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Locked out of the car. Just about to give up on Tesla.

Discussion in 'Model X' started by PoweredByRain, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    I've been an owner since 2013, originally a Model S 85, now a Model X P90D. Problems that arose with the S were dealt with well, overall. Last year the X died while plugged into 240V, just shut down and would not wake up again. It had to be taken on a flatbed to a service centre that takes about 4 hours each way to get to. It was there under repair for more than a week. While there, it was nearly impossible for me to get through to service by phone or by email. I of course ended up having to travel to the service centre to pick up the car when it was finally done.

    That's the backstory.

    Now I loaned the car to a friend who managed to run the battery down to 3% just outside a Supercharger. He figured that 3% should be enough to make it the last 800 metres. Apparently not, the car just shut down. I am not there, so I cannot vouch for exactly what happened, but it sounds like they ran down the 12V battery in the time between that happening and the tow (flatbed) vehicle arriving. The car was moved to the Supercharger, but it is now locked and unresponsive and cannot be charged. They have tried multiple times to "jump" the 12V (they have access to the frunk) but no luck, the car is just dead. Everything locked inside the car is stuck. What's Tesla's solution?

    We might be able to get someone out there next week.

    It's already been there for more than 24 hours.

    Do you consider this reasonable for "roadside assistance"? Speaking of which, I tried phoning the roadside assistance number just now, and was on hold for 10 minutes before giving up. Calling the service centre I just get a recording that says the hold time is greater than 15 minutes. Calling the service centre a second time and choosing an option that really isn't true (to talk to someone about a car in service) I got through to someone who talked with the "lead technician" who just said the same thing, it needs a 12V boost. All they can do is the same thing I've been trying to get them to do, namely arrange for a tech to come out or to have the car towed. It would cost about $1500 to tow it to the service centre, and since the original problem had to do with running down the battery, the cost would not be covered under warranty.

    I am more than a little bit frustrated. At the annual service two years ago it was the same story, I could not get hold of anyone the entire day, I had to go back to the service centre and try to get someone's attention in person. There seems to be zero recognition of the fact that some customers have to travel many hours to get to a service centre, and just coming back the next day is really not an option, rather I would have to get a hotel room for that night.

    With massive model 3 deliveries I expect it to get even worse.

    I love the car, but when it fails, it is a nightmare. I have never had a car break down twice on me before, and I'm talking about cars that are more than 10 years old, not cars that are 2 years old.

    So, two main lines of inquiry for you:
    1. Does anyone have any advice as to how to get the car unlocked and charging? What can be done if applying 12V does not solve the problem? I mean, if they had the car in the shop and it was unresponsive, what would they do?
    2. Do you think the current situation counts as a "lockout" (covered) or an "out of range" (not covered) situation? The $300 cost to move the car 800 m to the Supercharger has been paid, but I would argue that the car should not have locked itself and become unresponsive under any circumstance. It's ridiculous. What if there was a pet in the car? What about valuable items left in the car? It's sitting at a Supercharger but can't be plugged in and can't be unlocked because the 12V system isn't working. Seems like a really poor design.

    I have driven 200,000 km in the S and X, crossing the continent 4 times (the first time within months of doing so being possible), I have lived with the cars in cold climates and in an apartment with no charging and in a town that was an 8 hour drive from the service centre... I have been a big EV advocate for years but...

    At this point I'm considering just giving up on Tesla altogether.

    All feedback welcome.
     
  2. brkaus

    brkaus Well-Known Member

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    How are you trying to boost the 12v? Is it something that can supply 12v for a long time to recover the battery?

    3% should be fine, but if try to accelerate quickly or up a hill that might push it over the edge.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    The car was stopped at a traffic light when it died.

    The 12V is being boosted according to Tesla's instructions. Again, I am not there, but I gather that the tow company (contracted by Tesla) did it.
     
  4. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    2013 Model S is 5 years old. If it is not under ESA, roadside assistance is no longer free.

    If it is still under ESA, you have a good case that roadside assistance should be covered. Do you have proof that the car died at 3% and not negative zero percent? Is there a picture? If not, you can ask Tesla to preserve the car log to prove that it's not your fault because there's still 3% and the car did not run out of battery.

    Service Center just swaps it out with a new battery. A dead battery might take a long time during "jumped battery session." You might need to connect it for not just minutes but hours in order to get a decent voltage to be any useful.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    It should show in the logs, but no I'm pretty sure there is no picture of it.

