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Trapped in my Model S!!!! (and looking like Mr. Bean)

This just happened to me this evening (727/13).

Here's the situation: I'm parked at a multi-story municipal lot in Alameda CA. I'm plugged into their complimentary Chargepoint station while off running errands, and when I come back I sit in the car to make some phone calls while still plugged in. My S is backed into the space, which has a few degrees of slope running back toward some poles protecting the Chargepoint, and then the wall.

Idly browsing through the menus while on the phone, I hit the "neutral and power off" button, and sit there with my foot on the brake. Then I discover when I go to re-engage the P-brake that the switch is now momentary only- the parking brake will NOT latch. I tried it probably 30 times, between the physical switch and the screen button. The brake would not latch with the charge cable attached. As the car started rolling towards the wall as soon as I let off the footbrake, I couldn't get out of the car to release the cable- so I was stuck!

I waited there for 15 minutes, trying to kick my shoe forward far enough to wedge the wheel (couldn't); I tried to get out of the car while holding the "P" brake switch and push the car forward against the slope (also couldn't); I stopped the charging on screen, but that didn't help. Every time I tried to see if the P brake would hold, the car moved a little closer to the wall and, even worse, the way I was lined up the pole would have sheared off the charge cable (or wedged it in place)

Eventually I had to beg an octogenarian passer-by for help and coach her through disconnecting the charge cable. She nearly fell over when it finally released!

Moral of the story: DON'T hit that neutral/power off button if the car is charging, particularly on a slope. And Tesla- please fix this!!!!

What software version?
Really weird!

Still grinning, ;-)

The latest rev as of yesterday- I think it was .61.

KL

@klevins | JULY 27, 2013: DON'T hit that neutral/power off button if the car is charging, particularly on a slope.

Nice to know if I need to move the car manually in my garage (which is flat).

Did you call it in to Tesla, @klevins? What did they say? This can't be intended behavior, can it?

@STEVEVE:: I texted a summary to someone I know who works there, but did not call it in. I was thinking about trying to replicate it in my driveway tomorrow (with an assistant on hand to disconnect the cable).

Call Ownership Experience and they'll probably hook you up with the engineers.

@klevins

You should be rewarded for finding this unusual bug!

Once plugged in, the gear automatically should be in Park only. Plug-in status should override all others--no Neutral, no Reverse, No Drive...

Shoulda got them on the blower in real time, and made them suffer through it with you!

It is at this point that I have to say that the electric parking brake does not sound like a good idea. I have no clue what the advantage of it is supposed to be, but the disadvantages have been numerous.

I get that the Model S is super advanced electric everything, but sometimes, sometimes, a plain, simple mechanical system is the best way to go.

"It is at this point that I have to say that the electric parking brake does not sound like a good idea. I have no clue what the advantage of it is supposed to be, but the disadvantages have been numerous."

Agree. As things were, the situation was semi-funny, but if this happened on a significant slope there would be a risk of a 4700 lb runaway without power steering or power brakes.

However, it would seems to be fairly straightforward to make a change to have the p-brake latch if activated in that specific set of circumstances.

Update: I was unable to replicate the issue at my home location charging with the UPC. I had no problems getting the p-brake to latch after switching into neutral and/or powering the vehicle off completely with the UPC attached.

Possibly this was a one time glitch or limited to using the J1772 adapter.

I guess I'm off to the parking lot this evening with a set of wheel chocks to verify.

@klevins

That is one weird story. Appreciate the steps you're taking to see if it's a prevalent problem.

@klevins
Maybe get in touch with Tesla if they can pull the logs for that incident timeframe to see if they can see something worthwhile investigating?

@klevins - 2 comments:
1) That is a hilarious image, and I'm glad you have a good sense of humor about it.
2) Please report this to TM officially, whether or not you're able to replicate it. Even if it was a one time glitch, they need to be aware of this to protect future consumers and improve their cars.

Why ever power off the car using the big scary red button?

I second that you should contact Tesla and report it to ownership. This could be a sporadic problem that they have other reports of, but are not able to replicate. By pulling your logs it might help them narrow down the circumstances.

@klevins wrote: "I hit the 'neutral and power off' button, and sit there with my foot on the brake."

There is no "neutral and power off button". They are two separate buttons. Did you tap the top blue button ("Neutral") in the "E-Brake and Power Off" menu? The foot must be on the brake otherwise it doesn't do anything. Was the top button blue, gray, or red when you tapped on it?

The car refuses to go into Drive or Reverse when the charge cable is plugged in. Maybe somehow your car was in Drive or Reverse rather than Park when you connected the cable?

I am unable to reproduce the problem you describe using the normal charge cable. Maybe it's unique to the J1772 charging protocol. Both the P button on the stalk and the Park button on the display re-engage the parking brake completely, though if I Power Off the car, I have to tap the screen to wake it up to put the car back into Park.

I am also not clear if you ever tried "tapping" rather than "holding" the P button on the stalk.

Confirmed this evening- when charging with the J1772 connector (in park of course), if car is set to neutral via the settings screen, the p-brake cannot be re-engaged without releasing the charge cable from the car. I'll put a call into Tesla tomorrow morning.

Here's a brief video showing the issue and the refusal of the p-brake to engage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhrpKI0A-a8

Thanks for putting the time in to investigate this thoroughly!

@Bob: "I am also not clear if you ever tried "tapping" rather than "holding" the P button on the stalk."

Tapping the button engaged the brake momentarily; holding the button down engaged the brake only as long as the button was held down.

Good work klevins. This may be somewhat obscure, but it certainly needs a SW update. The video is a great way to illustrate it for TM.

The different performance with J1772 connector vs. other sources is quite peculiar.

TM's electric parking break with fully independent, redundant disc calipers is actually very robust. From an engineering point of view, it's better than competing solutions. Because it's controlled by the car's software it requires plenty of validation, which are contributing to with your post.

Thanks, Mark. This is certainly a corner case as far as SW validation goes.

As far as talking to Tesla- I received an email from a senior staff member about an hour ago indicating that they are taking this very seriously and are reviewing my vehicle's logs and firmware; also trying to replicate the behavior. I cannot fault their responsiveness.

KL

@klevins

So you text your friend who works in Tesla, and it was passed on up the chain of command so that's how a senior staff sent you back a reply?

Just want to know how Tesla would know about your news this if they don't read this forum :)

@Tam
As happened to another customer a few days ago, there was indeed a reply from a senior service manager of TM here in the forums.
So, though they don't reply always, they surely seem to observe closely. :)

"So you text your friend who works in Tesla, and it was passed on up the chain of command so that's how a senior staff sent you back a reply?

Just want to know how Tesla would know about your news this if they don't read this forum :)"

Ah..the response came through the forum. I actually texted just a summary to a friend who HAS a friend who works in Tesla, and while the information may make it through that chain eventually, the response I received was from the forum.

I can now go back to my cave and don't have to make Tesla insider friends or get family adoption paper to qualify for "family and friends" status.

It's great to know that there's no need for nepotism if I need Tesla's attention :)

Tam, all you have to do is give them a call or drop them a line.
Some lines are higher than others though.

"give them a call or drop them a line."

+1. Or post in the forum.

KL

A little tongue-in-cheek, but with an actual technical issue I wouldn't ask my neighbours if they can fix it or know about it. I'd rather contact TM service directly to get an accurate assessment rather than plenty of guesses (even though all well intended). An afterward experience report is always interesting to read, anyway.
:)

Where the "pictures or it didn't happen" people?

Seriously, it would be awesome to see a video of this :)


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