Model S other costs

Model S other costs

Now that people start to get their cars in just two weeks there should be info about other costs Model S causes to you, so:

Insurance? (ballpark figures)
Tires? (Summer/winter/all-season, 19", 21")
Annual maintenance costs? (like in Roadster?)
any others?

Especially that maintenance. I tried to look around here for any info what that might cost, but didn't find anything. This affects the TCO of the car, so it is quite important figure.

murraypetera | 8 juin 2012

21" tires that Tesla uses are very expensive in comparison to the 19" tires. 2x to 3x the cost.

prash.saka | 8 juin 2012

I read some other folks' postings here that insurance costs are comparable to cars such as BMW 5. However, I am guessing that not all insurance companies cover.

~ Prash.

jbherman | 8 juin 2012

@Timo: I was told today that annual maintenance will be similar to or less than the Roadster ($600 or less--exact price yet to be determined). This will include online diagnostics and on-site repair. In addition to on-line battery monitoring, the car must be manually serviced, requiring a ranger visit or a trip to the closest TM service center. Ranger travel cost is extra ($100 minimum--$1/mile).

EcLectric | 8 juin 2012

What about $1400 to replace a heat shield that is vibrating... Oh yeah, that's my Subaru. Never mind.

EcLectric | 8 juin 2012

Seriously, I don't understand why Tesla wants to charge nearly $1000 for a 'delivery charge' if you are willing to drive your car away from the factory. It makes me nervous.

When you purchase a Tesla, you are counting on them to be honest and fair. If their answer to this question now is "because we can", then will this answer come up again? What are you going to do if 6 months down the road, something in the drive-train breaks and they want to charge $5000 for the repair? You can't take it to a local auto shop for a second opinion. You might ask "why do you charge so much?", and they may reply "because we can".

Sudre_ | 8 juin 2012

EcLectric does make a similar concern I have. Tesla is a new company and I guess the Roadster people will have to chime in on this one since they have been part of this already. From what I hear most Roadster owners are pretty happy except for the few that bricked their cars from stupidity. I heard there were a few issues in the beginning.

IF my battery comes up on a warranty issue I have been wondering if I will have to pay the small fortune for the Ranger even tho all other cars I have owned payed for the tow and all including the rental car.

I've said before that paying $600 for a service is a deal breaker for me. Many seem confident that it will be lower. I am happy to wait and see. Add to that $600 any Ranger fees if they don't get a fast charger between here and Chicago and this car just becomes another rich persons car. They won't sell more the maybe twice the Roadsters.

If they want to monitor the battery that's great. I don't need that. If they need it for warranty or service reasons then it's their cost. If I buy a cell phone I do not get extra fees to monitor the phone to make sure it is working. If I buy another mid-sized ICE there are no fee to monitor where I drive and how the engine/gas tank is doing. When I drive it up for the oil change and or other server for about $200 or $300 total a year all the other stuff is done then with no extra fee.

If Lexus, BMW and the others are sticking it to people in the service department, I will stick with the $40K and under price range mid-sized car with normal service costs simply because when they start pushing the $500 relay repair I just take my car to a real repair shop. I won't be able to do that with a Model S and once the bad reviews get out I won't be able to sell it either..... NOT that ANY of that will happen. As I said the Roadster owners sound pretty happy.

Positive spin.. I think the maintenance will be a lot less than the $600 price people keep throwing around. Tesla is installing super chargers and hopefully getting some kind of maintenance deal going with local places since there aren't near enough Tesla Dealers. Most all of the other repairs if any will be under the warranty and not at my expense.

jbherman | 8 juin 2012

If I remember this right, you're in St. Louis, correct? You may be interested to know that my sales rep told me today that they will be placing a Tesla service center in St. Louis by the end of 2012 or early 2013 at the latest. No ranger fees for you (and much better for me now in KC, as well)!

Beaker | 8 juin 2012

I suspect that the largest portion of the personal delivery is teaching you how to use all the features of the car, rather than the actual transportation costs.

breading | 8 juin 2012


Great news! Hopefully it won't be too much longer before they place a store/service center in KC.

Volker.Berlin | 8 juin 2012

In the 2012 annual shareholder meeting, Elon made a couple of remarks related to service and cost:

- "The cost of owning a Model S is about 1/10th of that owning an ICE car." (Can some native speaker confirm if I got that right?)

- "Our goal is to absolutely minimize the service needs of the car in the first place."

- When compared to traditional ICE car service, Tesla's Service will be more convenient for the customer and more cost-efficient at the same time. E.g., Tesla will collect and return your car if it needs a larger repair, allowing to have relatively few service centers at relatively low-cost locations, because the customers don't have to frequent those places themselves.

bsimoes | 8 juin 2012

Beaker, it was my guess as well that the delivery cost was about educating the driver.

