$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

jerry3 | October 20, 2012

Every car manufacturer voids the warranty if certain services are not performed. Tesla is no different. The actual warranty does not say that you must purchase the service plan. I just don't see the problem here other than that perhaps Tesla is being a bit too honest by not hiding the service fees in the price of the car.

Brian H | October 20, 2012

free upgrading software is, indeed, included in the purchase price. Ignore the Service Plan, don't get annual checkups, do to the car whatever you want. But you'll still get the updates.
Apt initials.

Grant910 | October 20, 2012

Yes I would be fine with including the thousands of dollars of cumulative mandatory service fees, without which the warranty is void, in the purchase price Particularly since the promise was for a car that was under 50k when I put my money down two years ago. There was no asterisk back then indicating that the 50k target did not include a usable warranty.

This is obviously not s deal breaker. I'll pay it and I'll love my car. But the service fee and the prep and delivery fees were underhanded methods of sticking it to us consumers without any real risk of us walking away.

DouglasR | October 20, 2012

I don't have a problem with the service fee, but I do have a related question: does it make sense for me to get the additional Ranger service when TM has a service center very close to me?

I would probably take the car in to the service center most of the time, so it's not very often I would need a Ranger. If I did need one, it would mostly be covered by the warranty, and when not covered, it would cost only $100. Are there other instances where having unlimited Ranger service would be useful?

July10Models | October 20, 2012
jerry3 | October 20, 2012

DouglasR -- Are there other instances where having unlimited Ranger service would be useful?

If you break down on a trip.

If you have a busy schedule.

If you want a more personal relationship with the person who works on your car.

If you want a bit more convenience.

I'm thinking it's well worth the bit extra to get the Ranger service. We assume that the cars will be highly reliable because of the limited number of parts but we don't actually know that yet. In some examples that looks possible:

The leather seats have a fit and finish problem that requires multiple replacements while they work out the supplier problems. (There are already some complaints)

The wipers are replaced for ones that will handle snow and ice. (Thread about this one)

A circuit board is found to be susceptible to cracks causing the display to not work correctly and needs replacing. (Happened in the 2004 Prius)

Your kid seats arrive and require installation. (No kid seats have yet been delivered)

A fix comes for the front B column (there are some that already show wear if the driver is tall)

Do you really want to drive to the service centre five or six times during a two month period to get them fixed?

blackscraper | October 20, 2012

Brian, do Toyota (Lexus), Honda (Acura) or Big 3 void warranty if you don't do the oil change, trany oil change, battery services etc at their dealers? TM is doing it. Simple and straight forward. I said it was fine to make more money as a company, but it was not decent to impose or mandate.

neroden | October 20, 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. "

....which is illegal. This makes it a very bad move from a corporate perspective.

I think the service pricing is tolerable economically, but
(a) claiming that the warranty will be voided if you don't get Tesla branded service -- that's the same as claiming that Tesla will violate federal law.
(b) people would have been much happier if the price of the car had simply been raised to include it (which would have been legal).

"Brian, do Toyota (Lexus), Honda (Acura) or Big 3 void warranty if you don't do the oil change, trany oil change, battery services etc at their dealers? TM is doing it. Simple and straight forward. I said it was fine to make more money as a company, but it was not decent to impose or mandate."
Not decent -- and also *illegal* under Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act.

Which is really the extraordinary thing. Why is Tesla acting like it intends to try to evade federal warranty law? That can't *possibly* be good for Tesla's repuation. There is no amount of money which can be worth the loss of repuation.

Now, some people have said "Well, the text of the warranty governs, and it doesn't say that your warranty is voided by refusing to use Tesla brand service". Sure. But it says that it will be voided by lack of *unspecified* maintenance, which makes it not a warranty at all.

Looking at that, I have to consider the Model S to be a car sold with NO WARRANTY. For the price of the service package, you get a warranty. OK, phrased that way, it would be a good deal -- and it would be legal. So why didn't Tesla do it that way either? What is wrong with Tesla's legal team?

petero | October 20, 2012

neroden & Blackscraper. It is hard to believe you write with such passion. I have one question, are you serious?

TM is 6-10 years ahead of the dinosaurs - there are no qualified alternatives - YET ! This is not a Tesla conspiracy, this is the birth of a new generation of automobile. The ICE industry is in denial, give them 100 years (+ or - ) they may come around and manufacturer a BEV and be able to service your “S.”

In the near future both Toyota and MB will have (TM ) BEVs of their own and then you may have an alternative to TM. For the record, I regularly meet with 4 Roadster owners and they have very positive things to say about TM service.

