James May's Tesla Model S has failed!

James May has had his Tesla Model S for a while, and until now there have been little-to-no issues with the big electric saloon car. But after taking time away from the bunker to film the next episode of The Grand Tour, a gremlin has crept into James' EV. Let him explain...

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Hall of the Mountain King Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


  1. JM's unemployment tube

    JM's unemployment tube

    Uukausi sitten

    To be clear, I set the battery to charge to 80 per cent. When I say 'fully charged' I mean the cycle is complete.

    • The Stig

      The Stig

      5 päivää sitten

      Wow Tesla design so convenient....😒 I'm gonna buy 69 Charger with 7 litre "MOTHOUR" instead

    • Matthew Jenkins

      Matthew Jenkins

      19 päivää sitten

      @David Pan Exactly. Who wants to wait for a mechanic to arrive, when they have other vehicles right there they can connect jump leads to? And regardless of whether Tesla would have sent someone out, this is a problem that should never have been experienced, whilst plugged in to power! Major oversight of a very basic and foreseeable electrical issue.

    • Joel Garcia

      Joel Garcia

      24 päivää sitten

      Seems like an update should be arriving to warn the account of that batter and its status.

    • phil barnes

      phil barnes

      25 päivää sitten

      @Heiko Luder any 12v lead acid battery if not used will sulphate and warranty will not cover that. They must be used regularly once put into service. In the trade is deemed as customer abuse

    • phil barnes

      phil barnes

      25 päivää sitten

      Li-ion dont like being kept at 80% if your not using it 60% is much kinder to the cells. Same goes other way dont leave at say 20%. If ya doing lots of short journeys try as much as possible to hover around the 60% mark. Or 3.8 -3.85volts per cell

  2. Mark Sandison

    Mark Sandison

    18 tuntia sitten

    I own an Audi A3 1.9 TDI and recently was unable to unlock the car with the remote. I then put the key in the driver's door lock to find that the car would still not unlock. The technician said was no way to unlock the door without making an expensive call out trip. Luckily the outside temperature warmed the battery enough to get enough power to open the door. A new battery sorted out the problem but it now has taught me to get the 12v battery checked by a professional battery dealer once a year especially with Audi cars as its electronics are ultra sensitive to low batteries.

  3. Icaros Savvides

    Icaros Savvides

    19 tuntia sitten

    I've seen this problem elsewhere where an EV has sat with it's hazards flashing and drained it's 'service' battery resulting in the same inconvenience as yours. I cannot for the life of me see why you need a service battery at all, the drive battery is never allowed to drain completely consequently it should be able to power essential ancilleries, like locks etc? Cars, and car software, seem to be designed, more and more, by people who have never had to actually repair or service them!

  4. Carrotsalesman


    20 tuntia sitten

    Exactly the same views as Subs. A rare event.

  5. Matt Elliott

    Matt Elliott

    23 tuntia sitten

    ill stick with diesel

  6. Voltaic Fire

    Voltaic Fire

    Päivä sitten

    If only we'd invented some kind of device that physically locked a car but could be opened without batteries, something like a metal key.

  7. Liam Tahaney

    Liam Tahaney

    Päivä sitten

    All this feels like something a software update could fix.

  8. Steven Poole

    Steven Poole

    Päivä sitten

    What a faff for something that shouldn't even be an issue.

  9. Toby Thong

    Toby Thong

    Päivä sitten

    It is a less user friendly production car at the moment

  10. steve


    2 päivää sitten

    think i will stick to my old mercury and hotrod, those electric jokes are obsolete money pits already enjoy suckers.

  11. G man channel

    G man channel

    2 päivää sitten

    Maybe if you put the battery on trickle charge if you where not going to use the car for a long period then it might not have died. Or leave the bonnet open.

  12. Space Marine

    Space Marine

    3 päivää sitten

    Between misery and nothing I'll take nothing, you can have this obsolete electrical contraption.

  13. ronald engels

    ronald engels

    3 päivää sitten

    This seems like a miserable car, I love my LEXUS 8 Cyclinder 300 HP Gasoline V8, 16 years and never a problem and still like new! Regards!

    • ronald engels

      ronald engels

      10 tuntia sitten

      @Chris Pritchard Thanks for your fine comment, As said the chief mechanic of Lexus during the last service of my Lexus GS 430, this car will for sure survive you and if you ever think about selling, just let me know! I am 74 now and am not giving up on this fantastic car, which gives me great driving pleasure, specially on the German Autobahn! Regards, from Hulst, the Netherlands.

