Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

2016 Tesla Model S P100D

One of the perks of owning an electric car is that, for the most part, they require much less maintenance than their internal-combustion counterparts. Tesla is acknowledging that fact in the way it handles the servicing of customer cars. Instead of adhering to a maintenance schedule, Tesla’s new policy only asks customers to bring their cars in for maintenance on an as-needed basis.

Internal-combustion cars must adhere to maintenance schedules. They need regular oil changes, and replacement of wear items like tires, brakes, and belts. Gasoline and diesel engines have vastly more parts than electric motors, and they are coupled to transmissions that bring their own maintenance needs. There are many opportunities for something to go wrong.

In contrast, electric cars don’t require oil changes. Many vehicles also rely heavily on regenerative braking, which uses energy from slowing the car down to recharge the battery pack, rather than the car’s mechanical brakes. That means brake pads and rotors may last longer. Brake fluid must still be checked every two years for water contamination, however, and tires must be replaced when they wear out.

Many problems with Tesla’s software-dependent cars can also be fixed through over-the-air updates. Customers don’t need to take their cars to Tesla service centers unless a physical part needs to be replaced. Because that isn’t necessary most of the time, Tesla will stop pushing prepaid maintenance plans for customers, while continuing to honor existing plans.

The new policy is another demonstration of how Tesla’s philosophy differs from that of traditional franchised car dealers. Maintenance is a major source of revenue for dealers, which may explain why many seem reluctant to sell electric cars. Rather than using traditional dealerships, Tesla sells cars directly to customers online, while maintaining some brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms with a small inventory of cars for test drives. The setup is a positive for Tesla customers, but has caused some regulatory pushback as dealer groups have fought the direct-sales concept in multiple states.

Tesla recently unveiled its latest electric vehicle, the Model Y, and is still working to ramp up production of the entry-level version of the Model 3. A high-performance Roadster sports car and an electric semi truck are also in the pipeline, giving Tesla plenty to do over the next few years.


Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…