The battery is the most expensive item in a electric car and hence, one of the most feared breakdowns in this type of vehicle. To that is added another factor: when there is a relatively serious problem with them, official technical services tend to replace the entire battery, resulting in a bill that would scare anyone. Therefore, it is recurring to ask: How much does it cost to replace the battery of an electric car? If the repair (or replacement) has caught you out of warranty, your checking account may shake. And that is precisely what happened to the protagonist of the following story with his Tesla Model S, which luckily ended in a “happy ending”.
It all starts when Tyler Hoover buys a second-hand 2013 Tesla Model S P85, which still had four months of warranty left. Bad luck meant that, shortly after, the car began to show an error message on the battery: “Maximum battery charge level reduced”. The car could not carry more than about 80 kilometers of autonomy, a real problem.
Unable to use his vehicle under normal conditions, Hoover took the car to the nearest Tesla service center. We do not know if at that time you had an idea of what would come next, but surely you would have been wondering for a while how much it would cost to change the battery of your Model S. Well, the answer has a bulky figure: once the fault has been analyzed, Tesla offered to change the battery for $ 22,500 (about 19,000 euros at the current exchange rate). Such is the cost of changing the battery in a Tesla Model S out of warranty.
The owner of the car then decided to look for alternatives in an external workshop, other than the official service of the brand, which would solve the fault for less money. He found the answer on Rich Rebuilds’ Electrified Garage, perhaps thanks to his popular YouTube channel, where he has demonstrated experience in repairs of this type. The workshop found the breakdown – despite the obstacles that Tesla puts up, which until recently did not provide its diagnostic tools to third parties and currently continues to have many limitations – and discovered that there was a fault in 2 of the 16 modules battery.
Instead of replacing the entire battery, they replaced only the two faulty modules in a process that has also been documented in this video. The total price of the repair was $ 5,000, roughly 80% less than Tesla had budgeted. The cost of the repair is broken down as follows: each module cost $ 1,500, for a total of $ 3,000, another $ 750 went to various parts, and the rest is due to diagnostics and labor.
Tesla went for the easy fix: Instead of repairing the faulty part, it decided to cut its losses and replace the entire package. As we say, the easy solution but also the most expensive for the customer. Hence the importance of having specialized and well-qualified external workshops that are able to diagnose a fault and, if possible, repair it without having to replace the entire battery. Something that, in addition, is also more environmentally sustainable.