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  • This Tesla Model S has a maintenance bill almost as big as the number on the odometer
  • A new battery on an out-of-warranty Model S can cost north of $15,000
  • One owner’s Model S is the perfect example of the Theseus’ ship paradox

The longevity of EVs is a question on the minds of just about anyone in the market for a used EV. After all, what’s the point of buying that cheap Tesla Model S if it’s just going to run up both your electricity and your credit card bill? One owner found out when he bought a Tesla for pennies. Oh, and it’s got more than 400,000 miles on it.

A black Tesla Model S EV sedan shot from the front 3/4 angle
This Model S has done 424,000 miles | High Mileage Reviews

How many miles will a Tesla last?

Theoretically, with enough money, any car can last a very long time. Those stories of high-mile Toyota Tacomas aren’t for nothing, after all. However, the question that faces this 424,000 mile Tesla Model S is a little different. It’s more a question of the size of the owner, Alex’s, wallet. The Tesla Model S in question is a great example of the famous “Theseus’ ship” paradox: Is an object that has had all of its components replaced still the original object?

I spoke with High Mileage Reviews via Instagram to find out. Perhaps the biggest issue faced by the owner, Alex, was the Tesla Model S’ door handles. This high-mile Model S has gone through a total of seven door handles. The handles are $1,000 a pop out of warranty. Of course, wheels and tires aren’t going to make it 400,000+ miles, and those will run you a cool $2,500.

How long do Tesla batteries last?

Thankfully, many of these bills weren’t eaten by Alex, but by the previous owners. However, High Mileage Reviews told me that an 8th door handle did break under Alex’s stewardship. Obviously, the big question on everyone’s lips is that of battery replacement. Currently, out of warranty, a battery on a Tesla Model S will run you a massive $15-$20,000. Thankfully, Teslas with more reasonable mileage will be covered under the brand’s 8-year 150,000-mile warranty.

Unfortunately for Alex, there are some other large issues looming on the Model S in High Mileage Reviews’ video. First and foremost, the adhesive that holds the screens together has separated. It’s a $2,000 bill for a new infotainment center screen, and the gauge cluster is no small bill either.

This Tesla Model S was shockingly cheap

A roof-down shot of a black Model S EV
This high-mile Model S is set to keep ticking | High Mileage Reviews

How Much Range Does the Tesla Model 3 Have? Less Than the 270-Mile Polestar 2 EV

All told, Alex paid $15,000 for his first-gen Model S. Because of the degraded battery, it’s limited to 85% capacity with reduced charging speed to help keep it from wearing further. Finally, the front drive units in the motors needed replacing, but that was done under warranty. If you’re out of warranty, it’s $15,000.

As for whether this Tesla Model S is a good example of Theseus’ ship, well, we’d say it is. Almost no part of Alex’s Model S remains untouched. High Mileage Reviews concurs, and we both hope Alex’s Tesla can stave off further repairs. This Model S certainly isn’t the original object outlined in the paradox anymore, but at least it’s got one hell of a story to tell.