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

    1. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 08:07 PM #126
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      I am not an electrical engineer by any means, but there must be a way to have the battery shut off. Even if they built in an automated mechanical device under the hood that physically disconnected the battery when the charge got critical. ANY solution, no matter how convoluted expensive or difficult (maybe the car would shut down then have to be towed back to a Tesla dealer to be re-started) is better than the entire car being ruined because the battery got drained too far
      no EE, no comment then
      (i studied ee/eet in college)

      batteries will still die even when absolutely disconnected from ANYTHING.

      just think of having a regular gas car. if it sits long enough it will have a dead battery.

      or get away from cars totally... that flashlight sitting in your drawer unused? it too will eventually have a dead battery.

      same thing with an electric car, but its a much bigger deal to kill that battery.
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    2. 02-22-2012 08:09 PM #127
      It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck
      This is the part that sounds like total BS to me. I have a very easy way to drag a dead 2,700-pound car to a flatbed tow truck:



      Off the top of my head, I cannot recall ever seeing a flatbed wrecker that didn't have a winch on board for this exact reason.
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      02-22-2012 08:09 PM #128
      Quote Originally Posted by Professor Gascan View Post
      Two issues: An automated device to physically disconnect the battery would need battery power from somewhere to work. You would also need said power to reconnect it. Likewise, as has been mentioned, the battery will naturally go dead, on its own, with no external influence.
      This is how I'm envisioning it: The battery has a system that monitors charge level, when it gets to a certain critical level (3% or whatever, still plenty of charge left to run the automated system that disconnects the battery) the battery disconnect happens. Then the owner can have the car flatbedded to the dealership where an external source of power can be used to reconnect the battery (or it can be done manually). A pain in the ass sure, but MUCH less of a pain then shelling out $40,000

      And I"m aware that batteries go dead on their own but I would think a battery robust enough to power an entire car wouldn't go dead all that quickly if left alone without all the other power-draining subsystems connected

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      02-22-2012 08:12 PM #129
      Quote Originally Posted by dunhamjr View Post
      no EE, no comment then
      (i studied ee/eet in college)

      batteries will still die even when absolutely disconnected from ANYTHING.

      just think of having a regular gas car. if it sits long enough it will have a dead battery.

      or get away from cars totally... that flashlight sitting in your drawer unused? it too will eventually have a dead battery.

      same thing with an electric car, but its a much bigger deal to kill that battery.
      As I said above, I would think that the battery would last a lot longer than a couple months if all the other systems running that provide constant drain on the battery even when the car is off were disconnected. I've left all sorts of electronics unplugged for months or even years and their batteries still worked when I recharged them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that the systems that are constantly running in the car (even when the car is off) are the reason the battery goes from good to brick in such a short period of time

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      02-22-2012 08:12 PM #130
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      I am not an electrical engineer by any means, but there must be a way to have the battery shut off. Even if they built in an automated mechanical device under the hood that physically disconnected the battery when the charge got critical. ANY solution, no matter how convoluted expensive or difficult (maybe the car would shut down then have to be towed back to a Tesla dealer to be re-started) is better than the entire car being ruined because the battery got drained too far
      You can run a driver controlled battery master switch to control a battery contactor if you so desired. Or you could make it automated, and a certain voltage would auto trigger the contactor to remove the connection between the car and the battery.

      Or you can follow directions.
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      Quote Originally Posted by SivNiz View Post
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      02-22-2012 08:15 PM #131
      Quote Originally Posted by Brendan@bwalkauto View Post
      You can run a driver controlled battery master switch to control a battery contactor if you so desired. Or you could make it automated, and a certain voltage would auto trigger the contactor to remove the connection between the car and the battery.

      Or you can follow directions.
      The above is exactly what I'm talking about. And I don't really put the blame on the owners for not following directions because they directions from Tesla were intentionally vague

    7. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 08:18 PM #132
      Quote Originally Posted by [spoon] View Post
      There's all kinds of warnings including the one that if active will call you and tell you hey dude you forgot to plug in your plug in car. Honestly, if my car contacted Tesla and said that it was dying and Tesla was able to save it, I'd say that's pretty bloody nice.
      The entire car isn't ruined, it's the battery pack. There should be some kind of storage mode, but even then the battery will still not like sitting and not being used. The lil battery on my bikes and snowmobiles didn't like sitting around waiting to be used even when disconnected from everything, why would a big ass battery used to power a car be any different?
      and then if i didnt pick up they fly out to plug it back in? that would be awesome.

      i might try that just for fun
      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 08:19 PM #133
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      I am not an electrical engineer by any means, but there must be a way to have the battery shut off. Even if they built in an automated mechanical device under the hood that physically disconnected the battery when the charge got critical. ANY solution, no matter how convoluted expensive or difficult (maybe the car would shut down then have to be towed back to a Tesla dealer to be re-started) is better than the entire car being ruined because the battery got drained too far
      That is essentially what the car does though, it shuts itself off if the battery level gets too low as a way to notify the driver that the vehicle needs to be charged.