    • Chris Pritchard

      Chris Pritchard

      Päivä sitten

      I agree. Your Lexus was made by Japanese engineers with real pride in their creation. The Tesla was designed purely for profit, and is a natural money-pit. The Lexus will still be running in another 20 years time, with very little additional cost. I cannot imagine that the Tesla will survive that long.

  14. john Mutton

    john Mutton

    3 päivää sitten

    What a load of ballocks!

  15. lewis4642011


    3 päivää sitten

    Over engineered, overpriced and shoddily built junk. Electric cars always have and always be gimmicks. Hydrogen is the future

  16. Henning Kilset

    Henning Kilset

    3 päivää sitten

    At least they moved the terminals under a SINGLE panel in newer versions of Model S - but you still have to manually release the frunk lock by pulling little hidden cable loops.

  17. Sam H

    Sam H

    3 päivää sitten

    You should taken one for your best cars from your private collection and take it to "electric classic cars uk" and do a conversion.

  18. Charles Russell

    Charles Russell

    4 päivää sitten

    So then, it's easier to charge your battery if you drive a 1960 Morrie Minor?

  19. Dirk S.

    Dirk S.

    4 päivää sitten

    Someone at Tesla should really think it throug, why a second battery is needed, if you have a main battery x time its size. Didn't they hear about manufactoring and supply chain optimisation, where used components count is supposed to be as low as possible, and component reusage is key? Looks like Elon needs to learn a lot.

  20. Ladco77


    5 päivää sitten

    Yes, it needs a charger port, but more than that it needs to constantly recharge the small battery off of the main battery so that the main battery will just top itself back off from the wall charger as needed. You shouldn't need to plug up two different chargers. Musk needs to get rid of that 12V car battery altogether and just use a small capacitor bank that refreshes off the main battery.

  21. o2i3u5klwerh


    5 päivää sitten

    Now you will be cancelled by Tesla sjws , and lose your job at the BBC. Oh wait...

  22. Peter Allam

    Peter Allam

    5 päivää sitten

    Surprised at you James! You've only just caught on....when you buy a new car nowadays you enter into an arrangement. The arrangement is the manufacturer takes money from you every time something needs attention - in your case trickle charging your battery. Did you say you replace the fob battery frequently ? Your onboard!

  23. Paul


    5 päivää sitten

    simple don't buy American. Especially if musk has had a hand in the design.

  24. Kurtis TNL

    Kurtis TNL

    5 päivää sitten

    No. No. Nope. I would have just thrown the car out.

  25. Waddy


    5 päivää sitten

    I'll stick to my Land Rover Defender (not the Disco6 version)...

  26. Joshua Perrie

    Joshua Perrie

    6 päivää sitten

    Why not keep it plugged in?? Like the car??

  27. Larry Dugan

    Larry Dugan

    6 päivää sitten

    A fully charged main battery and you can't get in the car. That is ridiculous.

  28. randombloke


    6 päivää sitten

    One day we´ll service our cars at PCworld. Which is sad.

  29. MCS 32

    MCS 32

    6 päivää sitten

    Getting to the bottom of this would've frustrated and aroused him in equal parts.

  30. Dennis Premoli

    Dennis Premoli

    6 päivää sitten

    Ironic, since the new plaid models have replaced the acid battery with a lithium one.

  31. glockenrein


    6 päivää sitten

    What it needs are door handles. Normal ones.

  32. Luke Orlando

    Luke Orlando

    6 päivää sitten

    I had a car which I had shaved the door handles. Kinda neat cause without door handles the car had no need for locks. The key fob was programmed so that the unlock button activated a solenoid to pop open one door the lock button opened the other door. The car wanting to automatically lock itself when I broke 10mph was a huge problem until I figured out how to disable that system. Every time I set off the passenger door would fly open. All that to say I had a secret hood release to get access to the engine/battery. But heaven forbid you ever shut the door and left the key inside. No locks need the key to open the door :P

  33. D Momcilovic

    D Momcilovic

    6 päivää sitten

    Moral of the story: drive your car instead of a display item in a garage

  34. Qubit 711

    Qubit 711

    7 päivää sitten

    Drama queen much? Dude those plastic covers take 2.5 seconds to remove, all vehicles batteries die, most people do not leave their car parked with out usage and if they do the next problem you will have it flat tires. Just buy another vehicles since you are disliking the Tesla.