Teoatawki | October 21, 2012

This has certainly taken an ugly turn!

Rather than fanning the flames on this thread, I think we would all be happier if everyone just shut up and let the thread die a normal death.

Brian H | October 21, 2012


edcalis | October 21, 2012

He has a good argument, however, I thought that that was an example of penny wise and pound foolish! :))

STEVEZ | October 21, 2012

In talking to my service rep yesterday about the S service plan I found out some interesting things.

1. It's not mandatory. You can pay for service a la carte and it doesn't void your warranty.

2. It's not mandatory. You can choose not to service the car and it doesn't void your warranty.

3. It's not yet available for purchase. Don't worry, the 30-days-after-purchase window won't go into effect until it is actually offered for sale.

4. I haven't seen any of this in writing. I don't know if having the car serviced by a third party voids the warranty. And I don't really care: why would you want some untrained ICE tech monkeying around with systems completely foreign to their training and experience? Tires and brakes, OK, but the EV drivetrain and computer systems: no way.

In my three years of experience dealing with Tesla service folks for my Roadster and now my S, I've learned a few things.

1. They are all committed Tesla believers who honestly want to make your car right and keep you on the road. I've dealt primarily with the same service rep the whole time; new team members have been added but turnover is effectively zilch.

2. Ranger service is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I mean, it's just so convenient having a trained Tesla tech come to you and either work on the car in your own garage or transport it to and from the service center, as needed.

3. Tesla is a high-tech startup. The service organization folks are feeling their way. They're trying to scale up, big time, for the S. At no point along the way have I felt any concern or seen any sign whatsoever that they're not trying to do the right thing.

4. My Roadster had regular tire service at my long-time, 3rd-party tire store. It spent time in a 3rd-party body shop (somebody's hubcap came flying over the Jersey barrier on the freeway at rush hour and nailed me). My Tesla service rep worked with both outfits as needed to make sure I was happy with the results.

Full disclosure: I'm a Tesla believer, too. I sold my Roadster to get the S. I own a tiny chunk of TSLA stock. I am in no way qualified to work on my own cars. I will buy the pre-purchase Ranger service plan when it's offered and not lose a minute of sleep over the decision.

YMMV. :-)

[N.B.: I'm done with this thread. Don't bother trolling/flaming: I won't read it.]

MB3 | October 21, 2012

Don't be concerned about the warranty or service requirements outlined in TM contract. Contracts are written to protect TM interests against all eventualities, but it is not a policy position. I see no reason why their policies would be any different than for roadster owners, which by most accounts is very positive. I'm looking forward to it.

Volker.Berlin | October 21, 2012

petero +1. Just wanted to post the same, but you did it for me! :-)

Volker.Berlin | October 21, 2012

It's not mandatory. You can choose not to service the car and it doesn't void your warranty. (STEVEZ)

Sorry, wrong: "So, to answer the question clearly about whether failure to do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections voids your warranty, yes it does. We need to see your car to make sure all covered wear and tear parts are visually inspected and replaced, as needed, before they grow into bigger issues. And we want to make sure things affected by “time” are replaced on their appropriate schedule. This may not be a popular answer, but it is the best way for us to make sure you and your car are being taken care of properly." (George Blankenship, 09-17-2012)

(The entire post is recommended reading. The same post is also on Tesla's own website in the comments section of the original service blog post.)

Grant910 | October 21, 2012

"Rather than fanning the flames on this thread, I think we would all be happier if everyone just shut up and let the thread die a normal death."

Actually, we would not all be happier. The self-appointed site monitors are not in fact authorized to decide what goes into the forums. Once again, I am curious how many of them own TSLA and are pathetically trying to affect their investment.

It is pretty clear that this fee is indeed mandatory if we wish to have valid warranties, just like the unexpected $1200 prep and delivery. Working them into the price of the car and its warranty would have been fairer, but then the promise of a base price under 50K would not have been kept. A mild form of bait and switch which we can all live with for the sake of this great company, but let's at least be honest about it.

nolngr-grsing-s... | October 21, 2012

Every car voids the warranty if you don't maintain coolant in the radiator but, they offer a temperature light. If the you run the engine with the temperature light and then burn the engine, the warranty is void. They don't say, you must come in and pay us to check the coolant level in your radiator.

I would like to know if TM spells out exactly what is included in the mandatory maintenance. An ICE car might get $100.00 worth of oil, oil filter and air filter. Maybe even spark plugs. The 100k mile check up may change hoses and belts. None of that applies to the S. The whole $600.00 is for service. The only question is service what?

