An Australian Tesla owner has driven over 700,000 km in his 2018 Model S, and says he’s saving around $20,000 per year on fuel and maintenance costs.

The Driven first reported on Nigel Raynard in July 2021 when the odometer on his Model S passed the 400,000 km mark, already a huge milestone with the original brake pads lasting much longer than most ICE vehicles. Nigel recently had the vehicle’s second battery pack installed and is now on his second set of brake pads which should be good for another 200,000 km.

Last week Nigel posted an update on a TeslaStars post about the story saying “Little update” with a photo of the odometer showing 700,000 km.

The Tesla Model S does airport transfers for Nigel’s chauffeur business Byron Bay Luxury Tesla. Nigel has averaged 10,000 km per month over the past 30 months since crossing the 400,000 km mark. An impressive amount of time behind the wheel.

Nigel had the original Model S battery replaced at 666,666 km. With an 8 year, unlimited km warranty, Tesla offered Nigel the choice of a larger battery pack or warranty replacement.

“A new 90kWh unit was quoted at ~$26,800 installed from memory and seeing as I had saved about $20,000 per year in service and fuel costs, it was a good deal” said Nigel.

Nigel opted for the warranty covered 75 kWh battery pack and has since added another 40,000 km to the odometer.

“Brake pads were done at 460,000 km so the new set is still good til around 900,000 km”

Purchased in 2018, the $20,000 a year over six years has saved the small business $120,000 in fuel and maintenance.

The million km battery redefining vehicle longevity

In 2019 Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that the Tesla Model 3 body and drive unit can last up to 1 million miles (1.6 million km) and that the battery can last up to 500,000 miles (800,000 km). Musk also said Tesla’s new battery packs would be designed for 1 million miles of operation.

Tesla battery supplier CATL now provides 800,000 km warranties on its batteries and in May last year Gotion High-Tech announced its new battery pack, which will go into production this year, will last up to 2 million km. That’s 130 years worth of average Australian driving.

With Model 3 only launched in the US in 2017 (2019 in Australia) and the average annual driving distance less than 15,000 km, the vast majority of Tesla odometers are still well under 200,000 km so we still have many years to go before we real-world, large sample data on battery life.

However with millions of Model 3s and Ys now on the roads around the world and no reports of early battery degradation, signs suggest that we may see average lifespan of EVs stretch out to 4-5 times longer than average ICE vehicle lifespan of around 250,000 km.

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