We all know that a vehicle is “totaled” when the cost of repair is higher than its value after making the repair.
With electric cars such as Rita’s and my Teslas, the math changes rather dramatically. Except for collision damage (which is less likely because of the cars’ advanced driver assistance features), it’s hard to imagine a repair that would not be worth making.
The typical car with an internal combustion engine is often totaled because a new engine or transmission, like many other drive-train related repairs, can easily cost more than the resale value of the car. Not so with an all-electric car such as our Teslas.
Only 3% of the metal in a Tesla is steel — the body and frame are aluminum — so rust is not an issue. The two electric motors, which are not prone to failure anyway, could be replaced in 15 minutes. There is no transmission, timing belt, fuel pump, exhaust system, etc. In fact there are reportedly fewer than 50 moving parts in the entire car.
The battery, which barely degrades at all, can also be replaced in minutes, not hours, and, like the two motors, is warranted for eight years, unlimited miles. For me that equates to a 250,000-mile drive-train warranty. If, say, the battery needs replacing 10 years from now, the cost will probably be $5,000 or less by then — well worth the expense.
As you probably know, the operating system of the car is regularly updated by Tesla “over the air” for free. Our two cars have many features and functions that they didn’t have when they were built years ago and will have even more features in 2047, when I turn 100.
So, whereas one can speculate on the useful life of a traditional gas-powered car with a steel body, you really can’t speculate on the life expectancy of an all-electric car.
If you buy a Tesla, you may want to put it in your will, because it may outlive you.
Would you like to learn more about electric cars? On Sat., Sept. 14, from 10 am to 3pm, we’re hosting an EV round-up in our 17695 South Golden Road parking lot. Get more info at www.DriveElectricWeek.info.