If the ranger came out and found that nothing is wrong do they refund the $600.00. How likely is it that the ranger comes out and only changes the windshield wipers.

Maybe if we understood what is to be done we can feel better about it. The quote from Mr. Blankenship does not say much.

nerodin: i am wondering if the legal argument still holds if tesla claims that only they know how to service the drive train, battery and computer.

jjaeger | October 21, 2012

"It is pretty clear that this fee is indeed mandatory if we wish to have valid warranties, just like the unexpected $1200 prep and delivery."

Oh yeah, 'unexpected' delivery. No other auto manufacturer charges for that - Not. This whining is incredible.

Brian H | October 21, 2012

Which amounts to saying that negligence in doing needed service voids the warranty. It does not mean that there is a service schedule which must be followed. The annual "checkup" is the minimum scheduled requirement.

Has anyone seen what that checkup/inspection costs, absent any Service Plan signup?

Robert22 | October 21, 2012

The real question is whether you pay for inspection (likely but never confirmed to be much lower than the annual maintenance charge prepaid or otherwise) and then go a la carte for whatever may break OR pay the equivalent of three months of cable/year to shift the risk of unknown future maintenance issues back to Tesla. Expecting this car to be completely free of hardware issues for the next four years seems implausible to me, but the cost of a few (but not several) issues could add up quickly. Am I happy to shell out for the maintenance plan? Of course not, but I'm not willing to roll the dice on needing it and not having it.

I'm actually thrilled I didn't get the performance model because I'm going to need the extra cash for floormats ( all compartments), the CCI, the 4G upgrade, the B-pillar rub guard, etc. I think this is what's really frosting a large contingent of reservation holders. The price keeps spiraling up unexpectedly because we don't have a final list of accessories and their prices yet. I understand the uncertainties of riding the bleeding edge, but there needs to be better management of expectation. I don't want to look around the cabin on my delivery day and find out the door to the glove compartment had to be ordered separately.

Brian H | October 22, 2012

The 4G upgrade is prebuilt into the hardware, and only need TM to consummate discussions with a carrier. A data plan may be a different issue, but that's known in advance.

Your glove compartment door example reveals pettiness.

Peter Spirgel | October 22, 2012


Speaking of inspections, in my State (New Jersey), periodic State inspections are required. Anyone know if inspections are required for EV's? I thought the main concern and primary reason for the inspections was to check the vehicle's emissions. Not much of an issue with Model S!

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


...when you post, please disclose how many shares of TSLA you own and are pathetically trying to affect by stifling public discussion...

...Once again, I am curious how many of them own TSLA and are pathetically trying to affect their investment....

Grant, you are way off base. We are actually all members of The Masons and are trying to impose a NEW WORLD ORDER. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated, etc.

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

tesla.mrspaghet for Grand Mason!

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

First, Disclosures:

1. I am not a Model S reservation holder, waiting for GenIII (two kids in college etc..)
2. I do not own Tesla stock (money badly needed now elsewhere, two kids in college etc...)
3. I want Tesla to succeed, because has an awesome product using great technology (I am EE by education)

Then... this is prolly just a recap of what others have already said:

Failure to do an annual inspection voids the warranty, not the failure to purchase any service plan. (as per GB) The unknown is how much does the inspection cost. And the language is still unclear, agreed.

As for being forced to use Tesla for the service: all manufacturers require some service by a qualified technician, in order to maintain the warranty. At this time only Tesla has any qualified techs. In the early days of horseless carriages, many blacksmiths lost their business, but many of them learned to service motorcars. So in the future, I am sure there will be 3rd party techs. Just not now.

As for maintaining your own Model S: how many users maintain their own laptops? Or smart phones? Have you seen the seals that spell "warranty voided if removed"? This is with a reason. I have (I admit) opened and repaired some of those, and voided the warranty. Most of the time I knew what I am doing, sometimes I guessed. However, I didn't have the lives of my family riding on them.

Anybody can do the same with Model S: yes, you own the car. Yes, you can do whatever you want with it, and save a few bucks. And you can intentionally void the warranty, nobody is going to stop you. But just think what is the downside.

Grant910 | October 22, 2012

tesla.mrspaghet: Lol. I am more than willing to be assimilated if I can just have a model S first, at a predicable price point. You can call me locutius if you want.

Wait--did I miss your answer to the quoted question regarding how many shares?

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


I do own some shares, but I am under no illusions that anything I post here will influence the price of Tesla stock. I am pretty sure I cannot even influence the few people who actually read my posts, but hopefully I can get a laugh or two occasionally.

DouglasR | October 22, 2012


What's this Mason crap. Didn't I see you at the regional Illuminati meeting last month?

