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Is Tesla 'Bricking' Story Just An Angry Owner's Warranty Claim?

 
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2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

And now perhaps it all becomes clear.

The Tesla battery 'bricking' post that was today's electric-car news story and generated reams of coverage may simply be an attempt by an unhappy owner to get Tesla Motors to replace the battery in his Roadster.

At least, that would appear to be the logical conclusion from a letter we just received from a source.

It was sent by Roadster owner Max Drucker, of Santa Barbara, California, to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, dated February 12.

Several points in the note and parts of the language echo parts of the sensational blog post by author Michael DeGusta that kicked off the scare.

(DeGusta and Drucker were business partners for seven years, it turns out, though Drucker is not identified anywhere in DeGusta's post as an unhappy Roadster owner.)

Drucker, the letter writer, admits in the letter that he left his Roadster unplugged for more than two months--saying that he was in temporary housing and "didn't have a convenient place" to plug in the car.

And, he claims ignorance that such a thing was necessary: "I had no idea I was putting the car at risk or obviously I would not be in the position I am in now."

Tesla specifically warns the owner to keep the car plugged in, both through its customer staff and in several places in owner manuals and elsewhere.

From our earlier Q+A on the phenomenon of 'bricking':

Q: Does Tesla tell Roadster buyers to keep their cars plugged in?

A: Yes. It's prominently called out in the warranty and owner's documents.

(We've provided four three images from the Tesla Roadster owner's manual and other documentation, in the gallery below, that highlight the necessary care for the battery.)

Drucker's letter suggests there will be a "major public outcry" when "middle-class families" who buy the upcoming Model S sedan "accidentally let their batteries discharge."

And the letter suggests that this whole affair will become a "PR nightmare for Tesla."

Drucker ends, "I am not going to write this off as a $40K mistake and move on happily."

Read the complete text of the letter on the next page.

Then tell us in the Comments below: Who do you side with, aggrieved owner Max Drucker or Tesla Motors?




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Comments (97)
  1. Max Drucker is an idiot! It is obvious that he can't read (or he doesn't believe in reading an owners manual and warranty page.

    Sounds to me that his short-term rental just might have been jail, else why wasn't he at least driving his expensive car.

    Drucker, it's time to pony up and pay the price for your stupidity!
     
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  2. Typical, blaming the user for what is clearly a bad design.
     
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  3. The fact that there is no system in place to actively prevent catastrophic discharge is rather weird. Is it just bad design? Theory: I read some where that the cooling system of the battery forever makes noises, even when the car is parked. Maybe this system needs to keep on working to prevent damage to the battery, so switching off those parasitic loads isn't really an option.

    Tesla made a rather big deal of the new batteries for the Model S being automotive grade which might mean they don't require constant thermo-management so they can be more effectively protected against catastrophic discharging.
     
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  4. John, everyone knows that you own a Volt. Why don't you leave your Volt unattended for two months with a quarter charge, like that idiot did, and see how long your battery lasts and then demand that GM replaces your battery and see what they tell you. They will tell you to go 'f' yourself; the warranty doesn't cover damaged parts that your negligence caused. Why do you expect Tesla to do something that GM, or any other automaker, would not do. Does your negligence means that the Volt pack is flawed because you did not read the owners book? Get real John, you are really going off the deep end.
     
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  5. Actually, I don't own a Volt, I own a Prius. In ten years, I have never heard of anyone doing this to a Prius. Perhaps that tells you something.
     
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  6. Prius uses a NiMH battery, which tolerates deep discharge.
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  7. I know people who have had to replace the Prius battery. Not cheap.
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  8. How do we know how long it was left unplugged for, it could have been eight or ten months for all we know.
     
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  9. That would make a big difference to me. If he really had 25% SOC and left the vehicle unplugged for six weeks, seems like the vehicle should have survived.
     
