Tesla Model S: (almost) no maintenance required

The Tesla Model S has gotten a lot of press in recent months, but one of the more remarkable features of the car is the maintenance required – or lack thereof.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File
Visitors to the Capitol had the opportunity to inspect the Tesla Motors Model S electric sedan on display in Sacramento, Calif., in June.

The Tesla Model S battery-electric luxury sedan is a remarkable car, and it's elevated the public perception of electric cars to a new level.

It's won awards, thrilled thousands of buyers, and demolished a lot of stereotypes.

But among the things you may not know about Tesla is this: The Model S requires almost no maintenance.

Like pretty much any battery-electric vehicle, a Model S lacks many of the components that go wrong in gasoline cars.

Without the valves, camshafts,a crankshaft, connecting rods, gears, clutches, and more found in a gasoline car, the Tesla Model S, like any battery-electric car, needs almost no almost no regular adjustment.

About the only parts that need regular replacement are four tires and two windshield wiper blades.

Even brake pads, which you might expect to need regular replacement on such a high-performance car, last many times longer than those on comparable gasoline cars.

That's because the bulk of a Tesla's slowing power comes from regrenerative braking, or turning the motor into a generator to recharge the battery pack, slowing the car in the process.

The friction brakes are still there for hard or panic braking, of course, but they're used only a fraction as much.

(The same is true for hybrids, by the way. Ask your nearest Prius owner how long their brake pads last.)

A German study found that over eight years, battery-electric cars will be one-third less expensive to maintain--and many analysts view that as conservative.

Under its $600 annual service and update program, Teslas technicians will inspect the cooling systems for the battery pack, drive motor, and power electronics to ensure that everything's in good working order.

And they'll make any running updates that Tesla has decided older Model S cars should be retrofitted with.

Otherwise, there just aren't that many moving parts in a Model S to go wrong.

In fact, Ford compiled a list of all the parts its Focus Electric doesn't have, showing just how little maintenance the car needs.

That fact has a number of forward-thinking car mechanics very, very worried.

But we tend to think they'll have lots of work left for decades keeping older German luxury cars on the road.

Ask anyone who's ever tried to keep an older Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz in full working order, and they'll know exactly what we're talking about here.


Follow Motor Authority on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Tesla Model S: (almost) no maintenance required
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today