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Tesla Model S Has Bizarre 'Vampire-Like' Thirst For Electricity At Night

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the bug-in-acpi-specification dept.

Bug 424

cartechboy writes "The Tesla Model S, for all its technical and design wizardry, has a dirty little secret: Its a vampire. The car has an odd and substantial appetite for kilowatt-hours even when turned off and parked. This phenomenon has been dubbed the 'vampire' draw, and Tesla promised long ago to fix this issue with a software update. Well, a few software updates have come and gone since then, and the Model S is still a vampire sucking down energy when it's shut down. While this is a concern for many Model S owners and would be owners, the larger question becomes: After nine months, and multiple software updates,why can't Tesla fix this known issue? Tesla has recognized the issue and said a fix would come, yet the latest fix is only a tiny improvement — and the problem remains unsolved. Is Tesla stumped? Can the issue be fixed?"

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424 comments

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The only fix for vampire draw (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523105)

Install a manual switch between the Tesla and the mains.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (-1, Redundant)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year ago | (#45523317)

Sometimes the simplest answers are correct.

A few bucks at the hardware store and you have your own timer to shut it off and on as you please.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (5, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | about a year ago | (#45523393)

The on-board systems continue to suck juice from the vehicle's batteries overnight because Tesla has temporarily disabled (or diminished) their sleep mode due to some issue waking them back up (incidentally, that makes this issue hardly mysterious or "bizarre").

Sometimes the simplest answers indicate someone didn't RTFA.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (0, Troll)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year ago | (#45523557)

If that's true and this is not a simple battery charging issue then it's grounds for a class action lawsuit against Tesla.

No different than buying a car that slowly uses gasoline while turned off. Nobody would buy that car, and Tesla is remiss in not fully disclosing that "feature" to prospective buyers.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (3, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#45523637)

It is slightly different in that Tesla cars are a lot more energy efficient than gas driven cars.

That is, it isn't a simple matter of transferring the energy from the power company to the car instead of getting it from the pump, rather the car itself uses less energy period. This is mostly a result of combustion engines wasting most of their energy towards producing heat rather than actually putting the car in motion (Hybrids are also guilty here - their main saving grace is that energy production is at more of a constant rate as well as frequent re-use of kinetic energy, so less energy is wasted as heat than a regular car, but energy is still wasted almost as much.)

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (4, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about a year ago | (#45523761)

This is ridiculous. How would this be in anyway have a basis for a lawsuit? Unless it is explicitly denied and hidden by the maker, which it isn't, why would you even consider that?

How about your TV. It also uses power while off... should we sue there? Your phone? Your laptop? How about your (traditional) car? It also slowly drains its battery while its parked in the garage... and I bet the car makers don't even recognize it officially. Should we sue?

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523963)

In America, you have a warning sticker for that.
In Europe, we have common sense for that.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523847)

If that's true and this is not a simple battery charging issue then it's grounds for a class action lawsuit against Tesla.

If Tesla didn't do anything about it then maybe. But for now it's a matter of consumer patience and to me it doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of time has passed yet because it's not like it's a massive problem and it certainly doesn't affect safety, which is pretty much the only reason when a recall is absolutely necessary. Not much different from cars consuming more fuel than claimed by the manufacturer and those cases don't result in class action lawsuits either. Or other products only performing almost but not quite as promised.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#45523807)

The on-board systems continue to suck juice from the vehicle's batteries overnight because Tesla has temporarily disabled (or diminished) their sleep mode due to some issue waking them back up (incidentally, that makes this issue hardly mysterious or "bizarre").

AKA Dracula, so the summary is right. He has issues with waking up during the day, and thus cannot sleep at night. Finally, the metaphor has been explained!

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523983)

Uh, is it even relevant? The car is filled to the brim with high-performance Lithium cells, and those are not renowned to hold charge eternally anyway. I'd expect the battery leakage to dwarf the current for some idleing automotive system.

Re:The only fix for vampire draw (4, Informative)

rjch (544288) | about a year ago | (#45523327)

RTFA. One of the things the guy tried was to put a current draw device between the wall socket and the car and proved that it hadn't drawn any current overnight and that the power consumed had come from the car's batteries.

Re: The only fix for vampire draw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523375)

what a STUPID and USELESS thread!!

Re: The only fix for vampire draw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523391)

how about you simply don't plug it in unless you want to charge it? Duh!!!

