The controversy is served from the first word of the headline: “Tesla tried to charge $ 22,500 for a new battery when a $ 5,000 repair would suffice.” Posted in Electrek, one of the reference blogs on electric mobility and Tesla in English.
The article in turn refers to Rich Rebuilds, an extremely popular YouTube channel of an electric car enthusiast that has been popularized by disassembling Teslas to better understand its operation. Its author has set up a garage, Electrified garage, where you do out-of-warranty repairs.
In a video published by said channel, the battery of a Model S P85 2013 vehicle Tyler hoovie began to fail charging no more than 80 kilometers of autonomy. According to Electrek, and according to the video, when he took the vehicle to a service center Tesla they made a quote for a battery change of $ 22,500.
But again, according to the Rich Rebuilds video, by replacing some of the modules in the battery pack, the problem was solved for barely $ 5,000 including labor and diagnostics to identify the problem.
Everything makes sense, right? The news has been replicated by dozens of media, not only in English, but also in Spanish. “How much does it cost to change the batteries in a Tesla Model S out of warranty? “, reads the owner of a blog on electric mobility. The topic is too juicy to ignore. In fact, you can see similar ideas among the usual Spanish-language YouTube channels that are dedicated to amplifying false or excessively negative news about Tesla – yes, it is a whole category, and quite broad.
But as often happens in these situations: it is neither simple, nor is it that real. In fact, the news is built on lies, manipulated images, and how can it be otherwise, economic interests.
The battery is not priced at $ 22,500 and the bill is a ‘photoshop’
Let’s start at the base of the fake news: the $ 22,500 quote for a new battery by the service center of Tesla. The image is a photoshop of a payment receipt that has been manipulated to look real or that it was the official price indicated by the manufacturer.
The manipulation was detected on Twitter. But a real quote for the replacement of the battery pack for that specific model, that is, a 2013 Model S P85, could be known to be $ 10,500, less than half of what was shown in the image manipulated in the Rich Rebuilds video.
The invoice manipulated with Photoshop
The author has defended himself arguing that they did the receipt handling as a visual reference. But they accepted it after it was discovered that it was all a lie.
As for Electrek editor Fred Lambert, though he also accepts that he shouldn’t have used the manipulated image at the moment the title of the article remains unchanged. Lambert also argues that the price of $ 22,500 is correct since Tesla replaces 85 kWh packs with 90 kWh packs, which has that cost.
But this is not entirely true either. Batteries of this capacity are installed only in vehicles manufactured as of June 1, 2016. The funny thing is that the image where the latter is evidenced was published by Rich Rebuilds himself, when he was trying to defend himself against these accusations.
Repair that is not repair
Jason hughes, a hacker who became known for finding a major security hole in Tesla In 2017 (the company awarded him $ 50,000), he posted a series of tweets explaining why this repair is not advisable. Hughes also has considerable experience salvaging scrap car components for out-of-warranty repairs.
As he explained, there is an important reason why Tesla does not offer these types of repairs, which would be much cheaper. The tolerances required by the BMS (Battery Management System) for 100% safe operations do not allow the introduction of discrepancies created by foreign modules.
The result it will be a battery that will inevitably fail in a few months. Simply remove one of the modules it is not a solution either, since it creates an imbalance in the BMS that will cause it to fail.
I mean really, there’s a reason Tesla doesn’t offer such a repair. If all it took were swapping out a couple of modules don’t you think they’d offer this?
The tolerances required by the BMS for 100% safe operation don’t allow the discrepancies introduced by oddball modules.
– Jason Hughes (@ wk057) September 14, 2021
Summarizing some replies overnight:
No, the “remove a cell” thing is not a “fix” either. The result is the same, it just takes longer. Removing a cell is literally creating an SoC imbalance on purpose and it’s idiotic that people who don’t understand the Tesla BMS push this.
– Jason Hughes (@ wk057) September 14, 2021
As Hughes explains, if removing or replacing modules within the battery pack were possible, Tesla would already offer it as a service option for its cars for being much cheaper. This is not possible, and the solution is to replace the battery entirely.
It does not matter if the news is false, it is about Tesla
Now it does not matter if the news is false. It does not matter if it is denied dozens of times. The damage is already done. With Tesla There is a curious phenomenon, it generates so much interest and so many polarized opinions that there seems to be no middle ground. Those who are against electric mobility and / or introducing so much technology in vehicles are already convinced and this news simply confirms a formed bias.
As often happens in these cases, false and manipulated news will go a long way and will become one more argument to avoid buying an electric car, especially a Tesla. The arguments that demonstrate the manipulation will remain among a few. At the end of the day, the lie, unfortunately, is much more yellowish and striking than the truth.
The 5 typical lies about Tesla