Uber Driver’s Tesla Model 3 Battery Dies After 120,000 Miles In 15 Months
If you’re considering using a Tesla Model 3 for ride-sharing like Uber, the story of Dobson, an Uber driver who experienced battery issues after 120,000 miles in just 15 months, is one you should pay attention to. In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into Dobson’s experience and the questions it raises about the long-term durability of electric vehicles, especially when used intensively for ride-sharing.
A Demanding Use Case
Dobson, an Uber driver, put his 2019 Model 3 SR+ to the ultimate test, covering more than 300 miles a day, six days a week, with two Supercharging stops daily. This demanding use case not only highlights the efficiency of electric vehicles but also raises important questions about their long-term reliability in such high-demand scenarios.
Also read: A Tesla Model X caught fire while submerged in water after backing down a boat ramp. The incident was captured in an on-the-scene video.
The Transition to Tesla
Dobson transitioned from a conventional Toyota Camry to a used 2019 Tesla Model 3 for his Uber business, making a substantial investment of $53,000. He quickly realized significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs, amounting to approximately $10,000 since his purchase. However, an unfortunate twist awaited him.
The Sudden Battery Failure
The primary issue Dobson encountered was the sudden and unexpected failure of his Model 3’s high-voltage battery pack. What sets this incident apart is that it wasn’t a gradual degradation of the battery over time; it happened suddenly, leaving him with a non-functional vehicle.
Accelerated Battery Degradation
Before the battery failure, Dobson documented an 11 percent battery degradation when his car had 90,000 miles. However, as he continued to drive and surpassed 110,000 miles, the degradation accelerated significantly. The driving range of his Model 3 decreased to a mere 170-180 miles at 100 percent state of charge.
Tesla’s Promises vs. Reality
Tesla’s 2022 Impact Report suggests that a Tesla battery should only lose about 12 percent of its capacity after 200,000 miles. However, Tesla attributed Dobson’s battery degradation to regular wear and tear, a claim that Dobson strongly contested due to the rapid rate of decline he experienced.
The Role of Supercharging
It’s unclear if frequent Supercharging, often to 90 or 95 percent state of charge, contributed to the battery’s sudden failure. While some have speculated that frequent Supercharging may stress the battery, a recent Recurrent study showed little difference in battery degradation between frequent and rare fast charging.
A Drastic Range Reduction
One day, Dobson charged his Tesla at home and had a 170-mile range. However, when he used a Supercharger later that day, the range barely exceeded 35 miles. This alarming drop in range prompted a notification from Tesla, urging him to bring his car in for inspection.
The Cost of Battery Replacement
Following the evaluation at Tesla Service, Dobson was informed that replacing the battery would cost a staggering $9,000. Facing no other viable option, he accepted the offer. However, he was now advised to charge his vehicle to only 80 percent of its capacity, as recommended by Tesla, yielding a range of 160-170 miles.
A Questionable Warranty
The one-year warranty on the new battery raised suspicions that it might be refurbished. Furthermore, Dobson’s fully charged battery provided 14 percent less range than a Tesla Model 3 equipped with a brand-new battery.
One significant limitation in this case is the unavailability of Tesla’s perspective. The company does not maintain a public relations department in the United States, leaving us with only Dobson’s detailed account of his experience.
Q: Can Tesla batteries really degrade this quickly? A: According to Tesla’s 2022 Impact Report, the expected battery degradation is much slower. Dobson’s experience seems to be an outlier.
Q: Is Supercharging harmful to Tesla batteries? A: While frequent Supercharging may affect battery health, recent studies show that the impact may not be as significant as previously thought.
Q: What is the cost of replacing a Tesla battery? A: In Dobson’s case, replacing the battery cost him $9,000. However, this cost can vary based on the Tesla model and warranty.
Q: Why did Dobson choose to stick with Tesla despite his battery issues? A: Despite the battery problems, Dobson’s Tesla still offered significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs compared to his previous vehicle.
Q: What can be done to prevent rapid battery degradation in Tesla vehicles? A: Following Tesla’s recommended charging practices, such as not charging to 100 percent capacity regularly, can help preserve battery life.
Q: Are refurbished Tesla batteries a common occurrence? A: The suspicion of refurbished batteries can arise when the battery’s performance significantly lags behind what is expected from a new unit.
Dobson’s experience as an Uber driver using a Tesla Model 3 for intensive ride-sharing shines a light on the potential challenges faced by electric vehicles in demanding scenarios. While his case is a stark example, it’s essential to remember that Tesla’s vehicles generally offer efficient and reliable performance. To mitigate the risk of battery issues, it’s advisable to follow Tesla’s recommended charging practices and consider the long-term benefits of electric vehicles for ride-sharing businesses.