$600/year kills the electric car!!!

$600/year kills the electric car!!!

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.


Phillip Phan
San Jose, CA

joesontesla | October 17, 2012

600$ + mileage fee 1000$ or 1200$ for some people and 2 times a year if u use your car

timdorr | October 17, 2012

Or $475/yr if you buy the 4-year plan up front.

Jhall118 | October 17, 2012

If you don't think 600/475 a year is needed, it's pretty simple. DON'T PAY FOR IT. If you don't think your car is going to need the maintenance don't pay for it. If you don't want to pay for the piece of mind of having your car looked at (because you think electric motors won't need maintenance) guess what? You guessed it, don't pay for it.

Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. You talk about DIY, but it requires a lot of equipment to monitor the Tesla Model S. Notice I said monitor. That is what you are paying for. The equipment to make sure your car doesn't break down. The time for a trained technician to look at it. If you don't think this is necessary DON'T PAY FOR IT.

Hypothetical scenario: You don't take your car in to get inspected, and the battery goes bad because the coolant was off. This is your own damn fault, and you deserve to pay for it. Ditto for the electric motor. Ditto for a small structural problem that turned out to ruin your car. You shouldn't expect Tesla to pay for a problem that could have been fixed for less if you would have brought it in a year ago.

Let me just say one last thing. If you don't like it, DON'T #*($@(*#$(*) BUY IT. The news articles about this being a big deal is starting to irritate me. 475 a year for a 60-100k dollar car is just not a big deal. If you think it is, then don't buy it. America is about risk.

Brian H | October 17, 2012

This is the 3rd copy-paste of the same nonsense. Stop!!

CurrieG | October 17, 2012

$600 / year is low when you consider what it includes WHEN you take into account your significantly reduced energy / gas cost.... Only 15%!

sergiyz | October 17, 2012

No one knows what it includes, including tesla at this point.
You don't have an option to not pay if you want to maintain your warranty.
If you didn't order your car and don't agree with that charge, don't order the car.
If you did order the car, you're stuck with it, although you can try to cancel and get your money back.
With the number of delays, I think they might be willing to do it for you.

weeandthewads | October 17, 2012

I think $600 per year would be reasonable if the 4G access was included. If need be there could be a limit on the amount of data.

MB3 | October 17, 2012

+1 Brian. We've been through this more than enough times.

GoTeslaChicago | October 17, 2012

phtphan | OCTOBER 17, 2012

Didn't you hear? GM killed the electric car! They even made a movie about it!


Maybe you simply should have said it kills the electric car for you. (and kept your complaining to yourself)

The rest of us are here because we believe in what Tesla is doing and want to be a part something bigger than the sum of its parts.

Michael S | October 17, 2012

no one cares what you are not going to do. if you dont want the car, dont buy it.

mrspaghetti | October 17, 2012

@jhall118: +1

Stop your whining already, people. If you don't like it, start your own EV company and make your cars better and for less money. I dare you.

TikiMan | October 17, 2012

I paid about $600.00 per year to maintain my last Infiniti (under warentee). OEM oil changes were about $60.00 every 3.5k miles. A required tire rotation at 6k miles $100.00, and I think it was about $350.00 to $400.00 for the scheduled 10-15k service (air filter, fuel filter, cabin filter, etc). All in all, not much difference for the Model S, other than the fact that nothing improved in my Infiniti, after all the services (software was the same, etc)

Like I have said many times over and over, the Model S is not for everyone. However, for me and my lifestyle, it's well worth it! :-)

CraigT | October 17, 2012


Ignore and he will go away. Doesn't own a Tesla and has no intention of ever buying one.

Tiebreaker | October 17, 2012

It is a free market, people. If you don't like it, you don't buy it.

pvenkate | October 17, 2012

This is not your run-of-the-mill Toyota. It's a first gen all-electric Sedan with tons of new tech that no other car in the world has. It happens to be made by a not-so-experienced but an immensely talented car company. I would not buy a car like this without a multi-year service plan from the manufacturer.

