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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

That would be deal breaker for me. One of the tempting factors of BEV is low TCO, and that raises it to about same level as ICE cars.

I hope GenIII cars don't have similar extra hidden price tag in them. Definitely will not reserve any cars from Tesla until this is in writing somewhere, not even GenIII.

As I commented on another site about "value received" by Tesla buyers, many put great stock (and are consciously prepared to pay for) spending ZERO time away from home in routine refuelling. Such time cost as there is, is a negligible add-on to parking and starting their cars inside their own garages. The common "5-minutes gassing up" measure is a misstatement, too. Every minute spent detouring from standard commute, and waiting in line (I often see cars sitting for 10-20 minutes in the local Superstore gas bar feed-in lines), plus paying, is part of that time bill.

So a TCO equal to ICE cars is not equal at all if you value your time.

What bugs me most about this annual fee is that it feels dishonest. Tesla is not telling us the real cost of the car. It's basically betrayal, which I count as third worst crime type into world (first two being murder and rape). With betrayal comes distrust, and getting trust back might be hard thing to do.

I really think that this should be fixed public information before people start getting their cars (which is already happening so Tesla is late in this).



Really? They are telling you up front what the annual costs of maintenance will be. How is that a betrayal?

In order to avoid what you believe to be the third worst offense possible, I have an idea. Don't buy this car.

And let's try to keep things in perspective.

My guess is that it's their business model - at least for a while. How to support the building and staffing and maintenance of service centers while keeping a 25% profit margin on the Model S? Get owners as subscribers to the maintenance pool. The maintenance costs are unknown, and they want to provide excellent service, so the funding will be there.

Perhaps after the first four years (the discounted price period) the structure will change. In the meantime, a good core of service stations will be paid for.

Just a guess. So Gen III might be more attractive in this regard.

That would be deal breaker for me. One of the tempting factors of BEV is low TCO, and that raises it to about same level as ICE cars.

Are you 100% sure about this? A comparably performing petrol car, such as the BMW 550i or Jaguar XF, will cost about $3500-$4000 per year in fuel costs alone (ie, before standard maintenance!). The Tesla Model S, in comparison, will only cost $1000 per year, which includes electricity costs + maintenance.

+1 Electric Machete

I have never paid more than 500$ per year for ICE maintenance (without tire changes for winter and not talking about repairs). Most years, it is oil changes only (max 200$ per year).

Bottom line: @$600/year for the TMS, it is a premium over an ICE hence deteriorates the lower EV TCO instead of contributing to it.

Which was always presented by TM as an advantage not an inconvenient. If this holds true, it would be a small deterrent for sure

Until Tesla actually puts in writing what Model S maintenance is we cannot be completely certain. Granted, enough people have been getting similar verbal responses from reps that the figure will likely be as noted but we don't know for sure yet.

Nonetheless to put things in perspective, I went to the Edmunds website and looked up 5 year total cost of ownership for a number of the cars Model S is competing with. I checked essentially base cars without extensive options. Divide by 5 to get the annual maintenance costs. Note that these figures do not also include repair costs. Those are extra.

These costs are much higher than I anticipated and make $600 per year look cheap. Maybe some others would like to double check my reading of the site. If I have made significant errors here I sincerely apologize.

Audi A7          $3952
BMW 528i          4356
BMW 535ix         4825
Jaguar XF         6016
Infiniti M37      6279
Lexus LS460       6479
MB E350           7587

Please note that the figures in my above post are maintenance only and do not include fuel or repairs.


BMW includes maintenance in new car purchases. Are these used cars or new cars? If these are maintenance costs for out of warranty out of the "free maintenance" then it is an irrelevant comparison, if these are for new cars then the numbers are simply false since BMW (and other marques) include free maintenance during the warranty period.

@pbrulott: "ICE" is an incredibly broad term. Obviously a Toyota Corolla is going to cost far less to maintain than, say, an Audi A7 or BMW 535i.

If you're going to make maintenance comparisons you need to compare vehicles within the same class. In the case of the base 40kWh Model S, that means cars costing around $50k with an engine powerful enough to accelerate from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds.

"included" does not equal "free".

That seems about right. The first 3 years are free though and then it really ramps up. It's a scam, Tesla just needs to communicate this difference. I'd gladly pay a bit each year vs. 5k a year after three years!

