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Mercedes Readies First Tesla Rival in $12B Attack (bloomberg.com)
455 points by antr 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 755 comments

Meh. MB are planning to start production sometime in 2H2019, and no real details about the capabilities of the car. Meanwhile Porsche's Taycan will cost more than the Model S while having Model 3-like specs. The new Audi e-tron will also have 250 mile range and a 6 sec 0-60, both worse than the Tesla Model X.

Meanwhile Tesla has another 16 months or so to keep selling the Model 3 in large quantities. Color me unimpressed by the german companies' efforts thus far.

It is telling though that most of the companies are focusing on SUVs and not sedans. Tesla needs to up its game with the X and Y to address this.

I literally want a large Tesla Camper Van.

Or at least one of these in Tesla:



To further this thought, what I would truly wish would happen would be that A Tesla-like "drivetrain platform" were available to boutique shops who could build whatever type of cab they wanted onto a standardized system.

I worked with a guy in the 90s that took a Corvette Z base and put a 1938 ford on top of it.

I'd like to have the same be done with Tesla drive train bases - where you can have an upper made to fit the lower. Clearly, there would have to be safety standards to be met, so don't waste time arguing that point...

How about an electric VW van? https://www.caranddriver.com/news/volkswagen-id-buzz-ev-conc...

Supposedly goes into production in 2022, and I can't imagine they won't kit some kind of camper version. If not, Sportsmobile or someone, and worst case is you build it out yourself. We're seriously thinking about one to replace what will be an old first-year Leaf and a 2005 Scion xB. Combine DogMobile and electric into one vehicle. :-)

Here's a non-tracking article on (presumably) the same car accessible to EU visitors: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/08/19/volkswag...

If that picture is correct, though, it doesn't seem to resemble the old van enough to be appealing, IMHO. Like many pre-Tesla electric cars, it seems like it's going for that "futuristic" look...

I think there's a market for something like it, but I'd argue the Buzz's success hinges more on whether the market is big enough, and whether the car is capable of long trips - they're associated with road trips as far as I know, and no one wants a car for trips that doesn't get you there and back without worry. (I suppose there are a few years for the charging situation to improve, but I'm not counting on it.)

Supposed to go into production 4 years from now? That's pure marketing at this point.

It's a car not a web app.... 4 years is a very short time for commercial scale manufacturing...

New Beetle introduced as a concept car in 1994 at the Geneva show, New Beetle rolls off the production line for sale as a 1998 model. You were saying?

I'm saying don't plan on concept cars making it to production. It's nice when they do, but plenty more fail to materialize.

Concept cars are mostly marketing.

I hear what you're saying; I've poo-pooed my share of concepts over the years. But I wouldn't have posted it if VW themselves hadn't come out and said, "we're making them in 2022." And the New Beetle is precedent for VW following through in four years, so I don't know what else you want. To be fair, VW's reputation for honesty has take a bit of a hit lately.

It's certainly not impossible that they follow through, but that's the kind of prediction I'd take a with a huge grain of salt.

The New Beetle was basically a bodykit for a Jetta, and it still took them 4 years to get it into production.

Electric camper van concept from Nissan, based on the e-NV200 / Leaf. https://newsroom.nissan-global.com/releases/nissan-unveils-t...

But I also second the idea of having a "sled" available as a kit car. I'm thinking the same concept as how the Lotus 7 is delivered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Seven

Likewise. I've been considering converting my 1998 diesel Mitsubishi Delica to electric, but something fully intended to be electric from the ground up would be much nicer. Also feels weird putting a new electric drivetrain into such an old vehicle, although overall it's still in great shape.

I can't imagine buying a sedan or SUV though. The Delica is incredible for so many things - the utility and comfort is unmatched. Plus it has a cool glass roof! I hope to keep that thing running for a long time, and new fancy cars look great but they're functionally lacking in a big way to me.

Me too. The idea of being able to sneak in and out of a campsite with no ICE noises appeals as does the ability to make use of the electrics for HVAC/cooking/watching TV etc.

Have you seen any worthwhile NV200 conversions? Nope! The NV200 was designed for ICE and it still has the old fashioned bonnet out the front, and it isn't a 'frunk'. The space of a camper van only really worked in the VW bus format with the engine at the back, everything subsequent is a bit small due to the bonnet.

If you go large with the camper van then you can't park so easily hence the original VW bus form factor makes sense, particularly if there is no roof extension as then you can park in multi-storey car parks.

My ideal Tesla based camper van also has structural elements so rather than 'bits of wood' attached to the vehicle the framework for the internal bits is also there to strengthen the vehicle.

I really want everyone else to sneak in and out of campsites with no ICE noises. I usually hike or bike in.

Hmm. Aside from the occasional, excessively-loud diesel truck I don't find the engine to be the problem with late arrivals and departures. Of course, that one truck will always find it necessary to idle for about 20 minutes and perhaps perform a 63-point turn rather than just continuing down the loop to a suitable campsite.

More often for me, it's the modern headlights giving us x-ray vision through the tent walls, followed by all the LED flashlights and headlamps lighting up four adjacent campsites like Cape Caneveral. It's the excitable new arrivals, talking really loud and starting their drinking party at midnight after the rest of the campground has already gone to sleep. It's the repeated slamming of car doors every 15 seconds. It's that one person who keeps setting off his own car's alarm for some reason, and all the others who have their car set to beep or chirp at about 90 decibels every time they look at it...

You could buy a Tesla semi and throw away the trailer. Or better yet - use the trailer as a garage to drive around your black model S.

If the Tesla pickup makes it to market, I imagine you could build something pretty nice on the back.

Perhaps but then the added weight may kill the range. I imagine it'd be better if Tesla designed the vehicle specifically for that purpose.

What would you do with one?

Be happy that i have a vehicle that meets any and all needs that i have and ill never have to buy gas.

I hate gas companies with a passion. Having a cargo van based on tesla, id have all the utility i would ever want, and not worry about gas costs if i want to take a week long road trip, slowly crawl through traffic or haul heavy big things.

The problem is with ICE campers, you can throw some extra cans on the back and double or triple your range. Doing so with an EV is impossible. The best you could do is carry solar panels which may take multiple days to get your battery to a point where you can carry on.

While that sounds really cool, it would also be a very expensive vehicle. Paying two strong men and renting a uhaul is usually how I handle moving big heavy things for the occasional time I need to.


idk it's a very well-established 92-year-old luxury brand number 1 in their category, now investing billions in building an all-electric crossover. they already have a large established, loyal customer base. $12 billion seems scarily low; meaning they know they won't need much to be able to sell this car.

this is a significant threat to Tesla; and the definitive moment we can say that Tesla has awoken the sleeping giants.

although on the flip this will help the industry as a whole; it's more likely than not that Tesla will sell even more electric cars because of this.

The S is a pretty good car but I can still imagine Mercedes competing with it based on their luxury heritage. The 3 on the other hand is an astonishingly good car at a different price point and Mercedes will have great difficulty competing with advantage against it.

Meh until proven otherwise.

> idk it's a very well-established 92-year-old luxury brand number 1 in their category

On one hand I guess yeah, on the other - is it really anymore?

I mean their latest endeavor, the X class, is nothing more than a fancier Renault Alaskan, and an expensive one at that.

I haven't seen any high-risk effort from them in years. During the last twenty years Toyota and Honda invested heavily in hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars, Renault-Nissan in EVs, BMW in carbon-fiber bodies. What did Mercedes do aside from making good-looking, well put together cars for the affluent?

I don't get the Mercedes hype. My other half's £30k (company car) Merc does have fancy stuff like auto parallel parking, lane control, auto braking etc. but apart from that it feels just as plasticky as any other new car.

Mercedes whole business plan seems to make some very nice, very expensive, aspirational cars that they use as 'advertising' to sell uninspired, middle of the road, slightly overpriced lower end cars.

There were the autonomous F 015 videos, a sort of parlor room on wheels thing.

(Don't know if there was actual hardware or just videos. To be fair, it will probably come to the depicted solution in due time.)

Made some trucks.

How will MB they address road-trips and being able to source batteries at a low cost?

I have 4 kids, so I'm consistently unimpressed with all these 5 seat "SUV's". So far the only full electric SUV with 7 seats I can buy in Europe comes from Tesla.

It's annoying, because the X is still so expensive, and the Dutch gov't is increasing bijtelling next year which will add a huge extra cost for business leasing.

Chrysler Pacifica has a 7 seater mini van that gets 33 miles on a full charge, and gasoline engine after that.

For my use case I'd never need to fill up, except for long road trips. Unfortunately I need a 8 seater.

The regular Model S fits 7 with kids. It must be a fairly major cash saving having an electric car when dealing with so many kids. Colleagues of mine were paying more than 100 euros in fuel a week for large SUVs.

hmm, aside from the BS that the model s fits 7 people....

this whole concept of saving money on gas and buying a luxury car instead makes no sense.

100eu/week in fuel = 5200/yr

“normal” car = 20k

tesla model s = 80k

you could spend 100eu/week for 12 years and it would be cheaper to buy the fuel.

“nice” car = 35k

that’s gonna hit the break even in just 9 years. driving 100eu of fuel/week for 9 years is a pretty nuts amount of driving, still better to get the cheaper car

> hmm, aside from the BS that the model s fits 7 people....

With the rear-facing seats, it does. Although uncomfortably. You're better off with the Model X for that many.

> “normal” car = 20k

Yes, let's compare a value car with a luxury car. Brilliant. How much does a BMX X6 or a Mercedes AMG GLE cost?

Here's a hint: https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/vehicles/model/class-GLE/mode...

After you subtract government incentives and fuel savings, the costs are identical. That's why Tesla actually sells cars.

Yep. If I get a Model X I will want to do long trips with the kids in it. Probably including to the south of France at some point. I can't imagine how travel sick they'd get in the Model S's rear sets, and don't want to :)

For us the X is really the only full electric option.

I kind of regret not getting a Model X, but also kind of not... We have two kids and a dog, and have to board the dog now that she's big. The Model S with the 4 of us though, works just fine for 2,400 mile each way trips.

The one thing I really worry about in the Model X is the maintenance of the falcon wing doors.

This is kind of true. However there are subsidies in the Netherlands for electric cars, and we pay 0 road tax for them too. That also contributes a lot.

My VW Sharan now costs almost EUR 2000/year in road tax. It also goes into the garage for semi-regular TDi engine issues (last time we had to have the ECR valve replaced which also incurred 5 hours of labour).

TCO of diesels these days is not pretty where I live.

TCO for diesels is never that good when talking about small cars. Usually people only consider the drop in fuel consumption and price per liter of fuel. Only then does it hit them that regular maintenance is more expensive, most common issues are more expensive to fix, insurance/tax could be higher depending on where you live. You have to drive a lot to make up those costs in fuel saving.

7 with kids if you get the jump seats installed. 2 + 3 + 2

Depreciation is the usually the largest factor in total cost of ownership. If you're not factoring that in, you're not doing it right.

Depreciation on the EV is pretty fierce, factoring that in doesn’t make the math any better.

not true for a Tesla. Look at the values for a used 2013 or 2014 Model S: between $38k and $45k, which is quite comparable to similar non-electric cars of the same price range. [1]

The first Leaf totally crashed in value, but that car is a POS (it's the Versa body and interior, which is absolute trash).

[1] https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listings/tesla/mo... (accessed Sept. 7, 2018)

Definitely they hold value stronger in the open market. At auction they do pretty bad (or did, at least, as of perhaps six months ago). Other EVs do worse. The 500E tends to go through auction at three years for about $4500, though it goes for almost twice that on the open market.

Once even more EV's are around longer could that depreciation retroactively improve if it turns out 5 or 7 year old batteries actually aren't as poor as expected? A gamble of course.

I cannot speak for everyone else, but the thing that keeps me from buying a super cheap EV from three years ago is mostly the abysmal range. A Leaf or a 500E from 2015 has 84 miles of range. I am expecting I may have a 28 mile [each way] commute starting in a few weeks. Technically doable if nothing goes wrong, but ... range anxiety would be real. I'll wait. Just three years later we ridicule any EV with less than 200 miles of range. Maybe these will hold value better? I wouldn't bank on it, and I would only consider a new EV as a lease vehicle at this time, but time will tell.

I have a Spark EV rated at 83 miles range. I commute a few times a month from Oakland CA to San Jose, 38 miles each way so I have only 7 miles margin. This is not a problem as unless it is very cold or windy or raining. In which case I try to combine the trip with shopping in a place that has charging stations.

Your 28 mile commute is easily doable with the cars you mention. I'd avoid the Fiat because Fiat, but used Leafs are pretty cheap. Or the Spark EV if you can find one. Look on plugshare.com to find charging locations so you know you have a back up plan, but don't let anxiety get in the way.

I leased our first Spark EV and had exactly zero problems an d zero maintenance except for wiper blades and a minor issue that was under warranty. When the lease ran out I purchased a second Spark EV because it handles 90% of our driving and I got a great deal, $10,600 total including incentives. Even if the resale is zero after 10 years it will be 3x cheaper to own than our Honda Fit.

Not until the advances in EV tech slow down. The difference between a 2012 EV and a 2022 EV is a lot bigger than between the equivalent ICE cars. Or take 2008 and 2018 if you want a comparison that can feel unfair but accurate.

And then you factor in the physical degradation of parts like the battery. An engine wears out at a far slower rate than a battery.

It will probably take a few decades for EVs to be everywhere, tech to advance slower (relative), and batteries to improve.

"Normal" car for $20K? Where? Part of what made the Model S attractive was looking at a Kia SUV that was well into $50K. The Kia Forte starts at $20K and it is a nice enough car, but it isn't really an alternative for someone looking at a Model S.

Compare the "nice car" with a Tesla Model 3 for a more reasonable comparison.

You seem undecided. You're asking about a $20.000 car and offering as further explanation the comparison between a $65.000-$135.000 sedan and a $50.000 SUV.

> it isn't really an alternative for someone looking at a Model S

Nothing in your comment is an alternative for the Model S. Did you ever consider something in the same category and price range?

P.S. A $20.000 car is a normal car. It's just a car. Not meant to carry handball team, not meant to do it at high speeds or useless acceleration, without driving itself around your driveway. Think of a VW Golf, a normal car.

I think we are both in agreement.

Maybe. But my objection was to the warped comparison and the fact that no conclusion can be drawn from it ($100.000 Model S vs. $50.000ish Kia SUV).

A bicycle? Where? What makes the BMW M5 attractive is seeing how much a fully loaded Bobcat weighs... :)

I wasn't looking at a $100K Model S. At the time they had a $65K Model S, after EV incentives.

Cars last longer than 12 years. If your baseline is a 20k car then keeping the X for longer than that or buying used is reasonable.

Really though the upside is more you have the performance of a high end car for lower lifetime operating costs not that it’s cheap.

Who will buy a Tesla with a 12-year old battery? Where will the battery/electrical motor tech be in 12 years?

Motors are not getting better very quickly because it’s old and very good tech.

In terms of battery tech, that’s going to fit in any form factor. Which means someone replacing a battery in a 10 year old electric car will be buying the same technology as a new car’s battery while expecting to get another 10 years from it. All for a steadily dropping price.

Remember, electric means no internal belts, spark plugs, regular oil changes, etc which offsets most if not all the cost of a new battery.

That's part of why I justified a Model S: my Audi was averaging about half the monthly loan cost of the Tesla in service. I mean, the service guys were really nice, but I'm glad to no longer be on a first-name basis with them.

Compared the Model S: I'm at 34K miles and just going in for the first service next week.

I mean, it's about $43 a month extra for private use as opposed to $15 for the standard edition, it's not nothing but for someone who can afford a >$100k car it's not a 'huge extra cost' imo.

In any case I'd view it as separate from business leasing because you pay nothing if you use it exclusively for business. If anything you get an extremely cheap business-subsidized car for which you pay the equivalent of a netflix+spotify account extra next year to use privately.

> bijtelling


FYI, according to The Verge, the new MB Ev will have 200 mile range and 4.9 second 0-60.


Exactly. German car manufacturers are announcing to start shipping products from next year. They are not announcing at what price and volume they expect to be selling those. But you can safely assume this will be very high and very low for quite some time. Everybody seems to be going on about Teslas well documented struggle to reach 5K cars/week in production. My guess is that it will be quite a bit of time before the traditional manufacturers will be able to boast similar numbers.

All indications are that German car manufacturers are taking the same path as Tesla has over the last ten years: start shipping in low volume at the very high end of the market and (re) learn how to build products in this market. My guess is that they are themselves expecting it to take quite a while to catch up; probably in the order of five to ten years. The currently announced and rumored models are stop gap solutions to not fall behind any further. They are behind in specs and pricing and they can't ship them in large enough volumes. But it is better than having nothing in the market.

