Tesla to fix rapidly dying 12v batteries with software update, Musk teases more to come

CEO Elon Musk is teasing a fix to Tesla’s longstanding issue with its 12-volt batteries not lasting long inside its vehicles and more to come regarding the electric architecture.

Like in most cars, the 12-volt battery system in Tesla vehicles powers the lights, media unit, windows, and more.

For a while now, Tesla has had a recurring issue with its 12-volt batteries, especially in Model S and Model X.

They have a tendency to die pretty fast — or seemingly faster than in other vehicles.

How fast depends on many factors including climate and how often you drive the vehicle, since driving it more often can actually help with longevity.

Unlike several other cars, Tesla is also able to warn that your 12-volt battery is about to die (pictured above), but many owners are getting that warning a bit too often.

CEO Elon Musk addressed the issue in response to an owner last night on Twitter:

Couldn’t agree more — major software improvements are already in place to extend its life & more coming

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 15, 2020

Again, there’s already a warning, but it looks like Musk agrees that it could be better and also announces upcoming “major software improvements” to extend the 12-volt battery life in Tesla vehicles.

Futhermore, the CEO teases that they will be “more coming.”

In the past, Musk has talked about Tesla moving away from a 12-volt electric architecture in its vehicles.

It was first supposed to be introduced in Model Y, but Musk had to delay the plan to bring the SUV to market sooner.

Electrek’s Take

This would be a welcome improvement for owners.

I could see Tesla being able to extend battery life by better managing the charge of the 12-volt system just like they do for the main propulsion battery inside their vehicles.

The problem doesn’t affect all Tesla owners, but it can be annoying and expensive outside of warranty.

In Model S and Model X vehicles, especially earlier versions of the vehicles, the 12v battery is not easily accessible, and replacing it yourself can easily take more than hour.

It can take half an hour even for experienced Tesla technicians.

I recently had it replaced on my Model X and it cost $280 including labor:

My first repair/service since buying the highest mileage Tesla Model X in the world. Not bad 7/8 months in, but $280 is expensive for a 12v battery replacement. pic.twitter.com/y4MG9QBKfz

— Fred Lambert (@FredericLambert) September 11, 2020

It’s my Model X’s fourth 12v battery, but it is obviously not the best example considering it’s the highest mileage Model X in the world, with over 400,000 miles.

The last battery replacement happened less than two years ago and less than 50,000 miles ago.

So it’s definitely not bad performance, but there’s always room for improvement.

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