Tesla Says its Model S Battery Will Not 'Brick'

  on March 01 2012 11:16 AM

The soon-to-be available electric Tesla Model S sedan will not experience permanent battery failure that has been reported in earlier Tesla models, like the Roadster, whose batteries had to be replaced if they completed discharged, the manufacturer said.

Blogger and Tesla Roadster owner Michael Degusta reported several cases of Roadsters becoming bricked when their batteries have been completely discharged, leading the vehicles to become inoperable and requiring a $40,000 replacement of the battery, an issue not covered by the Tesla warranty. 

Degusta described bricking in his Feb. 21 blog post, stating that 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.  The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. 

In a response earlier this week, Tesla didn't deny Degusta's claims but said in its Plug It In blog that Tesla owners enjoy nearly worry-free maintenance of their vehicles and that they no longer have to worry about constant oil changes, exhaust checks, or spark plug replacements. In return, we ask that you remember to charge it.  A plugged-in Tesla is not only charging its battery, it is also keeping key systems within the car functioning properly. 

The company also blogged that its upcoming Model S, which begins production this year, will not suffer from a similar problem as the Roadster. Tesla reported on its blog post that a Model S with 50 percent charge if left unplugged 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.  A Model S will not allow its battery to fall below about 5 percent charge.

Tesla also states that if the Model S should be completely discharged by driving, the battery can still be recharged if plugged-in within thirty days. 

The company's assurances about the Model S are getting a positive response.

One commentator, douglasw, replied to Tesla's blog post, saying, Thank you for that answer to the 'bricking' rumor being spread. I received an email this week from a friend with an article about this very subject.  We are reservation holders for the Model S, and become concerned with the possibility of an expensive repair.  Looking forward to driving our new Tesla!

Tesla enthusiasts on the Tesla Motors Club Web site have responded to the Model S announcement positively as well.  After reader and re-reading the 'bricking' thread I had some concerns.  We have to thank the early Roadster buyers for helping pave the road to these advances, wrote forum user Iz.

Another forum user, onlinespending, wrote, That's great news about the Model S.  Almost entirely unlikely that it would ever brick.  And really, who could even go a few weeks (let alone months) without wanting to drive (and therefore charge) this beautiful car? Not a chance anyone would let it just sit unused.

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