Its just a generalization at this time without any empirical proof, that its annual maintenance cost is "very low". Until that is established, I would happily pay $475/yr for 4 years. Also the free brake pads, wind-shield wipers, tire rotation, s/w updates, etc that come free with the plan are not mere icing on the cake.

Brian H | October 17, 2012

"Everything but the tires." Not itemized? So sorry!

Annual inspection maintains the warranty. So "payment" is NOT required. You seem to be refusing to acknowledge this. Howcum?

sergiyz | October 18, 2012


Yes, it's not itemized and is an arbitrary number they came up with to cover whatever expenses they may have, or to meet profit margins they are trying to make, and that is absolutely fine, btw, if customers agree to pay the price.
"includes everything" without an itemized list is not something measurable you can use to assess the value as a customer though.
On the contrary, it leaves people guessing, comparing to ICE and service/inspection items you'd do on an ICE car, or comparing to other EVs that cost less to maintain than Tesla.
Annual inspection is MANDATORY to maintain your warranty, and can only be performed by Tesla (at this point anyway), that will charge you $600 if you don't pre-pay for a service plan or $475 if you do, so it IS in fact required.
So I absolutely refuse to acknowledge that "payment" is not required since it's simply NOT true.
Whether or not market (other than early adopters) accepts it, only time will tell.

Brian H | October 18, 2012

Duh. The annual inspection is not the same as the $600 annual fee/plan.

murraypetera | October 18, 2012

Wow I am shocked how aggressive people on this form are. For a group of, I presume highly educated well off people, the comments are rather crude. If you do not agree with a post it does not mean you need to make personal attacks. If you were talking face to face each other the conversation I hope would be more civil. When you post online please give others the same respect as you would in person.

Phtphan makes some very good point that have been echoed many times before by many people.
The media has also criticized the decision by Tesla to have this required service.

As well as on this form and others.

Vawlkus | October 18, 2012

Spammers tend to get people irritated. This is the fourth copy of this post from this jerk. Once would have been enough.

phtphan | October 18, 2012

Spammers tend to get people irritated. This is the fourth copy of this post from this jerk. Once would have been enough.

I post only twice: here and in general discussion. At first I think it should be in General section, but then I like to move it to Model S section. I was tried to delete the older thread but it already has some comments from people, so that's why I didn't remove it.

But why so big deal, this is not a game/iphone's app forum, I didn't try to up sell anything to you guys. , all I want is to contribute some ideas to Tesla.

If we want our dream come true (electric car dominate the market on the next 10-20 years), that should be the place where Tesla wants to go.

As I mentioned, if you want to pay for maintenance, you could just pay $600/year and do nothing.

Why changing windshield wipers, tire rotations, air filter are so hard on a Tesla? Why does it require an trained expert to do it?

Why did I compare it to Toyota Camry? Because Toyota does the right things: the car last long, simple to maintain, affordable price. That's why lots people have Toyota, take a look on the freeway, there is a Toyota pass by in every second.

Take a look on Toyota history, at the time they introduced the first Camry, their company was also struggling as well. They were not well known and the sell was very low. But they tried to do the right thing, build the right car for the market.

Tesla should not be a car for rich people who just want to show off "I'm green, I'm hitech". It should be for middle class families who would say "we are not going to spend 25k on a Camry, instead 50k for the model S because after 10 years of driving the model S will total cost will be less than the Camry".


Theresa | October 18, 2012

If it "Should be this or that" then go out and as Picard says "Make it so". You are free to do as Tesla is doing and make your own car. Oh that's right, you would need to put your money where your mouth is. Either accept what Tesla is providing or not, just stop ranting about the same issues over and over again.

Grant910 | October 18, 2012

The arguments don't change, but neither do the facts. They introduced an unreasonably expensive mandatory service fee well after people had put their money down. It is moderately more offensive than the mandatory prep and delivery fees. The car costs close to an extra $4000 with this nonsense. They are not at all ashamed to do this, and I wouldn't be shocked if some more blood is let from me before I they will even give me a delivery date.

Of course, the worst, and only failed, attempt was the 2K for the "free supercharger hardware" in the 60 kWh models, which they had to reverse due to the outcry.

Clearly, they need money and are willing to stick it to the customers as much as they can for the good of the institution.