It's what is going to come after those that is going to make or break them. Look for the second or third generation models of these vehicles by 2023-2025. By then they should have sorted out logistics and battery production issues and figured out how to make better EVs for less money.

Meanwhile, Model 3 sales alone are outpacing their high end conventional models in the same price class in the US. Considering that that is where car manufacturers make their money, that has got to be hurting financially. Likewise, Model S is selling pretty substantially in Europe, and out selling several of the BMW an Mercedes models in the same price class. In Germany! Model 3 has yet to start shipping here in serious volume.

With Tesla steadily increasing production, improving efficiency in their production, opening new factories (and planning to build more), rolling out to more countries, and dropping prices over the next five years, that is going to be a problem for other manufacturers for a while.

> Likewise, Model S is selling pretty substantially in Europe, and out selling several of the BMW an Mercedes models in the same price class. In Germany! Model 3 has yet to start shipping here in serious volume.

Where did you get that from? I could not readily find numbers for Europe. But for Germany this is certainly not the case. Looking at [1,2], Mercedes sells ~500 S-Class per month, where Tesla sells 50 Model S. Tesla Model S did outsell (in July):


[1] https://www.kba.de/SharedDocs/Publikationen/DE/Statistik/Fah... [2] https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vSb3BXluJYs1...

Europe is also going to have China snapping at its heels: https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/103774/chinese-electr...

They will improve in time. If anything, it shows that Tesla is going to have to play hard to make sure the competition doesn't eat their market share. I think Tesla has dropped the ball by not being able to make their cars fast enough. The bigger auto makers might have access to bigger credit lines or exciting plants which can be retooled quickly if they see their electric car selling fast.

Nissan and GM already have vehicles. I believe Ford has recently changed their stance and are making their own.

Tesla had outstanding marketing but failed in mass production.

SpaceX claiming to put humans on mars in our lifetime, an active reddit marketing team, elon's twitter, and a worldwide desire to reduce gasoline usage- All fantastic marketing.

Everyone is aware of the production issues, shoddy engineering, and people are getting wiser to Elon's outrageous claims.

I dont know if there is a way to save Tesla. It already peaked in popularity.

> Tesla needs to up its game with the X and Y to address this.

Yup. Currently if you want a real SUV shape (not just a tall sedan lift-back) with normal doors, your options are the new German entries. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of people who value those qualities over 20-40 miles of highway range.

The good news for Tesla is that the Audi is the only one scheduled to release before the Y, so they have time.

It’s not about being first - it’s about being there for the long term.

Much better for these companies to take their time, get it right, and work it into their current production and supply chain than mess it all up and incur crazy high costs.

I love Tesla cars and have a lot of respect for Elon (minus a few dumb tweets), but to be honest, the viability of the firm after all the Germans come online is uncertain to say the least.

For Tesla to compete - even with a superior product - against tried and true brands that have been around for a century is going to be tough. Heck, look at tech; even IBM is still around today!

Where did you see large Tesla 3 quantities?


They sold more than 28,000 Model 3s in Q2. They're on track to deliver more than 50,000 in Q3. Will probably sell more 400,000 next year (assuming only a small improvement from the current run rate).

They'll probably exceed 80% of EV market share in the US for years to come. Legacy automakers haven't got any source of battery (the Chinese will keep their production for the Chinese market, or only sell them for high margin). We've yet to know how the traditional automakers plan to make EVs in volume (intention don't count anymore).

Panasonic, the company that actually runs Tesla's Gigafactory, has sufficient capacity to build out and manufacture car batteries for other carmakers should the demand ever arise.

And today's article is basically the announcement that...demand has arisen. Expect to see an announcement from Panasonic or one of the other major battery suppliers in the next few days about breaking ground on a new factory.

> And today's article is basically the announcement that...demand has arisen.

It has--but it's not clear the whether the demand is for EVs or for Teslas.

They have already sold a lot of Model 3s, and they have 16 months to sell a lot more of them. Personally I don't really care all that much about when they hit 5k/week, 6k/week, or whatever. Even if they stayed at 4k/week that is 240K cars over the next 16 months, plus however many S/X/Y models they sell in that time.

The counter argument is that the demand for the 3 will be exhausted at some point, which could well be true. But the availability of the cheaper short range Model 3 will spike demand before that happens.

EDIT: fixed broken math

Indeed, Tesla is supply constrained. The next three years of Fremont production are spoken for (reservations + demand not yet realized as a reservation).

Gotta get those production rates up to pay off bonds and amortize capex though.

>The next three years of Fremont production are spoken for

Are you sure? We did not have a reservation. We ordered a Model 3 LR AWD on July 25 and will be taking delivery by the end of September, per our delivery adviser.

They haven't started delivering outside US yet. Europe is planned mid 2019.

I expect the >$35k model demand is drying up fast. Can Tesla run their business on 400k 35k Model 3s?

I'm really loving the simultaneous predictions that > $35k demand is drying up and complaints that the $35k car isn't shipping yet... because > $35k demand is too high.

Yes, Tesla's profitability is an entirely different discussion, and IMHO one that really isn't all that relevant to how it will compete with MB, VW, etc. over the next few years.

Profitability is relevant to how Tesla will do anything, including but not limited to competing with incumbent auto manufacturers, absent an infinite supply of undemanding capital.

More importantly, the legacy automakers are loosing far more money on the sales of their EV than Tesla. They can't expect to margin of their gas-guzzlers to subsidies their losses on EV for long.

> the availability of the cheaper short range Model 3 will spike demand before that happens.

So Q1 2019. And Telsa is always on time with self declared timelines, so you know those cars will be rolling off the line by then.

>And Telsa is always on time with self declared timelines, so you know those cars will be rolling off the line by then.

Can you name one legacy automaker who reach their EV sales/production goals more accurately than Tesla over several years?

All production targets set in 2015 by Musk have been achieved/exceed so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTbQFdyizGQ

Q1 2019 is still at least six months before MB will have a viable competitor available to purchase. Probably more like 12 months before MB has it available in quantity. Too soon to say what availability will be for the Audi and Porsche competitors. But thanks for the snark.

Tesla has a history of shipping high-margin cars for as long as they can before shipping the base model. So no, no one should expect those cars to be rolling off the line by then.

So here is the thing...the interior of the Tesla is not that of a car costing 100K. I expect the others you named will be. I drove a Tesla and it was cool, but I could not get past the cost vs. my previous MB or Porsche. I am hoping Porsche does an electric in the style of the Boxster, if so that is my next car. My wife is looking at the Audi or Jaguar electric to replace her Macan as the next car. I will say the current 2 cars will be the last gas powered I own.

I want to add some information to your comment that might be interesting to consider, namely Volkswagen's approach (other than a few e-Golfs). Have a look:


Tesla is (attempting to) scale up production to capture market share at a time when it's just not profitable to sell electric cars. If BMW says they can't yet be made at a profit, I believe them - not the guy who lives on subsidies.

Once there is profit to be had and "game on," people are going to buy from existing brands with deep manufacturing expertise, not from a hype machine that might not be in business in 5 years.

I don't know where you get the idea that electric cars are not profitable. The higher end models are obviously profitable. As for mid-range, the Munro teardown shows the model 3 as not only profitable but highly profitable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAS-yjWj9DY

"lives on subsidies"

Tesla is well below that of many other car manufacturers on receiving government subsidies. BMW has received them as well!

One of the interesting things that stuck out in this read was that Mercedes is going to invest more money to make electric cars than Tesla has[1].

The superchargers are a weird thing. Tesla has been building them out of their own investment pocket. Is Mercedes going to do that? Are we going to have bespoke recharging stations competing for bits of commercial real estate? How about parking lots where there are the 'mercedes spaces', 'nissan spaces', 'bmw spaces', and 'tesla spaces'? How does that work?

I think it is great that BMW and Mercedes are "seriously committed" to electric cars, is now the time to seriously commit to some standards when it comes to charging and maintenance? Will we see third party battery packs at some point?

I keep thinking, is there an electric car market or is there a Tesla market? Remember when tablets were just iPads and everything else kind of sucked (and kind of still does?) Is that where we're going in the electric car space?

As you can tell I have way more questions than answers here. What does the 'flip' look like when automakers really flip over to electric as the mainstream car?

[1] Jim Collins (who is a Tesla bear) notes 19B raised including the acquisition of Solar City -- https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/04/25/a-brief-h...

Europeans typically form alliances, standards and legislation when facing these kind of problems.

EU has EV-CONNECT roadmap with mandate to develop infrastructural system with the interoperability of plugs and vehicles. EU is going to spend €800 million to help set up the infrastructure. It's likely that there will be legislation that mandates that every charging station must sell to everyone else the basic charging. Of course it's possible to offer different charging options for different cars.

In the battery front they have already formed alliances that include big Asian investors and Berkshire Hathaway to build number of huge battery pack and cell factories inside EU.


"In another Tesla-inspired move, the three German carmakers are developing their own network of fast-chargers along major highways in a partnership with Ford".

Tesla wanted other companies to use their charging system which the other car companies replied hell no. I think what will happen is that there will be legislation for this exact problem of competing real estate which in turn means that whoever has the biggest network by then will have the upper hand. So Tesla will probably get the standard they want but they will also have to pay for a big part of the network too.

Your so know that Europe and USA is moving to CCS standards, and Japan to chademo.

Manufacturers are not competing on charging infrastructure, they are collaborating. Look up ionity and electrify America.

Tesla instead went ahead and made their own proprietary standard. No loss in doing so, but it isn't the upper hand and ability to dictate a standard that you imply

Yea that could also be another option for manufacturers. At the end some sort of common standard needs to be defined and followed. I'd hate to scan for chargers that can charge my brand faster than others or something. Honestly independent charging stations would be the ideal way to distribute the wealth from this market( at least in interstates etc). Having the electricity company of the region sell power via the light poles on a city is a convenient option but one that takes away a lot of jobs and wealth distribution too.

You still have no idea after I told you to read up. Standards already exist and are followed, except by Tesla of course.

Distribute the wealth by independent chargers? This is going to be another high investment and low margin business, where BP and shell roll out electric chargers instead of gas stations.

as cars are bigger than the chargers there could be chargers for multiple competing charging standards at the space for one car. If only one charger can be used at a time anyway since only one car can occupy the charging space at a time, then both chargers can share the electric power feed and the overall power delivery to the supercharging station can stay the same despite having double the number of chargers charging the same number of cars.

Multi-standard charging stands are already a thing: https://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1110.jpg

Adapters are also a possibility - Tesla sells a CHAdeMO adapter for the Model S

> Is Mercedes going to do that?

One of top execs at MB is my good friend so I'm getting this information from top source; he told me their idea is to go with replaceable batteries. You will have some sort of docking station in your garage and when you park short-term the car flips the batteries for you with a loaded one, or long term just auto-plug itself and charges overnight. No cables, no mess.

They work on this solution together with Citroen and BMW but I cannot find anything official or online. Ii will be offered to gas stations around the country and will take 1/3rd of a space that car washes are taking currently. Supposedly you won't even need to get out of the car - you just drive on it, stop, wait for green light, continue with freshly loaded battery! Much more comfortable solution than Tesla's stations.

BTW: I spend summers in Florida and looks like Teslas supercharges are dissapearing; I seen plenty of them at all Wholefoods parking lots in number of 10 or 16; now there is only one.

The thing is, EV people actually prefer to plug in for 15 minutes (while taking a coffee). Tesla did test battery swap stations in real world conditions but stop because the demand wasn't there when you have superchargers https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-shuts-down-battery-swap-prog...

As for the closing superchargers, that goes contrary to everything Tesla customers reports (https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/forums/florida.91/) and crowdsourced data (plugshare.com and others)

I'm gonna need a citation on superchargers "disappearing". It doesn't really pass the sniff test; most of them are fairly busy and getting busier at a high rate due to the launch of the 3.

The facilities can't be cheap to build and likely they must have some multi-year term on the space they're using.

I'd be surprised to hear of one going away, let alone the statement that they're "disappearing" as if it's some kind of trend.

> "You will have some sort of docking station in your garage and when you park short-term the car flips the batteries for you with a loaded one"

Are you serious? Tesla did this and presented a tech demo in 2013:


> "auto-plug itself and charges overnight. No cables, no mess."

Another Tesla tech demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMM0lRfX6YI

Also, what do you mean "superchargers disappearing?".

It seems that Tesla is way a head on a lot of things and it will take quite an effort/investment for the incumbents to catch up.

Though in reality, wide EV adoption is a WIN for everybody and is actually the core mission of Tesla, which is to "Accelerate Sustainable Transport"

> > "You will have some sort of docking station in your garage and when you park short-term the car flips the batteries for you with a loaded one"

> Are you serious? Tesla did this and presented a tech demo in 2013

Tesla seems to have faded it out of their roadmap. Cool tech but people seem to want to own the battery since it's a sizeable part of the investment in a car.

Europeans are different in that battery appears to be seen as a liability and therefore leased.

At stake is how much fast charging you use, as that seems to be what has the largest impact on the battery's life.

The battery swap system was a pilot program, and it was shut down in 2016 [1]. I don't think the parent comment was claiming that it was a new idea, though.

[1] https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-shuts-down-battery-swap-prog...

I've read about battery swap schemes before, but in practice, you are swapping out the most expensive, major component of the EV for an unknown replacement. This might work for semis, but consumer cars with different heights, dimensions, styles, etc?

Just wait until it really sinks in for their dealers that selling electric cars means greatly reduced maintenance. Given what fraction of their dealers' revenue comes from maintenance, this will be a left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing kind of situation as the manufacturer and the dealer's interests fail to align.

Tesla worked hard to avoid having dealers. And I believe that dealers will be a weakness for the legacy auto industry here.

Yes, EVs have "low" maintenance but they are not without maintenance and other usual car issues like A/C, accident related fixes etc.

Owning Tesla outside of Warranty is worse than owning Benz outside warranty. Unless Tesla expands its support and does a better job with "ownership" and "repairability" of their Cars, I would Trust an 8 year Benz to an 8 year old Tesla .

That dealer avoidance also means that fixing a Tesla (regardless of warranty) might commonly become horror story [0]. And this drives insurance costs through the roof [1]. Having a network that can provide proper support might be more important than being able to make a sale when the product is shiny and new.

[0] http://fortune.com/2018/07/24/tesla-repair-damage/

[1] http://www.thedrive.com/news/23278/report-tesla-model-3-insu...

> And this drives insurance costs through the roof

One bit of anecdata: full coverage on my 2017 Model S 100D (all options except performance) is only slightly higher than full coverage on the car it replaced: a 2014 Prius C with no options.

I was bracing for the worst, Re: insurance, but (I'm with Geico) the rate is...in my mind at least, very low. Perhaps they're factoring in all of the built-in safety features?

I'll piggyback this to add my own anecdata.

I pay about $95/month for Progressive insurance on my $28,000 Subaru BRZ. I got a quote on a $135,000 Tesla Model S P100D, and for the same coverage (Full coverage + Liability with moderate deductibles), it was $140/month.

The BRZ is a low end sports car frequently bought and wrecked by teenage drivers. Unless we know your age, driving history, zip code, miles driven per year, etc etc... we don't have the picture the insurance companies do.

Here's some actual data: USA Today found the Tesla Model S to be _the most expensive_ car to insure. [1] This was apparently such a problem that Electrek reported Tesla was considering starting their own insurance company. [2] Both of these articles are from 2018.

1: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/budget-... 2: https://electrek.co/2018/05/29/tesla-insuremytesla-insurance...

> The BRZ is a low end sports car frequently bought and wrecked by teenage drivers.

I certainly don't doubt that at all. 200 HP isn't a lot, but combined with being rear-wheel drive and coming with economy tires, it's enough to get you into trouble if you're stupid.

I'm 36 though and bought it because I wanted a car that has some pep when I want it, and good fuel economy when I don't. I average 33.5 mpg when it's stickered at 24 city/30 highway!

> Here's some actual data: USA Today found the Tesla Model S to be _the most expensive_ car to insure.

What I'm hearing is that the area I'm in generally just has really cheap insurance.

This tells me I am in the wrong insurance market. You don't even want to know what I pay for my 2006 car....

Have you shopped around recently for insurance?

I bought this BRZ about 2 1/2 years ago. At the time, I was paying $90/month for an old 2000 Suzuki Esteem for only liability and uninsured motorist with Nationwide insurance. They quoted me $180 to insure my BRZ for full coverage. I decided to shop around and switched to Progressive after they quoted me the $95 for the BRZ with better coverage and lower deductibles.

