Tesla Motors has always been an ambitious gamble to grab the attention of the driving public. The very much luxurious Model S is still way behind on deliveries, over 10,000 still waiting in the wings for their piece of the brand.
We all know that rechargeable batteries do not last forever. After about five hundred cycles, maybe 100,000 miles on a Tesla Model S, the lithium-ion [Li-ion] battery packs start to degrade, and drivers will experience reduced range and power output.
A thousand cycles is about the maximum you could expect for an automobile Li-ion battery, under ideal conditions, which would be about 200,000 miles or seventeen years. Does anyone keep their cars that long anymore? Right now, the average age of vehicles on the road is only nine years, and new cars are typically only being kept six years, which makes Tesla’s offering all the more disturbing.
Tesla Motors Battery Replacement Option [BRO] “allows you to pre-purchase a new battery to be installed after eight years for a fixed price: $8,000 for 40 kWh batteries, $10,000 for 60 kWh batteries, and $12,000 for 85 kWh batteries.” Are any of these Model S going to be on the road in eight years? Are any Model S owners going to keep them after eight years? Is Tesla Motors even going to exist in eight years? (e.d. Let’s hope so, for the sake of the clean automobile industry).
I believe that Tesla Motors has a great product and that more people should be interested in the technology, but is Tesla asking for a little bit too much faith with the BRO program? Considering that batteries aren’t the only thing that tend to wear out on vehicles of any kind, asking for this kind of money up front could be too far out there. Besides, the battery warranty is already eight years or 100,000 miles. I don’t know what they consider a warrantable battery replacement condition though.