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How to Brick an Electric Car

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 2 years ago

Transportation 4

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Michael DeGusta writes that Tesla Motors’ Roadster apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. Of the approximately 2,200 Roadsters sold to date, at least five Roadsters have been “bricked” due to battery depletion that can only be repaired by paying Tesla $40,000 to replace the entire battery and the damage is not covered by warranty (PDF). Behind the scenes Tesla has seemingly been scrambling to try to ensure existing owners don’t “brick” their cars. After the first 500 Roadsters, Tesla added a remote monitoring system to their vehicles that Tesla uses to monitor various vehicle metrics including the battery charge levels and Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadster’s battery was dangerously low. "In at least one case, Tesla went even further. The Tesla service manager admitted that, unable to contact an owner by phone, Tesla remotely activated a dying vehicle’s GPS to determine its location and then dispatched Tesla staff to go there," writes DeGusta. "Going to these lengths could be seen as customer service, but it would also seem to fit with an internal awareness at Tesla of the gravity of the “bricking” problem, and the potentially disastrous public relations and sales fallout that could result from it becoming more broadly known.""

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Let me get this right... (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127427)

Let me get this right, a "High Tech" company that makes $150,000 electric cars can't find a solution to battery exhaustion that my $49 electric drill can?

When the battery is completely exhausted in my drill, I recharge it and all is fine. Now, I realize that do ing that many times will shorten it's (the battery's) life, but it will run just fine after a few hours on the charger!

If nothing else, put in an out-shutoff that reserves 2-3% of the battery so you don't brick it. That would add what - $12 to the cost of the car?

Fix the link! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127787)

nt

Re:Fix the link! (1)

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128185)

Re:Fix the link! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128543)

That's truly outrageous. I have a set of AA sized LiIon batteries (about $2.50 ea.) that have built-in over-discharge protection, why doesn't a $100,000 car with a $40,000 battery pack have it? The need for low voltage cutoff on LiIon is certainly no secret, their engineers can't have been surprised by it.

Since they do violate best practices, they could be in trouble if they ever get taken to court over their claims of user negligence. Battery packs are expected to protect themselves from damaging over-discharge.

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