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Vendor Tesla Model S Battery Extended Service Plans from 057 Technology

wk057

Vendor & Senior Tinkerer
Feb 23, 2014
6,002
13,786
Hickory, NC, USA
…which is all the more reason for me to hold onto it for dear life, but… other factors come into play, yes? I presume the battery failures you're expecting for 2012-2013 packs aren't entirely related to their chemistry.

Right. The signature packs are just as susceptible to those issues... the chemistry is just better.
 
If you have a fuse panel on the bottom of your pack (v2.0 / "flex" pack), you'll probably be pretty immune to most of the failures of the earlier packs. If you don't (v1.0 or v1.5 packs) you're subject to a lot more potential points of failure.


Some of the issues with early packs got corrected alongside the contactor ("power switch") proactive service Tesla did early on. A lot of the issues with the earliest packs stem from moisture ingress potential, and one of the line items handled with the contactor replacements was to replace the fire blanket with an updated version which has a better seal. For example, if you've got an early car, never had the contactor replacement done, and live in an area where you run the A/C, you'll almost inevitably have a moisture-related battery issue... the A/C condensate drain on the Model S goes right on top of the battery pack's front hump. It was designed to be waterproof... but, doesn't stay that way forever.

@wk057 How do I find the fuse panel on the bottom of my pack if there is one? I believe my MS85 was built in Oct 2014.

And why the heck did Tesla have such a short A/C drain tube, and then have it drain right onto the battery pack, even if it is meant to be correctly sealed. I did extend that tube...do you think I am hurting anything?

czjPeo5.png
 

wk057

Vendor & Senior Tinkerer
Feb 23, 2014
6,002
13,786
Hickory, NC, USA
@wk057 How do I find the fuse panel on the bottom of my pack if there is one? I believe my MS85 was built in Oct 2014.

And why the heck did Tesla have such a short A/C drain tube, and then have it drain right onto the battery pack, even if it is meant to be correctly sealed. I did extend that tube...do you think I am hurting anything?

czjPeo5.png
Crawl under the car and check the front passenger side for a recessed panel with funky bolts. If it's not there then it's on top.

Extending the line is fine as long as it doesn't get clogged.
 
Was discussing the 2012-2013 situation with a friend just now, and he actually noted that it "sounds weird" for me to suggest purchasing our service plan for a variant of vehicle that I'm confident has a high chance of failing within the term of the plan. So it's worth explaining that it does actually make sense for everyone involved. Bluntly, we don't offer this stuff to lose money nor is it a huge gamble on our part because of how the rest of our business works.

First, when we end up with one of these failed batteries, we're able to get the bulk of the failed battery pack repurposed for other uses: solar, short range EV conversions, grid arbitrage projects, and much much more. These things will go on to live long productive lives in one form or another, even if that means living on as individual 18650s. This is why we're able to offer this at all. We have a network of clients who regularly purchase these, along with direct sales to the public, and other internal projects that utilize these batteries. Depending on the exact specs after testing, we can recover a good portion of the value from a failed battery pack and close the gap on the cost of the replacement as best possible.

The funds from the service plan program, after covering direct expenses for the program and legally required reserves, go completely towards making more battery pack acquisitions for our continuously moving pool of batteries. This effectively helps us have more fully tested and refurbished replacement packs in our pool ready more quickly for when a customer needs one, and keep our overall costs as low as possible when doing these replacements. It's a capital intense process, with hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up on average in one point of the process or another, sometimes much more. The acquisition, testing, refurbishing, and other processes done to these batteries take time, so there are always a lot of batteries at each step of our process. Smoothing out the flow of capital is worthwhile here.

With the service plan program, we can pretty effectively absorb the legitimate failures of service plan customer batteries into our existing model without much, if any, negative impact on our processes... which is something we've spent years refining to the point where it is today. We're undoubtedly the only company in the world that is able to do this successfully and with sufficient volume to be able to offer a worthwhile service to Tesla vehicle owners.

It's a little hard to explain without giving away all of our secrets... but internally, we're setup so that customers on the service plan have a kind of placeholder in our battery processing queue. When a replacement is needed, we mark our queue to designate the next completed compatible pack for the customer, and their core pack is inserted at the start of our process. For us, this is not much different than batteries acquired through other channels (salvage auctions, direct vehicle buys from individuals, etc), so the net effect on our pool of battery processing is minimal or non-existent since we already account for the possibility of problems with battery packs that enter our process, but the BMD system actually helps weed out some worst case situations that we could run into with other acquisition avenues.

For customers that come to us needing a battery replacement without the service plan, we treat them as general battery sales, plus labor, minus the actual internal value of their core pack after examination. They end up at the end of our processing queue (which can take some time, depending on current demand), and their core battery pack ends up handled similarly. The end result is the cost is a higher for the customer than if they had already purchased the service plan (since with the service plan we effectively net out the core cost 1:1, but with a normal replacement always deal with the actual value), and the lead times end up being a bit longer (no jumping the line).

This is the best I can do without giving away our trade secrets and entire internal business model... but hopefully makes more sense.