  35. Alex Carlucci

    Alex Carlucci

    7 päivää sitten

    F*ck electric cars ! How are these gonna be the future awful !

  36. Sin1979


    7 päivää sitten

    how much did that car cost? for that money you would think a bonnet release in the cabin wouldnt be too much to ask.

  37. J Daley

    J Daley

    7 päivää sitten

    Quite a major oversight there. Why on earth isn't there a part of the charging system that's able to monitor the 12v battery and charge it, if it loses charge? Or maybe have a second charging port on the front of the car?

  38. Alex N

    Alex N

    7 päivää sitten

    Why don't electric cars have a solar panel on the roof, at least to charge auxiliary battery. Wouldn't solve problem in a garage but ...

  39. Jean-Claude D

    Jean-Claude D

    8 päivää sitten

    May I suggest a better idea (maybe)? How about the computer knows to keep the 12v system live by taking power from the 400v DC pack (like it would normally do anyway) even when the car is not driven?

  40. Evan Ouk

    Evan Ouk

    8 päivää sitten

    The sudden cable fourthly excite because tent additionly bomb behind a snotty peen. friendly, cowardly archer

  41. Argus Burebistus

    Argus Burebistus

    8 päivää sitten

    Dont they have a small port in the front pumper were you have 2 wires and cant jump start it with a external batterie ????

  42. D Pinkerton

    D Pinkerton

    8 päivää sitten

    Stop beating around the bush and say what you really think

  43. Matthias Götzke

    Matthias Götzke

    9 päivää sitten

    In the new BMW iX you cannot even open the front anymore :)

  44. MyDailyUpload


    9 päivää sitten

    I love my manual transmission Toyota Corolla. When the battery died, all I had to do to start it was get it rolling in 2nd gear and release the clutch.

  45. asrsi


    9 päivää sitten

    It's a Tesla, what else but fail should you expect?

  46. izalman


    9 päivää sitten

    Designers left their inteligence at home that week..

  47. Spartan Conscience

    Spartan Conscience

    10 päivää sitten

    Do not listen to Elon Musk. Elon Musk claims Bitcoin is a polluter and yet overlooks the mining of lithium for his car's batteries and rocket program are much bigger polluters. His electricity use comes from polluting sources. He does not even have solar panels on his factories roofs. He is a hypocrite. People should therefore protest by not buying his cars and demand action be taken for his rockets and factories to use other fuel alternatives. They should protest outside his home and office to demand this change.



    10 päivää sitten

    All this to keep, a conventional batterie charged, why not redo the electronics to keep it topped off, once it's plugged into the wall the car should take care of its self, this is indeed a design flaw,now i don't design rockets too , i would think about it if i was to go for a ride though.A battery flaw that should have been taken care of in the very beginning. That car that is wondering in space, that car had the flaw, but since it's gone they forgot to address it. Enters Captain Slow... 😂

  49. Øystein


    10 päivää sitten

    What a dumb unfinished solution by Tesla.. Just like much of the bodywork on their cars :P

  50. Russ N

    Russ N

    11 päivää sitten

    Well that's what you get for buying something major from such a minor company. It's like buying a TVR and wondering why it doesn't work like a Toyota.

  51. The Farmer

    The Farmer

    11 päivää sitten

    Tesla is like an Italian car from what I can conclude from that video.

  52. Felipe Gonzales

    Felipe Gonzales

    11 päivää sitten

    Ford's lighting is looking better than Tesla...

  53. Felipe Gonzales

    Felipe Gonzales

    11 päivää sitten

    So if the front trunk could be opened from the sides of the fenders, that is not a secure trunk...

  54. Felipe Gonzales

    Felipe Gonzales

    11 päivää sitten

    Wow that is a horrible design.

  55. about the metal

    about the metal

    11 päivää sitten

    Well,that's put me off a Tesla.

  56. S Martin

    S Martin

    11 päivää sitten

    Ok, so there is no emergency key to get into the car, is that right? Also there are no jump posts to provide help if a conventional car needs some 12V, I see. But that the DCDC shuts down while being plugged in and while it needs to charge the 12V system is just a weird strategy. That's odd.

