Tesla Announces 85 kWh Model S Service Loaner Program, End Of Forced $600 Annual Fee, Expanded Battery Coverage

5 years ago by Jay Cole 12

Got Your "Old And Busted" Tesla In For Service?  Now You Will Be Loaned A Top-Of-The-Line 85 kWh Performance Sedan While Tesla Works

Got Your “Old And Busted” Tesla In For Service? Now You Will Be Loaned A Top-Of-The-Line 85 kWh Performance Sedan While Tesla Works

Yesterday, Elon Musk tweeted of a “new strategy” for Tesla, and that current owners would like it.

Musk Tweet Foreshadowing Today's Announcement

Musk Tweet Foreshadowing Today’s Announcement

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.”

Musk:  Warranty Coverage...Even If You Don't Follow The Instructions In The Manual

Musk: Warranty Coverage…Even If You Don’t Follow The Instructions In The Manual

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.”
Any Damage Incurred By This Particular 85 kwH Performance Model S Will Unfortunately Be The Responsibility Of The Owner

Any Damage Incurred By This Particular 85 kWh Performance Model S Will Unfortunately Still Be The Responsibility Of The Owner

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).

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12 responses to "Tesla Announces 85 kWh Model S Service Loaner Program, End Of Forced $600 Annual Fee, Expanded Battery Coverage"

  1. Anthony says:

    The idea of a hardware upgrade for the $600 a year sounds good – if they swap out the internals of the infotainment system, along with other traditional car maintenance.

    In 2020, instead of having an 8 year old Tesla Model S with a 2012 infotainment system and an aged battery, you could have them install upgraded infotainment innards, faster cell data service, etc. The huge touchscreen would remain, but the brains behind it would improve dramatically. Upgrade the battery from 85kWh to something around 125kWh for 400 miles of range. It dramatically improves the resale value of the car to be able to update the important user-experience pieces (range, infotainment) that will not age as gracefully as the active-air suspension or any of the other traditional car performance pieces.

    1. finecadmin says:

      I’m going to guess that ‘hardware upgrades’ will be closer to ‘consistent door handles’ than ‘innards improving dramatically.’ The speed of software updates also seems to be a push-side issue, not a reception issue. But hey, I don’t run the company, so I could be pleasantly surprised.

      As for upgrading core system physics (in an advancing subfield) on a depreciating consumer device (i. e., mass produced) to 125 kWh- all in exchange for your yearly tare, sure. And a unicorn too.

  2. Driverguy01 says:

    A new standard may be created here, others will follow, i’m sure.
    in the mean time i’m still waiting or hoping to get a hold mode on my Volt. mmmm…
    worlds apart!

    1. Mark H says:

      I don’t think GM will ever give it willingly for legal reasons, but someone sooner or later is going to provide the hack! I would like to get a few more years of warranty under my belt, but ultimately I will take the risk.

      For Tesla, this was a good move today.

  3. Kickincanada says:

    Why would anyone looking at a premium car like Mercedes look at anything other than a Tesla? They are truly leading the pack. This is disruptive for sure. I am totally on board with Tesla now.

    1. Dave R says:

      Well, the biggest issue is that Tesla is obviously going through some growing pains right now, and Elon was very frank that they still have a ways to go with regards to service from what most premium car owners are used to in many markets.

      Specifically, when asked how he would describe their current quality of service, he flat out said that it varies significantly from great to just OK and sometimes worse than that. Their goal is to always provide great service.

      I think they will get there – they seem to always improving. 6 months to a year from now it could be a very different story.

      1. Blane says:

        If they don’t hit financial snags on the way.

  4. Cavaron says:

    I realy like this. Shows much confidence in the own product. And without the fee, it’s just one big payment you have to do and afterwards the car is pretty much free since you didn’t even get charged for supercharging (hey, no charge for charging should be a slogang).

  5. Martin T says:

    Man, I really like his way of doing things….

    You LUCKY NA people, down under we in OZ we could only dream
    being offered this kind of level of service & trust in product! 🙂

    Even the cost alone you don’t out of an Oz euro dealership for their once a year services for under 1K locally,

  6. Nick says:

    At the time I put down my refundable deposit of $5k for a Model S last year, there was no required service contract. I had planned to purchase the (now cancelled) 40KWh battery pack with no added options – like the air suspension. In January Tesla wanted me to lock-in to buying the car, or face the recently announced price price increase. If I did lock-in the deposit would have become non-refundable. My problem was that the only Model S available for a test drive was a top end fully loaded one – different battery pack, different performance, different suspension. I felt pressured to commit. Elon was quoted as saying “So, we’re trying to clean out basically anyone who wasn’t serious about buying the car.”
    Also, Tesla introduced a $600 a year service fee, or your warranty would be voided, making it pretty much mandatory. Their reasoning was that it was similar to the cost of maintaining a Mercedes. Now I happen to own a diesel Mercedes that listed for $55k when new, and I spend about $250 a year on service. The other reasoning given was that the $600 covered anything that could break or wear out on the car, except the tires. Well, new cars are covered under the warranty anyway, and the brakes don’t wear out that quickly on an electric car, as Elon is quoted as saying above and wipers are not that expensive.
    I cancelled my reservation and got a refund of my deposit. I wonder if the backtracking by Tesla on the service is due to an increase in cancellations from buyers like myself. I really do wish Tesla success, but I felt aggrieved.

    1. kdawg says:

      It felt like a nickle & dime tactic to me. If I was in the market for a 60-80K vehicle, that would have been a deal-breaker for me too.