This Is What Happens When Your Tesla’s Battery Dies

If you have an ICE car and leave it sitting around for days, weeks or months, it will have the same amount of fuel in it as when you left it. One Tesla Model S recently discovered that this isn’t the case with the electric sedan.

The owner of the Model S in question from the ‘What’s Inside? Family‘ YouTube channel left his Model S parked at an airport for four days with 30 miles left on its range. However, when he and the family returned, the car’s battery was completely dead.

The solution? Calling a tow truck company and having the car towed back to his house where it could be charged.

Interestingly, Tesla does have a fall back if this happens to its owners. For those who own the pre-facelift Model S, the black front fascia can be removed to expose the positive and negative terminals for a small 12V battery. In theory, this battery can then be charged with jumper cables like any other car and ultimately power up the vehicle’s electronics, motors and battery pack.


  • Six_Tymes

    anything that has batteries attached (connected) always has a percentage of drain. this guy is quite possibly the biggest d-bag in the universe.

    • S3XY


  • aaronbbrown

    If you buy a Tesla, you’re a sucker being scammed by one of the all-time hucksters Elon musk

    • S3XY

      But you’re not a sucker if you buy any other inferior gas guzzling car from any other car company?

      • TheHake

        Inferior? How is anything that costs the same as this SUPER EXPENSIVE vacuum cleaner inferior to it?

      • gary4205

        Inferior? Nope.

        You Tesla cultists are as pathetic as Trump cultists.

        Gasoline powered cars are not going anywhere anytime soon.

        • PeterMcPumpkinPhD (Harvard)

          Poor Gary. Still butthurt that his precious Hillary got her pantsuit kicked to the curb. Maybe next time snowflake

  • BlackPegasus

    Damn… looks like some serious quality issues with the Model S.

    • Bill O

      It’s not a quality thing, it’s something you need to rethink with the technology. People aren’t allowed to smoke in gas stations because of a limitation to that technology, ie gasoline fumes can be explosive around flames. Cars in gas stations have also caught fire due to static sparks when people touch something metallic near the gasoline fumes. Those dangers don’t exist with an electric vehicle. Different technology, different limitations.

      I would like to see someone get 100 mpg with a 4900 pound gasoline powered car. It’s rare I don’t get that kind of energy efficiency with my Model S. It also has enough cargo space to carry a twin mattress and get the hatch closed (I’ve done it), and my “slow” Model S is 4s 0-60. To each their own, but I’m very happy trading the few limitations for the many advantages.

    • S3XY

      Ya ever since picking up my Model S back in October 2015 this has been such a huge problem for me…. LMAO

  • TheBelltower

    Hmmmm, an estimated 10% charge remaining, parked for more than a week in the winter. Let’s see… how does temperature affect batteries again?

    • Scott

      The article says, “left his Model S parked at an airport for four days”. Where exactly do you get “more than a week” from?

      • TheBelltower

        You’re totally right. I had the volume too low and thought the “11 days” was referencing the time parked.

  • Sébastien

    well if jumpstart did the trick, and seeing the symptoms: that mean the low voltage 12v was dead and to blame (would happens to any ICE car too) but not the high voltage pack (so if it had 30mi or 300mi left is irrelevant)

    low voltage needed just like any car
    high voltage pack = tank

    • Finkployd

      Exactly, just like the Toyoya/Lexus hybrids work; if you don’t use them for more than 2 weeks, it won’t start cause the 12v battery is depleted but once you ve jump started it the monitor shows that the main battery had power left

  • Bill O

    The main battery pack keeps the 12V battery charged up. When the weather is warm, there is usually a drain of about 1 mile of range a day as the systems in the car stay powered up. In cold weather the batteries have less output and the effective drain is higher. I’ve seen about 2-3 miles a day in the garage on a really cold winter’s day. A parking garage is probably getting colder than a garage at home.

    Recharging the 12V battery from the terminals will get the car’s computer systems working again, but it won’t move the car, the charging system for the 12V battery is one way. Some early Model Ss had some faults in the 12V charging system and recharging the 12V battery externally allowed the person to get to a service center to get the charging system fixed. I haven’t heard of anyone with a 2015 or newer having that problem.

    Electric cars are a different technology from gasoline engines. It does take rethinking some things. Overall I think the Model S is the best car you can buy today, but some things work differently. Mostly they work better, but there are a few caveats. One of the upsides is I always leave home with a full “tank” and I don’t have to fill up the car during cold windstorms anymore or worry about the price of gas this week. My electric rates have been $0,08/KWh since 2003 when I moved into this house.

  • Knotmyrealname

    So he leaves his mobile phone on, with low charge, but in standby mode for over 4 days and expects it to just power up as if nothing has happened. Same deal. It’s a battery powered device.

    Anyway, sounds like he has a tough life, Hawaii in business class etc. probably on the back of making whiney vids like this.
    Uggghhh, and he calls a clip a ‘hinge’…. sheesh.

  • Hass

    Wow that gay guy is very annoying and sucks at editing the gay music into the video… Way too loud and repetitive, not to mention sucks.

  • Bdoleza

    This also would not be an issue if airports and other public parking areas had charging stations for electric cars. I really hope that’s something that will happen soon.

    • gary4205

      You willing to pay the millions, if not billions that will cost?

      • Bdoleza

        Whoever is willing to pay, it’d be worth the cost in the long run.

        • I’m sure johnny public will eventually party for that. At least in my neck of the woods.

  • Blanka Li

    Haven’t been able to find connections with the new facia. Ideas?

  • Tumbi Mtika

    What did you expect?!?!?

    • Tumbi Mtika


      • TheHake

        You just called yourself a dumbass… 😉

        • Tumbi Mtika

          Didn’t think that through, did I?


  • Alec Sevins

    A solar trickle charger (even in cloudy weather, assuming no snow cover) seems like a solution.

  • RobSez

    A few years ago our Nissan Leaf’s 12v battery died while we were gone for week. The car was fully charged and sitting in our garage. Without the 12v battery to boot the system the car is totally and completely useless. So, possibly charging the Tesla 12v system would have helped start the vehicle. However, the Leaf 12v battery is very low amperage and highly likely to explode if jumper cabled to an ICE vehicle. In fact, the Leaf owner manual specifically forbids it. I wonder if the same is true of Tesla? In our particular case the 12v battery was defective. The car was less than a year old. Nissan has long since adjusted Leaf software to trickle charge the 12v battery from the drive batteries to prevent such failure from ever happening. So I wonder if this failure to start the Tesla was really because there were only 30 miles left on it when parked or not. Does anyone know if the drive battery thermal management system run off the 12v system?

  • gary4205


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