OK lets talk warranty

OK lets talk warranty

We want to know where do you stand on the warranty? Most of the other electric cars on the market ( not at this quality level ) are 7 to 8 years or 100k on the battery life. I will say they have no mention of loss of distance life during the term of ownership on the battery. I have quotes from 6k to 20k for replacement for the battery pack ( from your staff ). So is there a real number? This is a huge cost of ownership factor for the common family. Would it be more cost effective to own a gas powered vehicle? If this is a apart of ownership? This changes the cost of of ownership of this vehicle dramatically. The zero emissions are great, but the public as a whole ( me not included ) will look at this as a cost of ownership and be discouraged from this great car.

Volker.Berlin | December 9, 2011

I can understand that this is an important question to you, but the way you ask it does not make sense on multiple levels. Prices for batteries are subject to change, now and possibly even more so in the future. The actual cost for your replacement battery depends on when you want/need to purchase it.

I assume you mean USD 6k-20k estimated battery replacement cost, mentioned by Tesla staff. As of today, it is impossible to provide any "real" number: Even if we knew the date when you plan the purchase, which is unknown b/c we only have very rough estimate of battery life, the price of "a battery" (which battery? Same mileage? What kinds of mileages may be available by then?) is impossible to foresee. All we know is that it is very likely that the cost per kwh (not necessarily "per battery") will be lower the longer the replacement purchase can be postponed. Thanks to strong research activity in this field, the price will probably drop in steps, rather than continuously fall. Therefore, it is almost impossible to project future battery cost.

Sounds all very vague, and it is, but any more precise numbers are suspicious and have great uncertainties attached to them.

Besides, I always find it kind of funny when people make assumptions about "the public as a whole" and exclude themselves. Tesla is not targeting "the public as a whole" with the Model S. Yes, they want to mass produce this car, but how much is 20k units/year really, in the greater scheme of things? Compared to "the public as a whole", Tesla's target group is tiny and it is not unlikely that a significant fraction of the target group has a similar take on the purchase as yourself.

Volker.Berlin | December 9, 2011

Having this said, what little do we know, actually? Here's the applicable statement by Tesla:

Tesla expects the battery to retain approximately 70% of its initial capacity after seven years or 100,000 miles. Given rapidly changing battery technology, it is impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements.

BruceR | December 9, 2011

Comments from an AutoBlog article (press date in 2010) after their interview with Elon. Still lots of opinions and no facts, so take this as a starting point only:

"They are finalizing the warranty, and expect it to be 3-4 years for the car and 7-10 years for the battery pack. They expect replacement battery packs to come in at "well under $5000" according to Elon."

SD in the OC | December 9, 2011

How does the difference between a 160 and 300 mile range pack cost $20k, and a full replacement pack costs $5k. Is there a 70-80% price decline assumed in the technology over the next 5-8 years?

Roblab | December 9, 2011

I don't know of any automaker who will give you guarantees on maintenance costs for your car. Gas is expected to be $15 per gallon in the US in 10 years. That's pretty major. No, your senator cannot vote to make it $2 per gallon.

Other costs, like catalytic converter are over $1000. They are not warranteed for 10 years. Also try timing belts, oxygen sensors ($400 last month at Toyota)

The price difference of electricity to gas over 10 years will pay for your battery. Especially if you put some solar on your roof. The problem is everyone wants to think of the short term and have some guarantees for every occasion, which is not reasonable.

Any EV will be cheaper than a gas car 10 years down the road.

Mycroft | December 9, 2011

"Any EV will be cheaper than a gas car 10 years down the road."

True, but not this year or next year. We are definitely paying an early adopter tax. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. :)

Roblab | December 9, 2011

Well, you might be right, but my experience was that the EV *is* cheaper than gas. I owned the RAV4EV for 6 years 60,000 miles. I charged it at night at cheap rates, and bought solar for the roof. The range was not as good as I wanted, but I could get there for 1/10 the cost of gas. And now my solar is paid for, my "gas" is free for the next couple decades. Where will gas prices be in 10 years?

It had no maintenance other than tires, used no fossil products except to grease the hinges. At 30,000 miles I took it in and all they did was rotate tires. At 60,000K they just topped up the freon for free. Some cars include the first few years' or K miles' maintenance in the price, but they don't include the time you get to spend at the dealers. That takes a day out of your schedule. But who's counting?

Then I sold it. I did not lose money on the sale. Show me a gas car that doesn't lose money as you drive it off the lot.

They say that you can spend 50 - 100% more on fuel and maintenance that you spent on the car, so I did not spend another $30K. Of course, I got subsidies, just like gasoline companies get subsidies to make you think you are getting gas for half of what most other countries charge.

And many of the RAVs are still going at well over 100,000 miles. Some have had to have renewed battery packs, cost around $10-15K, but that's still cheaper than 100,000 mile's worth of gas.

Sure, we pay an early adopter's tax. But that RAV was the cheapest car I have ever owned, most reliable, most trouble free, quiet.

I will say it again. "Any EV will be cheaper than a gas car 10 years down the road. Today."

Mycroft | December 9, 2011

True, but only if you compare like-for-like.

In other words, if I otherwise would have bought an Audi A7, but I bought a 300 mile Model S instead, then yes, I would save money over 10 years.

But until the Model S was announced, we'd been driving $3,000 used Escorts and Tempos. If I'd never heard of Tesla, we'd still be driving sub $10k cars. But now we're spoiled.

When taking a cruise, never sign up for the luxury suite because then you'll never be happy in an inside cabin again. :)

davidcjones | December 9, 2011

If you are worried about battery replacement costs, I expect Tesla will offer some sort of pre-buy for your replacement battery. With my Roadster, they offered the opportunity to pre-buy the replacement battery at the 7 year mark for $12K. For every year earlier that you needed it, you would have to pay an extra $2K and for every year past 7 that you took it (out to 10 years), they would refund $1K. Sort of like buying cotton futures. You might find that you paid more for the battery than it would have cost when you get to the 7 year mark, but you have also limited your risk and have a predictable cost.

Brian H | December 11, 2011

If battery tech does what I hope and expect it will, that $12K 7 yrs in advance is going to look like a massive rip-off.

Mycroft | December 11, 2011

It's insurance. If you have a 20 year life insurance policy, but you don't die in those 20 years, were you ripped off?

Brian H | December 12, 2011

Absolutely! And you should sue the doctors responsible for dragging out your miserable existence!

gjunky | December 12, 2011

I pre-ordered a Leaf before I "converted" it into an order for the Model S. I received a questionnaire from Nissan about warranty (not sure if this went to every pre-order or it was just some random thing).

I can't quote the exact questions anymore but the big picture of it was something like
"Would you still buy the car if"

The car came with a three year battery warranty
The car came with a three year battery warranty and you had the option to pay for an extended warranty
The car came with a five year battery warranty
The car came with a five year battery warranty and you had the option to pay for an extended warranty
The car came with an eight year battery warranty

I think these are valid questions for the Model S as well. BTW: I only answered yes on the last one. I believe the company needs to stand behind their technology. The battery (IMO) should have at least 80% of its original capacity left after 8 years.

The reason my wife and I bought one of the very first Toyota Highlander Hybrids is because of their reputation and warranty and it helped us when we ended up selling the car after 5 years. I think the same is true for a company like Hyundai which solved their initial quality questions with the longest warranties in the industry.

Tesla is a (relatively) new company selling a product and technology that is still unproven (it is, no matter what we want to believe) and I think they should stand behind this and cover the entire drive train INCLUDING the battery, Inverter(s) for 8 years or more without requiring extended warranties.
Again, just my opinion.