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    Thread: Tesla's Major Design Flaw May Cost You $40,000

    1. Member cockerpunk's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:48 PM #36
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      but every battery ever made naturally discharges.
      inb4 someone tries to argue against 2nd law of thermodynamics.
      Quote Originally Posted by kwik!gti
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    2. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:48 PM #37
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      Tesla could have easily mitigated the risks of a bricked car but they didn't. I'm sure this came up in their FMEA but being tight on money they rolled the dice and never looked back. What a crock. I'm generally not a fan of lawsuits but I find it incredulous that the manufacturer put all this risk on the consumer when a few lines of code could have prevented this travesty. Crap like this is why the general public don't take electric cars seriously.

      Score one to the Chevrolet Volt.
      Good God - you are not understanding the central point - EVERY CAR WITH A BATTERY IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO THIS! A Prius and Chevy Volt will too if you happen to run out of gas and then deplete the battery reserves.

      This is a normal function of batteries. Hell - let your normal car sit for a few years and the battery will eventually discharge and die.

    3. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:50 PM #38
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      Good God - you are not understanding the central point - EVERY CAR WITH A BATTERY IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO THIS! A Prius and Chevy Volt will too if you happen to run out of gas and then deplete the battery reserves.
      the difference appears to be that the tesla requires dealer intervention to be brought back to life from such a state.

    4. Member Professor Gascan's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:50 PM #39
      Quote Originally Posted by TheTimob View Post
      Now leave it sitting around for MONTHS after getting to zero.
      According to Tesla's owner's manual, you can expect the car to drop 50% of its charge in seven days sitting in your garage. One of the cars mentioned in the article went from 4% to brick in seven days.


      I know people are going to ride the oil change analogy into the ground, but I'm pretty sure my oil doesn't become inoperable within a month with no outside influences, ie sitting in my garage. Likewise, most people understand a vehicle's need for oil.

      I personally don't get the impression that the article is overly fear based, it's more the kind of investigative journalism that's entirely too rare these days. The real take away is this: if you buy an electric car, make sure you keep a charge on it.
      Fires are the leading cause of fires.

    5. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:52 PM #40
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      This is a normal function of batteries. Hell - let your normal car sit for a few years and the battery will eventually discharge and die.
      A couple of years and $60 to replace flooded lead-acid 12V

      vs.

      One week and $40k to replace Li-ion

      You're the one to fails to comprehend. These two situations are extreme opposites. This is clearly a case where the manufacturer should have done more to protect the fragile powertrain but instead they wanted performance figures that looked better in the press.

    6. Member WAR_GTI's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:55 PM #41
      the oil analogy sucks...
      A cars combustion engine doesn't run out of oil every 100 miles and seize up...nor does a cars oil consume itself while sitting in a garage for a few weeks, causing catastrophic engine failure...

    7. Member Trict GTi's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:56 PM #42
      WoW i don't know if any of you read in depth but it says even while driving if it gets to zero battery life it will lock eveything up on you meaning if your stuck on I95 or what ever extremly dangerous Cali highway your on you can't push it or coast it to the side of the road.
      If i'm paying 100K plus for a damn car there should be warnings to let you know how much further you have until you are at 0% even 18k VW's have that... And even after 7 years when the batteries die from normal wear and tear Tesla is only going to credit you 12k on a 40k battery

      i thought the government implemented warranty to cover sh*t like that? and with the more inexpensive model that starts at 50k that uses the same battery pack means that the car is only worth 10k what a rip off. so for the some what above averge joe that pick up the cheaper tesla motor and zeros out his battery probably will have to sell his car for parts only and pray he can make back 10k of a 50k+ car.... where is the logic in that?
      Last edited by Trict GTi; 02-22-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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    8. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:56 PM #43
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      the difference appears to be that the tesla requires dealer intervention to be brought back to life from such a state.
      A volt or Prius Plug in will both require dealer battery replacement if you fully discharge the Lithium Ion battery too. This is a natural function of all lithium ion batteries if neglected.

    9. Member matt007's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:57 PM #44
      Call engineering dept of local university, ask for a referral to an expert, said expert designs safe charging mechanism from 0%, perhaps charging individual cells
      If I recall the issues related to charging from empty are all related to risk of explosion and voltage differential between charger and the cell, which pose a risk of igniting the lithium (which burns quite well) so anyone that's experienced with lithium cells should be able to charge them up
      Seems dumb to me
      Until a scientific explanation as to why the chemical reactions which allow charging no longer occur, I'm calling shenanigans

    10. Member Non_Affiliated's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:57 PM #45
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      This isn't anything really new. The same thing can happen to any new Hybrid. I ran out if gas once in my Prius, and had to coast around on the battery - the dash throws up all kinds of warnings about the detriment of draining the battery.