I need to feel I'm getting value for my dollar, though, and people can "dis" Toyota all they want, but I have never had to pay for anything beyond and oil change and changing over my tires. $50 is the average cost, and I'm talking over thirty years of driving. My dealership has always offered quick, fair and "snooty-free" service. They are the #1 dealership in the state. Mercedes, on the other hand, had one star out of five when I checked their record on-line. Sometimes, you don't get what you pay for.
On the one hand, people have been saying how maintenance-free electric vehicles are, and on the other hand, I'm hearing that it could cost upwards of $600 a year. I guess I don't understand what the money is going toward, except a monopoly of sorts. I understand that specialized service costs more.... Some may be okay with that, but in my mind, it just seems "The Emperor's New Clothes" or "designer" water. It will be heartbreaking, but this very well could be a deal-breaker for me as well. Things that should be included in what has been referred to as a luxury car are nickel and dime add-ons, so what was originally billed as a $50,000 vehicle suddenly costs much more. It is an electric car, but you have to pay for the charger that allows it to work? Maybe, but I have to say that I've never been charged for a paint color before; that is just ridiculous. I want Tesla/electric cars to be successful, but it's getting harder and harder to rationalize. I am in the minority, because I am glad that I won't have to make any decisions until next February or March when they start on reservations in the 8,000's. Until then, I will watch and wait.

Volker.Berlin | 8 juin 2012

Why judge before we have the facts? It's all entirely speculative so far. Let's see what the actual conditions turn out to be, and then we can still lament.

Sudre_ | 8 juin 2012

Just so you don't feel bad bsimoes, I have paid for the premium paints before and I imagine that all the second tier paints fall into that category. When I looked at them none were the boring flat color that comes as standard on most cars. I am considering dropping the pearl white for white and getting something else but the pearl white just looks so nice.

I also think the extras "that should be standard" are at the right price range for this class of electric vehicle. Sadly it just costs so much for these batteries that to get the price down so more people could afford it the extras just had to go. I don't think Tesla's profit is as high for the 40kw battery base model version that's why they are pushing off so late. I think they started with the fully loaded car added up the cost then added on a good profit to help pave the way for the next generation of EV and then bare boned it so more people could afford it. I can accept that. Double the range of the Leaf and NOT double the price but a few less features. Remember we have to compare apples to apples. The Ford EV and the Leaf are what we have to compare this to. Anyone done the comparison yet? Altho I don't think you can buy the Ford EV in all states yet... just two I think.

$1000 for delivery is cheap. That might cover the gas in the truck that's driving my car to St. Louis then going back to California. I am sure they will bring more than one at a time..... but what about the places where there is just one.

jerry3 | 8 juin 2012

1. If delivery is going to be cheaper at the factory then it will have to be more expensive elsewhere. Having a fixed price that everyone knows, and that isn't excessive, seems fair to me.

2. According to the Roadster posters, warranty work includes the Ranger fee. There is no extra charge. I doubt this will change in the Model S.

3. You have to look at the total cost of ownership over the time and miles you expect to drive the vehicle--not just the sticker price. Sure, you can find cars that have a lower TCO. You can also live in a one room furnished rental and eat canned beans. But any reasonably nice car, for example a fully loaded Camry, will have a TCO that is not much different assuming you're driving it a reasonable amount.

bsimoes | 8 juin 2012

Volker.Berlin, your links are so helpful. The shareholders' meeting reaffirmed my commitment to this car. Being away from any big city and not being at all good with technology just really worries me.
Sudre_the note about why the paint might cost extra also was helpful.
I like to save up money ahead of any big purchase, and then pay in full. That part is always the painful part; once done, I know that I will be thrilled. Just a little queasy right now, I guess.

As a side note, chances are that I won't be able to see the car prior to purchase. Has anyone seen the green? I looked for the thread where there was a discussion about the color looking more yellow on the website than it had previously. If I'm going to pay extra for the darn paint, I want it to be more forest green than olive green. Volker.Berlin, I know that you'll have the link for me! Again, thanks in advance!

Volker.Berlin | 9 juin 2012

bsimoes, I won't help you with a link in this particular case. I just can't take the responsibility. The only reasonable reply is: Make sure that you have a chance to see the actual color, in natural light, for yourself, before you decide. When it comes to colors, no amount of comments and opinions can make up for your own first hand experience.

Volker.Berlin | 9 juin 2012

jerry3, regarding TCO, Max Mindel put a lot of effort into compiling comparable numbers for a large number of different cars:

jerry3 | 9 juin 2012


That was the link I had in mind. I'm not as good at remembering them as you are. Thanks!!

jerry3 | 9 juin 2012

The other thing I was assuming was that there would normally be a number of options purchased not included in the Teslanomics link. I reckon the average Model S price will be $85-$90K. rather than $50-$70K.