I resent it, but of course I am still getting the car. Can't wait. It will be totally awesome.

mrspaghetti | October 18, 2012

This thread is much like the presidential debates. I feel like I've seen it all before.

martin.herz | October 18, 2012

@phtphan, Grant910: thanks for bringing your points up. I don't mind paying the $450 because I agree that normal car service is about this anyway, pls I'd rather do something more fun than change my own air filters/wipers and like the assurance of an experienced tech looking at the whole car @ the time of making these easy fixes. At the same time, I respect and appreciate your bringing the point that it should be optional. No need to get as worked up as some here are doing IMHO. Knowledge is power ;)

Epley | October 18, 2012


I think you can tell from everyone's reaction that this topic has been hashed to death. Go read the other threads for a full, exhaustive, excruciating account of what the $600 fee will do to us and to Tesla.

As an early adopter, you have to expect problems. I see this fee as a $600/year insurance plan that my car will remain current, viable and usable. This is new technology. I personally purchase Applecare for my iphone because, more often than not, I'll use it. This new car technology is the same: it's there if I need it, it's insurance payment if not. I'd rather pay Tesla than some insurance company.

We're all pioneers of a sort at this point. It's not perfect, but that's the price you pay to be a pioneer.

Grant910 | October 18, 2012

Yes, it is easy enough to justify the amount considering how great the car is. But the timing of the fee disclosures, both service and delivery, was indeed problematic. It is hard to justify the timing. There is no getting around that.

I am sure that I will forget these issues within my first 100 miles of enjoying the vehicle.

Grant910 | October 18, 2012

If you feel that the topic has been hashed to death, then don't open the thread. My understanding is that this is a forum, not a white paper to be reviewed.

BYT | October 18, 2012

But I'm not even good at reviewing white papers. Too wordy... :)

mrspaghetti | October 18, 2012


Perhaps we're being a little harsh on the guy, but from our perspective we've already discussed this ad nauseum. A decent search function for this forum would help people keep from posting redundant threads. [and I realize that sentiment is, itself, a redundant one from other threads]

So I apologize for my part in flaming you phan. But I still think that when it comes to the maintenance fee people should suck it up and stop complaining.

bsimoes | October 18, 2012

murraypetera--my sentiments exactly!

Grant910--I agree about not opening a post if it's something you're tired of reading about. More than the topic, I'll look at the names of who has posted. There are a few on this site whom I find to be particularly crude, offensive and insensitive--I avoid those posts.

Brian H | October 18, 2012

The white papers, or you?

petero | October 18, 2012

Phtphan. I understand: You are unhappy with the $600/$475, you want it for free and your mind is made up. Too bad. I have an observation and 2 questions. I will use BMW as an example but you can pretty much substitute MB. Audi, Jaguar, Range Rover, Lexus, Infinity…

Observation. The “free 36/36” maintenance program of other manufacturers provide is factored into the MSRP, which TM hasn’t done. The main reason for ‘free’ 36/36 is the manufacturer wants to make sure lease customers service their cars regularly so they are protecting the cars from customer indifference/neglect when BMW buys back the car at lease end.

Question 1. Would you change your mind if the “S” has lower, total, out of pocket expense over a 10 year period than ‘your’ BMW?

Question 2. Do you expect BMW to update your navigation system, stereo, and all software and systems for free over the first 4 years?

Conclusion. No one wants to pay for the $600/475. IMO you (not me) will feel robbed for the first 36/36 and happy for the next 7+ years. In the end you will save more with the “S,” and this isn’t taking gasoline savings into consideration.

P.S. Compare apples to apples. Instead of Toyota let us know how benevolent Lexus is with their charges!

