Tesla says bricked Roadsters a maintenance issue

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Tesla Roadster

The all-electric Tesla Roadster. Image: randychiu/Flickr/CC BY

Tesla Motors is trying to deflect claims made by a blogger that its Tesla Roadster, if simply left attended, will become a “brick.” In electronics, “bricking” means to render a device no longer functional. Tesla says the issue is one of maintenance, not unsound engineering.

Replacement battery packs cost $40,000

Blogger Michael Degusta wrote that letting the Roadster’s 53-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack run down will destroy the power source and make the car useless. Replacing a battery pack in the Roadster can cost as much as $40,000.

Blogger says his Roadster bricked

Degusta, — who has put $5,000 down on Tesla’s upcoming Model X crossover, planned to launch in 2014 — wrote:

“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.”

[A dealer you can trust — Kennedy Mazda, Valparaiso]


Other bricked Roadsters

Degusta also implies in his post that the upcoming Model S sedan could experience the same issue. Further, he claims that a Tesla service manager, who remains unidentified, said he or she was aware of five other Roadsters that had been bricked in a similar fashion.

Another Tesla owner, Max Drucker, sent an email to Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk alerting him to the problem. After leaving his car in storage for six weeks, Drucker claims, he found his vehicle unable to be recharged.

According to Wired.com, Drucker wrote:

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

Tesla says it is an owner problem

Tesla responded to the claims, however, acquainting the problem to neglecting an oil change in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. The company maintains the issue in how the vehicles are maintained, not in the vehicles themselves.

A statement issued by Tesla read, in part:

“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.”


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