My Take on George's Response to Maintenance - Yes, another post

My Take on George's Response to Maintenance - Yes, another post

This is my take on George response at

First and foremost I appreciate GeorgeB adding color to maintenance/warranty blog, herewith some outtakes that I want to comment on.

So, to answer the question clearly about whether failure to do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections voids your warranty, yes it does.
I think many of us can attest to fact to that OEMs rarely void warranties in practice if you don't service your vehicle with them. I've never had an issue, neither did anyone I know in my life where OEM made me pay for repair and yet I've never felt the need to pay more than 100 for a simple oil change or 300 for pads I do my own oil changes and brake jobs and I think many others choose avenues other than dealer/stealer.

Wiper blades, brake pads, brake fluid, and light bulbs are all included.
Let's face it, other than wiper blades, brake pads, brake fluid, and light bulbs what else is really going to fail on this EV. These are among best build cars in the world, quality is superb that's why we pay 50K-100K. Even then items referenced above will likely need to be replaced every second or 3rd year, which begs the question as to why 600/yr. The crux of the matter that TSLA is missing is that we had an expectation that maintenance will be lower than ICE vehicles not on par or higher, hence the disappointing responses. BMW - no maintenance for 4yrs, however I'm sure it's baked into MSRP anyway.

We provide 24/7 Roadside Assistance 50mi
Just about all of us already have this with your normal vehicle insurance or AAA at minimal cost.

I think my single biggest fear is that the 600/yr will remain in place for Gen3 vehicle and paying 600 annual maintenance on 30K EV to maintain your warranty just does not seem right to me.

Anyway, that's where I stand on this one, I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I'm still huge Tesla fan and share holder and Elon fan boy.

joesontesla | September 20, 2012

What happen if the law where i live (quebec canada) protect consumer against this kind of abuse. -> failure to do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections by tesla voids your warranty, yes it does.

prash.saka | September 20, 2012

@BYT, we have 4 more TSLA shares than you do :)

And we too are stretching our budget to get the Model S. Initially, I was thinking of getting a CT200h, which itself is the most luxurious car for us.

~ Prash.

GeorgeA | September 20, 2012

How about: First year Free checkup. 2nd yr $200 3rd year $300 4th year $400 etc. As car gets older, cost goes up, makes sense.
Telsa wants to keep ALL S Models operating at the highest level and keep it's owners very happy so they will sell their friends on buying one also. If $600yr cost is too high, then some may not buy S Model or downgrade to a smaller battery as stated.

Worst of all, if owner doesn't get the regular yearly maintenance, at some point down road there could be problems (unlikely since I think it is a quality vehicle) that could have been prevented and warranty is voided which upsets the owner. This in turn casts doubt on the claimed little maintenance required touted and may infringe on the strong reputation that Telsa has rightly built to this point.

The above maintenance pricing would help ensure most of the S Models coming back each year for service and help avoid any road side preventable breakdowns which would not be good for sales /marketing. We all look to see what car is broken down on the side of a road. I have never seen a Mercedes broken down and we all want the same dependability with Telsa which maintenance will help ensure. So change price structure to ensure regular maintenance.

As far as wheel alignment and tire rotation goes, instead of being required to drive to a potential far off Telsa service center for some owners, Telsa could make an agreement with their Toyota partner to have them perform just these two maintenance items. This would ensure these are done right and official records maintained.

Warranty should NOT be voided if you are a few weeks late or few miles over the recommended amount. The battery should be unconditionally warranted for at least 4 years of the now 7yrs even if no Telsa maintenance is done by owner since this is the primary cost of the vehicle that owners are mostly relying on. My current car battery doesn't require me to take battery in each year to maintain its 4 year warranty. I realize Telsa battery is in a different league but all the more reason to stand behind it no matter what.
My 2 cents.

Sudre_ | September 21, 2012

The battery warranty is seperate from the car warranty. Do they both require the yearly checkup?
It should say in writing in the warranties I would think.

