the car owner. Yes, one can imagine a situation where electric power is lost for a very prolonged time at a time when your Tesla is barely charged; however, in my lifetime, I've never experienced such an event and Tesla has clearly stated that the batteries will hold a charge for a prolonged period of time (several weeks if not months). Couple this fact with their instruction to avoid letting the battery discharge below 10% and I for one am not worried.

EdG | February 24, 2012

@Sudre_: I don't know a thing about the battery chemistry, but if it is possible that enough power applied would eventually bring it back, a Tesla battery might do better than most. Remember that Tesla batteries have temperature control built in. So the excess heat wouldn't be the problem. Of course, if the heat is the reason for your battery's recovery, then the heat pumps may prevent recovery.

Volker.Berlin | February 24, 2012
EdG | February 24, 2012

@Timo: looking at the Roadster warning page provided at , it warns that storing your unplugged vehicle below -40 degrees for "over seven days" voids the warranty.

Would you need to be able to keep an unplugged vehicle at those temperatures for more than a week?

Longhorn92 | February 24, 2012

Tesla's initial response:

Longhorn92 | February 24, 2012

Model S specifics from the Tesla blog:
"...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."

davidcjones | February 24, 2012

When I bought my Roadster 2.5, I was told in no uncertain terms to never let it discharge to zero or it would kill the battery. I was also told of a customer in Wyoming left his car in a barn over the winter and despite Tesla's monitoring and trying to track him down (unsuccessful), the car did discharge to zero, killing the battery (this might be the "fifth" brick case referred to in the blog in question). I was told that he had to pay for replacement. So my salesman made it very, very clear about the dangers and the implications, both to the car and my wallet, of not keeping the battery charged. He did not tell me that my pre-bought replacement battery could not be used for this sort of replacement, but I need to go check that document. I know it says it is a 12K battery at 7 years, and they will reduce the price by 1K for every year past that out to 10 years. They will charge you an extra 2K for every year prior to 7 if you replace it early. I do not know if there was a clause that says it can't be used for this sort of replacement or if there is something that says you can't replace until the 5 year mark or something like that, which would effectively mean if you fried the battery soon after owning, the contract would preclude its replacement under that plan.

While some have said that there are flaws in the battery or wiring causing this, I think it is more likely simply the battery maintenance systems run the battery down. The battery cannot get too hot or too cold, and if it does, the car turns on the appropriate system to preserve the battery, which inherently uses some of its charge. It is possible there are small "parasitic" losses too, but I bet most are the battery maintenance systems running.

I never felt that Tesla had hidden this issue from me, so I simply plug the car in almost every night and haven't taken a long enough trip away from home that a prolonged power failure (VT ice storm) would put me at risk.

andrewmfallon | February 24, 2012

@davidcjones - many thanks for your posting. That is an interesting bit of news about your battery replacement plan.

Discoducky | February 24, 2012

Just so we are clear, Nissan or anyone shipping Li-Ion batteries, has this issue; it's physics. Nissan may have a better way, with a patent or set of patents, to make the time longer, but eventually, without a way to get electrons into the cell the battery will brick.

Tom A | February 24, 2012

Back when I first heard of Tesla Motors, it was an announcement that the Roadster was being delivered to the first customers. When I looked over the info on the website at the time, I was very impressed with that optional $12k battery replacement warranty. I am very curious as to whether TM will offer that type of replacement option for all models!

Also, back to the brick issue, it was my understanding that the Leaf, for example, is all-but immune because it has a 12v lead-acid accesory battery that handles the parasitic losses, where the traction battery is disconnected when the vehicle is not "on".

In a way it is smart, but I don't like the idea of an environmentally-friendly car carrying the baggage of the nasty lead-acid technology. I prefer TM's route, where the traction battery does it all, with the extremely minor inconvenience of plugging the thing in more often than not.

Plus, assuming their statement holds true, the Model S, and probably all future models, will be immune to the phenomenon unless someone really tries (Leaving it unplugged for a year? Why would that person have a car? Middle class people can't afford to be away from work/business that long).

Sudre_ | February 24, 2012

Discoducky, I imagine you will find the Tesla response (see Longhorn92 post up a few) to this thing soon but the Model S is at very little risk to bricking.

As far as I know this is a physics thing as of now. They have not found any battery chemistry that does not break down over time lithium or otherwise. It's the amount of time that can very. Has anyone here ever owned any battery forever? rechargeable or not?