  57. K R

    K R

    12 päivää sitten

    Rolf Harris is back in front of the camera I see...

  58. Hywel Sambrook

    Hywel Sambrook

    12 päivää sitten

    James, it doesn't need a service battery charging port. It needs a software update to maintain a float charge continously when plugged in.

  59. Kyler Napier

    Kyler Napier

    12 päivää sitten

    I can hear Clarkson laughing

  60. Shashee Kaushalya

    Shashee Kaushalya

    12 päivää sitten

    why do I find this NOT boring

  61. Stuart Brown

    Stuart Brown

    12 päivää sitten

    So Funny........

  62. Antonio Palmero

    Antonio Palmero

    12 päivää sitten

    James has too many cars / toys.

  63. peter flynn

    peter flynn

    13 päivää sitten

    All that to get at a battery no thanks

  64. Markus gordon

    Markus gordon

    13 päivää sitten

    Elon’s way to busy building tunnels that you can travel at 1000 mph in he’s still at 200 mph 6 years later

  65. MrBurritoMan


    13 päivää sitten

    The internet needs more James May!

  66. Rocketry And More

    Rocketry And More

    13 päivää sitten

    I'd rather buy a Gripen J-39 or a F5 tiger than a Electric car

  67. Jonnny Ren

    Jonnny Ren

    13 päivää sitten

    I know this is all irrelevant to the video but, Does James know today is the 78th Anniversary of his successful mission back in 1943 where he defeated Luftwaffe Reichsmarschall von Clarkson in the North Africa campaign alongside the Duke of Hammond? I mean asides from him discovering the True Source of the Nile.

  68. JayHowi


    13 päivää sitten

    but why can't Tesla just make it so the big battery chargers the small battery when needed?

  69. Cede Nullis

    Cede Nullis

    13 päivää sitten

    Oh dear, poor little rich boy with all his serious problems. Life is sooooo cruel.

    • Ant


      13 päivää sitten

      keep crying you salty helmet

  70. ff8123


    13 päivää sitten

    For a $100,000 car?

  71. danny B

    danny B

    13 päivää sitten

    turn on the cooler or heater remotely sometimes duh rich people problems to many cars to drive so sad

  72. Travis Perakovic

    Travis Perakovic

    14 päivää sitten

    Horrible design

  73. David Barry

    David Barry

    14 päivää sitten

    Sounds like a recall is warranted and some sort of charging port added that is available from the outside.

    • David Barry

      David Barry

      12 päivää sitten

      Or better yet, some circuitry added to monitor that 12V conventional battery and charge it when needed. Like it should have in the first place. Which may be possible simply with a software change since there must be some sort of monitoring hardware on that battery.

  74. 7S POWER

    7S POWER

    14 päivää sitten

    James, you should carry a lithium portable jump starter.

  75. Ben Crilly

    Ben Crilly

    14 päivää sitten

    75,000 trouble free miles and counting with my model 3 ..my car makes all kind of noises and has scratches who cares it drives me from point a to point b

  76. jamie smither

    jamie smither

    14 päivää sitten

    James you are not as p***ed off with Elon as the BTC hodl'ers are ! And by the way you never actually own a Tesla. The onboard Stazi system can digitally evict you anytime. You are just a tenant of tesla tech.

  77. C Bromley

    C Bromley

    14 päivää sitten

    This hasn’t happened to us yet, and despite being a Tesla fan family, it’s utterly baffling...especially in light of all the high tech. Nice solution.

  78. Stephen M

    Stephen M

    14 päivää sitten

    Anyone else drink in the irony of having the 'eco friendly' battery car parked behind the gorgeous Renault A110 with it's proper engine? Bet you don't need to dismantle it if you ever need to charge the battery LOL

  79. Stephen M

    Stephen M

    14 päivää sitten

    My 15 year old Focus has exactly that kind of charging lead permanently plumbed in to my battery for top up charging. Of course, it's powered by a nasty ICE which kills a load of dolphins every time I use it - brilliant! :)

  80. Posh Panda

    Posh Panda

    15 päivää sitten

    Hmmmmm, I should connect a short charging-cable to the roof to connect to...

  81. SnowChains


    15 päivää sitten

    whoops, well that was a silly omission on the electrics. Tesla obviously didn't expect an owner would NOT use his car everyday... or even for a week or 3.

