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$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


Perhaps we're being a little harsh on the guy, but from our perspective we've already discussed this ad nauseum. A decent search function for this forum would help people keep from posting redundant threads. [and I realize that sentiment is, itself, a redundant one from other threads]

So I apologize for my part in flaming you phan. But I still think that when it comes to the maintenance fee people should suck it up and stop complaining.

murraypetera--my sentiments exactly!

Grant910--I agree about not opening a post if it's something you're tired of reading about. More than the topic, I'll look at the names of who has posted. There are a few on this site whom I find to be particularly crude, offensive and insensitive--I avoid those posts.

The white papers, or you?

Phtphan. I understand: You are unhappy with the $600/$475, you want it for free and your mind is made up. Too bad. I have an observation and 2 questions. I will use BMW as an example but you can pretty much substitute MB. Audi, Jaguar, Range Rover, Lexus, Infinity…

Observation. The “free 36/36” maintenance program of other manufacturers provide is factored into the MSRP, which TM hasn’t done. The main reason for ‘free’ 36/36 is the manufacturer wants to make sure lease customers service their cars regularly so they are protecting the cars from customer indifference/neglect when BMW buys back the car at lease end.

Question 1. Would you change your mind if the “S” has lower, total, out of pocket expense over a 10 year period than ‘your’ BMW?

Question 2. Do you expect BMW to update your navigation system, stereo, and all software and systems for free over the first 4 years?

Conclusion. No one wants to pay for the $600/475. IMO you (not me) will feel robbed for the first 36/36 and happy for the next 7+ years. In the end you will save more with the “S,” and this isn’t taking gasoline savings into consideration.

P.S. Compare apples to apples. Instead of Toyota let us know how benevolent Lexus is with their charges!

So, a different take on this $600 annual maintenance fee:
It is about 1% of the value of the least expensive configuration. It includes software upgrades as well as the tuning. If you've ever owned enterprise computers and software, 1% per year is suspiciously low. This is *the* Silicon Valley car company. It makes a lot of sense to me that they use a residual income model for support.
This will include software updates, remote system monitoring, telephone support, and the annual maintenance work.

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. It could be interpreted as it is a way of generating more revenue, which seems correct for a company, but not that decent for a customer. Tesla said Model S would cost as much as a Camry "in the long run", but this $600 a year keeps it far from reality. All i need for a Camry, which I own one, on the 8th year of my ownership, are oil changes twice a year. I have friends who own MB, BMW. They don't need much maintenance either. ICEs are far more prone to failure than an EV, how to justify maintenance costing more than an ICE?

My 1999 BMW 328i rarely needs service.

My Camry hybrid, which I just sold in preparation for the delivery of my AWESOME model S, also needs virtually no service. And it has alot more moving parts.

Once again it is easy to rationalize this because we want Tesla to succeed etc. I cerainly do, and i have great admiration for Mr Musk and his team However as a business practice the 600 per year and the 1000+ prep and delivery charges were a terrible deal for the consumer, and they should be recognized as such.

And to the self-appointed site monitors who have taken it upon yourselves to decide if a topic should be shut down: when you post, please disclose how many shares of TSLA you own and are pathetically trying to affect by stifling public discussion. I own none. Perhaps you bought some FB at 38 too lol.

Also, I just don't buy the arguement "as a early adopter, you need to pay more, blah blah". This is an EV, except for the huge battery and its management system, it simple and straight forward. I saw electric motors running 10 years staight without stopping. While rotating tires can be done in my double garage, I should also be able to choose whether I need the upgrade of the software or not. I am still running Windows XP since I don't like windows 7 & 8. No MS sales people knocking on my door, coming into the house, and then forcible charging me 300 buck to upgrade to windows 7 or 8.
Although I do admire Mr. Musk, I, as a potential customer, am not willing to be deprived of choices.

Personally, I consider people who trash others on forums to be spammers themselves.

Not only did they open a thread they've seen before, but they read the post they've read before and spent time writing there offensive comments. I think that they like to "hear-themselves-talk", an old psychologist said , that is mental masturbation.

As to monitoring the battery cooling system, how is that different from monitoring the ICE cooling system or oil level. Why can't you monitor it yourself via a notice on the huge screen you've already paid for. if you don't do anything about it, then void the warranty.

Software updates? if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Pay for it, Pay, Pay, I may have to pay for the center console they have not yet included. Or a new cup holder they have not installed, or a new door panel that actually includes pockets, or many other things the car is still missing.

I think that early adopters deserve much more respect than that. We are taking huge risks, partly to help a young company. It is entirely possible that Tesla would go out of business and we are stuck with cars no-one can maintain or buy. What would you say then, Pay for a new car?

$475 mandatory per year is not fair in my book. Part of why I feel smart buying this car is the money I don't have to spend. They've just spoiled that. Do you know how many people still tease me when they hear I am buying an electric car. They start making jokes and telling me stories about how all this is one day going to go bust, and how Lithium is going to run out and how much energy it takes to produce the car and how in the end I am not saving any money.

