Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors has a way with words. From Superchargers to 'auto pilot,' Tesla likes to set itself apart by calling things other things. What, fast charging and autonomous drive not good enough for ya? The same thing just happened with the announcement of a new 'infinite mile warranty' for the drive unit. That's infinite, not unlimited, but whatever it's called, the new policy lifts the warranty mileage cap on the 85-kWh version of the Model S that had previously been set at four years and 50,000 miles.

The new rules say that the drive unit will have the same 'limits' as the battery pack, which means as many miles as you can put on the car in eight years. Tesla will also honor the warranty no matter how many people have owned the car and is applying the warranty retroactively, so feel safe buying that used 2012 Model S until 2019 if you still want some warranty coverage.

"If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines ... then our warranty policy should reflect that." – Elon Musk

Tesla has gotten some criticism recently for quality issues in Model S EVs that have been on the road for a while now. Consumer Reports, for example, described problems with their Model S after owning it for 17 months. In the warranty change announcement blog post, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted that Tesla made a mistake imposing a limit in the first place. "In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning of the Model S program," he said. "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." Now it does.

Tesla is warning its investors that the short-term impact might be negative, but "by doing the right thing for Tesla vehicle owners at this early stage of our company, I am confident that it will work out well in the long term," Musk said. You can read the short announcement below.
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Infinite Mile Warranty

The Tesla Model S drive unit warranty has been increased to match that of the battery pack. That means the 85 kWh Model S, our most popular model by far, now has an 8 year, infinite mile warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. There is also no limit on the number of owners during the warranty period.

Moreover, the warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S vehicles ever produced. In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning of the Model S program. 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.

To investors in Tesla, I must acknowledge that this will have a moderately negative effect on Tesla earnings in the short term, as our warranty reserves will necessarily have to increase above current levels. This is amplified by the fact that we are doing so retroactively, not just for new customers. However, by doing the right thing for Tesla vehicle owners at this early stage of our company, I am confident that it will work out well in the long term.