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USA: Tesla Motors says you cannot brick a Model S

Following the controversy over whether a Tesla Roadster battery pack can be destroyed, Tesla Motors speaks saying the fears are “irrational”, based on limited information, and oh by the way it’s nigh-on impossible to brick a Model S.

Two days ago news broke from a single blogger, Michael DeGusta, claiming the Tesla Roadster has a design flaw that can damage the battery pack beyond repair (bricking the Roadster). Yesterday we learned that some details about the blogger and his business partner, Max Drucker, didn’t quite add up, with the story starting to smell a little fishy, and Tesla’s public image starting to take a hit, but with the underlying risk remaining unaddressed. Today Tesla Motors released a blog post that goes a long way to addressing the concerns.

To review the story, DeGusta claimed to have evidence, provided by an unnamed Tesla Service Manager, that five or more Tesla Roadster’s had destroyed battery packs because the state of charge fell too low, requiring a complete pack replacement. The only verified case is Roadster #340 owned by DeGusta’s business partner, Max Drucker. It appears so far that the Roadster does not have an ability to proactively reduce power draw when the car is idle and the battery state of charge falls too low, leading to pack damage. It appears that some public sentiment is stirring against Tesla Motors at a critical time when the company is spending a lot of money heading towards launching production of the Model S. If the public gets spooked by this, it could derail Tesla’s business plan. For details see the two earlier articles linked above.

Tesla Motors describes the controversy as a “single blogger spreading a rumor” that is based on “an irrational fear based on limited information and a misunderstanding of Tesla’s battery system”. That single blogger, Michael DeGusta, received a huge boost when Jalopnik republished his blog post, and a followup article the next day. As we noted yesterday, he and Max Drucker have been business partners for over 10 years, and when DeGusta says he is an innocent bystander that’s not quite correct. The battery pack in Drucker’s Roadster was damaged, requiring replacement to the tune of $40,000, when he left it in a storage unit not plugged in for two months. This much is fact, not rumor, but DeGusta’s blog post made many other claims that may or may not be true.

For example, who are the other four (or more) Roadster owners with destroyed battery packs? And who was the unnamed service manager in DeGusta’s blog post?


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