Here's a dirty little secret about the auto lobby: they want to create a lot of negative social media articles about Tesla - even if it doesn't make any sense...

Re: The only fix for vampire draw (4, Informative)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#45523569)

how about you simply don't plug it in unless you want to charge it? Duh!!!

Then the battery will discharge, about 5% of a full charge per day. Not leaving it on the charger just means more charge/discharge cycles for the battery.

Re: The only fix for vampire draw (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#45523971)

Then the battery will discharge, about 5% of a full charge per day.

OUCH.
60 kwh*5% = 3kwh/day. That's 125 watts, just standing by. As a contrast, most products [wikipedia.org] produced today are limited to .5 watt or less when 'off' to receive energy ratings

The article itself mentions it's 4.5kwh/188 watts, which is 7.5% a day, not 5%. But that's even worse. :(

Re: The only fix for vampire draw (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523433)

simple solution: eat more garlic!

Ahha! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45523113)

They didn't go overboard in computerizing the thing and incorporate ACPI, did they? That would be more than enough both to explain the mysterious power drain in sleep, and the utter inscrutability of the problem...

Re: Ahha! (1, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#45523173)

And the fires...

Vampires? (5, Funny)

FredGauss (3087275) | about a year ago | (#45523115)

Is Tesla stumped? Can the issue be fixed? Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

But on a serious note - I'm pretty sure the issue has something to do with this: http://sanctuary.wikia.com/wiki/Nikola_Tesla [wikia.com]

RE: Tesla (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523119)

The issue is caused by the continuous uploads to the NSA...

New name (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523123)

Now known as Lestat model S.

Vampire? Huh?! (3, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#45523129)

Vampire-like? Huh? Are we dumb kids here or sum'thin'? This is beyond anthropomorphization, man.

The energy has to go somewhere. They have power management on that car, as well as engineering telemetry. They know exactly where it goes. Let's cut the bullshit. As far as I can tell from how it looks, the energy is needed for something. I don't know what, maybe the batteries have high leakage, whatever, but it's not like the energy evaporates. The power/charge management system needs this energy, and what they are fixing is not some random energy drain - they are trying, and failing, to fix the underlying cause that is not easy to fix. I don't know if it's a design issue in electronics, or a battery issue, or what. But one thing is for sure: they know exactly where all those kWh end up at, but they're failing at resolving it. If the drain was significant on cold nights, I'd say that it goes into battery pack heaters.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#45523159)

Even if they didn't know where it was going, you could find out with a cheap multimeter within an hour or two.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523217)

That's the problem. The engineers at Tesla have the really expensive multimeters.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1, Troll)

NIK282000 (737852) | about a year ago | (#45523239)

I wouldn't go poking around with a cheap meter in an electric car, the potential to have many thousands of amps turn chinese test equipment into several cubic meters of hot gas is too big. With a slightly more expensive meter (200-300$) you can do clamp on current measurement AND keep all of your body hair!
 
However I think the people who have the cash for a Tesla might not be the same kind who like to service their own cars. You never see anyone change the oil in their Merc on the driveway. They payed big money for their electric car and it had better work the way it was advertized.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (4, Funny)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#45523291)

Nah a cheap one would work fine.

If the cheap meter explodes *while the car is off* you know you are on the right track.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45523643)

That's a feature. It did say it has an audible continuity test on the package. I'd call an arc explosion audible.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about a year ago | (#45523261)

Poking around a large lithium battery with a cheap multimeter at night. That's got Darwin Award written all over it. Maybe try a Hall Effect current probe. Not as cheap, but less likely to kill you.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45523329)

There's that concept called "high impedance" you should probably be looking into.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523813)

You think you can trust a cheap multimeter to have "high" impedance?

For that matter, you think high impedance is a good thing for measuring current?

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

Balthisar (649688) | about a year ago | (#45523339)

What are you guys considering cheap? My cheap $50 meter has a current probe. $50 is dirt cheap by Fluke standards.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523551)

Up to what current? What happens if you exceed that current?