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  10. Exactly, who ever said the owner of this car was being truthful with is numbers.
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  11. The Roadster manual, which he didn't bother to read, states that a battery fully charged will loss 50% charge in 7 days then 5% every 7 days from there after.
    NO it would not survive. 25% is only 5 weeks and he let it sit for 6. He is an idiot and can not read.
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  12. @jim m
    Thanks for that added information. But at 50% loss of charge per day on a 52 KWH battery pack, the Tesla is wasting more energy per day than my house. Something is really wrong there.
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  14. Even the electric scooters at my local grocery store have a big sign on the back that says "CHARGE ALL NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT AND AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY".

    Maybe Tesla could put sign like this on the windshield that the customer would have to remove? Then see how long it takes to find someone dumb enough to leave it unplugged anyway.

    Is there a market for used EV batteries yet? Most of the modules in that pack are probably fine for stationary uses like solar panel backup. The knuckle head could cut his losses.
     
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  15. This is really no different from an owner of an ICE car who never changed their oil and after 30K the engine ceased up. It's the owners responsibility to maintain the car according to the owners manual. Sounds like someone who just wants to shift the blame from him to Tesla. He knows he's wrong.
     
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  16. I've got a good example, my sister is a bit of an airhead, and she destroyed the engine of her two year old Toyota. She thought she could take care of her oil changes by filling the car with oil when the oil change light came on. She of course had no idea that you have to do more then just, fill it.
     
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  17. Really, let's see, are you really trying to compare a failure mechanism for an ICE that takes 2 years with a failure mechanism for an EV that takes 2 months? Not even close to the same level. What would you say if failure occurred after 2 days? How short of a time is too short?

    No comparison. The roadster self-destructed and it is Tesla's fault. Clearly a bad design. Perhaps it is a "usable" design in a legal sense, but clearly a bad design.
     
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  18. Why does the duration of the failure for the ICE vs EV even matter if they are both happening within the warranty period? Both in the case Tom mentioned and this Tesla story, the damage due to user neglect should not be covered by warranty because it was clearly stated how to properly maintain the vehicles to not void warranty.

    The responsibility is on the owner to understand what the limitations of their car is by reading the manual and having a basic understanding of the tech.
     
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  19. Both the duration required to produce a failure and the easy of which it can happen are relevant to the discussion of design. Good designs make user errors less likely, and less expensive (in dollars or effort).
     
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  20. Ok a better example. He had a 0% battery warning and just parked his car for two months. If I had a coolant warning light and then drove my ICE car (failure in an hour or two) the ICE company would not cover my engine under warranty I am sure.
     
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  21. That is a good example. I suppose another is total loss of oil.

    The key difference is that it is easier to signal to the driver that there is a loss of coolant or oil (because he is at the steering wheel) than it is to tell the user that his battery pack is about to self destruct (because he is away on vacation).
     
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  22. Actually, I believe Tesla owners are notified via email and text of low battery states, as well as by Tesla reps. In this case I seem to remember reading that no one was able to reach the owner.
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  23. It is in a different domain, but I was thinking that home heating is comparable. If the heat fails in your home, and it is below freezing, the pipes will burst and the house will incur significant damage.

    This "design defect" has been around for a long time and continues to keep our insurance premiums high.

    One difference is that the customer is insured against this risk.
     
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  24. @ John, lighten up I was not making any comparison at all. The fact that the both numbers are 2 is mere coincidence. And I said her car was two years old she actually destroyed the engine in less time because she had started out with proper service.
     
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  25. Sorry, I was not even responding to your post but to Tom's. I don't even remember seeing your post while I was typing mine.
     
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  26. Oh ok, sorry it was my fault as well. But he is right about owner responsibility. Some people mistreat their cars and are suprised when it fails.
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  27. No, a better analogy would be a ICE car you left in the garage for a couple of months while wintering elsewhere, and coming home to find your engine was seized because you didn't have an engine block heater plugged in the whole time. I had no idea these things were that finicky with their batteries. This does not bode well for electric cars.
     
