I'm a technology enthusiast and also have some Tesla stocks. I was very interested in Tesla from the beginning of the company.
And I've planned to have the model S for my next car, but after walked out from Tesla's showroom in Santana Row after learning about the maintenance cost, I'm really disappointed.
The real beauty of electric car technology compare to combustion engine is cleaner, simpler, more reliability, better performance. Why isn't maintenance cost getting lower?
What if I'm happy with the current software version and don't want any new updates?
What if I really know how drive the car in such a way that could save the brake pads for a longer time?
What if I want to do all the basics maintenance by myself: windshield wipers, tire rotations, brake pads,..
I know Tesla company is still a young company and really need money to keep things going, but i think the mandatory $600/year maintenance cost is not reasonable.
Why don't Tesla:
* Allows customers to decline software update (if it is not a major update). If it is a major update, it should be free since that is equivalent to a recall.
* Allows car owners to perform some basic maintenances without voiding the basic warranty (battery, motor, transmission..). For example, owner could replace brake pad by himself if he want to. Tesla could sell parts and also provide tutorial video on youtube...
* Customers who don't want to maintenance by himself could just pay $600/year.
I own a Toyota, and usually decline many services offered by the dealer since I knows many of them are not necessary.
Many simple things such as changing air-filter, windshield wipers, tire rotations...are always be done by myself.
I know the Model S is not an economy car, but it should have options for people who has less money, who want to drive it and spend time to maintain it (instead of spending money).
If I spend $50k on an electric car, I really want it to beat my Toyota Camry in all aspects: cleaner, less maintenance, less operational cost (electric).
With $50k, I could just go with Mercedes, BMW, Lexus... if I really want a luxury sedan with all the stupid gadgets and a huge engine.
I think to help reduce the warranty cost for Tesla, it should provide an environment to help owners to reduce maintenance cost in long-term (DIYs, tutorials, parts...). Since it is not about the 4 years of warranty and maintenance, people will expect to own and drive this car for ten, fifteen, twenty years.
Hope this will help.
San Jose, CA