Tesla Motors is working on an electric engine that lasts a million miles
In a culture where built-in obsolescence is the norm by all the manufacturers. It is a breath of fresh air to find a company that is focused into building things that last. Tesla is working to develop a new motor that could help people keep their luxury electric cars even longer, without expensive mechanic bills. During the company’s recent investor update, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla engineers are working on a new version of its electric drive unit that could have a lifespan of one million miles.
There were many interesting bits of info that came out of Tesla's last quarterly earnings, and we mentioned many in this article. There was one thing that didn't make the cut at the time, but is still quite interesting, especially for those of us who like to keep vehicles for a long time but hate mechanical problems. Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla has changed its target endurance for its drive units (the part that hosts the electric motor, or motors on the dual-motor models).
"We are very happy with the quality of the drive unit. We changed the goal of the drive unit endurance from being approximately 200,000 miles to being a million miles – just basically we want drive units that just never wear out. That’s our goal. I think we made really good progress in that direction. the drive unit that are going out now and for the last several months have been excellent."
Here's a video produced by Tesla showing how they make their electric drive units. They make the motors in-house to get them exactly how they want them, rather than use something off-the-shelf made by a supplier.
The Tesla Model S drive unit warranty has been increased to match that of the battery pack. That means the 85 kWh Model S, our most popular model by far, now has an 8 year, infinite mile warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. There is also no limit on the number of owners during the warranty period.
Moreover, the warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S vehicles ever produced. In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning of the Model S program. If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that.
There’s pretty much no way a gasoline-powered engine could achieve such an ambitious endurance goal, because electric engines are less complex. Electric car engines have fewer moving parts and rely on fewer fluids, so they are prone to fewer mechanical problems. The promise of an electric drive unit that could essentially last forever is just one more way for Tesla to illustrate how electric cars are superior to their gas-powered counterparts. Making a longer-lasting engine fits nicely with Tesla’s “Infinite Mile Warranty” program, which launched last year.