Tesla Motors has announced today that they're beefing up their already very solid warranty and services offerings for the Model S electric car (which apparently has been selling very well). Elon Musk, the company's CEO, has written a very good blog post explaining all the changes, so rather than paraphrase him, here's choice excerpts:
A fleet of top-of-the line loaners that you can even buy
The best way to experience service is, of course, not to experience service. If your car does need service, then it should be swapped with a car that is ideally better in some or many ways. To this end, Tesla is building a fleet of top of the line Model S loaners. These will not be our basic model – they will be state of the art with all the best features and options.Nor will this eventually become an aging fleet of overused cars. The loaners will be available for immediate purchase at a price that is lower by 1% per month of age and $1 per mile. If you like the service loaner more than your other car, you can just keep it. This ensures that the service fleet is constantly refreshed and gives customers the best optionality.
For an added bit of fun, customers in most markets will have the choice of taking home one of our Tesla Roadster sports cars when their car is in for service. Few experiences are more sublime than driving a beautiful electric sports car on a road along the ocean or through a forest with the top down on a summer day and hearing only the sounds of nature.
They even offer - at no extra cost - a valet servie that will go pick up your car and replace it with the loaner, and then swap it back when service is completed. Now that's thinking of the customer!
This is a very different approach from many other car-makers who will loan you one of their least expensive base models. If it can attract more people to electric cars and make life easier for people, why not.
Making the annual service optionalGas and diesel vehicles have accustomed people to annual services, but EVs are different and Tesla wants to highlight that and increase flexibility for its customers:
Unlike gasoline cars, an electric car doesn’t need oil changes, fuel filters, spark plugs, smog checks, etc., which are only needed if the mode of locomotion involves burning oil derived products. For an electric car, you don’t even need to replace the brake pads, because most of the braking energy is regeneratively captured by the motor and returned to the battery.
As such, we are comfortable making the annual checkup entirely optional. There is still value to having Tesla look at the car once a year for things like tire alignment, to address a few things here & there and perform any hardware upgrades – our goal is not just to fix things, but to make the car better than it was. However, even if you never bring in the car, your warranty is still valid.
Bullet proof unconditional battery warrantyLast but not least is the beefed up battery warranty:
The battery pack in your car is obviously very important and expensive to replace. In developing the Model S, we took great care to ensure that the battery would protect itself, always retaining a few percent of energy. If something goes wrong, it is therefore our fault, not yours.
Except in the cases of a collision, opening of the battery pack by non-Tesla personnel or intentional abuse (lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered!), all damage is covered by warranty, including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end. The battery will be replaced at no cost by a factory reconditioned unit with an energy capacity equal to or better than the original pack before the failure occurred.
The intent is to provide complete peace of mind about owning your Model S even if you never read or followed the instructions in the manual.
That's it. Isn't it refreshing to have company do things like this? It's pretty rare.