Electric cars are shaping up to be the future of clean transportation. As one of the most popular manufacturers of electric cars, people often wonder: how many miles does a Tesla last over its lifetime?
More succinctly, how many miles will your Tesla drive before you need to replace the battery pack, motor, or other vital components? If you keep replacing the batteries and the motor, how many miles can it last? What else do you need to do to make your Tesla last as long as possible?
Well, let’s dig deeper and find out.
Tesla Battery Longevity
Predicting how long Tesla batteries will last is easy if you look at the company’s warranty model. Tesla states that if your vehicle’s traction battery has less than 70 percent of its capacity left at the end of its warranty period, you’re eligible for a repair or replacement. The battery warranty depends on the car model, but it usually lasts for up to eight years when Tesla expects the average driver to cover between 100,000 and 150,000 miles.
If you don’t mind driving around with a slightly underperforming battery that will provide less range, then you can expect to keep the same battery for anywhere between 300,000 and 500,000 miles, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter. That’s over two decades of driving before you’ll have to replace your Tesla battery, which is on the expensive side, starting at around $5,000 per battery module (of which there can be up to 16 in a Tesla battery pack).
If you replace the battery pack, though, it’s possible to cover over 1 million miles with your Tesla if you look after the rest of the vehicle. In fact, one of the longest-lasting Teslas had surpassed one million miles as of 2022. It is a 2014 Model S P85, and in the 2019 video embedded above, its owner was celebrating having reached the 1-million kilometer mark, or just over 620,000 miles.
According to the owner of the longest-driven Tesla, the first battery lasted 180,000 miles before it was replaced by Tesla under warranty because of a charging defect. As Tesla was working on a replacement, he was given a temporary battery, which he used for 93,205 miles. Tesla later gave him a slightly used battery as a replacement, with which he covered a distance of around 300,000 miles.
How Many Recharges Does It Take?
How long your Tesla battery lasts before you need to recharge depends on your driving habits. Tesla vehicles usually have a battery range of between 300 and 400 miles. The Model S Dual Motor has the longest range on one charge, allowing you to drive up to 405 miles. On the lower end of the scale is the base 2019 Tesla Model 3, with a range of 220 miles. In 2023, the shortest-range Tesla is still the base Model 3, but it has an EPA-estimated range of 272 miles.
If you’re constantly almost fully draining your battery before you go to a charging station, you can expect one Tesla battery to last you between 1,000 and 1,250 charges over the course of its life. What’s more, your Tesla battery will degrade with time, and, as a result, range will drop. For instance, if the range was 405 miles when it was brand new but the battery lost 10% of its original capacity over 10 years, its maximum range would be 364.5 miles.
Tesla Motor Longevity
Hansjörg Gemmingen, the person who holds the record for the longest-driven Tesla, told The Driven that his car’s odometer showed 483,000 miles before its first electric motor needed to be replaced. However, by the time his Model S had clocked nearly 1 million miles, the motor had been replaced eight times. This may have something to do with the fact that early Tesla Model S drive units weren’t especially reliable.
How much does it cost to replace the motor? At the time of writing, a brand-new Tesla drive unit costs between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the power output. However, Tesla will replace the motor in your Modle 3 or Y under warranty if it fails before 8 years or 100,000 miles. If you own the larger Model S or X, the electric motor is covered for up to 150,000 miles.
Beyond that, if you’re replacing the electric motor out of pocket after the original warranty expires, Tesla will give you another warranty of 4 years or 50,000 miles. The replacement warranty will only be valid if you purchased the drive unit directly from Tesla.
Here is everything you need to know about how an EV motor works.
Tesla Maintenance Requirements
Aside from replacing the battery pack or the motor, you will need to stay on top of servicing your Tesla if you want it to last as long as possible. Fortunately, electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than gasoline vehicles because you don’t need to replace the oil, fuel filter, oil filter, spark plugs, timing belts, or other mechanical components that wear over time. They have considerably fewer moving parts that wear out over time.
However, you still need to change the brake fluid, coolant, cabin air filter, HEPA filter, brake pads, and desiccant bag for the air conditioning system. In addition to that, Tesla recommends that you rotate, balance, and align the wheels every 6,250 miles. If it’s a minor service, you can request Tesla mobile service, and a certified technician will be dispatched to your address. Here is what you need to know about maintaining an EV.
After driving your Tesla for a few years, you could also upgrade to the latest infotainment system or Autopilot hardware, but you only need to do this if you want to access additional features. You can still drive your Tesla without upgrading its infotainment or Autopilot hardware if you don’t want to spend a few extra thousand dollars.
Your Tesla Can Last for Over a Decade
If you’re an average driver, you can expect to drive your Tesla for more than a decade before you think about a battery replacement. Beyond that, your Tesla can clock over one million miles if you replace the batteries and motor. Beyond that, you will need to service your Tesla as required in the user’s manual if you want it to last until you can hand it over to the next generation.