@SMOP: BMW standard warranty for the 5 Series (535i, specifically) covers 3 years and 50,000 miles. After the warranty has expired, maintenance generally costs around $1500-2000 per year (according to MotorTrend).

Assuming you plan to keep your car for 5 years, the maintenance costs of 3 years free + 2 years at approx $3500 is still more expensive than the costs of 5 years of maintenance for the Model S.


The maintenance for BMW includes brakes etc, the ~600 dollar figure for the Model S is not inclusive of brakes, brake flushes, coolant replacement, A/C freon etc etc etc. The $600 is basically inspection, and firmware/other upgrades. Not really apples to apples:

lets take a look at the BMW website as clearly your 3 year 50k mile figure for the maintenance warranty is wrong:

We cover all factory-recommended maintenance at no charge for the first four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, as well as specific items that require replacement due to normal wear and tear.

You can also upgrade the maintenance to 6 years or 100k miles for $1400-$3,000 ( so worst case it will cost $3k for 6 years or 100k miles)

On the roadster every 10k miles it costs minimum $600, from my conversations with people who have already taken delivery of their Model S the prices for maintenance will be close to the cost of maintaining a roadster (10k miles/1 year) $600

Included maintenance is NOT the same as the $600 service that Tesla charges.

Thanks everyone for clarifying that the Edmunds figures for annual maintenance and the $600 Tesla charge are not directly comparing apples to apples.

sorry if this has been previously answered.
Is the $600 maintenance an estimate or a mandatory fee? What is included in the maintenance? If it includes everything including brakes (like BMW), then I think it is very reasonable.


I was always curious as to why people think that is not free and "included" in the MSRP. Most Mercedes models costs exactly the same as their BMW counterparts but do not include maintenance. Using the "its not free" argument there should be a 4-6k swing in the price of the "included maintenance" vehicles and "non included maintenance vehicles." I am sure BMW would rather cut the price of their cars by 4k or so and undercut Mercedes on price rather than "include maintenance" (if this were true).

For the 100k+ models Tesla should really "include maintenance" they really do nickle and dime at the Tesla service center from wiper blades, to shop rags etc. As it stands now none of Tesla models are cheaper to maintain than an ICE car, Tesla really dropped the ball and should have "included" maintenance in the cost of the higher end Model S'.


It includes some inspections and firmware updates, Brakes (hardly ever have to get replaced), fluids, flushes, wipers, shop materials etc etc are all extra. The minimum charge is $600 every year or 10k miles.

The other part that is over looked is for the vast majority of people buying this car they will have to drive over 100 miles to get service or pay the 1000s of dollars for a ranger to come to them. For me I will have to drive to Chicago (~320 to location). Even with a 85kw battery it will take 8 to 10 hours to get there since there are no charges with more than a 30 amp feed. Then an 8 to 10 hour drive back. That's my entire weekend gone on a service for a car. Hopefully the other Model S owners iny area will all get tpgether and we can split the cost for the Ranger visit.

Talking with a sales rep the other day Tesla does not plan on putting any supercharges in the midwest any time soon. . . . like within the next three years or more.

The savings on the gas is going towards the additional cost for the car as compared to others in it's class. Maintainance was going to add to that savings. It looks like the TCO is going to be the same for an ICE as a TESLA. I am fine with equal TCO which is why I went ahead and signed my papers. I will still be saving hassle and not getting raped everytime the oil industry decides it rained too much in the Gulf or another refinery catches fire from lack of maintainance.

I still think $600 is double what it should be but I am hoping that price will come down. I am also going to contact more official people about Tesla requiring maintainance through them if they don't honor the federal law that says they can not require it. Not sure how it works since this is a mail order car. If no one get tje official training I guess we are stuck going to Tesla. Maybe I'll get the training and charge $550 :-)

@SMOP: Well, I stand corrected. However, I still don't think TCO is higher than an ICE vehicle, primarily due to fuel costs.

For example, over 4 years:

Model S 60kWh: $60k initial + $2200 electricity + $1899 maintenance = $64,100 total
535i: $60k initial + $10,000-$12,500 fuel + $1400 maintenance = $71,400-$73,900 total

You'd have to be paying between $1500-$2000 extra in non-essential maintenance each year for the Model S (unlikely) in order to make up for the differences in fuel cost.

