Our thoughts on Tesla battery based systems for RVs

We frequently get questions regarding Tesla battery based systems and how to incorporate them into their van, skoolie or motorhome.  Customers with hopes of designing the ultimate mobile power system are buying these batteries second-hand after they have been used in drag races or salvaged from wrecks.  Because of the Tesla brand image, low price, and high capacity, these are seemingly attractive batteries.  But, at the time of this writing, the engineers at AM Solar can’t recommend them for a number of reasons.

Used Product
Most, if not all, of these Tesla batteries are used, and often the use has not been gentle.  There is no no warranty and you really don’t know what you are going to get with slightly abused batteries.  AM Solar’s reputation is built upon selling and supporting rock solid systems, and it doesn’t seem like this qualifies.

Mitchell testing a Tesla battery pack for possible RV applications

Mitchell testing a Tesla battery pack for possible RV applications

Removed Cooling System
The cooling system for the batteries is built into the Tesla car.  When you take the battery out, it is very difficult to reincorporate that cooling system and is typically disabled. This increases the risk of overheating and limits the battery performance.

Battery Management System Integration
The proprietary Tesla BMS is difficult to interface with. There are many companies making products to solve this problem but in many cases, the new operation is far from the original battery management and balancing system. Until we can find a system we trust and depend on we will not be suggesting or supporting installations of these systems.

Voltage Range
The voltage range of Tesla batteries is too low for most 24V inverters. In some cases, you can only use the top 50% of the battery with the inverter.

AM Solar aims to be the technological leader in mobile power systems and we have conducted extensive testing on a Tesla battery system.  We are currently designing and working with a prototype external BMS that will hopefully solve some of the Tesla battery issues, but the major bottleneck has to do with inverter limits.  For now, based on our knowledge, we offer no solutions or guidance, just the recommendation that our other lithium systems were designed for this application and they will be more dependable and easier to install.