Vexar | October 19, 2012

So, a different take on this $600 annual maintenance fee:
It is about 1% of the value of the least expensive configuration. It includes software upgrades as well as the tuning. If you've ever owned enterprise computers and software, 1% per year is suspiciously low. This is *the* Silicon Valley car company. It makes a lot of sense to me that they use a residual income model for support.
This will include software updates, remote system monitoring, telephone support, and the annual maintenance work.

blackscraper | October 19, 2012

I second phtphan & Grant910. Consumers should be allowed to select whatever or whereever the service is going to be done. Tesla mandates them be done in Tesla. It could be interpreted as it is a way of generating more revenue, which seems correct for a company, but not that decent for a customer. Tesla said Model S would cost as much as a Camry "in the long run", but this $600 a year keeps it far from reality. All i need for a Camry, which I own one, on the 8th year of my ownership, are oil changes twice a year. I have friends who own MB, BMW. They don't need much maintenance either. ICEs are far more prone to failure than an EV, how to justify maintenance costing more than an ICE?

stephen.kamichik | October 19, 2012

My 1999 BMW 328i rarely needs service.

Grant910 | October 19, 2012

My Camry hybrid, which I just sold in preparation for the delivery of my AWESOME model S, also needs virtually no service. And it has alot more moving parts.

Once again it is easy to rationalize this because we want Tesla to succeed etc. I cerainly do, and i have great admiration for Mr Musk and his team However as a business practice the 600 per year and the 1000+ prep and delivery charges were a terrible deal for the consumer, and they should be recognized as such.

And to the self-appointed site monitors who have taken it upon yourselves to decide if a topic should be shut down: when you post, please disclose how many shares of TSLA you own and are pathetically trying to affect by stifling public discussion. I own none. Perhaps you bought some FB at 38 too lol.

blackscraper | October 19, 2012

Also, I just don't buy the arguement "as a early adopter, you need to pay more, blah blah". This is an EV, except for the huge battery and its management system, it simple and straight forward. I saw electric motors running 10 years staight without stopping. While rotating tires can be done in my double garage, I should also be able to choose whether I need the upgrade of the software or not. I am still running Windows XP since I don't like windows 7 & 8. No MS sales people knocking on my door, coming into the house, and then forcible charging me 300 buck to upgrade to windows 7 or 8.
Although I do admire Mr. Musk, I, as a potential customer, am not willing to be deprived of choices.

nolngr-grsing-s... | October 19, 2012

Personally, I consider people who trash others on forums to be spammers themselves.

Not only did they open a thread they've seen before, but they read the post they've read before and spent time writing there offensive comments. I think that they like to "hear-themselves-talk", an old psychologist said , that is mental masturbation.

As to monitoring the battery cooling system, how is that different from monitoring the ICE cooling system or oil level. Why can't you monitor it yourself via a notice on the huge screen you've already paid for. if you don't do anything about it, then void the warranty.

Software updates? if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Pay for it, Pay, Pay, I may have to pay for the center console they have not yet included. Or a new cup holder they have not installed, or a new door panel that actually includes pockets, or many other things the car is still missing.

I think that early adopters deserve much more respect than that. We are taking huge risks, partly to help a young company. It is entirely possible that Tesla would go out of business and we are stuck with cars no-one can maintain or buy. What would you say then, Pay for a new car?

$475 mandatory per year is not fair in my book. Part of why I feel smart buying this car is the money I don't have to spend. They've just spoiled that. Do you know how many people still tease me when they hear I am buying an electric car. They start making jokes and telling me stories about how all this is one day going to go bust, and how Lithium is going to run out and how much energy it takes to produce the car and how in the end I am not saving any money.

Have you told a non-believer that you will need a new battery in 15 years for another 30k and listened to them laugh.

If you also tell them that you will also be spending $600x15=$9k for maintenance, they're going to really going to have a ball.

Elon says that he wants to change the world, Selling only to rich people is not the way to do it. Selling only to people who don't want to get their hands dirty is not the way to do it. Not selling to people who like to do simple jobs on their car is not they way to do it either.


Carefree | October 19, 2012

But it is your choice! Either accept the maintenance fee or don't. Buy the car or don't. Call Tesla and let them know your frustration - I doubt it will change their mind but who knows. You seem very angry about this - so go and vent to the person who might be able to change the outcome.

Personally I have no problem paying the maintenance fee - I just had 15K service done on one of our cars and it was $650 plus tax. Compared to that the Tesla fee is still cheap!