    To be clear, this is a 2016 Model X, not a 2013 Model S. I traded the S in for the X.
     
  6. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    Update: 6 hours with no phone call, despite my having called in the middle and being assured a return call in about an hour.

    Their plan? A tech can go see the car on Wednesday.

    I asked about the process of jump-starting the car. It seems, as expected, that there is nothing special about it, but the customer service person said at one point he had done it incorrectly on a demo car and, he thinks, blew a fuse. I expect that's what happened here.

    So, has anyone ever replaced fuses in the 12V system of an X? Anything special you need to know? The parts catalog lists just a bunch of 12V fuses: 15A, 20A, 25A, 30A, 40A. Hopefully they are colour-coded and/or marked.
     
  7. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    From the owner's manual:

    "Caution: If the Battery’s charge level falls to 0%, you must plug it in. If you leave it unplugged for an extended period, it may not be possible to charge Model X or use the vehicle without jump starting or replacing the 12V battery. Leaving Model X unplugged for an extended period can also result in permanent Battery damage. If you are unable to charge Model X, contact Tesla immediately."

    Straight from the manual. I've contacted Tesla immediately. Their proposal is for the car to sit uncharged for 6 days.
     
  8. brkaus

    brkaus Well-Known Member

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    Once the 12v is dead, the contactors on the HV battery open. There is very little self discharge so it will be fine.

    I’d put a booster in it for a long time and see if it can bring the voltage up. A flat 12v is sometime difficult to recover.

    No idea on the fuse. I think there is a block of them right on the battery terminal.
     
    • Like x 1
  9. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    Ok, so the latest I he
    Thank you!

    Yes, I was just talking to the roadside assistance person. She says the HV battery will be fine. She also suggested that the 12V battery is not charged once the HV battery gets below 10%, even while driving. I was not aware of that. I'm not sure that's correct - I think it goes into low power mode at 5%. From page 142 of the Model X manual:

    To protect against a complete discharge, Model X enters a low-power consumption mode when the charge level drops to 5%. In this mode, the Battery stops supporting the onboard electronics to slow the discharge rate to approximately 4% per month. Once this low- power consumption mode is active, it is important to plug in Model X within two months to avoid Battery damage.


    Well, Wednesday is within two months...
     
  10. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    Ironically, there is a storm here and the power is out at the Supercharger anyway.
     
  11. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    The fuses look ok.

    This 12V battery is a real weakness of the car. That and the fact that there is a constant high power draw of roughly 1 kWh per day, which seems to be a big contributor to the early death of 12V batteries.
     
  12. brkaus

    brkaus Well-Known Member

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    Omg. What a nightmare.
     
    • Like x 1
  13. brkaus

    brkaus Well-Known Member

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    It’s kinda the EV challenge from what I can tell. They need a “safe” source of power for the emergency systems (hazards, air bags, etc) that is independent of the HV battery.
     
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  14. rush6410

    rush6410 Member

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    @PoweredByRain My Battery Management System failed last year. The 12v died because of the BMS failure. The BMS monitors the 12v battery and charges it from the main battery as necessary. I was locked out as well. When the flatbed arrived, the driver was trained on how to jump the 12v enough to open the doors and place in tow mode. I was present when he did that. As soon as he applied power to the 12 terminals the car lit up. So, it sounds like a fuse or some other protection circuit blew.
     
    • Informative x 2
  15. X Fan

    X Fan Supporting Member

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    Hopefully a good friend since he/she sure put you through the ringer......

    Good luck....
     
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  16. tpham07

    tpham07 Active Member

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    i see these stories far too often lately. "car shut down with ___ range left!" You'd think people learn from other's mistakes.
     
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  17. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    It's difficult if we don't know the cause.

    Is it the miscalculating battery gauge: If this is the cause, then we can learn that the gauge can be unreliable when it says 3% but other thread says 16%... So, if the meter is the cause, what number should we aim for? 20%, 50%, 80%???
     
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  18. albtrssp

    albtrssp Member

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    That's true, if the car cannot be driven at 3%, then it's lying to you and the battery readout should be recalibrated. This is like an ICE car that runs out of fuel before the gas gauge gets to E.
     
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  19. jboy210

    jboy210 Supporting Member

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    Anyone know the life span of the 12 volt battery. I seem to recall it is pretty short 2 years or so. Is that correct?
     
  20. Evoforce

    Evoforce Member

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    Not if you replace it with a lithium 12 volt battery!
     

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