Built-in obsolescence is so passé. Tesla is working to develop a new motor that could help people keep their luxury electric cars even longer, without expensive mechanic bills. During the company’s recent investor update, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla engineers are working on a new version of its electric drive unit that could have a lifespan of one million miles.
Engineers at the California-based car company had previously been working toward an endurance of 200,000 miles for its electric drive units. The drive unit is the part that holds the electric motor (or motors on the dual-motor models). In his last quarterly update, CEO Elon Musk mentioned the team has now shifted its focus toward a much longer endurance. Now, Tesla is shooting for a one-million-mile engine.
“We are very happy with the quality of the drive unit,” Musk said on a conference call with investors. “We changed the goal of the drive unit endurance from being approximately 200,000 miles to being a million miles – just basically we want drive units that just never wear out. That’s our goal. I think we made really good progress in that direction. The drive units that are going out now and for the last several months have been excellent.”
There’s pretty much no way a gasoline-powered engine could achieve such an ambitious endurance goal, because electric engines are less complex. Electric car engines have fewer moving parts and rely on fewer fluids, so they are prone to fewer mechanical problems. The promise of an electric drive unit that could essentially last forever is just one more way for Tesla to illustrate how electric cars are superior to their gas-powered counterparts. Making a longer-lasting engine fits nicely with Tesla’s “Infinite Mile Warranty” program, which launched last year.
Images via Maurizio Pesce and Tesla Motors