      Quote Originally Posted by AdrockMK2 View Post
      I call BS on this article...any engineer with half a brain would build a failsafe into the system that wouldn't allow the battery to drain to 0% EVER, thus negating the so-called $40k flaw. Even my $100-200 battery/electronics setups in my RC car stuff is smarter than that.

      Edit: I'm not saying the flaw/problem doesn't exist, just that Tesla won't let it ever effect a consumer.
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      what i mean is i can bring my iphone back to life after its run itself flat then sat for a week without the charger...
      unless when it says its flat its not actually out of juice. which would make sense...
      When your consumer electronics say the battery is dead it actuall isn't 100% discharged.
      We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

    11. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 03:58 PM #46
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      A volt or Prius Plug in will both require dealer battery replacement if you fully discharge the Lithium Ion battery too. This is a natural function of all lithium ion batteries if neglected.
      its my understanding now after talking to said coworker that the batteries themselves are unlikely to have been damaged after one full depletion.

    12. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:04 PM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      A couple of years and $60 to replace flooded lead-acid 12V

      vs.

      One week and $40k to replace Li-ion

      You're the one to fails to comprehend. These two situations are extreme opposites. This is clearly a case where the manufacturer should have done more to protect the fragile powertrain but instead they wanted performance figures that looked better in the press.
      And the point I'm trying to get across to you is there there is nothing they can do but to tell you not to improperly let the battery discharge. Again - the Volt and Toyota Prius will do the same thing over time. .

    13. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:06 PM #48
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      WoW i don't know if any of you read in depth but it says even while driving if it gets to zero battery life it will lock eveything up on you meaning if your stuck on I95 or what ever extremly dangerous Cali highway your on you can't push it or coast it to the side of the road.
      i dont think it said that, i skimmed it again and didnt find it. you mind pointing out the part where it says this?
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      Nah, understeering into a tree in a Honda like a teenage girl ruins your street cred. I'd leave the door to show how hard you are.

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      02-22-2012 04:06 PM #49
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      WoW i don't know if any of you read in depth but it says even while driving if it gets to zero battery life it will lock eveything up on you meaning if your stuck on I95 or what ever extremly dangerous Cali highway your on you can't push it or coast it to the side of the road.
      Really? where......


      The analogy to running without oil isn't really apt, nor is it like running out of gasoline.

      What this is, is purposely leaving the vehicle in a position that will cause irreparable damage. Think when the Top Gear guys left the Toyota Hilux where they knew it would end up in the ocean when the tide came in.

    15. Member fixmy59bug's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:07 PM #50
      Quote Originally Posted by AHFlynn View Post
      a simple "hey, by the way, leaving your car uncharged for over a week could permanently damage your battery" at purchase would have prevented all of these problems.
      It would have probably prevented the problem by not making a number of sales....

      If someone were to tell me that a repair bill of 40% of the cars 6 figure purchase price is a likelyhood just by allowing the car to sit without a charger hooked up, I certainly would not buy it.

    16. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:08 PM #51
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      WoW i don't know if any of you read in depth but it says even while driving if it gets to zero battery life it will lock eveything up on you meaning if your stuck on I95 or what ever extremly dangerous Cali highway your on you can't push it or coast it to the side of the road.
      If i'm paying 100K plus for a damn car there should be warnings to let you know how much further you have until you are at 0% even 18k VW's have that... And even after 7 years when the batteries die from normal wear and tear Tesla is only going to credit you 12k on a 40k battery

      i thought the government implemented warranty to cover sh*t like that? and with the more inexpensive model that starts at 50k that uses the same battery pack means that the car is only worth 10k what a rip off. so for the some what above averge joe that pick up the cheaper tesla motor and zeros out his battery probably will have to sell his car for parts only and pray he can make back 10k of a 50k+ car.... where is the logic in that?
      OMG - please comprehend what you are reading before going off in such an ignorant rant. You guys need to realize that the car will prevent you from driving well before the battery is depleted. The dash will indicate no charge, but in reality it still has some in reserve. This will still allow you to put the car in tow mode, without the wheels locking up.

      It is only when you let it sit after this for extended periods of time and deplete do you run into the problem. Your towing scenario would not even apply unless you pulled over and then let the car sit for a few days before towing it.

    17. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:12 PM #52
      Quote Originally Posted by fixmy59bug View Post
      It would have probably prevented the problem by not making a number of sales....

