The Tesla Model S Might Have A Vampire Problem

No, the Tesla Model S does not want to suck your blood. It will reportedly settle for your electricity bill instead, and neither holy water nor software update will stand in its way.

At least, that's what Model S owner and Green Car Reports writer David Noland is saying. He writes that for all the car's incredible performance and gadgetry, it "has a dirty little secret: the car has a substantial appetite for kilowatt-hours even when turned off and parked."

Noland says that since the car went onsale in early 2012, the vampire power drain has consumed so much electricity it's nearly equal to a day's output for a mid-size nuclear power plant. And while Tesla issued a software fix, as they often do, that his car received this month, he says it's been relatively ineffective at solving the issue.

Last year, his car was losing 23 miles of range on average overnight. After the software update, he says he was averaging 15 indicated miles lost per day. It's a little better, but the beast remains, as he puts it, unslayed.

As Noland notes, this hasn't been an issue with the two other big EVs on the market, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf:

So what's the problem with the Model S? According to Tesla, the car needs a constant flow of power to keep its computers and systems switched on 24/7, ready to boot up instantly when the driver gets into the car.

It's a popular myth among Model S owners that much of the vampire power goes to keep the battery warm during cold nights. This is simply not true. According to Tesla, there is no thermal management of the Model S battery when the car is turned off and not charging—no matter how cold it gets.

We can't help but notice that General Motors and Nissan seem to have figured out a way to make their cars start up instantly without a similar 24/7 power drain. Odd that a multibillion-dollar company in the heart of Silicon Valley couldn't figure out a way to do that, too.

It sounds like a teething issue (no pun intended) that will likely get ironed out in a coming software update.

In the meantime, have any other Tesla owners experienced the vampire problem with their own cars?

Photo credit Tesla/Shutterstock