  82. Luqman Siknder

    Luqman Siknder

    15 päivää sitten

    what car is that in the backround

  83. PauleeDee Himself

    PauleeDee Himself

    15 päivää sitten

    that is quite a design flaw. So the 12V battery only charges if and when the BIG battery is not full. So how does it charge when driving? The 12V will be charged from the BIG batt?

  84. Stephen D

    Stephen D

    16 päivää sitten

    All this just so the exhaust pipe can be move to a power plant far away and we can pretend we are saving the environment in a car that has so much plastic in it that if it crashed into the ocean it would an oil slick to rival that of the Exxon Valdez.

  85. dcoog anml

    dcoog anml

    16 päivää sitten


  86. David Barnsley

    David Barnsley

    16 päivää sitten

    That’s what you get for having a big scalextric car 😂😂

  87. Richard Stringer

    Richard Stringer

    16 päivää sitten

    This is where things are heading in the future, a complete and utter hassle with cars. Plus what makes it worse is, from 2040 all petrol and diesel cars are to be banned so the poor will no longer be able to drive as electric cars cost thousands of pounds and to replace batteries which last about 15 years it costs more thousands of pounds too. Welcome to the world in 2040 where only rich people will legally be allowed to drive cars. Plus unless the mileage range is dramatically raised many people will run out of charge and you might see many people stuck at the side of roads out of charge and you might see stations full of people waiting hours to charge their car to carry on a journey so a once upon a time journey of about two hours, in the future becomes a journey of around four hours of more.

    • dcoog anml

      dcoog anml

      16 päivää sitten

      Frankly, I’m surprised the 12v battery has lasted nearly 4 years. My lease return, after double extension, is a week away. Anxious for refresh model S to arrive.

  88. Edward Kennedy

    Edward Kennedy

    16 päivää sitten

    Think i'll stick with my hillman husky.

  89. paul sutton

    paul sutton

    17 päivää sitten

    Hah! Looks like the Allegro was not so bad, after all.

  90. major 007

    major 007

    17 päivää sitten

    over rated car. Tesla number one in customer complaints.

  91. chrissybabe


    17 päivää sitten

    Yet another example of idiots being left in charge of something that requires an intelligent person. Referring to the design engineer in this case.

  92. Ailsa Ni

    Ailsa Ni

    17 päivää sitten

    What a great ending! "Why is it making that noise?.....RUN AWAY!"

    • Ailsa Ni

      Ailsa Ni

      17 päivää sitten

      It's just a pleasure to listen to someone who knows how to pronounce Battery.

  93. Volebien


    17 päivää sitten

    James May : Post a video about Tesla. Tesla, inc : Back to the drawing board.

  94. GeoS


    17 päivää sitten

    Tesla fan boys heads are spinning 360 and projectile vomiting.

  95. DAPC


    17 päivää sitten

    ~what mechanic to you bring this to when it needs fixing?~Tesla Dealers?~arrrrrrrggggghhhh!!!~garbage~I am not a fan on gas and oil but it seems a lot more sense to own a car that runs on it as if you are driving on a highway and you just noticed you need a charge and you are right in the middle of a desolated land I guess Triple A cannot come out and service your vehicle to get you rolling again~this type of car to me seems like only a commuter or grocery getter~these cars are expensive and they can have them~

  96. kyle mitchell

    kyle mitchell

    17 päivää sitten

    I prefer James more on FItop than I did on TV. I don't know why, I just do.

  97. kolim jone

    kolim jone

    18 päivää sitten

    "You've now voided you're warranty" Wait for that line next time you take it in for a service or diagnosis

    • kolim jone

      kolim jone

      18 päivää sitten

      I've seen that much plastic somewhere - under a BMW's hood...

  98. Bozo's Playhouse

    Bozo's Playhouse

    18 päivää sitten

    I had to install some radio gear in an earlier model tesla, the 12 volt battery was considerably more hidden than this, I replaced it with a Li-FePO4 battery and a noco charging pigtail with the charge indicator, done! Spend that kind of money on a car and they install the weakest, inaccessible battery they could find.

  99. Johan Teekens

    Johan Teekens

    18 päivää sitten

    it's stil an awesome car/brand which redefined the car market. I personally don't mind the minor inconveniences which basically every car has, if you look for them.

  100. Tollef Reyerson

    Tollef Reyerson

    18 päivää sitten

    Lol!! Wow! Engineering at its finest.