Tesla owner refuses to pay over $21,000 for a new battery, gets locked out of his car

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defaultluser

Posts: 478   +366
Its what yo get when you buy anything first-generation from any new company!

he knew what he was buying his way into back in 2013

at least model 3 with LFP should be nearly indestructible
 

Ludak021

Posts: 736   +561
I don't think you understand just how dangerous these batteries can be if they're defective. Locking the cars was the best thing they could do to avoid an ***** driving with a broken battery if he decided to tinker with it.
What does that has to do with that being his car?! You can make anything dangerous. It's his property. This is about basic principles of ownership. You seem to be against owning anything. Let me take control over your PC and phone. It could explode, you could set you house on fire or kill someone. Let me just lock you out of those. ;)
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,612   +3,199
TechSpot Elite
Dear Author.

Please add Metric units if you would be so kind. Only the Americans use imperial system and maybe one or 2 other tiny nations.

Thank you
Actually, it was only one other tiny nation (Liberia) and they have since gone metric. Myanmar used its own weights and measures (neither imperial nor metric) but they have since gone metric too. It's only the USA that's still living in the past.
Learn how to convert them yourself, math is important and it’s not hard. 77k mi/0.62 = 124k km.
I think it has more to do with the principle of the thing. In a world of almost 8,000,000,000 people, only 0.4% use the imperial system while the other 99.6% use metric. To post imperial measures is ignorant, arrogant and stupid. I think that Americans don't realise just how tiny a percentage of the world population lives in the USA.
The batteries for these older Teslas have an 8 year warranty (no mileage limit included), so it seems he got unlucky.
That's the problem with warranties. They don't always work. Having said that, Teslas cost more on average than Mercedes or BMW. When they're priced at $140,000 it means that they're aimed at people to whom $20,000 is pocket change.

What happened here is that someone wanted to be a big shot with his fancy Tesla and while he could afford to buy it, he couldn't afford to own it. The same is true about German cars. They're not nearly as well-made as Japanese cars but they cost far more to buy and to own. Still, people are buying up VWs, Audis, BMWs and Mercedes by the truckload and bankrupting themselves in the process. Teslas are in this category as well because people who buy Teslas do so because they're status-symbols, not because they're actually good. Let's also keep in mind that $21,000 is only 15% of $140,000 so it would be like if a more common vehicle ($30,000) had an engine or transmission failure and it cost $4,500. That's a number that wouldn't be considered out of this world.

Now, I'm not taking Tesla's side here because for $140,000 you should be able to expect the car to last 20 years or more with just regular maintenance. The problem is that, like any corporation under capitalism, they'll nickel-and-dime you to death in their efforts to maximise their profits. People don't seem to realise that you don't get as rich as Elon Musk by not screwing people over.

I agree that people shouldn't buy Teslas, but this guy should have done a crapload more homework before he went out and bought one. If he blindly dropped $140,000 on a freakin' car without being rich enough to keep it going, he's as much of a poser as someone who lives in a trailer park and drives a BMW 5-series. If you can spend $140,000 on a car, then a $21,000 repair shouldn't be enough to turn your hair white like with this guy.
What we really need is a 3rd party maker of batteries. Since the Tesla warranty is basically worthless, breaking it won't be an issue and once one company makes Tesla compatible devices, more will follow. Since Tesla doesn't patent his products (he actually brags about this), nothing stops somebody from coming in behind him and taking out patent's that Tesla will have to follow .....
In order to do that, we need some kind of battery standard like we have with car batteries. The manufacturers all want to have proprietary systems so that you have to buy replacements from them. That's a terrible setup for the consumer and people who argue against standards are either fools or have something to gain personally from not having them.

A perfect case-in-point is the standards that we all enjoy when it comes to computers like x86, ATX, USB, PCI-Express, SATA and HDMI. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we didn't have those standards? It would be like having a dozen different companies like Apple and we'd be royally screwed. Recently, the EU enforced the use of USB-C on ALL mobile devices going forward, something that Apple wasn't happy about because it means that they can't fleece Europeans anymore. These automakers are doing the exact same thing with their proprietary batteries. BCI (Battery Council International) should be made to set a standard for electric car batteries just like they have with every other battery like AA, AAA, AAAA, C, D, 9V and car batteries and governments should enforce those standards.

