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Buy or Lease the X... hoping for longer range

Discussion in 'Model X' started by Greg, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. Greg

    Greg Member

    Jan 17, 2013
    I've been eagerly awaiting for this car to go into production since 2012! I decided not to buy the Model S and wait 2 years for the X. Of course I was not thinking it was "Musk years". So after waiting over 4 years to buy a Tesla I cannot wait any longer.

    I am very pleased with the Model X in many ways (I was at the launch on Tuesday), but my two biggest disappointments are no folding 2nd row seats and the range has not been increased. I was hoping that the next generation batteries which are each individual battery supposed to be a little bigger than the existing batteries and able to hold a larger charge would allow you to have a 90 kW battery that weighs less which would increase the range or perhaps a larger battery would be offered. My dream is a car with 400 mile range. This would allow you to travel at 75 mph for 4 1/2 hours and get from San Jose to LA without having to recharge. After 4 1/2 hours of solid driving most people are ready for a break! My guess is that the next gen batteries will come from the gigafactory sometime in 2016 or 2017.

    With all of this said I have a relatively early X reservation and will likely get my car at the beginning of 2016. I am a bit hesitant on getting it because I'm afraid that I'll buy the X and 12 months later a longer range X will be available. So now I'm asking myself the following:

    1) Do I buy the X and keep it for the long term as is
    2) Buy it now then sell it in a year or two taking the depreciation hit
    3) Lease the X and in 3 years get another one

    If I do option 1 I'll have to live with the smaller range for many years and deal with super chargers which may get very busy with more Teslas on the road during long road trips that I would take 1-4 times a year. The model 3 will make them extremely busy unless Tesla keeps building out the network and have 20+ stalls per location. This is taking a leap of faith that Tesla will do this. I think they will, but it is a risk.

    If I do option 2 how much money will I likely loose by selling a 1-2 year old X? How much money did people lose when they sold a 1-2 year old S so they could buy the P85D? Will you "lose" less money than leasing?

    If I do option 3 I'll have to take a deep breadth before signing. I've never leased a car before. To me it is like throwing money down the drain if you typically keep a car for over 7 years. On the flip side I may "lose" less money doing this than option 2.

    The advantage of option 1 is if the range of the cars do not increase much I have saved myself money. The downside is if the range does noticeably increase I'm stuck with a "low range" car for many years.

    The pros of option 2 is I get an increased range car in 2-3 years and maybe my folding 2nd row seats. Also if Tesla does not noticeably increase the range of the cars I have the option to keep what I've got for many more years. For the record I do believe they will have 400 mile range cars in a year or two from now.

    The benefits of doing option 3 is that I'll get a longer range car in 2-3 years and perhaps my folding 2nd row seats. The disadvantage is if the range is not increased I just wasted my money on the lease and have to buy another car in 3 years when I typically keep cars for over 7 years.

    So that is my dilemma. What should I do?
  2. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

    Nov 13, 2009
    I'd be surprised if folding second row seats were not offered, sooner rather than later. There are just too many people asking for them: Tesla has to be listening.

    As for the range, I think you're worrying too much. Your supercharger use is limited to the few times a year when you go on long trips; 257 Rated miles is plenty of range to take care of daily driving and shorter trips. I don't think overcrowding at Superchargers, except in a few well-defined areas, is likely to be a problem anytime soon. Stopping every 2-1/2 to 3 hours to Supercharge isn't particularly onerous and is probably good for you; I've done up to 800 miles in a day from Supercharger to Supercharger, solo, without fatigue.

    The problem with waiting for a 400 mile battery pack is that there's no telling when or if Tesla (or anyone else) will release a car with a true 400 mile range... and none of us is getting any younger. :biggrin:

    My advice is to drive the Tesla that is available now, enjoy it for what it is (it's an amazingly wonderful driving experience), and then move on when it no longer fits your needs or there's something new and better, and you can't resist upgrading.
  3. Ryan MF

    Ryan MF Member

    Jun 24, 2015
    New Jersey
    Also consider new batteries when they become available should be able to be retrofitted into current cars (for a cost hopefully less than #2). It's unlikely though that range will be substantially improved in a year or two anyway. I would go with option 1.
  4. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

    Apr 25, 2011
    Ithaca, NY, USA
    OK, take this for what it's worth. There won't be a significant increase in range in 12 months.