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  28. That's a relief, earlier it sounded like an unavoidable appedemic of flat batteries. Still there should be a way to store an electric car unplugged and still be able to preserve the battery. I think this whole thing was blown out of proportion by the fear some people are trying to instill in us about battery replacement and electric cars in general. Yes batteries may be expensive now but that will change in time, and replacing an electric cars battery isn't all that different from an overhall of an ICE car. I had met someone once who was changing his own oil in his Porsche Boxster, he didn't use the Porsche recommended oil and killed the engine. The replacement cost of the engine, just over $17,000.
     
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  29. Regardless of the owner's behavior, I find it disturbing that his letter to Musk was leaked. Actions we take, decisions we make, and our failure to act, they all have consequences. Drucker's consequences are spelled out in his warranty documents. If it turns out that someone within Tesla leaked this letter, they will have to deal with the consequences of that. But as an EV enthusiast and owner, I have to say, it was wrong to leak it. Not classy at all.
     
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  30. Yes the letter was leaked.

    Not by Tesla so why is that disturbing?
     
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  31. I'm sorry.. it seems to me that MOST adults.. and young adults for that matter, understand the use of Battery technology.. enough to know..
    1. if it is not rechargeable..u need another one...
    2. if it is rechargeable, it needs sufficient charge and management to maintain the charge capability.

    The Tesla power pack, like any rechargeable battery, needs to be managed...

    as posted earlier by Tom.. even the driver of an ICE.. needs to manage the engine... and put petrol, oil.. ... all those ugly fluids into it .. to keep it running according to Manufacturer's specks..

    This should be a bonus.. for friends of Electric Vehicles..
    when your friend goes on holiday... Quickly volunteer to take care of their Tesla.. lol..
     
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  32. Hmmm, now to find and befriend a frequent vacation taking Tesla owner :)
     
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  33. How many "middle-class families" leave a car idle for months on end?

    Is it reasonable to expect that you can simply ignore a manufacturer's instructions on safe operation of a product and then, after destroying the product through irresponsible abuse, ask the manufacturer to pay for your folly?

    I have zero sympathy with this guy, too feckless to follow basic instructions on the care of an expensive item, and too quick to cry "victim" rather than fess up to his own stupidity.

    Why can't people own up to their own mistakes, instead of finding someone else to blame?
     
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  34. You should watch people in for service when they are told that their warranty doesn't cover the problem they brought it in for. Even if the issue is their fault they become irate, simply because they don't know how a warranty works and they don't want to pay for what they assumed was free.
     
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  35. The possibility of such serious and expensive damage through simple inaction probably warrants a piece of paperwork signed by the owner during purchase, indicating that they have been fully briefed on correct storage procedure. I fully expect to sign one for my Model S after the uproar caused by this blog.

    I've driven electric vehicles for 11 years (EV-1 and RAV4-EV), and it would not have occurred to me that leaving the car unplugged for two months would destroy the pack. I read the sections in the manual, and while they do contain warnings, at no point do they say clearly "If you leave the car unplugged for a long period of time, the battery pack will be destroyed." They talk about "permanent damage" and "prematurely decreas[ed] life".
     
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  36. To be clear: I've left the RAV unplugged for weeks, and it hardly loses any charge at all, so this is something different about the Tesla pack and/or its lithium chemistry.

    The Roadster manual is quite clear about how to store the car, but it does not in my opinion make clear the consequences of improper storage.

    I'd also like to know the mechanism behind the damage to the pack. I've left various lithium ion batteries (laptop batteries, etc) disconnected for many months without ruining them. What makes the Roadster's pack different?
     
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  37. Agree, there is something different with Tesla's battery pack that it basically self-destructs in less than two months.

    I previously sold an engineering product that contained a Casio E-125 PDA as part of the system. The Casio E-125 would "brick" the battery after 1 year of non-use.

    But at least it wasn't 2 months. Clearly Tesla has failed the customers in their design.
     
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  38. First off John, the owner himself stated in the article on wired.com that he left the vehicle with 25% state of charge and that is why the battery was found depleted after 6 weeks. So if the battery was left with only a quarter charge, how is that a "failed design"?
     
