Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Michael DeGusta writes that Tesla Motors’ Roadster apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. Of the approximately 2,200 Roadsters sold to date, at least five Roadsters have been “bricked” due to battery depletion that can only be repaired by paying Tesla $40,000 to replace the entire battery and the damage is not covered by warranty (PDF). Behind the scenes Tesla has seemingly been scrambling to try to ensure existing owners don’t “brick” their cars. After the first 500 Roadsters, Tesla added a remote monitoring system to their vehicles that Tesla uses to monitor various vehicle metrics including the battery charge levels and Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadster’s battery was dangerously low. "In at least one case, Tesla went even further. The Tesla service manager admitted that, unable to contact an owner by phone, Tesla remotely activated a dying vehicle’s GPS to determine its location and then dispatched Tesla staff to go there," writes DeGusta. "Going to these lengths could be seen as customer service, but it would also seem to fit with an internal awareness at Tesla of the gravity of the “bricking” problem, and the potentially disastrous public relations and sales fallout that could result from it becoming more broadly known.""
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