Electric cars, hybrids, and related vehicles


You drive 17k miles on an oil change? Or are you changing your oil on your own, but only twice a year?

You should budget for another car, soonish.


Interesting stuff. The November sales figures estimate is indeed positive news for Tesla, though the yearly sales are fairly anemic compared to the rest of the pack. Whether that is Tesla gaining steam and moving into a new normal of high sales, or an artifact of people doing end of year buying or trying to get in before subsidies get cut in half (or vanish completely) is hard to tell. The bit about revenue was also interesting, though without knowing the profit margin it’s hard to equate revenue with, well, profitability, though I’d be willing to believe they are in fact making money on these cars.

I would point out though that the article title includes a parenthetical “probably,” and that CleanTech is itself hardly an unbiased industry observer, being focused on and lobbying for EVs among other things. Not that I doubt their analysis, really. It’s just that I’ve found over the years that publications that focus on an aspect of an industry often tend to downplay contrary indicators sometimes.

It will be very interesting to see the longer term landscape, as Model 3s age and we get more data on repairs and upkeep, as well as more demographic data on just who is buying them, and where. Also, with Audi releasing the e-Tron SUV and with a drop-dead sexy EV coupe in the works, and with all the EV work being done elsewhere in the luxury segment, Tesla is going to have some real competition in the next five years, right in their wheelhouse. It will be interesting to see how that segment plays out as well.

I also wonder when sales of EVs from any manufacturer will bump up against infrastructure and social barriers. Will we see a saturation point where everyone with the wherewithal to have a garage and a charging station who wants an EV has one? Will we see solutions for the masses who park on the street or in apartment lots, with no permanent owned spots or places for charging? Will the forthcoming EV pickups make inroads in the boonies?

And then there’s the whole secondary market thing. The American auto landscape is built on multi-tiered markets, where new cars filter down through dealer/CPO level used car sales to larger independent lot/bought at auction sales to shade tree car dealers who turn a few dozen cars a year at the lowest possible price to the least affluent. So far, Tesla at least seems to be openly hostile to this sort of hand me down market, with stories of shops having difficulties getting parts and diagnostic tools, and a general unwillingness to embrace the concept of secondary and tertiary owners. It may be that the whole model will have to change, and used cars will become a thing of the past, but I doubt that, and I suspect established automakers with dealer networks will be better placed to work with the inevitable flood of used EVs.


@Stepsongrapes - I only exaggerated it a bit - the brakes have been fairly pricey, tires, I do my own oil changes, and I had another repair earlier under warranty. Still, cars these days are pretty reliable so the maintenance costs at least for the first five or so years are low, and it’s not that big of a reason to go with EV in my opinion.

@Skipper I agree I need a car soonish and I’d love to get a Nissan Leaf, new or even used is an option (I’m also fairly frugal with cars as evidenced by my aging Corolla). Unfortunately I missed the Ontario $14K rebate which is now zero, so I’m struggling to find the value in one other than my strong preference to reduce carbon emissions.


Key point is that with the 8 year warranty Tesla customers are generally really happy with their purchase. But if you search for ‘Tesla out of warranty costs’ and similar you can find the sources, one was a Youtube video of someone with 300,000 miles on a model S and on his third motor. Still even for him a $6,000 bill at 250,000 miles isn’t likely enough to turn sour on the brand.


So you’re talking anecdotal data. Everything I’ve seen from more rigorous reviews is that EVs, and Teslas in particular have lower cost of maintainence than ICs. Not zero, of course, and I’m sure lemons exist, but that’s a far cry from the motors only last 100K.


I hear ya, I commute more than i used to so high mileage scares me a bit more than it did in the past. It’s okay to drive an older car for sure, you save a heck of a lot, just nest egg a bit of your savings for the inevitable.

I’m thinking by the time I blow through this current car I may be in the hunt for an EV myself. The missus likes her SUV and we tend to use that on trips, as she never puts even 5K miles on the thing a year for other driving.


Jesus. Even with a comparative 30mpg car, with current gas prices that’s $25,000 saved. Now -that- is an EV win.