If you have a clean driving record Progressive is great. My wife got rear ended, wasn't even her fault, and Progressive quickly became more expensive than many alternatives. I'm guessing they get such good rates by heavily penalizing people with a greater risk profile (which is fine I might add, even tho it sucks for me :-) )

Keep in mind that insurance costs vary extremely widely state to state (i.e., market to market, to the parent poster's point). Different states have different risk profiles but more importantly, widely different insurance regulations.

Insurance is based on statistical models and probabilities, and on the actual cost for each option. If in your country BMWs are often crashed then their premiums will go up. But if they are extremely cheap to repair it goes back down. A US only car brand that could be common occurrence in the US might be a rarity in EU and it will cost a lot to insure.

With Tesla one thing is certain: at this time parts and skills are rare, expensive, and time consuming. So unless you live in the Tesla factory, getting the part you need and a person qualified to make the fix will cost a lot and take a long time.

They need to develop the support network just like they did with the charging network. Make partnerships with big car service chains, provide training, ensure a steady supply of parts, etc. That's a big logistical undertaking.

I am with progressing and pay $180 for 50/100/50 with collision and uninsured.

What kind of liability limits. I pay way more for an Odyessey and Pilot.

$250k each person/$500k each accident for bodily injury, $100k each accident for property.

$250k/$500k for uninsured motorist.

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, though, where you live can make a huge difference. If you feel like you're getting a raw deal, shop around. A lot of people never bother and car insurance companies know this and will creep up your insurance rates even if your driving history is perfect.

I would guess, that they simply do not have enough information to come up with a reasonable estimate of their cost of insurance, so they err on the side of making it affordable because it is such a low volume car that is often (but assuredly not always) a second car that gets less use. I further predict that insurance costs are going to rise dramatically in the next few years. All the anecdata (I know I know) I have seen suggest Teslas are comparatively expensive to service for minor bodywork and other repairs.

> because it is such a low volume car that is often (but assuredly not always) a second car that gets less use.

I always have to provide a mileage estimate to get an insurance quote -- and if I don't go to enough places that sell my mileage info, I have to send in a mileage declaration about once a year; so use shouldn't have anything to do with it.

Your anecdote supports my point and undermines your own. Use has everything to do with it. That is why your insurance company wants that mileage information. I change my own oil and easily go years between visits to the mechanic, so there is no way my mileage info is leaking. There are only two times I have had to report mileage: 1. when I had a special discount from liberty mutual for driving less than 500 miles a year; and 2. now because I switched to metromile.

In both cases (again) use has everything to do with it.

Or you're just ahead of the nightmare service scenario described above and the actuaries don't know how to price it in yet. If so; Model S owners may get assessed in line with a similar price point internal combustion luxury sedan.


Since their introduction over 6 years ago, well over 200,000 Model S' have been sold, and Geico has insured quite a few of them.

> actuaries don't know how to price it in yet

This is pretty far from my field of expertise, so I can't make any kind of directed comment. I'll just say that it strikes me as unlikely that Geico either doesn't have enough data yet and/or doesn't know what it's doing.

I don't know much about

What percentage of that 200,000 is in California? I don't think the sample size is near large enough, nor properly distributed to build a comprehensive risk model around.

I'm not a subject matter expert either but I would love to hear from someone in the industry.

It doesn't matter how many were sold but how easy/cheap is to fix them when insurance is needed.

For Tesla parts are rare and expensive, authorized service partners are rare and expensive, so fixing the car costs a lot.

Car insurance doesn't cover repairs, it's actually insurance, not an all inclusive payment plan like health "insurance".

There are no parts available from anyone but Tesla. So when the $2,500 plastic lens assembly for your brakes is back ordered 3 months, the insurance company is stuck with your rental coverage.

Why is it that Tesla is the only parts provider when other car companies have aftermarket parts?

My immediate guess is because other car companies outsource the production of most of the parts, and the companies who make those parts are happy to make more to sell on the aftermarket.

Tesla manufactures parts itself, and is still getting their main production lines working right.

Tesla has plenty of parts built by other car makers / suppliers.


Tesla does. But builds most of their parts in house. And even outsourced parts may wind up inside of the part you need to replace, and therefore you're still bottlenecked on Tesla.

Ever try to find a service manual for a Tesla?

They want to control everything, but are too hard up to stock parts.

Perhaps you and I use different terminology? Parent comment refers to "full coverage", which I believe includes the costs of repairs no matter whose fault it is.

Full coverage auto insurance still only covers repairs from accidents. It doesn't cover the cost of, say, brake pads needing to be replaced or a window motor going bad.

For covering normal wear and tear maintenance, that would be an auto warranty – or extended warranty, service contract, protection plan, etc.

At least, those are the standard terms in the United States.

Anecdote: last year I was repairing a bumper on my older Ford sedan, this was in Minneapolis mid winter (so tis the season for mild-severe body damage) and one of the body shops I got a quote from was also the only authorized Tesla dealership in several hundred miles. They had an entire lot just for body damaged Tesla's waiting on parts. The owner commented to me that they were getting Tesla's hauled from southern Iowa for repair. Nothing like a 500 mile flatbed ride to really spice up the total cost of repair.

It seems like there's some confusion here with regard to auto insurance, warranties, and regular maintenance.

As far as I'm aware warranties only cover faulty / defective parts (and labour to replace), insurance is intended as accident cover, everything else is regular maintenance.

It does however factor in the likelihood of a crash, and the cost of repairing the vehicle after a crash. So if the 3 is more expensive to repair than other similar vehicles, the insurance would cost more.

from what I remember, most of the cost of car insurance (at least here in the US) is the driver, not the car. Young unmarried men pay the highest premiums because they're the drivers most likely to cause and get into accidents. The cost of repairs and even the value of the car isn't really much of a driver of insurance rates.

It's both the car, and the driver, and the driver's past claims history. An exotic car is going to cost more to insure regardless of who's driving it. Even more so if the driver is young, male, unmarried, or has a record of accidents or violations.

When I added my 16 year old to my insurance, there was quite a difference in cost, depending on which car we said was his primary car.

How'd you figure that out?

Any idea how life insurance companies are dealing with Tesla owners and their autopilot induced fatalities? The number of autopilot -related deaths and crashes seems high considering how few Teslas are on the road.

You're committing a couple of different fallacies there, which let sensationalist media (itself full of fallacies) influence your thinking.

First, Teslas aren't exactly rare. Upthread, someone said 200,000 have been sold (have not fact-checked, but it seems plausible). Second, autopilot related fatalities are covered breathlessly in the media, ignoring all of the other, far more common sources of fatalities, such as drunk driving. And finally, there is no media coverage of the number of accidents prevented by autopilot, which I suspect is pretty high.

Tesla has maybe sold 200,000 cars world-wide over the course of 15 years, by its own estimate. GM sold close to 4 times that many vehicles in the US alone in Q2 of 2018. Teslas are rare.


Tesla Model S outsells the BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis in its class. Those aren't considered rare and exotic.

300,000 as of February: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla,_Inc.

Current production rate is 107,000/year, more than 1% of GMs 10million/year.

However, your point stands: Teslas are, at this point, relatively rare.

Life insurance doesn’t care, the car insurance companies care in situations where you need to figure out who is at fault.

The answer probably depends on state law and other factors. With autopilot the driver is nominally in control — which is why Tesla aggressively does the PR dance to blame the driver. My guess is that due to the newness and arbritration clauses, they have gotten lucky.

States can change that though — for awhile you couldn’t lease a car in New York because the law let someone injured in an accident due the leasing company!

> The number of autopilot -related deaths and crashes seems high considering how few Teslas are on the road.

That’s just an artifact of increased media coverage.

Tesla has only sold roughly 200k Teslas* as of July.


200k US sales as of July, that's correct. They're current production rate is about 107k/year, slightly more than 1% of General Motors 10M/year.

Having a network that can provide proper support might be more important than being able to make a sale when the product is shiny and new.

A lesson I learned the hard way.

I'll never buy another Fiat, not because I don't love the car. But because in my region, repair and maintenance options are limited compared with other brands.

Next time I'll go with a Ford/Chevy/Toyota/Whatever simply so I don't have to drive 200 miles away for service because the local dealerships are understaffed and only open banker's hours.

Surprised to hear this, I had opposite experience, given they are from the same parent company as Dodge/Chrysler. It wasn’t the most reliable car I ever owned (a Fiat 500), but servicing/maintenance was a a total non issue for me in the US, anywhere that did Chrysler/Dodge seemed to handle it fine. Many of the parts are even marked as Chrysler/Dodge under the hood.

Only open banker's hours? Doesn't seem like the most intractable problem.

Some of us have to work during the day.

OK, so I'm not in the US (in the UK), but here the dealerships will happily collect the car from you (for a small fee), wherever you want - home, work etc. if that works better for you.

Last time I tried that for an service I had to wait 2 months for an appointment. If I dropped it off they could do it tomorrow morning.

Edit: service not an MOT.

Most places let you drop off your car and give you a loaner.

Work starts at 8am sharp. Dealerships around here open at 10am, close at 4pm.

Like I said — Doctor's hours.

My anecdata. Both the Honda and Toyota dealers I use let you drop off around 7AM and pickup (at least some evenings) to 8PM or so. My impression is that dealerships are pretty flexible in this regard these days.

Most auto places I've seen have things like a key dropbox.

Competent dealers will work around your schedule, they want your money.

Otherwise it's a sales-focused dealership that can't be trusted with your car anyway.

10am??? Most dealers I’ve been to (6 different states) the service dept typically opens at 530 or 6am.

If you book like 3-4 weeks in advance, sure. Literally no dealer around here will give you a loaner if you just turn up.

> And this drives insurance costs through the roof [1].

This is literally fake news. I too assumed it will exorbitant from my 2018 Tesla M3 Long Range, then I got a quote from my agent (Safeco), it is same price as my 10yr old BMW. In fact, it is cheap for a new car.

$650 for 6 months (Tesla & X3) is not astronomical.

Then you got reamed on your insurance for a 10 year old BMW -- full coverage on a similarly aged BMW for me is less than $50/mo. So no, that isn't "literally fake news" just because not everyone has the same insurance as you. My point being, just because you don't experience something doesn't make it fake news when other people do.

Comparing absolute insurance numbers without context of age, professional discounts, geography, etc. is pointless.

I paid $500/month as a 20 year old on a $5000 used Intrepid because I was in a high risk category in a major city. My uncle who lived on a farm in another state paid $500/year for both him + his wife on newer cars.

Point is, if he thinks it's fairly or underpriced for his particular situation, it probably is.

So you've just compared exactly what I'm trying to point out to... what I'm trying to point out? My entire point is that with zero context we have no idea whether the article is completely true or false and dismissing something as fake news because it doesn't jive with his experience is wrong.

He wasn't necessarily shafted, insuring a 10 year old car is expensive especially if it's a model that is often involved in insurance claims. This is generally true but it will depend on so many factors that it destroys his argument.

It's like saying that he literally has a fake profile because I know a guy redindian and he doesn't have a BMW. Or that the Tesla M3 must be a fake car because I don't own one.

How so? I said $650 for 6 months for both cars. You pay $50/m x 6 = $300 every 6m. I do the same ($42/m) for my X3.

I just looked up my actual bill for the split (it is even lower). I pay $257 for X3 ($42/m) & $357 for Tesla ($60/m). For context I am in Seattle market, 40s, clean record. When I said fake news, I meant the article seem to play on the FUD for Tesla/EV vehicles. Check the M3 forums, no one seem to pay $2500/6m unless in corner cases.

  "BREAKING $50K Tesla Model3 insurance similar to other $50K car insurances"
doesn't make an exciting article - does it?

To be honest comparing the insurance between old and new cars isn't that relevant either [0] (random example). The vast majority of people don't understand how insurance works and what are the criteria. Old cars are expensive to insure because they tend to be more expensive for the insurance company.

Do you really think that fixing a car where the parts are very rare and expensive, in authorized garages that are rare and expensive, while taking a very long time because there's no network for servicing will be as cheap as fixing any regular equivalent car that does have that servicing network?

Any car that's expensive to fix will have more expensive premiums. And expensive to fix usually means: it's often involved in accidents, parts are expensive, garages that fix it are expensive, takes a long time to fix. Tesla checks the last 3 out of the 4 main boxes in most regions in the world.

[0] http://www.thejournal.ie/car-insurance-10-year-old-vehicles-...

ok, then I'm getting reamed on my wife's 10 year old Subaru because, with 3000mi/yr, it's only a few bucks less than our brand new "expensive to repair" Model 3 with 15k miles/year.

Yes, data is not the plural of anecdote, and I want to agree with the source that Tesla repairs are more expensive (repairing anything aluminum is expensive; see: Audi A8), but I am just not seeing these high costs reflected in ANYONE's bills.

The point, which also seems lost on another comment, is that with zero context you can't really make a full observation on the circumstances that lead to the insurance cost. Just because he doesn't pay a lot for insurance doesn't mean it's fake news that someone else does, I can think of many reasons why insurance for one person would be rock bottom and sky high for another on the the exact same car.

It all depends. If you live in Brooklyn, it might be 3x more.

Then you were being ripped off on the BMW.

The cost of insurance is more related to how often certain cars get into accidents or get stolen and then adjusted for he driving record of the person driving the car. It has almost nothing to do with repair costs of the car itself.

Source: a Mustang GT costs more money to insure for me than a Mercedes C63 AMG. Repair costs on the AMG are borderline criminal and yet according to the actuaries it’s a lower risk.

Which sort of suggests something I was thinking earlier... that the autopilot features of Teslas are significantly reducing the number of accidents.

Or, much more likely, that the average person who buys a Mustang GT drives ina much more accident-prone (and a much more expensive accident-prone) manner than the type of person who buys a Tesla.

A very large (and the most variable) part of the actuarial cost of car insurance is third party liability, not the liability the insurer takes on for repairs to your own car or fire/theft.

The difference between insuring a 19-year old man and a 55-year old woman on the same car is huge.

Anecdote is not the plural of data. Unless if you can prove that the averages quoted above are false, touting your bill is literally meaningless.

But data is the plural of anecdote.

Lol, I did screw that one up didn’t I?

For me, with Nationwide, same comprehensive coverage on both cars (every 6 months):

  2005 Mercedes E320 CDI: $572.40
  2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range: $641.76
The collision part of that is $230.70 for the Tesla and $185.72 for the Mercedes.

Anybody want to buy a 2005 Mercedes?

> And this drives insurance costs through the roof

That's an interesting claim. Any firsthand data to back it up?

For me, insuring a 2014 Tesla Model S cost less ($405) than insuring a 2006 Toyota Prius ($429). Six-month period, Progressive Insurance, California, no accident history, identical coverage on both except the estimated mileage was 5,000 annually on the Prius and 12,000 annually on the Tesla -- that's right, driving the Tesla more than the Prius.

It's odd that insurance would be lower for the Tesla if it's supposed to be "through the roof."

(and for what it's worth, our Model X is even lower -- $337 for six months. Again, identical coverage.)

Parts availability doesn't have much to do with dealerships. That's just Tesla being crap at inventory management, which would be the same story regardless of their sales/service structure. (Also, dealers don't generally do body work, and Tesla already supports 3rd party body shops.)

They do seem to have velocity problems with service scaling, and dealers and independents may be able to help with that, but I see no reason to expect it to be a problem once growth levels out.

I don't particularly like the lack of 3rd party general maintenance, but most of Tesla's target customers probably don't care.

> That's just Tesla being crap at inventory management

My knee-jerk reaction is to respond that "Well every part they make is going into a new car, they don't have the capacity yet to keep up with production while building spare parts"

But after more thinking, I think you're right. They should prioritize at least having enough spare parts on hand so that people aren't waiting months for new body panels. I think pleasing the people who already have a car in their possession is more important than getting cars to more customers. People on the wait list already know they're going to wait a while, but having to wait an excessively long time for replacement parts creates a very negative user experience and I think is more likely to lead to order cancellations.

The experience of owning an 8 (or 18) year old car has a big impact on how I view quality and there are as many people in my shoes as there are in new car buyers'. But.... us old car drivers opinion isn't that commercially important. Resale-ability impacts new car sales to an extent, but a lot of manufacturers (looking at you peugot & renault!) are willing to make cars that have no value by year 8-10.

