Why Tesla electric cars aren't bricked by failing batteries

By Sam Jaffe, IDC Energy Industry Insights Community |  IT Management, electric cars, tesla

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Tesla Roadster

flickr/randychiu

A blog posting recently made the rounds regarding a fatal design flaw in the Tesla Roadster. The blogger claims that some Roadsters have become "bricks", with non-functioning batteries requiring a $40,000 fix. The blog is dead wrong about most of the technical facts it claims to be reporting. Don't blame the blogger, however: he's only participating in a trend of misinformation about electric vehicles that is starting to impact the reputation of the fledgling industry.

Here's the primary fact that the blogger in question doesn't understand: the Tesla battery pack is not a battery. It's a collection of more than 8,000 individual batteries. Each of those cells is independently managed. So there's only two ways for the entire battery pack to fail. The first is if all 8,000 cells individually fail (highly unlikely except in the case of something catastrophic like a fire). The second failure mechanism is if the battery management system tells the pack to shut down because it has detected a dangerous situation, such as an extremely low depth of discharge. If that's the case, all that needs to be done is to tow the vehicle to a charger, recharge the batteries and then reboot the battery management system. This is the most likely explanation for the five "bricks" that the blogger claims to have heard about. They probably aren't actually bricks, but cars in need of servicing.


Originally published on IDC Energy Industry Insights Community |  Click here to read the original story.
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