@Sudre_: I'd like to think that Tesla will be building more service centres, considering they'll soon be servicing 5000 cars soon and upwards of 10,000 in the future, in comparison to the odd 2250 Roadsters that they're managing at the moment.


If you are going to go down the path of Fuel Costs, then one can also go down the path of diminished battery capacity and the long term out of warranty replacement cost, furthermore take a look at what used roadster prices are doing, many Roadsters are trading for 1/2 to 1/3 the price of new, where as gas sports cars of that same price range have seen less of a precipitous decline in prices. It is far more likely that a battery after 8 years or 100k miles will be far more costly to refurb than a modern ICE motor at that same mileage.

Make no mistake, people are not buying these cars because they are cheaper to maintain/run than ICE cars, longevity, resale etc. People are buying these cars for other intangible reasons (i.e. domestic energy, solar etc etc etc). It is cheaper to run a ICE car long term compared to a Model S. Once you get hit with a battery replacement due to diminished capacity or out of warranty (year 9) all your "fuel" cost savings will have evaporated.

I think Tesla is going to have to make it abundantly clear what the value proposition is. What exactly will model S drivers receive for $600/yr? Given that there will be little in the way of other maintenance options and they are shipping the software in an unfinished state, this is not exactly going to be an optional service.

Leaf ownership costs less than $100/yr with unnecessary brake fluid changes. iMiev has its first fluid change at 80-100K miles. Those are the production EV benchmarks. What is the extra value that Tesla is going to provide? Software updates? Supercharger access? Materials included?

Comparing to dealer maintenance costs is just not a legitimate argument - many people don't ever visit the dealer after free maintenance expires. Particularly for luxury cars where the dealer costs are ridiculous. Many turn in the keys on their lease and move on, leaving the dealer to bring the maintenance up to date and sell a CPO with maintenance included. Or they find a local wrench. Or they do it themselves.

I agree that the question is, "What exactly will Model S drivers receive for $600/yr?" In addition, what does the warranty against defects mean? Does that warranty exclude software defects? I can see voluntary adoption and compensation for upgrades and repair/replacement of items that wear out. I'm not sure about anything else.

If the Roadster is any indication of Tesla service I can share some insight with regards to what is included:

Tesla has drawn a very thin line between warranty and maintenance, some of the items one would think would be included under the guise of maintenance are actually warranty items (many roadster owners have not been able to see this difference yet as there are only a few roadsters out of warranty).

Maintenance will include firmware updates, but items that improve the functionality/performance (i.e. HD Radio Booster, software GUI updates) are all "warranty" items. Once the car is out of warranty these upgrades will not be included but you can pay extra for them (ridiculous cost).

Maintenance will include a bunch of inspections-including batter (like any other major car manufacturer). All other items will be extra, wipers, shop materials etc. The major reason I take my car in to get maintained is because of the annoying noise and pop up message every time I get in. Getting rid of that annoyance itself may be worth $600 :). I can only imagine how annoying it may be on the Model S (17 inches of service required pop ups!)

I'm losing my enthusiasm as well:( All things adding up to me not wanting to spend $90K+ anymore...

Tesla store says:

For $600 bucks they check your battery coolent level. That's it! More than an ICE vehicle per year with much less service.

I think they should bump it up a little and include some basic level of owner-accessible internet connectivity (especially if they are already buying connectivity in bulk to re-sell). If you threw in 1GB/mo of 3G it might make it seem like a better deal to some.

$50/mo for ongoing support of a $100K piece of tech doesn't seem that unreasonable to me, but I work in IT and expect to see support / maintenance costs in the > 5%/year range even for software only products.

Any defective parts found during maintenance should be replaced free under the warranty.

'"ICE" is an incredibly broad term. Obviously a Toyota Corolla is going to cost far less to maintain than, say, an Audi A7 or BMW 535i.

If you're going to make maintenance comparisons you need to compare vehicles within the same class. In the case of the base 40kWh Model S, that means cars costing around $50k with an engine powerful enough to accelerate from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds."

Why? I used to own a Corolla, and the appeal was that the servicing required was nill. Why do we have to compare to "same class" vehicles? It's a totally unique vehicle. It's almost like it's becoming an "exclusive" vehicle for the 2%. If that's the case...
I just hope some actual info comes out about this. It is becoming more than frustrating to hurry up and wait. I'm glad my reservation is 8554; I'll have some time to consider all of this.

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