Mercedes & Tesla trade at the higher end, where just the impact on perceived quality (in addition to the quantifiable financial benefits of buying a car that will maintain value) is important. OTOH, EV are already knowingly buying a car that ranks poorly on that front. Who wants to buy a 2015 model EV in 2018? Range improvements alone would kill the price.

So... not sure it matters too much yet. Going forward.. who knows. I think tesla may already be "in for a penny, in for a pound."

I just bought a 2015 Leaf, and it was because it was so absurdly cheap. Yes, the range isn't great (only about 90 miles), but everything else is fantastic. I paid $11k for something that feels worth $20k.

Brand New Chevy volt is ~20k new with dealer and tax rebates. Chevy offers 0 down 0% financing.

There's a fair argument that the volt is a better economical buy than the used leaf.

True, but 20k is not 11k. And that's the out-the-door price with lower than average mileage bought by someone who didn't want to haggle. You can get a 2015 Leaf with 30k miles for 9k.

Can confirm! I got a 2015 for $9600, with 24k miles. It is fantastic and has more than _twice_ the trunk space of the volt which was a deal killer for the volt. We are a two car family and the other car is gas only for long range & occasional dual usage. We're jamming the miles on to the ~free-to-operate leaf as much as we can though.

Any downsides other than range?

Stock tires are uninspired and the car doesn’t handle particularly well, but basically “no; they’re great!”

The torque is what amazes me, for something considered an econo-box.

I don't have any yet downsides yet, but if interested I'd suggest browsing the leaf owner forum https://www.mynissanleaf.com/ which has a lot of leaf hacker information & a wishlist section. Essentially my takeaway was: leaf owners love their cars by and large.

That $11K could put you in 2005 S600 with enough money to spare for 2 years of fuel.

You're not accounting for the difference in cost of maintenance. Which would be SIGNIFICANTLY higher for a 2005 S600. Oil changes, brakes, etc, all of which do not apply to the Leaf, plus all the things that are statistically very likely to be wrong with or break on a 2005 vehicle.

Bought a 2015 at 19k miles for $8,500. Definitely a good deal and a pleasure to drive.

I'm envious, it seems I got swindled! Oh well.

No, I just got very good deal. Most of what I saw for sale is about what you paid.

How can something that has 90 miles of range be worth 20k$ literally defies my comprehension...

Well, it depends on what you want a car for. :)

If you need a commuter car to get you to and from work every day, and errands/visiting people in town on the weekends, getting one with a fuel cost per mile of 15% of normal (or even free if your work offers charging) makes a lot of sense. The 90 mile range is rarely a limitation at all.

If you need a car for frequent long trips out of town, the 90 mile range would be a huge hindrance. In that case I would discourage you from buying a 2015 Leaf.

> (looking at you peugot & renault!) are willing to make cars that have no value by year 8-10

But if we're being honest the money you lose after a decade is a lot less then the money you saved when you purchased it.

Is that true, though? Here (UK) Kia and Hyundai offer seven year warranties, and most of their products are competitive against Peugeot/Renault.

They mostly offer those long warranties because they severely damaged their brands with the quality of the products they rolled out initially. So now they have to give huge warranties to offset the meme that Hyundai and Kia will not survive even a few years out of warranty without major work.

It apparently is a viable path for a company to enter the auto market though, as I think they've transitioned well over the last couple decades into respectable auto-makers with standard quality. That probably makes them a good purchase since you can still get those warranties for the time being. Honestly, I thought they would be phasing them out a decade ago.

I think the brands that did this best are Audi and Skoda, they went from pariah status to nearly best in their class. Both were classic examples of turnaround management by VW.

... and back to pariah.

No, not really. More popular than ever if anything.

I was not aware that Audi had pariah status..?

Before the VW take-over they had what was probably the worst rust issues in the industry with the exception of Fiat.

Unintended acceleration…

Hyundai and Kia and now starting to challenge even the German car manufacturers with their i30N and Stinger cars.

In fact, they specifically poached a number of former executives from BMW's M division to lead those projects.

But I thought we were talking about different things. Mainly the value of the car after 8-10 years, long after any warranty expires. Low priced cars don't have much resale value after a decade because they had lower value as new. And that's a lot of money saved with the initial purchase.

But when it comes to warranty you should take care, people imagine this is like the warranty on their phone. It's not, basically it says the body won't rust. The rest is covered by dozens of other clauses that more or less just guarantee than almost nothing gets replaced under warranty.

It is an issue with resale value. But I drive about 12k miles per year, and the battery should last 500k miles. My last ICE car survived maybe 120k miles before being a write off. There's a good possibility that I'll only need to buy one Tesla for the rest of my driving days.

Or you could buy a Lexus. They seem to be good for a million plus miles.

Yes true, but a half million miles will do and I'd rather spend the time in a Tesla.

Auto makers very much care about resale value since it is pretty much the entire basis upon which a lease is priced, which is a huge deal considering ~30% of new cars are leased.

Furthermore, almost 80% of electric cars are leased [1]. When electric cars aren't being made for compliance reasons, or to lower the overall emissions of an auto maker's fleet (and thus subsidized in some way), then resale value will be of critical importance.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-03/why-most-...

that's only in the US

It's also exclusive of Tesla, who doesn't release lease vs buy numbers

"Owning Tesla outside of Warranty is worse than owning Benz outside warranty."

What a terrifying statement! I owned an AMG Benz for about 3 years and it was nerve racking towards the end. Glad I kept it in good shape and nothing blew up on my watch.

That was a conscious choice on your part though, an AMG is a pretty expensive car and buying those out of warranty means you know you are taking a substantial risk of high costs if something breaks.

Engine or ABC work on those cars can cost a fortune, for one because you'll need a shop that really knows what they are doing, for another because the parts are expensive.

Maintenance as you've correctly identified is key, as is a good inspection prior to purchase and a good warranty by the company you buy it from.

On the plus side, you can buy these for a very small fraction of the new value even with very low mileage. If you want to pity someone it would have to be the first owner, it's fairly regular to see write-offs in excess of $4/mile driven.

I wonder if there's a cultural difference here? In the UK there's a strong second hand market and it's incredibly common to see cars driving around old enough to have no warranty. I have one, it's 12 years old. When it goes wrong (which is rarely) I just take it to the local (non-affiliated) garage to fix. Mostly the yearly service is all it needs.

Mercedes UK sells more broad market vehicles. Mercedes USA is focused on the premium market. The cheapest Mercedes in the USA is a CLA with the 2.0L turbo. We don't get the A/V/X-Class or anything with an engine that is <200bhp.

Most shops in the US won't do more than basic work on them. Being so rare, you typically have to go to the dealer or a Euro-import specialist shop in the US. These shops typically won't work on a new-new car, they typically wait until the model is 5 years old before picking up the equipment for them (which can be expensive).

It's not a cultural different, but an economics one. I'm sure getting a Ford Mustang fixed in the UK is expensive despite being a car any American mechanic is comfortable working on.

Interesting. I'm in the UK and I have always thought of Mercedes as the "taxi manufacturer of choice" rather than a luxury or sportier brand, in terms of where they do their big volume sales, both in the UK and globally - i.e. the S/E/C/V class. I have literally never seen an X class in my life, although I see quite a few G-wagens (easily more than I see A-classes).

The average age of cars on the road in the US is just under 12 years.

The issue is that German cars in particular have a reputation for being quite expensive to maintain outside of warranty. In general for most cars it's not a big deal.

Also depends on brand, Volvo owners in the UK tended to keep using the dealer network for a lot longer than other makes.

Are you talking about 50k+ cars or cheap cars?

I was at a body shop a few months ago because I got rear-ended. They listed their prices on the wall, and I thought it was interesting that they had separate rates for working on Tesla and non-Teslas. Depending on the work, the prices were anywhere from 20% more to triple.

Most places charge extra for aluminum body-work.

Where do you live that there are enough Teslas to warrant special signs for them? Bay area?

Nope, LA. The shop is in El Segundo, CA. So near the fairly well-off beach cities (e.g. Manhattan Beach) as well as some Tesla facilities (a few miles from a dealership and also their Hawthorne hanger)

Hmm, that is a very interesting finding.

Yeah but would you trust an 8 year old electric Benz? Nobody has more experience at this than Tesla.

I would. Because Benz has far more experience with customer success, repairs and supply chain than Tesla. Getting even simple body parts for a Tesla can be an exercise in extreme patience. Benz also knows scale. Tesla -- we don't even know if the company will still exist in 10 years, but a reasonable person would have little doubt that Mercedes will be.

Mercedes has been around almost 100 years. A new powertrain isn't a big deal if the processes are in place.

You don't know if any current auto manufacturer will be in business in 10 years given the shift that is coming.

Tesla is probably crunched on repairs since they have so much unfulfilled demand.

And Mercedes (and VW) has dumped poor reliability cars on the US market for two decades now. The only experience they have is marketing to stupid US buyers.

I think it's pie in the sky thinking to assume the kind of infrastructure change needed to convert enough ICE vehicles to electric vehicles to kill Toyota/Honda/VW/Ford/etc within 10 years worldwide.

Need charging stations built, parking lots ripped up and wires ran, local grids probably need upgrades, not to mention all the kinks to still work out that make owning a corolla/camry type vehicle far cheaper for 90% of people. EV is great for people who can afford to experiment and have a spare car, but people on a budget who need something that works, which is the majority, can't go for that yet.

Yes. There's a reasonably significant cost in stregthening the electricity transmission/distribution networks in particular if EVs ever move beyond the niche. Noone's yet had the argument about who should pay for that to my knowledge and it's quite a political question with no easy answer which will please everyone ("subsidies paid for by poorer people" i.e. non-EV owners and low-mileage EV owners vs "tax the more environmentally-friendly options").

Generation capacity is another issue - less cost than location and if there should be more incentives. Although if we suddenly need to build lots more generation capacity in short order it will put pressure on supply chains and have a cost impact as well which will feed through.

I agree, but I do think there's going to be some losers in this disruption to the auto industry. It's doubtful that all the existing players survive.

My hope is that the competition will force the force Tesla to make it easier for 3rd party mechanics to make repairs.

Mercedes is more experienced in building cars that last for a long time. The C-Class is known for being able to drive up to 1,000,000km.

Further it is still fundamentally an engineering issue to have cars last longer, the Germans have a very long history at being the best engineers. So they too will benefit from having less parts.

One problem EVs have compared to IC vehicles for home repairability is the high-current from the batteries can easily electrocute someone. Anything battery, charging, and motor related really needs to be done by a trained technician.

I think that makes sense though, Tesla is a new brand with no history. Mercedes have been around for a long time. Buying a Tesla right now I would have to assume this as a known risk, right?

In the future, car ownership will start to decline quickly, so that's a moot point.

Most new cars all run synthetic fluids and platinum plugs so maintenance is already greatly reduced. Oil change every 10k miles, spark plugs every 75k miles. The other liquids don't even need to be changed except maybe a flush of the radiator every 100k miles. The most costly thing on luxury cars is that they usually come with performance tires that last 20k miles.

If you think this all the maintenance Mercedes or BMW will need ...

I would beg to differ. I've owned owned a total of 4 higher end and one entry level Mercedes between me and my closer family members. Litterally for the first couple years the only maintnence is the general stuff like oil, filters and occasionally the breaking pads. And we all drive a significant mileage per year over various terrains. The actual cost of running it is lower for premium cars than it is for others. Disclaimer though after about 6-7 years of heavier use repairs do start comming up and they can be costly but that is to be expected if you want to run for another half decade or so. The only difference between the more expensive models is that once you hit this period the prices are proportionately higher. Though this excludes sports and ultra premium cars.

They are so nicely tuned and set up to last for a long time. Chains instead of rubber, higher quality parts and well tested engines really do work miracles. And I expect to see very similar paterns for electric cars as they are all pretty much premium segment anyways. We just need a bit more time for the TCO to ve a good metric.

Sources: owned and driven a lot of cars from the very low end to the very high end with a lot of in between.

> The actual cost of running it is lower for premium cars than it is for others. Disclaimer though after about 6-7 years of heavier use repairs do start comming up and they can be costly but that is to be expected if you want to run for another half decade or so.

I mean if we're just comparing anecdotes, I bought an entry-level model Toyota Yaris 6 years ago, I've driven it 140000 km, and i've only done the maintenence the manual suggests (oil, filters, other fluids, brake pads..) and it's still running like new. The rest of my family drives Japanese cars (toyota, honda, suzuki) and they have had very similar experience - no extra maintenance for years except a few initial bathtub curve manufacturing defects that got fixed under warranty.

I own a Yaris as well 110,000 km on mine very happy with it. The most reliable car I have owned. Only major maintenance was Takata air bag recall which was covered for free.

My previous car was a Kia Rio which I had to replace clutch twice between 60,000 Km and 90,000 Km. Both times it was clutch cable failing and finally the gearbox died at about 120,000 and I ended up abandoning it.

I think my next car will probably be a Mazda I know a lot of people here (Australia) that drive them and everyone I've spoken to has good things to say.

Last generation Mazda 3 and 6's are amazing, a huge jump in quality and fit and finish from the previous generation.

Lots of Japanese cars have been (and some still are) sold in the U.K. without sufficient rust protection from new. The MX5 is one of the worst for this and is still delivered in 2018 without underseal at all.

Rust kills Japanese cars. High repair bills or component defects kill German cars.

I too beg to differ.

Ive had 325 & X3. After the 5 year mark (and free maintenance ends) BMWs have sky high maintenance. I am not even talking about dealership maint. I go for 3rd party and still lots of stuff breaks or needs repairs (waterpump etc) - everytime the bill comes to a cool 1-2-3K. My X3 is the the worst offender, every 2 years I have to cough up 3K range repairs... ouch

That's literally fake news. I owned a BMW 7 series and beside regular maintenance, some A/C minor issues, and some buttons breaking I didn't have any problems worth mentioning. This is the new definition of "fake news" you also seem fond of.

Having to pay $3K every 2 years means that you either got a lemon or you're doing something wrong. But this happening on 2 different models strengthens the second option. Going for "3rd parties" also suggests you may have gotten low quality parts and repairs. There are models that have a couple of known issues but having all the issues on different models is peculiar.

And even you don't have the full picture when it comes to your own cars. No data on how much it costs and how long it takes to fix say a Model 3 in case something happens. Either a failure or an accident. Expensive or not BMW parts and garages are available at every corner. How about Tesla parts? Tesla garages? Do you honestly think this doesn't have any impact on the cost and length of the repair? Tesla forums are full of (admittedly anecdotal) evidence that getting quick and affordable service is the exception not the norm.

This isn't an intrinsic problem for EVs or anything like that. It's just a problem for manufacturers that didn't develop any serious support network for post sale services of any kind.

While BMW has moved up a lot in recent years in reliability ratings Mercedes is sitting at 14th place behind Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda etc.

The other very nice thing about working on Mercedes is that the cars seem engineered to be serviced over their life. Things that need removed have actual bolts instead of the plastic “Christmas tree fasteners”. Care is given to access for common tasks. Sure, they come up with a few weak points, but routine service is satisfying (almost a joy) because you know it can go back together without rattles, loose parts, or a trip to the dealer for a few plastic BS fasteners.

MB parts are readily available and reasonably priced in general.

Source: I turn all the wrenches on our cars and most of my parents’ cars, except only tire changes and bodywork. Over the years, that’s 5 Mercedes, 2 Hondas, 2 Smarts, 1 Alfa, 2 VWs, 1 LEAF, 2 Jeeps, and 2 classic Mustangs.

> things that need removed

Off-topic and just curious: Are you from Pittsburgh? I've seldom seen "to be" dropped as often as I do here. :)

Well, sort of. Both my parents are from 45 minutes outside Pitt, so lots of influence I’m sure, but I grew up elsewhere.

I’m not a yinz-er, but all my cousins are. ;)

The maintenance costs almost surely drop assuming everything else stays the same. Simply by having a far simpler drivetrain that should need less maintenance.

But I'm sure auto manufacturers and dealers will invent new ways of making money. Paid software updates? Prohibitively expensive batteries and battery swaps? Charging slightly more for the increasing number of parts that make up the rest of the car and break down regardless of drivetrain?

An ICE powered car can happily chug along with relatively little maintenance for far longer than any of today's batteries will last. The engine won't wear out as quickly as the battery. This means the resale value of an EV could be vastly diminished if the buyer realizes the utility of the car has gone down because the battery is worn to a level that would require the above mentioned swap. Also, with the quick pace of advancing technology an old EV has very little resale value unlike classic tech that mostly gets touchups these days, so 5 years difference isn't that noticeable.

