Electric cars have grown more popular in the past five years than in any other time in automotive history, but that short time period has left a lot of questions about how these vehicles will age and wear. Now, High Mileage Reviews is checking out a 2015 Tesla Model S 70D with 683,971 km on the odometer to help us get a better sense of what we could expect from a well-driven EV.
We’ve covered similar high-mileage Teslas before on Jalopnik, including David Tracy’s 2020 story about a 2016 Model X that drove over 643,738 km. There, he found that the car required just under $US30,000 ($41,352) of service, maintenance, and repairs. Many of the issues were similar to those we deal with in ICE cars, including minor electrical switch failure and standard replacements. Tesla had its own specific issues around build quality, and Tracy noted that there were also some EV-specific concerns about battery failure but that the driver didn’t have to worry about all the fiddly pieces of a combustion engine falling apart. But by looking solely at service records, there didn’t appear to be anything majorly wrong.
In the video from High Mileage Reviews, we get a more comprehensive sense of the vehicle:
From an aesthetic standpoint, the car is in pretty good shape. The Model S has accumulated some exterior wear-and-tear, the worst of which is some condensation in the lights. Its interior has also held up well — all impressive feats, since this car was used as an Uber and saw folks in all states of life climbing in and out of it.
But as High Mileage Reviews points out, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The retracting door handles have had to be replaced seven times — which cost $US1,000 ($1,378) per handle when the car was out of warranty. The infotainment screen also malfunctioned, which left the owner without turn signals, HVAC controls, or rear-view cameras until it was repaired. The adhesives binding the screens also failed, leaving the screens with a soap-scum look.
How about everything else, though?
The original battery was replaced at 402,336 km for reasons not noted in the service documents. Out of warranty, that replacement would have cost $US15-20,000, but in-warranty it was free. The current battery is also pretty well-loved, and it gets about an 87 per cent charge for a range of just over 322 km. There was also a front drive unit replacement and suspension repair at 603,504 km, and brake pad and rotor replacement and HVAC repair at 482,803 km.
Overall, there had been quite a few fixes, but as High Mileage Review noted in the comments, the cost of repairs was comparable to what you’d expect in a combustion car of a similar age and use. A lot of those cheaper repairs came thanks to Tesla’s exceptional eight-year and 402,336 km warranty, which helped offset the costs of some finicky repairs that came thanks to new technologies.