The answers for cheap meters are usually on the order of "10 Amps, properly configured" and "something very bad, probably involving fire"

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523817)

Again, I love it when non-engineers talk out of their ass. Even top-o-the-line Fluke's don't go over 10A. They all need current clamps which are just one side of a transformer coil to step that current down into a usable range. If you want to directly measure high currents without said clamp, then you're still toting around a big ass ammeter which are still fairly expensive since they contain quite a bit of copper to carry that load. You won't be using a handheld meter for sure.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523797)

I love it when non-engineers talk out of their ass like they know something. You sound like a fucking RightwingNutjob to me.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45523561)

Even if they didn't know where it was going, you could find out with a cheap multimeter within an hour or two.

I could do it even faster. Just feel around for something that is hot. That is where the energy is going.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523727)

Or use an infrared camera on a cold night.

Re: Vampire? Huh?! (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#45523267)

"but it's not like the energy evaporates"

You mean 'dissipates', and yes, it does, as heat. Poof, right into thin air. In other news, Tesla owners reconsider purchasing garage heaters.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523379)

I'd look for heat.

That amount of energy drain will be making something warm.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (4, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | about a year ago | (#45523401)

Modded 5 for random speculation.... Good old Slashdot. TFA says exactly where the power goes: the car's electronics don't sleep when the car is off.

It seems that the "sleep mode" in the original Model S software--the basis for the owner's manual statements--had caused so many glitches in other car functions that it had been disabled. With sleep mode missing from the current v4.2 software, he said, I could expect to lose about 8-10 miles of range per day when unplugged.

No big mysteries here. Room for complaint that this issue hasn't been resolved quickly, though.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45523527)

I find this wrinkle hilarious, out of sympathy. I have never, EVER, in the course of using probably 10 laptops over the last 10 years, had one on which suspend/resume actually worked right. Many that worked a few times, or even a couple weeks, or that worked unless I used a docking station, or 3d acceleration, or WiFi. And yes, that includes my i7 MacBook Pro running OSX; plug and unplug the external display and network enough times, and sooner or later it will forget to wake up when you open the lid.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (1)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about a year ago | (#45523525)

Its definitely not going to battery pack heaters. That's a myth. I live in Chicago and its cold as hell right now. In the morning now that we have winter temperatures our Tesla tells us that its warming the pack when we start driving and the colder it is the longer it takes to warm up. Depending on how cold the car is, the system limits acceleration and regenerative braking. Even with the reduced acceleration it is still an incredibly fast car.

The simple explanation is that the computers and other electronic devices chosen were not selected for energy efficiency but for high performance. I'm happy with that trade-off.

Re:Vampire? Huh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523671)

They know exactly where it's going. They disabled sleep mode because it had bugs, so it now draws more power as it isn't going to sleep. They need to fix the sleep mode bugs before they can re-enable it.

Nice try distracting from the burning question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523151)

...what is the best way of cleaning the dust vents in the model s ?

kWh/day is stupid. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523175)

Why use kWh/day when we can use W? Do these guys really not understand units, or is there some silly love for kWh/day?

This just makes me cringe:
"[...] 4.5 kilowatt-hours per day. That's the equivalent of three 60-watt light bulbs burning 24/7."

Couldn't he just say "190 watts"? (Or 180 W if he wanted to round incorrectly to match the light bulbs example).

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (4, Insightful)

stanjo74 (922718) | about a year ago | (#45523263)

Yes, it's clumsy, but Watts doesn't tell you readily how much you are paying for it. Consumers are billed for kWh, so to express the cost of the drain, they used kWh/day; example: 4.5 kWh/day * $0.20 per kWh = ~ $1/day

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523955)

I would assume that something that was 10 watts would use 10 watt-hours per hour.. so a 100watt something would consume a killowatt-hour in 10 hours, right?

Re: kWh/day is stupid. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523293)

No, because it's not using '180W'. It's using the equivalent of 180W draining for 24 hours. Compare with 180W draing for 5 minutes, the time component is important.

Re: kWh/day is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523523)

You should log in, it would expose your knowledge to more people, says the AC.

Re: kWh/day is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523601)

Cut the AC some slack...

he may have moderated this thread and does not want to see the modpoints he awarded evaporate.

Re: kWh/day is stupid. (2)

geogob (569250) | about a year ago | (#45523785)

Maybe then, he should not post at all. I wouldn't cut anyone some slack for bypassing and abusing a moderation system.

Re: kWh/day is stupid. (1)

nyet (19118) | about a year ago | (#45523665)

No. Power consumption is typically measured in watts, not joules, since power is generally more useful as a rate measurement than energy.

