How long can you expect a Tesla battery to last? And how do maintenance costs compare to those of legacy vehicles in the real world?
There’s a fair amount of anecdotal evidence indicating that Teslas perform very well in both these categories. We’ve reported on several Model S and/or X owners who have logged heroic numbers of miles, including a taxi driver in Finland, a shuttle service in Southern California and an analytically-minded owner who measured the battery capacity of his 146,000-mile Model S.
Imam logged 100,000 miles on his 2018 Model 3 Long Range in just over two years, and has been quite impressed with the total cost of ownership. “I was astonished at the low cost of maintenance and service for the car,” he said. “The total cost of electricity was $2,985 [3 cents per mile]. Total maintenance and service cost was $1,741, so the total cost of ownership was $4,732.”
The lion’s share of that maintenance cost was for a new set of tires, which Imam bought after 45,000 miles at a cost of $1,200 (yes, these were presumably high-end tires—other Tesla owners have reported finding tires of the proper size for as low as $600 a set). He also paid to replace the air filter and wiper blades, and to have a wheel alignment and brake bleed done. Tesla has fixed several minor problems under warranty.
What about battery capacity loss? This remains a big unknown with EVs, and one that scares away some potential buyers. “The battery degradation appears to be minimal, as I currently get 305 [miles of range] at 100%, but it does fluctuate from time to time,” Imam told Electrek’s Fred Lambert, who calculated that that represents a loss of roughly 5% after two years and 100,000 miles.