Telsa Sparks Electric Vehicle Worries

February 27, 2012 at 07:24 pm By Susie Middleton | Posted in Green Vehicles

This is my seventh in a series of blogs on alternatives to fuel- powered vehicles, covering electric and hybrid vehicles; this blog looks at US automaker Tesla Motors, and its recent problems with electric vehicles.

Telsa Electric Car Excitemtent

Tesla Motors, based in the United States, is one of the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturers. It currently produces the high end Tesla Roadster and the Roadster S - both of which are expensive electric sports cars. However, Tesla Motors has big plans to produce an affordable, high quality electric vehicle for the world to enjoy in the near future. However, there have been claims of 'bricking' problems with its current electric vehicles.

The car maker has been generating excitement from all over with its all-electric Model S sedan and Model X CUV, which we hope will come into production within the next 2 to 3 years. However, there have been stories coming out recently about the current Tesla Roadster's battery pack completely dying on its owners, rendering the car useless. This is known as 'bricking,' the car becomes as mobile and as useful as a brick. These stories have damaged Tesla's reputation somewhat, just when they were trying to gather as much support as possible for the release of their new cars.

Causing Problems

A report has been recently unveiled claiming that 'at least' five Tesla Roadster owners were victims of their car 'bricking' on them. By letting their cars go down to zero percent charge, these owners were left facing an incredible $40,000 repair bill…each! One owner had apparently used the wrong type of extension cord to charge his Roadster, whilst the others simply left their vehicles unplugged.

If left off charge long enough, these sports cars, costing over $100,000, will be reduced to nothing. They can go from full charge to nought within eleven weeks. Although the engine may be used, there are always subsystems slowly sapping the car's battery power. If the car has already used half its battery, this time will be reduced, and if it is left with next to no charge, 'bricking' could take place within just a few days, according to the report.

Once a Tesla Roadster has been bricked, it is unusable. It cannot be revived, not even rolled with the handbrake off. On top of this, 'bricking' does not come under Tesla Motor's warranty, and insurance companies will not help either. A replacement battery costs £32,000; add this to labour and taxes, the bill rockets to about $40,000!
This may seem unfair, but Tesla does cover itself in the manual - it is the owner's responsibility to ensure the battery is never fully depleted.

Telsa Retaliates

After this damning report, Tesla Motors were quick to release the following statement:
"All automobiles require some level of owner care. For example, combustion vehicles require regular oil changes or the engine will be destroyed. Electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use for maximum performance. All batteries are subject to damage if the charge is kept at zero for long periods of time. However, Tesla avoids this problem in virtually all instances with numerous counter-measures. Tesla batteries can remain unplugged for weeks (even months), without reaching zero state of charge. Owners of Roadster 2.0 and all subsequent Tesla products can request that their vehicle alert Tesla if SOC falls to a low level. All Tesla vehicles emit various visual and audible warnings if the battery pack falls below 5 percent SOC. Tesla provides extensive maintenance recommendations as part of the customer experience."

Do you think 'bricking' is an issue that must be better addressed by electric vehicle manufacturers, either through insurance or under warranty? Or, do you believe the blame lies with the owner, for neglecting his $100k sports car? Have a look at 'Electric Vehicles Considerations and Problems' for more information.

Tags: electric, hybrid, telsa