Tesla Model S Firmware 5.0 Adds Sleep Mode to Cut Vampire Loss By Up To 75%

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 44

Version 5.0 Confirmed

Version 5.0 Confirmed – Image via Flickr User Photo Fanatics

Tesla had long promised that an upcoming firmware update would nearly eliminate the Model S’ vampire loss (loosely defined as the electric power consumed while switched off).

This User Uploaded Image Confirms That Firmware 5.0 Reduces Power Draw When Model S is Not in Use - Sorry No Clearer Image Exists

This User Uploaded Image Confirms That Firmware 5.0 Reduces Power Draw When Model S is Not in Use – Sorry No Clearer Image Exists – Translation Found at Bottom of Post

That update is now here.

Called Firmware 5.0 and already installed in Europe-bound Model S sedans, the net result is that vampire loss seems to have been reduced by 50-75%.

The Model S, with Firmware 5.0, now enters a sleep state where power draw is greatly reduced.

The only downside to the Model S sleeping is that some of its functions take longer to “wake up,” but for the most part, the Model S is ready for action 10 seconds after opening the door.

That’s the trade off.  You get a groggy Model S for a few seconds, but save potentially hundreds per year on electricity costs.  It’s worth the trade off.   No doubt about it.

Firmware 5.0 is currently being installed on all Model S sedans leaving the factory.  The firmware update will eventually make its way to the 14,000 or so current Model S owners.  There’s no timeframe on that right now, but it’ll happen soon enough.

Note: In case the image to your right is too difficult to decipher, here’s how it reads:

Improved Power Management When Not In Use

Model S now consumes less power when not in use. The instrument cluster and numerous touchscreen systems (e.g., Bluetooth, 3G connectivity) may take a few seconds to fully power up when you return to your Model S. The mobile app may also take a while (~45 sec) for the secure connection to the car to be re-established when in this low-power mode.

Source: Tesla Motors Club Forum and Flickr

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44 responses to "Tesla Model S Firmware 5.0 Adds Sleep Mode to Cut Vampire Loss By Up To 75%"

  1. kdawg says:

    Why does the Tesla have such large vampire losses and other EV’s do not?

    1. taser54 says:

      Design flaw. Other parts of the Tesla design are incredible though. Things like this support the assertion that the Model S was in Beta stage when released.

      1. scottf200 says:

        Keep in mind that they deliver updates OverTheAir/OTA which GM and Nissan are not. Even production/general_availabilty(GA) code in any type of product gets minor updates and fixes over time. — I provided some yesterday at my job.

        1. taser54 says:

          Scott, You can hardly call this a minor update. We’re talking about a Tesla burning through enough electricity in a year to drive 5,000 miles (estimate from a Tesla owner). It’s been widely known for months.

          Tesla is an exceptional car, but its range indicator (horribly inaccurate when cold) and its vampire losses are just two examples of items that should have been fixed before it was manufactured.

          1. SamuelH says:

            The Tesla Model S has two indicators, one to tell you how far you will go if you keep driving like you currently are (crazily, sedately, up a hill, down a mountain, etc.), and one that ticks down slowly and shows the actual amount of juice left in the battery. Once georeference data gets inputted via wireless update, the range estimates will improve dramatically.

            In case you didn’t know, Tesla’s previous sleep update caused some glitches; so it was removed and Model S owners have simply been waiting for Tesla Motors to fine tune and debug the software before it was released. The 5.0 update is here now and will take a few months to spread around. Another tick closer to the perfect car…

        2. kdawg says:

          I’ve had some “fix” download through OnStar on my Volt.

      2. taser54 says:

        Article by a Tesla owner on the Vampire losses

        http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082949_life-with-2013-tesla-model-s-vampire-thirst-for-electricity-at-night/page-3

        Bottom line: due to this design flaw, the 10,000 Model S owners were cumulatively wasting an estimated 45 mega-watt hours a day. Each day, wasting enough to power a couple hundred homes for a full year.

        Woof.

        1. Dan Hue says:

          I guess you mean the cumulative power loss PER YEAR is enough to power 200 homes PER YEAR, not the daily loss. Still, the math does not add up. 4.5kWh/day * 10,000 = 45MWh, that’s “only” ~4 times the consumption of the typical US house per year. That’s roughly 1,500 (4*365) homes per year, not 73,000 (200*365).

          1. taser54 says:

            My mistake. I posted a correction but apparently it did not publish.

