Elon Musk is making some fairly incredible claims about the longevity of the Tesla Model 3. The CEO now says that a Model 3’s body and drive unit can last up to 1 million miles while the battery can last up to 500,000 miles and he says that battery module replacements will be made available.

Much has been said about the potential longevity of Tesla’s vehicles.

With the company still being relatively young for an automaker, we have a limited set of data to look into the longevity of Tesla’s vehicles.

Early data about Tesla battery degradation show less than 10% reduction in energy capacity after over 160,000 miles, but that’s about all we have.

Now CEO Elon Musk says that they built Model 3 to last as long as a commercial truck, a million miles, and the battery modules should last between 300,000 miles and 500,000 miles:

Musk made the claim in the context of the value of the Model 3 being used in an autonomous ride-hailing fleet.

Yesterday, we reported on Musk claiming that Tesla vehicles are now ‘appreciating assets’ due to their self-driving capability.

What he meant is that the vehicles would become revenue-generating assets as they integrate this autonomous ride-hailing fleet, which has been dubbed the ‘Tesla Network’.

The value of the Model 3 on the Tesla Network would depend on how many miles it can put in it and Musk now claims that it could be up to 1 million miles for the entire car as long as they get between 2 or 3 battery module replacements.

Musk says that Tesla wouldn’t replace a whole battery pack, but they will offer battery module replacements for between $5,000 and $7,000.

Tesla specifically designed Model 3 to focus on battery module replacements instead of changing the whole battery pack.

Unlike the Model S and Model X battery pack architecture, which is made of many battery modules (up to 16), Model 3’s battery pack architecture is made of only 4 battery modules.

It enables Tesla to just swap the battery modules as needed instead of replacing the whole pack with the BMS and all the other electronics attached to it.

Electrek’s Take

I think that is likely on the optimistic side of the spectrum, but I don’t think it is impossible.

At a value of $1 per mile, we are talking about a potential of at least $300,000 in revenue before having to possibly replace the battery modules.

For a ~$45,000 vehicle (Model 3 with FSD package now, but the price will increase over time) and with a relatively low cost of operation, this could be a very profitable proposal, but there are many things that need to happen for this to even become a possibility.

Separately, Elon could be getting us a good idea of where Tesla is at when it comes to battery cost.

Assuming that “$5,000 to $7,000” for the battery modules means the cost for the Standard Range Plus and Long Range battery modules, it would mean a cost of roughly $100 per kWh at the battery module level, which I think makes sense.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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