Shuttle service Tesloop has hit an astonishing 400,000 miles in one of its Model S vehicles, making it the Tesla with the highest reported mileage in the known world.
Tesloop provides point-to-point shuttle service in Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles, having started off running loops from Los Angeles, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada. Perhaps more impressive than the mileage target is Tesloop’s estimation that 90% of those miles were driven with Autopilot engaged, giving the vehicle the crown as the vehicle with the most semi-autonomous miles on it as well. Tesloop has given its original Model S the name eHawk, and it recently opened up to share its experience with the vehicle to date.
“At Tesloop, we are leveraging emerging automotive technologies to make the experience of interfacing with connected vehicles better than it’s ever been,” said Haydn Sonnad, founder of Tesloop. “Vehicle connectivity is about to transform the car ownership and user experience. The vast majority of vehicle services and activities including insurance, financing, maintenance, cleaning, parking, and rental activities can all be reorganized around the vehicle data feeds. We are close to the point where increasingly sophisticated autonomous driving features and deep connectivity are coupled with electric drivetrains that last hundreds of thousands of miles, a whole new approach to mobility can be offered, that will transform the economics of car ownership and usage, while offering a greatly superior customer experience.”
Haydn speaks of the Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric (CASE) experience that pundits increasingly point to as the future of the automotive industry in the near term — as citizens and governments take steps away from fossil-fueled internal combustion vehicles towards a renewable, autonomous future. By all measures, Tesloop epitomizes the CASE future as it works to maximize the benefits of the inevitable convergence of these technologies across its fleet of Teslas and their Pilots (aka drivers).
Teslas are not cheap to maintain, but no vehicle being driven 400,000 miles (643,737 km) in just a few short years is going to be cheap to maintain. Tesloop’s Model S racked up $19,000 in maintenance costs over 400,000 miles, which, in comparison to what a comparable executive sedan like a Lincoln Town Car or Mercedes GLS class vehicle would cost, is actually cheap.
Tesloop estimates maintenance costs on a Lincoln Town car to be closer to $88,500 and for a Mercedes GLS class, $98,900 over the same 400,000 miles. That nets out to a savings of $0.17 or $0.20 per mile in maintenance by driving a Tesla instead of the much more traditional Lincoln and Mercedes offerings.
On cost alone, these numbers make Teslas no-brainers as luxury transportation, undercutting the competition on maintenance and fuel cost by a significant margin.
Along the way to 400,000 miles, the Model S has also had its high-voltage battery replaced twice under warranty, at 194,000 miles (312,212 km) and 324,000 miles (521,427 km). On the first battery, Tesloop experienced 6% battery degradation. Curiously, though, it experienced 22% degradation on the second battery. The first battery was replaced after Tesloop noticed that the range estimator was behaving erratically and then took the vehicle in for service. After the first battery replacement, Tesla made a few observations and recommendations:
“Found internal imbalance in HV battery due to consistent supercharging to 100% from a low state of charge (SOC) without any rest periods in between. HV battery has been approved to be replaced. Also recommend that customer does not Supercharge on a regular basis and does not charge to 100% on a regular basis. We also recommend that the customer use scheduled charging to start charge 3 hours after end of drive at low SOC.”
We can all thank Tesloop for giving Tesla’s vehicles and its batteries an absolute thrashing as they run up the mileage with relentless driving every day before abusing them with frequent Supercharging sessions in their downtime. The second battery was much less eventful, as the Model S was only in for service due to a connectivity issue between the key fob and the car, only to come back from the shop with a new high-voltage battery. Tesla explained:
“Diagnostics show the high voltage battery assembly is not functioning appropriately. Removed and replaced the high voltage battery assembly. Replaced with a 90kWh permanent battery replacement. Pushed updated firmware to ensure proper communications. Upon completion, function test was performed to confirm concern has been rectified.”
One of Tesloop’s other Model X vehicles has achieved an impressive 300,000 miles, all with the original battery, in just 1.75 years. That vehicle has seen only 10% battery degradation over that period
Tesloop also puts the hurt on Tesla’s drive units and has found them to be surprisingly robust, all things considered. eHawk had its front drive unit replaced under warranty at 36,000 miles with no other issues. Compared to internal combustion engines, Tesla’s electric motors are much smaller and more straightforward, with a replacement being little more than plug-and-play components.
A few of Tesloop’s other vehicles include 5 other Model X vehicles with more than 200,000 miles (321,868 km) on each of them, with all running on the original batteries and drive units.
Tesla is not perfect. The warranty replacements of such large and critical components speak to that fact, but what we have seen over the course of watching the company for more than a decade is that it never stops. Tesla relentlessly pursues perfection and never ceases its journey to improve. Issues with the older Model S in Tesloop’s fleet speak to early learnings from higher mileage vehicles that were not experienced in newer units, which have flown past earlier issues to hit higher and higher ranges without experiencing the same warranty issues.
For its part, Tesloop hopes to run up another 600,000 miles on the Model S while under the factory 8 year warranty, which would make it the first Tesla and the first electric vehicle to hit the 1,000,000 mile mark. Warranties are key for fleet operators like Tesloop, but it’s important to note that Tesloop does not have any special service deals or agreements with Tesla. Warranty repairs listed above are the same that would have been performed on privately owned vehicles with the same issues.