ChasF | September 21, 2012

I made this post over at TMC, but feel so strongly about it I thought I'd repost here:

At first, I was somewhat neutral about the service plan. Those on these forums make a good point about new technology, cheap plan to cover just about anything, blah, blah. I can also see the other side of the argument; bait and switch, "low maintenance" contradictions, etc. But now, the more I've thought about it, I think this is a bad move by Tesla.

The $ may not be a big deal for most of the "ballers" ponying up for the top of the line Model S (no offense to anyone here) during the first year, but eventually, those guys will have their cars and what Telsa will be left with is a good mix of MSP's and all those downstream of that trim level. Those in my financial strata that still choose to buy the car (I'm not even considering those that will/already have cancelled because of this) will do so by offsetting the service plan cost by removing options. Either way, Tesla will get their $2400 per car but in the latter scenario, they will be left with a few thousand stripped-down versions of the Model S on the road for all the world to see. This would have a significant impact on the Tesla brand, IMO. And trying to backtrack on requiring this service after that point would cause such an uproar I'm not sure they could recover from.

Tesla really needs to think this through....

asblik | September 21, 2012

kevin.hagenstad very interesting observation... paying less to move the Model S than to maintain it per mile.

Does anyone recall Musk stating that TSLA doesn't need additional capital to survive a few months ago... last couple interviews I have hear things like,

1. I think about holdings company for TSLA and SpaceX
2. We may need another round of equity/funding
3. Today on Bloomberg Elon was silent on 5,000 units by end of 2012

I'm just wondering if everything is still as cozy over TSLA as I thought, sounds more like next 6 months will be rough ride and then things will get better.

I mention that above because I think they might be strapped for cash and $2,400 maintenance fees will help them through it.

GeorgeA | September 22, 2012

Good point ChasF: "Either way, Tesla will get their $2400 per car but in the latter scenario, they will be left with a few thousand stripped-down versions of the Model S on the road for all the world to see. This would have a significant impact on the Tesla brand, IMO"

Although Telsa may have identified this revenue stream to fund the new road rangers and new service centers, is the $600yr proposed maintenance fee or a graduated fee structure as car ages the best method?

It is indeed challenging to balance this maintenance pricing strategy (higher than cost to move S Model as stated) with adverse impacts it may cause to reservation holders or future buyers. ie downsizing options, buying smaller battery, not getting it serviced due to cost resulting in voiding the warranty impacting owner satisfaction.

With this in mind, Telsa price strategy should be set to maximize current / future sales while keeping customers happy, providing a solid warranty, while maintaining the quality low cost maintenance image of the first high mileage luxury electric vehicle. Overall satisfied customers will return for repeat business and word of mouth is best advertising.

bsimoes | September 23, 2012

I was adjusting to the idea of the $600 fee...even though I find it absurd...being such a maintenence-free car and all, but the part that I can't swallow is having to drive the car 600+ miles round trip 2X a year to get my snow tires put on and taken off. God forbid I get a flat. I have been told that whenever a tire is changed, the wheels should be aligned. George says very clearly that this (alignment and/or tire rotation) is something that the rangers cannot do. The car has to be brought to a Tesla service center. Does this not strike anyone else as an absurd requirement by Tesla...?

Sudre_ | September 23, 2012

You can change your tires any where, any time you want. He said stop by and get the alignment when convenient... for the most part.
Do it yourself or take it to a tire shop and have them align them too. Then next time you are in the Tesla Service area stop in get your yearly inspection and be done with it.

That is just my opinion but I think what people are missing is the HUGE class action law suit coming. Tesla can NOT say that they are the only people that know how to align tires. If I was in the jury on that court case I would laugh my head off (then get yelled at by the judge) but I just don't think I could stop laughing. They will be in hot water. There are already trained wheel alignment people all over the country. There is a law in the US that says they can not require service through them for the warranty to remain and that they can require certified people to do the work. A certified tire alignment person is a certified tire alignment person.

Still my first paragraph stands. Have your local shop do it and then next time you are in the Tesla service center area get it aligned just like GB said.

Battery tech inspection. Tesla only.
Drive train. Tesla only.
Brakes, tires and stuff like that.... I can see and argument for Midas, etc.

