It appears that Tesla's new $600-per-year service program for its Model S is not going over well with some of the owners and wait-listers. David Noland, a Model S reservation holder and freelance writer, has dug into it the details and clarified the one he's finding most annoying. And as it turns out, he's not the only one taking issue with the program.

According to Green Car Reports, Noland owns a 2011 Chevrolet Volt and likes the service coverage for the plug-in hybrid's electric motor and battery thermal-management system. It only needs minimal maintenance – a $49 annual system check at a local dealer and a $35 oil change every two years. That's $84 for two years of routine maintenance. For the Model S, it's a lot higher: $600 per year, and that electric car doesn't even need the oil change.

Tesla's official website says that the annual fee includes an inspection, replacement parts such as brakes and windshield wipers, roadside assistance, system monitoring, remote diagnostics and software updates, so it is more comprehensive. Looking for more detailed information, Noland contacted Tesla's public relations department but reportedly never heard back. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, though, did eventually respond to Noland's questions. "We are matching service cost to be less than a Mercedes of comparable purchase price," Musk wrote. "This basically amounts to $50/month and covers all software upgrades as well as concierge level service."

When Noland responded with a question about whether Tesla owners who opt out of the service program won't receive software upgrades, Musk apparently didn't respond.

Scroll down to continue reading...

Further investigation showed that the matter is even more serious. In a recent blog post on Tesla Motor Club forum, Tesla's vice president, George Blankenship, made the policy more clear in comments on a post about the new service plans: failure to pay $600 for an annual inspection voids the warranty. Plus, any visit to a non-Tesla shop for any type of service will void the warranty, a provision that could run afoul of the law.

This isn't going over well with Model S owners. In a Tesla Motors Club forum survey, 12 percent agreed that Tesla had "screwed the pooch," and would cancel their orders. About 48 percent think the price is too high but will reluctantly pay it since they don't think they have another choice. Only nine percent think it's a great deal worth every dollar.

