Tesla claims its revamped warranty and service program is the ‘world’s best,’ even if you brick your car

tesla-model-sTesla Motors is used to doing things in a big way. Its Model S sedan owns nearly every superlative in the EV realm and gets recharged from something called a “Supercharger.” The company also invented a radical new way to sell these cars, so radical that it’s illegal in many states.

Given that, it’s not surprising that Tesla is extending that same mentality and excellence to one of the less sexy aspects of car ownership: warranties and dealer service.

Tesla says Model S owners will benefit from the “world’s best service and warranty program,” but what does that actually mean?

First off, Tesla is making maintenance cheaper and more convenient. The $600 annual service contract required to preserve warranty coverage is no longer mandatory. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk had to admit that it was a bit excessive for a car that doesn’t need oil changes.

“We made a slight mistake,” Musk said in a recent press conference, ”in making the service fee mandatory.”

Tesla will also offer valet service and loaner cars free of charge when Model S owners do need to bring their cars in for maintenance.

The loaners will be top-of-the-line 85-kWh Performance models, and each Tesla Service Center will have between two and 10 of the cars. The Service Centers are standalone facilities, separate from Tesla’s mall-based showrooms.

If owners decide they prefer the loaner car to their own, Tesla will sell it to them for its MSRP minus one percent for each month it’s been in service and $1 for each mile on the odometer.

This may sound excessive, but dealers do sometimes have problems getting customers to return loaner cars that are the same as, or in newer condition than, the cars they sent in to be serviced. Tesla might even get a few owners of lesser Model Ss to upgrade.

Critically, Tesla is also expanding its warranty coverage to include “user error,” a complete about-face from the company’s response to the “bricking” of Roadsters, in which battery packs were accidentally allowed to fully drain and were destroyed, rendering the cars immobile.

At the time, Tesla stated that “bricking” was the equivalent of an internal combustion car being run without its oil changed, clearly placing the problem into the “user error” category.

While Musk did not explicitly mention the Roadster bricking problem in his remarks, he did say that the changes to the warranty were made to address concerns over battery packs.

“We want to say, don’t worry about the battery, it’s going to be fine,” Musk said.

It’s hard to say what makes an automotive warranty the “world’s best,” but Tesla’s changes to it coverage and service programs should make people feel more comfortable owning the company’s cars, which is no small feat for vehicles packed with technology that is about as new as new gets.


Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.