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Tesla Model S Hits 1.2 Million Miles with 14th Motor and 4th Battery Replacement

So many people were saying electric cars might not last long or go super far. But check this out: This German chap Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg drove his 2014 Tesla Model S P85 for almost 1.2 million miles!

That’s like going around the Earth a bunch of times. Pretty cool, right? If this doesn’t show how tough EVs are then what does?

This shows electric cars are tough and can handle a ton of driving, even more than people thought. So, the next time someone says electric cars can’t do big miles, just tell them about Hansjörg and his awesome Tesla going on a super long road trip! Let’s dig in more!!

1.2 Million-Mile Tesla Model S

1.2 Million-Mile Tesla Model S

YouTuber with YouTube channel Watt Energy recently shared bits of his conversation with Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg regarding his Tesla Model S feat.

Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg’s Tesla Model S, a 2014 P85 variant, has become the talk of the town as it reached a staggering 1.18 million miles on its odometer. To put this into perspective, that’s an average of approximately 131,000 miles per year.

What a determination!

Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg, the proud owner of this Tesla Model S, has a history with electric cars. Before acquiring the Model S, he owned a Tesla Roadster and clocked an impressive 400,000 miles in it during a time when charging infrastructure was less than ideal.

Despite encountering challenges with the charging setup, his enthusiasm for electric vehicles led him to purchase a Tesla Model S in 2014. Interestingly, he didn’t go for a brand-new one; instead, he opted for a used Model S with 18,641 miles already on the odometer.

The Tesla Model S from the time had some issues with the back motor, and Gemmingen-Hornberg’s car was no different. He had to change the motor 13 times because the problems kept happening. So, in total, the car had its motor replaced 14 times, counting the first one that came with it, during its 1.2 million miles journey.

He also had to change the battery pack in this Model S, and it’s now using its fourth one. Even though the owner has driven more than 19 lakh km in this car since 2014, the details about how much it costs to replace some of the parts aren’t available online.

Back in 2019, Elon Musk gave a shout-out to the owner of this Model S when the car hit 1 million km on the odometer.

How Long Does an Electric Car Last?

The lifespan of an EV is a subject of increasing interest as these absolutely innovative vehicles are growing in numbers on our roads. While traditional ICE vehicles have well-established longevity metrics, the same cannot be said for EVs due to their relatively recent mass adoption.

However, recent developments and real-world examples, such as Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg’s exceptional journey of driving his Tesla Model S nearly 1.2 million miles, are reshaping our understanding of how long EVs can last.

EVs are known for having fewer moving parts than traditional vehicles, which can contribute to their longevity. The absence of a complex internal combustion engine, with its numerous components and wear-and-tear issues, offers a potential advantage in terms of durability. Also, battery packs are getting more efficient with advancements in battery technology and management systems extending the life expectancy of EVs.

Many manufacturers now provide warranties for their electric vehicle batteries ranging from 8 to 10 years.

But, it still depends largely on how you use and maintain your electric vehicle the most including driving habits, charging practices, and climate conditions. Regular maintenance, especially for components like the battery and electric motors, is essential for ensuring optimal performance over the years.

Reason For Driving The Same Tesla Model S

So, how does he drive so much? Well, the owner is retired, which means he’s got lots of free time to go on road trips. He really loves exploring the world in his car, taking his Tesla Model S to places like Africa, Morocco, Sweden, Austria, and even China. And get this – he’s not stopping anytime soon!

Tesla Model S 2014

But this is not the only reason why he’s sticking up with his Teslas!

Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg’s decision to stick with his Tesla Model S and refrain from buying a new car is deeply rooted in his wife’s health condition. Although he initially was not aware of the specific condition, it appears to be related to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

This is a complex and controversial disorder where individuals claim to become ill from exposure to low levels of various chemicals, including those found in everyday items such as cleaning products, detergents, exhaust fumes, plastics, and fragrances. Despite the controversy surrounding MCS and the lack of clear scientific evidence linking reported symptoms to measurable physiological dysfunction, von Gemmingen-Hornberg’s wife experiences discomfort, especially in new cars.