            10000 Teslas 45 megawatt hours wasted per day Average household use 11000kwh a year So each day with 10000 Teslas on the road 4 houses could have been powered for a year. In 6 months time, assuming 3 houses a day (to accomodate the ramping up of Tesla production) that equates to 540 homes that could have been powered for a full year if Tesla had produced a vehicle with neglible vampire draws.

            Glad they finally got around to it.

            1. Bonaire says:

              On come on. You know tesla owners leave their pc and DVR runnig 24×7. Many say that they didn’t get their model s to be green. A PC and monitor use more power than the s pre 5.0. Two DVRs also would be over 100W. But wasn’t the loss about 200W continuous?

      3. Vin says:

        I’d like to hear from those that tirelessly slam on ICE-based EVs for their shortcomings. Clearly, bad design decisions can be made, even when starting from scratch.

      4. hahah says:

        hahah design flaw?!?! The MCU controls the whole car. It keeps the car connected to the tesla networks so it can monitor your car every minute of the day!!!!
        Design flaw…. pssh, what the f*** do you want from them?

    2. David Murray says:

      I’ve wondered the same thing. My guess is that some of the computer systems are on all of the time. I guess that means the DC-DC converter has to run all of the time too. So that probably does suck down some power.

    3. Nelson says:

      Other EVs do not have some of the systems that a Tesla has or that it requires for active battery management of such a large battery pack, remote connectivity/monitoring, etc. I know I could get some argument from other EV owners in that regard, but that is the issue in general terms.

      To give you an analogy, consider the power drain on your phone when using a data connection vs. when it is just on standby all day or even compared to making a phone call. Before anyone misinterprets, I am not saying that the 3G connection is the only cause of the drain. It is just an analogy.

      A Tesla Model S, even in its smallest battery capacity, has the largest battery pack of any EV in production. That battery pack has to be constantly monitored to ensure optimum conditions, even when the car is parked, and the car has to take action autonomously to maintain the battery depending on certain conditions (i.e. temperature). There is a 12v auxiliary battery that does some of the work but that battery eventually needs to be recharged by the main battery as well. The 12v battery, just like in other vehicles, is a single point of failure, which means that is yet one more system to monitor and keep charged and operational even while “sleeping”.

      A Tesla Model S is one complex and amazing piece of engineering.

      1. Dan Hue says:

        I thought I read somewhere that Tesla does not control temperature of the battery pack when parked, and that the vampire loss is entirely due to the on-board electronics inability to completely shutdown.

        1. Tom A. says:

          Yep, a Tesla rep had answered an owner’s question that the car, when parked and not plugged in, does not actively control the battery pack temperature. The losses were apparently from the computer system being active.

      2. Bonaire says:

        Teslas do not need such a large battery. It’s just that the owners think they need it.

        1. JohnR says:

          For, um, “range”. Crazy owners.

    4. scottf200 says:

      Did you see this above? “The mobile app may also take a while (~45 sec) for the secure connection to the [Tesla] car to be re-established when in this low-power mode.” — as a comparison the OnStar RemoteLink app to our Volt is quite slow.

    5. Weapon says:

      Personally, I think it has to do with the Nvidia Tegra processors they chose. Nvidia is rather new to both mobile processors and car processors. And their tablet processors have been having a lot of issues. Tesla probably should have went with Qualcomm or Samsung.

  2. scottf200 says:

    Kdawg, because they were trying to make it a get away car so you could get in and drive within a second. The 2011 Volt hesitates when it wakes up. The 2012 actually added a “READY” indicator when it was OK to drive.

    5.0 release notes here:
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/20140-Firmware-5-0/page3?p=412266&viewfull=1#post412266

  3. ClarksonCote says:

    This is still mind boggling to me. The amount of electricity consumed by the Model S prior to this update is huge. And even a 50% decrease still results in lots of electricity being consumed when not in use.

    Yet, my Chevrolet Volt has no “phantom power usage” and I can hit the power button as soon as I’m inside.

    I’m not trying to poke fun here, but I just don’t understand how Tesla designed this so poorly, on an otherwise amazing car. They even had the same issue with the Roadster, and should’ve learned from that.

  4. Mark H says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Tesla as well, but I do not see it as flawless or finished when it comes to future engineering advancements. Furthermore, many Tesla owners are not interested in saving energy. Thankfully there are enough that are and they have helped push this design change higher on the priority list. Tesla and all EVs are still young at least from a mass production point of view. I am still quite amazed at the quality of the many EVs available to the market and it just gets better everyday.