So don't worry about these guys, as long as something can break down they will find ways to milk you for the repair. And on top of that there's nothing stopping classic manufacturers from dumping dealership networks altogether as soon as they go EV only if they find this to be a financially sound move.

I'm pretty sure everybody is just calculating what's the perfect time to introduce subscription services so they don't cannibalize current sales. So future sales and support models will surely be very different from what we take for granted today.

Paid software updates you say? I have a 2014 Opel Ampera and noticed the maps on the nav system are pretty out of date. So on a whim, I googled how to update them. Apparently you have to get a DVD coded to only work in your particular vehicle, and it cost over 200 pounds!

Given how clumsy the nav is to use in the first place - you have to use an abcdef touchscreen keyboard for input! - I decided it wasn't for me.

Everything else that can break is also something that can break on an electric car. Major powertrain failures are so rare as to be practically nonexistent in modern passenger cars. All the reliability that stems from an electric motors simplicity means nothing when it's the completely blown out suspension and failed power window regulators that cause someone to scrap a used up electric car.

The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Maintain.


Slightly off topic, but this article confirms the reliability and engineering feat of Toyota, along with my experience as a car owner for the past 30 years. I currently own Toyota Prius (ranked #1 in lowest maintenance cost) with 200k miles and I cannot believe how reliable this car is. Had I known this, I would've had bought only Toyota in the past, but I had only learned my lesson in the most painful way. I've had Mercury, which confirms extremely high maintenance (ranked 7th in the list) and Infiniti (ranked 12th), which seems about right, as well as Mazdas, etc. I still have nightmares thinking about what I went through with those other cars. Scotty Kilmer, a popular automechanic Youtuber, also confirms that Toyota is the most reliable car that he has ever owned or worked with. Not all Japanese car manufacturers are the same. Nissan and Honda are not even in the same league as Toyota. I hope that Toyota creates all-electric Prius someday.

To me, it's surprising that a hybrid vehicle would be the most reliable given it couples an entire ICE drivetrain (inherently unreliable in its own right) with an electric system. I'm assuming Toyota appreciated the risks and put effort into using higher-reliability components into their hybrid cars - especially as the Prius brand could be devalued quickly if it ever developed a reputation for poor reliability.

Shows you the massive inefficiencies of fuel-based motors that a marginally more complex setup yields such a better result maintenance wise.

Plus the Atkinson cycle parallel hybrid drivetrain is a fantastic invention.

Old Nissans used to be good until they hired the guy from Renault who focused on cost-cutting. Late 90s Nissans and Infinitis could easily put on 200k miles without major issues.

Here's a UK survey from 2015 of 50,000 motorists with remarkably similar results. To sum up: Japanese cars were the most reliable and dependable. And the cheapest to repair.


I'm glad you posted this. The thread is mostly full of anecdotal claims, which makes sense since few people clock enough time in enough cars in a lifetime to claim statistical significance. However if we're talking about maintenance costs, it's really about average value and standard deviation.

That website urgently needs to add error estimates on these numbers. It might also be interesting to look at repair cost relative to car cost.

A friend has an independent Mercedes/Porsche repair place in SF and told me that most of his business is repairing doors/windows and other issues like that. These repairs tend to be insanely expensive compared to what you think they should cost.

Well, SF does have 70-80 smash and grabs (car windows broken) per day so...

The VW range of cars use a cheap part in the window opening mechanism which breaks every two-three years. The part is simple, the repair is easy but very time consuming.

This problem has been around for more than a decade but VW won't fix it. Why would they, it's a great little earner?

If the part is cheap VW wouldn't earn from it, the dealers would.

Happy dealer == happy manufacturer, in this business.

Go price what a new set of brakes costs on a BMW or Porsche and then we can chat about tires.

Unless you optioned $15k carbon ceramics (which last 3x as long), the standard brake pads don't run much more expensive than other cars ($100-200 per pair). Rotors might cost $500/pair, but you're not replacing them as frequently as tires.

$200+/tire still costs more than brakes and need to be changed much more frequently.

other cars ($100-200 per pair)

The last time I had brakes done, it was $80 for the back pair (about a year ago), and $120 for the front pair (about six months ago). And that was at a dealership, with tax and labor.

$100-200/pair doesn't sound average to me.

Point is, the brakes on a car are cheaper than the tires for the same car. I'd be very surprised if you can get a full set of tires + labor for less than your quoted $200 total for brakes.

Labor costs are just insane. I've gotten quoted $500-$1000 per axle (yeah, $1000-$2000 all-in) for brakes on my BMW. And it takes me maybe 2 hours in my driveway (at beer-pace) to slap on the couple hundred dollars in parts.

Brake pads easily last 60k miles and cost maybe $50 per corner, and the rotors are about the same but last twice as long (though it's recommended you replace at the same time, not always necessary).

Of course, once you get into drilled factory rotors on an STi or M3 or something, you're gonna hit the $200-$300+ per corner for rotors pretty quickly.

I dunno, I've just always find the margins on brake work seem insane compared to anything else.

OTOH, I also find the German marques' brakes last far longer between changes than the Japanese.

If you replace brake pads and you are going to keep your rotors have them turned down a tiny bit to ensure roughly double the wear life on your brake pads. If they are too thin to be turned down safely then you'll have to replace them anyway.

Nobody turns brake rotors in the US anymore. If your price sensitive, you'll just buy a Chinese-made rotor for about what turning would cost. If you're not so price sensitive, chances are good that your brake rotors use an alloy that the old brake lathes can't cut anyway.

I used to get rotors turned. Then I stopped because it was a pain. Unless a rotor has been grooved by a completely worn brake pad (i.e. the backing plate and rivets made contact), I haven't seen any difference in performance or longevity.

I don't know of many places that still turn rotors, many of the big shops stopped and so did some smaller, unless they're specialty I always buy new, partially the reason I do it myself.

That's mostly a decision to increase turnaround speed on their bridges, it is faster to swap a rotor for a new one than it is to turn one down. But if you're cost conscious enough to replace your own brake pads and you don't want your new shiny pads to be just as bad as the old ones after a couple of weeks (as in: grooved, they will likely still be thicker) then turning the discs is a good option. Where I live this is still pretty easy, it might be harder in other places to find shops that will do this. Cost me about 10,- / disc.

I'm still not really clear on why it matters. If anything, grooved rotor/pad combos have more friction surface :)

I just swapped pads last weekend for a track day, my rotors are grooved and should be replaced next time I have to replace my street pads, but once the pads are bedded in, they still grip amazingly well.

It essentially cuts life from the pads, it does not change your braking distance.

Just as bad in a few weeks seems like a bit of an overstatement then, unless you're replacing your pads based on their wear rate instead of how worn they are

Depending on how bad your disks are that can really add up.

> That's mostly a decision to increase turnaround speed on their bridges, it is faster to swap a rotor for a new one than it is to turn one down.

I used to turn the rotors on my European cars, but about 10-15 years ago the alloys started warp after being turned just once or twice. Easier to just pay to replace than take the risk of doing the labor twice.

My old STI had cheap brakes. Brembo rotors are like $50-70ea. Pads are about $60 a pair.

Yeah, that was normal for even higher-performance cars until, I think, 2008ish where Subaru went to the Brembos on the STI.. and around then (2006 competition package maybe?) BMW went to drilled rotors on the M3.. everyone wants to sell the bling now :)

Tires on my Porsche are $500 a pop. Brake pads are $200 max for the Brembo brakes on it.

This includes labor or just parts?

Porsche require you fit special N rated tires if you want to keep your car in warranty.

Well, no, it's not a warranty question, but if you want to trade the car in (or if it's a lease), the dealer will make you install N-rated tires at that time. Otherwise they can't sell it as a certified pre-owned vehicle, which costs them (and you) a lot.

Oh, and EVs reduce break wear considerably too due to regenerative braking.

But replacing performance tires every 20k miles? If the EVs have similar tires, that expense won't be impacted.

There's no reason to get tires changed at a dealership location: dedicated tire stores will generally be cheaper (absent some incentive coupons or so). Unlike general vehicle servicing or bodyshops, tire shops don't need any OEM-controlled parts, training or service instructions.

You can reduce brake wear by engine braking aggressively on an ICE; it's just not worth the effort given how cheap brakes are.

ICE engine braking is nowhere in the same ballpark of efficiency gains as regenerative braking... plus you could ruin your transmission by doing it.

On a hybrid, all this is transparent to user and even recharges your battery.

20k miles... unless you drive the car like it's a performance car. Half that is more like it in my experience.

And the dealers make a HUGE margin on tyres - the markup vs third party is close to 100% and the third parties are still making a good margin.

There's also things like A/C maintenance etc which is pretty profitable for them.

My Escalade begs to differ. Every time I go to the dealership (which has been far too often) it is very very busy. I'm glad the industry solved the plugs/fluids maintenance issues because it's time to solve some other problems. I've replaced 5 (yes 5, not all the same one either) door handles on my $90k Escalade. I've replaced the suspension entirely (including air compressor for the rear shocks) twice. I could go on...

If Cadillac made an electric car (and it wasn't a piece of shit) it might just bankrupt that dealership.

The dealers that might do well with EV's are the quality/value brands like Toyota. I've made one dealer visit in my 4 Runner's 200k mi. life and it was something I could have easily taken elsewhere.

Hate to say it but GM has piss poor body engineering. I've owned quite a few GM vehicles including vans and trucks for a business. What I've learned about GM over the years: drivetrain is pretty stout mechanically. Rarely had big problems with engines or transmissions and they will last 10+ years and 100k+ hard city miles. Everything else is crap. You spend a lot of time fixing little things. Broken plastic bits in the cabin are the first items (dash and door pieces) followed by silly things like door handles, hoses, small plastic bits on/around the engine, and other minor yet highly aggravating issues.

And don't get me started on their sad excuse for door handles. They've been producing cheap trash designs since the 90's. Even my old 95 Tahoe suffered a few broken door handles. They can't help but make a flimsy plastic carrier and a thin flimsy cast zinc handle that fails after a few years. The usual culprit is a small thin bit of plastic which holds the whole thing together breaks or the handle snaps from mechanical fatigue. It's laughably pathetic and partly why I won't ever touch another GM ever again.

GM in a nutshell: A decent drivetrain surrounded by plastic trash.

" I've replaced 5 (yes 5, not all the same one either) door handles on my $90k Escalade. I've replaced the suspension entirely (including air compressor for the rear shocks) twice. I could go on..."

Actually these problems still would exist in an EV.

Fair enough. You raise a good point. I've only replaced one transmission ever (it was the Escalade). Most cars these days don't have drive train issues. I see your point. Maybe if they keep making cheap doorhandles these dealers will be fine.

Considering how unpleasant it is to deal with car dealers I am happy if they go away. Buying from a dealer sucks royally (why not sell cars at a fixed price? why do I always have to go through hours of stupid negotiation?) and for service I prefer independent mechanics.

If I were buying a $90k car and you told me that $50-$100 of that went into sturdy door handles, I'd be entirely okay with that. Unless I'm buying a track car, I'm expecting the high price tag to be reasonably good parts and then the "death by a thousand cuts" of small design and engineering details meant to make a better driving/riding experience. That's the 80% of the work/cost that makes 20% of a difference.

Badge engineered vehicles with extras tacked on are bad news because there isn't any real ownership from engineering. Trade it in for a Tahoe and you wouldn't have these problems.

I hope this doesn't sound like an attack, as I'm asking it sincerely: So why do you keep it? When I talk to friends with high-priced vehicles like yours, all of them mention how many times they've had it into the shop. My lady friend was spending $xxxx / year on her BMW before she got rid of it, plus it required premium gas. Yes, my car is a piece of dirty junk, but its maintenance costs are minimal. I have been trying to derive whether owners of high-end vehicles simply talk more about their problems (because they are presumably more expensive than repairs on more pedestrian vehicles) or whether these cars really are more of a pain.

My personal experience is that when you spend a substantial amount of time driving (an hour a day for me, commuting), the car's amenities and its driving experience add up. That's beyond just being a signal of wealth/identity.

A BMW really does feel better to drive than a Camry (more responsive acceleration, more responsive steering), and it comes with all sorts of small amenities that you get used to.

I drive a Camry because it's cheap and reliable and gets me from home to office with minimal drama. But I can definitely feel when the engine power lags and gears shift awkwardly going up hills or onto highways, and steering feels kind of numb and floaty. Think of the difference between cheap clothes and expensive ones: you can feel the difference, but it's unclear how much that difference is worth to you.

Also, if you look closely, you can see where the designers were careful to cut corners. Some of the button interfaces on my Camry's steering wheel and certain other panels aren't beveled, so it's harder to use them while your eyes are on the road because you can't navigate the buttons by touch. There's no automatic climate control, so you fiddle with it more. And so on. I wouldn't pay an extra $30k over 5-8 years to fix those things now, but if I had the spare income and knew I'd be spending an hour a day in my expensive box, I might.

Someone hasn't driven the 18 Camry.

I own the 2018 Camry LE. It's an improvement, but the lag going up hills is pretty obvious, and you really notice the jerkiness of the 8-speed transmission too because the car changes gears four times just going up to 30mph from a stoplight.

All of my criticisms were based on my observations driving the 2018 model. I think the Camry is the reigning champion of "best bang for your buck," but it leaves plenty of room for improvement if you have a bigger budget.

Yep, simpler is better. A fancy lifestyle (which means expensive "things" above and beyond their utility function) often end up requiring too big of a time requirement than they're even worth.

It's my wife's car, she's attached to it, and I paid it off rather quickly. The car did not hold its value and therefore the equity wasn't worth selling it and going into debt on a new car. I've kept a running total of how much the car cost to fix and over time it's still been cheaper than buying a nice new luxury auto, albeit not much cheaper.

Its hard to add up the entire cost of the car. There's the cost of time spent; time without a car; lost opportunity due to car issues. And in the end, you're driving an old, worn car which isn't as 'valuable' as driving a new, unworn one.

Depending on how all this is weighted and added up, it can be the right thing to replace a car sooner than later.

In a thread about Tesle and Mercedes, I'm not sure I'm 100% qualified to speak to the luxury segment, but having traded a 2001 Hyundai Elantra in for a 2006 Mini Cooper some years ago (a pretty significant difference in fit and finish) I've done some thinking on this.

Luxury cars aren't build to last. The target market is generally not keeping their cars around for more than a few years. I keep the proverbial purse strings pretty tight for most things, but even for me, the additional cost of premium gas is largely unnoticeable. I do get frustrated by some engineering choices: On the Hyundai, if you had 13mm & 10mm sockets and a Phillips head screwdriver you could practically disassemble the entire car, but on the Mini I needed three different size Torx heads to take the stereo out - thanks BMW.

I largely avoid the dealer for maintenance, but after a few snafus at my local garage, I went to the dealer for a new radiator, and they gave me a brand new Mini as a loaner, and I lived 40 miles from the dealership - which in many ways feels more akin to an Apple store than a garage with a sales office. Every time they work on the car, no matter how small the job, it gets a complimentary car wash there.

Parts are marked up tremendously compared to my Hyundai, but again, the cars aren't necessarily built to last, so much as they're built for experience. This is exemplified in my Mini by "lifetime transmission fluid." There's no (easy) way to drain and refill the fluid in my automatic transmission (I'm in a city, I'm done with stick for now) because the fluid is "good for the lifetime of the car." At 12 years old and 150,000 miles, I've definitely exceeded the expected lifetime of the car.

But it's fun to drive. It's easy to park. It's surprisingly well equipped for something so old. The interior trim is nice, although particularly with a Mini, there are more than a few "form over function" UX issues. People express shock when I tell them how old the car is. The experience at the dealership is tailored for people who have more money than free time, and who trade for a new car after two or three years. No one ever expressed excitement about getting into my Hyundai, but I still get people telling me, as we get in the car, that they've "always wanted drive a Mini Cooper"

The other thing luxury vehicles offer that's less sexy but worth the premium: Advanced safety features. It used to be that you paid extra money for things like chrome and leather interior. Nowadays, what sets luxury vehicles apart are the cutting edge tech and safety features.

All that being said, my next vehicle is probably going to be a Ford Transit Connect. Hard swing back toward utility and serviceability. I'm going to miss the Mini though, warts and all.

> on the Mini I needed three different size Torx heads to take the stereo out - thanks BMW.

That's very obviously an anti-theft measure to deter casual smash and grab jobs.

>That's very obviously an anti-theft measure to deter casual smash and grab jobs.

Torx head, sure. Two different size Torx? I mean, fine. Three? Now the crowbar comes out, and they've ruined your entire interior. I say this as someone who lives on a street that has had a lot of smash and grabs, before my wife and I began weekly garbage cleanups & installed a very visible camera on our building facade.

