Ramalkan Harga Kenderaan Anda

Tesla Owner In Hong Kong Gets RM92k Bill To Replace 'Flooded' Battery

Berita Kereta

Tesla Owner In Hong Kong Gets RM92k Bill To Replace 'Flooded' Battery

Larry Campbell - a 54-year-old financial services consultant, Hong Kong resident of over 30 years, and owner of a Tesla Model S - found himself faced with a bill of roughly HK$171,000 (roughly RM92,000) from the EV maker to replace the car’s lithium-ion battery.

Last October 8th, as reported by the South China Morning Post, the Model S was used by his wife, Carolyn, to pick up their children from school through heavy rain and strong winds. Earlier that day, the city issued the highest-level black weather alert as Tropical Storm Lionrock was about to make landfall.

Tropical Storm Lionrock

Eventually, the Model S became inoperable due to a failure with its electric powertrain and was forced to pull over. However, due to worsening conditions, Tesla staff were only able to tow the vehicle away at around 6pm, and based the aforementioned repair cost on their findings that the battery had been through a flood (or deep water).

“Tesla chose to assume with no conclusive evidence that my car was driven through a flood in order to refuse liability for replacing the failed battery under warranty.”, said Campbell, who had originally bought the Model S brand new in 2016 “in an effort to reduce my personal carbon footprint and try new technology,” for HK$710,000 (about RM381,000).

Following the incident and its towing away, 3 weeks went by before Mr. Campbell was handed that extraordinarily large repair bill, which apparently necessitated the outright replacement of the Model S’ high voltage lithium-ion battery pack. So much for 'Boat Mode'.

Tesla Model S - Cutaway

“We had driven in heavy rain, but no heavier than any well-designed and engineered car should have been able to handle,” he said. However, due to the ‘flooding’ argument, Tesla declined to have the battery pack replaced under warranty, under which the unit was covered for 8 years or 160,000km.

It took months of back and forth between the owner and Tesla representatives before the bill was slashed to about HK$91,000 (approximately RM49,000) in early January 2022, which the EV maker says was out of goodwill toward their customers and maintains they are not to blame.

Tesla Model S - Assembly

While the battery pack is sealed and fairly weather-resistant as a result, there would no doubt be additional complications from submerging the undercarriage in water, a Tesla spokesperson said. Separately, another source within Tesla told the SCMP that the checks done on the vehicle showed human error - such as a cracked battery casing from a pothole - caused it to be flooded.

Nevertheless, this runs contrary to the belief that somehow EVs are less susceptible to flash floods due to their components being tightly insulated. If hard objects on the road are able to compromise the integrity of the battery or its protective casing and this damage not spotted earlier, it leaves them potentially more vulnerable to freak weather such as tropical storms and flash floods.

Tesla Model 3 - China

While internal combustion engines can be ruined by water inadvertently entering the combustion chamber, causing a catastrophic hydraulic lock (or hydro-locking) that bends and contorts internals components, they almost always able to wade through ankle high water without mechanical failure.

There might be several reasons why the battery pack in this particular Model S failed in this case, but the impact of its replacement/repair is much more severe to an owner as this one component is responsible for the bulk of weight, volume, and cost of every EV.

Being a wear-and-tear item, it will eventually degrade to the point of requiring a replacement. At that point, for most buyers, it would make more sense for them to buy another vehicle outright given the cost if the warranty coverage was void or expired.

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.

Berita Berkaitan


Lihat Kereta Idaman anda dalam App
Muat turun App Sekarang