Regrettably, my MS died this am!

Regrettably, my MS died this am!

Here's the story:
60kw 2400 miles. I've had the car about 8 or 9 weeks.

This am I came out to the car and it started. As I started o pull out of my driveway I received a 12v lbattery low, car may unexpectedly shut down error.
I thought this was not good and backed up and parked the car. Error still said same thing. I called Tesla repeatedly (sat am) and after about an hour I finally reached someone.
Tesla sent a ranger to my home.

After another hour and half he arrived. He got into the car's system and found that the 12v battery was actually not faulty, at least according to the car.
He called into HQ and attempted to reach someone who had access to run diagnostics on the 12v. Note to owners, there are some things rangers cannot do from the car that must be done remotely across GSM. Also worth noting, don't get your car stuck in a garage blocking GSM!

After another 30 mins they determined something was wrong by looking at the cars logs. It appears something had been happening all week with the car but they were still not 100% clear what. They determined it should be brought into LAs service center. They arranged for someone to bring a loaner and that the driver would then take my car back. They explained its much better for a tech to be driving it in this condition in case it "unexpectedly" shut down. After another hour someone came with a car. A Chevy impala. WHAT a POS! Who buys these cars? Apparently LA has only one MS loaner and it was out.

Between the time the Ranger left and another tech showed up with a loaner the car got worse. Now it would not start or charge. It had 182 miles of charge in it already.
It was basically unresponsive except windows and radio worked. It would not accept a charge nor start.

So now they arranged for a tow truck. After another hour and a half one arrived. It took the guy almost 30 mins to get the car loaded.
They now have the car and are looking into what's going on. I'm hoping for the best, but what a wasted day and there's obviously a big part of my psyche asking what have I done.
I can tell you it's not a very comforting feeling watching the back end of your S being towed away after only 2400 miles of use. Wondering what's next. I know Tesla will make the car right but this shakes y confidence quite a bit. What if I had been out on a long trip or driving when this thing shut down. Not Good at all.

mrspaghetti | 4 mei 2013

Not to minimize it, but keep in mind that you could well ask the same question about any other car. They break down too, it's just that other auto manufacturers don't have forums where people post every single malfunction.

If you'd bought an Aston Martin and it had to be towed away after 2400 miles, you'd be wishing you'd bought a Tesla.

keichhor | 4 mei 2013

I agree to both comments. Only had my MS for 1 week, and loving it. Since we always prepare for the worst, we are keeping our Lexus ES as a back up in case of these emergencies.

Better to be safe than sorry!

Good luck! And I hope they fix it better than ever!

danielccc | 4 mei 2013

It does suck, but don't worry about the future. The car will only get better and more reliable with time, as they work the remaining bugs out.

jbunn | 4 mei 2013

I remember when my ford explorer had about the same mileage. It broke the serpentine belt, which controls the alternator, power steering and brakes, and most importantly the water pump. In moments, I was overheated and stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere. Ended up having a flatbed tow me about 30 miles to an autoparts store (still in the middle of nowhere) where I bought another belt and some tools and got under the hood.

Got over 225,000 miles on that belt, and it's still working.

So sometimes it happens. No reason that belt should have failed at 1% of it's life. But dang, when it did, it took the entire car out.

Hope you get your car back soon, and hopefully that's the last major issue.

Chunky Jr. | 4 mei 2013

This seems to be happening to many people.

Hopefully it is a software issue so they can fix with an upgrade. But if it is not, Tesla should issue a recall once the underlying problem has been identified so others do not get bit by this.

RedShift | 4 mei 2013

I have turned down my amps to 32 to slow the charge to trickle charge the 12v battery rather than the short charge I would get normally.

skymaster | 4 mei 2013

I have turned down my amps to 5 to 10 to really trickle charge. Even after Tesla fixes this 12 volt battery problem, I feel a trickle charge is best for the battery pack. Sorry Red Shift, 32 amps at 240 volts is no trickle.

kashiraja | 5 mei 2013

Will reducing the amps during charging of main battery really make a difference? Doesn't the 12V just charge from the main battery via a DC-DC converter? In other words, the charging current to main battery won't really affect the charging of the 12V battery.