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  39. If, and might I add when, Tesla fixes this problem with the battery self-drain, perhaps then we can agree that this 2010 Roadster had a "failed design." That fact that problem can be fixed (or at least improved) is a clear sign of a design problem.

    Also, 25% charge is a bit low for storing a Li-Ion battery. But you should know that 50% charge is optimal for long term storage. Fully charged Li-Ion batteries deteriorate more quickly. This is why Li-Ion batteries are only 50% charged when you buy them. Shipping them fully charged damages the batteries.

    Also, if all Li-Ion batteries self destructed in 6 weeks, none of the Li-Ion phone batteries in the stores would work.
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  40. I'm going to agree with John here. Yes, the owner was stupid, but approving a production-intent design that bricks the battery in such a short time was a major miss by Tesla that hasn't been an issue with other EVs, as others have noted.

    Tesla isn't your best friend, people, it's a company that needs to tweak a design slightly to account for this. You can support Tesla and still admit this isn't a great design of this one area even if the owner is at fault. Design to account for stupidity, not to use it as an excuse when stupidity inevitably raises its ugly head.

    Cover this owner, probably not, but design better next time to not have this issue, absolutely.
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  41. John, we have some customers who seem to forget or neglet the maintenance of the products we manufacture, so I understand the Tesla stance up to a point. The thing I don't like that I agree with you John is that the Tesla Roadster should be designed with a self preservation feature. I Cannot drain my Prius Hybrid battery as the synergy drive system will not let me do it. The Enginer 4KW PHEV system I later had installed will not let me fully drain the batteries in order to protect them. So on that I side with the Tesla customer.
     
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  42. Andrew, good points. I'm hoping that this whole hoopla will drive Tesla to put fail safe systems into place if their texts and calls fail to restore a state of charge.
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  43. Clearly Tesla has failed You. Claiming any such thing for their customers as a whole is just silly.
     
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  45. A ~350 volt Li-ion pack must consist of about 100 cells in series, and must have battery management circuitry, which adds to self discharge. A required part of this battery management includes cell balancing, without which the weakest cell in a series could be driven into cell failure. Divorce the battery management parasitic load and there is still self discharge. The consumer electronics batteries you've observed are inherently less complex because they are relatively low voltage. Cell phones typically use a single cell. A laptop would have around 5 cells in series. You could discharge them to uselessness, but it should take longer to let them die, due to fewer watts of battery management load per watt-hour of capacity.
     
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  46. Is it not possible within the design to add 2 things: 1) a long term storage battery disconnect/hibernate feature [basically knowing that you have parked in the airport and cannot plug it in is there a super emergency storage handle with its own liability that some permanent battery degradation may occur because all the vampire draining systems are minimized or shut off or disconnected...Like Removing the battery from my cell while it sits in the drawer for 6 months]; and 2) build into the car a manual neutral mechanism for safe transport. in the unfortunate circumstance that you were an idiot or the battery you have is a lemon and died flat, the dead electronic release cannot be activated. My 4x4 have has a mechanical neutral for towing.
     
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  47. Tesla buyers did, in fact, sign such paperwork, acknowledging in writing their responsibility to maintain an appropriate state-of-charge.

    EVs are simpler to own in some regards -- no oil changes, no transmission fluids, and so forth -- but require care in other aspects. This is an educational process that EV sellers must address.
     
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  48. @M. Kobb, I agree that the wording could be more exact and matter of fact. If not "Destroyed" then "Unusable", "Irreparable", "Require Battery Replacement". Any one of those four phrases would get the point across that it is not just an uncomfortable thing...or like a rusty gas tank from sitting with water in it, where you can replace the gas tank and the car works again ($15k car - $300 gas tank = 2% loss of value, $95k car - $3k tank/pump/etc. = ~4% loss) that is neglect and kia or Mercedes would not pay for it of course...Understood. BUT when the severity of the neglect isn't like a bright yellow sticker on damn visors of every SUV that driving fast and turning immediately to one side will cause a roll over...Offer the Hammer warning!
     
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  49. Yes they should be more clear about the possibility of bricking. I think they could even say, "The car will explode if not charged" and people will still brick their car because they do not read instructions.
    This is a great article in that it will get the word out.
     
