The fundamental design flaw of all of Tesla Motors’ electric cars.

My annual birthday-month fund-raising drive for Behind the Black is now on-going. Not only do your donations help pay my bills, they give me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.


Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

The fundamental design flaw of all of Tesla Motors’ electric cars.

A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

This problem could destroy the company, which, believe it or not, might actually have a negative effect on the American space program! Elon Musk, the man behind SpaceX and the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule is also the CEO of Tesla. If Tesla goes down, one wonders if that could have an impact on SpaceX’s effort to get Americans into space.



  • They have posted a response from Tesla. The article is hyperventilating over nothing. It’s like having a headline that Ford is selling a car that will need a new engine if you never change the oil or fail to keep the coolant filled. If someone is going to let their car sit unused for months at a time, making a fairly trivial maintenance effort to keep the battery from depleting completely hardly seems a huge burden.

  • I don’t agree that flatlining a battery is equivalent to not changing the oil or keeping the coolant filled. Coolant loss in any vehicle in any kind of repair is very minimal, and oil changes might have to be done a couple of times a year. Even if you don’t change the oil or check the coolant, you can drive a fossil-fuel vehicle a good long time before serious problems develop, and if you have to replace the engine, it’ll be about 1/10th of the Tesla battery replacement cost. Internal combustion engines don’t require the constant attention that batteries do.

    I recently re-activated a car that had been sitting in storage for four years. A $20 dollar junkyard battery, some gas for the tank and a little for the carb, and 30 seconds of cranking while the fuel pump moved gas out of the tank, and I had a car that would at least get to a garage under it’s own power. Technology is supposed to make life easier.

  • wade

    i Myself have researched this car and it has quickly turned into Another heralded vehicle that we have all at least heard of. not one to point fingers but its name is Volt. as in RUN away . the cars produced by Tesla are , in fact and much like the prius or volt, more of a novelty as to actual performance per dollar. each of these efforts are confounded by side effects that supersede the actual cost to owner and in the long run, posses faults of a different nature usually unknown to the would-be buyer. in the long run of efficiency versus cost , smile when you pay politically enhanced dollar amounts at the gas pump. i will Not even go into the bio hazards of the make-up of the batteries or the increase in the buyers electric bill, or the plight of repercussions in light of the overall design in a case of a collision. . in the late 1800s to the early 1900s , electric cars have been around. this tech has been piloted and experimented with , in depth, by the modern day Railroads after the demise of steam engines. most train engines are of huge displacement diesel engines that power a generator of which direct power to the wheels.Nothing new Here.and if you are able to “catch my drift” so to speak,another veil over the public eye. it has been a Long road to our modern days, yet we as a whole, are stuck in 100year tech as for as volume of usage and easily available venues of source. naturally aspirated engines give us a rather cheap and relative easily available access to Energy. Gas delivered to a somewhat measured volume of air and then compressed and introduced to a source of ignition and …..Waaa Laaaa.!!!!!! although there has been Many advancements in engine-head development as well as more concise control of burnable fuel mixtures, we have yet to develop any aspect of viable fuel source that is readily available while being somewhat safe in the hands of the masses.

  • wade

    further, i suspect that, mr. Musk as well as other government tied corporations of rocketry , are only funneling tax dollars at projects that Will Never fly. these monies are directed to the development of something beyond the understanding of the supporting tax money suppliers and may in fact appear as Alien Tech when compared to the burning of your thumb with a friction implied ignition of a burning match.

  • Guru

    Clark: Are you joking? So you don’t think it is a serious limitation that unless the battery is kept above a threshold it is destroyed? So let’s say you go on vacation for a month. You conscientiously plug in the Tesla. A circuit breaker fails and the circuit goes dead, or a mouse chews a wire, or someone borrows the extension cord, or any one of a number of possibilities. You came back and your Tesla is dead with a $40k repair bill. You don’t think that’s a problem? Amazing…

  • Rastafarian

    Tesla Motors will be out of business in 3 yrs.

  • Tesla Rules

    Just as Tesla himself was the greatest inventor who ever lived, the Tesla car is the greatest vehicular invention and product in the history of transportation! Those of you who attempt to insult and detract from the Tesla must be worshippers of Edison! Tesla invented nearly everything we today use and call modern technology. He invented it directly, or it was based on his pioneering work.
    So stop with the insults!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *