Battery warranty Model S

Battery warranty Model S

I have a simple and clear question, but never could get an answer:

Battery warranty from Model S: 8 years and unlimited km. What does it mean?
Everybody knows that battery-capacty is loosing over time.
If the capacity after 8 years is for instance 70%, what will happen with the warranty? It will replaced or not?

TFMethane | June 3, 2013

I have this same question. Elon musk seemed so forceful in his recent battery guarantee. But, you are right: the specific parameters of what would qualify for replacement haven't been defined as far as I've seen.

amirm | June 3, 2013

That is indeed the basic question. I was surprised it was not asked in his warranty media announcement a few weeks ago.

lolachampcar | June 3, 2013

Tesla has not addressed this issue because they do not want to address the issue. Anyone wishing to harm the company or generate press with negative information will quickly latch onto anything Tesla says or puts into writing about the battery in X number of years.

It is a little frustrating for owners but probably still a good practice on Tesla's part. As an owner, I simply went over to TMC and looked at Roadster owner's experiences which are very well documented. I then assumed Tesla would better Roadster performance given the task specific cell design and the improved environmental management.

Jolinar | June 3, 2013

From what I know, battery warrany is for everything (including manufacturing defects and bricking issue due to not reading manual) except capacity loss over time (no car manufacturer warranting this).

dtesla | June 3, 2013

I e-mailed to find out when a % loss of range becomes a warranty issue. They replied that if my battery drops below 70% TM would replace it.

DouglasR | June 3, 2013

Wow, thanks dtesla! That 70% number has been batted around a lot, but that's the first time I have seen any confirmation of it.

nickjhowe | June 3, 2013

Now if only they'd write that down somewhere so we could believe it...

Bob W | June 3, 2013

Well, at the Menlo Park get-together yesterday Kim from the Santana Row location said they were told to say that "anything over 20% degradation in 8 years" would be considered a warranty service item. So we really need an official written commitment on the battery warranty.

20% degradation after 8 years seems reasonable, 30% does not. 70% * 60 kWh/85 kWh * 265 EPA miles = only 130 miles EPA rated range for a fully charged 60 kWh Model S, which could lead to quite a bit of range anxiety between many existing and proposed SuperChargers.

DouglasR | June 3, 2013

What do you call anxiety about getting range anxiety? We are worrying about something that may happen in eight years IF the battery degrades faster than expected and IF TM is unwilling to step up and replace it because the warranty was not that clear. The batteries on the Roadster have held up very well. Those on the Model S are likely to last even longer. I'd much rather have a battery that is likely to hold up well for 10 or 15 or 20 years than a battery that won't last so long but has a crystal clear, bang-up warranty.

Carefree | June 3, 2013

I honestly don't worry about it. Elon made it very clear that he does not want us to worry about battery life - hence the unconditional warranty. He'll do the right thing should there be a more rapid degradation of battery longevity than expected. He doesn't want any bad press related to his batteries.

dborn | June 3, 2013

True, unless it becomes the icar s!!! New owner...... Who knows....

dtesla | June 4, 2013

I assume the 70% is conservative. Between the Roadster and MS battery testing they must know how the battery will hold up over time. Tesla wants to keep warranty issues to a minimum. So under extreme conditions they may need to replace a battery. For most of us I would expect 10-20% loss of capacity after 8 years. My experience with batteries is they loss more capacity per year up in the early years.

carlk | June 4, 2013

It's probably not something people need to worry about. Tesla would not offer the warranty if they think there will be a significant number of battery failure no matter if it's 20% or 30% loss of capacity. Most cars I believe will do better than that.

Although it's not the same technology but people worried about Prius battery life in the begining too. Toyota offered 100K mile, 150K in California, replacement warranty. It turned out many Prius got 200K+ miles on the battery and are still going strong.

Another thing is 10 years from now we should be able to get cheaper and/or higher capacity battery even if there is a need for replacement.

Brian H | June 4, 2013

Yes, manufacturers do not like to "cut it close" with warrantees. They're generally set for about half the time they (and their engineers) really expect.

Brian H | June 4, 2013

A few, of course, have mastered the art of timing failure to days or weeks after the warrantees expire. This requires very precise design and control of quality levels, naturally. I doubt TM has achieved this level of skill yet. >;)

Jolinar | June 4, 2013

Brian, I hope they never will.

Atlantis | June 4, 2013

I asked this question in a Tech Talk last week.

Speaker's main points were:
1) battery degrades everyday
2) battery degradation is non-linear over time; meaning it starts very very slow, but after 4-5 years, it gets faster
3) after the first 5 years, degradation may be as low as 5%. But by the 8th year, they expect about 30% degradation.
4) every evening, performance statistics are collected from all the cars and battery performance is assessed. If a few cars are degrading substantially faster than the cohort, TM will proactively call the customer and ask him/her to come over for a battery inspection/replacement.
5) there is an average rate of battery degradation that they expect (their models predict), but they are not publicizing that. The actual rate of degradation will be determined by the average performance of all the cars.
6) last, but not least, because TM really cares about its reputation and credibility, if they feel degradation on a car is normal, but the customer is very unsatisfied, for reputation's sake, TM will most likely provide a replacement.

