The case of the Tesla “brick”

Tesla Roadsters lined up outside of the Model S Beta Customer event

Tesla Roadsters lined up outside of the Model S Beta Customer event

Blogger and entrepreneur Michael DeGusta wrote a long piece on his blog The Understatement on Tuesday about several Tesla Roadsters that have been left without a charge for an extended period of time (weeks and months) and have turned into “bricks,” or basically have completely discharged their batteries and destroyed them. I haven’t confirmed the details behind this story — like the length of time that the batteries were left uncharged, or how Tesla has dealt with these potential problems — but it is true that after a really long period of time without a charge early Tesla Roadster batteries can go dead.

Tesla tells me that:

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. However,  Tesla avoids this problem in virtually all instances with numerous counter-measures. Tesla batteries can remain unplugged for weeks (even months), without reaching zero state of charge. Owners of Roadster 2.0 and all subsequent Tesla products can request that their vehicle alert Tesla if SOC falls to a low level. All Tesla vehicles emit various visual and audible warnings if the battery pack falls below 5 percent SOC. Tesla provides extensive maintenance recommendations as part of the customer experience.

Tesla’s Roadster was the first electric sports car on the market and the company learned quite a bit from those early cars. What will be most important is using those learnings for the Model S, its second car, an electric sedan, that will start shipping this Summer. Electric car owners are also learning how to take proper care of their cars, given the very early market.

Tesla’s stock was briefly down in morning trading but is moving back up.

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