Have you told a non-believer that you will need a new battery in 15 years for another 30k and listened to them laugh.

If you also tell them that you will also be spending $600x15=$9k for maintenance, they're going to really going to have a ball.

Elon says that he wants to change the world, Selling only to rich people is not the way to do it. Selling only to people who don't want to get their hands dirty is not the way to do it. Not selling to people who like to do simple jobs on their car is not they way to do it either.


But it is your choice! Either accept the maintenance fee or don't. Buy the car or don't. Call Tesla and let them know your frustration - I doubt it will change their mind but who knows. You seem very angry about this - so go and vent to the person who might be able to change the outcome.

Personally I have no problem paying the maintenance fee - I just had 15K service done on one of our cars and it was $650 plus tax. Compared to that the Tesla fee is still cheap!

Tesla Motor's and Elon have much grander plan's well beyond the Roadster and Model S and even the Model X. The plan is to make a car that they can sell to EVERYONE and not just the rich. We are at the very VERY start of Tesla Motor's evolution and to "assume" so much about the future is very premature. Also to assume that your battery pack after 15 years will cost you another $30k is most likely incorrect. Maybe it will cost $30k for a 500 mile pack, but not for the same 300 mile rated pack you are buying today.

Elon even mentioned that in a few shareholders meetings. Frankly, to get upset over the maintenance on this car after hearing how good they are to the Roadster customers, and after hearing all the aftermarket stuff your car will have (be a much more improved car years from now), being that it's ridiculous in it's drivability compared to cars in it's class. Is drivability a word? Anyway, to complain about maintenance, mirror's, sensors or rear carpets or the like without taking into account all the positives is shortsighted.

Would I like some of the above aforementioned items? SURE I WOULD, I'm human after all with wants and desires. My tolerance threshold is higher then yours MAYBE? What I'm trying to say is, don't look at the portion of the iceberg above the ocean's surface, you may miss all that iceberg that lies below!! Do a Google image search on icebergs to see what I mean... :)

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the $600/$475 service/maintenance fee. As I see it, most of the “servicing” will be the constant evolution of software and these will improve the car and my enjoyment of it. Who does this anymore? None of the Big ICE manufacturers will update your systems on their cars unless there is a recall.

TM providing a level of service to improve their customers use and enjoyment of their cars, provide Rangers, for a nominal fee… and liberate you from the oppression of Big Oil. After all that, if you drive over to a super charger station you can tank up for free! I don’t see Big Ice opening giving away free gas anytime soon.

Those who equate ICE servicing with EV servicing are assuming knowledge that no one has. A full, long-range BEV has never existed before, much less gone through a service cycle of several years. There're lots of "known unknowns" there, and possibly quite a few "unknown unknowns". Committing in advance to fix "everything but the tires" is assuming risk, and that has a price tag. TANSTAAFL

The 'free' servicing on other cars is built into the price. Would you prefer if the price was raised to cover the first x years service? As for driving a car for years without doing any service to it - that generally shows up in the condition of the car over time compared to a well maintained one.

Theoretically you can take your car to anyone who is qualified to service it. Currently there are very few, if any, people outside Tesla who are. In time this will change. If the $600 annual service is a deal breaker for you then be patient.

Yeah, there are "Known unknowns", but once I buy a car, the car is mine. I can do to it whatever I'd like to. It is not in TM's interest to keep it in good shape. Tracking information of a product at the expense of a customer, does it sound right? Right now, EVs have lousy sales number. One main reason is dealers don't want to sell them since they need far less services which dealers rely on for more profit. I really admire TM has broken this nonsense manufacture-dealer-customer mode, but customers don't actually end up better, or in most cases, even worse.

Brian H. I really enjoyed the TANSTAAFL acronym, hadn't heard it before. Thank you.

stephen.kamichi. Low tech vs. high tech. My 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider also requires next to nothing. A lot of joy for the money.

$600/year to have a Ranger service the car at your home or office seems like a reasonable price to me. Just the fact that I will be able to talk to and know the person who is actually doing the work is a big plus compared to the Toyota service model where you never know who is working on the car or what they did.

I'm convinced that the only inspection the "inspection items" on the Toyota's inspection list get is a checkmark on the sheet. No actual inspection occurs. In addition, anything you might tell the service writer to have the technicians perform is ignored more than half the time. $495 or $600 get real service isn't a huge price to pay. Sure, I'd rather pay nothing but is that really practical. Hiding the service amount in the cost of the vehicle doesn't mean it's free, it just means you don't know what it's costing you.

Whether $600 is fair or not is not my concern, but TM mandates it and will void warranty if I don't opt for it. And I think free upgrading software should be included in the purchase price too.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

"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?

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.

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.

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