TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Does Tesla Retain Permanent Ownership of Your Battery?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by AB4EJ, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    582
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    I received a lecture yesterday from a CTH*, who claimed that "Tesla owns your battery forever. Ownership of it never transfers to the buyer of the car."

    This was such a stunningly bizarre claim, that I didn't know how to respond.

    Is there be any truth to it? This would imply that when you sign the papers to buy the car, there is a clause in the purchase contract that says you are contractually required to return the battery to Tesla at some point, even if you are scrapping the car. Much like the case where homeowners generally do not own mineral rights to their property.

    Is there something like this, or just more FUD** from CTHs? I have seen a video of someone disassembling a Tesla battery pack, which I would assume he owns; so I don't see how this claim is possible. Or maybe, did this used to be the case sometime in the distant past?

    * CTH : Classic Tesla Hater
    ** FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
     
  2. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,538
    Location:
    Kongsberg, Norway
    It's your battery. You can do pretty much whatever you want to it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Maybe he's confusing Tesla with Renault's battery rental?
     
  3. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    4,256
    Location:
    California
    Pure fiction.
     
  4. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    811
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Renault do this with the Zoe (though they've just this year finally introduced a "buy outright" option), and Nissan offer it as an option with the Leaf (at least in Europe). But in both these cases you have to rent the battery - there's a separate finance agreement with a set annual mileage etc.

    Tesla have never used this business model, and there's no question that when you buy a Model S you buy the battery as well.
     
  5. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    582
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Thanks for the feedback; this is what I thought. I never saw any such restriction in any of my LEAF paperwork either.
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,496
    Location:
    Maine
    Point him to wk057's thread with his Tesla salvage battery backup solution.

    The answer is a firm no.
     
  7. Barry

    Barry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2013
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Colorado
    Tell him GM still retains ownership of the engine in his car.
     
  8. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,107
    Location:
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    I like to ask people who say things like this to point out what actually states this supposed fact. They'll either shut up, or at least you get the pleasure of hearing some lame excuse about how they heard it from a friend's cousin's uncle's dog.
     
  9. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,177
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    That's an odd statement to me because not only is it factually completely incorrect, but there is no real upside in saying that. There are some very legitimate reasons why we might not want to own the battery, and I wouldn't completely rule out this business model on some future Tesla car. It certainly would have made battery swapping more viable. It also makes it easier to stop caring about the battery and just drive the damn thing.

    The other reason this is an odd statement is because the ownership questions is a very important concern for anyone that owns a high technology car.

    The question of not only what we retain ownership of, but also what we can do with what WE OWN. Not only that, but if we can continue to do so. This issue has come up with people who have purchased salvaged cars. Where Tesla has completely refused to sell them parts or work with them in any way. What good is owning something when you can't activate it or put firmware on it? Do we really want to own it?

    99% of my admiration/respect for WK057 is he's enabling us to use something we own, and I think all of you that harassed him are a bunch of idiots.
     
  10. eloder

    eloder Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    Messages:
    970
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    That's true of a lot of products, though. I recall stories about a company that legally purchased Mac OS software licenses, built their own custom machines, and sold the machines. Apple still shut them down. Cell phones that are flagged lost/stolen often cannot be activated on many providers, and many cell phone companies lock phones to themselves.

    Owning something still doesn't mean you can do anything you want with it. There's a good reason to not service salvage vehicles (integrity of the Tesla brand), and it's Tesla's policy in that regard.
     
  11. StaceyS

    StaceyS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    Messages:
    204
    Location:
    Bend, OR United States
    No, the battery is part of the car and part of the car's ownership.

    I've heard this from others as well. As near as I can figure, this rumor started from other companies who thought to lease the battery. I believe some manufacturers have offered the battery lease for 2 reasons:
    1) as a way to counter the concern that the battery will degrade and need to be replaced. By leasing the battery, you can relieve a person of the concern that the battery would need a 5 digit replacement cost
    2) as a way to facilitate a quick battery-swap concept. With battery rental/lease, you just pay your monthly fee and you can charge or swap your battery as you please. (Renault Fluence/Better Place)...

