2016 Model S Battery Problems in Tesla Roadsters

Good News: Automotive Industry Benefits

Evidencing signs of considerable battery decline, the famed Tesla Roadster – generally recognised as the world’s original remarkable electric vehicle – has been experiencing deterioration in an unexpected manner.

The esteemed Gruber Motor Corporation (otherwise known as GMC; not to be blended up with General Motors), who is renowned for fixing Tesla’s original Roadster, has noticed indications of decay in versions fitted with the later 3.2 amp-hour 18650 cells. The Roadster was revealed in 2008, and a mere eight years after the fact, Tesla presented an upgrade to the more recent 18650 cells utilized in the Model S and Model X since 2013, assuring double the reach of previously produced models, yielding a new announced magnitude of 400 miles.

For the past 15 years, the Roadster has been around. Surprisingly, JB Straubel, who had Tesla’s original Chief Technology Officer role and envisioned a 10-year span for their battery pack, didn’t anticipate that the initial 2.2 amp-hour cells are still resilient and able to accomplish the desired 200-mile range – unlike those introduced seven years ago.

Tesla Roadster Batteries Are Finally End of Life | Gruber Motors

Teslas marketed their 18650 enhancement to customers, asserting that it could complete more than 400 miles per battery charge. Although $32,000 seems steep, once placed into the framework of an original Roadster price-point, it becomes more rational. After all, in 2008 the same Roadster was priced at an extraordinary rate of $100,000; when adjusted for inflation in 2021, that figure leaps to an exorbitant $142,500. These vehicles have been almost exclusively only attainable to those of the privileged class.

A range of signs have been recognized from multiple vehicles this year; these include lack of energy, an inability to gain 60 mph, and struggles merging onto highways. After a meticulous workup by GMC, it was concluded that the 2016 cars’ battery packs were the cause for the complaints. Moreover, a few more owners reported the same issue that was not limited to just two autos – thus further confluent in finding the offender. Among other ailments also included a soft accelerator pedal along with decreased output higher than 30 mph as the months progressed; eventually leading the car to become useless.

Subsequent to tracking the fault to the latest battery cells, GMC conveyed one of the models to the regional Tesla service station to validate its discoveries. Further details on this subject shall be provided further down.

Exciting news has arose due to the imminent prospect of a comprehensive understanding of the concluding performance criteria of previous Tesla cars, set to punctuate the automobile industry. To date, the only strong point was that assumed in legally binding policies created by government forces. An electrical car’s battery is by law kept underneath warranty for a period of 8 years, even though automaker firms often depart from this figure, privileging protection at a capacity level of 60% or 70% .

It would be fitting that the Tesla Model S, which is believed to have launched the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, is showing the primary signs of its eventual end-of-life. This model’s battery pack is presenting the first symptoms of soon ending its lifecycle.

These are the initial indications but, ultimately, this phenomenon will manifest in all lithium-ion batteries. Nevertheless, it is alarming that, despite being a more recent design which was anticipated to augment the performance of electric vehicles, this difficulty has, unfortunately, come to the fore.

Once engineers comprehend the ultimate degradation of a battery and its associated causes, they can set-up measures in order to prevent it, possibly augmenting the longevity of the battery beyond 10 years. Moreover, these realizations and principles may even be utilized in electric vehicles accompanied by solid-state batteries, turning out to be a pioneering progress.

Existing recycling facilities for batteries notwithstanding, the unfortunate reality is that electric cars can be considered effectively discarded if the battery falters or is slightly impaired. In fact, replacement batteries typically cost more than half the worth of the automobile, which leads to barely-used automobiles being disposed of.

Gaining a more thorough knowledge of how to assemble batteries opens the door for manufacturers to craft more efficient and enduring power supplies. Initially, motor fueled cars weren’t flawless either. For instance, engines were unequipped with rev limiters, synchromesh, or suspension bushings and necessitated constant repairs. With time and experience, though, boasts improvement and modification. This certainly holds true concerning electric vehicles too.

Gruber Motor Corporation is still awaiting confirmation from Tesla, but their findings point to a potential cell quality issue as the cause of why all these later battery packs are failing at the same time. GMC believes that these packs were likely all produced from the same cell run lot, which may explain why they are experiencing synchronized failures despite having gone through different usage cycles depending on the driver.

GMC has reminded us that the “400+ mile” battery pack was only available for a short period of time before production was stopped due to its failure to reach the advertised range and its “rapid range decline to 200 miles before the pack eventually settled.” Fortunately, in 2020, new replacement packs were made available for the Roadster.

The video ends with Pete Gruber revealing that Tesla has been “cooperative and helpful in making the Roadster engineering team available for collaboration” to ensure that these findings are authenticated, confirmed, and remedied. It’s clear that other car companies will be paying attention.


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