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What is the true cost of ownership?

KiengKoopa

New Member
Oct 20, 2019
3
1
Houston
Given that the car is still new and under warranty, has anyone calculated the true cost of servicing their car? It seems like quite a bit of Youtube videos and folks I personally know have gotten their car serviced within the past year or two and mention how great their service is. Me personally, I'd rather not have to pay a visit to find out.

Condensation in the tailights, Charge Port Failures, Side Panels, etc. These may seem trivial but given that it's a new car and under warranty, these can actually offset any low maintenance savings if it wasn't under waranty. We're seeing the horror stories with the Model S/X as they approach their end of warranty. I know it's too early to tell, but I'm curious to see what owners think of the cost and quality of service once the warranty expires. $0 to replace the battery is great, but $6-8K to replace hurts.
 
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Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,144
10,636
San Diego
If you want low TCO buy a Prius :p
Hard to predict future reliability but my guess is that out of warranty costs will be comparable to a BMW (not good!).
Battery replacement is currently $15k but I doubt you’d have to do that over the life of the car unless you physically damage it. I wouldn’t be surprised if rebuilt batteries are eventually available from third parties like they are for the Prius.
 

jamnmon66

Member
Apr 10, 2018
572
416
Brighton, CO
The Model 3 is only two years old and there's probably very few, if any that aren't still under warranty. Any predictions would just be a guess.

My guess is that it will be fairly low. Most of the little(ish) things mentioned by the OP will be sorted under warranty so only the typical things that affect every aging car will be there. The battery is the big worry but it seems likely that it will last at least 200k miles based on the history with the S, probably more. Elon predicted 300-500k miles earlier this year (can't remember which interview... Ride the Lightning maybe?). In any case, that's about the age that an ICE will be looking at engine/transmission rebuilds which are also very expensive.
 
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Tesla would not give a warranty for 8 years if the battery was going to fail before the 8 years. BMW has the same 8 years on their BMW i3.
Are you going to travel 500,000 miles in 8 years it's more like 16 years if you travel 30,000 miles a year. I'll only travel 10,000 miles a year so thats 50 years and I'll be well worn out and not able to drive well before.
The main cost will be tires which every vehicle has.
 
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ajdelange

Active Member
Dec 10, 2018
1,077
638
Virginia/Quebec
The spare tire, the charging adapters, the ball caps, the jack point protectors, the floor mats, the 1:18 scale diecast model, the scraeder valve covers with the Tesla logo on them, the little automatic light for the console bin, the tire repair kits, the extension cords - all that stuff mounts up.
 
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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,189
Vernon, BC, Canada
Here's the thing: The Model 3 is still a car. And it's a techy complicated one, so there are actually many failure points.

If you're familiar with things needing attention like ball joints, cabin air filters, coolant changes, brake service, replacing headlights, dealing with rust, etc. on other modern cars, these things will happen on the Model 3 as well. You may additionally need to give attention to more unique things like electronic door latches, the middle screen, electric HVAC components, and so on. I expect that outside the 4 year warranty (only the driveline is 8 years), there will be many such bits that require attention over time.

Only the internal combustion engine and associated transmission have been removed. In some ways, great. In some ways, not so -- we've darn near perfected such engines over decades at this point, and million mile gas engines already exist with the appropriate (not necessarily costly) preventative maintenance. The electric drive units can and do fail. The battery packs can and do fail. Unlike the much more generous older Model S/X warranties, we're on our own for these major components after 8 years or 192,000km (120,000 miles). Keep in mind the high mileage Model S/X vehicles out there have usually had both multiple drive units and battery pack replacements already, and the Model 3 batteries are new and untested in the long run.

Other parts are generally cheap for the Model 3. Once the out of warranty market starts to gain traction for this vehicle, it will be very interesting.

EDIT: A very important note. Some other manufacturers also offer extended warranties specific to the drivetrain, but they stop short of "expected life" as well. In the case of a gas engine or transmission, you can do a lot to fix and replace pieces without replacing the whole engine/transmission. In Tesla's case where the warranty also doesn't cover the full "expected lifetime", the major components are significantly less serviceable (part by part) than a gas engine. And if an individual part can be addressed, you may need to take it to Tesla and pay high first party labour rates, which is not necessarily true of gas engines.

Tesla would not give a warranty for 8 years if the battery was going to fail before the 8 years. BMW has the same 8 years on their BMW i3.
Are you going to travel 500,000 miles in 8 years it's more like 16 years if you travel 30,000 miles a year. I'll only travel 10,000 miles a year so thats 50 years and I'll be well worn out and not able to drive well before.
The main cost will be tires which every vehicle has.

There have absolutely been battery failures with the Model 3. The warranty is also 120,000 miles or 8 years, whichever comes first. That's also for the LR. The SR+ is 100,000 miles. I will reach the distance limit around 5 years of ownership. The battery also won't last 50 years -- batteries degrade with time as well.
 
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hlin07

Member
Mar 5, 2019
223
211
New Jersey
Well, everything potentially can go wrong, though it's much less likely compared to an ICE car. While we don't know and hopefully nothing major will break, we can count on tire replacement much sooner than your typical mid size sedan (camry).
O, Tesla model 3 tires are much more expensive compared to the typical camry tires.
 
The thing that worries me most is the amount of cameras and their critical importance to the system. I've got one of my B pillar ones that I'm waiting on mobile service to fix because it's got condensation in front of the lense and gives me lane departure errors all the time. Car only has 5000kms so maybe it was just a dud but I've also seen many fogged up headlights and taillights. Makes me worried Tesla isn't so great at sealing things up. Im confident in the hardware itself but the cameras got to be able to see to work. I can forsee this being an ongoing thing but hopefully not.
 

mrau

Authorized Driver
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2018
452
858
Mid-Michigan
Just as a note, all EVs have a minimum 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty due to a federal regulation.


Screen Shot 2019-10-21 at 9.44.14 AM.jpg
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,189
Vernon, BC, Canada
Just as a note, all EVs have a minimum 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty due to a federal regulation.


View attachment 468452

Very good to know! Excellent chart.

The Kona has a completely unlimited warranty on their battery?! Maybe that's why they're fairly popular here, wow. There must be some catch to it.

I'm also happy to see corrosion warranty called out. I'm used to this being a thing on previous cars, but the only thing Tesla mentions is that salt from roads that isn't rinsed off may not be covered. My Honda had no such condition, and that also has a steel body. Model 3 is Tesla's first steel car AFAIK, but they don't seem to have created the policies and protection that come with doing so.
 
I've had my M3 for a month. I absolutely love it, but it is a car. Find me a car that goes 120,000 miles without any issues. The battery warranty is excellent.
I plan on having this car for a long time. Isn't that what everyone says when they buy a new car? lol.
That being said, I find it hard to believe that I'll own this car at the 120,000 mark. Can you imagine what will be on the market in 5-8 years? I don't see myself driving an outdated M3 LR in 2025. I don't know what will be out there, but I predict that I'll have replaced this car by then but will be extremely thankful for how amazing the car was.
We can all stress about the warranty and what will go wrong, but none of us will have this car in 8 years. Let teenage kids buy used ones and have the batteries die on them lol.
 

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