October 6, 2022


  • A Tesla owner has gone viral on TikTok after posting a series of videos about problems with his Model S.
  • Mario Zelaya claims he lost his car after the battery died, and it would cost over $20,000 to fix it.
  • Last year, a Finnish Tesla owner blew up his EV in protest over a similar problem.

A Tesla owner said he lost access to his Model S after the battery died — a problem he said will cost the automaker more than $20,000 to fix.

Last week, Mario Zelaya posted a TikTok video calling out the issue and has received over 15 million views. In TikTok, Zelaya said that the battery on his Model S was completely dead, leaving him unable to get into the vehicle or even access the car’s title documents in order to sell it. The car also won’t respond to the charge, he said.

“This is why you should never buy a Tesla,” Zelaya said in the video, calling the car “a piece of junk.” He said he bought the car brand new for $140,000 in 2013.

Zelaya and a Tesla spokesperson did not respond to Insider’s request for comment before publication.

A Tesla owner could gained access to the vehicle manually by removing the front bumper or going through the tire, but he said he “didn’t have time for that”.

In an earlier videoa Toronto-based Tesla owner posted pictures of a March 14 service estimate from Tesla. The estimate showed that a replacement battery for an electric car would cost more than $28,000 Canadian dollars or more than $21,000 US dollars.

The car needed a replacement after covering just over 77,000 miles, according to a document shared by the owner on TikTok. Tesla batteries are designed to last 300,000 to 500,000 miles or about 21 to 25 years before they need to be replaced, said Elon Musk. Last year, Electrek reported that Tesla owners were given an estimate of between $20,000 and $30,000 to replace the battery

Zelaya said ua separate video that he took the car to Tesla after getting a “high voltage battery” warning. message — a problem that could cause EV battery damage to catch fire. He said he was told the issue would not be covered by a guarantee.

When he later took the Model S to his country’s regulatory agency, Transport Canada, technicians told him the battery had corroded because the car’s air conditioning drain hose was placed over the battery case and was constantly letting water into the battery unit, Zelaya he said.

U video as of last week, Zelaya said he was finally able to sell the car after paying $30 for new title papers. The TikTok appears to show the new owner opening the front bumper to access the interior of the car.

“That will be the end of my Tesla journey,” Zelaya said in the video. “It’s out of my life. Keep it out of yours.”

This isn’t the first time Tesla owners have raised concerns about quality control issues. Last year, a man from Finland made a video how he blew up his 2013 Tesla Model S after discovering that a replacement battery would cost $22,600. The man allegedly also had a water-damaged battery.

Vox reported in August that owners filed thousands of complaints against Tesla service centers. Last year, Insider reported that drivers were taking to social media to report problems with their brand new Teslas, including bad paint and mismatched license plates.

Do you work for Tesla or drive one of its electric cars? Contact the reporter via non-business email at gkay@insider.com



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