The Tesla battery wears out
It runs and runs and runs: As nostalgic as the VW Beetle advertising slogan from the 1960s sounds, today you feel in some old diesel taxis. Some of the indestructible wage coaches have more than half a million kilometers on the clock. It's not good for the environment, regardless of whether the stinkers are fueled with gasoline or diesel. Of course, electric cars are better for the respiratory system.
The fact that there are still so few electric cars in Germany is mainly due to their price. Although the difference to comparable combustion engines is smaller than it was a few years ago, it is still significant. And then there is the fear of the engineering nation, which likes to think long-term: How long will these new types of cars last? How is the battery doing after ten years and maybe 150,000 kilometers? So far there have hardly been any answers because there are not many electric cars with a corresponding history.
However, a look at California could help here. A small rental company called Tesloop only sells Tesla brand electric cars. They are in constant use between Los Angeles and San Diego, some of them have completed a sensational 500,000 miles. That is an impressive 800,000 kilometers. And they run and run and run.
"The cars never die of age," said Tesloop founder Haydn Sonnad the Internet portal Quartz: "The drive train lasts practically forever." For the German driver, this is difficult to imagine at first, because the running time of his cell phone drops noticeably after two years. The difference lies in the size of the batteries. A Tesla battery holds 5,000 to 10,000 times as much energy as a cell phone. The energy management in this huge power storage system is controlled by software that is designed for a long service life. Tesla offers an eight year or 160,000 kilometers guarantee. But in practice, as the Tesloop cars show, there could be much more to it.
Even if the small Tesloop fleet can only give first indications of the possible life expectancy of the energy storage and the temperatures in Germany are less beneficial for batteries than in the Pacific - the experiences from California could have consequences for the total cost calculation of the meticulous car buyer.
Old diesel taxis may be indestructible, modern turbo engines with complicated exhaust gas cleaning are not. Few of today's models will achieve a mileage of half a million kilometers. Should electric cars (at least those with a large battery capacity) last longer in cold Germany, they would be cheaper overall than combustion models - even if they cost a few thousand more to buy.
And then there are the lower consumption values and the cheaper maintenance: With Tesloop you spend much less on maintenance and repairs than would be the case with combustion engines. So instead of staring at price tags, German car buyers should perhaps broaden their perspective. Overall, electric cars are likely to be cheaper, at least for frequent drivers, than is often assumed.
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