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2012 Model S P85 Battery Replacement Receipt - sharing is caring

What it kills is the pretentious and overly inflated monetary value fantasies some owners have about their cars. The depreciated value of a car that sold for $107,000 new after 8-1/2 years and has 122,000 miles is not, in most cases going to be much, especially when it started with a $7,500 federal tax credit and possibly a state tax credit.

The only thing more convoluted and contrived than "Tesla math" (the net value Tesla ascribed to the purchase when new) is the fallacy some owners ascribe to the value of their car when selling it used. Some act as if it was like real estate and should appreciate. This is partly fueled from greed, ignorance, arrogance, and that prior to Tesla doing 2 things in 2015 which really decreased the sale price of a used Tesla.

Until the spring of 2015 there was an upto 6 month wait to receive a newly ordered Model S and there was no Tesla CPO program. People were sometimes pay more for a used Tesla than a new one because they could see, test drive, and purchase the vehicle they test drove on the same day. They paid a premium for that convenience. As soon as the Tesla CPO program started, where Tesla was selling used Tesla at the price they acquired and repaired the car that inflated used car market began to crumble. When they reduced delivery times from 6 months to 6 weeks, it further eroded. The introduction of dual motors and AP1 in the fall of 2015 further reduced the demand for earlier, used models.

Prior to our battery failing, the used sale value of our car was in the $25k - 30k range (not that we were interested in selling it). When the battery failed Tesla offered to buy our car as a trade in for $17k. Given the age, miles, and condition of the vehicle, it was a fair offer. There was a time when part of the unique value of a Tesla was it being the only long range EV one could buy, and the only EV with a charging network where one could drive across the United States. Both of those paradigms have changed. Part of "the plan" stated early on by Elon Musk was to provoke other automakers to build EVs and to expand EV charging. That mission is being accomplished. One of the realities of that happening, without arguing about the differences between Tesla and other brands is there are other options people have, so the price one gets for a used Tesla is less than what it was when Tesla had the exclusive market for long range EVs.

Tesla further reduced the resale value of Models S/X with the introduction of the newer AP, longer range versions of S/X, at lower prices paid for the bundled packages rather than when features were purchased a la carte. The introduction of the Model 3 and Model Y also reduce the resale value of prior models.

The bottom line financially (and environmentally) is if anyone wants to extract the greatest value from their Tesla, drive it until it can no longer be repaired. Ours is paid in full. Our choice was Buy another $39k Tesla (trade in + price of battery replacement $22k) which would be a vehicle we don't like as much as the one we have, or buy a used $25k-30k Model S (which would potentially have other problems we already fixed on the one we have), or repair ours for $22k and keep the car we enjoy with the repair history we know, while continuing to drive electric, mostly fueled from the solar PV and wind turbines at our home. For us, this was not a difficult choice. We bought this specific car (Signature Red P85) quite deliberately CPO in January 2016 for about $60k, when it had 19,600 miles on it. This was and is "our birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever gifts to each other for the rest of our lives." We've been driving electric since 2007, mostly EV conversions, so we really appreciate what Tesla accomplished.

When one has a context other than a financial balance sheet and a fantasy about a rapidly depreciating item such as a car, one is less likely to be disappointed about repair costs of early production years or resale values.

Your lengthy self-justification notwithstanding... You apparently failed to notice that I made a similar conclusion at the end of my post; that I would also replace the battery.

BUT NEITHER of our opinions changes the fact these replacement prices will be a problem for Tesla and our reasoning/justifications are completely irrelevant to what the market will bear as more and more owners get caught in this scenario.

Let's see what happens in the next 2-5 years, and then we'll know what context really matters to Tesla's survival. I'm going to bet that you and I are in a vast minority of people who are sentimental enough to keep these cars long term.
 
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Dec 27, 2015
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Cheyenne, WY
I didn't miss your conclusion after your lengthy griping. I answered your premise with a dose of sobriety about used car values and the dynamics which make them what they are. With rare exceptions, selling most used cars is at ca loss". That loss is the cost of use and enjoyment of the vehicle. If you no longer enjoy it or can't afford the upkeep, get something which better suits you. The Tesla Model S was not marketed as anything other than a luxury car. While some will quibble about that definition, a car which in 2012 sold for $107,000 can hardly be classified as anything else. Such vehicles are typically among the fastest to depreciate.
 
