Battery puncture by a metal Debri on the road

Battery puncture by a metal Debri on the road

I was driving my Tesla S this evening and was stuck by a metal debri on the highway and hit the bottom of my car.
Where as other cars in front of me drove over it with no issues.

Immediately i got my car to complete stop on the side of the highway to make sure everything is ok.
Then i drove to near by tesla service centre to get it checked under the car and make sure nothing major happened.
The technician informed me that battery might have been punctured and needs to be replaced.
He also said that i was lucky as it could have been worse and could have caught fire.

I wonder how come Tesla did not take care of this practical problem in the design.
I bought tesla in Feb 2018 and now i am asked to pay for the battery replacement as it happened due to outside influence.
Tesla service centre even denied to give a loaner car.

I am really upset with the whole thing...

RedShift | August 27, 2018

Tesla offers 8 year infinite mile battery warranty. Why is Tesla is making you pay for the battery replacement?

lilbean | August 27, 2018

Does the warranty cover road damage?

RedShift | August 27, 2018

Elon has famously suggested he will only not cover a battery that you used for target practice! Everything else should be covered, I should think, especially road debris? (I am recalling the Titanium plate saga)

SCCRENDO | August 27, 2018

In the early days there was a Tesla battery fire when a trailer hitch punctured the battery of an 85S. Tesla replaced the battery, temporarily suspended lowering of the car until they placed titanium plates underneath the car to prevent this. So I suspect this totally on Tesla. Worst case scenario you claim from your insurance

robert.s.bjekich | August 27, 2018

Consider filing a claim with your auto insurance carrier.

Xerogas | August 27, 2018

@sauroop: no car warranty covers road damage. That’s what insurance is for. If you drove over a metal spike that punctured your V6 gasoline engine, would you claim it was a faulty design? Same goes for flooding, lightning, hail, cliff drops, etc.

sbeggs | August 27, 2018

Count incremented.

EVRider | August 28, 2018

If you saw cars in front of you driving over the debris, why didn’t you avoid it?

SCCRENDO | August 28, 2018

@EVrider. Sometimes not so easy on a freeway at speed.
@sbeggs. Give OP the benefit of the doubt for the moment. See if he comes back

NKYTA | August 28, 2018

I'll wait 24 hours.

Rocky_H | August 28, 2018

There were a few of these back in 2013 where large chunks of metal punctured batteries and led to fires a few minutes later. Because of that, Tesla responded with a few things. They did add more extensive protection under the cars to try to prevent this more in the future.

But they also broadened how extensive the coverage was for conditions covered by the battery warranty. Here is the blog post about it from November 2013:

The relevant part about extending the warranty is this:

Third, to reinforce how strongly we feel about the low risk of fire in our cars, we will be amending our warranty policy to cover damage due to a fire, even if due to driver error. Unless a Model S owner actively tries to destroy the car, they are covered. Our goal here is to eliminate any concern about the cost of such an event and ensure that over time the Model S has the lowest insurance cost of any car at our price point. Either our belief in the safety of our car is correct and this is a minor cost or we are wrong, in which case the right thing is for Tesla to bear the cost rather than the car buyer.

While it's clear that the intention is to cover any future incidents of this type of road debris damage, the interesting part that's a little grey area is that their wording says "to cover damage due to a fire". I think that was foremost in their mind because of what all the scary headlines were talking about, but since this person's car had damage, but no fire, that might be an open question.

I think I would contact Tesla directly through their website and bring up the issue with your car, and include the link to this particular announcement from them to request that they cover this as part of their assurances they were giving owners at that time.

Rocky_H | August 28, 2018

I think this is probably a case of where the Tesla employee who responded is new-ish and did not know about how aggressively Tesla as a company was trying to cover any kind of battery pack damage. The coverage is a little more extensive than is usually found in the automotive world, so this employee probably just didn't know about it.

jordanrichard | August 28, 2018

"The technician said it might have been punctured and needs to be replaced" Ok, none of that makes sense. One, the battery is protected by a 1/4" ballistic grade aluminum plate. There shouldn't be a "might have been punctured", you would clearly see a hole in an otherwise smooth surface. If there was in fact damage to the internals of the pack, you would have gotten a message on the screen.