      What is being demanded is a way to circumvent the laws of physics. Anything automated means electrical, electrical means its using the battery power unless it's plugged in. Anything that completely cut power would have to be a strictly mechanical system, no automation to it. That system is already there in the form of simply unplugging the battery.

      To be realistic though, you can never underestimate the stupidity of people. Even if you had a self demolishing circuit, some moron would wait until that eventuality, and then wait another six months only to b!tch about his car being junked.

    9. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 08:23 PM #134
      Quote Originally Posted by NashGTI View Post
      That is essentially what the car does though, it shuts itself off if the battery level gets too low as a way to notify the driver that the vehicle needs to be charged.

      What is being demanded is a way to circumvent the laws of physics. Anything automated means electrical, electrical means its using the battery power unless it's plugged in. Anything that completely cut power would have to be a strictly mechanical system, no automation to it. That system is already there in the form of simply unplugging the battery.

      To be realistic though, you can never underestimate the stupidity of people. Even if you had a self demolishing circuit, some moron would wait until that eventuality, and then wait another six months only to b!tch about his car being junked.
      douglas adams -

      "A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
      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 08:25 PM #135
      Notes

      Other All-Electric Vehicles

      While discharge issues are inherent to lithium-ion battery technology, it's beyond the scope of this article to address the ramifications for electric vehicles in general. Regardless, a company's battery management system and obviously their marketing and handling of the situation can vary.

      The Nissan Leaf is currently the only other widely available all-electric vehicle in the US. A Nissan Leaf sales specialist was emphatic that their vehicle did not have the discharge problem. The Leaf warranty [Full PDF: Page 9] does however state that the owner must plug in the vehicle within 14 days of reaching zero charge, which does appear to differ from Tesla's manual that says the owner must do it immediately. [Page 5-2, Column 1: PDF]

      Personal Note

      I've paid $5,000 for a Tesla Model X reservation. Either these issues will be resolved by the time it's ready, Tesla will be gone by then, or I'll most likely give up my spot and get a refund. No one has paid me to write this article. TheUnderstatement.com has no ads or sponsors.

      1. A written Tesla report on one "bricked" Roadster documents that the vehicle went from 4% full to complete discharge in seven days.

      2. Mr. de Vries also pointed out that at below 4% charge the car displays a visual "Plug me in" warning on its screen with an accompanying audible alert. This would seemingly only help owners who are actually sitting in the car.

      3. This would seem consistent with the language of the agreement [PDF], which actually stipulates that the replacement battery cannot be used while the car is still under warranty.

      4. Roadster owners have the ability to turn the GSM connection on and off via the vehicle's settings screen.

      5. There appears to be no reference to Tesla having the ability to track a vehicle's location at its discretion in either the data recording section of the Roadster Owners Manual [Page 1-2, Column 2: PDF] or the addendum that covers the GSM connection [Page 9: PDF].


      Horse s***. Don't make an argument about a "design flaw" attributed to Tesla if you aren't willing to understand the inherent disadvantages to Li-Ion battery power. And clearly the Leaf has the same "problem" - their manual just puts a time on it. Tesla basically says to not be a dummy and immediately plug it in when it's low.

      Use your brain and plug the damn car in. If you are going to be away for a few weeks just make sure it has a full charge if you want to be careful about it. I envision that the folks making these sorts of spurious cries are the same type of people who were afraid of the first horseless carriage.

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      02-22-2012 08:29 PM #136
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      And I don't really put the blame on the owners for not following directions because they directions from Tesla were intentionally vague
      I hate statements like that. From the owners manual (posted on page two):

      "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."

      That's not vague, intentionally.

      Also, if your SOC was 0% useable and you threw the "battery master" you still have a pack that is discharging. Given what I see constantly in the dealer world, even with a system like that, packs will fail, brick up, and then the person will complain "but I threw the dang switch!"

      So, like I said, education is key.
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    12. Member rbloedow's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 08:32 PM #137
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      As I said above, I would think that the battery would last a lot longer than a couple months if all the other systems running that provide constant drain on the battery even when the car is off were disconnected. I've left all sorts of electronics unplugged for months or even years and their batteries still worked when I recharged them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that the systems that are constantly running in the car (even when the car is off) are the reason the battery goes from good to brick in such a short period of time

      Again....you are not understanding the difference between the type of batteries used in these cars. They're not comparable to items like the batteries in your remote, walkman, etc.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

      "


      • Avoid deep discharge and instead charge more often between uses, the smaller the depth of discharge, the longer the battery will last.
      • Avoid storing the battery in full discharged state. As the battery will self-discharge overtime, its voltage will gradually lower, and when it is depleted below the low-voltage threshold (2.4 to 2.9 V/cell, depending on chemistry) it cannot be charged anymore because the protection circuit (a type of electronic fuse) disables it.


