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Zero means Zero - another battery depletion story

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by efusco, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    #1 efusco, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
    Let's get this part out of the way up front--I'm a dumbass. No need to point that out, the story will show how I convinced myself that what I was doing makes sense, and why it didn't, ultimately, make sense....

    I drove from St. Louis yesterday morning and got home (~230 miles) with only about 5 miles range showing. I was already late for a sword fighting event a few miles away, but I plugged in while I was changing clothes and getting ready. I had 10 miles range showing when I left the house. My destination is an easy (rural roads) 3-4 miles away, and the battery still showed 7-8 miles when I got there, which should've been plenty to get me home. But, for some reason, I decided to leave the key fob in the cup holder in the car, something I normally never do. Apparently, that is enough to keep the car from sleeping and makes it think I'm about to get in and drive which increases the "vampire drain" on the battery. In this case it was enough to take it to zero.

    I'd never experienced that (I never leave the fob in the car) so I assumed it was just a battery balancing issue or something and I convinced myself that there was actually enough energy in the pack that I could make the 3-4 mile trip home. I didn't believe that 7 miles of range would drain in the 5-6 hours the car was sitting unused. Ignoring multiple warnings and massively reduced power I chose not to ask to use a 120v outlet at the location i was doing my sword fighting (which I could have). Instead I chose to try to make the 3-4 mile drive home and ultimately pushed on until it completely petered out just 1.5 miles from home.

    The car shut down as I was trying to go up a steep hill on a road with no shoulder. I was able to coast, backward, down the hill and steer onto a dead-end side road with even less traffic. It took an hour for the tow service to arrive (used AAA and saved my free courtesy tow from Tesla), we had issues getting the 12v to wake back up (I think he was shorting the positive clamp by having it resting on the support bar), but ultimately my wife brought my jump box and I was able to wake it up and get it out of parking brake mode and onto the truck. Once home it had enough juice in the 12v to allow me to plug in to my HPWC and all was well. I spoke to Tesla Service this morning and they recommended a full charge to balance the pack (which I will do tomorrow), but didn't see any other issues.

    Thanks to the 2 hours it took to get the thing towed the last 1.5 miles to my home and on the charger will be plenty of consequence to prevent me from doing this again....

    Please let this serve as a warning to others. Don't ignore the warnings.
    Dumbass depletes his Tesla battery - YouTube

    [video]https://youtu.be/KIIrG7o1qCE[/video]
    tow1.jpg tow2.jpg
     
  2. Kalud

    Kalud Member

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    Thanks to be kind enough to share the embarrassment. Its actually useful to others to know what happens, when and how. I did a simillar thing on my first day with the car, but made it home. I was 16km (10mi) past the "charge now". Its good to see the power limit going down slowly as we can know about when it is shutting down.

    The night it happened to me it was -11C outside (12F) so very different context. I thought I was about to get stranded a mile from my house, but looking at your power limit go down to sub 10kW tells me that I was well within the remaining range.

    Like you said, sometime we learn the hard way...

    chargenow.png
     
  3. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    When does the car switch to "Charge Now"? Is it close to when you have 10 miles of range left, or a lower value such as 2 miles of range remaining?
     
  4. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    I believe it is at ZERO that it changes to Charge Now
     
  5. taurusking

    taurusking Member

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    Thanks for posting this efusco.

    Last week I drove to Corsicana supercharger with only 10 miles left in the battery. Luckily the weather was good and I arrived on time. Would never take such risk on a winter weather.

    However being stranded on the road has happened to me once while driving ICE car. Thought I will make it to the next gas station and then it stopped on the highway. Gas station was about 1 mile away when the car stopped.

    Had to hitch hike...what an embarrassment.
     
  6. Kalud

    Kalud Member

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    Yes it toggles to "Charge Now" at 0
     
  7. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Glad you were able to get out of the situation without too much trouble.
     