Volker.Berlin | October 22, 2012

+1 tesla.mrspaghetti
+1 Tiebreaker
-1 Grant910

This is absolutely one of the stupidest threads in this whole forum ever, by my untainted subjective measure, but Grant910's insistence on disclosing shares tops it all. Ah yes, I own as many shares as I think I should own given my financial situation and the fact that I am going to pay for my Model S some time soon. And that's absolutely none of your business.


Grant910 | October 22, 2012

tela.mrspaghetti you are not under any illusions, but I think that there are plenty of monitors who are actually that clueless.

Am I wrong about the $1200 prep and delivery? Is that really normal? I have never purchased a true luxury car, and it seems very high to me. Perhaps I am wrong. Jjaeger's sarcastic comment implies that this is customary.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


I don't typically purchase luxury cars either - and when I did buy my wife's BMW X3 back in 2007 I didn't save the paperwork, so I don't know what prep/delivery charge I paid, if any.

But I'd probably buy this car if they told me I had to give them 2 pints of blood and a kidney. So $1200 sounds like a deal :)

Grant910 | October 22, 2012

Hilarious. Agreed. I already stated on page 1 or 2 that I fully expect to give forced to give more blood. I should have banked it like Lance.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

Not sure I'd want Lance's blood unless they screened out all the dope first, lol.

sergiyz | October 22, 2012

The check-up/inspection cost is $600.
I don't know how George could make any more clear than he did.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


I disagree that it's clear. It can definitely be read to mean that you can get the inspection separate from the maintenance contract and associated fees. I.e., you could opt to just get the inspection (at whatever price that is) and not have "everything but the tires" covered.

Grant910 | October 22, 2012

Hey Volker it is none of my business unless you decide to tell me what I can or can't discuss.

The guy who started this thread included that info and was unfairly attacked, and then the monitors started in with "we have already covered this, the thread should be discontinued", etc. I have never posted before, but that sort of nonsense compelled me to do so and to keep this topic high on the list.

That is what is unreasonable here--not a discussion of post facto price increases disguised as fees.

sergiyz | October 22, 2012


Destination charge is what manufacturers charge to deliver the car to the dealer.
It's normally a fixed price per region and is non-negotiable.
In Tesla's case, they have no dealerships, so it's a charge for delivering the car to the owner.
You can argue that it's not necessary if you're picking it up from the factory.
Delivery charge is normally what a dealership pays to deliver your car from a different dealership if they don't have it available.
This part you can usually waive.

I guess Tesla guys figured you normally pay a destination fee, but called it "personal delivery" for some reason.

I personally think both $600 for an inspection and $900+ for factory pickup is a business decision that has very little to do with technology, but more with the car being in high demand, and early adopters willing to pony up (there's not much choice really once MVPA is signed)...

To all masons and illuminates on the forum.
If your grand plan succeeds, the roads will be empty.
I can't say it's a bad thing, just stating the fact ;)

sergiyz | October 22, 2012


I've clarified it with my delivery specialist.
It's $600.

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

@sergiyz - you are one of us.

Brian H | October 22, 2012

pretty sure it's 'Locutus', not 'locutius'...checking...yep "Locutus of Borg".

As for talking up a stock, nothing wrong with that unless you have inside info you're concealing, or have a "dump and jump" plan.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney | October 22, 2012


$1,200 is high
$895 for a Beemer.
$905 for a Merc.

Of course, they're higher than Toyota's $760.

rmitchum | October 22, 2012

All of you muggles are so clueless.
The wizards are really in charge so you better get used to it.
+ 10 points for Gryffindor

Mark E | October 23, 2012

A mates Audi TT cost $1100 for its last service. It wasn't a major service.

sueinsanjose | October 23, 2012

Have had our S for a little over a week now and only have one issue with the heater. Called Tesla support and talked over my issue. I then revived a call back (less than 30 min's later) and was told that someone logged onto our car and found the issue. We are now waiting a good time to get the issue (it is hardware) fixed.

Last night I called Tesla support to request an adapter for a 6-50 outlet at 5:30pm. I talked to a representative and he said he would meet me at 7:30pm to give me one. Same day personal delivery!

I know that some people don’t like the $600/year maintenance charges, but remember Tesla is doing something different then all the other car manufactures. I know $600 sounds like a lot, but the examples I used saved me how much time / money? I didn’t have to take any time off from work to drive to a dealer and leave my car with them? Then to have a Tesla employee meet me to bring an adapter to me at 7:30pm is incredible.

jjaeger | October 23, 2012

+1 sueinsanjose