Noland thinks it's odd that Tesla is taking what looks like the opposite approach with the Supercharger, offering the fast charging for free. He'd like to see Tesla do something similar with its Model S maintenance plan, or at least follow the example of BMW, where every one of its luxury cars comes with four years/50,000 miles of included service.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 180 Comments
      johnnythemoney
      • 6 Months Ago
      Seriously, did they expect a market shacking new car and tech to be that cheap or for free? Yes, it's quite a lot of money, and likely you wouldn't spend as much if they made you pay every single thing instead of a 600$/y thing. On the other hand, I think software upgrades should be free period, regardless of the car, tech, or anything else. I also see why this is mandatory to keep the car covered by their warranty. Electric motors and batteries may be common, but their automotive application is not so much obvious, so I'm not surprised they don't want anybody else messing around with the car. Would I pay 600$/y for all the maintenance and upgrades on this car? Yes. Am I in the line for a Model S? Unfortunately not. Of course offer me the same deal for 100$/y and I'd happily take it, but considered the car, its tech, its market, its customers, I don't think it's such an outrageous price. And as mentioned by others, 84$/y isn't just possible not for the Volt but on any car if you follow all the required steps. Plus you'd have to pay for wipers ;)
        Rotation
        • 6 Months Ago
        @johnnythemoney
        So far, the cars are $80-$90K that's not cheap.
      ss1591
      • 6 Months Ago
      I am willing to bet that no court in the land will allow them to void a warranty based on not paying a fee! It is also against the law to mandate an owner must take their car back to the dealer for service to maintain a warranty. Musk will learn the hard way in this case plus have people refuse to buy the car.
        Randy
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        Great point on point 1 but it's not against the law to require dealer maintainance. You can always self repair but it could void your warranty such was the case on my dodge charger which required dealer repair and service on the transmission. Non dealer shops won't touch them because A they don't have the proprietary tools and B its says dealer maintenance only right in the parts. I learned that when I went for a transmission fluid flush and change. This Ian what the RIGHT TO REPAIR bill that registered voters can vote on this upcoming election. Check it out. I know how I'm voting!
          Marco Polo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Randy
          @ Randy All manufacturers have the right to insist on genuine parts and authorized service to validate warranties. Any other arrangement would result in even more litigation. If you don't like the vehicles terms and conditions, buy a different product. All manufacturers must honour 'inherent warranty' , ( the product was free from manufacturing defects at the time of sale). But, you would be very foolish to 'home service' an expensive luxury car, since a large part of the re-sale value is the service book stamped by the dealer at the right intervals.
          Rotation
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Randy
          Marco Polo: Under our laws, manufacturers do not have that right. No bundling of service costs is allowed to maintain a warranty. If you want to do the work done elsewhere and it is done to an equivalent level regardless of parts source, then you are in the clear.
      S.
      • 6 Months Ago
      Death by snu-snu!
      Drakkon
      • 6 Months Ago
      I thought about this one for a while before I commented. I was thinkning about in the 1990s when people I knew would buy or lease a BWM or Volvo or Audi and suffer through the maintenance, then say 'NEVER AGAIN!' The I thought about all these newer programs of 'free scheduled maintenance' and 'pre-paid maintenance' and it struck me, it's a lot like the cell-phone black hole 100% of us live in. We overpay every month for our service so we get a great deal on the newest phone for $99. We are subsidizing the equipment with the service. The auto makers have it turned backwards. There is no 'free' maintenance. You paid for it one way or the other. Is $600 about the right cost and we're actually paying for it? Are they not playing the bait and switch that the cell-phone carriers do? Is this model more sustainable than what BWM-Mini and VW-Audi are doing? I see other people who have actually done business with Telsa not happy about the situation. Transparency is always better, it's a symptom of a business that has not done this before. But I wonder if in the end, it doesn't end up better for the consumer & the automaker.
      Zapbrannigan
      • 6 Months Ago
      Disappointing, really just says look we need the cash flow. Should be half that, $300 would be reasonable and shouldn't interfere with the warranty if you opt out,
        Brian H
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Zapbrannigan
        Actually, as long as owners get an "annual inspection" at approved servicers, they're cool. Of course, no one but TM has yet developed such capabilities. That may/should change over time.
          Zapbrannigan
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Brian H
          Yeah that sounds better, although $600 is just a tad high - thing is they are wiping out a big reason to get the car in the first place, which is lower running costs compared to a gas car. Not saying that's the only reason as the model S is an awesome bit of kit, but they really should think again at asking so much for a mandatory service.
      knodoctor
      • 6 Months Ago
      Oh, and in other news, Greenies: A123 bateries IS bankrupt. See Article in Autoblog
      William
      • 2 Years Ago
      for a vehicle as complicated as the tesla and for what it cost upfront 600 per yr is nothing! quit counting pennies when you just spent 95k on the car. what it supposed to cost nothing to up keep???? shesh you dont have to put gas in it! folks driving 750LI BMWs are spending thousands on gas even with a maintenance program that covers everything for 50k. I got 600 bucks all day long if that all i have to spend to get updates keep everything working properly and no worries. come on!!
        Brian H
        • 6 Months Ago
        @William
        Yes, "everything but the tires". Seems like a fair sharing of "risk" for a brand new product with no service history.
      cynicalrick
      • 6 Months Ago
      WAAAAAAA! $ 50 per month to maintain an $ 70,000 + car doesn't sound like much.
        theflew
        • 6 Months Ago
        @cynicalrick
        The problem isn't the $50/month. The questions is what needs to be repaired/fixed in a $70k car for $600/yr.
      Jonathan
      • 6 Months Ago
      I cancelled my reservation already.. I think it's a marketing scam.. market model s at $49k but once you include everything else.. it's a very expensive car..
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Jonathan
        Sorry to lose you. Tesla is a new company and everything needs to be paid for for them to survive. There is definitely a monetary penalty for being an "early adopter." It's part of the reason I'm waiting for the Gen III.
        purrpullberra
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Jonathan
        BS. I need your reservation number and moniker for the Tesla websites, or you are a liar. And Grendal is right, there are monetary penalties for early adoption of new high-tech items. I highly doubt you've canceled anything. But if you did you will regret it in less than a year! How long have you waited (or pretended) and this is enough to throw in the towel... OK, your loss.
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      You are a wart on humanity. Please leave the sane people to rationally discuss cars and comment on them. You are the definition of troll. Which means you have nothing of substance to add. thor petersen/knodoctor and you still drive a gas guzzling car and you are proud of it. Go enjoy it and leave the normal people alone.
      Scr
      • 6 Months Ago
      So, its like Apple, just with cars? You can't service anything ouside of an apple store and pay through the nose for the honor of doing so.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Scr
        There are Apple certified repair shops that aren't Apple stores. I know, because I'm always having to bring my boss's iMac in for different issues.
      Brian H
      • 6 Months Ago
      Over the long term maintenance will probable be much less. But TM has zero yrs. service history to base its "cost guesses" on. Give it time.
    • Load More Comments