It's the only smart way forward.
Also, you know what you get into when you sign that contract to buy the car.
I agree. He knew the pitfalls but still wanted to drop $140,000 on a freakin' car because he's clearly compensating for something else. If you can't afford to own an expensive-as-hell car, don't buy one. I actually bought below my means when I bought my Veloster because I didn't need more than that and I prefer cars with manual transmissions.

Velosters are also real lookers, especially in Marathon Blue:
v1-jpg.5807

I bought it used (3 years old) with 38,000km on it for $14,000 taxes-in. I literally could have bought TEN of them for what he paid. Here I am eight years later and it still looks and runs like new. I did my homework and discovered that even though it's a rare model, most of the parts are shared with the Accent, Elantra and Sonata so maintenance in the long-term wouldn't be an issue. I also avoided getting a turbo model for the same reason. Turbocharged cars have shorter life spans because they cost more to operate. These are all things that many people fail to take into account when they buy a vehicle. They make their decision based on emotion, not logic and that's extremely dangerous when making a big purchase like a car.
This comment shows exactly how effective clickbait titles are. Tesla, or remote control of any kind, did not lock him out of his car. The door releases require 12V power (not from the main pack, but from a typical 12V car battery, which his car also has) to operate. The same thing happens in a Porsche 996 if the 12V battery dies. You can't open the front trunk to access that battery without applying power to leads near the driver's leg. Not a big deal, but the article implies that Tesla disabled his access to the car because they didn't like him or something. That simply isn't what happened here.
Never underestimate the stupidity of the average human! :laughing:
Tesla dead battery should default to unlocking doors so at least you would be able to tow your Tesla... Some ***** programmers at Tesla...!
The reason that they don't is because if you couldn't lock your Tesla, someone could steal it. What they should have done is what most automakers do. My Veloster is a push-start but I do have a mechanical key that can unlock the car in the event that the power locks, electrical system, battery or fob fail. That's just common sense, something that automakers don't have anymore.

Just look at the power-operated parking brakes. They're absolutely useless as emergency brakes, something that I've been glad to have in the past. I'll take a manual transmission with a hand brake over the fully-automated-but-will-one-day-fail systems that lazy people buy today. I don't even use my auto-headlamps because I don't want to be dependent on them. I prefer to know that my headlights are on because I turned them on rather than to forget that they even exist (which would happen).
Same thing happened to me, 98 Accord, the passenger side sub frame was almost completely rotted through because the AC drain hose drained right into it. Fortunately it wasn't too expensive to fix and the mechanic who did the job redirected the drain line.

Honda did actually fix this on my 10 year newer Accord, the hose drains well away from anything.
That's because the Japanese automakers (specifically Toyota and Honda) are the greatest automakers in the world. If they see a problem, they fix it and it never happens again. There's a reason why Toyota is the world's largest automaker and this is it.
 

Icysoul

Posts: 43   +16
It really isn't there any legitimate, mechanical way of accessing the car? Like a key to open one of the doors, somehow. It really is about owning a product, after all...
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,488   +2,202
Actually, it was only one other tiny nation (Liberia) and they have since gone metric. Myanmar used its own weights and measures (neither imperial nor metric) but they have since gone metric too. It's only the USA that's still living in the past.

I think it has more to do with the principle of the thing. In a world of almost 8,000,000,000 people, only 0.4% use the imperial system while the other 99.6% use metric. To post imperial measures is ignorant, arrogant and stupid. I think that Americans don't realise just how tiny a percentage of the world population lives in the USA.
Alright cowboy, I guess that means you're using metric time too, then?

Also the irony of people trying to destroy the imperial system with... cultural imperialism.
 