In many cases with BMW/Mini, I would contend that it's very obviously a deterrent from having you do casual work on your own car, and pushing you into their service model. By comparison, Hyundai publishes their service manuals online in their entirety, for free - or at least they did in the 2000s when I was driving that car.

Funny you mention that because I've been drooling over the Transit Connect for a few years now. Looks like such a simple, utilitarian vehicle at a practically cheap price.

> At 12 years old and 150,000 miles, I've definitely exceeded the expected lifetime of the car.

It should have at least another 5 years and 50-100K miles in it.

It's going to still cost a fair bit to get that far. Unless I'm lucky, the supercharger's due to fail soon, based on what other drivers of the same vehicle have experienced. Already spent a bunch on the valve body for a known shifting issue with the Aisin transmission. So if I make it to 2023, I'll have a neat looking car with terrible safety ratings compared to modern options.

I mean, I get it - my father drives his 1973 Z28, and it didn't make it all the way to 2018 without a lot of work over the decades. I think that if I lived in a suburban house with a garage, I'd lean towards keeping it as a project car. I've got a project building in Philadelphia instead (small venue, Airbnb & home, with walls originally erected in 1761!), and I walk ten minutes to work, when I'm not working from home, and it's a three minute walk to the subway/bikeshare/bus stop.

I used to find joy in taking care of my car, but in my current situation, it feels like I've got better things I could do with my time.

It looks like your Cadillac dealer would have been equally happy to sell an electric Escalade. None of the problems you listed is related to the powertrain.

I stand corrected.

Replacing door handles is definitely not a common maintenance requirement for cars. Sounds like your 90k Escalade may just be an overpriced lemon.

Or maybe the GP poster just needs to be more gentle on the door handles? Break 1 maybe it was a defective. Break 5 and I start to wonder what you're doing to the things.

Ironic, considering the issues Tesla has had with uncommanded door issues...

So I'd imagine that the Escalade repairs are being charged back to the manufacturer under warranty, or to you, so I'd imagine the dealership is happy to fix those doors 5 , 6 , 10 times or whatever.

Issues with luxury cars is a different thing than maintenance. If you have air suspension on your car luxury car, it's not going to last the life of the car. My 10-year-old Lexus still gets frequent recalls like airbags, melting dash and other things. There are lots of wear items on cars that affect both EV and gas cars like shocks and brakes.

I had to replace 5 of the 4 door handles on my early Model S -- every car manufacturer puts newer widgets on their high-end models, and then has reliability problems with them.

Tesla model S also have common issues with door handles breaking.

Oil changes every 10k miles is strictly a North American thing, the same cars run just fine with oil changes a multiple of that apart.

What are some intervals that you've seen recommended in Europe?

I seem to recall Porsche going to 30k mile intervals, but I believe that they had a shorter filter interval. Of course, they were using a synthetic. My understanding is that this was a move to make their cars more environmentally friendly, and I'm not sure whether engineering approved, but the manufacturer only really cares about longevity for the duration of most leases or initial ownership periods (obviously a reputation for longevity helps sales overall, but if they're going to cut corners they're going to focus on initial ownership satisfaction).

IMO there's no point in discussing oil change intervals unless you have an oil analysis (e.g Blackstone Labs) to prove the condition of your oil.

20K miles is pretty normal for new cars, some Japanese and German brands will go higher, even for a first interval.

I don't know any modern brands that are using non-synthetic oil.

In Europe we change every 30000 km or every year.

> Oil changes every 10k miles is strictly a North American thing, the same cars run just fine with oil changes a multiple of that apart.

That is not a good idea if you want your engine to last.

Those "features" seem minor compared to the fact that you won't even need to change the oil, and as well as many other components in an EV.

I don't think they'll have any trouble scamming people out of money.

I bought a used Nissan Leaf with ~12k miles it that was certified with all the extra warranties offered from a certified dealer. The very first time I took the car in for inspection at ~20k, I was told all the brake, coolant and transmission fluids needed to be changed for the tidy sum of $475.

They were just trying to get money out of you, the recommended service intervals for those consumables can be found here: https://owners.nissanusa.com/content/techpub/ManualsAndGuide...

Brake fluid, for one, isn't due to be flushed until 45k / 36mo.

I'm aware. When I asked "Transmission? Do you mean the reduction gear?" the service manager was confused and started stammering when I asked why all of them need off schedule service.

> I'm aware. When I asked "Transmission? Do you mean the reduction gear?" the service manager was confused and started stammering when I asked why all of them need off schedule service.

Page 19, reduction gear oil should be "inspected" every 15,000 miles or 12 months. Unsure what kind of inspection they'd do, but annual replacement seems like overkill (unless Nissan cheaped out on the fluid and/or cooling).

There's two schedules based on driving habits in the owner's manual. IIRCC the earliest scheduled change is at 90k.

Look at page 19 (well, page 16 actually). The 30,000 mile service (page 19) is the same for both schedules, the 15,000 mile service (page 16) is different but for both schedule 1 (severe) and schedule 2 (normal) "reduction gear oil" is listed. 15,000 miles is a lot less than 90,000 miles.

In the end, the service writer was probably sputtering because he didn't know how to argue with alternative facts.

> Brake fluid, for one, isn't due to be flushed until 45k / 36mo.

What? No. Without even looking, glycol based brake fluid (DOT 3/4/5.1) should be replaced at least every two years because it's hygroscopic.

Looking at the link you provided, Nissan recommends brake fluid be changed every 15,000 mi / 12 months (severe usage, page 16) or 30,000 miles / 24 months (less severe usage, page 19).

Of course they told you that. Do yourself a favor and never take it there for inspection again as they’re obviously dishonest.

Ha, and I was downvoted for calling dealers crooks about making up maintenance.

Nothing on that Leaf needs to be done until 100k miles, with the exception of maybe brake fluid.

We leased a Chevy Bolt back in February. $2000 down and $325/month including lease & tire protection plan (3-year lease, 15,000 miles per year). $41/month flat rate for electricity for the garage charger. 240+ mile range and great pickup and driveability (not quite the acceleration of Tesla's Ludicrous Mode, though).

But yeah, it was pretty obvious that the dealer wasn't thrilled about carrying and selling this model. They don't push them or advertise them at all -- I'm guessing because they hardly go in for repairs or maintenance.

I think we're in the last decade of "buying" and owning a car individually. Seems natural that once self driving is competent enough to get unmanned cars from A to B, you'll just subscribe to your provider of choice and beckon a car when you need it, like Uber. It's basically public cloud for transportation. Our average utilization of our cars is terrible. Parking lots and garages are minimally required in this reality.

Sounds a lot like well-run self-driving buses would be even more efficient, were the streets devoid of other traffic.

Reduced maintenance hurts dealers and independent mechanics, but if electric cars also come with much increased long-term durability, that also torpedoes manufacturers' revenue. (e.g. if the long-term per-km capital cost of driving is halved, that halves the entire car manufacturing sector's revenue.)

This is the interesting thing. Automobiles are turning into software, obviously. And one of the things about software is that the “all you can eat for one price” model is rapidly dissapearing.

Nobody can survive without turning customers into revenue streams, so we have SaaS, in-app purchases, and so on. I predict that automobiles will go that way, they will essentially become a service, whether you get one exlusively to yourself or share it on demand.

The buzzword you're looking for is Mobility Services: https://www.google.com/search?q=mobility+services&tbm=nws

OEM's are looking at their 2-5% margins and then eyeing lyft and uber's 40% margins (well, +/- the burning-all-of-it-plus-investors-money-to-capture-global-market-share bit).

It's not SaaS, it's MaaS they're all gunning for.

What’s the resell market like for EV? I wouldn’t ever buy new and with the change in maintenance I’m wondering how viable just going to a mechanic to checkout a craigslist car purchase will be as EVs make up a greater share of vehicles on the road.

> What’s the resell market like for EV?

Leaf's are pretty cheap relative to new, I think some buyers remorse is leading to a flooded market but I'm not sure.

Tesla's aren't that much less than new (although I was looking at "certified" ones through Tesla.) I decided there wasn't much reason to buy used.

Maybe in 3-5 years it will be different.

Tesla's aren't that much less than new (although I was looking at "certified" ones through Tesla.) I decided there wasn't much reason to buy used.

The reason to buy used is that there is no waiting list so you can get it now.

Which implies as a corollary that if Tesla was able to fill current demand for new cars, then the price of used Teslas would drop substantially.

I suspect part of that is just how much better the current model Leaf is than the old ones. In a rapidly changing market, you can’t expect much resale value. Of course, this implies the next problem; it’s never the right time to buy an electric car, because next year’s range is going to be a lot better..l

Right. The logical thing to do is to price it up as a lease without option to purchase / long-term hire contract and compare that to other competitors.

Resale is extremely weak, even for something like a Model S. Think 50% or less going to auction after three years, and some cars in particular (looking at you 500E) going for 1/6 what they were sold for brand new.

Once the technology stabilizes a bit and becomes more common, resale probably won't be any worse than everything else.

That's true only if you compare sticker prices. In reality, a $32k bolt has a $7.5k federal rebate, a $2.5k california rebate, and various city and utility rebates. So a $32k MSRP is actually around $20-22k.

With that in mind, a $16k 3 year old Bolt is actually not that bad.

Meanwhile in Canada, there are no EV rebates (in most provinces), and due to the depreciation of the dollar and Tesla's USD-based pricing, buying a new Model 3 is now only $400 less than the Model S was at launch four years ago.

If long-term reliability really is good for EVs, it should be cheap for manufacturers to offer long-term warranties, transferable between owners, as a point of differentiation over their competitors. As-is, EVs don't (yet?) have better warranties than ICE cars.

When Tesla was raising the funds for the Gigafactory, they did try to frame the discussion about company's core competence being sourcing, production and recycling lithium-ion batteries.

Whether those batteries were attached to a set of wheels or packed inside a box for a residential/utility install was secondary.

> but if electric cars also come with much increased long-term durability

Do you have a citation for that?

No. I'm not making any claims about the long-term durability of EVs, just pointing out the result that selling more durable cars will have on the auto manufacturing industry.

I don't know that long-term durability of EVs is even knowable yet, the oldest Model S is only four years old. Average age of cars on the road in the USA is 12 years, so we'll need to wait a while for good comparison data.

EVs haven't been on the road long enough to really know what the long-term durability is.

But generally, EVs have a lot fewer moving parts. There's less to break. Theoretically, they should last significantly longer.

The guy sitting right next to me has been increasingly angry about not being able to get a new headlight for his Model S, at a price well over $2000, for over a year. I don't think the lack of a dealer service network is a big plus for Tesla. It's just another aspect of their "disruption" circus.

>not being able to get a new headlight for his Model S, at a price well over $2000, for over a year.

Most of the main stream media seems completely oblivious to the struggles with parts and service Tesla is having. Twitter and the forums are filled with people who have had their cars waiting for parts for weeks and sometimes months. And this supply chain will be strained moreso after all these Model 3s have been in service for a while.

Meanwhile, some people talk about how superior this system is. Can anyone explain the difference between a "dealer" and a "Tesla service centre/store"?

So you've got a car that costs $70-100K, and then you can't get a headlight for it for a year? And I understand it's illegal to drive with a non-functional headlight, so you can't use the car for the whole time, or at least part of the time? And the headlight costs $2K - I could buy a working used car for that price (I did). I just checked and my car's headlight assembly costs around $100 and I could order it from Amazon. I guess it must be a heavenly pleasure to drive a Tesla to put up with stuff like that.

And I understand it's illegal to drive with a non-functional headlight, so you can't use the car for the whole time, or at least part of the time?

In many (all?) U. S. states, your headlights must be functional at all times. IOW, if you have an obviously non-functioning headlight, you can be pulled over at noon on the summer solstice. Don't plan on being out after dark? Many states require you have lights on in the rain. Or that matter, can you guarantee you won't be caught out after dark?

So, in summary, by the law of many states the Tesla would be unusable for that year.

In California no white person has ever been pulled over for having one non-working headlight.

I have never had headlight malfunctioning but both myself and my wife have been warned by the police about malfunctioning tail lights (it wasn't exactly pulled over as it was on a plazas so it may not count as driving). We both are white (though there was no way for the policeman to know that upfront before approaching the vehicle, as it was dark) and live in California. I think you are confusing your ideological biases with facts.

This is untrue by counter-example: I'm white and back in the 80s got pulled over on US 80 headed down from Donner Pass to Reno in blowing snowstorm for having a non-working headlight. The CHP officer looked at my license, looked at me, and said, "Hey, I went to high school with you, I'm Steve" and after a few minutes reminiscing sent me on my way with a friendly "make sure you get that light fixed".

See, the system works! /s

Is the implication that black people don't drive Teslas? Because I know that's not true.

Black people get pulled over for being black.

Headlights are only required in dark and rain, times when police aren't out trawling for violations to meet quota.

No, headlights are only required to be turned on in dark and rain. In the state of WA, your car is to have two forward-facing front headlights. Though the law does not specify that they must work, I assume it is implied that word "headlight" means it will produce light at any given time.

Even aside from confusing the requirement for activated headlights with that for operable ones:

> Headlights are only required in dark and rain

...and in tunnels and in designated “daylight headlight areas” (often forested areas that are typically overshadowed); there are lots of places that cannot be accessed conveniently without crossing such a stretch.

> times when police aren't out trawling for violations to meet quota.

Even aside from th mistaken idea that times other than heightened enforcement (whether quota driven or otherwise) are safe from ticketing, there are lots of heightened enforcement times that can happen in dark and rain; and they are often times that people are likely to wait to to drive—particular holiday periods, for instance.

If a corporate Tesla-owned service center has an issue getting the part, why would a third-party-owned dealership fare better?

It wouldn't.

I don't think the implication was that a non-Tesla party would be faster at getting a Tesla part; rather they would be faster at getting a non-Tesla part.

Can dealership do that? Every time I went in for Nissan service, they emphasized the genuine parts (I suppose to justify the mark-up).

If a random mechanic can get a random non-Tesla part, why is there a need to affiliate themselves with Tesla? Bunch of shops in my area advertise that they "fix German cars" without flying a Mercedes-Benz or BMW logo.

I find those details hard to believe

If they cost $2k and are backordered a year then why hasn't some dude in china with a set of dial calipers and a Rolodex of people who own factories that make plastic car parts isn't making good enough knockoffs for $500 and selling them on eBay and Alibaba for $1000?

I'd guess Tesla has a 5$ headlight and a 1995$ encrypted ROM to brick your car if you go outside their supply chain

At some level hardware is hardware. If the headlight has a module that needs to to authenticate then someone would offer a "send in your core and we replace all the shattered plastic and glue it back together" service. Such services are commonplace in the aftermarket parts industry. Usually they just charge you for the core and credit you when the core you send in is good but for rare/low volume stuff you have to send in a core before they do anything which is the business model I would expect to see for something like a Tesla headlight.

Have a look at Rich Rebuilds on youtube. There is a long list of things Tesla can do if you go outside of their blessed supply chain. Including, for example, revoking super charger rights. They might not do it over a broken headlight, but it's a bet you have to take.

> Such services are commonplace in the aftermarket parts industry.

Such services are available for the most common vehicles, not every vehicle. It also takes time to prepare, and if the market is small (Tesla is still a niche luxury car), then why even bother?

I know, I know, there are cities where it's a relatively common vehicle. That's not enough, it has to be relatively common on at least one whole continent.

But then the buyer is having to pay out of pocket for a warranty repair.

I'm sure they'll still have plenty of other places to put fancy electrical or computer-controlled gizmos that break often. They wouldn't be German if they didn't! (Though I've never owned a Mercedes... just pretty much all of the other German brands.)

In the long run, they're screwed anyway. Electric cars are less dramatic, so tolerances are going to be tighter. Maintenance is going to be automated and automated means centralized. Baring intervention on the owner's part, cars are just going to self-drive an half an hour away to get serviced when their owner is asleep or at work.

Also, just realized who I was replying to.

Thanks for all the things you've written over the years Ben. When I was first getting back into tech your presentation on split testing was invaluable and your articles and HN comments are always great.

You're conflating electric cars and self-driving in a big way.

Or, maybe in a good/optimistic way.

The thought that cars will run their own "personal errands" when the users are not needing the cars is fantastic, and honestly, an obvious thing I had never thought of.

A couple things will be interesting when self driving cars are a full reality:

* Car drives over to the store and a worker loads it up with the items you purchased

* Car is added to an Uber Fleet when youre not needing it and makes you a few dollar per hour.

