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Cost Anxiety Mitigation Program (CAMP)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by ChrisHenryOC, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    So, I put down a reservation for a Model S on my birthday, August 24, somewhat impulsively, but with full intention to purchase a Model S. Even before putting down my deposit, I was a frequent reader of these forums, an activity (obsession?) that has only increased since then.

    The problems I keep coming back to relative to a purchase of the S are as follows:
    • I made a commitment to myself a couple of years ago that my next vehicle purchase would be an EV for reasons personal, environmental, and political. I like cool technology, a lot, and EVs are one of the most exciting areas of technology, for me, right now. Environmentally, EVs have some issues in the types and quantities of materials used in construction, but on the balance, for me, they are the best long-term solution. Politically, I'm a left-leaning progressive, and reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil is a good thing.
    • Configured for my needs, the car would run about $65k (really 72.5k). With some aggressive savings plans and other money grubbing activities, I might be able to get things to the point where I'd have about a $430 payment for 5 years after taking delivery. There is good risk that one portion of these schemes might fall through, jeopardizing the whole plan. Adding the service plan, doesn't kill the deal, but means that I'd need to cut back in other areas.
    • For my experience, the Model S is a big car. I currently own a 2005 Prius and a 2008 Prius, both paid for. I am a huge fan of these 2nd generation Priuses for their excellent storage capacity and utility, all contained in a pretty small overall package.
    • I use my Prius as a "utility vehicle" fairly frequently, and have hauled 8 foot 2x4 lumber (inside with the rear hatch closed). The Model S is so beautiful, that I would likely have guilt and/or anxiety about using it in such a way. I owned a 2000 Porsche Boxster back in the day, custom ordered, and loved that car. I did find, however, that worrying about keeping it in good condition wore on me, and I did feel some relief when I sold it.
    • Did I mention that the Model S is big? :smile:

    So, I've spent the last several days working on the math for this, and driving an Excel spreadsheet that I built for the purpose. In the end, I think that while the Model S is an absolutely amazing car, and Tesla is a company that I really want to have a relationship with, I think the Model S may not be the car for me. :crying:

    Where to now, you ask? Well, the discussed, but not officially announced GenIII sounds like it just might be the ticket, especially in the size category. By the time that car is in general production, Tesla, and others, will have made some significant advances in battery technology and other areas that will hopefully bring that 300 mile range at a price tag closer to the Model S starting price.

    The catch is that I'd like to get started with my EV process sooner than the GenIII will be available. So, I've been thinking through my options and am considering the following possibilities:
    • Suck it up, stop complaining, save money like a madman, and go for it with the Model S. Find a way to live with the 40kWh model without the Tech package, the air suspension, and the Pano roof.
    • Suck it up, start saving, and have a pile of cash on hand for when the GenIII is available. Drive current cars until the wheels come off (hopefully after the GenIII is in my garage).
    • Buy a Leaf. Wait for the 2013 Leaf to be announced, which will hopefully solve the battery issues they've been facing and with improved range. Buy one of those to use until the GenIII is out. My commute is ~40 miles total daily, well within the range of the Leaf, but my wife's driving habits require more range on a relatively frequent basis. As such, either the GenIII would end up being her car, or she'd keep the 2008 Prius.
    • Buy a Volt. Over the weekend I did a lot of reading on this car, and while initially put off by the initial base cost of ~$42k, I realized that I wasn't applying the same math to the Volt that we've been applying to the Model S. With the tax incentive, the Volt really starts at ~$35k, with another $1,500 that California will kick in. From a pure cost perspective, this car becomes a lot more interesting. It's also about the same physical size as my current car. With some luck, the 2013 model will have improved range, etc.
    • Buy a Coda. Ugliest modern EV I've seen. Looks like a late-90s Toyota Corolla without the personality. Okay, maybe this isn't really an option.
    • Other cars like the Mitsubishi, and others, are either not really available in the US are are Smart-car sized and just too small for my needs and wants.

    I'm planning to schedule a test drive of a Volt this week to see how it fits. I've test driven the original Leaf and the Ford Focus EV, and both seemed too small and cramped to me, and with the relatively limited range, not practical for me. I'm not entirely sure if I'm hopeful that I'll like the Volt or not.

    So, enlightened ones, any thoughts or suggestions?

    Any Volt owners who have an opinion they'd like to share? Is it really all that and a bag of chips?

    Thanks for reading,
    -Chris
     
  2. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Well you could look at a RAV4EV, since you are lucky enough to live in California. They are delivering on the 24th of this month. And I am pretty sure that there are zero options to tempt you. I am not sure if they are all spoken for but this could be an option.

    In all honesty if the Focus EV or the LEAF would meet my weekly driving needs I would have one. I really need about 85 miles of range to handle my Wednesdays. Or the occasional trip to the job site and office in the same day.

