Tesla Model X windshield

Tesla's Model X SUV has a huge sweeping windshield that reaches all the way back to the B pillar, and it turns out that replacing it can cost a pretty penny, as Tesla Motors Club member Bobby Kansara found out the hard way:

Driving back from Mount Rushmore on a family road trip for the long weekend, a large rock hit my Model X windshield and put a medium sized crack in it.

For those who have been wondering about replacement costs for the windshield, I can report that the cost estimate from my local service center is $2290 before tax.

A "typical" windshield — i.e. a sheet of laminated glass with no additions — will typically run $300-$500 to replace, while more advanced windshields with adhered sensors, coatings, and the like can cost double that. But the Model X's uniquely enormous and curving windshield is no normal windshield, from the sheer size of it to the Autopilot camera mounted at the mirror and associated wiring tracing back to the metallic UV/infrared-blocking coating. But that's the sort of cost you get for living on the bleeding edge in an $80,000+ electric SUV.

Tesla Model 3 and its expansive single-piece rear glass Tesla Model 3 and its expansive single-piece rear glass.

But what about the Tesla Model 3?

The upcoming $35,000 all-electric sedan is set to enter volume production by the end of 2017 and will have an optional full-glass rear roof — essentially the giant windshield of the Model X, but in reverse. That huge sheet of glass will no doubt be wired for defrosting, tinted and coated, and most assuredly be laminated for safety.

But what cost will it be to replace it if it's broken? Surely, the repair bill for a window of a consumer-accessible car wouldn't approach $2300, right? We'd expect it not to be nearly that much, but just by the size and installation requirements of it we know it cannot be as cheap as replacing a rear window on a Ford Focus or Toyota Camry, though the reduced complexity of the rear window of the Model 3 (compared to the Model X) and the economies of scale that Tesla will achieve through building and selling hundreds of thousands of these, will help to bring down the cost to something that's understandable.

Of course, it's worth noting that this glass rear roof is an option, though every Model 3 that Tesla has shown off has been equipped with it. The Model 3 will be offered with your choice of solid metal roof, panoramic roof, and the single-piece rear glass roof.