Most Early Teslas will Break Down by 60,000 Miles: Report


A new study is suggesting that nearly all early Tesla Model S vehicles will need their electric motors replaced by 60,000 miles.

The American electric automaker has come under fire in recent months following Consumer Reports pulling its recommendation after receiving many claims of poor reliability from Model S owners. Now, a new analysis of data provided to Plug-In America by 327 owners of early Model S sedans suggests that nearly two-thirds of early Model S motors will need to be replaced within 60,000 miles.

In a survey of early Model S owners, respondents provided a variety of data including total miles driven and whether they have had a motor swap done. If any of their drivetrain had been replaced, the survey also asked what the odometer reading was at the time of the replacement.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk Defends Tesla After Consumer Reports Pulls Recommendation

According to a reliability engineer that used data from 370 respondents, the “characteristic life” of the drivetrain was about 50,000 miles. Now, the results are only valid if the data is correct and had no selection bias. While selection bias is in play since only those customers that knew about the survey could fill it out, the sample covered about one percent of the total population of 2012 and 2013 model year Tesla Model S sedans. Essentially, both selection bias and randomness are acceptably low.

It will be interesting to see if owners come forward with issues on their Tesla motors once the odometer starts clicking near 60,000 miles. The company declined to answer questions related to the report.

[Source: Green Car Reports]

Discuss this story on our Tesla Forum

  • Bug S Bunny

    This article talks about early Teslas and refers to the Model S. Newsflash: the early Teslas were the Roadsters.

  • 2wheelobsessed

    Electric cars are junk. This is only saying what real car guys already know, electric maybe the direction manufacturers want to go but the tech isn’t even close yet. What do those things cost? Close to 100K for that model right? Lol what a joke. Hope all the yuppies that bought em up are happy. All the pollution that was spewed to make those vehicles only to need a whole new motor at 60K. Good way to go green haha…. Dopes.

  • Eugene Lysikov

    “In a survey of early Model S owners…”

    It says right there in the article. How can you possibly misinterpret that?

  • Jason Lancaster

    Tesla can do no wrong. Most of their early models are seriously defective, and no one really cares.

    If this was true of the newest Ford Focus, it would be national news for weeks. But because it’s Tesla, I guess we just give them the benefit of the doubt??

    I read this and I think there’s no *way* I’d buy a Tesla without at least 100k mile powertrain warranty. Even then, I’d be scared…if they didn’t design the powertrain to last, what about the rest of the car?

    This is seriously f’ed up people. Tesla quality is a problem.

  • Bug S Bunny

    Uh, because the headline cleary mentions “early Teslas” and does not specify the Model S until the article body. Looks like YOU mis-read.

  • Michael Knox

    My early 2013 Model S drivetrain was replaced at about 18,00 miles and now, at 64,000 miles needs another replacement. BUT it should be noted that it did not break down and the issue has to do with a slight noise that crops up after a period of time. It is a “cosmetic” problem and not indicative of breakdown failures. The noise shouldn’t be there and Tesla is being very proactive in dealing with it. A drivetrain swap takes about 20 minutes to do and is nothing like replacing an ICE engine and transmission. It’s just easier to swap out and refurbish much like you might do with an ICE car’s alternator rather than repair an alternator in the car or on a workbench. I believe that it is very rare for a Tesla drive unit to actually “break down” and so the title of this article is very misleading.

  • Michael Knox

    Tesla’s powertrain and battery are guaranteed for 8 years, unlimited miles.

  • Mike

    Indeed it is. That’s why Toyota walked away from them.

  • Eugene Lysikov

    Yes, that’s because 99% of the general population only know Tesla for their Model S and don’t even know that a Tesla Roadster exists. So yea, specifying that the article is about the Model S is kind of irrelevant.