That's just my opinion tho and I am going to buy the 4 year plan and take it to a service center they are supposed to be putting near/in St. Louis. Hopefully this is all a little clearer within the next year. Either way you must spend the money to get the drive train inspected to maintain the warranty on the drive train. No way around it.

When I get new tires I REFUSE to take it to Tesla. period. I will get tires at a tire shop. They will align and balance them. Then the next time I am near the Tesla service center I will get them to check the work.

stephen.kamichik | September 23, 2012

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

mw | September 23, 2012

WOW, there is a lot of emotion here… let’s take a more logical approach and look at the whole picture not just service. What we are not considering is that Telsa wants to see how all these parts (Tesla proprietary and those not) work together in this new machine they call Model S. For most early adopters, we are interested in seeing them succeed. We’d gladly agree to have Telsa check out the vehicle once a year. That gives them a chance to make sure that what looked good on paper for engineering and in testing actually works well long term. Remember they made changes on a few items after the Get Amped Tour. They have some of this experience from Roadster (2,800) but Model S (12,200 and counting) is in many ways different.

If most of us agree at a high level to that, the next ? is who do we feel should pay for that inspection? Us at the time of service or pre-pay? Or Tesla by way of the purchase price? The real issue at stake here…who is paying for it. I agree it is not how all the other car companies do things and we humans don't like change. Ironic since we want to change from ICE to PEV but want all else constant. Tesla is changing everything about the car industry, not just the vehicle itself. I am only buying this car because it is NOT ICE and I don’t really have the money. I am a bit disappointed that the inspection is not part of the purchase price but they have offered up inclusion of routine maint items so that I don’t have to take it somewhere else (convenience factor). I agree forcing people to get non-Tesla proprietary maintenance from Tesla is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but I personally could care less.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012

mw -- What we are not considering is that Telsa wants to see how all these parts (Tesla proprietary and those not) work together in this new machine they call Model S.

Statistical sampling could easily do this. Any real problems will be brought up by the owners so those will be caught regardless, and inspecting three or four cars from each batch based on the telemetry (e.g. the cars that get the most miles and the cars that have the highest average peak loads) would catch what you're referring to. Anyway, that is part of R&D and the owner shouldn't need to pay extra for that.

I don't think anyone is really complaining about "only Tesla". The complaint is in the perceived value of Tesla service. $475 to $600 to change lights and wiper blades and look at a few items just doesn't seem value for money when the Leaf's cost is $100. Now I don't think anyone expects Tesla's cost to be only $100, but it's hard to see more than $150 worth of service being done on any maintenance during the first four years. Brakes were mentioned, but in any car with regenerative braking, if the brakes have to be replaced in under 100,000 miles there is a serious problem.

In my opinion, the solution would be to have the maintenance match the battery warranty. $4000 to $4800 over eight years is a reasonable price because it's expected that the costs will be higher during the second four years. $2000 to $2400 over the first four years with no guarantee that the rates won't double or triple over the second four is really very expensive for a car that is touted to have lower maintenance costs than an ICE car. Having a fixed cost over eight years would be a very good marketing tool because it's easy to justify the high first four years when there is no increase over the second four years.

The second way to fix the problem is to include tires in the maintenance.

Tesla is asking us to have faith in the Model S. They should have faith in the Model S as well.

ChasF | September 23, 2012

Here's an idea: Do you think customers would be OK if the maintenance fee were converted to "Tesla credits" at the end of the service period? The company gets their bridge money and we get a partial down payment on our next Tesla. Since they are changing the game, why not think outside the box?

DouglasR | September 23, 2012

Does an annual inspection by TM cost $600, even if NO maintenance is required? I thought the $600 fee was for the inspection AND any required maintenance (except tires). A simple inspection (e.g., with a checklist of what, if anything, needs to be done) should cost less, no?

jerry3 | September 23, 2012

DouglasR-- Does an annual inspection by TM cost $600, even if NO maintenance is required

Yes, although if you prepay and don't use Ranger service, it's $475.

