Published on December 14th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Tesla Owner: Vampire Draw Slain, At Last

December 14th, 2013 by  

The owner of a 60 kWh Tesla Model S electric vehicle recently wrote a story about his experience with his Tesla Model S’ “vampire” power draw. His name is David Noland, and he said it consumed 4.5 kWh per day, which is almost equivalent to leaving a 24,000 BTU air conditioner on for two hours (that would consume 4.8 kWh). As a result, the vampire draw alone used approximately $16 of electricity per month (at a rate of $0.12 per kWh).

Tesla Motors recently released a software update to drastically cut this vampire draw (software version 5.8). However, while 85 kWh Tesla Model S owners reported that the update virtually eliminated this problem in their cars, David’s power consumption was still 3.5 kWh per day, 22% less than it was prior to the update. So, David wrote up his story on Green Car Reports.

Image Credit: David Noland from Green Car Congress.

David Noland’s Model S being serviced.

Someone tweeted Noland’s story to Elon Musk, who then had his team look into the matter. To his surprise (before knowing about Elon getting word of the matter), Tesla remotely determined that there was an electrical issue, then called him and offered to replace his 12 volt battery. He accepted the offer, and they arrived to replace it two hours later. They also upgraded the software to a newer version of 5.8 (1.49.25).

On Green Car Reports, Noland said what I was thinking:

A problem that I didn’t know I had was fixed almost before I knew it, with zero effort or inconvenience on my part. Amazing.

If this is the future of automotive service, count me in.

The Final Test

Since he and his wife were going to fly to Memphis to visit relatives for a weekend, Noland took the opportunity to charge it up to its normal 80% level, make a note of the range, and see how much it lost during the vacation (which was 81 hours).

The Model S started with 140 miles of range, and that decreased to 126 miles over the course of their vacation. That is a loss of 14 miles, which he said is a 75% improvement! It only consumed 3.6 kWh over the 81-hour period. Problem solved.

For more stories like this, visit our Tesla Motors channel or our overall electric vehicles channel, and don’t forget to subscribe to our electric vehicles newsletter!

Image Credit: David Noland.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • TedKidd

    FROM THE GreenCar ARTICLE: An hour later, Musk tweeted, “The writer of this article has a problem with his 12V battery, so main pack was constantly charging it.”

    Interesting cause. Faulty car battery didn’t stay charged. That is the true definition of parasitic.

  • Sasa Marinic

    Does Tesla intend to replace all “leaking” batteries like in the example above? It is a great costumer service, but it does not seem to be very (energy / money / fuel) efficient.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Tesla has an excellent attitude about customer service. I would expect them to take care of things. With class.

  • Omega Centauri

    Aren’t you supposed to leave Lithium Ion batteries uncharged when leaving for longish periods of time? There is a tradeoff between being ready (having lots of juice in the battery) and battery life.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Just the opposite, is it not?

      Remember the Tesla “bricking” incident?

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Lithium batteries do not like to be neither fully charged nor fully discharged. Optimally they would like to be always at 40–60 % range. But if we include practicality, then Noland’s 80 % standard charge is perhaps the best.

      • David

        I hate how people talk about lithium batteries as if the various lithium chemistries act the same. Lithium titanate, like in Altarinano and Tobshiba batteries are drastically superior in 100% DOD cycle fatigue.

    • RobS

      As Jouni says, they like to lie in the middle. One of the advantages of the Tesla is you can use the mobile app whilst trravelling to stop charging and allow it to float at around 50%, then turn on charging when you’re on your return so you come back t a fully charged (and prewarmed/cooled vehicle)

    • It’s the opposite.

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