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45523345)

well, no.

or he would need to say that it burns during the nights times the equivalent of running 180watts 24/7.

and since electricity is billed in kwh why not go with that...

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523441)

well, no.

or he would need to say that it burns during the nights times the equivalent of running 180watts 24/7.

and since electricity is billed in kwh why not go with that...

Why not kwh per year month (or what ever period you are billed over) to save the conversion? kwh/day is a horrible since its not whats billed, nor simplified. Its not any better than kwh per hour, which is clearly worse than just kw or just w.

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523365)

If you read the whole article, it's clear the guy doesn't have a clear understanding of how anything works.

Right off the bat when he compares the Tesla's range estimate at the end of the day (when the batteries are warm) with the one the next morning (when the batteries are cold) I was already shaking my head. Fortunately the article later includes the explanation from the Tesla rep, but therein begins the pattern: long-winded article going on about this guy's half-assed attempts at figuring this out, punctuated by sensible explanations from the Tesla rep. The whole article could have been summarized thusly:

The owner's manual told me I should be losing about 1 percent charge per day. When I noticed this didn't seem to be the case, I called Tesla and discovered that the sleep mode used for the car's electronics were causing issues at startup, so the latest software temporarily disables sleep mode resulting in larger power draw when the car is off (this sucks, and they should fix it faster!). The Tesla rep told me I should lose around 10 miles of range per night, but using a meter on my charger I discovered I lose more like 16 miles of range per night. Hurry up and fix this, Tesla."

And why does he seem to lose more juice than the Tesla rep's estimate? (1) Tesla's estimate is likely an average and isn't specific to the cold overnight conditions this guy has (the system's drain on a cold battery will be harsher), and (2) he's measuring how much THE CHARGER is using in the morning, and he says himself that the charging system needs to warm up the batteries before charging, so he's measuring lost power PLUS the power needed to warm the system.

Mod parent up! (1)

quadrox (1174915) | about a year ago | (#45523423)

Wish I had modpoints, I would mod you up :/

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (2)

nyet (19118) | about a year ago | (#45523509)

The average PC draws around 50-200W idle.

And as you said, this is more or less what the author found, except that he apparently has no idea how to convert kW/h per hour into watts. And for some reason, he's using lightbulbs as a yardstick, and not a PC... which is, after all, basically what is running on the tesla 24/7

Yes, he's a fucking moron.

Re:kWh/day is stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523735)

Convert to calories.

It's eating 7 Big Macs a day. :-P

My Vampire (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523185)

Not sure if my Tesla is a vampire or not.... I don't pay that close attention to its nightly KWh draw.... at least not yet. But I'll tell you, I've never had so much fun with a vehicle in my life. And I've owned some pretty cool cars. Bugs and small nusances are always part of having anything. Hell there's things in my iPhone that are still ridiculous in my opinion (iOS 7 and everything). Does that mean I want to chuck my iPhone? Nope.

Generally speaking Tesla has a pretty full boat figuring out how to perfect ever edge case. I'm not worried about it. I'm happy to wait and see what each update brings.

Having said that... the last update (5.8) truly did suck. Not because it failed to fix the vampire thing, but because it took away a feature. One I paid good money for since it was an option. The car no longer lowers at highway speed. They did this as a somewhat knee jerk reaction to the road hazard fire publicity. They promise some change that gives more control back in January..... but that's pretty vague. If anything about software updates on the Tesla bothers me, it's this one.

Re:My Vampire (1)

weilawei (897823) | about a year ago | (#45523409)

I'd be slightly more concerned about unauthorized (by the owner) over-the-air updates to my vehicle. What is within the power of one fool to do is also within the power of another. If I can't disable or refuse an automatic upgrade, I'm not using it, period. Then again, my car is mostly mechanical, and I like it that way.

Re:My Vampire (2)

AaronW (33736) | about a year ago | (#45523815)

All updates must be authorized by the owner. When I got the 5.8 update it gave me an option to install it and choose when to install it.

Re:My Vampire (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about a year ago | (#45523419)

what, you didn't root your car and upload your own patch?

Yowzers! (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a year ago | (#45523201)

From TFA:

Since the Model S was introduced in 2012, this "vampire" power drain from the cars sold so far has consumed roughly 15 gigawatt-hours of electric energy, nearly a day's output for a mid-size nuclear power plant. It's enough wasted energy to drive the cars 50 million miles.