Morale of the story:
1) don't worry
2) if you thought it has degraded too much, take it to a service center
3) if you weren't happy with the result, take them to the social notworks :)

leclair.frederic | August 14, 2013

In the BATTERY clause of the Serie S contract it is written:

"Lithium-ion batteries will experience gradual capacity loss with time and use, which is NOT covered under warranty."

There is nothing that speaks of abnormal battery degradation warranty. Even according to this, they just say battery capacity will decline gradually and they are "NOT" covering it under warranty.

This actually makes me doubt very much about going forward with my purchase that I was so enthusiastic about...

dtesla | August 14, 2013

I emailed and asked this very question. They told me anything above 70% loss during the 8 years is consider abnormal and is covered by the warranty. They also added they would expect substantially less loss over the 8 years warranty period.

In the 8K miles/7 months that I have owned the car (i.e. not very long), I have not experienced any battery loss. I even had a 1/2 day on the Richmond International Raceway, with 40 other MS + 2 Roadsters, when the car was driven fairly hard (about 1000 watts/mile for 20 miles).

Also the Roadster has been out for years so we have a good idea how that older (and poorer) technology is holding up. The Roadster appears to be doing well.

TS | August 14, 2013

EU ver. warranty limitations:
The Battery, like all lithium-ion batteries, will experience gradual energy or power loss with time and use. Loss of Battery energy or power over time or due to or resulting from Battery usage, is NOT covered under this Battery Limited Warranty. See your owner documentation for important information on how to maximize the life and capacity of the Battery.

leclair.frederic | August 14, 2013

This is the warranty text from owner warranty manual:

Battery Limited Warranty
The Model S lithium-ion battery (the “Battery”) is an extremely sophisticated powertrain
component designed to withstand extreme driving conditions. You can rest easy knowing that
Tesla’s state-of-the-art Battery is backed by this Battery Limited Warranty, which covers the repair
or replacement of any malfunctioning or defective Battery, subject to the limitations described
below. If your Battery requires warranty service, Tesla will repair the unit, or replace it with a factory
reconditioned unit that has an energy capacity at least equal to that of the original Battery before
the failure occurred. Your vehicle’s Battery is covered under this Battery Limited Warranty for a
period of 8 years or for the number of miles/km specified below for your Battery configuration,
whichever comes first:
• 60 kWh - 125,000 miles (200,000 km)
• 85 kWh - unlimited miles/km
Despite the breadth of this warranty, damage resulting from intentional abuse (including
intentionally ignoring active vehicle warnings), a collision or accident, or the servicing or opening of
the Battery by non-Tesla personnel, is not covered under this Battery Limited Warranty.
In addition, damage resulting from the following activities are not covered under this Battery
Limited Warranty:
• Exposing the vehicle to ambient temperatures above 140°F (60°C) or below -22°F (-30°C) for
more than 24 hours at a time;
• Physically damaging the Battery, or intentionally attempting, either by physical means,
programming, or other methods, to extend (other than as specified in your owner
documentation) or reduce the life of the Battery;
• Exposing the Battery to direct flame; or,
• Flooding of the Battery.
The Battery, like all lithium-ion batteries, will experience gradual energy or power loss with time and
use. Loss of Battery energy or power over time or due to or resulting from Battery usage, is NOT
covered under this Battery Limited Warranty. See your owner documentation for important
information on how to maximize the life and capacity of the Battery.

Silva | August 18, 2013

On the BMW i3 homepage you will find
"The high-voltage battery is guaranteed for eight years or 100'000 km for 70% of the charging capacity".

If this is no problem at all for Tesla, why the Battery Limited Warranty does not have such a warranty clause?

bp | August 18, 2013


Tesla should update the battery warranty.

While Tesla staff may be correct that their internal policy guarantees at least 70% - until it's in the written policy, then it's not a real guarantee...

Justinde | August 25, 2013

If the battery capacity drops to 70% or lower before 8 years (in the 85)thereby triggering the battery warranty, it sounds like they may replace it with a factory reconditioned unit that has an energy capacity at least equal to that of the original Battery. Is it at TM's discretion as to what the energy capacity of the replacement battery is? Technically it could be a reconditioned unit at 72%; which essentially means we'd need to buy a new battery shortly thereafter.

bp | August 26, 2013

Justinde can you point to the official, written, statement from Tesla that they guarantee capacity will be at least 70%?

I haven't been able to find any specific reference to a minimum acceptable capacity.