* Car gets washed/serviced autonomously

* Car monotnously drives around in killing time/parks free-far-away when your in a Financial District and parking isnt available

* Car is shared between multiple families/households.

* Apartment complexes have a dedicated shared car schedulable for use by tenants.

When you reach that stage of technology, why own a car at all ? By Ubering/Renting/Leasing into a fleet of autonomous cars, you get all of that with the addition of:

* Be able to chose the car for your immediate present needs (car/truck/sport)

* Have a car anywhere in the world

* Save money as you no longer need private parking space in your property.

Also most likely the cost of private car ownership is likely going to increase to the domain of luxury.

First because car manufacturer will want a piece of the fleet pie (see Volvo) and that will be a disputed market between Manufacturer/Uber-like/Rental Companies.

Then government are going to like fleets. Working with a few large partners is going to make stuff like dynamic traffic management doable, cities will be able to enforce very strict policies, and minimise the space allocated to car. For example in the EU they are destroying public parking space in the cities, do not allow building of private parking space either for offices or houses.

So car manufacturer won't want to sell you car and government won't want you to own one - good luck :-)

Eh, there are successful niche manufacturers now, I imagine there will always be someone willing to sell you your own vehicle for the indefinite future, at a price at least as low as today and probably lower.

All of those are independent of how the car is powered.

"powered" sure, but I was talking about the cars being relatively self-driving...

How many gas powered self driving cars are they making?

As far as I can tell, most of Waymo's fleet is gas-powered. They bought 62,000 hybrid minivans, and hybrids are gas-powered. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/05/31/w...

Exactly as many as EV cars: 0

It just seems like a car is the wrong form factor for all of these tasks. Or more importantly, doing all of theses task atomically using cars as the atoms is awfully inefficient and cumbersome. So much capital and physical resource goes into manufacturing cars, and to then use a lumbering metal cage to pick up groceries when transporting a human is no longer a requirement seems silly.

There is also the issue that car infrastructure dominating humans living spaces and running out of space has become an increasing issue and EV/vehicle automony only embeds the issue deeper into our societies practices. We should be finding ways to replace cars.

Disclaimer, I come from rural South Australia and would have found it very difficult to live without a car due to the long distances involved and complete lack of public transportation outside of the (only) city center. So I empathize with the rural need for cars. But the majority of people who would buy an autonomous EV are not going to be rural, and probably have better alternatives.

I like these ideas, but they call come at the cost of the availability of the car, and I don't know how often people will actually do them. Let's say you send your car off, and it does an errand for you and is due back at 11:30, so you can take it out for lunch at noon. Now the car gets stuck in traffic, or the weather turns bad, and the car can't return until 12:15. That's frustrating. Likewise, say you send it off to drive around until you need it at 5. However, everyone else is also doing that, and there's a huge traffic jam at the entrance to the financial district, and your car doesn't actually show up until 5:30, causing you to miss you dinner reservations.

I've owned an unreliable car, that didn't start every time, and it totally sucked.

You don't have to rely on just your car.

Think cattle, not pets.

Given those scenarios, it looks like traffic pricing, as currently used in Singapore, for example, would need to become much more widespread for the society to properly share road resource.

I believe that will be a reality for electric cars regardless of self driving features. Its the essential next step is allocating vehicle costs correctly. Right now gas taxes take care of some of the allocation, but that obviously wont work in the future.

To make my writing tighter I sometimes take liberties by assuming that my audience can connect a thought (or observe a pun) without me needing to delve into the details.

So when I wrote "In the long run" I thought I could rely on HN readers to connect the idea that electric cars will fully replace fossil fuel ones and that self-driving will be ubiquitous.

You're welcome.

I believe that that presentation on A/B tests has had more of an impact than anything else that I've written. :-)

>Baring intervention on the owner's part, cars are just going to self-drive an half an hour away to get serviced when their owner is asleep or at work

oooh I didn't even consider that, an excellent idea. I hope this comes to fruition.

I hope not. I hope the car that I paid for becomes simpler, so that I can repair it myself or at a local shop. That would also mean that I get to own the software the car runs. It's sad when actually owning something sounds like an insane fever dream.

It may become simpler in some regards (drive train with fewer moving parts) but I think you can take your mind off the "do it yourself" part. The SW and electronics are always proprietary with little chance you'll ever (legally) have access to them. If anything their situation will get a lot worse as "always connected" cars become more common. Most likely trying to change/mod anything there will be detected and trigger some reaction that could go all the way to flagging your car as no longer street legal.

And what's left for you to repair? The simplicity you ask for will be introduced exactly where these home repairs used to happen: oil, filters, spark-plugs, a hose here, a cap there, etc. But the rest of the car stays mostly the same or gets even more complex. Most mechanical parts that aren't touched by the transition from ICE to electric motor could stay the same (suspensions, brakes), while the interior electronics will become more or less the equivalent of today's smartphones. Too complex for most people to try fixing themselves.

Hmm, a car that phones home to tattle on the owner? I forsee a strong future market for 'classic' vehicles. And 'disconnect service', ha!

That's a good point about most of the home repairs we do being replaced by... not having those parts in the first place.

The idea that you'd even have a personal self-driving car is probably an insane fever dream already. We seem to be going in a direction where you'll hail cars as needed from a fleet someone else owns.

To me maintaining it is a hassle. I don't care about fixing it, I explicitly do not want to fix it, I also don't care about the software it runs. A car is a tool like a stove to me, I only care that the stove works. Fixing or maintaining it is not in any way interesting or worthwhile it's just a means to get from A to B. If there is transit I would take that instead, but if I have to own a car I would rather own one that simply works and otherwise stays out of my way and is not a hassle.

Who says that you need to own it either? Perhaps you just subscribe to a car service like zipcar or somesuch and you text msg the car to drive over to you when you need it, and when it's not being used or books it goes off to get itself serviced and whatnot. Sounds great to me.

"It's sad when actually owning something sounds like an insane fever dream."

That's where it's going, my friend!

Some people really think so. Take a step back and look at Average Joe, and I think privately owned vehicles aren't going away. Ever.

At that point it will be pointless to even own the car. Might as well just subscribe to 'Mercedes Prime' for $500/month and have their automated vehicles available on demand.

Exactly. The entire industry realizes the shift to a subscription is coming and getting here fast.

As a city dweller I got rid of owning a car in 2015. Now I just hop in someone elses car using a ride sharing app if I'm going a short distance. If I am going a long distance I can rent someone elses car, either from a company that owns a fleet or from an individual using Turo / GetAround.

In SF you can rent a car to drive somewhere using Uber's GetAround integration for as little as $8/hour. Crazy.

The rental price quoted above (500USD/month) is probably near the average price I’ve paid to buy a car... I hope subscription is kind of less than this otherwise it seems like pretty bad news for the average consumer.

The pilot programs we see now are sort of a month-to-month lease and include maintenance and periodic vehicle swaps from a pool, much like you can often swap your short-term rental in the midst of a contract. That might appeal to the type of driver who doesn't keep their car in immaculate condition for the duration of their lease or ownership.

I would expect to see market segmentation not only by model but by average car age and care standards, so the fleet operator can potentially demote cars from one tier to another to get more service life out of them. I imagine you will see budget subscriptions that are more likely drawing from a pool of 3-6 year old cars and more premium subscriptions that are drawing from a pool of almost new cars, as well as potential tiers in between.

Why is it bad news?

I have no insurance to pay.

I have no fuel costs to pay.

I have no parking costs to pay.

I have no maintenance costs to pay.

I have a car whenever I want, for an affordable price, that is relatively modern, sometimes with a driver and sometimes I drive myself.

The true cost of a vehicle is much higher than the car payment.

On the other hand you've now added a whole new layer of friction to using a car. Sure, in theory you'll just hit a button on an app and a car will show up in a few minutes, and it's only a minor inconvenience. But what happens if there is a bug in the software? Or if your account at the giant fleet company gets suspended out of the blue for an opaque reason?

There's also the loss of being able to buy and customize a car that's exactly what the end user wants. This doesn't matter at all to a lot of drivers, but matters a great deal to some.

What happens when I lose my key?

What happens when I drink too much before needing to go home?

What happens if my car gets hit in the parking lot or broken into and I need to deal with calling the cops and trying to obtain the security camera footage before leaving?

The truth is no solution is without problems.

The transportation as a service model has more pros for me than cons. Plus it would mean fewer cars on the road overall and less need for parking spaces when autonomous vehicles can take us places and no longer need to be parked to wait for us.

Your second argument is akin to people wanting to build a house instead of financing and buying an existing house.

For alot of car buying folks, the financing and available inventory determines the 'want'.

Remember, not everyone lives near a city center...

This is true but becoming less true over time.

Though it will be interesting to see if self-driving cars reverse that trend. If a long commute becomes a pleasurable chunk of me-time instead of a grueling slog staring at the brake lights in front of you, maybe people won't place such a premium on living close to work.

for density in cities to increase, more public transport is simply needed.

Cars are a terrible way to get around in a crowded city. The city is far too dense to drive easily, cars take up way too much precious space and are huge increasers of smog.

In germany and other european cities, they already started banning diesel and other high pollution vechiles from entering major city centers because of both smog and congestion issues.

This kind of ruling will only increase.

EVs will address some of these objections. Autonomous driving will take care of the rest.

Uber and Lyft already have subscription plans. This is exactly the direction car transportation is already headed, at least for many drives.

This is just leasing with a different name, non-negotiable price, and insurance baked in. In many ways that's an improvement but it's disingenuous for Volvo to call it a subscription.

Oh I don't think we need to wait, pretty sure it's already sunk in, and the effects are measurable: https://electrek.co/2018/05/21/electric-car-adoption-decepti...

The non-Tesla EVs I've owned have required frequent software updates & had several serious-sounding recalls. I assume the manufacturer pays for these visits. So, not zero revenue! At least for a few years. And I'm sure they'll invent some clearcoat-style bullshit they can aggressively push. Premium-electron filters, or some such crap.

The non-Tesla EVs I've owned have required frequent software updates & had several serious-sounding recalls.

Nissan Leaf owner almost since they first rolled off the production line, and not one recall or update was required to keep the vehicle running tip-top. Sibling comment ruled out the Volt, so what were these buggy EVs that had required software updates?

I've had two non-Tesla EVs: the Fiat 500e and the BMW i3.

The Fiat 500e had two recalls while I owned it. Both were for a possible propulsion system fault that could result in the vehicle stalling while driving. They sent a flatbed tow truck instead of letting me drive it in.

The BMW i3 had a recall for a safety issue, unrelated to the electronic nature of the car. Although it's probably fair to relate it to the "let's make an all-new car design from the ground up" impulse behind it.

BTW, I just went back to a more traditional plug-in hybrid over weekend. Five years as an EV driver (not in a Tesla) was a long time to be feeling range anxiety.

I look forward to watching Mercedes and Porsche stick the landing.

The Fiat 500e had two recalls while I owned it. Both were for a possible propulsion system fault that could result in the vehicle stalling while driving

I suppose it would be in poor taste to make jokes at the expense of Fiat reliability in this case. But holy cow, so much for the simplicity and reliability of electrics. :-P Thanks for sharing your experience. I will say as a counter example that our Leaf is the most low-attention vehicle we’ve owned. By eliminating gas stops, we literally just get in and drive between yearly check-ups (which amount to “check battery, change cabin air filter”).

Yeah, don't blame Fiat too much, the EV conversion was done by Bosch! And remember Tesla had a rash of much-publicized propulsion system stalls (as did the Tesla-powered Toyota RAV4 and MB models).

Aside from the few recalls and range anxiety, my experience with EVs has been stellar as well. I wish there was a long-range EV I could afford... (that didn't look like a Bolt.)

Kind of dreading dealing with gasoline engines again. I'm basically treating this new car as an EV with a extra-large REX.

Which ones did you own? I've owned both the 1st and 2nd gen Chevy Volt. I have not needed any software updates or patches and my recalls were not serious. The only real maintenance I've done on both cars is for tires and an oil change every 2 years. This is nothing compared to a car with a combustible engine.

Yes the manufacturer pays for recalls, but since it's from one large customer; the dealers probably generate less revenue from the manufacturer vs a horde of consumers

> And I'm sure they'll invent some clearcoat-style bullshit they can aggressively push. Premium-electron filters, or some such crap.

These are commonly "electric system warranties."

But then again, these aren't quite at the level of the clearcoat... anyone who's ever had an electrical gremlin knows how expensive diagnosing those can be.

When your brake squeals, any mechanic can figure out what part to replace. When your battery slowly drains over two days, it is much more labor intensive to figure out what part is responsible or where on the wire harness there's a short...

A coworker has had nearly every part in his Tesla replaced. Motors, batteries, controllers and a bunch of parts in the body/frame. He has a heavy foot, but normal drivers will need their Tesla services eventually.

Could be the exception that proves the rule. Tesla car reliability is above average in its class (and that is improving over time as Tesla gains experience): https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisf...

We'll see what happens with EVs made by legacy automakers, but they have far less experience in this space.

I'm interested in seeing if that trend holds while Tesla appears to be taking greater and greater risks in their pursuit of production milestones.

I expect the electric car dealers to charge more for the repair and maintenance work that remains.

Also I've seen gasoline engines get pretty reliable these days. The standard maintenance that my Toyota Camry needs for the first 120K miles is an oil/filter change, cabin filter change, tire rotation on a yearly basis. Maybe a brake pad change once in the 120K. But electric cars also need the cabin filter, tire rotation, maybe brake pads. So really it is just the oil/filter change that remain.

An electric car in normal road use is unlikely to ever need brake pads ever unless you turn off regenerative braking.

When I upgraded the tires on my first Spark EV at 10000 miles and got a look at them I was amazed that the rotors still had the factory crosshatching on them and the inside of the wheels were clean instead of being filled with brake dust.

Why do manufacturers feel like they must always have dealers? Why don't they ditch the dealers and sell directly?

> Why don't they ditch the dealers and sell directly?

This is illegal in many states.

This is still only the US though. A big part of the global car market, sure, but it would be interesting to know how it works elsewhere. It doesn't work that way in Europe (at least I don't think there are EU states with the US setup)

There’s a lot of hatred for dealerships, because the sales process is not very enjoyable. But historically the franchise model allowed the manufacturers to extend their available credit to expand across the country. The local knowledge and independence that a local business person had also made (and makes) dealerships more nimble and better able to meet local demands.

Ultimately though, the nature of manufacturing determines almost everything in automotive. For manufacturers to be competitive they have to highly efficient assembly lines, which means a nearly constant output of vehicles per month from a typical plant. Supply is constant, and But demand is seasonal, and responds to various factors, many of them regional, and some of them hyper-regional (a hail storm for instance). Manufacturer’s need to be able to keep vehicles from stockpiling outside of the factory, and they work with dealers to do this through various incentives, loans, and programs.

Dealerships provide a measure of adaptiveness, because each dealer has his or her own lines of credit and capital, relationships with local city councils, charities, and media, and local knowledge of real estate in a way that would be difficult for a vertically integrated system to manage. Successful dealers are treated well, and unsuccessful ones are muscled out if they aren’t doing their job of moving units in their region.

If you dig around on the forums where Tesla bears hang out you can see photos of parking lots full of newly built cars with nowhere to go, and how hard of a time they are having managing a slightly higher rate of production.

as far as i know the setup as it is done in the US does not exist in (most) EU countries.

But let's not forget owning a car in europe is vastly more expensive and also far less needed for a lot of people. (especially those living in large cities with public transportation).

Im in my mid twenties and don't own a car, neither do most of my peers.

The ones who do all buy older, second or third hand vechicles which are easier to maintain and also cheaper. (toyota/volvo for instance). Most people seem to be mostly concerned with the primary function of a car, which is getting someone from A to B. Other functions seem to be less "useful" for most people i know.

Also, driving distances are vastly shorter for a majority of europeans.

Luxury cars seem to be mainly gained by using either a private lease contract or getting one on a company's expanse for bussiness purposes.

Why? I mean... can we not change that?

Probably not. In small towns, the car dealership is one of the most important locally-owned businesses. They sponsor all the community events and contribute to the local politicians. They've got a lot more money to work with than the other typically local-owned businesses like restaurants or retail stores. Pissing off the car dealers is not something any politician - whether red or blue - wants to do if they're going to get rural votes.

All it takes is for a few states to change and have a critical mass of direct sales. NJ for example can’t insulate its market forever if neighboring states which are a short drive away offer consumers more options that they want.