    I assume you looked at my RAMP logs. You may just have the 40kWh pack work out for you.

    And there are some really good lease terms on Volts now.

    Probably the most economic sense is to drive your Priuses until they die. Then look around.
     
  3. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    If you need a new car now, I would look at the Volt. That would have been my second choice after the S if I was hellbent for an EV (yes, not a "pure" EV, but you get my point).
     
  4. aznt1217

    aznt1217 Active Member

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    Apologies if I missed it. Why do you NEED a new car again if you have 2 prii?

    Why not just have those and save up for the Model S or Gen III whatever it may be. I get that you want to jump on the EV train for certain reasons, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise because in my opinion that's just throwing away money. I drove the Volt and while I do feel it was a nice car, it definitely compromised in a lot of areas and keep in mind it only seats 4. You are also still going to be paying for gas. I wouldn't buy a leaf either, I barely consider that a car. I'd buy a Scion IQ before I pick one of those up.

    I say if you can't afford it, stick it ut with your prius for a bit longer.
     
  5. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    Need is probably too strong of a word. Want is more accurate. You didn't miss anything.

    Impatient is probably another good word.
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I hear you Chris, and I'm in a similar situation with similar thoughts. The Model S allows me to dump the gas engine and the Toyota service. The Leaf doesn't have enough range (and there is a heat problem with the Leaf where I live). The Volt still has a gas engine so there's no benefit for me there (even if I could be persuaded to get something from GM). I'm not in California so the Toyota isn't an option, but even if it were an option it doesn't solve the problem of dumping Toyota service. And the others are kind of non-starters.

    So for me it boils down to two choices: Bite the bullet or continue to drive the Prius, which has been a great car. Right now my thinking is to bite the bullet but with the extra $1500 to get headroom plus the $2400 for service (and my thought is that it's not worth getting anything but the unlimited Ranger service because you might not break down near home), that's over $4,000 extra (with tax) so it's getting to be a harder choice.
     
  7. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    Jerry, Ranger service is covered under warranty. You don't need to pay for the Ranger maintenance service for coverage in break-down situations. IMO, only pay for the Ranger maintenance if you're not within reasonable distance of the service center.
     
  8. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Correct. GeorgeB confirmed it:

     
  9. Johann Koeber

    Johann Koeber Member

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    I have two questions for you Chris:

    1. Have you had a test drive of the Model S ?

    2. What does your heart say?
    In my experience, if your heart says 'yes' your mind will find ways to finance the Model S

    Never put money first and your heart second. Money can be replaced. Your life cannot.


    The word heart in this context means:

    - not the pump in your chest, but the spiritual you

    - your sweetheart (listen to her)


    If these questions make any sense to you, YOU will find the right solution, or it will find you! ;)
     
  10. Langzaiguy

    Langzaiguy Member

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    Hey Chris, I'm on the same boat as you.

    My wife and are are teachers and we average about 30,000-35,000 miles a year. About half of that is my 90 mile a day commute. I did a ten year cost analysis in Excel on how much it would cost to purchase the Model S. Scenario 1: We keep our old Corolla and buy a new Rav4 (ICE). After ten years of gas and maintenance, that would cost us about $100,000. Scenario 2: We keep our old Corolla and buy a Model S. After ten years of gas, electricity, and maintenance (new battery cost included), it would cost about $108,000. While purchasing the Tesla is the more expensive option, I think at the end of 10 years, it will be worth more than other vehicles.

    I look at the gas I spend on my ICE vehicles as burning up my hard earned money. Yeah, I'm not saving too much money by going with the Model S but instead of burning up my cash in gasoline, I'm redirecting those dollars into technology and comfort.

    Still, I have a hard time convincing my wife that we should purchase a vehicle that is double of what we can afford.
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I'm assuming not all breakdowns will be warranty items.
     
  12. constraint

    constraint Member

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    Believe i read an article yesterday that said the more time a person spends to analyze an issue they tend to make the wrong decision for there set of circumstances. If you have to work extra shifts to maybe be able to cover the best case scenario you laid out then purchasing a new Model S at this time may not be the right solution for you. Add to the fact that the S is more car then it appears you really need.

    1. I think the Volt is a great car but a little on the expensive side for a Chevy Cruze (32k is more reasonable then 60k for an S).
    2. The Rav 4 EV while again on the pricey side you wouldn't have any problems using it like a Home Depot runner and is a good looking suv IMO.
    3. Can you wait 3-4 years for a used S and get by keeping your Prius or by a used ICE?
    4. I wouldnt touch a Leaf (although cheap). It doesn't have the range I need and I really worry about that battery.
    5. Coda = fugly lancer
     
  13. aznt1217

    aznt1217 Active Member

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    It's real simple. If you can't afford it don't get it. But because it is a want... Don't compromise because you will not be happy. It's when we are impatient that we make the biggest mistake but the worse comes with buyers remorse. If theres nothing wrong with the Prius stick with it. I guarantee you your Prius is better than the volt and leaf.
     
