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Main Battery Failure

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by pdq, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. pdq

    pdq Member

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    A few weeks ago I got a flashing yellow warning light and a message of Car Needs Service for my 8 month old P90D. So I called the Service Center, and without boring you with the details in the middle, it was determined that my main battery was throwing codes and needed to be fixed.

    With the battery under warranty for 8 years, my expectation was that this would be handled like any repair of failed parts I've had with cars in 50 years of driving, namely that the defective unit would be removed and a new part put in. Nope, as it was explained to me, that's not how Tesla does things. Instead, the sequence is:
    • a loaner battery is shipped in to the SC
    • my battery is removed and the loaner battery is installed
    • my battery is shipped from PA to CA
    • my battery is re-manufactured
    • my battery is then shipped from CA back to PA
    • the loaner battery is removed and my remanufactured is installed
    When I asked how long this would take, I was told a month, possibly 2, depending on how backlogged the remanufacturing operation was. When I asked why they did this extended process which makes the SC do twice as much work, one of the reasons stated was that with my battery re-installed, the serial numbers would be back to original. I didn't want to continue the conversation, but a reasonable person would ask how many people care if the serial numbers match. My car runs fine with the loaner battery with a different serial number.

    I think this is the single most insane and costly process I've heard of in a very long time. And, given that the overall duration is dependent on how backlogged the re-manufacturing operation is, would suggest that main battery failure is happening at a pretty good clip.

    Anyone out there have a similar battery failure?
     
  2. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    That does seem like an extensive process, but would you rather be left with a loaner battery of unknown condition and degradation, or get yours back with the faulty component replaced?
     
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  3. GlmnAlyAirCar

    GlmnAlyAirCar Member

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    Plus you can put all of the wear you want on the loaner and get yours back with a lot less wear. I can't comment on how beneficial this arrangement is for Tesla but it seem like it works out in your favor.
     
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  4. pdq

    pdq Member

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    No, as stated in my post, I expected the same process as I've experienced in 50 years of car ownership under warranty. Take out the defective part and put in a brand new unit and declare mission accomplished. Simple R&R (remove and replace), done
     
  5. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Just throwing this out there. I am not implying anyone of us has larceny or any other unsavory behavior in our bones.

    I think it also might be a precaution on Tesla's part. When the serial numbers match, there is no evidence of any unauthorized battery swapping. This protects Tesla from any unscrupulous individual who might have done something to void the warranty. Then they found a salvaged battery and replaced their original one. Then the salvaged battery craps out and they demand a brand new battery. Also, maybe a person's automobile insurance would be void if the claims adjuster determined that the serial numbers were a mismatch. (I ain't a lawyer, but just tossing this out there. We all know how much insurance companies hate to pay claims.)
     
  6. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    I assume the part in your battery pack that failed was a fairly low cost part. The service centers aren't generally equipped for battery pack repair. It probably costs much less to do it they way they do for failures of a small part. Why give you a whole new battery pack if a temp sensor fails? They give a loaner pack so you don't have to be without a functioning car while the repairs go on.
     
  7. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    Generally, unless there is a catastrophic failure, major components are rebuilt...not just swapped with new ones. It just happens that Tesla has to ship your pack back to the factory to complete the work, rather than it done at the SC.
     
  8. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Think of it like this -- they are doing R&R on some defective components in the battery pack. However, since the whole battery pack conveniently can be removed in a very short amount of time, it makes more sense to swap the entire pack, R&R the bad parts in your otherwise good pack, then swap you back to the your own pack once it is repaired.
     
  9. Vitold

    Vitold Member

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    In addition to what has been said I think it also gives Tesla a chance to see how your car electronics (that are outside of the battery) behave while running on a different battery. Sometimes codes are not 100% clear which component is at fault.
     
  10. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    I have seen a few posts about battery failures, and the wait tends to be in the 2 month range. I wouldn't say that there are a lot of them, I just suspect there is just a couple people that deal with repairing the packs and that they probably go through a lot of testing/validation before giving them back. (And maybe they use the cheapest shipping option possible when moving your pack around so it might sit at your SC for a while waiting for a truck with empty space in it headed toward the factory, and then again leaving the factory back to your SC. So there could easily be weeks of time that your pack is "in-transit".
     
  11. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    I assume someone in TSLA headquarters know how to operate Excel and can keep track of which car is supposed to have which battery.

    Just not the guy who designed the 7.0 UI for the Classic S please...
     
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  12. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    #12 AEdennis, Jun 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
    Additionally, with battery pack failure, I would hasten to guess that the entire pack is not "failed" and they need to find and replace the actual failed part(s).

    Let's consider the battery pack as a part of the fuel of the vehicle. What this means is that the electricity AND the battery pack is really a consumable in the vehicle (in ICE terms, the gasoline is the battery and the energy released in the engine is the electricity). So, if you look at it in these terms, it is imperative for Tesla to return your battery to you. Additionally, while you drive around in a loaner pack you might be putting miles in your car, but the wear and tear on the battery is on Tesla.