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Without question this is 100% driver error.
    That said, this wouldn't have been an issue if 1)There had been a supercharger on I-44 between St. Louis and Nixa as I would have travelled faster and gotten a quick top up charge enroute and 2)If there were some sort of fail-safe that didn't allow such massive battery drain just b/c the fob is left inside the car, esp. when the pack is at a very low level already. Maybe a text to the app, something.

    But I had options, I had warnings, I was cavalier and paid the price. Same sort of logic errors can easily lead to a similar issue in an ICE vehicle.
     
  9. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    When I made out my list of 'posts that earn positive reputation', I forgot to say 'willing to share experience so that others don't make the same mistake'.

    Really great when people share stories like this. Who knows how many people you've saved from doing exactly the same thing.
     
  10. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

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    Any bets on whether "sword fighting" turns into another popular OFF TOPIC thread like "beekeeping"?

    My personal contribution to the Charge Now pix. Made it to my destination. image.jpg
     
  11. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    If it helps anyone, the 60kWh pack will "shut down" when driving power is limited to 30kW.
     
  12. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Thanks for this story and a few good lessons here.
    The lowest I've been is 7 miles range left and that was during a snow storm driving back home through the mountains. We turned off the heat (my wife didn't appreciate that) and made it. I also had scoped out a few L2 chargers on our route so I knew we could stop if we got really low.
    I've always told myself that electricity is ubiquitous and in the worst case an hour or two plugged into a 120v outlet would be enough to get somewhere useful. It looks like efusco had that option but felt he didn't need it... a lesson for all of us here.
     
  13. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Like others, thanks for the story. Don't feel too bad. We are all wired to do a number of dumb things every day. It's a great lesson that is clarified in the book: "The Dilbert Principle" by Scott Adams. I highly recommend that book for the important lessons to be learned from it.
     
  14. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Thanks all for the support. I did post so that others don't make the same mistake and make similar assumptions.
    On a side note, apparently I need to post all my dumb moves on there (and there are many), I've gotten more positive reputation today than in any given week! I appreciate the support.
     
  15. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I wouldn't go the route of a text, but rather "enforce sleep mode when battery is low even if key is near" or something of that ilk. Not all of us have an app running to receive said text, etc.

    Please pass the suggestion along to Tesla formally. Tesla will likely turn the suggestion into something awesome for everyone.
     
  16. mgdurand

    mgdurand Member

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    Some months ago traveling between El Centro and Quartszite AZ, I left with about 40 miles of buffer... but we were, you know, kind of pushing the speed limit... and it was windy and we were talking a bunch so by the time I noticed our range/distance ratio we were down to around 60 miles out, with 15 miles extra and a mt range coming up. I slowed down to 60 (forget our new trip-average speed!).

    We ran down to Zero within one mile of the summit, and then glided downhill about 5-6 miles. The range never went up to 1 although we were making between 15-30kw of power on the coast. I do remember feeling a little bit assured that we would make it, because I had read stories here about people driving for 10 miles after reaching zero.
     
  17. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    The range needs to go up by 3 miles before you'll see it put back.
     
  18. MrBravo

    MrBravo Member

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    Thanks for sharing the story!

    My car should be delivered next week, so I don't know, but isn't leaving key fob in the cup holder dangerous? Can't someone just drive away?
     
  19. polything

    polything Member

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    thanks for sharing. from times to times i sit in the car to work/talk for 2 hours plus. i see miles drops 1 mile per hour easily (i toggled AC on/off manually)
     
  20. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Well, it's not dangerous unless it drains your battery or someone drives your car away! But I was parked in a private driveway, in a rural area, and the car was in my line of sight almost the entire time. I had no concerns of it being stolen. But yes, that is precisely why I don't usually leave the key in the car. In this case I didn't want the fob lost or damaged by an errant blow from a sword or pike and didn't want it lost in my gear bag. Seemed to make sense and the idea that it would lead to premature draining of my battery never occurred to me.
     

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