Bad luck. However,
Instead of giving the car away, he could get the replacement battery for $21k, and then sell the car for $50k ( current price for 2013 S in autotrader, some of which also have a new battery). Then go buy whatever car he thinks would be better.
Whining in the media may get you attention, but my suggestion would net you $29k. Perhaps he really values attention.
 

sreams

Posts: 324   +464
Just look at the power-operated parking brakes. They're absolutely useless as emergency brakes, something that I've been glad to have in the past. I'll take a manual transmission with a hand brake over the fully-automated-but-will-one-day-fail systems that lazy people buy today.

To be fair... the parking brake in a Tesla can be used in an emergency:


You'd have to have both a hydraulic failure and an electrical failure for both brake systems to fail at the same time.
 

hwertz

Posts: 174   +100
I first read this story a couple weeks ago, and I'm still struck by this snowflake -- whose identifies himself as "Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower and entrepreneur" -- incredible sense of entitlement. The car is 10 years old, meaning the battery lasted double its warranty period. Yet he drove it to the shop demanding a free one? And the only reason he wound up "locked out" of the vehicle was that he ignored the battery warning signal for months, until it failed entirely.
He said in the vid the battery was at 80% the night before. It really does sound like they artificially locked it out of the vehicle, a battery won't go from 80% to not enough power to unlock the doors overnight. And the battery failed due to a known manufacturing defect causing A/C water to drip onto the battery -- which is a common sense thing that any other car company has avoided all along. He had a battery that has been rusting for years, with the dealership not looking at the battery because that'd then be a problem that had to be fixed. To be honest, the worst part here is A/C drip hoses can be relocated -- even on an existing car, just stick more hose on the end to redirect the water somewhere else -- so really the dealers could have been given a cheap (piece of hose and instructions) repair kit to service the models with this problem and avoid the battery rusting to begin with.
 

sreams

Posts: 324   +464
That's fair, and that's why is crazy to have "tech only" methods in your car, unless you don't care: since you have a Porsche or a BMW you'll probably "get it fixed" by someone else and use other kind of transportation in the meantime (probably a loaned Porsche or BMW). Most regular "electronic" means on "normal" cars also have physical alternatives, for this same reason. Even if your "key" can lock/unlock/start your car remotely, you still have a physical key, in case... the battery dies, you could still access your car (even lock it). Same with starting the car, since your key might get damaged (just fell on some body of water) or discharged (batteries die, like in this case).

On current Teslas... if the 12V battery fails, there is a little plastic cover on the front bumper (this is also where you connect your tow hook) you can pop off where you'll find two wires. Connect a common 9V battery here, and the front trunk will open, allowing access to the 12V battery for replacement. Not manual/mechanical, but I've never heard of a case where this doesn't work.
 

sreams

Posts: 324   +464
He said in the vid the battery was at 80% the night before. It really does sound like they artificially locked it out of the vehicle, a battery won't go from 80% to not enough power to unlock the doors overnight. And the battery failed due to a known manufacturing defect causing A/C water to drip onto the battery -- which is a common sense thing that any other car company has avoided all along. He had a battery that has been rusting for years, with the dealership not looking at the battery because that'd then be a problem that had to be fixed. To be honest, the worst part here is A/C drip hoses can be relocated -- even on an existing car, just stick more hose on the end to redirect the water somewhere else -- so really the dealers could have been given a cheap (piece of hose and instructions) repair kit to service the models with this problem and avoid the battery rusting to begin with.

The high voltage pack does not power the door mechanisms. A normal 12V car battery does. If that is dead, it doesn't matter if your pack is at 100%. The car won't unlock. It would be like expecting your gas powered car's electrical locks to work because your gas tank is full.
 

hwertz

Posts: 174   +100
The 9V battery thing is clever!

So if the doors open with a 12V battery, it seems like that makes it even more likely Tesla remotely disabled the car, it was not warning about needing a 12V battery after all... yeah the Prius is like that too, it has the very silly situation where you can have a full hybrid battery pack but it won't start because the 12V battery runs the computer.