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  50. So Tesla tells people on its FAQ that "Loss of charge at rest is minimal. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport for extended vacations without plugging in." and then responds to complaints by leaking their customer's private emails. Very classy!

    And I have to give you guys credit for ignoring the (at least) 4 other people that this has happened to. In response to Robert Stoddard, a middle class family wouldn't have to leave the car unplugged for months for this to happen to them. While a fully charged battery might last for a month, actually driving the car somewhere- like to an airport- will leave the battery with substantially less charge. After a week, it will reach 0.

    And tracking customers without permission = WIN
     
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  51. This has happened to 5 out of 2500 cars. That's 1 in 500. Can you imagine the outrage if 1 out of every 500 cars, laptops, or cellphones were turned into bricks if left unattended for a week?
     
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  52. @Higgins...I believe this is the true point, you are correct sir!

    I do not think the market would support that manufacturer either, I sure would not by that laptop/cell phone. If this is a true case fine, it is a PR and educational lesson which we need to endear into the electric car culture as the liability of electric...Gas guzzling nation would be excited to tell the world "See we told you so!" "Electric is no better and is even worse, $40k worse!"

    I believe Mr. Druker loves his Tesla and does not throw poop on it, He does not drive it like a tractor, he does not race it in crash up derby's, he probably cleans it once a month, parks in a garage (when his house is fully constructed), and earnestly appreciates his $100k green investment.
     
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  53. This is a Roadster that bricked not a Model S.
    You can not compare the two cars.

    For most people the airport is within 50 miles which leaves plenty of charge for 4 weeks or more. Heck you could park a Roadster at the airport with a 25% charge and come back 4 weeks later and it would probably be fine.

    If you parked it with 0%-50% charge at the airport and did not plug it in, how in the world did you plan on driving it home for that distance? Maybe you chose the wrong car. EVs are not for everyone.
     
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  54. I'm with Max on this one. Leave it unplugged and TOTAL the car? That's crazy and it will cause a huge backlash against electric vehicles if it even becomes a RARE problem.

    Tesla needs to sit down on this one, eat the $40K and come up with some way to disconnect that pack if it reaches a low point.

    Jack Rickard
    EVTV
    http://www.EVTV.me
     
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  55. @Jack R.- Agreed 100% sir!
     
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  56. I agree with Jack.

    I know with some Ferraris, they have a switch to disconnect the 12 volt battery for when the car is in long term storage.

    Sometimes, people are away for extended periods of time due to work commitments and a method for long term storage is required.

    It should be noted that an ICE powered car, when stored for long periods of time needs to be prepared for storage according to manufacturers' instructions.

    Crazy Al
    http://www.ElectricCarConversionBlog.com
     
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  57. You just proved Tesla's point. You can't even let an ICE sit without special care for it's battery.
     
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  58. With an ICE, preparation for long term storage is even more complex than a Tesla which can include:
    * draining fuel;
    * disconnecting battery;
    * pouring a tea spoon of something I can't remember into each spark plug hole, then putting spark plug back in and turn motor 1 or 2 revolutions;

    Then, when you take your ICE out of long term storage, have to hope that the seals have not shrunk and that there are no fuel leaks. Also, hope that valves have not rusted, otherwise, the motor runs like crap for a while. And, have to hope the piston rings have not corroded.

    I found ICE a nightmare, which is why I converted my go kart to Electric as it has less issues than with ICE.

