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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program 174

Posted by timothy
from the 90-percent-of-the-cost-of-my-entire-car dept.
Ars Technica reports that Elon Musk today wrote that Tesla will remove mileage limits on its warranty policy for all Tesla Model S drive units. The warranty, which will still span eight years, won't have a cap on the number of owners for each vehicle. People who purchased Teslas before today were told that the warranty period for the drive unit expired after eight years or once the car logged over 125,000 miles. The revised warranty applies to new vehicles and Model S cars that are already on the road. The article mentions that quite a few Tesla owners have had to have their drive units replaced; out of warranty, that runs about $15,000. Musk's announcement acknowledges that the change may cost the company some money, but says he's "confident it will work out well in the long run."
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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

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  • by sinij (911942) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:16PM (#47682417) Journal
    So there is a problem and they are avoiding recall?
  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:24PM (#47682449)
    No sir.

    There's a problem and they're handling it immediately and responsibly,

    instead of pursuing the GM/Toyota strategy of ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:54PM (#47682563)
    If only other manufacturers would learn that stepping in front of an issue is always better than being run over by it, both for total cost and, more importantly, reputation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:57PM (#47682571)

    Did you just seriously compare Steve Jobs to Elon Musk?

    Steve Jobs wasn't exactly a saint. He redefined "walled garden". But if you're IN the walled garden, I can see how you'd be deluded in to thinking that's ok.

  • by sinij (911942) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:06PM (#47682601) Journal
    $15000 is within realm of new "crate engine", needing that at only 125,000 miles would be considered a serious quality defect with a traditional auto. If memory serves me right, most recent example was BMW nikasil engine block issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:17PM (#47682645)

    More like damage control if you ask me.

    From an engineering standpoint though, how can you screw up a electric motor connected to a fixed one speed transmission?
    That Edmunds needed THREE replacement units within 30,000 miles.
    Let's not pronounce Henry Ford, the second coming, as yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:25PM (#47682665)

    No sir.

    There's a problem and they're handling it immediately and responsibly,

    instead of pursuing the GM/Toyota strategy of ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

    GM hardly ignored their problem - they actively tried to cover it up, probably all the way back to 2005 or 2006, maybe even with government help, especially once they became Government Motors:

    GM Misses Red Flags From Rental Car Canaries on Crashes [bloomberg.com]

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:25PM (#47682667) Homepage

    If it came through the warranty period alright, I don't see that there's any problem. Tesla has probably just figured out this hits relatively few but heavy users and ambassadors who'll be happy to get a new battery instead of being hit with a $15,000 bill and continue driving sales. After all, 125,000/8 = 15,625 miles is more than the average US driver goes per year (13,476 miles) and Teslas have probably not been bought by those making regular long hauls.

    It does create a rather perverse incentive to drive your Tesla to battery failure before the warranty is up though - say a coast-to-coast supercharger road trip or three on free electricity. I don't know if they'll replace it with a brand new or a refurb but either way it'll be worth more than with a 7.5 year old battery. As long as they're in massive growth sales 5-8 years ago are so much lower that it might not matter though, right now it's all about expansion.

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:33PM (#47682687)
    People fuck up.

    Things go unexpectedly wrong as a matter of course in everyday life, let alone in the midst of innovation, since redefining the norm is a process fraught with a high failure rate.

    Owning it, and retroactively covering models no longer affected by factory warranty? That's the kind of shit you can easily get behind.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:45PM (#47682711) Homepage

    Tesla is sending a message.

    Their message is, "we are not GM, we care about the customer instead of trying to ignore and rip off the customer"

    If a company stands behind their product they offer a very long life warranty. If they know their product is crap, you get a short warranty. There is a reason that GM cars come with 36,000 mile 3 year warranties..

  • by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:53PM (#47682735)

    I see Elon Musk as a sort of Pablo Escobar, Gaining insane profits over crooked system and other's suffering, Who then tries to create a new PR image of himself as a great man. Remember, I don't think ether one is doing it for cathartic reason but instead to boost their egos through better public image hoping to secure a good spot in the history books. Just like Carnegie and Rockefeller...

    You clearly don't know shit about Carnegie if you can compare Musk with that bastard.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:27AM (#47683173)

    Not really, in fact, 125,000 miles is a pretty long way after you'd expect to see major issues with most of the seals on the engine, and quite possibly complete failure on some cars.

  • by Chuckstar (799005) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:31AM (#47683189)

    The point was that only the GM cars have the problem that heavy stuff attached to the key can turn your car off in the middle of driving down the road. It's especially a problem with rental cars, because they have heavy stuff attached to the keys as a matter of course.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:50AM (#47683231) Homepage

    Actually, it sounds more like drive unit failures are happening more often than expected and are so expensive that it could cause them some serious bad press so they are eating the cost (which is likely actually a small fraction of what the out of warranty cost to the customer would be) of folding it into the warranty.

    Not that I'm ragging on Tesla or anything. I just think your analysis may be the reverse of the actual situation

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:36AM (#47683367)

    Then he shouldn't buy one. We're all agreed. For those of you in places where it gets below -22, and where you will consider buying an 80k car but not putting minor heat and an insulated door into your garage, best not to buy one. For the few remaining people where that doesn't apply, you can still consider getting a Tesla.

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @10:07AM (#47684271)

    Assuming that the car is plugged in to charge at night it will heat the battery to keep the temperature at an acceptable level.

    I wonder what people with gasoline and diesel vehicles do? Lessee.........

    Why, they use engine block heaters.

    They use battery heaters.

    They have outlets on parking meters to plug these devices in.

    Heck, before the weather warmed up, I had block and battery heaters on my vehicles in Pennsylvania.

    I've heard that once upon a time they would start small fires under diesel tractors to wam them up to start, but can't confirm that

    Or, they'd just leave them running all the time.

    So please spare us the idea that the Tesla is a precious little snowflake that cannot handle the cold like those big tough Internal combustion engines. At upper Minnesota temps, all vehicles need some thermal considerations.

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