Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors has gone the extra mile by extended the warranty of the Model S electric vehicle’s (EV) drive unit to the same level as the battery unit, eight years and infinite-miles. Prior to this change, the 85kWh model had a four-year, 50,000-mile standard warranty. Tesla buyers could spend an extra $4,000 to add four-years and an additional 50,000-miles to the warranty.
While, this upgraded warranty will now give Tesla owners free service on the 85kWh Model S battery packs and drive units regardless of how many miles driven over eight years, it is not entirely clear if the extension will also include the entry-level 65kWh Model S. On Tesla’s website, Musk, the CEO of the company, indicated that the extended warranty should have been policy from the start. With less moving parts than gasoline engines and a belief that the electric power plants offer greater reliable than the gas counterparts, Musk feels the warranty should match that feeling.
These extended warranties are not just for new sales of the cars. Tesla announced that the extension to 8-years and 100,000 miles will cover all 85kWh models ever sold. Owners of the 65kWh models are still awaiting an indication if already purchased or newly bought entry-level models will be included. Musk indicated to investors in Tesla that there would be a short term hit to the company’s profits with the decision to extend the warranty and not to limit the car owners claims of benefits that fall under the new scope.
This move is just another adjustment by the young automaker to show that Tesla and Musk want to go the extra mile to bring the best product to consumers, and fix it if it is not up to snuff. In 2013, Tesla received a 99 out of 100 score from Consumer Reports. Last week, Consumer Reports announced that the reliability has recently come into question after developing a number of minor issues.
One of the issues Consumer Reports indicated was a simple fix without having to even bring the car into a service center. The car’s retractable door handles would not extend themselves when they were suppose to. An over the air update to the car solved that issue. However, other issues that appeared did require a trip into a service center. When the cars large, iPad like touch screen display stopped working, a hard reset was needed to be performed by a technician. Other issues from creaking sounds to broken rear facing seat buckle and various other issues have popped up since the car received its record-breaking score from Consumer Reports last year.
On a positive note, Tesla has not just acknowledged the issues that Consumer Reports have discovered and reported and is already addressing the issues, ensuring that current car owners and future buyers will not have the same issues. For a small car maker, especially in a specialized market like EV’s, Musk is looking at not just bringing an ecofriendly car to the consumer, he is also doing his bit to help relieve the world of the ever-growing need for fossil fuels. In the United States, Musk has a goal of having charging stations located from coast to coast, giving owners a unrestrictive drive across the country and not worry about the need to worry about the car’s range before recharging.
To make charging simple, solar-powered charging stations, or Superchargers, will add up to 170 miles of range to the car in 30-minutes are popping up nationwide. And as an option, for a fee, the battery pack can be swapped out at Supercharger locations in as little as 90-seconds, giving the car a full charge for less than a tank of gas. However, there is one aspect of the gas-free car that Musk has not addressed yet. Opening ownership of the cars to the masses. Currently, the 65kWh Model S starts at just over $71,000, and a fully loaded 85kWh Performance model can top out at over $126,000 before potential state and federal incentive discounts. While the prices of the Model S are cost prohibitive to lower-income customers, the option for someone who wants to dive into Tesla ownership could look towards an older Roadster model.
The Tesla Roadster was the first car from Musk, and while its range is similar to the 65kWh Model S, it was not as refined as the current model is. Another drawback is home charging. While homeowners with garages or carports can purchase a home charger, people living in homes with only street parking or in condominiums or apartments may have restrictions on the installation of an at-home-charger, or the managers or condo associations would not allow for a charging cable to be strung across walkways to allow for overnight charging.
It would not be surprising to learn that Musk may already have a solution in the works to address a lower price EV to follow the upcoming Model X SUV and charging solutions for difficult locations. Even with the continual battles in New Jersey to sell the electric cars, Musk continues to fight to keep from having his dream unplugged and recently went the extra mile by making the Tesla patents open to all, including rival car makers in hopes of propelling the EV movement from other car makers, and potentially give aspiring car companies the push needed to bring environmentally clean cars to the road.
By Carl Auer