Seems odd that I've never heard this before now. That's a lot of wasted electricity that was generated, more than likely, by oil/coal burning.

Re:Yowzers! (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45523355)

Since power plants are totally overspecced for the nighttime consumption, you can rest assured that this electricity, which would have been wasted, is happily helping line the coffers of your local utility.

Re:Yowzers! (1)

geogob (569250) | about a year ago | (#45523861)

You like numbers without perspective? Lets have some more, we could write further sensationalistic pseudo-journalistic articles on the internet.

There are about 114 million TV sets in the USA. In average they use about 10 W of power on standby. Let say they are on standby 20 hours per day... I let you calculate how much electricity was wasted there in the same period.

hint: it's more in a day than all the model S sold so far. Perspective helps to understand...

Standby power (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#45523995)

You might be a little high on an average of 10W on standby [wikipedia.org] . The limit has been 1W since 2010, and is .5W starting this year.

But yeah, I wouldn't be happy with the car I bought to be energy efficient burning almost as much power as I need for my daily commute every day.

And they Sparkle too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523203)

SSIA.

Sleep Mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523207)

They don't know how to put the car computer into sleep mode, and have a smaller low power hardware control the control systems?

We can always pull the plug (4, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#45523215)

They used to tell us that if technology ever got out of hand, we could always pull the plug.

Of course you are asleep when the problem occurs. If this were a low-wattage appliance you could just use one of those timers that people use for Christmas lights. You might be able to hack a heavy duty version of that by using a timer that moves a lever that knocks a bowling ball off a shelf. The bowling ball is tied to the Tesla power plug. That oughtta do 'er.

Ahh, but you say the Tesla doesn't always take the same time to charge? Easy. You just need to program it to tweet charge state to your phone. Then your phone can send something to the device that pushes the bowling ball off the shelf that pulls the plug.

Oh, but wait. Tweeting the location of your car isn't secure, and you may not have access to the car's APIs anyway. Besides, they're buggy and suspect.

So. You need to have a separate secure device in the car that monitors the charge state, and logs in to your web site with HTTPS and relays that information securely to the device that pushes the bowling ball off the shelf that pulls the plug.

There. All fixed. I just hope the ball doesn't roll off the shelf the wrong way and dent the car. To make sure that doesn't happen we need...

Re:We can always pull the plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523913)

I think the device you're looking for is a relay [wikipedia.org]

My god it's a Stainless Steel leach (4, Funny)

Crashmarik (635988) | about a year ago | (#45523233)

What does it do roam the roads by night draining the life out of Priuses ?

Re:My god it's a Stainless Steel leach (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#45523639)

No - it's not actually a vampire. But it does run them down at night and turn them into were-cars.

Needed to fully charge batteries (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about a year ago | (#45523243)

I'm not sure about the Tesla batteries, but most rechargeable batteries need an "over charge" to get to 100% full.

If the charger stops at the "full" mark (as indicated by Volts or A/H's) the batteries will be only be at about 80% full.

Less than a 150 watt load (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523249)

By the author's measurements, this is a load of a bit less than 150 watts. A bit much for just keeping the onboard computers humming, but not necessarily beyond reason for that. Plus his measurement method may not be exactly accurate. He charged the car which was full late at night. Then plugged it in the next morning measuring input with a watt-meter. Lithium charges a little bit differently at cool temps vs warmer temps. Charging in the warming hours of morning might get a slightly fuller charge. Plus charging isn't quite 100% efficient. So lots power overnight is a bit less than the amount to recharge in the morning.

Still could be a 100 watt load when shut down. Not extreme, but more than one would expect. Hardly a huge problem one would characterize as vampire-like.

Self-discharge, or some system remaining on? (1, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#45523285)

Many types of batteries have a low enough internal resistance to self-discharge when not in use. Nickel-cadmium batteries are notable for a high self-discharge rate. But lithium batteries generally have a low self-discharge rate, only a few percent a month. This Tesla owner is reporting something like 5% discharge overnight. That's a huge self-discharge rate for any modern battery chemistry.

Tesla's battery has a series-parallel arrangement, and if some cells fail, they could drag down the rest of the pack. There's so much monitoring in the charging system that this would be detected. (Whether it would be reported to the customer or just phoned in to HQ is a separate issue.)

Re:Self-discharge, or some system remaining on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523461)

If only there was some kind of.... article, or something.... maybe that could explain it. Who knows where we could find such a thing though.