DouglasR | September 23, 2012

In that case, TM should offer the option of "inspection only" for, say $100 - $150. Any required maintenance would then be done on a time and materials basis (except warranty repairs and software updates, which should be free). Or, you could have the work done at any other certified facility, should that ever become available.

The option of an inspection-only service would address GB's concern about needing to look at the car once a year to maintain the warranty, without leaving the customer with a feeling of paying for nothing. I might opt for the all-inclusive service, but I can see where others would prefer to take the risk of paying actual costs.

asblik | September 23, 2012

In that case, TM should offer the option of "inspection only" for, say $100 - $150. Any required maintenance would then be done on a time and materials basis (except warranty repairs and software updates, which should be free). Or, you could have the work done at any other certified facility, should that ever become available.

+ 1

sergiyz | September 23, 2012

I've looked at service and fuel costs for the ICE cars I've owned over the last 13 years.
Apparently on average I've spent $1,400 on service a year *including tires*, and about $1,900 on fuel a year.
Now, let's take tires into account for tesla.
21" tires will set you back about $1,200 if you order from tirerack.
I have no idea what Tesla would want to charge for them.
Realistically you'll need to replace them at least once every two years (they are good for about 15,000 miles).
Adding these up you get $1,200 a year vs $1,400.
There are culprits though.
With my ICE cars I didn't pay a flat fee for service, and at least first two years (until tire replacement) I didn't have any major service fees.
Some of my cars had service included for 4 years, some did not, but I barely spent anything on service during these years, while I'm asked to spend $600 a year with tesla.
Fuel costs are less with Tesla, but they are still there.
According to my own math it's about 3x cheaper at the current fuel and electricity rates and MPGs I can *realistically* extract from the car.
Your mileage may vary.

sergiyz | September 23, 2012

In case I didn't make myself clear: I don't think Tesla's service model makes sense or good for customers, and it's definitely a turn off for people considering an EV.
I can already see ICE car manufacturers rolling ads mocking "cheap" EV service.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012


The problem is that anything which goes wrong in the first four years should be covered under warranty so that is already paid for with the purchase of the car (I won't say free). Consumables are minimal.

Paying $495 (or $600 with Ranger service) is basically paying twice for the warranty. The only thing that should be extra is the inspection fee and the few consumables such as wiper blades, washer fluid, a cabin air filter, and maybe a couple of light bulbs. It's a leap to go from $150 for inspection plus $30 for consumables for 12,000 miles, plus $30 in case a tow is required to $495 (leaving the Ranger service out of it). That leaves $285 unaccounted for. Leaf owners say it costs them $100 for a year including parts. Volt owners say it's $70 every two years--and that's for an oil change that an EV doesn't have. Tesla is bound to be more expensive than the Leaf or Volt but that's a big [expletive deleted] gap.

The perceived value for 48,000 miles of maintenance is maybe $600. Charging $1900 for $600 worth of service just doesn't seem right for a car that is supposed to have minimal maintenance requirements. It doesn't help that the following 48,000 miles are unknown. Tesla is asking for us to have faith in the Model S but the maintenance is arguing that they don't have any faith in the car.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012


Me too.

DouglasR | September 23, 2012


All I'm asking for is the option to pay for inspection-only service. If you think the time-and-materials cost of replacing consumables will come to only $30, then obviously the $600 package isn't going to look that good to you. You will take the inspection-only option. But I think you would be surprised at how many people (particularly among the folks who can afford this car) would be happy to pay $600 for the "insurance," the extra peace of mind they get from knowing that everything is covered. I see it all the time: people pay $100 more per month for their Medigap insurance in order to avoid the $1000 per year deductible. They pay $100 per year to insure an appliance that costs $300. I usually don't buy insurance except for events that would really put a hole in my lifestyle should they occur. But then I'm not a very good insurance customer.

If TM is doing this primarily for the extra revenue, then they will not change their maintenance plan. But if GB is serious that they primarily want to get you into the shop once a year to check on the car and catch problems before they arise, then it makes great sense to offer an inspection-only option, charging time and materials for actual repairs and services.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012


No doubt I'll get the full service but I won't be happy about the disconnect of pricing, and I certainly won't be happy if I have to pay for items that should be under warranty, and I'll be even less happy if they decide to double or triple the next four year rate.

