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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:42 PM

Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!

Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!

Tesla's service loaner: They'll not only bring you the car, for a fee you can "upgrade" and keep the borrowed vehicle for good.

Leave it to Tesla Motors TSLA -1.6% to turn what could have been a rather dull announcement about improving its service program into something of a mini-dazzler Friday. CEO Elon Musk not only promised to honor the company’s 8-year battery warranty under pretty much all conditions — “lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered” — but Tesla also rolled out a plan that allowed owners to upgrade to a top-of-the-line Model S anytime their car goes in for service. Musk also hinted that today’s 265-mile range on the most-expensive model wasn’t any kind of endgame; but rather that a 500-mile battery could be available within 4 years. To top it off, Tesla finished the first quarter having outsold the much less expensive Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, to become the most popular plug-in vehicle in the U.S.

Great cars, it’s sometimes said, respond as if they know what the driver wants ahead of time. Tesla is trying to expand that concept to the company level. It’s original service offering was a mandatory $600-per-year plan. It basically consisted of an inspection and a promise to replace some parts, notably brakes, that Tesla makes a point of explaining don’t even wear out on electric cars. While the price wasn’t outrageous for a luxury vehicle, it did negate one of the prime advantages of EV ownership: lower cost of maintenance — and many buyers weren’t happy. A Tesla owner wouldn’t see much savings over a similar BMW until 5 years or more into the car’s life. Solution? You can now skip the annual service and maintain both the 5-year vehicle warranty and the 8-year battery warranty. If you want the full suite of services Tesla provides, they’ll happily provide you a loaner vehicle, brought to you, and handle the service. But you’re no longer required to do so.

Deluxe loaner, keep it if you like

Oh, and about that loaner. It’s going to be a nearly new, fully loaded Model S, with the biggest battery and the Performance package. (They’ll produce enough of these to make sure all owners getting their car serviced can receive one. If you’d rather, the company will loan you one of their original Roadster models, too, although that’ll have more miles on it.). Some owners will have a car this nice, but many won’t. Tesla figures a few will want to keep the loaner and they’ll be able to. The price will be the same as new, minus 1% for every month old the loaner car is and an additional $1 off for every mile it has. So if your loaner runs $90,000 and is 4 months old with 5,000 miles, you can keep it for about $81,500. Tesla will buy back your existing vehicle on a similar formula. It’s the closest thing to an upgradeable car the industry has to offer.

Again, though, for Telsa, the suggestion is that it really is just the beginning. The company has been touting for a while that some features can be added to the vehicles via software changes. For example, the Model S didn’t originally have a “creep” mode like a typical car where it moves gently forward when you lift off the brake. That was added just a few months after launch. But being a Silicon Valley company, hardware upgrades are not out of the question, as Musk’s discussion about future batteries seemed to suggest.

An end to ‘range anxiety’?



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Reply Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon! (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2013 OP
longship Apr 2013 #1

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:53 PM

1. I am liking Elon Musk a whole lot.

His last launch of the Dragon capsule to the ISS had a failure which might have jeopardized the mission. But SpaceX worked the problem and docked it anyway.

Musk is doing some incredible shit. He undoubtedly has many of his detractors red faced.


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