“Bricking” is a relatively new term but essentially means an electronic gadget that seizes up for hardware or software reasons and becomes useless… it sits there like a brick. Usually you’d hear the term “bricked” when someone tried to unlock their cell phone but now, thanks to better living through electric cars, you can apparently brick a Tesla.
Autoblog’s “Green” portion of their website seemed butt hurt that someone would say a Tesla could be bricked:
Yesterday’s outrageous attack on electric vehicles didn’t come from the GOP (for a change), but from a seemingly disinterested blogger, one Michael Degusta. His charges against Tesla include suggesting that its cars will have “eventual, inevitable, catastrophic battery failure,” lambasting the company for poor warranty service, accusing Tesla of tracking its owners without consent, and intimating that the company is not only failing to provide owners with proper notice of this phenomenon but also covering up the whole sordid affair.
Because, like telling someone there is no such thing as man-made Global Warming, speaking ill of the electric car means you’re a political idiot.
Autoblog goes on to dig up dirt about the owner of the bricked Tesla and the guy who wrote about it, Michael Degusta, but doesn’t actually use factual evidence to disprove the allegations.
But the facts do tell us that if you ride your Telsa hard and put it away wet (and with the batteries low) you can render your car inoperable. That’s $40,000.00 to replace the batteries!
The Tesla owner’s manual says this on page 5-2:
Caution: If the Battery’s charge level falls to 0%, it must be plugged in immediately. Failure to do so can permanently damage the Battery and this damage is not covered by the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Also, if you allow the Battery to fall to a critically low level it may not be possible to charge the vehicle.
There are extensive instructions for what to do if, for example, you plan to not have the car plugged in for 24 hours:
- DO leave the vehicle plugged in whenever possible.
- DO maintain at least a 15% charge level in the Battery if leaving it unplugged for more than 48 hours.
- DO charge the Battery to a full charge before leaving it unplugged. This maintains the charge level needed to keep the Battery’s electronics operational. If storing for more than 15 days, it is strongly recommended that you keep it plugged in.
- DO NOT expose an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures below -20°F (-29°C) or above 120°F (49°C.
In fact, just about the only advice Tesla doesn’t give for this fragile and delicate baby is to feed it warm milk for bedtime and to sing it lullabies on rainy days when it might be sad.
And a press release issued by Tesla after the bricking report came out said:
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.
Nice try Tesla! Combustion engined vehicles can be severely abused (including missing oil changes) and they’ll still work. But if you park your Tesla with a low battery and ignore the beeps and boops you might cost yourself 40 Grand!
The point of modern engineering is to take away as many of the sharp edges from things as possible… this is the point the Greenie Weenies at Autoblog miss.
Unless we’re speaking of my 41 year old Volkswagen, I don’t want to have to give my car such constant attention I just want to jump in it and go.
But speaking of 41 year old Volkswagens (whose engine was designed 90 years ago) I commuted 100 miles per day for six months and had zero problems nor have I ever had a problem with my engine in the 16 years I’ve owned the car.
I recently took a 3,583 mile roadtrip in a 20 year old, 164,000 mile (at the time) car. Before I left I checked the fluids and had the engine drive belt replaced (because I didn’t know when the previous owner did it) and that’s about it. Car started right up every time, sat for a week in near-zero degree temperatures, and I had no problems at all.
I’ve owned this car for 6 months of its 20 years.
Until electric cars reach this level of reliability they will never be accepted by most people.
That’s the real story.
Editor’s Note: There has been a revision to this story since original publication. The Tesla owner’s manual contains no references to “All automobiles require some level of owner care.” This was issued as a press release. This has been corrected and the excerpts from the owner’s manual (downloaded here) have been added for clarification.