Google + Tesla conspiracy (5, Funny)

NIK282000 (737852) | about a year ago | (#45523289)

Tesla is renting the cars out at night using Google's self driving technology and Google maps to run a secret taxi service. That guy reported 10-15 miles of charge missing overnights, that could be a few fairs used to pay for more of Tesla's research.

Since, pre-existing conditions are covered ... (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#45523309)

... and given their recent tendency to burst into flames after a few simple bumps and scrapes, the cars are probably just spending their evening hours trying to sign up for coverage at HealthCare.gov. :-)

Re:Since, pre-existing conditions are covered ... (4, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | about a year ago | (#45523833)

I think hitting a steel tow hitch at 70MPH is more than a little bump, or going through a concrete wall at 100MPh. People are blowing the fires all out of proportion. If a standard ICE car hit something like that in the engine compartment there's a good chance of a fire as well. In this case, since the battery is under the passenger compartment, a more likely scenerio would be for the debris to punch right through the floor and into the passenger compartment. Not one of the fires resulted in any damage to the passenger compartment of the car which cannot be said for most gasoline car fires I've seen.

Um, ok (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523313)

so it charges more when the power's cheaper? Oh no, please stop the madness...

Obama caused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523337)

first blame!
I'm sure that's what someone will say so I figured I'd blame him first.

Simple Explanation (4, Funny)

PaddyM (45763) | about a year ago | (#45523389)

Years ago, Tesla, or Nicola Tesla as he was known, sent transmissions from the Wardenclyffe tower into the air, forever altering the electrical potential of earth's ionosphere. This potential remained as it had no path to the ground. Until, that is, cars powered by batteries with his namesake appeared. At night, this leftover induction discharges batteries of the Tesla Model S and will continue until the potential is balanced.

Sock Puppets? (2)

bidule (173941) | about a year ago | (#45523397)

cartechboy reports for greencarreports.com, also mentioned in a forum post by ivan@ivanv.com. Could it be an orchestrated campaign? No, impossible!

I too am a vampire?! (5, Funny)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about a year ago | (#45523407)

I used to think I'd have to drink blood or something to be a vampire, but no. I've now learned that since my stomach is full when I go to bed, and gets emptier while I sleep, leaving me hungry and in need of a little refuelling in the morning... that makes me a vampire!

This is a known issue (5, Informative)

angrygretchen (838748) | about a year ago | (#45523443)

Tesla Model S uses a proximity sensor to detect the key fob in your pocket and extend the door handle with a motor:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/05/video-sci-fi-wizardry-of-the-tesla-model-s-doors/index.htm [consumerreports.org]

To quote from an article:

"From the instant you walk up to the Tesla S and the door handles motor out of the door, you know this isn't going to be like any other car you've ever driven. You open the door and the air conditioner has fired up, and your music is already playing. You put your foot on the brake, shift into gear, and you are off and running. There is no âoestartâ button. When you arrive, you just get out of the car; it turns itself off and locks up as you leave."

Tesla originally had a sleep mode for the inboard computer that was supposed to consume around 1%/day. But they found that the sleep mode often resulted in the car not detecting the key fob. So they disabled it until they could patch it. Not surprisingly, it sucks a lot of power while its sitting in non-sleep mode waiting for someone to walk by with the right key fob. If they had stuck with a manual door handle and a push start button for the engine, then the idle power issue would never have come up. In any case, Tesla is working on it and will resolved it eventually.

Fixed in european version (3, Informative)

bernob (3444295) | about a year ago | (#45523447)

This is fixed in the european version of the software (I am a Model S owner in Norway). But the downside is that contacting the car with the Tesla App takes a bit longer and doesn't always work (the car needs to wake up to respond). I would guess they are having trouble with keeping the car polling their server while shut down. This is not "a real problem" in europe, as they have not released the app for europe yet (I'm using the american version to contact my car).

No big deal (1)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about a year ago | (#45523453)

We've had one since April and this issue is hardly noticeable. The last software update shuts some more stuff off by default and saves a little energy. Frankly I prefer it using a little bit for everything to be instant on. The 5 seconds or so the dashboard takes to turn on in the new power saving mode was a little disconcerting at first. The fact is for us its still almost 8 times cheaper than the gasoline car it replaced to drive per mile. Also where we live we have a green power option so our power bill money goes to renewable resources.