Justinde | August 26, 2013

bp, no official statement I've been able to uncover but I asked for a written email statement from inside sales and Here is the response:

"Essentially each battery is handled on a case by case basis and is compared to other Model S batteries with similar conditions (age, mileage, climate, etc) and if a battery is vastly different in its charge capacity than it will be replaced.We have done extensive R&D on our batteries and while I don’t have exact numbers available for battery degradation, I have asked our Ownership Experience team and they replied that you should likely expect 75% of original capacity after 8 years. There are Roadsters that have been on the road for 5 years and only experienced a power loss of 10%, and the battery in a Model S is superior."

reiter2000 | March 28, 2014

I was interested in purchasing a model S. I tried repeatedly to find out what criteria was used for warranty replacement of the battery. But Telsa would not answer me.

I also tried to find out whether a battery replaced under warranty was new or used. But Tesla would not answer me.

I also tried to find out whether a battery replaced under warranty was replaced without charge or if there was a pro-rata charge for time used, and if so the base price of the battery. But Tesla would not answer me.

I also tried to find out the price Tesla would charge for a battery today if replacement was necessary that was not covered by warranty. But Tesla would not answer me.

Sudre_ | March 28, 2014

$44,564 +600 for labor is the current going price for a battery. I can't think of any reason you would be replacing it at your cost.

Most likely the battery you would get would be refurbished.

People have already had batteries replaced under warranty and there was no charge. With any luck they will see this post and chime in.

I understand your concern because you are used to the abuse from car dealerships and other manufactures that throw their customers out to the wolves. Tesla has not been like that. They have so far been the complete opposite. They make recalls and corrections even when it is not required. The added battery armor is a perfect example. NHTSA cleared them from the battery fires and Tesla still chose to add extra armor to further protect the battery. They will even replace the battery for free if it is damaged from a road debris puncture.

Do you think any other car manufacture is going to replace the gas tank if it get punctured by road debris?

Thomas N. | March 28, 2014

"People have already had batteries replaced under warranty and there was no charge."

Funny statement.

Brian H | March 28, 2014

Is a no-charge battery like a free dribble glass? ;p

bp | March 29, 2014

The battery pack and electric motor are both replaceable parts - that Tesla can take back to their factory and refurbish.

It's possible that should a battery pack degrade considerably, it may be possible to refurbish the battery and gain considerable range, at a lower cost than a new battery pack. If that's the case, if/when this becomes an issue for owners - the cost for a replacement pack (which could be refurbished) may be considerably lower than a brand new pack.

With some of the early Model S's now with considerable mileage - and not yet showing any significant degradation, this may not be a major concern.

However, Tesla could allay customer fears by including a range guarantee in the battery warranty - and providing a replacement plan - at a reasonable cost.

Andrew_OH_S60andS70D | May 23, 2014

Over 8 years, battery density and efficiency will increase. I imagine that Tesla would be able to replace a portion of the existing battery pack with new, denser cells to bring the range back up. It seems reasonable that this could be done instead of changing out the entire battery pack. This option would also be attractive to me, as I am a 60 owner. In five years, I would be willing to pay for an upgrade to an 85 that would not involve purchasing an entirely new battery pack. It's my understanding the microwave in the frunk was originally designed as an overflow for the battery pack. It would also be nice to be able to rent and additional range pack that plugs in that area.

Out4aDuck | May 23, 2014

Andrew, you would have to replace all of the cells in the pack. It's hard enough to maintain charge balance when all off the cells are a matched set. If there are different cell technologies, it would be impossible.

Certainly, cell replacement is practical and is being done today. Virtually all of the battery pack replacements in the field are remanufactured by Tesla.

m2s2 | May 23, 2014

I am new to the forum so pardon ignorance. My car arrives June 28th. How does the battery swap effect this issue. Is tesla still planning on battery swaps for rapid charging? And would this in effect replace ones battery?

theapple | May 23, 2014

m2s2, As I have heard, the battery swap is intended to be temporary. After your trip, you are supposed to return to the swap station and pick up your original battery, or else be charged for the replacement. As far as I know, they haven't made any definitive plans to actually build swap stations.

Red Sage ca us | May 23, 2014

Naysayers and conspiracy theorists have claimed that the battery swap demonstration was faked in order to get extra EV credits from the Great State of California.

I think it is more likely that Tesla isn't able to set aside batteries for use in battery swap arrays at Supercharger stations because they need all the batteries they can get to build cars and/or offer to SolarCity as fixed backup storage.

At this point, I'd expect the automated battery swap locations won't become a widely available option prior to the Gigafactory being in full swing.

Thomas N. | May 23, 2014

My opinion is that battery swap will never be implemented in the field. My opinion is worthless, but it's my opinion.

SCCRENDO.Ca.US | May 23, 2014

Don't count on the battery swap. If it happens count it as a bonus.

AmpedRealtor | May 24, 2014

Didn't California just change the rules on credits, making the swap financially less attractive to Tesla than it was before? I have a rather vague memory of that. Tesla will not have swap stations. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of the swap demo. If Tesla hasn't done anything yet, it's not going to.