  5. Dan Frederiksen says:

    These massive leaks was a design problem with the roadster as well. I had hoped they really learned their lesson going to Model S but they really hadn’t.
    It seems they are slowly getting their heads in gear on this but it still doesn’t look like they have any real awareness of efficiency which is very bad.
    The 2.1ton weight of the car is also just unforgivably stupid.

    As appealing as the cars are I couldn’t live with knowing the car burns 100watt 24/7 but I guess a 75% reduction makes it only offensive.

    1. Weapon says:

      The Roadster loss was 1 mile per day, insignificant really. As far as weight goes, the weight is similar to other cars in its class, the Mercedes S class weights more.

      1. GSP says:

        The very first Tesla Roadsters used energy “like two really nice refrigerators” when shut off. The battery coolant pump ran 24/7. This was fixed by Tesla and early cars were updated, so no problem now with only one mile per day loss.

        It seems that Tesla is repeating this process with the Model S. I hope the Gen 3 is good from the start in this respect.

        GSP

  6. vdiv says:

    Alrighty then! New fix for f/w release 6.0: improved boot-up time by up to 75% 😉

    Maybe Tesla needs to “upgrade” the Model S to Windows 8 🙂

    1. Richard Joash Tan says:

      Bull***t.

      1. vdiv says:

        Precisely, my friend! Very astute!

        1. Martin T says:

          At least in the Tesla, Windows 8 would have a touch screen interface with Metro.

          Windows 8 Metro on a desktop with only mouse & KB = Massive FAIL

  7. Dave says:

    Let’s not forget that the Model S is still one of the most efficient cars on the road and anyone driving one is no longer buying gas. I’d guess the vampire loss issue is almost negligible when you consider the total energy savings someone driving this car is getting over an equivalent ICE car. Could they be better? Sure..but give credit where it’s due! Tesla is saving this country tons of energy, displacing foreign oil imports with domestic energy production, and providing thousands of jobs by manufacturing the cars in the USA.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Yes, one of the most efficient, if you only count the electricity consumed while driving. If you factor in all the electricity consumed when just sitting there, it’s horribly inefficient.

      All e more reason why they need to nip this one in the bud and further reduce these phantom power losses by 90% or more on the Model S, and beyond that on their future models.

      1. Weapon says:

        Still one of the most efficient cars, gasoline cars on average burn 800$ per person in gasoline standing still in traffic. EVs hardly use any power standing still.

        But yes, improvements would be nice. They hope to reduce it 99% by end of year.

    2. Bonaire says:

      Lets see. Tesla is not the only EV on the road. Tesla fans think it is. How much energy is saved by all of its EV brethren? I know it is hard to imagine but Nissan leafs, Chevy volt, Honda fit EV and a whole array of other PiHV models are saving the nation a ton of gasoline usage and also the power needed to refine it.

  8. Bill Howland says:

    Back when the NY times driver stayed overnight at a motel, the average loss was 1840 watts in around 10 degree fahrenheit weather.

    Under similiar conditions, what is the new loss with the new version 5?

    1. vdiv says:

      So if the improvement is between 50% and 75% the new loss would be between 460W and 920W. That is still a lot. L1 charging at 120V, 13A would be barley able to keep up with this.

      1. Weapon says:

        It is hard to say how much loss he actually had because his reading was off. But even then 120V at 13A is 1560kwh, that is not barely.

  9. Spec says:

    It is a good thing this issue is too complicated for the critics to understand because the vampire draw was actually a pretty serious flaw in the Model S. I guess the buyers didn’t care because if they have enough money for the Tesla then they have enough money for wasted electricity. But it could cause problems for cars left unplugged in cold places.

    1. Dave says:

      Even with “wasted electricity” you come out ahead. I’m paying 3/4s less for fuel now in a Model S than I was in a Prius…Same annual mileage. Any way you cut this, we’re saving money and energy driving a Model S over any other car on the road.

  10. Steven says:

    Tell you what. All vehicles suck. Let’s just walk everywhere.

  11. Bill Howland says:

    The interesting thread here is no one cared about this 1/2 year ago, or said NYTimes was lying. Now everyone cares about it.

    My point is that its temperature related. Hope this doesn’t take 1/2 year to get the point across.