    Elon has said that the battery pack capacity will getting better by about 5% per year. Do some math (compound interest) and you can figure out how much the offered range is likely to be in each year. I strongly advise that you actually *calculate this*.

    The next thing you should do is to figure out how much range you *actually need* for your typical usage. Model X has a 250 mile range; in California, without cold weather, you'll actually get that. That's over 3 hours of driving before you have to recharge. You also have plenty of Superchargers in California. Most of us have no problem stopping to charge for half an hour every 3 hours. You do NOT have to worry about Supercharger congestion unless those trips you take 1-4 times per year specifically run through the Superchargers which are congested *right now*.

    Figure out how much range you actually need for the trips you typically make. Figure out what year that will be available (it might be this year, it might be 4 years from now).

    Then, if it isn't this year, lease the Model X for the correct number of years to get a replacement (purchased) model X when the range is likely to be to your satisfaction.

    If the folding seats are a serious problem for you (sounds like they aren't) then I would advise leasing until they are available.

    The purpose of leasing is quite specifically for situations where you don't intend to keep the car very long.
  5. Aljohn

    Aljohn Member

    Oct 17, 2014
    Unfortunately, speculation here become expectation. Musk has said battery technology may increase 5% a year. That does not mean, for a 5% increase, they would modify the manufacturing process. 5% of the 85KW battery would be a modest 13 miles. Tesla was able to upgrade over the last few years from 40 to 60 to 70 on the low range end and 85-90 on the high range end. Keep in mind, Elon also said he would not recommend that anyone upgrade their existing 85KW to 90KW for the modest increase in range unless there was a pressing need.

    Going forward, I would anticipate it is more realistic to see size or range leaps in two-three year increments. Once the chemistry/manufacturing is validated, the build process verified, all the testing done, then it will become as part of the manufacturing into the vehicles. The expense of change for every small increment may not be feasible.

    That said @Greg, it would appear that what we have at the 90KW range will be what we be available for some time to come -- I would never-say-never, but this may be a reality. Good Luck with your options, I don't pretend to select what is a personal decision.
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    I can't say what the future will hold, but we are leasing the Model X. For financial reasons, but also because we expect some advantageous changes in 3 years, both for the vehicle and our personal finances.
  7. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

    May 31, 2015
    Northern California
    Man I am in the same quandary and with the same history as you are.

    One of my worries is that if the MX does change enough for you to want a new one in 3 years, the current one will probably be much less value than you think it would be worth today. The other problem is how much will the battery swap cost. Go over to the MS forums and see the discussions on how much Tesla wants to replace the 85 batteries with the 90's. Probably why Elon said you should wait for 3 cycles (15%) before you even consider it.

    For these reasons I am thinking of leasing or just waiting it out. I can limp along for another 2 years if I have to with what I have. Its a throw away car right now and I just paid the big maintenance bill that should work for the next 3 years, or until the car goes casters up.

    When (if) the MX becomes my dream car, I will be ready to buy it outright, but not before then.
  8. engle

    engle Member

    Aug 25, 2011
    How Leasing Works

    I've leased 4 Mercedes so far for business, 2 while waiting for my X. You pay interest in the form of a "money factor" where the dealer tries to hide the real interest rate, which is easy to calculate: Money_Factor x 2400 = Interest_Rate. It's on old dealer trick. If you are able to pre-pay all or part of the lease payments, then you don't pay this interest or pay less of it. The rest of your payment is the "rental" of the vehicle for 36 months, for either 30K, 36K, or 45K miles decided up front from new cost down to the residual value for your mileage option -- this is the depreciation.

    If you decide after 36 months that you want to keep your X, then you can purchase it outright for the residual value plus a fee.

    See my thread here for more details including a sample Calif. lease agreement for Model S (should be the same for the X):

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