Nightmare Repair Bills Are The Dark Side Of EV Ownership

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Modern EVs offer some of the latest, cutting-edge tech in the automotive industry, but life with that tech comes at a price.

When the headlights in my friend Bill’s 2019 Tesla Model S failed, he didn’t initially give it much thought. He scheduled a service appointment, dropped off the car, and went on with his day — but when the repair quote for a pair of headlight assemblies came back at nearly six-thousand eye-watering dollars? Let’s just say he gave that a lot of thought.

Bill’s experience isn’t unique. While modern EVs — particularly Teslas — have undeniably paved the way for a greener, more sustainable future, behind their cutting-edge, high-voltage technology lie a menagerie of potential financial nightmares for owners who may have “stretched” to get into the cars in the first place.

EV Repair Bills Are a Nightmare 

Part Vehicle Cost Vehicle Issue
Active Spoiler 2016 Model X $   1,127.00 Active spoiler stopped working and clicking.
Seat Replacement 2016 Model X $   4,029.00 Seat didn’t tilt
Roof Replacement 2014 Model S $   4,530.63 Sunroof doesn’t vent or open
Control Arm & Sway Bar Links 2014 Model S $   1,309.55 Harsh noise coming from front suspension
Front Camera 2017 Model X $   1,652.45 Did not operate
AC Compressor 2017 Model X $   3,889.40 Warm air from AC
Headlight Assembly (2x) 2019 Model S $   5,058.52 Headlight failures
Onboard Charger 2016 Model X $   3,215.56 Vehicle did not charge
AC Compressor 2020 Model Y $   3,940.00 No cold air when idle.
Vehicle Touchscreen & computer 2018 Model 3 $   2,105.38 Screen went black. Reboot doesn’t work.
AC Compressor & Condenser 2018 Model 3 $   1,773.90 AC won’t blow cold air
Vehicle Infotainment computer 2019 Model Y $   2,033.75 Touchscreen errors and resets profile intermittently. Troubleshooting and reboot is not solving the issue.

Actual prices quoted to Xcelerate customers.

Looking through that list of repair costs would be enough to cause anyone with an out-of-warranty Tesla in their driveway pause, but it is (perhaps) not fair to call Tesla repair costs “exorbitant.” In fact, I’d argue that these costs compare pretty favorably to Mercedes or BMW — but to someone stretching to get into an older Model 3 to do right by the planet and cut their gas bills, an unexpected 4-figure Tesla repair bill can come as quite a shock.

And it’s worth noting that these aren’t even the really expensive bits.

We’ve seen between $12,000 and $18,000 as typical replacement costs for a Tesla battery,” explains KJ Gimbel, co-founder and CEO of Xcelerate Auto, a Texas-based company specializing in extended warranty coverage for electric vehicles.”

Xcelerate Auto’s warranty product, XCare, is unique in that it was developed by former Tesla employees and partners to work with Tesla’s unique service requirements and processes, and is designed to function seamlessly within that process. And that’s true whether you’re looking at a camera repair ($1652.45, above) or a drive unit (a lot more than $1652.45).

“We’re not trying to instill fear,” offers Gimbel. “We want people to know that these components aren’t prone to failure, and we’re confident in that, for the majority of people. What we’re trying to do is make it easier for more people to get into EVs by reducing the perceived risk factor of high repair bills that could prevent someone investing in an older EV.”

This is especially important to what I call “non-car people,” who hear things like “electric cars don’t need oil changes” and convince themselves that they’ll never need service — but these vehicles still have power windows and locks, air conditioning, power seats, shocks and struts, and a whole lot of other parts that are going to deliver very conventional service experiences. An extended warranty on a used Model 3, for example, can help ensure that their ownership experience more closely matches that initial expectation.

And that’s not just something that’s exclusive to Tesla. XCare offers warranties for Nissan, GM, Ford, Volvo, VW, and just about every other pure BEV you can think of. Visit to get a quick quote for your EV, and see if an extended warranty makes sense for you.

This article is supported by Xcelerate; featured image via TeslaRepairs.

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