    1. Weapon says:

      2 things:

      1) The NYTimes reporter was lying, and it was not about the vampire loss. Even without the vampire loss, the NYTimes reporter would have never made it. Because he neglected to mention that at the last supercharger he never charged enough to make the trip. It was also interesting how he was “freezing” in a winter jacket with 68 degrees cabin temperature.

      2) Vampire loss happens at any temperature. But there was another issue that happened, when the battery gets too cold and is not plugged in, it give an inaccurate reading until the battery warms up.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I calculated the loss at 1840 watts.
        This just HAS to be temperature related since if it was always this figure the 120 volt cord could never be used to charge the car.

  12. K A CHEAH says:

    RE: BYD FE PO4 LITHIUM ION BATTERIES TECHNOLOGY
    IF THE VAMPIRE POWER LOSSES, AS THE RANGE ANXIETY CAUSING GLITCH, WHICH IS STILL NOT FULLY 100% RESOLVED, SO COULD THE BYD FE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES TECHNOLOGY ASSIST TESLA TO OVERCOME THIS RANGE ANXIETY CAUSING GLITCH??? ALTHOUGH, TESLA HAS NOW MANAGED TO USE THE NEW FIRMWARE 5.0 SLEEP MODE TO REDUCE 75% OF THE VAMPIRE POWER LOSSES BUT STILL 25% OF THE LOSSES IS STILL A SIZEABLE TRAVEL DISTANCE RANGE LOSSES THAT WAS WASTED FROM THE PLUG-IN FULL CHARGE TO THE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES.
    THE BYD FE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES TECHNOLOGY IS SURELY THE SUPERIOR ALTERNATIVE TO THE TESLA’S PANASONIC’S LITHIUM ION BATTERIES EMBEDDED IN ALL TESLA’S MODEL “S” EV AND FUTURE TESLA’S CARS LIKE MODEL “X”, IF THE VAMPIRE POWER LOSSES PROBLEMS FOUND IN TESLA’S EV AT PRESENT OR IN THE FUTURE COULD NOT BE 100% RESOLVED IN THE NEAR FUTURE THEN IT IS VERY LIKELY THAT BYD COULD BE SUPPLYING THEIR FE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES TO TESLA INSTEAD AND THIS IS A REAL WIN WIN FOR ALL EV CAR MAKERS IN PENETRATING MARKETS IN COOPERATION RATHER THAN IN COMPETITION FOR THE SAKE OF QUALITY AND SAFETY ASSURANCES FOR ALL EV BUYERS WHETHER IN THE USA OR ELSEWHERE AS A START TO THE COMMON QUALITY AND SAFETY ACHIEVEMENT, ASSURANCE AND COOPERATION OF ALL TIMES.

    LIST OF CHINA MADE CARS USING BYD FE O4 LITHIUM BATTERIES TECHNOLOGY
    Maker Model Battery Type Range Top Speed Est. Retail Price (Yuan) Market release
    Beijing Auto C30 EV Lithium Ion 200 160
    BYD e6 LiFePO4 330 160 300,000 Limited release in 2010
    Chana Benni EV LiFePO4 150 120 Less than 100,000 after rebates
    Chery Riich M1 LiFePO4 120-150 120 149,800-229,800 Released on Nov. 5 2010
    FAW Besturn B50 EV Lithium Ion 140 147 Unknown Unknown
    Foton Midi EV LiFePO4 150-200 160 100,000
    Geely EK-2 LiFEPO4 180 150 100,000
    Great Wall Haval M3 EV LiFePO4 160 130
    GreenWheel EV Jimma (Jummer) Lithium-ion 160 110
    Hafei Saibao EV Lithium Ion 180-210 130 180,000
    Haima Freema EV LiFEPO4 160 90 160,000 Public trial in 2011
    JAC J3 EV (iev) LiFePO4 180 100 158,000 Sep. 2012
    Lifan 320 EV LiFePO4 100-150 100 100,000
    Lifan 620 EV LiFePO4 200 120
    Lifan 620 EV LiFePO4 200 120
    SAIC Roewe E50 E50 LiFePO4 180 130 234,900 Nov. 5, 2012
    Shanghai-GM Springo EV (Chevy Sail EV) LiFePO4 130-200 130 25,800 Nov 2012
    Zotye 5008 (Nomad II) EV LiFePO4 200 100 210,000 early 2010
    Zotye M300 EV LiFePO4 200 120 250,000 2010