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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

Try this thread for many comments on this issue. There hasn't been any new news that I know of.

I asked this question at the WDC event today and was told $600 per year.

I believe in the video of the shareholders meeting, Elon said $50/month. (x 12 = $600/year).

It's this kind of thing that is making my enthusiasm lose steam. This same question has been asked forever and is just met with silence or confusion by Tesla. Between the cost issue and where to get the car serviced, my frustration is at a point where I am thinking I'll need to wait at least another year until Tesla figures this all out, and then I'll have to decide if their solution works for me. I'm certainly not going to sign any contracts until I know these answers. I'm really kind of amazed that people have!

Considering I will be saving over $3k a year on gas alone, paying $600 for maintenance that is mostly done at your own home or place of work (which tesla has repeatedly talked about) is well worth it.

Ah, but one of the often mentioned advantages over an ICE is the lower cost of ownership. I do not pay even close to $600/year to maintain my CTS-V...

@bsimoes: We are certainly still in early adopter mode and anyone with low risk tolerance should probably wait until more of the unknowns are known. However, I figure Tesla is going to try and do the right thing, and I take Elon at his word that maintenance will be lower than a comparable ICE. Sure, Tesla could come out and say maintenance is $6000 a year, and people would rightfully go berserk, but no one here thinks that will happen. I would honestly hope the figure comes in lower than the Roadster (e.g. a base $57k car should be less than a base $107k car), but having said that, what needs to get checked is very similar on both. Regardless, I believe the absolute max would be $600/yr (e.g. what Roadster owner's pay).

Although the maintenance cost may be no bargain, there seems to be less maintenance needed and thus, fewer maintenance trips to the shop, so in my mind, the maintenance cost is somewhat mitigated by the price I put on my time.

Yes, but I live more than five hours away from the nearest store--I don't even know if they do servicing there. Either I would have to pay for rangers, too, or I have to drive ten+ hours, assuming the car is driveable. I guess my point is that we should know these details now that cars are being delivered. We should know the plan for the Superchargers. We should know what the warentee says. Accepting that we don't is a little niave, when spending $90,000 IMHO.

Why should there be any fixed maint cost?

A new car should have almost $0 maint. In an ICE perhaps oil and other fluids but I have never had to pay a monthly maint cost for a car. My last new car a highlander hybrid has been all but maint free since 2006. Yes I get the standard service work done but this is almost 100% ICE issue. Timing belt, oil, (some recalls), filters, etc. but I can promis you excluding tyre's the cost is not near $600/year average. I have 135k on the car at this point.

I expect $0 maint cost for the first few years and then perhaps a few hundred at most after this. What is there break? In my ICE cars is is always sensors which involve the ICE motor O2 sensors, etc.

I agree with murraypetera, there should not be any fixed annual fee for maintenance jobs that do not exist. Tesla is selling enough cars that $600/year is not needed even for keeping rangers at work. I ask almost the same question: what is there to maintain? You might want to change cooling fluids at some point, but they should last well beyond one year. Same with brakes and other normal car stuff. If the car has something wrong in it it should warn the owner about the issue.

Assuming they do multiple software upgrades and monitor the vehicles, someone has to pay the programmers and the people who handle the alerts from the monitoring systems. $600 seems "high but bearable" if there really are frequent software updates (one every four to five weeks).

I would expect more like one every four to five years. One every four to five month is too many, and /week is way too many. We are not buying computer with buggy software that can cause security risks. If you are required to get that many software "updates" that frequently then there is something very very wrong into initial design of the system, and I would not touch that buggy car for any cost (except to immediately sell it with profit).

The BMW 550 I purchased in 2006 (first year for that engine) came with 3 years of free maintenance. Dealer updated various software components three times (each event took 2-3 hours of shop time). Replaced several sets of wipers at no charge. Fixed minor rattles twice. No charge for any of this. This is what I would expect from Tesla.

Of course, the next three years of ownership had $1500 brakes, $1800 transmission oil pan, $150 oil changes x 3, etc. THATS where our real savings will be.

I also agree with murraypetera. It's been the same for my 2008 Camry Hybrid. Up until now, Tesla's client base has been fairly high on the economic food chain. As they work their way down with more affordable cars, the masses will be less inclined to want to pay $600 a year to maintain a car that is advertised as minimum maintenance. As for software updates, Microsoft charges us if we move up to a new operating system, but they don't charge us for the monthly update to the one we have. Solar City monitors my solar electric system in real time, but they don't charge me extra for that, it's factored into the price I paid for the system.

I'm assuming there will be almost no important (safety, etc.) software updates, but there will be a number of app or other nicety updates. As long as the Model S is being sold to new buyers, such updates will improve the as yet unsold cars and their value. I see the importance of such updates as a sales value at least as much as a maintenance value. Paying for the updated programming of same should be made by TM for future sales at least as much as by Model S owners.

If/when the Model S production is discontinued, would we expect any updates to the software? Perhaps there will be some minor changes needed, but the annual maintenance fee will likely go on without any significant hardware or software changes. So I see the annual maintenance charge as covering actual maintenance and some small (less than 1/2 the actual cost of) software support.

I'm thinking of upgrades such as apps, how the displays look, more setting for steering and suspension, manual updates, etc. rather than the software that actually controls the motors and chargers. Because there is just a lot of stuff and it has to be vetted carefully I think there will be frequent upgrades during the first two or three years.

Putting out many upgrades, each with a few changes, is less risky than putting out infrequent upgrades each with a host of changes.

If I were Tesla, I would want my Model S customers happy as a clam with maintenance costs and satisfaction. Our ownership satisfaction will more than likely dictate Tesla's level of success. I would go so far as to subsidize these costs with sales profits for the sake of happy customers and a healthy future for the company. Few things things put frowns on drivers faces more than expensive, poor, slow, frequent repairs. Here's to hoping the bleeding edge does not have to bleed too much.

We frequently hear about how "Connected" this car is. If so, then Software updates should be OTA, over the air.

Correct, as far as I know most software updates should be handled by WiFi. That still doesn't mean they don't cost in programmer time.

I was told about $200 every two years.

I sure hope you're right. That would be great.

$100 / year I can live with. 20000 x 600 = 12 million. You hire an army of programmers and technicians with that amount of money. Two million is a lot too, but more in line with what I would expect.

IMO paychecks and education for that part of the Tesla business should come from profits from selling cars, not in any annual pay. Parts and actual time used to check the car should be what is covered by "annual" maintenance fee. That should be about $100 / year (a lot less to check and change than ICE car).

Putting in other way to calculate: one hour of checking time for one man = 20000 / 8 cars/day = 2500 / 200 workdays/year = about 13 guys could handle one year worth of cars. Two million covers paychecks for about twice that many. There probably are quite a lot more than 13 rangers, but their paychecks should not come from this fee (again IMO).

@Timo: +1

There's a lot more than Rangers' salaries in maintenance.

Also, it is notoriously non-continuous, "on demand" by necessity. There's all that Maytag Repair man waiting time that has to be paid for, too.

Nobody is putting a gun to our heads requiring us to obtain unnecesary maintenance.

stephen - True, but I wouldn't be surprised to see TM require the annual maintenance as a condition of the four year warranty.

I called the California store yesterday and asked about the service schedule. I was told that once a year was what was required and that the cost would be somewhere between $200-$600.

Heh. Face it, everyone's purchasing a Work In Progress to some extent. If that's offensive, or too scary, postpone and wait till enough dust has settled for your personal comfort level.