Brian H | 9 juin 2012

Same for the comparison ICEs, so that's probably a wash.

petero | 10 juin 2012


Sorry guys, I disagree. I think TM is both fair and honest. They have done everything they said - Price-Performance-Delivery. I’m sorry TM doesn’t do everything you want them to do but it is a new company building infrastructure and focused on ‘job one.’

To my knowledge, every new car has a delivery fee on the “Maroni.” If you bought a Detroit built car in Detroit, you will pay delivery fees.

Regarding repairs. TM is offering a unique vehicle, and you are right, you won’t be able to shop it around. Every Roadster owner I have spoken to has praised TM. Their servicing will be the best…not the cheapest.

“… paying $600 for a service is a deal breaker for me.” TM does not have hundreds of thousands of vehicles like MB and BMW, that daily visit their service centers to pay their service overhead. TM has to hire, train, and pay techs/rangers, across the country- and no market to speak of. This scenario would make the “Maytag Repairman” not the loneliest man in the world.

“Positive spin… I think the maintenance will be a lot less than the $600...” I think it will cost you $600+ for servicing. My guess, TM’s tech will constantly be updating and tweaking the software. Our “S” will be rolling art, quick, smooth and quiet in a sea of cacophony.

Brian H | 10 juin 2012

The $600 is for mandatory annual servicing of the Roadster. It was probably about the minimum cash flow TM needed to maintain service staff for a total pool of vehicles <2000. The math changes for a higher volume clientele, I think.

What does a customer contact rep say to the question?

jerry3 | 10 juin 2012

- What does a customer contact rep say to the question

The last I've heard is "The price hasn't been decided yet".

jerry3 | 10 juin 2012

I've also read these two statements:

"Elon already said that the price with be $50 /month"
"Elon said the maintenance price will be substantially lower than the Roadster"

However, neither has any authoritative links provided. If anyone knows of any...

There is also some discussion about how $600 is too expensive because most software is upgraded for free (and software upgrades are expected to be the majority of the maintenance on the Model S). While I'd like a lower price than $600/year (assuming that becomes the price), I don't know of any programmers that work for free.

Schlermie | 10 juin 2012

I made the comment about the $50/month, and I was mistaken about Elon making the comment. I subsequently remembered that I heard it during the Tech Talk presentation in Redwood City.

Brian H | 10 juin 2012 has a couple of Roadsters being rented out by owners (e.g., at $50/hr. Looks like a "vehicle" that anyone needing to offset some of the car's cost could utilize. Owner specifies availability, etc.

Rod and Barbara | 10 juin 2012

We have a 3.5-year-old Roadster that has had three annual maintenance services at the LA store. Our last annual service cost $612 for labor and parts (key transmitter batteries and wiper blade). The annual maintenance service consists of 52 inspection/service steps covering the transmission, motor, battery pack, HVAC, brakes, steering/suspension, wheels/tires, electrical, body, PEM (Power Electronics Module), VMS, test drive, clean, and electric charge. The Tesla service technicians are a slam dunk 10 out of 10 rating with respect to knowledge, customer service and quality workmanship.

Is that more than I pay for annual maintenance on my Honda Civic Hybrid? Yes, but the quality of the Tesla service is far superior and the Roadster is delivering world-class state-of-art technology. I fully support Tesla’s comprehensive inspection/service to ensure the new technology weathers the rigors of everyday use appropriately. In my three plus years experience with Tesla, I believe Tesla works hard at finding an appropriate middle ground of charging a fair price for their product and their services. There has certainly been no indication that they over-charge you “because they can.” Remember that Tesla Motors for most of its life has not made a profit.

I suspect the service requirements and cost of service for the Model S will reflect the learning curve that Tesla has gone through while logging 23 million miles on Roadsters. As a result, I expect the annual maintenance cost to be less than $600 a year and I am confident Tesla will set the price point appropriately.

Timo | 11 juin 2012

I believe that $600 is for maintaining "slam dunk 10 out of 10 rating with respect to knowledge, customer service and quality workmanship". For Model S quantity of sales and the fact that they start to make profit after around 10k sales makes this not needed any more. This makes me believe that cost will be less.

However I really would like to hear how much less, because deliveries start in just two weeks.

Tesla, are you reading this? It would be just plain fair to tell people what the additional costs are before they get their cars.

Norbert.Vienna | 11 juin 2012

@ Timo -just ask Tesla Roadster owners
and the question is
why does it have to be an annual service
it is just to give work to repairshops etc
with nowadays electronic means you can find out problems online and the rest is enough to be inspected on a 2 years basis, what will be wrong in an electric car
there less components and a electric motor needs no maintenance comparable to gas engines

Brian H | 11 juin 2012

Re-read the list that Rod & Barbara posted above. Very little of that is remote data snooping. Get over it.

