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USA: Tesla Dismisses Report of ‘Bricked’ Roadsters

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and the Future of Transportation Previous post Next post Tesla Dismisses Report of ‘Bricked’ Roadsters
By Chuck Squatriglia Email Author February 22, 2012 | 6:00 pm | Categories: EVs and Hybrids
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Photo: Jim Merithew/

Tesla Motors is downplaying a claim that completely draining the battery in its electric sports car “bricks” the vehicle, a problem that could in theory apply to any electric vehicle and is best avoided by simply plugging the car in regularly.

In what is sure to become another rallying cry for critics of electric vehicles, a report published by Michael Degusta of The Understatement claims fully discharging the Roadster’s massive 53-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion pack effectively kills the battery, rendering the car inoperable. This, he claims, can happen even if the car isn’t being driven.

“A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a ‘brick,’” Degusta, who has placed a $5,000 deposit for Tesla’s forthcoming Model X crossover, writes. “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.”

Degusta claimed, without offering proof, the forthcoming Model S sedan could experience the same problem. He notes in the post that he interviewed an unnamed Tesla regional service manager who identified five unnamed Roadster owners who have experienced the problem in a variety of circumstances, including using a 100-foot extension cord to charge a Roadster. One owner, Max Drucker, provided with an email he sent to Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk saying his battery was rendered “dead and unrecoverable” after he left the unplugged car in storage for six weeks.

“I had no idea I could be putting my car at risk,” Drucker told by phone. “This was an accident. I didn’t know.”

Tesla Motors downplayed Degusta’s report, arguing the issue he raises isn’t a technical problem so much as an issue of properly maintaining the vehicle. The company likens the need to maintain a minimal charge to ensuring there is sufficient oil in a conventional engine.


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