Brian H | 5 mei 2013

The main advantage of trickle charging is prolonging the charging till you are ready to go, and thus the battery doesn't have a chance to cool.

RedShift | 5 mei 2013

Skymaster, someone said the charging efficiency is lower at less than 30 amps or so. Can't remember the thread. I am prolonging the duration, in he hopes of getting more charge to the 12v. ( shouldn't have used the term trickle charging )

scwins | 5 mei 2013

Just to be clear. The car errored with 12v low warning but upon further inspection, it didn't appear to be the problem since it was showing ok. I'm still awaiting word but at this point it seems like something else. For the record, most of my charging each day is done at work on a regular wall outlet. 3 mi an hour at like what 12 amps over 5-6 hours. When I charge at home I usually drop my 40amps to 18 and charge longer.

While I appreciate the analogies, this is no ford explorer. It's an 85 thousand dollar car. If it were an Aston Martin, I'd be equally upset but perhaps not as doubtful. I know it's the tech that worries me and I know Tesla will make it right, but its still not very reassuring in the meantime.

I'm Hoping for the best. The reality is after owning this car, just about everything else within reach could never compare to it. Despite my discouragement, I'm still in it for the long haul.

Thanks guys.

RedShift | 5 mei 2013

Scwins, I hear you. My brand new car was undriveable due the charger cable that would get stuck. Tesla tech support was unable to fix it the first time. An impromptu party thrown by friends who showed up was a bit of an embarrassment when I had to explain the situation.

It got resolved quickly by the next day. ( Manually 'open' the already open charge port o work around the issue, then, fix the UMC later at the service center 3 days later)
Since then my car has been perfect... It's the only car I drive now. Other car sits, gathering dust.

You will be happier soon. :-)

dbourne | 5 mei 2013

While on one hand having a problem with a brand new car seems unsettling it's also not unexpected. Most failures with all products (particularly tech products) happen in the first 90 days of use or so. Happily I have had no critical hardware failures over 7,000 miles so far but at least it sounds like Tesla's service was pretty prompt in helping you. I know from my days of owning a BMW that the service would have never been that good.

sergiyz | 5 mei 2013

Sorry to hear about your experience, hopefully they resolve it soon for you.
Trickle charging is (much) less efficient, meaning you're wasting some energy charging with low current.
The peak charger efficiency is about 95% (at max current 80A), while at low range it's about 60% from my observations (charging from regular 120V 15A or even 208V 30A).
It's pretty easy to see, especially with public chargers like Chargepoint: look at how much energy you've spent since the last charge, tripmeters show you that.
Then charge and see how much you've used. Chargepoint conveniently reports that.
By comparing the numbers (used vs charged) you can figure out the efficiency.

scwins | 5 mei 2013

I'm a little confused about your statements regarding efficiency. I was told that in order to prolong battery life (the long haul) its best to charge at the lowest amps possible and the longest you can that gets you the range you need. For example, if you need 30 miles a night it's much better for battery longevity to charge the entire night at 20 amps getting to our needed range than to charge the 30 miles in one hour.

Are you disagreeing with this?

Brant | 5 mei 2013

He is referring to the % of energy that leaves the wall and actually makes it to battery storage during a charging session.
Battery life is another topic

bfranks273 | 6 mei 2013

scwins - any more news? Extremely interested in the story.

mbosem | 7 mei 2013

We had the same thing happen on april 6, I think there is a part of the 12v charging system with a minor defect. Tesla Ft Lauderdale Center and the home office was great during the process. This car has incredible revolutionary technology and a few bumps in the road may occur. The MS is our favorite car to drive. It costs 25-30% of what our Audi A6 costs to drive in energy (and road tax) and the ride is smooth and fast.

drjain06 | 7 mei 2013

Thanks for the heads up scwins. I think the most troubling part of your story (apart from your 85K car becoming a paper weight) is the difficulties you had in initiating service for the car.

