Annual Maintenance Costs

Annual Maintenance Costs

There was a thread started on the Tesla Forum boards regarding what the maintenance fee would be per year for the Model S. I called a couple stores today and was surprised to find out they still don't know what the maintenance fee was or if there was any at all. One store said it would be $300/year and the other store said $1200/year because you needed 2 checkups per year. I was under the assumption that the upkeep and repair of the Model S would be far lower than an ICE car, so am surprised/confused that the maintenance fee would be anything above $200-$300 per year. at $500+, that seems like a premium to normal maintenance costs of an ICE, not a discount. Does anybody know what the yearly maintenance fee is going to be if anything at all? Thanks

SMOP | September 21, 2012

$600/Year typo

Mycroft | September 21, 2012

"They had committed themselves to offer the base version at $50k early on (almost 3 years before detailed pricing and options was published)."

+1 Volker. Tesla is rolling out a brand new service network, basically world-wide. A VERY EXPENSIVE thing to do. IMO, they felt that they needed to overcharge for the service to help pay for this network. By the time Gen III comes out, a maintenance contract will hopefully be a more reasonable amount.

The maintenance for my high performance AMG is less expensive than this "low maintenance" EV (not including brakes, which should last a loooong time on an EV). The only reason that I can come up with is that they need to pay for the service network roll-out.

Evidently Tesla can't admit that this is the reason.

Brian H | September 21, 2012

It was an industry-wide survey.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012

I'm not really all that concerned about being locked into Tesla to service the car--it's not like I'd get it serviced anywhere else or even want to given all the positive ratings from the Roadster owners. It's the cost of the required service vs. the perceived amount of service required that's the problem. For the first 50,000 miles, things that go wrong should be covered by the warranty, so even if parts are replaced you shouldn't have to pay extra for it (which is what the maintenance is asking you to do in a roundabout way). Things like bulbs, wipers, washer fluids, and similar consumables don't add up to $600 per year during the first four years. If brake pads are required before 150,000 miles on a car with regenerative braking there is something seriously wrong.

Right now people are feeling upset because a lot of them were expecting a $100 bill similar to a Leaf for the annual service, and not the same price as an ICE car. I wasn't expecting $100 but $475-$600 is similar in cost to maintenance on an ICE car. George B. didn't give any specifics but a maintenance inspection should be plugging in the code reader and comparing the results to the standard, then physically looking at a few areas, and checking fluid levels. I think it's hard for most people to see more than $150 value for that ($250 with the Ranger visit).

There are three things that could have been done to avoid this reaction:

1. Downplay the part about EVs being lower maintenance than an ICE car. If you pay the same in maintenance, then it's not lower. (Of course, it's too late now to use this approach. Expectations have already been set.)

2. Have the maintenance last as long as the battery warranty. That would give a known fixed cost over the period. Because everyone knows that maintenance is likely to be more expensive during the second four years, having an eight year fixed cost would be easy to justify. The "There will be a plan but we're not telling you how much." approach isn't very confidence inspiring.

3. Itemize exactly what is done during the maintenance and how long each is going to take provided there is nothing to replace and also what part of the maintenance is for software upgrades. This one won't totally eliminate the lack of perceived value (because some of the items may come across as unnecessary to most folks) but at least it would show that something is being done other than just changing light bulbs and wiper blades.

stephen.kamichik | September 23, 2012

I sent GB an email explaining what I think of the maintenance plan and why. I suggest that everyone on this thread send GB an email explaining their thoughts on the maintenance plan.

MB3 | September 23, 2012

Another way to think of the current offering is that the Tesla S does not come with a warranty, but you can buy one for 475-600$ per year. And if you buy it, then you must also go in for their "free" routine maintenance. This type of service plan is not too different from many consumer devices these days, but I've never been a fan of it. Many people waive these types of warranties and only pay if anything goes wrong. Unless someone explains exactly what the annual service entails it is hard to justify the cost on the basis of a service contract. I would consider it for myself because of the potential large cost of repairs for a technology and product where a track record of reliability is not fully established. But don't feel bad waiving the warranty if it's not for you. Or put off buying the car until the risks are known.

sergiyz | September 23, 2012

That would be a sure way to upset your customers even more, and it sends a strong message that TM doesn't believe in its own product, not even enough to provide a warranty.

MB3 | September 23, 2012


Right now, there is no warranty unless you pay for it, so I'm not sure what you mean by people will be even more upset. The situation hasn't changed, it's just a different spin on the same situation. The choice is yours whether you want to pay extra to cover any problems that may arise.
I don't think it necessarily means that TM doesn't stand by it's product though, but I know what you mean. I feel the same way when offered a warranty or extended warranty on any product.
I will try one other approach. Every product has some expected failure rate. Some will be problem free, others will require extensive repair. Warranty is insurance against catastrophic failure and it will never be truly free. Do you want that cost automatically spread over all buyers by including it in the base cost or do you want the choice?