Sudre_ | 11 juin 2012

No Brian he doesn't have to get over his opinion or question. My Saturn had all those things checked except the BEV parts when I took it up for it's servicing at the dealer. The multi-year service package I bought when I bought the car was less than $600 a year. The car has lasted since 2001 and still going so I guess they did a good enough job. It is a shame GM decided to dump them.

People are stretching their budgets to get the basic car. They are not going to be able to pay luxury car service fees. The S is not a <2000 custom hand built sports car. It's a mass produced mid-sized car. I really feel the service cost is going to be far less than $600 a year..... How long did it take the technician to check all those points on the Roadster? an hour? $10 a minute sounds like a lot of money to me. That probably doesn't include parts. $5 a minute sounds like a lot of money to me.

If they make 20,000 cars and bill that outrageous price they will make 12 million is service fees. If there is one technician in each state servicing an average of 2 vehicles a day he will make over $200,000 for the company... and his travel fees are EXTRA! Let see... what's the outlay for Tesla... 60K salary, let throw in benefits and round his pay up to $100,000 a year. Service truck and such is already extra per mile so that doesn't need to be added in. If the coolant needs to be flushed I guess we can throw in another $1000 in parts and disposal fees.... it looking like a lot of profit to me.... oh yah lets take a million off that 12M for 10 software engineers to update the code. Still brings us to 4 to 5 million a year in profits from changing oil and checking off boxes on a piece of paper.

Lets look at it for the Roadster. 2000 cars at $600 is easy. 1.2M That is barely enough to cover the salary of 10 Rangers. I can understand the expense.

I don't mind the annual service.

jerry3 | 11 juin 2012

If you only pay $60 to your employee as a salary, they're going to be spending most of their time looking for another job.

Sudre_ | 11 juin 2012

$60K jerry3. I even up'd it to $100K with benefits. that's $60,000 in case you are not up on the whole 'K' thing.

gjunky | 11 juin 2012

@sudre: and they won't even change oil for that :)

jbunn | 11 juin 2012


Making 200k on cost of 60k employee who gets benefits is way LOW when compared to skilled tech workers in corporations. Then add on facilities, inventory, and a half million bucks in diagnostic tools, and they will not be making the killing you thimk.

EcLectric | 11 juin 2012

I sent an e-mail to: asking about the delivery charge.  I got a response right away.  Stephen Smith confirmed that everyone must pay the $990 delivery charge, and the $180 final inspection and preparation fee regardless of whether or not you take delivery at the factory.  He indicated that part of the delivery charge is for teaching you about the car and for helping you customize it before you drive off.  If you take delivery at the factory, you also get a factory tour.

Rod and Barbara: thanks for the information.  From the small number of complaints, it seems that most Roadster owners are happy with the service provided by Tesla and the cost of ownership.

The bottom line is that this is not an inexpensive car, and you are paying extra for a better experience. Sounds familiar... Reminds me of that store with the metallic piece of fruit on it.... Extremely compelling product... Low starting price.... Expensive 'must have' add-ons... Final price way more than you expected... Is that you, George??

Volker.Berlin | 12 juin 2012

Why judge before we have the facts? It's all entirely speculative so far. Let's see what the actual conditions for yearly service turn out to be, and then we can still lament.

Timo | 12 juin 2012

My peeve with that is that we should already know the price of the annual maintenance (if there even is a annual maintenance). Deliveries start in less than two weeks now, so it should be information that people buying the car should know by now.

For those that are first in line it probably isn't huge deal (the most expensive ones are the first ones), but to rest of us that are "stretching their budgets to get the basic car" it is quite important to know.

bsimoes | 12 juin 2012

The whole "flat fee" thing just sounds weird to me. Is an hourly rate not a consideration? I'll drive the car 300 miles to get it serviced annually if I have to--I hope I don't...worst case scenario, but to do that, have it plugged into some computer, have them add windshield wiper fluid and then charge a huge flat fee just doesn't feel right.

jerry3 | 12 juin 2012

The flat fee is for the initial delivery where everyone will pay the same amount. The "annual" maintenance will likely be either yearly or after so many miles. The price isn't known other than it won't be more than the Roadster which is $600. For all I know, it might be $200 (there's a post that mentions that figure).

EcLectric | 24 juin 2012

I've adjusted my attitude about Tesla personal delivery, and now I'm trying to figure out if there's a location at which I can receive my car that will make me smile... Perhaps in front of the GM factory? Oh yeah, that's a Tesla factory now. Next to the refineries? Nah, too stinky. They might have a 'shelter in place' that day. Sounds like the topic for a new thread...

jerry3 | 24 juin 2012

Home delivery on Saturday--that's a Saturday, not this Saturday :-( --so that all the neighbours can be there.

Brian H | 24 juin 2012

In front of the classiest local bordello? And have the staff carry you to the car?