The benefits of this car are jaw dropping. The downsides are hard to find and the detractors have to resort to hysterical headlines. IMHO the primary valid argument against the Tesla is that its more expensive than most gasoline cars. I believe its important that people buy electric cars so all aspects of the technology can be improved and the cost brought down. I'll be surprised if in ten years nearly all new cars aren't fully electric. It's going to be like film and digital cameras.

Re:No big deal (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#45523615)

I'll be surprised if in ten years nearly all new cars aren't fully electric.

I'll be surprised if, as more and more people adopt electric cars, at some point there won't be massive power grid failures on a regular basis. It isn't designed for that sort of load - I'm talking millions of people going back home after work and plugging in their power-hungry cars at roughly the same time every day, on top of the domestic spikes power companies already have trouble coping with during cold snaps.

Re:No big deal (1)

ColaMan (37550) | about a year ago | (#45523667)

and plugging in their power-hungry cars at roughly the same time every day

Into a circuit that should be running on an off-peak tariff.The power company can control them remotely.... which makes this not really that much of a hassle.

I wouldn't be suprised if they invent an 'electric vehicle' tariff that gives you enough charging time and them enough flexibility to switch it as needed. Cheaper for you, easier for them - everyone wins!

Re:No big deal (1)

AaronW (33736) | about a year ago | (#45523855)

It's not like everyone buys an electric car all at once. The grid will have plenty of time to adapt. Also, by then the power companies will be able to control when the cars charge and how fast when charging at night. Also, at night the power companies have a huge excess supply since most power generators can't ramp up and down quickly with demand. That's why I get very cheap rates when I start charging at 11pm.

"Its a vampire." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523481)

Being linked makes the bad grammar reallys tick out.

Heating and Cooling Toronto (-1, Offtopic)

Elixa Elixa (3343349) | about a year ago | (#45523501)

Heating and cooling costs account for nearly half the home's total energy bill. If your Heating & cooling Toronto [cleanairheat.ca] unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with a qualified, high-efficiency model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent.

A word to the wise (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45523635)

If you find your electric car fully discharged in the morning, check for bite marks.

WTF (1, Informative)

Mad Quacker (3327) | about a year ago | (#45523641)

This poorly written article is from March. The problem has already been solved. Why I am reading this on slashdot now?

"In other news, George Clooney reports his iPhone 1 had a bug in 2007"

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45523725)

Probably because some slashdot editor wants to buy some Tesla stock while its underpriced and just needs to push it down a bit more.

Update: Captcha is "lemming"

RTFM: The onboard computers are running 24/7 (2)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#45523645)

According to the article, Tesla disabled the "sleep" mode of the onboard electronics, because it was buggy. As a result, they are running 24/7. Apparently, Tesla hasn't managed to fix the bugs with the sleep mode yet.

This is a perfectly explainable problem - no need to go all vampiric about it. It's a software (or possibly firmware) problem that they will undoubtedly sort soon enough.

Re:RTFM: The onboard computers are running 24/7 (3, Interesting)

AaronW (33736) | about a year ago | (#45523867)

The last software update (5.8) has improved things. From what I understand, power management with the Tegra 3 processor which is what the touch screen uses is rather broken. I talked with at least one developer who said that his company abandoned the Tegra 3 due to nVidia's horrible software management, providing non-working build environments and whatnot and that they don't give a changelog or seem to do any sort of version control.

Closed source software (0)

Meneth (872868) | about a year ago | (#45523753)

This is what that happens when owners of Things can't change the software running on them.

Re:Closed source software (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#45523863)

I hate to interrupt your diatribe about killer robots or whatever but the Thing [wikipedia.org] did not have any software running on it at all. I don't even recall it having an electronic ignition!


....it's a bad joke...c'mon laugh!

Short time (1)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#45523795)

Nine months is an *extremly short* round trip time in the car industry is a problem does not threaten the safety but involves controllers which probably affect the safety. (imagine fixing this bug, but introducing a side effect which turns the power off at full speed on the Highway)

OTOH it should not have happened at all.

What is a Trojan Bitcoin Mining Botnet? (1)

die standing (2626663) | about a year ago | (#45523905)

The cars form a network that with [that electricty] is driving the GPU's hidden deep within the car - which are generating hashes, solving blocks and winning coins for the company!
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