The medical community has struggled to establish a definitive connection between MCS symptoms and objective measures of physiological dysfunction, making it challenging to pinpoint specific triggers or recommended exposure levels.

Her discomfort with new cars has led him to make a conscious choice to keep his Tesla Model S and avoid purchasing any vehicle with less than two years of use.

The owner is so committed to racking up more miles that he’s decided to let go of his Lucid Air reservation, opting to stick with the trusty Model S for more epic road adventures. Yes, he was planning to buy a Lucid Air but decided not to go ahead with it.

Challenges & Solutions

While we’ve witnessed impressive mileage from traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, this marks a ground-breaking moment as an electric vehicle surpasses distances that even many renowned and reliability-praised Toyota and Ford vehicles might not achieve.

The story of this 2014 Model S challenges preconceived notions about the longevity and endurance of electric cars, proving that Teslas can very well crunch serious numbers on an odometer. However, there have been some challenges too that we discuss below.

Motor & Battery Replacement Cost

Early Model S cars, including the 2014 variant, faced notable challenges with reliability, particularly concerning the rear motor units. The Tesla Model S owned by Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg has encountered a remarkable 13 replacements of the rear motor unit, averaging approximately 84,285 miles per motor, including the current one.

Motor replacement can cost $6,000 but he said he got many of his Model S motors replaced either under warranty or with refurbished ones.

On a brighter note, the big battery in the car has held up much better. They’ve only had to replace it three times, and each battery lasted around 300,000 miles.

Considering the new battery pack costs anywhere between $13,000 to$20,000, the estimated total expense including motor and battery might be anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000.

However, Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg says he was able to maintain his Model S because of free charging and under-warranty repairs for motors and battery packs. That’s pretty good and shows that the part storing all the power is doing well.

Even though there were some bumps with the motor, the battery seems to be holding strong, making the car last for quite a long time.

Addressing Common Concerns

Skeptics often argue that electric cars lack the range and durability needed for high-mileage driving. However, von Gemmingen-Hornberg’s journey serves as a testament to the contrary. Not only did his Tesla Model S cover immense distances, but it also did so efficiently.

What To Do to Make Your EV Last Longer?

So, the reason this Tesla Model S has lasted so long and stayed reliable is because the owner, Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg, really takes care of it. Even though he doesn’t say it outright, it seems like his dedication and patience with lots of maintenance work. Just look at all the motor changing and stuff, all are the secret ingredients.

Maybe we can all learn a bit from his patience, especially when it comes to taking care of our cars. It’s like a lesson in sticking with things for the long run, just like this gentleman has done with his car.

On top of all that, Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg treats his Model S with extra care. He’s really careful not to charge it too much, usually stopping at around 80 percent full, and he avoids going below 20 percent charge whenever driving.

It’s like he’s giving his car the Goldilocks treatment – not too much, not too little. He keeps his journeys short, usually around 60 miles at a time, and takes breaks in between. And get this, he doesn’t top off on breaks unless the car is running low on charge.


While there are a handful of high-mileage Model S vehicles cruising around the world, it’s evident that the German car in question takes the cake. The owner of this extraordinary Model S has chosen to remain tight-lipped about the precise cost of repairs incurred over the car’s lifespan.

However, the way he has maintained his Model S makes us giddy about his amazing feat. Breaking all norms, his Tesla Model S has emerged as a true trailblazer by completing a staggering 1.2 million miles (19 lakh km) on the odometer.

What do you think about his extraordinary achievement as he takes on his new goals to new places around the world?

Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
Purnima has a strong love for EVs. Whether it's classic cars or modern performance vehicles, she likes to write about anything with four wheels, especially if there's a cool story behind it.


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