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Not my gripe. Resale value is irrelevant if you're not planning to sell, but replacement part costs are critical.
I drive cars until they're done. I think the most I've ever sold one on for was maybe $3-4000? I forget.

I'm content to let time judge whose perspective is more on point, but I think you're showing a lot more grace than is realistic to expect from the general public and the consequences of that could be significant.
 
Dec 27, 2015
129
473
Cheyenne, WY
Not my gripe. Resale value is irrelevant if you're not planning to sell, but replacement part costs are critical.
I drive cars until they're done. I think the most I've ever sold one on for was maybe $3-4000? I forget.

I'm content to let time judge whose perspective is more on point, but I think you're showing a lot more grace than is realistic to expect from the general public and the consequences of that could be significant.
It comes with age, experiencen and the "school of hard knocks". 😉 The general public is simultaneously excited and skeptical about EVs making the secondary market highly volatile. The Nissan LEAF is an example of this, as will be the BOLT.

Buying any car outside of warranty carries risks. We had Subarus, a highly rated brand for longevity and reliability, yet my 1987 and 1989 RX would cost $2,000 - $3,000 per year each in maintenance and repairs. I also have a 2008 Prius we converted to a Plug-in hybrid with an all electric range of 56 miles. It is getting its second replacement battery charger. I bought it for about $11,000 in 2013 and have put almost $30,000 in modifications into it. When I can test a Cybertruck, I'll probably replace the Prius and donate it to the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation Museum in Kingman, where our proud EVs already have been donated. Having been driving electric since 2007 we have a different perspective than the average consumer.


The EVs now being produced will be obsolete in the eyes many by the time they are out of warranty, largely because improvements are occurring much faster than in the legacy I.C.E. machines. There are now three EV manufacturers claiming they will be selling $25k EVs within the next 5 years. That too will impact the secondary markets.

I've made much more on Tesla stock than I ever could by selling our Tesla as a used car. We're "going long" on both. It will be interesting to see how long our 2012 Signature Edition P85 Model S actually lasts.
 

TwistedGray

Ludicrous > Ludacris
Mar 12, 2021
275
245
Monterey Bay, CA
Replacing a part on a car is not the life of the car. It's the life of the part. I've had vehicles which had multiple engines, transmissions, and turbo charges, none of which were inexpensive to replace, but were not "the life of the vehicle". 😉

The car would've been inoperable without the part though. By that regard, the car will last forever unless you have some unfortunate accident, a tornado picks it up and takes it far far away, or some other unworldly thing, right?

Or what do you mean by "life of the car"?

I figured when a part replacement is higher than the value of the car, you've exceeded the "life" of the car. Then again, different interpretation ;)
 
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Dec 27, 2015
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The car would've been inoperable without the part though. By that regard, the car will last forever unless you have some unfortunate accident, a tornado picks it up and takes it far far away, or some other unworldly thing, right?

Or what do you mean by "life of the car"?

I figured when a part replacement is higher than the value of the car, you've exceeded the "life" of the car. Then again, different interpretation ;)
The life of the car is how long it can be maintained as operable. The tipping point is not the vehicle's resale value. I'm not a used car dealer. The value is the continued use and enjoyment of the vehicle, not what how much cash value or trade in value it has. We tend to keep and operate our vehicles until they are no longer repairable or have so many repairs needed concurrently that repairs become cost prohibitive. In this case, we would not likely find a similar vehicle, with the same features, andknown defects already corrected, for the price of the repair. We also consider the environmental impact of replacing part of the car versus the whole car.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,801
35,193
Oregon
Or what do you mean by "life of the car"?
Look at the life of a car in the NE where they rust into oblivion and they really can't be repaired without replacing the frame and body and lots more. They tend to go to the scrap yard long before the engine / transmission fail.
 

TwistedGray

Ludicrous > Ludacris
Mar 12, 2021
275
245
Monterey Bay, CA
The life of the car is how long it can be maintained as operable. The tipping point is not the vehicle's resale value. I'm not a used car dealer. The value is the continued use and enjoyment of the vehicle, not what how much cash value or trade in value it has. We tend to keep and operate our vehicles until they are no longer repairable or have so many repairs needed concurrently that repairs become cost prohibitive. In this case, we would not likely find a similar vehicle, with the same features, andknown defects already corrected, for the price of the repair. We also consider the environmental impact of replacing part of the car versus the whole car.