    13. Member 302W's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 08:37 PM #138
      Seems sensationalist
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zero View Post
      1988 is not an 80's car, it's an early 90s car but whatever.

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      02-22-2012 08:38 PM #139
      Quote Originally Posted by 302W View Post
      Seems sensationalist
      very. and coming from a guy who writes for the understatement.
      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.

    15. 02-22-2012 08:56 PM #140
      Who Is Trying To Smear The Tesla Battery Problem Whistleblower?



      http://jalopnik.com/5887499/who-is-t...-whistleblower

      Tesla Motors' response to this morning's revelation that Tesla Roadsters carry a devastating design problem that could lead to the cars becoming "bricked" — i.e. so drained of battery power they are unusable and require a $40,000 replacement — has been to insinuate that the problem was with the owners and not the car.

      Now Tesla Motors, or a pro-Tesla individual close to the company, appears to be trying to smear Max Drucker, the owner who spoke out about the problem, by leaking confidential documents and insinuating that he's doing a "shakedown" despite the fact that Drucker doesn't appear to be asking for any money.
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      02-22-2012 09:09 PM #141
      Ah jeez. My roommate works for Tesla, so I'm sure dinner tonight is going to be "animated" to say the least.
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    17. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 09:13 PM #142
      Quote Originally Posted by Brendan@bwalkauto View Post
      Ah jeez. My roommate works for Tesla, so I'm sure dinner tonight is going to be "animated" to say the least.
      pfftt...you shouldnt have said that, now im going to stalk you for a job haha. hows he like it?
      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 09:24 PM #143
      Quote Originally Posted by AHFlynn View Post
      pfftt...you shouldnt have said that, now im going to stalk you for a job haha. hows he like it?
      He loves it. Lot of hours, it's frantic, but it's an entertaining challenge for him. He works at the NUMMI plant, and he's one of a few guys that checks the Model S's once they've been built, ensures they work correctly, and when they have issues, he fixes them. He also detects common issues, and then his team works to change designs, assembly techniques, etc to make sure the cars come out clean.

      I've been to the NUMMI plant, and it's pretty darn cool.
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    19. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      02-22-2012 09:30 PM #144
      Not all protection circuits draw lots of current. There are many different designs, each with their own set of pros and cons. Tesla's chosen design permits a bricked car in as little as 7 days. That's a pretty crappy design if you ask me. Speak nothing of a simple electronically triggered mechanically actuated switch that totally isolates the battery. Not only would this extend the life of the idle EV to many months, if not more, it would be a good idea for safety, product liability, etc. The switch could easily be reset by the user when they are ready and able to fully recharge the battery.

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      02-22-2012 09:32 PM #145
      Quote Originally Posted by dunhamjr View Post
      again, if it was that simple, then i am sure they would have done that.

      also remember that some systems draw energy even when they are off.
      All batteries also self-discharge over time. If you go for too long without recharging a Lithium battery it'll eventually self-discharge to death, even if it's not connected to anything. There's no way around it (see: entropy). If Tesla did anything wrong, it was a user interface error.

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      02-22-2012 09:33 PM #146
      Quote Originally Posted by Brendan@bwalkauto View Post
      He loves it. Lot of hours, it's frantic, but it's an entertaining challenge for him. He works at the NUMMI plant, and he's one of a few guys that checks the Model S's once they've been built, ensures they work correctly, and when they have issues, he fixes them. He also detects common issues, and then his team works to change designs, assembly techniques, etc to make sure the cars come out clean.

      I've been to the NUMMI plant, and it's pretty darn cool.
      so sick. ive got one more semester this fall and then im going to try to get out there, hopefully in the sales/marketing/customer satisfaction dpt. ill have to hit you up for a if i make it.
      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 09:35 PM #147
      Quote Originally Posted by AHFlynn View Post
      so sick. ive got one more semester this fall and then im going to try to get out there, hopefully in the sales/marketing/customer satisfaction dpt. ill have to hit you up for a if i make it.
      Doooo iiiit.
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      02-22-2012 10:05 PM #148
      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      The switch could easily be reset by the user when they are ready and able to fully recharge the battery.
      I'm thinking you've never worked as a technician of any sort. People can't effectively use something as simple as the child locks on rear doors of a car, or the trunk/window lock switches. Or myriad other stupid complaints with everything from cars to toaster ovens.

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      02-22-2012 10:21 PM #149
      Quote Originally Posted by NashGTI View Post
      I'm thinking you've never worked as a technician of any sort. People can't effectively use something as simple as the child locks on rear doors of a car, or the trunk/window lock switches. Or myriad other stupid complaints with everything from cars to toaster ovens.
      i can vouch for that

      once i couldnt open my passenger window for a month in my accord coupe, turns out i accidentally flipped the window lock.

      who puts a window lock in a coupe?
      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 10:47 PM #150
      We are in a hurricane zone here. What happens if I drive my car home, and we are out of power for 5 days ..... the car is almost depleted when I get home and am physically unable to charge it.

      Tesla screwed up big on this one
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