Tesla answers critics with new 8-year warranty

Tesla Model S
Tesla Motors has extended the warranty on its Model S electric cars to eight years, and made the warranty retroactive, perhaps in response to criticism from auto industry experts.
(Paul Sakuma / AP)

Tesla Motors Inc., perhaps responding to less than stellar reviews of its Model S electric car, is offering a new eight-year, unlimited-mileage warranty for its drive unit and battery pack.

The generous warranty will cover all Model S cars already on the road, and will extend to new owners when the cars change hands.

It extends the previous warranty, which was for four years or 50,000 miles.

The company may have issued the warranty announcement in response to mixed long-term-use reviews from the online car website and by Consumer Reports. Both publications drove the Model S for extended periods -- Edmunds for 18 months, Consumer Reports for 15,000 miles -- and both experienced multiple difficulties with the car, including roadside breakdowns.


Tesla chief executive and co-founder Elon Musk, making the announcement on the company’s website, said the new warranty would extend retroactively to “all Model S vehicles ever produced,” and admitted that the company should have offered a better warranty from the start.

“If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that,” Musk wrote.

He also told Tesla investors that the new policy would have “a moderately negative effect on Tesla earnings in the short term, as our warranty reserves will necessarily have to increase above current levels.”

Twitter: @misterfleming



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