No more rust!

No more rust!

I've not seen anyone yet talk about this! But in case you didn't know rust on cars is a HUGE problem up here in northern europe!

Why? We have proper winters, and the government puts salt on the roads to take away the icy top surface. All this humidity and salt is a real killer for standard cars with steel body and chassis. All the cars I've ever owned eventually died firstly because of rust :-) And it's just such a horrible feeling to see your car "get cancer" :-(

Keep in mind that a Tesla Model S is approximately the same weight as that tiny Nissan Leaf EV! But it's aluminium all the way! Chassis and all bodywork, beams - the lots! This is something that should help these cars maintain their value for a LONG time! I guess alu was mainly used in order to keep the weight down. But it for sure has more qualities!

The only thing that could go wrong is the battery. But I strongly doubt it! For instance the Toyota Prius has been videly used up here for a decade now, and I've not heard any horror stories. They're still going strong! :-)

Plus battery technology will take huge leaps in the years to come :-D

Robert Hodgen | 26. September 2013

While aluminum doesn't rust, it is subject to galvanic corrosion when in contact with other metals. Great care has to be taken to isolate aluminum from steel, for example.

Gluaisrothai | 26. September 2013

"Keep in mind that a Tesla Model S is approximately the same weight as that tiny Nissan Leaf EV! "

The Model S weights around 1400 lbs more than the Leaf. Even if you took the battery out, an S would weigh more than a Leaf.

As for corrosion, any A&P will tell you about the various types of processes that afflict aluminum, including the dreaded intragranular corrosion that claimed a wing on my Commander a few years back- and that's without road salt acting as an electrolyte.

The S is a great car- I love mine- but it's not the Messiah.

jat | 26. September 2013

Aluminum oxidizes the same as steel (in fact, you have probably never seen pure aluminum, as it oxides so quickly), and corrodes even easier. Look at the damage when people with aluminum wheels get road salt on them and don't wash it off.

Granted, most wheels have a clear coat to protect them and the aluminum body is painted, but it isn't like the steel in a car is unprotected either. Personally I expect it to last about as well.

jeffsstuff | 26. September 2013

Where do you get the idea that it weighs the same or similar to a "leaf"? Belief ways, according to Wikipedia, 3291 pounds.

soma | 26. September 2013

A related question -- are there any steel parts on the underbody of the car? I have a magnetic key box that I would like to attach somewhere, but if there is no steel....

SunCoulombs | 26. September 2013
Only untreated aluminium oxidized after some time, but not anodized aluminium. Also the quality of the alloy plays a decisive role here.

PaceyWhitter | 26. September 2013

Aluminum oxidizes immediately upon contact with oxygen. That oxidized layer creates a protective barrier fot the aluminium.

Anodized aluminum has gone through a process to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer, thus more protection.

SunCoulombs | 26. September 2013

@ PaceyWhitter
You repeat exactly what I wrote! I think most people knows what anodizing is.

Pungoteague_Dave | 26. September 2013

Virtually every fact stated in the original post is incorrect.

Aluminum does corrode and in many ways can be worse for structural integrity than steel. I have aluminum panels on a work boat that are completely corroded through, while the stainless steel used in the same spots on its sister boat has no corrosion.

The Model S does have many steel body components, including the battery cladding on the bottom, and the bumper structures that are bolted to the aluminum chassis are high strength steel. There are other boron steel reinforcements throughout the body. On some cars delivered in the U.S., the steel in the bumpers is beginning to rust and are showing streaking below the headlights.

The Nissan Leaf is a lot lighter than a Model S. A Leaf weighs 3,291 lbs (1,493 kg), a Models S weighs 4,637 lbs (2,103 kg). But who's quibbling about the fact that the S weighs 41% more than a Leaf? Yeah, that's close enough.

Lastly, my Model S is already on its third main high voltage battery in less than 9,000 miles, and is on its second 12-volt battery. Reliability with these cars is clearly not yet proven.

SunCoulombs | 26. September 2013

I'm sorry to say that, but comparing stainless steel with aluminium is simply stupid!

jbunn | 26. September 2013


What you are going through is not normal.

When I was a young lad, I had a dead Mac given to me. Cracked the case, found a blown cap, and went down to engineering to get a new one and borrow a soldering iron. The old guys laughed at me. "Probably a reason that cap blew" they told me. Anyway, I powered it up, it worked for 45 seconds and blew the cap again. I was dealing with the symptoms, and there was an underlying, harder to spot problem that I didn't know about. You appear to have something similar going on if you are having this many problems with your traction battery.

Given all the things you have gone through, it's probably cheaper for both you and Tesla to call it a total loss, and ask for a different, new Tesla.

jkirkebo | 26. September 2013

Aluminium cars have great track records here in Norway. My aunt on the west coast has a 15 year old A8 with >220,000 miles on it. Bodywork is perfect. You won't see that on any steel car that age, and certainly not one that lives near the sea.

petero | 26. September 2013

soma. You may wish to rethink the whole hide a key concept. Your smart phone app can lock/unlock your MS. There is no traditional 'key' on the MS only the blue tooth fob. I have not tried leaving one fob in the car and seeing what happens or doesn't.

soma | 26. September 2013

Oh, well this is not hiding the car key. It's hiding my house key.

But you are right, I just realized that the app unlocking the phone is a whole new way to have a backup place to store things that can be unlocked or accessed.

SHY | 26. September 2013


Model S = 4.647 lbs = 2.107 kg

Leaf = 1.965 kg

I'd say that's very close :-) But for all I know the spec of the Leaf is different in the States? I'd guess the Model S would've been close to 3 tons if it was all steel...


This is not new in cars, as mentioned above Audi had been using that for a looong time. And it works excellent! They are superb winter cars up here! Zinc treated steel is also good, but alu is better I believe. And all alu is of course anodized.

Steel OTOH combined with water based paint... In case you didn't know we treat the underside of our cars with some thick black oil-based stuff to try and keep most of the water and salt from the steel. But it only helps for so long...

And please don't compare cars to boats :-)

Alex K | 26. September 2013

peter | SEPTEMBER 26, 2013: There is no traditional 'key' on the MS only the blue tooth fob.

The key fob is not Bluetooth, and similar to other keyless entry systems.

Flyshacker | 26. September 2013

What would you think of putting THIS COATING on your car?
Watch video:

This coating repels all liquid!
Probably would prevent rust.

jkirkebo | 26. September 2013

SHY: That is the max legal weight including passengers and luggage. The Leaf alone is 1525kg.

Pungoteague_Dave | 26. September 2013

Shy, the weights I gave are accurate . The Model S is more than 40% heavier than the Leaf - but SO much more capable - there is no comparison in comfort or range.

SHY | 26. September 2013

Ah! I see! Sorry, my bad then! I heard someone who just ordered a Leaf say it's 2 tons, then checked :-)

The point I was trying to make was that the S is quite light the size of it taken into consideration. Due to the use of aluminium. Both cars are top 5 selling cars right now up here. Both are in a way the first proper EV CARS, not just an "electrified raincoat" :-)