Side note, my parents have a Kia Niro (hybrid), if you run down the 12V battery on there, there's a button that will trickle some power into the 12V battery from the hybrid battery. You push the button, and a little chibi walks onto the screen and gently chides you for letting the battery run down while bad muzak plays; after about a minute, it's done and you're ready to start the car.
 

sreams

Posts: 324   +464
The 9V battery thing is clever!

So if the doors open with a 12V battery, it seems like that makes it even more likely Tesla remotely disabled the car, it was not warning about needing a 12V battery after all...

I don't see how it makes it any more likely. We don't know what other warning were popping up (many of the warnings that indicate a failing 12V battery do not specifically say that). I also don't see what Tesla's motivation would be for going to the trouble of locking the guy's doors.

The person he sold it to was able to get the car unlocked. If Tesla had locked the doors remotely using software, there wouldn't have been a way for that to work.
 

sorten

Posts: 142   +214
Damn, Avro, epic comment. And I agree with your point about the cost of owning a car vs. buying a car. It's a common problem that people get into when they stretch financially to buy a status symbol. I have a friend who bought a used BMW M5 for $22K and spent almost that same amount on repairs and maintenance in the first two years of ownership.

My reaction to this article was to roll my eyes as soon as I read "TikTok". It's the same as my reaction to "YouTuber" or social influencer. It's a modern disease of entitlement and self-promotion. This guy was trying to make enough noise on TikTok, so he'd get something for free, and it didn't work.

If it's a genuine manufacturing defect and not just bad luck, he should be able to find a few more Tesla owners with the same problem. If he can manage that then I'm sure he'll find an attorney to press a class action lawsuit, if those are an option in the Canadian legal system.
 

tkabou

Posts: 138   +162
The industry needed someone to create yet another DISPOSABLE item that this world previously didn't really have. Enter: Premiere Con-Man Elon Musk to sell you an overpriced, garbage car, that won't last more than 10 years before serious maintenance or overhaul is needed on the battery and other high-ticket items. Tesla's are purposefully designed to entice the younger generation that are on board with the GREEN AGENDA of Socialism/Communism, electric-everything, and doing their part for the planet (nevermind where electricity comes from). These cars are made to be disposable, remember, own nothing and be happy.
 

DaveBG

Posts: 630   +296
LOL, so if my ICE car breaks because I ignore the warnings for months I can go and demand a new one and say they licked me out of driving the car,...
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,828   +1,895
He said in the vid the battery was at 80% the night before..a battery won't go from 80% to not enough power to unlock the doors overnight.
And you believe his version of events utterly? By his own admission, he's been fighting for a replacement battery for months, months in which the battery has continually been throwing alarms. Furthermore, if corrosion really is the culprit here, a contact could easily have failed overnight, leaving the battery disconnected from the car itself.

But I think the simplest explanation is the most likely. The car's battery made it essentially undriveable, and he left it idle for days, perhaps weeks. Then when he tried to access it for the ownership papers, he found out the voltage was too low to even operate the locks.

And the battery failed due to a known manufacturing defect causing A/C water to drip onto the battery
Again, according to him. Despite the ambiguous wording of the article, what CTA told him was that the battery failed due to rusting, not what specifically led to that rusting. Toronto is infamous for using enormous quantities of salt on its winter roads-- so much so, in fact, that nearby creeks and streams are often saltier than the ocean itself. Few things are more corrosive to metal than salt water.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,828   +1,895
Auto companies strive to improve year over year.
Tesla has chosen a different path.
Well isn't this a switch: Scavengerspc is attacking EVs, and I'm defending them. As others have noted, Tesla's battery warranty has gone from 4yr/50K miles to 8yr/150K miles, with a 12 year/unlimited mile warranty on body corrosion. The range has increased, while both price and charging time have decreased. In 2014, Tesla scored the lowest of all automakers, according to the JD Power Initial Quality Survey. Today, they score higher than Volkswagen, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Audi, and Chrysler.

Is that not improvement, or were you simply intending to substitute snark for logic?
 
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