Tesla’s Car Battery Woes

There is no doubt, Tesla leads the way in electric vehicles. Part of what keeps Tesla at the top is their ability to push new technologies forward in their models. At the same time, the innovative company has seen recent consequences and controversy about its technology. For instance, Tesla’s autopilot feature came under major scrutiny for the way drivers used it and how it could affect auto insurance. Another controversial feature Tesla launched a few months back allowed drivers to summon their vehicles to their location. The Smart Summon feature ended up causing mayhem in parking lots and auto insurance claims.  Now, Tesla is facing scrutiny and an investigation over tampering with car battery output. 

New Tech Problems

While every new technology has some problems, Tesla model cars have some very dangerous ones. The latest problem comes from an effort to avoid batteries from overheating and catching fire but at the cost of the car’s battery life. Multiple reports confirmed that a software update sent out a little over a month ago has significantly changed the car’s battery life, and therefore mileage output, of Tesla models. This caused problems for owners that rely on that extra mileage to get where they need to be. 


Before the software update rollout, certain Tesla models were experiencing car battery fires. Some of the fires were provoked by collisions, which damaged the battery’s integrity. In other cases, the car battery spontaneously combusts. For those unsure, if their auto insurance covers spontaneous combustion may want to check with their insurer. After a few reported fries made world news headlines, Tesla decided to roll out the software update meant to help prevent battery problems. Unfortunately, their efforts to make models safer cost owners some battery life and mileage without warning.

Positive Sing Or Prolonging The Issue?

Some people may see Tesla’s update as a positive sign of a company putting its customer’s safety over vehicle performance. Affected Tesla owners did not share this view. The Chicago Sun-Times recently profiled a Tesla owner who commutes from Naperville to downtown Chicago, and he had some relatable frustrations. He claims his 2014 Tesla model S85 was getting 255 miles before the software update, and the vehicle now gets 221 miles instead. A Thirty-mile difference may seem insignificant but it is approximately the entire one-way distance of his commute. Worse yet, Tesla did not warn drivers that the update would affect mileage.

NHTSA Investigates

Since the update, many other Tesla owners have voiced their complaints and filed lawsuits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, has even opened an investigation over the fires and stunted battery life. The NHTSA believes the update was not an adequate fix for the car battery problems Tesla is facing. Car owners complain that the reduced mileage was unasked for and forced onto owners. Rightfully so, shorter battery life is a serious matter when you consider how few charging stations exist compared to traditional gas stations. So, unless your auto insurance includes roadside assistance, you could face an increased risk of being stranded on your commute. 

Take-Home Message

In an era, where electric vehicles are making great strides, this seems like a major step back. Battery fires could plague hype and anticipation for the future of electric vehicles.  People may not want to purchase electric vehicles if they feel there is a safety risk, and auto insurance companies may charge more if they feel the same. Hopefully, a real resolution comes forward, even if it means Tesla has to recall the car battery that has been giving owners fits. Until then, Tesla owners may want to get auto insurance that covers fires includes roadside assistance just in case.