Some states are working on it. The reason it's illegal in most states is because it's an old law that was created to prevent Ford, Chevy, etc. from using their huge amount of resources to force smaller dealerships out of business. It's like how Wal-Mart uses it's huge amount of money to keep low prices until it forces all of the local competition out of business, then raises them once their is nothing you can do about it. Most people want it to go away now though, since it's obviously bad for new automakers that want to enter the market but don't have the mass appeal to get independent dealerships to risk having a bunch of relatively niche cars in stock that never get sold.

>It's like how Wal-Mart uses it's huge amount of money to keep low prices until it forces all of the local competition out of business, then raises them once their is nothing you can do about it.

That's not really how walmart works. They don't jack up prices in local areas after the businesses go away. They just operate on much smaller margins and sell cheaper versions of things which is what gives them so much staying power.

They appear to have been found guilty of predatory pricing in at least one case:


Searching "Walmart predatory pricing" returns quite a lot of results.

Then perhaps you should point to one that isn't 25 years old!

That's the first, obvious example of Walmart losing in court. A few minutes of skimming yields cases from 1993, 1995 and 2000 in the US, then 2003 in Germany and 2012 in Costa Rica. That's as much effort as I'm willing to put into a comment on HN. Maybe Walmart has completely changed their business practices in the last six years...

Not just smaller dealerships - other manufacturers. If an area only has Ford dealerships in it (because Ford bought them all), they would then have a monopoly over car sales and maintenance in that area. If the area's big enough that people wouldn't be expected to travel much further to make a purchase or look for after-sales service, this would have meant a significant reduction in competition.

Because elected officials at the State level receives contributions from dealers in exchange for doing their bidding.

The “pro” argument for it is that it keeps more money intra State rather than sending it upstream to the parent company’s home country / State.

The con is that you’re shafting consumers and eliminating true competition.

How do the dealers eliminate competition?

We could, but dealers spend a lot of money lobbying to make sure we don't.

Tesla struggling to sell direct in New Jersey is an interesting case study in exactly that.


In the US? Good luck out-lobbying GM, Ford, etc.

The point here is that they are out-lobbying Ford and GM. The car companies want to sell direct to consumer, and the dealers have managed to maintain their role as government-mandated middlemen despite that.

Is that true? We know the car companies cannot sell direct, but would they if they could? Dealers are required to have trained mechanics who actually know to deal with the car.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying_in_the_United_States It can be changed but that costs money: To change the law via lobbying or by challenging the law in court.

Yes, but somebody has to do all the work the dealer does. It's much easier for a manufacturer to delegate the work to the dealers where they get their slim cut. BTW, dealers make very little profit these days

What work is it that dealers do? I've bought a couple of cars from dealers, but I really wished they would do a lot less of the "work" they tried to do in those interactions.

Wall Street historically has preferred manufacturers to concentrate on R&D and manufacturing.

Manufacturers with large offline presence would have inflated staff numbers, higher labor costs, massive real estate presence and are harder to operate in case of a downturn.

Having some well-resourced locals willing to take up those risks seemed like a win-win at the time.

I can understand why we got here, but I don't understand why there are any reasons why we must stay, other than to keep dealers in business.

You don't need a real estate agent to buy a home. Do they make it easier for some folks? Yes, but you definitely pay for that convenience. You always have the option of doing it yourself (again, which saves a lot of money). Buying a car should be the same way. If you need help selecting a car (or whatever it is that dealers do), pay extra for the service. For everyone else, buying direct from the manufacturer makes more sense.

I'd imagine the "selling" operation of the dealership is insignificant, at least the new cars department.

Trade-ins, used cars, service and maintenance are the margin drivers.

If you go through TrueCar, or any of their white-labeled sites (Costco Auto, Amex Cars, Overstock Cars), you're more or less buying direct.

Existing manufacturers have signed contracts with their dealers that say they must sell through them. Because of shenanigans in the past, these contracts are supported by special laws, which basically make it impossible to end them.

> Why don't they ditch the dealers and sell directly?

Because local dealerships are well connected politically.

Personally, I would much rather purchase a vehicle through a dealer so that if and when I do need service or repair work done I can just use the dealer. I have read far too many Tesla repair horror stories.

Don't assume that bad stories about one manufacturer would automatically apply to all manufacturers.

Relatively dumb laws that require dealers:


They already solved that problem with exorbitant markups on bumpers and mirrors. Just take that to the next level for all commonly damaged parts and wear items to cover the lost revenue from drivetrain maintenance. Also make sure all areas that require routine maintenance are hard to access and require many hours of additional labor to perform.

Apple showed that if you are selling a premium product having a premium store is important.

Car dealerships will change, but I think that the carmakers could benefit from having them - if they play it right. They have a lot of inertia, so change is hard, but they also have deep pockets. And in Germany, they have the government in their pocket.

> Just wait until it really sinks in for their dealers that selling electric cars means greatly reduced maintenance. Given what fraction of their dealers' revenue comes from maintenance, this will be a left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing kind of situation as the manufacturer and the dealer's interests fail to align.

Or, manufacturers will share more sales revenue with dealers to align incentives (which will raise vehicle costs compared to production cost), which they’ll have to do anyway to support the sales infrastructure of they aren’t going to take it over; of course, Tesla has greased the legal skids to enable carmakers to deal directly if they decide not to rely on a dealer network, so that’s not a durable competitive advantage, just a place where Tesla has paid a first-mover cost.

I don't believe that Tesla has really solved the legal problem for legacy manufacturers. And Tesla really hasn't solved the problem that going direct will piss off dealers, and dealers retaliating by selling other brands would threaten the existing ICE sales that make up the bulk of the legacy manufacturer's revenue.

If you read The Innovator's Solution you'll find that it is common for top leadership at the legacy companies to recognize the coming future and announce initiatives to fix it, but their initiatives fail because the company's existing distribution networks undermine the initiative.

So the fact that dealers are not aligned with manufacturers in this case is a special case of a general trend, and historical data points are not promising for the future of legacy manufacturers.

I would actually argue the contrary. I don't see where Tesla has established new sales channels or a new market. They are selling through the same channel (dealers) as traditional auto manufacturers. Yes, they revolutionized the engine, but other car manufacturers can follow suit.

Unless Tesla cracks the ride sharing market with self-driving cars (new market), for example, they are not out of the woods, yet.

We've had this sort of discussion at work a few times (two people here were on the Tesla 3 wait list).

There's lots of ways you could encourage people to bring their car in for service for upgrades or customizations.

For one thing, most tires lose performance long before they become unsafe (there are a few models advertised as only losing ~10% of their performance at 50% wear). In a world where your car needs less maintenance in general, pushing people to do the maintenance sooner isn't as hard of a pill to swallow.

But the limiting factor on most cars is that the things a consumer might wish to change, the cars aren't designed to make those changes simple. Put more engineering effort into maintenance accessibility and you can give the dealer a reason to exist.

I fully expect the maintenance costs to go up over time, as the market becomes more competitive. EV may have low baseline maintenance requirements, but what's the force that will keep them low when the pressure to cut corners and make manufacturing cheaper increases?

Manufacturers have caught on, hence the arrival of data packages, services packages to cover navigation and real time traffic, and BMW even charges to connect your Car Play. So fully expect manufacturers to find a way to profit off the car long term and expect more to eventually lock out Carplay/Android auto as revenue will be their first choice not paying Apple to use car play.

dealers will end up consolidating and there is easily one generation if not two still to be had doing service for petrol cars and related needs. dealers may morph into on demand rental hubs and the like.

now oem and after market parts companies of which I work for are going to have to scramble a bit. the heavy duty market will be a refuge for awhile.

> Just wait until it really sinks in for their dealers that selling electric cars means greatly reduced maintenance.

How true is that? Batteries are expensive and wear out faster than engines. Even in conventional cars, some of my more expensive repairs have been electronics. And it's not like an electric car doesn't have a hundred mechanicl parts that wear out just as fast as a conventional car.

I could see a specific brand or model being very reliable, but I'm skeptical electric cars will make extensive car maintenance far less common than it is now (especially anywhere that doesn't require emissions testing).

Per https://www.tesla.com/Support/Maintenance-plans-ms-mx, Tesla vehicles require no traditional oil changes, fuel filter, spark plug replacements, or emission checks. As an electric vehicle, even brake pad replacements are rare because regenerative braking returns energy to the battery, significantly reducing wear on brakes.

That's a lot of regular maintenance that just went away.

Per https://cleantechnica.com/2018/04/16/tesla-batteries-have-90... real world data suggests that Tesla batteries are operating at better than 90% efficiency after 100,000 miles, and are projected to be operating at around 80% efficiency after 500,000 miles. The often repeated claim that batteries will wear out faster than engines is contradicted by the evidence.

There isn't enough real world experience to prove it, but electric motors are physically simpler than internal combustion ones and it is believed that few electric motors will need repair before hundreds of thousands of miles. That gets rid of more big repair bills that car owners face.

Consider that as https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/the-most-and-least-expe... points out, the per year maintenance on a used car is generally $1-2K per year.

> The often repeated claim that batteries will wear out faster than engines is contradicted by the evidence.

My (anecdotal) evidence was that I replace my regular car battery in my cold-weather state every few years, and it does barely anything! And my sister just replaced the main battery in her 2006 Prius.

On a more applicable note, a Leaf loses 33% of its range after 56k miles [1]. I'm not nearly as familiar with Teslas (unfortunately); perhaps they have cracked the formula to long-lasting batteries.

[1] https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/nissan-leaf-battery-capacity-ra...

Your regular car battery is probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead%E2%80%93acid_battery which is a different technology. The Prius uses Nickel–metal hydride batteries. Again, different technology.

The Leaf and Tesla both use lithium-ion. I don't know why the apparent difference. But per https://www.tesla.com/support/vehicle-warranty-m3, Tesla's battery warranty is 8 year or 120k miles, and comes into effect if your range drops by 30%. So they expect better performance than the apparent real world performance of the Leaf.

I also do not know why there would be a difference in those technologies.

The Leaf does not have a liquid cooling system for its battery. Most other EV's do. The early Leafs also used a battery chemistry especially prone to deterioration due to heat. Many early Leafs in hot climates had significant battery degradation. This is one of the reason used Leafs are so inexpensive. The more recents Leafs batties are supposed to be better.

My dealer changed the brake fluid on my BMW i3 at 15.000km routine maintenance. I have no idea why it would be necessary. Guess that was the only fluid they could change. Got myself an invoice comparable to ICE oil change.

Life finds a way...

It should not be that expensive, but replacing brake fluid periodically is good practice, it is very hygroscopic and will cause corrosion and eventually seals will fail. But i3 brake fluid change should cost no more or less than any other car with that many disc brakes.

Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air and it's boiling poing reduces over time, making it more likley that heavy braking will boil the fluid and kill the brakes.

I get that it needs replacing but owning several ICE cars, I can’t remember having a break fluid change on the very first periodic maintenance of the vehicle.

BWT, you use breaks a lot less on an EV, does that have an effect on degredation or is it simply a function of time?

But that's based on time not mileage.

No, it's based on people (understandably) not ranking car maintenance high on the list of things they worry about in the dark hours of the morning. So it's easier to just look at the odo, rather than ask the customer who is just going to (knowingly or otherwise) lie to you anyway.

There was an article about EVs in the FT this weekend, stating that several manufacturers dont include EV's in their dealer's sales targets, which is only going to make this issue worse.

I'm not sure about that.

People are still going to crash, and they'll need parts. EV parts are more expensive.

EVs use more tires because of instant torque.

If everything else fails, dealers can just raise their margin at point of sale.

Do EVs really go through more tires due to torque? My impression was that the difference in torque was more than balanced out by the fact that EVs tend to brake more smoothly (due to regenerative braking).

I would think so. I went through a set of tires after 11,000 miles on my Model S.

They usually last 25k-30k miles on the Porsche.

Tire life probably had more to do with specific tire choice and driving style than EV vs. ICE.

Dealerships don't do crash repairs, typically.

They sell parts to body shops.

I've heard a lot of dealerships are relying heavily on maintenance for their incoming even such things as Toyota dealerships which are know for low maintenance and high reliability.

When dealers charge $450 for a regular 15K mile service, it's not hard to make a living even with just routine maintenance.

Many car owners are afraid to go anywhere besides the dealer for routine maintenance 'lest they void their warranty (which is not the case, but that doesn't stop dealers from raking in money from those people).

This is all well and good, but I'm concerned that if you give a Benz driver a better car, they're going to drive worse than usual.

One way in which I'd thought of Mercedes going back to high school (1970's) was in terms of their reliability so I was very surprised then to look in consumereports and find just how much most German auto manufacturers have fallen in their maintenance ratings - which would eliminate one reason people used to have in buying these cars.

> Just wait until it really sinks in for their dealers that selling electric cars means greatly reduced maintenance.

That depends. Initially, your argument stands.

While it will take years to figure out how to engineer in planned obsolecence into the electric car product, it will eventually happen. I would love to hear an expert opinion on this, actually.

Agreed about the dealers missing out on revenue from annual services, and Tesla being smart to avoid a dealer network in the first place.

However there is very good money to be made in spare parts, and the dealer network can be a huge part of that. From what I've read Tesla is dropping the ball on spare parts at the moment.

This seems like an easy problem to solve for these companies. Unless you're worried about the dealers.

The problem is that dealer networks are protected by state franchise laws. The manufacturer can't readily cut the dealer out of the loop and go into direct competition.

I dunno.. I like Tesla but can't see myself buying one till they open up and let 3rd parties work on them. I can't see paying Tesla 12k on a repair when people that know how to do the repair say $3k max.

If we assume your argument is right, how are dealers a weakness? They close shop and Mercedes adopts the Tesla sales model and increases margins if the Tesla model is superior?

I'm sure they'll find a way to make money ... how long do you think 3D printed struts, suspension arms will last?

Maybe they'll just switch to mandatory monthly maintenance fees!

That the US Dealers already know that electric cars will hurt their service revenue.

They realize that have a monopoly on auto sales and won't willingly give any revenue stream.

Would dealers be in a good position to transition into a sort of local power station? Would be a neat transition into a new business model.

I think that Mercedes is aware of this, and implemented a long term strategy of acquiring dealerships from their owners a few years ago.

"Through the grapevine": they have mandated costly architectural redesigns, and they have had a right of first refusal for at least some dealership owners who wanted to exit the market and sell their dealership to people other than Mercedes Benz itself. They may also have mandated in increase in maintenance service-related revenues to further tighten the screws on dealership owners.

Dealership is an outdated component that needs to be phased out as quickly as possible.

I don't believe so.

People like to interact with the physical cars given it is such a large purchase. They get to bring their family, sit in it, talk through options with a salesperson. It's like telling Apple or Chanel to get rid of their stores. It's ridiculous.

For servicing most people want to take their car somewhere local to be repaired. And many types of servicing need a workshop i.e. to get under the car.

> Tesla worked hard to avoid having dealers.

So, can't Mercedes do the same?

Mercedes already has dealers for their non-EVs. They can't just dip their toe in the water without starting fight with their dealers.

Their dealers have practically no leverage, or am I missing something?

Their exclusive sales distribution channel has no leverage?

Dealers have been going through a process of consolidation to the point that one group or company owns many dealerships across multiple brands. Autonation has gotten so big it's a public company.

As soon as one OEM tries to rebel, the dealers will tighten the screws across all their sales outlets, relying on their other OEM properties to carry them through. Dealers have all the leverage.

Tesla was only able to do it because they had no legacy distribution network they had to keep alive or else risk their board finding a new CEO.

I've seen this kind of consolidation for "foreign" brands (French + Korean/Japanese), but I think most BMW (+ Mini) and MB (+ Smart) dealers are still pretty exclusive, as well as VW (+ Skoda + Audi), which all belong to the same umbrella company. A dealer chain can switch OEMs, but it's not so much a switch as a complete tear down and rebuild of the business. Sometimes even the dealer's buildings reflect the OEM's brand, not just through signage and colors, but architectonically.

Many dealers, such as AutoNation, sell multiple brands of car. It is much easier for the dealer to decide to push, say, Porsche over Mercedes than it is for Mercedes to replace the dealer.

Mercedes really can't afford to piss off these dealers.

OK, so it seems to be different in the US; I've been thinking about the situation in Germany, where at least for domestic brands, dealers are pretty much exclusive.

Possibly not, since that would mean burning bridges with its existing dealer network.

If MB decided to go back to dealers, nobody would trust it.

Clobber them like Apple did.

Maintenance finds a way.

Dealers are still crooked, and will manufacture excuses for maintenance. “You need your reduction gear fluid changed”.

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