    Considering the battery pack is a huge part of the $ of the vehicle, as a shareholder, I would be upset if they swapped packs without trying to repair them first. (much like they used to with motors in the old days (for the milling noise problem 2012-2013), and now have fixes in place before they decide to swap.)
     
  13. The battery is not a single part, it is an assembly of parts. They are doing exactly as you suggest, they are opening the assembly to replace the bad part. In an ICE car you wouldn't expect them to replace the entire motor for a failed head gasket or the entire transmission for a failed torque converter.
     
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  14. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    When my battery failed in 2014, it was replaced with a re-manufactured battery (presumably of the same approximate age and mileage). I probably could have pressed to have my original battery pack swapped back in after it was repaired, but I didn't want to be without the car again while they did the second swap.

    Most repairs have been as you describe- defective part removed and replaced with a new part. But the battery pack is a little different in that it accounts for a good chunk of the cost of the car. And the individual part inside the battery pack that fails is generally not one of the battery modules itself. But it's hard for individual service centers to open up the battery pack and fix the individual part that failed. So they have to ship the battery pack back to the factory for repairs. Replacing failed battery packs with brand new packs would be great for the owner. But I suspect it would cause Tesla too much financial pain.
     
  15. pdq

    pdq Member

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    Yes, the battery is an expensive part, but let be give you a comparative story. 2 years ago a good friend and neighbor bought a new Mercedes S550. After about 5,000 miles it developed a vibration which was attributed to the transmission, so they put in a new transmission, but the vibration continued and he took the car in at 10,000 miles, they acknowledged the problem was there and talking to the tech gurus in Germany, it was decided it was the transfer case, so a new transfer case was install, but the problem persisted and he took it in again at around 15,000 miles. They could not solve the problem but resolved it in another way. He got a call from the service manager saying they were ordering him a brand new S550 equipped exactly like his car, and when it arrived, they would trade keys and cars. My friend asked how much that was going to cost given the mileage, and the response came back that there was no charge as they were apologetic about all the aggravation and inconvenience they had caused. . That S550 cost about the same as my P90D, but the client experience is completely different. Why Tesla doesn't just swap new for bad escapes me. The battery is warrantied for 8 years, I'm 8 months into a 3 year lease at which point I plan to turn the car in. I doubt the prospective buyer will go over the car matching serial numbers.
     
  16. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Tesla has their process. You're note the first to have a problem with a pack and they've done as you've spelled out for the few owners who have had battery pack failure in the past.

    You have a working pack on loan from them and able to use your car. Be thankful for what you've received and don't worry about it. It is their process and a reasonable one at that.
     
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  17. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    What you describe sounds like a lemon, three tries and they couldn't fix it, and Mercedes probably didn't want to deal with a car actually being stamped a lemon so they proactively replaced it.

    With your car Tesla is fixing it on the first try. (Or at least we hope they are.)

    And I think most car makers have the right to use remanufactured parts in warranty repairs, and they probably do a lot of the time for the expensive components. (Which Tesla probably isn't actually doing to yours, they are probably going to replace the failed component of the pack with a new one. I guess you could then call the pack remanufactured, but if you do that as soon as you replace any part on a car the car is considered remanufactured.)
     
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  18. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Maybe I'm in the minority, but I think it's reasonable that they are trying to repair the faulty parts instead of swapping the entire battery. Just as much as they would swap out a defective part in an engine (in an ICE car) instead of doing an entire engine swap. Getting a loaner battery makes the process pretty convenient for you actually. JMHO.
     
  19. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    I agree with you. Tesla could swap in a fully verified/certified battery and transfer the remainder of the battery warranty to it. This process would be less costly for them and it would save you a return trip (for them to reinstall your original, repaired battery).
     
  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    In your example, the car was effectively a lemon. You have a failed battery.

    Scenario 1: Tesla replaces your battery with a new battery
    - Ship new battery
    - Remove failed battery
    - Install new battery
    - Ship failed battery back to factory
    - Repair battery
    - Identify appropriate re-use

    Result
    + 2 x new battery
    - 1 x repaired battery
    + 1 x remove
    + 1 x install
    + 2 x ship

    Scenario 2: Tesla temporarily replaces your battery
    - Ship loaner battery
    - Remove failed battery
    - Install loaner battery
    - Ship failed battery back to factory
    - Repair battery
    - Ship repaired battery back to service center
    - remove loaner battery
    - Ship loaner battery back to factory/distribution center
    - install repaired battery


    Result
    + 1 new battery
    + f new battery (where f is fraction of fleet for which loaners must exist)
    - 1 x repaired battery
    + 2 x remove
    + 2 x install
    + 4 x ship

    Scenario 1 - Scenario 2:
    (1 - f ) x new battery
    - 1 x remove
    - 1 x install
    - 2 x ship

    Unless the failure rate is extremely high I'd argue that Tesla will save a bundle with their method.
     

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