All of this said, I'm a tech guy and a numbers guy. I can make things work, but I suck at sales and marketing in general. If it doesn't sell itself, I probably can't easily sell it. Extended warranties are not something that people generally get excited about and want to just jump all over.... but I really think this isn't a typical take on this, and is actually a great product/service with a decent value for owners of these cars. The drawback is that I probably don't get the word spread about this stuff as quickly or as far as it probably could be. 🤷‍♂️
They should do a story about this program on Electrek. Honestly, with the way coverage is being handled during the parts shortage for BMDs, it's a short course / model for other businesses on how they ought to treat customers. I would think this is of note to sites like elektrek because it's keeping model S's on the road and out of the junkyard, and batteries out of the landfill, so it's about as green as you can get with an old model S!
 

wk057

Vendor & Senior Tinkerer
Feb 23, 2014
6,002
13,786
Hickory, NC, USA
They should do a story about this program on Electrek. Honestly, with the way coverage is being handled during the parts shortage for BMDs, it's a short course / model for other businesses on how they ought to treat customers. I would think this is of note to sites like elektrek because it's keeping model S's on the road and out of the junkyard, and batteries out of the landfill, so it's about as green as you can get with an old model S!

Thanks! Hopefully word spreads a bit more about it. Also hoping to get some customer reviews/testimonials together soon, as we've already done several repairs and have a few more in process.

At the moment, my main focus for this product is to get through the BMD production growing pains, while still doing right by our customers. I'm still kicking myself regularly over the BMD delays... We still have a handful of day 1 signups that are patiently waiting on BMDs (so sorry folks...) since we prioritized the shipments of the first batch to customers who were out of warranty or just about out of warranty. Had I realized our next batch pretty much wouldn't even happen without a design change, I would have made this super clear, and probably would have made sure language that obligated us to make efforts in the event of an issue while waiting on the BMD were a part of the service plan terms from day 1. (Waiting on legal review to get this verbiage added, with the option to bump your plan's terms to the latest.)

A bit of an update on the BMD side of things: We're working through two remaining issues with the design modifications that were needed to get around the chip shortages: The case had to be changed slightly, so we're waiting on those parts for final assembly; and there's a glitch that can cause it to crash and not recover under certain conditions, requiring a physical unplug/replug to restore it... which isn't ideal for something in customer hands intended to stay installed for years. I'm confident this a software issue with the code port to the replacement microcontroller, but I can't really approve the validation of them if this is something that can still happen. It's been a complete nightmare to pin down, and it's time consuming to replicate to test changes. Definite has been one of the slowest bug hunt and fix processes I've been a part of in 20+ years of doing hardware/software design.
 
There were a LOT of revisions in 2014 and 2015. Some are better than others. I don't believe any of the post-2013 packs suffer from the same issues as the pre-2014 packs, however, so I'd expect them to have significantly fewer failures. It'll be hard to quantify with certainty until more are out of warranty, since that definitely skews the data available. But the physical issues that cause the most problems with the early packs were designed away by early 2015.

If you have a fuse panel on the bottom of your pack (v2.0 / "flex" pack), you'll probably be pretty immune to most of the failures of the earlier packs. If you don't (v1.0 or v1.5 packs) you're subject to a lot more potential points of failure.

Obviously all of these packs can outlast the warranty period, and thus have a good chance at a reasonable vehicle life. IANAL, but I wouldn't say it's something Tesla's responsible for taking care of from a legal perspective. The product does what it's supposed to, the earlier versions just don't seem to have the longevity many would like. Just because they made improvements since then that make them more robust doesn't mean they screwed up the early ones.

Some of the issues with early packs got corrected alongside the contactor ("power switch") proactive service Tesla did early on. A lot of the issues with the earliest packs stem from moisture ingress potential, and one of the line items handled with the contactor replacements was to replace the fire blanket with an updated version which has a better seal. For example, if you've got an early car, never had the contactor replacement done, and live in an area where you run the A/C, you'll almost inevitably have a moisture-related battery issue... the A/C condensate drain on the Model S goes right on top of the battery pack's front hump. It was designed to be waterproof... but, doesn't stay that way forever.
This lines up with my experience and sheds light on what and why Tesla Service did what they did. I bought our used 11/13 built S 85 with just under 60K miles from Tesla back in January 2019. 11 months and 30K miles we had a number of faults and issues that were replaced under Tesla used sales warranty. I recall getting an intermittent message about "Car may not restart." A few months later I got the following messages:
  • Car may not restart
  • Systems performance check
  • Acceleration and top speed reduced
  • Regenerative braking system disabled
On the advice of Tesla Roadside, I drove the car to a Service Center parking lot before turning off the car...it did not restart after. The following service items were done as a result:

  • replaced drive unit
  • replaced coolant
  • replaced pyro fuse
  • replaced HVAC drain hose
  • replaced 12V battery
  • replaced HV battery contactors
The service rep said some of the items were replaced with revised parts were earlier versions were showing signs of failure so they replaced them as a preventative measure.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Krash
They should do a story about this program on Electrek. Honestly, with the way coverage is being handled during the parts shortage for BMDs, it's a short course / model for other businesses on how they ought to treat customers. I would think this is of note to sites like elektrek because it's keeping model S's on the road and out of the junkyard, and batteries out of the landfill, so it's about as green as you can get with an old model S!
Great idea... I'll mention this story to Micah Toll at Electrek.

You can send Micah tips at [email protected], or find him on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok.
 

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