TikiMan | February 24, 2012

After reading the infamous 'Brick Blog', I have to say... What a bunch of dumb-asses! Sorry, I know shit happens in life, but seriously, who buys a car, and then just ignores it, or doesn't bother to read the owners manual?

I have remodled my home too, and guess what... I still drove my cars, and maintained them.

Regarding the person who 'thought' they were buying a summer 'slot-car', and stored it in a barn over winter... Go buy a Mazda Miata.

Regarding the person in Newporsche Beach who's Roadster sits his garage... What's the problem? You obviously didn't buy it to drive it.

Regarding the person who used a 100 foot extension cord... Really? You can afford a $120k car, yet you can't afford a proper 220 power outlet with a proper charger?

If the above type of person is you... I suggest you buy a tricycle instead, and stay off the streets. Because your idiocy scares the HELL out of me!!!

Klaus | February 24, 2012

where's the like button. :D

Timo | February 25, 2012

@EdG, thanks about that -40 & week info. Owners manual just says that you should not leave car unplugged at -20C temperature.

I'm pretty confident that I would never ever need to leave car outside for a week without plugging it in at -40C temperature (I would plug in even ICE car for block heater at those temperatures).

Timo | February 25, 2012

That's Roadster Owners manual. I naturally haven't seen Model S or X owners manual.

Brian H | February 25, 2012

Key excerpt from Tesla's response:

Tesla cared to publish a reply:

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.

Dennisf | February 26, 2012

So all in all it's a BS story. If you maintain your car like you would also do with an ICE vehicle there is no such risk of bricking your model S.

I've never had a car that was barned of stored away for months so for me there is no risk at all. I'm glad Tesla wrote their blog regarding this issue (that isn't there). I hope there wasn't too much harm done by the blogger of this story. My faith in Tesla and the Model S isn't changed and I hope I can drive my car ASAP :)

Mycroft | February 26, 2012

I'd hate to be one of those buyers of an eBay salvaged Roadster who had plans of patching it up and driving it if the salvage yard didn't take proper precautions with the battery pack's charge.

Leofingal | February 26, 2012

probably depends on how much you pay for that salvaged Roadster. I'd gladly pay 40k to have a fully functional roadster! Not sure my wife would be on board with that though...

Mycroft | February 26, 2012

That's the point. Salvage cars are sold as-is and you could pay $40k for a car with a $40,000 brick for a battery.

Sudre_ | February 26, 2012

I think my wife would be on board with purchasing a $120k car for $40K plus a $40k new battery. That is a lot of savings.

Mycroft | February 26, 2012

Plus cost of repairs. Remember, these are salvage cars that were given up as totaled by the Insurance company.

You can buy an unwrecked used 2008 for about $70k, a 2009 for about $80k, and a 2010 for $90k depending on options and if you're patient and ready with a checkbook.

mwu | February 26, 2012

My wife gets enough Tesla info through me that she doesn't usually go out of her way to read things. I didn't bother telling her about the misinformation or the reasons why it is that, but I found her on Facebook this evening defending Tesla from someone who had posted a link to one of the many postings / repostings of the misinformation. I told her that I thought it was awesome that she didn't get fooled for one second and didn't need to ask me about it before defending Tesla and I gave her a link to Tesla's response to help her with her comment.

Volker.Berlin | February 27, 2012

I wonder what the Leaf tech is that prevents full discharge, and why TM doesn't have it. (Brian H)

No such tech exists, which may be part of the reason why TM doesn't have it. Even Nissan cannot work wonders after all:

Vawlkus | February 28, 2012

Actually, the tech involved is simple: it's called a lawyer written manual :P

Discoducky | February 28, 2012

wow, that warranty is essentially saying, don't live in Palm Springs (every garage gets over 120 all day in the summer) or Minnesota (every garage gets under -25 degrees for long periods of time in the winter) and Nissans tech/patents only buffer/protect the battery for 14 days without being plugged in when charge shows zero. So 15th day equals "Bricked".

Will be interesting to see TM's warranty details on extreme environments. Since Nissan is air cooled and TM is liquid cooled + a ton of amazing patents, I hope for a better warranty.

BYT | February 28, 2012

@Discoducky, that is a good point as I don't live in Palm Springs but it is a favorite vacation spot of mine in June-August! I love it hot!!