About three times a day, Rich Benoit gets a call to his auto shop, The Electrified Garage, from the owner of an older Tesla Model S whose car battery has begun to fail. The battery, which used to provide several hundred miles of range, might suddenly only last 50 miles on a single charge. These cars are often out of warranty, and the cost of replacing the battery can exceed $15,000.
For most products, repair is a more affordable option than replacement. And in theory, lots of these Tesla batteries can be fixed, said Benoit, who runs one of the few Tesla-focused independent repair shops in the United States. But due to the time and training involved, the safety considerations, and the complexity of the repair, Benoit said that the bill to fix one car battery at his shop might run upwards of $10,000 — more than most consumers are willing to pay. Instead, he said, many choose to sell or donate their old vehicle for scrap and buy a brand new Tesla.
“It’s getting to the point where [the car] is almost like a consumable, like a TV,” Benoit said.