I was pretty salty about the car problems Friday. Eventually Tesla got back to me and found that the pyrotechnic disconnect, the thing that blows up when you crash to basically sever the high voltage battery from everything else in the car, went bad. I looked it up in the service manual, and it's this thing that literally sits on two bus bar ends, so, not something a non-expert should really be messing with. In addition to the $378 tow, it cost another $657 for the repair. Even though the $15 part is literally sitting on the battery hardware, apparently it's not part of the 8-year/120k mile warranty. And mind you, that's after I complained about their $430 diagnostic fee (2 hours labor), seeing as how I sent them the photo of the car's own diagnostic in my garage indicating that the thing failed. They took off another $90 with tax, but that was still super lame. So all in, at 5.5 years and 55k miles, I had to shell out a grand for the repair and tow.
A friend of mine pointed out that I could really look at this in a different way. We've been all-electric for more than eight years now, across five different cars. The Model 3 is the oldest yet. In that time, not counting tires, washer fluid and an air cabin filter, we've spent exactly zero dollars on maintenance. Amortized across that time, that's about $117 per year. If we had gas cars, that would not have covered the oil changes, let alone the increased cost in fuel, brakes and whatever mechanical problems might have surfaced. It wouldn't even be close. The Model 3 still has essentially new brakes. I'm not convinced that they'll ever need to be replaced, by me or a future owner.
I didn't really realize that we had this car as long as we did, until just now. After five and a half years, I can confirm that, at least for this car, the promise of low maintenance is real. Battery degradation of course happens, but we already know from the early Model S cars that going 150k miles still doesn't necessarily require a replacement. Our car is at 280 for a full charge, down from about 305 I think when we first got it. There's no universe where that's not perfectly adequate.
So my saltiness can certainly be moderated with perspective. I'm not sure if being annoyed with Tesla is valid either, though having just the one service center when every tenth car around here is one of theirs, is annoying and 40 minutes away. (A new one opens closer in Clermont next month.) I'm excited about all of the new options coming up from all of the other manufacturers. Really like the idea of VW's ID.Buzz, the electric version of the classic hippy bus. EV sales are going to be up more than 30% over last year, despite some stupid "articles" that say demand is soft. Demand is fine, it's just that everyone is providing supply now.