      If someone were to tell me that a repair bill of 40% of the cars 6 figure purchase price is a likelyhood just by allowing the car to sit without a charger hooked up, I certainly would not buy it.
      yeah thats true, thats the trade off they went with and it worked in the short term lol.

      i personally wouldnt mind, especially now that im aware of the time frame that battery depletion occurs in i would make sure not to leave the car uncharged for over a week. which isnt something that i would even see as possibly being an issue more than once a year.

      they should really engineer a better fix into this though, i mean obv it wont be possible to keep a lithium ion battery depleted to 4% alive for 6 months but a more practical way of dealing with it, and number 1 is improving consumer awareness.
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      Nah, understeering into a tree in a Honda like a teenage girl ruins your street cred. I'd leave the door to show how hard you are.

    18. Member Trict GTi's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:12 PM #53
      A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a "brick". The parasitic load from the car's always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery's charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn't receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it's not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.



      The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla's Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner's expense. A service manager then informed him that "it's a brick" and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special "friends and family" price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.
      “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

    19. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:14 PM #54
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      its my understanding now after talking to said coworker that the batteries themselves are unlikely to have been damaged after one full depletion.
      The NiMH batteries in a regular Prius - no. It would take a few discharges to do any damage. The batteries in a Plug-in Prius or Volt - yes, because they're lithium-ion. Full discharging is harmful to every kind of rechareable battery - the extent of the damage all depends on the battery type.

    20. Member Trict GTi's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:16 PM #55
      [QUOTE=rbloedow;76049004] OMG - please comprehend what you are reading before going off in such an ignorant rant. [QUOTE]


      Could have just said correction. you don't really have to be a complete as$hole about it.
      “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

    21. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:18 PM #56
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a "brick". The parasitic load from the car's always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery's charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn't receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it's not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.



      The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla's Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner's expense. A service manager then informed him that "it's a brick" and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special "friends and family" price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.
      i dont think it said that, i skimmed the part you posted and didnt find it. you mind pointing out the part where it says this?

      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      Nah, understeering into a tree in a Honda like a teenage girl ruins your street cred. I'd leave the door to show how hard you are.

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      02-22-2012 04:19 PM #57
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      And the point I'm trying to get across to you is there there is nothing they can do but to tell you not to improperly let the battery discharge. Again - the Volt and Toyota Prius will do the same thing over time. .
      They could also have built in more of a reservoir into the battery programming at the expense of range, but that wouldn't look as good on the brochure.

      This is a big deal and whether or not it's a fundamentally inevitable occurrence, it could have been done better and been covered (cost-wise) better. Sticking an uneducated customer with a bill for $40,000 isn't a good way to get more customers, because this certainly will hit the networks. For comparison, just look at the Volt fires, even though not one of those happened to a customer in the real world.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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    23. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:21 PM #58
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a "brick". The parasitic load from the car's always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery's charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn't receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it's not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.



      The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla's Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner's expense. A service manager then informed him that "it's a brick" and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special "friends and family" price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.
      Again - none of these examples fit with the situation you brought up. Each of these instances involved letting the battery fully deplete over extended periods of time.

      If you run out of juice on the highway, you haven't really depleted all of your power - your gauge might say empty, but there is still a 10-20% charge left on the battery. The car shuts itself down before the battery is depleted, allowing you to put it in tow mode. It is only if you let the car sit for days after pulling over will the battery brick itself.

    24. Member Trict GTi's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:21 PM #59
      Quote Originally Posted by AHFlynn View Post
      i dont think it said that, i skimmed the part you posted and didnt find it. you mind pointing out the part where it says this?

      I stand corrected by "rbloedow" but it does say when it is at zero% when parked for an extended period of time then everything will lock up not lettin you engade toe mode.
      “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

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      02-22-2012 04:22 PM #60
      Ummm Trict, that paragraph says that the car was dead upon trying to start it up after being left without charge for weeks. That is a very different from running out of power while on the road and being stuck without a neutral.

      *edit*
      Too slow.

    26. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:22 PM #61
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      I stand corrected by "rbloedow" but it does say when it is at zero% when parked for an extended period of time then everything will lock up not lettin you engade toe mode.
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      Nah, understeering into a tree in a Honda like a teenage girl ruins your street cred. I'd leave the door to show how hard you are.

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      02-22-2012 04:24 PM #62
      Quote Originally Posted by Trict GTi View Post
      I stand corrected by "rbloedow" but it does say when it is at zero% when parked for an extended period of time then everything will lock up not lettin you engade toe mode.
      You got it.

