Tesla Announces 85 kWh Model S Service Loaner Program, End Of Forced $600 Annual Fee, Expanded Battery Coverage
Yesterday, Elon Musk tweeted of a “new strategy” for Tesla, and that current owners would like it.
He wasn’t wrong.
Tesla will now stock, and loan out, fully loaded 85 kWh Performance Model S electric sedans for those using Tesla service centers. The CEO also said that Tesla would be putting an end to the company’s forced $600 annual service fee. Instead, it is now offered as an option.
According to Musk:
“The best way to experience service is, of course, not to experience service. If your car does need service, then it should be swapped with a car that is ideally better in some or many ways. To this end, Tesla is building a fleet of top of the line Model S loaners. These will not be our basic model – they will be state of the art with all the best features and options.”
Also of interest, Tesla has extended its warranty on their vehicles battery, basically saying that it is now fully covered, regardless of how the customer chooses to maintain it, saying that “we took great care to ensure that the battery would protect itself… if something goes wrong, it is therefore our fault, not yours.”
“Except in the cases of a collision, opening of the battery pack by non-Tesla personnel or intentional abuse (lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered!), all damage is covered by warranty, including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end. The battery will be replaced at no cost by a factory reconditioned unit with an energy capacity equal to or better than the original pack before the failure occurred.”
“The intent is to provide complete peace of mind about owning your Model S even if you never read or followed the instructions in the manual.”
Other new additions to the Tesla service program include:
- Valet Service at no charge – Vehicles are picked up and replaced with a loaner, and then returned as soon the company has completed repair/service work
- Roadsters also available as loaners – accord to Mr. Musk, “For an added bit of fun, customers in most markets will have the choice of taking home one of our Tesla Roadster sports cars when their car is in for service.”
As for the 85 kWh Model S loaners themselves; Tesla has no intention of stocking a fleet of well-used, aging cars; and will immediately offer them for sale while they are in service.
“The loaners will be available for immediate purchase at a price that is lower by 1% per month of age and $1 per mile. If you like the service loaner more than your other car, you can just keep it. This ensures that the service fleet is constantly refreshed and gives customers the best optionality.”
Additionally, one of the few maligned aspects of purchasing and owning a car from Tesla, was the forced $600 annual fee. No more says the Tesla boss:
“Unlike gasoline cars, an electric car doesn’t need oil changes, fuel filters, spark plugs, smog checks, etc., which are only needed if the mode of locomotion involves burning oil derived products. For an electric car, you don’t even need to replace the brake pads, because most of the braking energy is regeneratively captured by the motor and returned to the battery.
As such, we are comfortable making the annual checkup entirely optional. There is still value to having Tesla look at the car once a year for things like tire alignment, to address a few things here & there and perform any hardware upgrades – our goal is not just to fix things, but to make the car better than it was. However, even if you never bring in the car, your warranty is still valid.”
Update: InsideEVs’ contributor, Josh Bryant listened in on the conference call, and also added that Tesla expects to inventory some 100 “top of the line” Performance Model S sedans in the first wave of the program, and that Mr. Musk guaranteed that a battery upgrade would be coming in the future (around 4 years times along with more inexpensive, Gen III, offering from Tesla).