I get your point, but I still disagree :)
 

Black306

Member
Oct 14, 2019
575
826
Sacramento
Replacing a part on a car is not the life of the car. It's the life of the part. I've had vehicles which had multiple engines, transmissions, and turbo charges, none of which were inexpensive to replace, but were not "the life of the vehicle". 😉
Agreed. IMO, part cost exceeding car value isn’t the measure of a vehicle’s life; it’s how long the car is on the road. Similarly, just cause an ICE was swapped doesn’t mean the car’s life suddenly ended. In that case anyone with a heart transplant is dead! :eek:

Now, there is a ship of Theseus thought experiment. After so many parts, is it still the original car? 😁
 

PungoteagDave

Member
Nov 19, 2012
45
71
Pungoteague, VA
The life of the car is how long it can be maintained as operable. The tipping point is not the vehicle's resale value. I'm not a used car dealer. The value is the continued use and enjoyment of the vehicle, not what how much cash value or trade in value it has. We tend to keep and operate our vehicles until they are no longer repairable or have so many repairs needed concurrently that repairs become cost prohibitive. In this case, we would not likely find a similar vehicle, with the same features, andknown defects already corrected, for the price of the repair. We also consider the environmental impact of replacing part of the car versus the whole car.
You replaced the primary structural element of the car, in addition to exceeding its current value. With the new battery, you are no longer driving the car you purchased in 2013. Some of the parts are the same, but that 8' by 5' structure held the whole thing together, and was replaced. Just because the parts you see are mostly the same, the core is all new. You've done an excellent job of explaining the sentimental reasons for doing so, and the rest is pure financial rationalization. As an early adopter (VIN # 2609, and three since then, currently a '19 MX), I can see no logic is retaining an out-of-warranty Tesla of any kind, beyond the heartstring element, which is why there's a '52 MG in my garage. But I will never try to convince myself or others that it makes sense. Any more than a 2005 flip phone is logical.
 
Dec 27, 2015
129
473
Cheyenne, WY
You replaced the primary structural element of the car, in addition to exceeding its current value. With the new battery, you are no longer driving the car you purchased in 2013. Some of the parts are the same, but that 8' by 5' structure held the whole thing together, and was replaced. Just because the parts you see are mostly the same, the core is all new. You've done an excellent job of explaining the sentimental reasons for doing so, and the rest is pure financial rationalization. As an early adopter (VIN # 2609, and three since then, currently a '19 MX), I can see no logic is retaining an out-of-warranty Tesla of any kind, beyond the heartstring element, which is why there's a '52 MG in my garage. But I will never try to convince myself or others that it makes sense. Any more than a 2005 flip phone is logical.
If you think a 2012 Signature Red P85 is somehow more like a 2005 flip phone than a 1953 Corvette or 1955 Thinderbird (which I used to have), then there is no point discussing anything about this decision with you. 😉

The UPGRADED High Voltage battery is a component of the car, not the car, and was designed to be swappable. How many devices do you have which you will toss away because its battery needed replacing? 🤣🤣🤣


It would be like getting rid of a conventional car because the gas tank needed replacing.

A 52 MG could be a fun car to make into an EV conversion. 😎
 
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krishna3812

Member
Jan 7, 2021
33
14
Newyork
All that is well and good, but bottom line is they need to get these replacement costs down, and fast.

At $22k it's sort of in "shakedown" territory, because you really don't have any option at that point-- a car with a nonfunctional battery has no resale and putting the money in (and gaining warranty) makes it foolish to sell after the replacement. So you don't REALLY have a choice... And the price is high enough that most people are going to resent having been put in that no-win scenario.

They're gonna complain, there will be news stories, and it'll kill what resale value remains (and potentially new sales) when the average consumer begins to wonder if EVs are ticking financial time bombs. If no one ever wants to own out of warranty, that's gonna kill the residuals on leasing too -- I mean, this is something all manufacturers will have to address, but because Tesla selling ONLY EVs and bragging about their battery tech constantly, it puts them at dire risk of getting a really bad reputation if/when more stories about $22,000 repair bills on 8 year old cars-- their flagship, uber-hyped and barely out of warranty cars-- mind you... It undermines everything their marketing has been built on.

There's lots of ways to do the "funny math" to pretend this cost is trivial/expected but the bottom line is it absolutely kills any discussion about gas/maintenance/running expense savings. KILLS it utterly.

Me? I'd do the replacement too. I love my car. But I'm not gonna pretend this isn't what it is: a problem.
Well said. I wonder how this story isn't published in clean technica or electrek or someother websites which cover ev updates...
 
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