      It's the difference between the computer telling you you're at 0% and actually being at 0%.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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    28. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:27 PM #63
      Quote Originally Posted by rbloedow View Post
      And the point I'm trying to get across to you is there there is nothing they can do but to tell you not to improperly let the battery discharge. Again - the Volt and Toyota Prius will do the same thing over time. .
      Yes, there absolutely is something the manufacturer can do to mitigate this risk more than they have done so far. Clearly owners have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles. Just as manufacturers have a responsibility to make their cars reasonably robust. We as consumers rely on the manufacturers to be the experts and to design cars that are durable and can withstand foreseeable use. There is obviously a give and a take involved here. Would you feel the same way if you had to plug the car in every day or else it would become bricked?

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      02-22-2012 04:27 PM #64
      Now as far as the charging system does tesla provid one that you must intagrade into your home? and would you be able to use the charging stations in a parking lot? And is it for 110v or 220v?
      “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

    30. 02-22-2012 04:36 PM #65
      Quote Originally Posted by PlatinumGLS View Post
      Gimme a VOLT
      Meh I'll stick with the Prius.

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      02-22-2012 04:38 PM #66
      stopped reading at "From Jalopnik:"
      I'm just your local purveyor of Miata and Nissan Z-car fanboyism.

      Quote Originally Posted by Chmeeee View Post
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      02-22-2012 04:40 PM #67
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      Yes, there absolutely is something the manufacturer can do to mitigate this risk more than they have done so far. Clearly owners have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles. Just as manufacturers have a responsibility to make their cars reasonably robust. We as consumers rely on the manufacturers to be the experts and to design cars that are durable and can withstand foreseeable use. There is obviously a give and a take involved here. Would you feel the same way if you had to plug the car in every day or else it would become bricked?
      People keep saying Tesla needs to do more, what more do they need to do other than tell people to keep the car charged? which I believe is expressly stated in the owners manual

      Again, this is not a case of "oops if you use the turn signal the car dies", this is something that is neglectful with respect to electric cars.

      Do car makers have a responsibility to cover damage to a gas engine that doesn't receive oil changes? How about a rotary that gets run dry of oil because the owner doesn't check the level?


      An example I can think of off hand, Snap On flat headed screw driver, you snap a tip off using it as a pry bar. Should Snap On warranty the screw driver? Technically speaking, you are using the tool in a manner outside its designed useage, that is not something that should be warrantied. You however use the term "foreseeable use", I'll straight up tell you, there are millions of Snap On screw drivers that have been used as pry bars in the past, will continue to be used that way in the future, I have several myself as a matter of fact. Does that fact suddenly make it something that should be warrantied?
      How about as a punch? a chisel? a hammer?

    33. 02-22-2012 04:44 PM #68
      Quote Originally Posted by AHFlynn View Post
      interesting. im a pretty huge tesla supporter, actually going to try to get a job out there once i graduate, but its pretty dumb they didnt bother to properly inform their customers about this. i dont see this as being a huge issue, i mean its only affected 5 out of 2500 roadster owners, but a simple "hey, by the way, leaving your car uncharged for over a week could permanently damage your battery" at purchase would have prevented all of these problems.

      im sure theyll design a better safeguard into it now that its become a minor pr sh*tstorm.

      Not really concerned about job security then huh?

    34. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 04:45 PM #69
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      Yes, there absolutely is something the manufacturer can do to mitigate this risk more than they have done so far. Clearly owners have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles. Just as manufacturers have a responsibility to make their cars reasonably robust. We as consumers rely on the manufacturers to be the experts and to design cars that are durable and can withstand foreseeable use. There is obviously a give and a take involved here. Would you feel the same way if you had to plug the car in every day or else it would become bricked?
      Look – here’s the manual: http://webarchive.teslamotors.com/im...mplete.pdf.zip

      “Failure to charge immediately could result in the battery level falling to a critically low level and it may not be possible to recharge it. Note: If the Battery reaches 0% when driving in Range mode or after you’ve cycled the key to access final reserve, there is no reserve and you must charge the Battery immediately. FULLY DEPLETING THE BATTERY WHILE IN RANGE MODE OR IN RESERVE, AND NOT CHARGING IT IMMEDIATELY, CAN DAMAGE THE BATTERY. Caution: Damage to the Battery caused by failing to charge it immediately when its charge level falls to 0% is not covered by the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. If you are unable to charge the vehicle, contact Tesla Motors immediately. “

      It doesn’t get any more clear than that – RTFM.

    35. 02-22-2012 04:46 PM #70
      Good job, way to go ahead and dig a hole for your company!

      What fools.

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