Not many Tesla owners brought their car to the point where it shows its age.
The Quartz website conducted a study using Tesloop, a shuttle service from Southern California. The company’s fleet of seven vehicles—a mix of Model Xs, Model 3s and a Model S—are now among the highest-mileage Teslas in the world. They zip almost daily between Los Angeles, San Diego, and destinations in between. Each of Tesloop’s cars are regularly racking up about 17,000 miles per month (roughly eight times the average for corporate fleet mileage). Many need to fully recharge at least twice each day.
The Tesloop an extreme testbed for the durability of Elon Musk’s cars. Tesloop provided Quartz with five years of maintenance logs, where its vehicles racked up over more than 2.5 million miles, to understand how the electric vehicles (EV) are living up to the promise of cheaper vehicles with unprecedented durability compared to their conventional combustion-engine counterparts.
The results reveal Tesla to be a company still ironing out bugs in its products, but one that pushes the limits of what vehicles can do. “When we first started our company, we predicted the drive train would practically last forever,” said Tesloop founder Haydn Sonnad. “That’s proven to be relatively true.” He notes that every car except one, a vehicle taken out of service after a collision with a drunk driver, is still running. “The cars have never died of old age,” he added.
Tesloop has also had a few battery replacements (all of them under warranty). They were swapped out due to factory or installation issues.
Also for all this time among the entire fleet, was replaced: two axels, a row of seats, door handlese in the Model S, a windshield, and a flash memory chip.
Sonnad said repair was not a surprise after such intensive use of the product. Sonnad is now switching his fleet to Tesla’s latest vehicle and expects the Model 3 to not only bring down maintenance costs, but ultimately half ownership costs compared to Model S or X.
In general, driving a fleet of Tesla cars is much more profitable from an economic point of view. An additional bonus is that owner of electric vehicles don't need to spend a lot of time servicing their car, for example, changing oil.
If EVs continued to perform well past this point, the economics of the car market could change. Lower electricity prices and longer-lasting vehicles reduce the total cost of ownership compared to conventional vehicles.
Sonnad predicts Tesloop’s Model 3 fleet will see total costs (which includes depreciation, or how much value the car loses before its sold) fall as low as $0.18 to $0.25 per mile after driving past 500,000 miles. That’s less than premium brands such as Mercedes, and even lower than the $0.32 to $0.35 for standard sedans. If high-mileage EVs can be outfitted with cheap refurbished battery packs, Sonnad predicts high-mileage cars that can retain their value will transform the car market collapsing the residual values of used gas cars.
Electric cars are the future, and with Tesla cars you are guaranteed to receive hundreds of thousands of driving miles. For today, there are already many examples of the fact that Tesla cars are durable and require much lower economic costs of maintenance than gas-powered cars.
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.