    Crazy Al
    http://www.ElectricCarConversionBlog.com
     
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  59. Head on over to Jalopnik -- Read the emails. Decide for yourself.

    http://jalopnik.com/5887499/who-is-trying-to-smear-the-tesla-battery-problem-whistleblower
     
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  60. First of all let me clarify that the letter was not leaked by Tesla, but by Drucker himself when giving it to WIRED.com. Max Drucker is ignorant and incompetent and certainly does not deserve to have such brilliant technology at his fingertips. It does not take but a person with common sense to know that the battery, of an electric powered vehicle, is the life of the car and should be treated and maintained due an ICE. Considering the numerous guidelines in the owner manual on how to store the vehicle, this is clearly a result of negligence. The owner manual clearly specifies what to do if needed leave the car for a long period of time. Not only is it in black and white but this is where common sense comes into play;
     
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  61. like any electronic device running a lithium ion battery, if left to rest the battery charge will reduce. Once again BLACK AND WHITE the owner manual states and insists that the owner should not let the battery charge deplete. Drucker is demented if requesting the company to jump out of the dash, warning with the consequences of stupidity. I don’t anticipate any other car company doing this and I don’t register why Tesla should have to either. Lets be realistic, many don’t read through the whole owner manual of their vehicle but if you’re purchasing a futuristic vehicle (something that is so contemporary to our society) lets say you might be the CEO of a “social intelligence” company why would you lack the will to want to read the manual
     
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  62. As for the blogger Michael DeGusta, who encouraged this nonsense, should be given some spot light as well. He’s an example of the illiterate, incompetent, out to bring new and successful companies down. Drucker says he was unaware how to store his vehicle, which I imply that he assumed it was okay to leave it sit. Lesson one: never assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. Lesson two: admitting mistakes can’t hurt, YOU’RE NOT THE LAST AND YOU SURE ARE NOT THE FIRST.
     
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  63. Michael DeGusta doesn't declare interest either. He appears to be Max Drucker's long-time business partner:

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/7648-Do-you-know-that-you-must-keep-your-battery-charged/page24?p=115930&viewfull=1#post115930
     
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  64. How convenient, a car that will cost me money even when in not in use!
    (Not referring to this guy's battery problem, just the fact that this car is going to suck power off the grid regardless of if you drive it down to work or leave it in the garage)
     
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  65. Um this is happening to you right now, all your home electronics and appliances do the same thing. Sure it's easy to point a finger at an EV and forget everything else isn't it?
     
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  66. My Saturn costs me money even when not in use. I have to change the oil every 3000 mile OR 3 months. SO even if I let an ICE sit for 3 months I still have to spend money on it.
     
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  67. I'm in the middle here.
    Mr Drucker may have missed vital information and wasn't aware of the ramifications of not keeping the battery on charge. I don't read it as an angry letter. He gave feedback and suggestions.
    Tesla have made a car that relies on the owner to perform certain tasks. These actions might have parallels with ICE cars, but they are still different and unfamiliar.
    Yes, it's true that an engine will seize without oil changes and petrol will go stale and affect an ICE car similarly.
    It looks like the type of letter I would write when something goes wrong and I think it can be improved.
     
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  68. He can't claim he missed vital information when they make you sign this:

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4433&d=1329960743
     
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  69. Sorry, but I don't see Tesla disclosing the "vital information" that merely storing the car will brick it and cause over $40,000 in damage - that "warning" is ridiculously weak. I'd take this one to a jury any day of the week. The Tesla design is defective and their attempt to disavow their responsibility will sink them. If I were a bank, I wouldn't loan one dollar on one.
     
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  70. Tesla does not have to disclose any information other than not keeping the car charged will void the warranty. That's why these rich folks who bricked their cars have not taken it to court. Their lawyers already told them they can not win.
     
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  71. I see your point. The warnings in all of section I don;t explicitly say that the battery will "brick" but there's sufficient implied information about avoiding a situation that may result in battery damage.
    So has anyone claimed for damage caused by tyre chains? :)
     
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  72. Set aside blame for one second, Do you think Tesla would be wise to give Max Drucker a new battery, or would that just encourage more people to wreak their battery packs?

    I am talking pure business strategy here.
     
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  73. You know, if Tesla made a mistake by not installing a better battery management system, so what, it was their first car. They were building their company and learning at the same time. I don't think we're looking at failure on Tesla's part, yes they could have done better and they will learn and adapt. But the owner after the point of purchase is responsible for the car and it has been made clear that Tesla provides each owner with maintenance guidelines which the owner in this case did not follow. So chill out, I can tell your anti luxury car and quit with the high standards already, nothing in life is truly perfect. So Tesla's fist car has teething issues.....it's ok, it happens.
     