I once went over a speed bump a tad too quick and felt the bottom of the car hit. I didn't get any warning message, but I still checked and didn't see a thing.

finman100 | August 28, 2018

yeah, this is regurgitated FUD since "fresh" FUD is getting harder to come by. wow. simply wow. take a several years old story and put in 'back' on a Tesla forum. just desperation! no imagination at all.

How in the world do people live with themselves "reporting" this kind of FUD?

sauroop | August 28, 2018

Thanks to you all for your feedback and inputs.
All of them make sense and even i am confused whether it should be covered under battery warranty or Insurance.

As per Tesla Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty, any unintentional damage to battery on a regular drive should be covered. As this was not a intentional act and got hit by a debri on highway which i could not avoid due to traffic. Initially i was told by Tesla customer support that it will be covered under warranty but Service centre denies the same. I am still trying my luck with Tesla.

@finman100 : This is not FUD. My car is still at Tesla service centre as we speak.

sbeggs | August 28, 2018

There was a questionable post that I flagged just above mine that has now disappeared.

RedShift | August 28, 2018

Yeah, that questionable post was from a pimp from UK. Sbeggs and others got to it before I could flag it. That was quick!

EVRider | August 28, 2018

@sauroop: You can see the warranty here (US and Canada):

It says if your battery catches on fire, regardless of the cause, it is covered under the warranty, but other damage to your battery is not covered. Unfortunately, that means Tesla doesn't have to cover any damage to your battery, so you'll need to go through your auto insurance company.

rxlawdude | August 28, 2018

The battery warranty excludes collisions that did not result in a battery fire.

Frank99 | August 28, 2018

I'd be really interested in any pics of the metal debris, or the damage done to the pack.

Yodrak. | August 28, 2018

""The technician said it might have been punctured and needs to be replaced" Ok, none of that makes sense. One, the battery is protected by a 1/4" ballistic grade aluminum plate. There shouldn't be a "might have been punctured", you would clearly see a hole in an otherwise smooth surface."

I agree. There's no "might have been", was the plate breached and the battery punctured or wasn't it? You need to go beyond the technician.

sbeggs | August 28, 2018

Plus the titanium cow catcher forward of the battery...

rxlawdude | August 28, 2018

Not to mention who Debri is? ;-)

jordanrichard | August 29, 2018

I am still puzzled as to how a technician can look at your car and then tell you it may have been punctured. A one eyed dog could tell whether or not the pack was damaged. How can the technician not see definitively if there is physical damage?

rxlawdude | September 10, 2018

@jojo, you are a despicable spammer. FLAGGED for TOTAL ASSHATTERY AND DOUCHBAGGERY.

acegreat1 | September 10, 2018

How much did they say for the new battery pack? What size? | September 10, 2018

This is likely a hoax. Teslas have a Titanium shield to ward off debris. If battery pack is punctured, coolant runs out and battery pack can go into thermal runaway. Car notifies you of this and tells you to pull over and exit the car. There is no "driving to a nearby Service Center."

jordanrichard | September 11, 2018

The OP still hasn't explained what part of the battery "was punctured" or exactly what metal object he ran over.. The shield you are talking about George is for the front vertical portion of the battery. The rest of the pack, meaning the portion facing the ground is protected by a 1/4" ballistic grade aluminum plate. Once Tesla came up with the titanium shield and heavy duty push bar, they made a video of them running over a cast iron receiver hitch and there was no damage. They then ran over an alternator and it was crushed to pieces, along with a cement cinderblock.

Tropopause | September 11, 2018

OP come back and tell us what happened!

compchat | September 12, 2018

These things happen rarely. It's like something puncturing a gas tank on an ICE vehicle. At least it didn't catch fire. However Tesla did make the promises that the battery would be replaced free of charge. OP we back you on this issue.

compchat | September 12, 2018

Just curious if Model 3 has better, worse or different battery protection compared to model S ?