And an EDIT: A couple of reports on the Tesla shows people getting about 3 miles per 1 kWh of charge. So even if that owner paid for all of their charge, in my state we average 10.2 cents per kWh. With some math, that would have run about $10,200 for those 300,000 miles as, “fuel.”

I guess that also makes the case for any fuel vehicle car with 60+ mpg out there being a close win, losing a bit to maintenance.


Maintenance costs though have to be considered in more detail than just raw amounts. How and when they occur matters. A regular cycle of services costing a few hundred dollars each is easier for most people to handle than a spike cost of six grand, for instance. We can pretend people are saving all that money they are recouping due to not buying gas, but, really, they aren’t, they’re spending it.

I would jump on an EV in a heartbeat if it had the visual and tactile appeal of a current-gen Audi or Benz, inside and out, and didn’t look like an abstract artists’ version of a space pod inside. Of course, it would have to cost about the same as a comparable car, and work well enough in the winter, etc. But I have zero innate issues with EVs.

My next car, though, is going to burn dead dinosaurs, and probably more of them than it needs to.


Fair point, but we’re almost stuck with anecdotal for quite a while still. The Tesla S went on sale in 2012 and decent numbers started shipping in 2014. With an 8-year warranty we won’t be hearing much about repair costs for awhile. The fancy doorhandles tend to break. Also as a fairly high cost luxury sedan, they may not be getting the miles and seasonal abuse as your average Camry parked outside all winter.


TrueDelta has numbers on the Tesla Model S repair frequency, based on surveys of owners. The information is volunteered rather than sampled, so take that for what you will.

They have other Teslas, too, but the S has the longest history.


Today we did are annual inspection and review on our cars.
About 650 dollars of repair, including a new battery and break pads and two light on our Hyundai and a new filter and oil change for our 2007 Jetta and replacing the air filter.

It cost 37.50 to replace the air filter that we provided. And I do not think our mechanix was ripping us off. I think that the Jetta is a bitch to work on (I have tried) and very labor intensive.

Car maintenance is no joke, especially on the Jetta. I will never own another Volkswagen. It’s so much more expansive to maintaince then my shitty Chevy Cavalier.


Absolutely not my experience. Had one for 3 years. Total repair bill $0.


That’s good to hear… and I’m jealous. I’m not trying to be negative, I really want a Tesla model 3. I even installed a car outlet in my garage… without owning an EV. I’m just frustrated that my government took away the rebates, making them hard to justify on a cost basis. Really annoying especially after they invested big dollars in making the grid non-carbon, and now have a surplus of electricity.


It’s been a while since we’ve had some silly Elon quotes, so here’s a few from the latest Tesla earnings call:

Yup, seems like an error all right.

Stop saying shit like this. It’s dangerous and wrong.


Well geez, why didn’t I think of that? I just need to put more money in my bank account.

I always wanted a Mercedes, though.


Musk says a hundred dumb things a week, you don’t have to misrepresent anything to attack him on.

I thought it was pretty clear he is saying the issue is the Model 3 is too expensive, not that customers just need to miracle up more money. In other words, it’s not a marketing problem, it’s a cost of production problem.


That’s not exactly a deep insight either, though. “Demand for cars is elastic” probably didn’t surprise anybody on the call.


To give him a tiny benefit of the doubt, he’s probably commenting that they’re getting large numbers of buyers that aren’t qualifying for financing. Interest rates are up a bit, and the cost of the car is higher than they promised, so they’re probably experiencing lower sales than anticipated. Note the overall auto industry is in a bit of a downturn.

Still, in a way it’s a bad sign as the car is simply not selling as much as they hoped, despite it still as of now being the hottest thing on four wheels.


No, he’s not talking about it selling less than hoped (or about financing). It’s just an incredibly banal statement of price elasticity, as Fishbreath said. It’s in the context of him saying if they can get the price down they will sell a lot more units (assuming they can produce them, which he left unsaid).


Also, I forgot to mention, they lost another CFO, which Musk just sort of dropped at the end of the call.