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  74. But how should Tesla handle the situation now that it has occurred in this way?
     
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  75. They should be able to plug-in a service computer and check the cars onboard computer, the data log should show its last charging date.
     
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  76. they did check the log. Car was parked with the battery at a 21% charge which lasted 42 days. Roadster charge immediately visual and audio warning started 7 days before full battery discharge. Continued for 24 hours a day until 2 weeks after full battery discharge.

    Blatant case of negligence and abuse. Very likely if the car was fully charged prior to it's extended storage the damage would have been minimal if any.
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  77. From my perspective, Tesla did the right things with appropriate documentation in the owner's manual.
    I feel it is not Tesla's fault.

    However, there is a lot of confusion about batteries amongst the general public.

    In my opinion, I guess the best way for Tesla to handle it would be
    1/ Have educational sessions for owners that addresses things like storage, battery care, maintenance etc. Use various forms of communication to get that message out to owners.This could get me flamed, but perhaps, Tesla & Max can work together on this one.Max spreads Tesla's educational message & in return Max gets batteries sorted -> win-win

    2/ In future models, look into having a switch for long term storage so that the battery does not drain as quickly.
     
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  78. Maybe Tesla could put maintenance education on their website with videos. It could be a sort of online owners manual, but it should focus on the cars electric drivetrain since a lot of people have less experiance living with electric drivetrains.
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  79. 1) Hopefully this article has made all Roadster owners aware of the problem.

    2) Future models are already protected.
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  80. John, I don't really know about how to handle the individual owners (yes, there are others), but the design needs to be changed whether or not the requirements are spelled out in the owner's manual.

    I think a good PR move would be to help this guy out, to some extent, but I can already see the attacks on Fox... Work on improving the design now, though, this cannot make it into production for the Model S.
     
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  81. There are more comments in this thread
  82. If they give these 5 a new battery then they are admitting fault and would have to give everyone a new battery. The warranty states it is void if the car is not kept charged.
    There are still almost 10K reservations for the Model S. I don't think they have to worry about the PR. It hasn't made much difference. People who are going to buy one still want one. People who do not want one will not.
     
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  83. Tesla handled this situation perfectly from a business strategy. Owner misuse and abuse can not be protected by the vehicle warranty.

    Tesla already bends over backwards to protect it's owners from defects now. See the following article ...
    http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/tesla-dismantles-roadster-owner-repair-just-warranty-expires-175103061.html

    Tesla has no responsibility to repair damage caused by abuse. Nor should any company. They had already deeply discounted the new $61,000 battery by over 33% when they had no moral, legal or business obligation to dos so.

    Something smells very fishy about this story.
     
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  84. The battery must have been empty when he parked the car. The smart electric drive with Tesla batteries left the factory with a SoC of min 60%. Some have been standing still for months because of homologation problems in the countries of destination. What was empty in some cases was the 12V battery. No big harm. I picked up a car that had been standing for 6 weeks on an evening with -7°C. No problem.
    What do you americans say? "Can't blame for trying".
     
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  85. I think we're simply looking at an owner who leaked his own letter in hopes of shaming Tesla into giving him a new battery for free even though he was at fault. I love the ego, he wrote to Elon Musk, if you write to say BMW for example there is no way you could expect to talk to their CEO about your little problem. It doesn't matter what brand the car is people constantly go nuts when they're facing repare bills with their cars, I've heard people scream at service representatives when they find out tire replacement isn't free. If my car has a repair that's not covered by the warranty, I take responsibility for it and get it fixed, sadly most people go on the attack, and that's all this really is.
     
