Tesla Extends The Warranty, And It's Retroactive

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

Driven by better-than-expected reliability in the real world, a desire to respond to consumer concerns about operating costs, or just sheer monstrous ego, Elon Musk has decided to change the Tesla warranty. But wait, there’s more.

The man says,

The Tesla Model S drive unit warranty has been increased to match that of the battery pack. That means the 85 kWh Model S, our most popular model by far, now has an 8 year, infinite mile warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. There is also no limit on the number of owners during the warranty period.

Moreover, the warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S vehicles ever produced. In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning of the Model S program. If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that.

I mean, it’s like reading Atlas Shrugged with a serious chronic blaze on. What do you think the chances are of anyone from General Motors or Toyota ever saying, “In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning”????? Not that I want to start attempting to service Mr. Musk over the impersonal and fractious medium of the DARPAnet — there’s a website where they do that already, and it’s called Jalopnik — but you have to admire the stones of the guy.

Eight years, infinite miles. If you’ve been trying to justify the purchase of a Model S over a Bimmer or Benz, you now have some additional food for thought.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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14 of 105 comments
  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Aug 16, 2014

    As much as I like electric cars and the merits that they provide, carmakers should be more focused on extending their range, charge stations, and making them more practical. Teslas more focused on wowing people with image and pop-out door handles, yes that'll work great in 5 years. If theres one thing that GMs been going right at all its the Volts on-board generator system. Now if you it ran on diesel...

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    • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on Aug 18, 2014

      @mcs What passes for L3 that isn't Tesla isn't really qualitatively comparable IMO. 50kW charging isn't good enough for normal people to travel intercity on a regular basis, especially with the tiny batteries in non-Tesla runabouts. Enthusiasts may travel from, say, LA to Vancouver in a runabout, and make an event out of having to stop all the time and take forever to charge at 50kW (if they're lucky) or more like 20-25kW (if they're not). Normal people would want at a minimum 100kW charging, with 250kW charging much preferred. 500kW charging would put the nail in the ICE's coffin, assuming vehicles had batteries of 50kWh usable that could accept such charges safely, reliably and regularly. ps: TTAC, your angle-bracket parsing junk ate my comment, please make your regexes less eat-y..

  • VenomV12 VenomV12 on Aug 17, 2014

    I see something like this and think okay, the warranty thing is not bad, getting better, now Tesla just needs to get some proper range like 400 miles out of the battery and get the charging times faster, maybe a little better interior and features and maybe I would consider it, but then I price it out to the specs that I would like and realize this car is still crackpipe. I suspect the Model X will be the same, so we will have to wait until the Model E err 3 to see what Tesla can really do. I would not have an issue picking up a 3 or 4 year old Tesla Model S for $40K or so with that kind of warranty though as a runaround.

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    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Aug 18, 2014

      @VenomV12 Exactly this. To me the definition of a daily driver is a car that I can take anywhere, anytime. Anything else is a toy. My Spitfire is a toy - I would not drive it to NJ and back. But I fully expect my BMW to do that at the drop of a hat. Or anywhere else for however far I need to go. The LAST thing I am ever going to do is drop $60-100K on a nice car, then have to RENT something to take it on a trip! That is what I spent (well, only $40K, but still) big money on a car for. If I was just knocking around town, I would just have old beaters in the garage. You hit the nail on the head - if your commute is so short that a full electric car makes sense, why bother? If you just want it for the geek factor (my buddy with Leaf for example), then GREAT! But don't think you are somehow saving the planet. If you are looking to save money, buy a USED Prius.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Aug 17, 2014

    Elephant in the room: resale. Musk has essentially secured resale for the next several years ensuring none of his cars will ever end up in the hands of ne'er-do-well or on BHPH lots (at least till the new warranty period ends) Here's what MY13 Model S was doing *before* the announcement. 07/03/14 RIVRSIDE Regular $69,000 7,894 Avg BLACK EL Yes 07/03/14 RIVRSIDE Regular $68,000 12,968 Avg BLACK EL Yes 07/17/14 RIVRSIDE Regular $69,500 8,153 Above BLACK EL A Yes 07/29/14 FT LAUD Regular $70,500 12,940 Above White EL A Yes 07/30/14 OHIO Regular $70,000 10,372 Above Black NON A Yes 08/13/14 PALM BCH Regular $65,600 9,405 Avg BLACK EL A Yes I expect the models to hold in the 50K range in avg condition for some time due to this announcement.

    • Ruggles Ruggles on Aug 18, 2014

      No one I know in the business expects these cars to hold 50K for any length of time, INCLUDING ALG and the folks who guarantee residuals. Let's see what happens when demand slows a little compared to production. Or do you think that will never happen? If so, you can put your money where your mouth is and guarantee some residuals for a premium. Maybe you can sell some swaps on them. After all, no one seems to worry when there are no reserves to pay potential claims.

  • KrohmDohm KrohmDohm on Aug 18, 2014

    Elon Musk seems to be the only guy in the car business that when he does something good for his customers is attacked and criticized for it. Perhaps that is because we don't like facing the fact that cars driven by internal combustion engines will one day go the way of horse buggies. That Tesla's cars are a better representation of what cars in the near and distant future will look like and that scares the hell out of some of us. Elon Musk is doing a better job of pushing us into the future than any other car maker out there. We should all be cheering him on even if we don't buy his cars.

    • Ruggles Ruggles on Aug 18, 2014

      Who is criticizing him for extending the warranty? Perhaps some stockholders? Of course the internal Combustion engine will go the way of "horse and buggies." Some day we'll just call Scottie to "beam us." We won't need electric cars then either. Yes, Musk is pushing us into the future. He's doing a hell of a job and we'll see where it all goes. He seems to be more focused on remaking the world than making profits for his stockholders, many of whom don't seem to care. Its fascinating to watch. But there's substantial sizzle with the steak. Good for him, I say. But I'll keep me money in a safer environment while I watch.