Owners of Tesla electric vehicles are learning (the hard way) of a fatal flaw with their cars; if the battery of the automobile drains completely empty, it will render it an immovable “brick”.
A “brick” vehicle can not be moved by traditional means, either by towing or pushing. Its tires will not move. If this should happen to a Tesla owner, it is a costly error as the price tag to completely replace the car’s battery stands at $40,000.
This exorbitant cost, unfortunately for Tesla owners, is not covered by any warranties or insurance, leaving the burden of replacing the battery entirely on the owner.
Tesla, despite being presented with several recent reports of their cars being rendered “bricks”, denies there is anything wrong with its vehicles or batteries. The company publicly denies it is worried about the growing reports of “brick” Teslas, but according to a report at Jalopnik.com, Tesla is working internally to mitigate the flaws in its vehicle, including monitoring owners through GPS-embedded technology to notify owners when their batteries are close to draining completely.
An internal statement acquired by the source reveals Tesla is aware of the problems with its cars turning to “bricks” but defends its vehicles’ quality standard and almost deflects blame to the owner. In a statement, Tesla said “all automobiles require some level of owner care” and that ensuring its cars’ batteries have some level of charge and are not allowed to completely drain is akin to getting a traditional automobile’s oil changed.
There is no real way to determine when an electric car battery will die. Battery life varies from vehicle to vehicle and charges can be drained through various means, even if the car isn’t running. Tesla says its battery can survive about 11 weeks of inactivity before it is completely drained and that owners can set numerous alerts in the car to notify them when the battery is about to die and the car needs to be recharged.
However, that figure can change due to varying circumstances. Not fully recharging a battery will severely deplete a battery’s ability to hold at least some charge that long. Use of an extension cord while charging the battery can also impact the battery’s ability to regain a full charge, unbeknown to an owner. Jalopnik adds, “If the car is driven to nearly its maximum range and then left unplugged, it could potentially “brick” in about one week,” citing a reference in a Tesla owner’s manual.
Tesla has sold about 2,200 Roadster models to date in the U.S. and there are at least 5 recent cases of a battery completely dying, bricking the vehicle. The company is working on two more models of electric cars, the Model S and Model X.
A caveat to the company’s included warranty requires an owner to maintain the battery’s “proper charge” through the life of the vehicle. If this does not occur, the owner is thought to have broken the terms of the warranty, allegedly relieving Tesla or any responsibility for replacing the battery.