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  86. From a consumer standpoint. Tesla is asking the consumer to take too much on faith. With such an expensive price point of at least 50k starting.
    1. Already the consumer has no idea how long to even expect the car to last for their 50k plus purchase. Because this is entirely new and we are in uncharted territories there is no record how long a usual tesla car will even last. With a BMW purchase at east you can expect 10 years or longer
    2. Flimsy 3 year warranty that doesn't cover most important component "battery"
    3. Dead battery means 40k plus repair which is pretty much the amount of the model S. Whether the cause is a plug that stopped working, defective extension cord, out of town, the charge not strong enough, another 40kis not worth
     
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  87. 50K??? The Roadster costs over 100K.
    This article is not about the Model S or Model X. Those are different cars with different battery packs that are redesigned.
    Take a stop by Tesla's home page some time and actually read the warranty for the Model S.

    The Roadster is the first car they made. Different battery pack. in some cases even a different battery chemistry than the S or X.
     
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  88. I wish I had the money to leave a $100k car sit for extended periods of time! I agree that they should have some kind of safety feature, but I also agree that the owner was at fault since they do provide you with plenty of warning and don't hide the info from the consumer. I'm sure they will work to correct the design.
     
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  89. One thing here that no one seems to acknowledge... this is car #340 of a hand built experimental platform sold in limited quanities. Anytime one participates in a new, evolving technology, one assumes certain risks to participate.
    Seems to me that the required care for the vehicle is spelled out.
    Any other auto manufacturer will not tell you up front how much it will cost to replace an engine, but we have a general idea about the costs because people have had to do it before. This is a first for a new technology and now that it has happened, we have a general idea of the costs. Mr. Max is out $40k... refer back to the part about participating in a new technology and its risks.
     
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  90. Altho many of my comments to other responses here may sound very pro-Tesla I will admit that the Roadster should be harder to brick than it is. That said, I do not blame Tesla for the owners lack responsibility. When you purchase something that costs over $100,000 I would think you would take extreme care of it.
    Parking this car unplugged anywhere and not checking on it for 6 weeks is very very much negligence in my opinion. Parking it at 25% charge unplugged for 6 weeks and not even bothering to check on it borders in stupidity.

    Those defending the owner serious and honestly say that they would not check on the car after leaving it unplugged for more than a week or two? Even after you signed a paper that said you would void the warranty?
     
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  91. Jim according to Tesla and wired.com the battery pack is the exact same as in the model S. The technology is the same depleted battery on any tesa car means dead battery
     
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  92. They are not the same, they have evolved some. Tesla is still growing and learning so each new car will be better then the last. And I'm sure there has been a meeting of Tesla staff over the bricking news so I'm sure we'll hear something from Tesla soon.
     
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  93. As usual the average person does not look anything up they just spout what someone else has told them.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/plug-it
    "Even in cases of neglect, the latest Tesla batteries are industry leaders. 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......."
     
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  94. The Panasonic cells for the model s has different proprietary chemistry to help control deep discharge damage. Tesla has worked with Panasonic to create these cells and will be the only power-train supplier Panasonic will sell these cells to. The smart car, e class and rav 4 Tesla power-trains will also use this new chemistry.
     
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  95. Nicely written letter, and I sympathize with Mr. Drucker. It is a shame he couldn't claim this on an insurance policy. However, Tesla does say they are not responsible and he is out of luck. $40k is a huge penalty to pay for an innocent mistake. I do think Tesla should try to reduce this or maybe offer to replace the batteries with the new Model S type to give even more range, at least that way he would get some extra benefit for all that outlay.
     
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  96. @John Briggs
    Abuse of a vehicle is not covered by a warranty.
    Here is an example of a 2 minute not 2 years ICE abuse that I am sure is not covered by the warranty.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0MBcfWbhUs

    If the instruction to "KEEP THE CAR PLUGGED IN WHEN NOT IN USE" is too difficult for you. "DON'T BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR"

    Doing a burnout with an ICE vehicle can cause massive damage to the powertrain ... "DO BURNOUTS AT YOUR OWN RISK"

    LEAVE YOUR ELECTRIC CAR UNPLUGGED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
     
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  97. I am not siding with either, but who designs a car whose battery can get busted if the charge drops to zero?

    And even better question might be, who buys a car which is designed in such a way, and what are they thinking?
     
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