I have a MS P and love the car, but I have to say, the service for such a car is lacking. I'm sick of coming on this forum and seeing owners blindly defend Tesla by comparing it to other car companies/cars. The CEO of the company goes out of his way to make sure we all know that this is not just another car or car company, so our expectations should be different. Please let us know how this resolves.

mrspaghetti | 7 mei 2013


Different expectations, maybe. Unrealistic expectations, no.

GLO | 7 mei 2013

You all make me glad my car has performed flawlessly for 6,000 miles. I had a brand new Chevy Blazer company car and it was in the shop more than 18 times the first year I had it, strangely after the first year it performed flawlessly. I think the MS is spectacular. The Chevy dealer knew I was unhappy when I walked in to the service department with my 1 inch think file folder of service paperwork for my car. I hope your car gets fixed quickly...

scwins | 7 mei 2013

Update #2

I received a call from the LA service center. Fremont had been working on my car remotely for the last 2 days.
I don't have all the details, but they have located and fixed the problem. I am picking up the car tmrw am and I will be sure to post the actual fix when I understand.

It's my hope that as all of us who experience problems, we report them and share information with each other. It can dramatically effect another's experience potentially, thereby helping all of us.

I was given an explanation about a connection box related to charging the 12v that was faulty. I will get back to this forum with the correct terms but for now, it was this box not the actual 12v. It's notable since I don't believe I've heard about this problem related to 12v batts.

Thanks for everyone's encouragement and responses.
I feel better now, though admittedly slightly weary of something else going wrong.
Alas though, this car rocks and I simply cannot imagine not having it.

Stay tuned.

Scwins | 8 mei 2013

Final Update:

I picked up the car this am.
It feels great and I suppose time will be the only real tell.
With the news of the 12v being outsourced two fold, it's no wonder so many issues have come up.

Technically, my car had a fault in the junction box.
They replaces the entire HV Junction box and everything was back to normal.

I hope this helps anyone else who may come across it.


bernie_beaudoin02878 | 8 mei 2013

I have been driving a Tesla Roadster for the past year with no major problems. The 12v battery had to be replaced last month, but other than that, no issues. I live in Sydney, Australia and the Tesla service out here is top notch and fast. Patiently waiting for my model S and reading up on your experiences. Good luck with your car!


sidney_wang | 26 mei 2013

Looks like the 12V issue is happening to my car this evening. I noticed that my driver side window was rolled all the way down and non-responsive at all. Called the 24hr roadside service, and being the memorial weekend, they are not sure they will be able to tow the car until Tuesday. Luckily the car was sitting in my garage when it happened. Oh well...

Brian H | 26 mei 2013

Some reported that you can "jumper" the 12V with another good 12V using the terminals/posts behind the nose cone.

dirk.saenen | 27 mei 2013

My previous car (ICE of course) died within one day, 240 kms, after taking delivery.

Towed, got it back after 4 days.
Two days later, died again. Another tow; 5 days to fix.

And then 300.000km without issues.

FYI : it was a faulty connector :-)

Bottomline : it can happen to any car, or any device for that matter.

Brian H | 27 mei 2013

My ex's diagnosis of every electrical fault. "It must be the connections." A 30 or 40% hit rate, sufficient to sustain the theory.

TI Sailor | 27 mei 2013

@ dirk.saenen

I bought a new 1970 Dodge Challenger and, like you, it died multiple times without warning. Although they too finally found the "faulty connector", I had had my fill of the dealerships' poor service and multiple excuses and, after only 16 months, traded it in on a '72 Datsun 240Z. A great car not meant for salt air. (I was living on my garages available at the marina) I finally donated it to the automotive department at Sarasota VoTech. Students were in heaven. Me? Not so much :(

stephen.kamichik | 27 mei 2013

@ dirk.saenen......I have a 1976 Datsun 280Z in mint condition for sale. If interested, my email is:

stephen.kamichik | 27 mei 2013
vincent.c.fu | 29 mei 2013

I have the 40/60, and my car just died when trying to leave my parents home. Error message with the 12 volt battery. I had slightly over 600 miles. A couple of people waved at me as I was calling roadside asistance, admiring the car. Now I just feel embarassed.

nickjhowe | 29 mei 2013

Wow. These 12V problems won't go away.