Infinite Mile WarrantyThe big news today was that Tesla announced that the Model S drive unit warranty has been increased to match that of the battery pack. For those of us with the 85 kWh Model that means it  now has an 8 year, infinite mile warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. Not only did Tesla do this for cars they’ll be making in the future but they made it retroactive to all 85 kWh cars they’ve built.

Yep, I just got a warranty improvement on my drive unit.

Original Warranty

Owners will find Warranty information in the “Quick Start, Roadside Assistance, Safety, and Warranty” document on the “My Tesla” portal. These docs don’t seem to get updated so my original warranty is still there, but with this new announcement it’s been superseded in part by the announcement.

Before the announcement the warranty had multiple warranty conditions:

  • Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty
  • Supplemental Restraint System Limited Warranty
  • Battery Limited Warranty

Since the drive unit was not called out specifically, it would have fallen into the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty which provides for coverage of the drive unit under normal use for a period of 4 years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km), whichever comes first. For me that would have been less than 2 years of driving.

New Warranty

While we haven’t seen the official “legal” warranty terminology, its likely to be something like “Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty” where the same 60kWh vs 85kWh language is included as well as the limits:

  • 60 kWh – 125,000 miles (200,000 km)
  • 85 kWh – unlimited miles/km

I’ve previously heard comments that the drive unit should be able to do about 500,000 miles, but a number of very high profile drive unit failures have people concerned. Elon has come out and said that a good number of “drive unit failures” were not actually failures but overly conservative service people doing their jobs to do the best for the customers. In many cases a simple $0.50 strap would have done the trick.

Elon’s answer to all the FUD surrounding drive units and how long they’ll last? The unlimited mile warranty.

This is brilliant. Obviously Tesla has studied this problem and knows if its real or not. They also know the true quality and life of the drive units which is far beyond what most people could possibly drive in 8 years. So in one quick stroke Tesla squashed the main concern — what will a drive unit cost to replace when the original 50,000 mile warranty runs out?

Even with my high mileage, I won’t get to half of the estimated 500,000 miles the drive unit should really be able to do and now I no longer need to worry about mileage on my battery or my drive unit. 8 years is a long ways off and I usually replace my cars after 200K miles/7 years.

As they’ve done with every aspect of building, selling, and servicing the car they’re changing the way warranties are done. What would our world be like if more companies behaved as responsibly and quickly as Tesla?