BYT | October 19, 2012

Tesla Motor's and Elon have much grander plan's well beyond the Roadster and Model S and even the Model X. The plan is to make a car that they can sell to EVERYONE and not just the rich. We are at the very VERY start of Tesla Motor's evolution and to "assume" so much about the future is very premature. Also to assume that your battery pack after 15 years will cost you another $30k is most likely incorrect. Maybe it will cost $30k for a 500 mile pack, but not for the same 300 mile rated pack you are buying today.

Elon even mentioned that in a few shareholders meetings. Frankly, to get upset over the maintenance on this car after hearing how good they are to the Roadster customers, and after hearing all the aftermarket stuff your car will have (be a much more improved car years from now), being that it's ridiculous in it's drivability compared to cars in it's class. Is drivability a word? Anyway, to complain about maintenance, mirror's, sensors or rear carpets or the like without taking into account all the positives is shortsighted.

Would I like some of the above aforementioned items? SURE I WOULD, I'm human after all with wants and desires. My tolerance threshold is higher then yours MAYBE? What I'm trying to say is, don't look at the portion of the iceberg above the ocean's surface, you may miss all that iceberg that lies below!! Do a Google image search on icebergs to see what I mean... :)

petero | October 19, 2012

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the $600/$475 service/maintenance fee. As I see it, most of the “servicing” will be the constant evolution of software and these will improve the car and my enjoyment of it. Who does this anymore? None of the Big ICE manufacturers will update your systems on their cars unless there is a recall.

TM providing a level of service to improve their customers use and enjoyment of their cars, provide Rangers, for a nominal fee… and liberate you from the oppression of Big Oil. After all that, if you drive over to a super charger station you can tank up for free! I don’t see Big Ice opening giving away free gas anytime soon.

Brian H | October 19, 2012

Those who equate ICE servicing with EV servicing are assuming knowledge that no one has. A full, long-range BEV has never existed before, much less gone through a service cycle of several years. There're lots of "known unknowns" there, and possibly quite a few "unknown unknowns". Committing in advance to fix "everything but the tires" is assuming risk, and that has a price tag. TANSTAAFL

Mark E | October 19, 2012

The 'free' servicing on other cars is built into the price. Would you prefer if the price was raised to cover the first x years service? As for driving a car for years without doing any service to it - that generally shows up in the condition of the car over time compared to a well maintained one.

Theoretically you can take your car to anyone who is qualified to service it. Currently there are very few, if any, people outside Tesla who are. In time this will change. If the $600 annual service is a deal breaker for you then be patient.

blackscraper | October 20, 2012

Yeah, there are "Known unknowns", but once I buy a car, the car is mine. I can do to it whatever I'd like to. It is not in TM's interest to keep it in good shape. Tracking information of a product at the expense of a customer, does it sound right? Right now, EVs have lousy sales number. One main reason is dealers don't want to sell them since they need far less services which dealers rely on for more profit. I really admire TM has broken this nonsense manufacture-dealer-customer mode, but customers don't actually end up better, or in most cases, even worse.

petero | October 20, 2012

Brian H. I really enjoyed the TANSTAAFL acronym, hadn't heard it before. Thank you.

petero | October 20, 2012

stephen.kamichi. Low tech vs. high tech. My 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider also requires next to nothing. A lot of joy for the money.

jerry3 | October 20, 2012

$600/year to have a Ranger service the car at your home or office seems like a reasonable price to me. Just the fact that I will be able to talk to and know the person who is actually doing the work is a big plus compared to the Toyota service model where you never know who is working on the car or what they did.

I'm convinced that the only inspection the "inspection items" on the Toyota's inspection list get is a checkmark on the sheet. No actual inspection occurs. In addition, anything you might tell the service writer to have the technicians perform is ignored more than half the time. $495 or $600 get real service isn't a huge price to pay. Sure, I'd rather pay nothing but is that really practical. Hiding the service amount in the cost of the vehicle doesn't mean it's free, it just means you don't know what it's costing you.

blackscraper | October 20, 2012

Whether $600 is fair or not is not my concern, but TM mandates it and will void warranty if I don't opt for it. And I think free upgrading software should be included in the purchase price too.