    I think the reality of using/charging an EV is such that battery swap isn't as necessary as people thought. I constantly get people asking me "how long does it take to charge?", when in reality, for the most part, it really doesn't matter. Getting people to understand that is pretty tough.
     
  12. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,177
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    I think it's important to bound the discussion to automobiles not only because it's such a large investment, but it's also a tremendously important part of the american car culture. The idea of owning something, and being able to keep it running for decades.

    I wasn't trying to say Tesla is doing anything wrong. They're doing exactly what you stated they're doing. They haven't gotten much resistance so far because the cars haven't fallen into the typical price range of people who desire complete ownership/control over their cars.

    Concern over ownership/control/service is an extremely valid concern when it comes to Tesla. So if I was a CTH I'd bring up that issue, and not some BS about not owning the battery. I'd joke about the service manual being $30 an hour versus $30 for the book.
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,752
    Location:
    Texas
    The only battery Tesla would own that you have in your car, is if you use the swap station, then they have your battery and you have theirs.
     
  14. eloder

    eloder Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    Messages:
    970
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Those points are definitely true, but I'd also say that an EV is much different than ICEs in the traditional sense. People aren't going to be maintaining their own high voltage battery system. Nor are there really many "self service" options even available on an EV that require Tesla proprietary parts.
     
  15. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,136
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    I'm curious about whether Tesla "owns" all the software that's in a Model S. I don't recall signing anything indicating such.
     
  16. Dborn

    Dborn Confirmed

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,074
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    There would be a major advantage to Australians if Tesla leased the battery even on a short term lease. We pay a " luxury car tax" which is based on the purchase price of the car which includes shipping and marine insurance. There is, of course a threshold level. If our batteries were leased, the purchase price would drop dramatically and might put us below the threshold meaning no luxury tax at all. On my car the figure came to $26000.00 given as a gift to the government, so it is not insubstantial.
     
  17. ozweepay

    ozweepay Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    Boulder, CO, USA
    The only objection I might have to the statement "it's your battery and you can do whatever you want with it"... there may be laws restricting how it is disposed of, for example, since I doubt you can legally put that much Li-ion in a landfill. But legally, I would think you do own it in pretty much every jurisdiction.

    The only pieces you perhaps don't own are the software and your license plate(s).
     
  18. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,538
    Location:
    Kongsberg, Norway
    The only thing you can't legally do with the battery pack is commit a crime with it. ;) It's like if you buy a hammer, you can do whatever you want with it, but if you start killing people with it you get arrested.

    Though, the li-ion cells are classified "landfill safe".
     
  19. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    582
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Absolutely, Tesla owns the software, just like Apple owns the OS on an iPhone, and Microsoft owns Windows. What you have, as a user, is a perpetual license to use which is (in most cases) transferable. Sometimes software licenses are non-transferable (such as Microsoft products licensed to corporations or universities at deep discounts), or they expire (like VMWare).

    Software is nearly always done this way because the companies that produce it have a huge investment in it; they want to ensure that others can't simply take a package they designed, decompile it, make a few changes, and then pass it off as their own intellectual property.

    It is a little scary to think that someone else owns the software the runs your car and could (theoretically) disable it. However, Tesla is not doing anything unusual here; every car built since they started putting engine control computers in is pretty much the same way (except for a few mechanical diesels like Mercedes and Volkswagen - but even these have computers now). Tesla is unusual in that the car retains an online connection to the home office, so theoretically Tesla could brick your car remotely; but it would be a public relations nightmare for them if they did this, except on your instructions or due to a court order. Maybe they could brick a car remotely after it has been stolen - but then, that would seem like a good feature. The hardware is in place on other cars to theoretically allow this (I'm thinking GM OnStar, MB Cares, etc); but I don't know if remote shutdown has been used (maybe someone can chime in here).
     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,552
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    GM has videos showing stolen cars being disabled remotely via OnStar while being pursued by police. They say it can only be done on the authority of police.
     

Share This Page