That's why I maintain that the maintenance is really paying for the warranty twice. I don't doubt that extra revenue is the reason, so I don't expect them to change the price (although I would be tickled pink if they kept the same price but extended the maintenance to match the battery warranty. That would be well worth the price because it would fix the maintenance costs for eight years and unlimited miles if you have the 85 kWh battery).

jerry3 | September 23, 2012

Alternatively, if tires were included in the four year plan, I'd take my chances that they wouldn't raise the rates the second four years.

Robert22 | September 23, 2012

+1 Keep the same price but extend the maintenance to match the battery warranty (8 years)

Yuro | September 24, 2012

Isn't it obvious that this is car is not going to be cheap in any way?

It costs "under $50,000" but that car is all but useless for anything but very local driving, especially in inclement weather where battery power will be further diminished. If you want the battery everyone at Tesla uses to discuss range? Well, that's an extra $20,000. Ouch! Then it's $1500 for this and $1500 for that.

Performance Model? Well that's a LOT more. Ah, but it includes a set of $3600 21" wheels with summer tires. "Yeah, but I live in Chicago. Our streets are terrible and we have, uhhh, WINTER." "OK, no problem, we'll sell you the Performance model with the standard tires and wheels." "Sure, but what happens to my $3600?" "Thank you for shopping at Tesla."

See, we're not just buying a car here, we're floating a company....sort of like buying stock, but our dividend is a cool car to drive. We're bleeding edge, fan-boy, vanguard experimenters do not. I've always, always made it a policy NOT to do this...but I still really like the car itself and I like the idea of it being electric AND really good and I like the fact that it's made pretty much in the US in a real car plant that the big guys didn't want anymore and was sitting empty.

asblik | September 24, 2012

Yuro well said my friend..

I think both Roadster owners and Model S buyers needs to realize that it's not just about them, it's about building a company for others.

Just like the Roadster buyers helped pave way to Model S in similar fashion the Model S folks will pave the way to Gen3, if TSLA makes it to 2015/16 we'll have a company that's profitable for first time, with service centers and proven track record.

I read about a ton of people on these forums that states: "We have to stretch to make Model S purchase (40kWh)", those folks should wait for Gen3. Right now they're buying the equivalent Porsche Panamera base model or BMW 550i which I doubt they would have ever considered in the past.

Try to live BELOW your means not at or above.

sergiyz | September 24, 2012

If we are truly paving a way for TSLA, make it transparent and explain clearly why it cost $600 to maintain a car.
The explanation could be "because we're building a service network and it requires more resources to make it more convenient for you in the future".
It's not like people are gonna cancel an order for $100,000+ car and lose $10,000 over $600 a year.
But it's almost offensive to be told after the fact that a low maintenance car is gonna cost me $600 for inspection (replacement is covered under warranty).
I don't think it's respectful or honest.

GoTeslaChicago | September 24, 2012

Free super charging for life to Tesla owners. Puts that annual $600 ($475) maintenance fee in a different light! Let the sun shine in!

suegie | September 24, 2012

Nobody wants to spend more money than they already highly priced vehicle costs...but don't forget the software updates and monitoring that Tesla will be doing. This is really a computer that comes with a car! ;) It's important to remember that we are in a bleeding-edge scenario here...breaking ground that is likely to change the auto industry for decades to come. That takes money...if you really want to save some money, wait for the Gen III vehicle. The Model S is going to be an investment unlike anything that has been available before now. You have a chance to be part of history...and you are investing in the changes that were not possible 10 years ago. It's more than service, it's an investment in a piece of technology that is years ahead of the competition.

rmitchum | September 24, 2012

+1 GoTeslaChicago :-)

jerry3 | September 25, 2012


Right. About 25% of my annual driving is trips, so I can easily say maintenance plus charging is $600/year. That works, and I'm much happier now.