  14. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    Yes, I forgot to mention that in my original post. The RAV4EV is not only fully EV, but includes Tesla batteries, thus providing indirect support for Tesla. My worry about the Rav4 is that because of the limited production, dealers will likely be charging a premium over MSRP, thus driving the cost of the vehicle into Tesla range


    Yes, not pure EV, but for my driving habits, I'm sure I can do my daily commute entirely in EV mode, thus getting as close as possible to BEV.


    I test drove a Model S Performance last Thursday afternoon. It is an amazing car, with amazing acceleration. I was left a little flat after the test drive, and have been trying to figure out why. I realized that I just can't justify that much cash for a car, that I'm not really an expensive car kind of guy, that the S just feels too big for me, and that the best Tesla for me will likely be the GenIII. So, from a heart perspective, it turns out that my heart's just not in the Model S. (I can't believe I just wrote that, seriously).

    My wife was seriously pissed at me when I told her that I'd put down a deposit on the Model S. Mostly that was because I didn't talk with her about it ahead of time (total rookie mistake that 17+ years of marriage should have warned me against). I talked with her about the whole thing tonight, and she's on board with exploring the Volt as an option, with a possible GenIII in the future.


    Thanks for sharing. Are either of you an art, science, or engineering teacher by chance? IMO art, science, and engineering teachers should have special grants to get a Model S as it's the epitome of art, science, and engineering and could inspire a whole new generation of Elon Musk types. Good luck on your quest, and I hope you find an option that fits for you. Can your corolla last until the GenIII is announced? Sounds like the Volt isn't really a good option for your situation.

    Did you try your 10 year plan against a new or late model Prius? Curious what the numbers would be for that given the nearly doubled fuel efficiency over a RAV4 ICE.


    #1 agree, but there's a premium in the market right now for EV, which will remain until the cost of development and manufacturing has gone down
    #2 agree, see note above
    #3 might be interesting, although the Roadsters have kept their value extraordinarily well, likely due to the limited nature of the product. I would expect the Model S to do well with resale for at least the next couple of years given Tesla's relatively (to the Big 3) low production volumes
    #4 is harsher than I would take it. I think there are right situations for all of these cars (except maybe the Coda), and we just need to match our needs up with the cars.
    #5 ugly like a ....

    Thanks for the thoughts. In the end, I don't think it's a CAN'T afford it, but more of a WON'T. My personal situation would require taking things closer to the financial edge than I'm comfortable with in order to afford the Model S that would/could fit my needs. Additionally, without the heart factor noted above, it just doesn't make sense.


    So, I'm still kicking this around, and probably will for a while. I did sneak out of work this afternoon for a test drive at the local Chevy dealer and had a knowledgable sales person who was willing to spend time answering questions. I was a little amused when he asked me to punch it to see the acceleration of an EV. Much better than the Prius, but no Model S. I also kind of liked the rear seats of the Volt. The split seats and integrated cup holders are much nicer than the Prius. Also, having Leather as a standard (no add'l cost) option is nice as I like having

    I also discovered some interesting financial items as well. Through my employer, I'm eligible for a discount of about a thousand dollars, and GM is currently offering the Volt at 0% financing under the same program. Hmmmmm.

    Thanks again for the various points of view. I appreciate the feedback and input.
     
  15. Langzaiguy

    Langzaiguy Member

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    No, I'm a special education teacher and my wife is a math teacher. She does teach honors courses--who knows, it would be great if there was an emerging business/tech leader.

    I am starting to think that the Model S price is a bit more than we can handle. Yeah, going with the Model S probably won't save us money. Yeah, it is a bit risky to invest in new, almost untested technology. But we have been spending $4,500 a year on gasoline and the thought of not burning up that cash is intoxicating. I fill up 2-3 times a week and I just hate dropping $40-$45 a fill up week after week.

    I might be able to hang on to the Corolla until either I find a used Model S or a new GenIII. What's encouraging not to wait is the fact that if I get a Model S now, I would be saving around $3000 a year on gas. I suppose by waiting, I am able to save up more money and pay less interest. I had thought about going the route of a Prius, but I have a growing family and would need a larger vehicle--thus a Rav4 ICE. True, I could go with a better MPG vehicle than the Rav4 but I'm not willing to give up the "utility" ability of a Rav. I am, however, willing to give up "utility" in order to get a Model S :) Heck, maybe I'll just sit on my savings and wait for a Model X!
     
  16. thelastdeadmouse

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    I'm in a very similar situation as yourself in many ways. For my needs I'd need the 60kwh Model S as about once a month I make a 140 mile each way trip (subtract out range for driving at highway speeds, heat/AC, and reduced battery capacity over time the 160mile range pack won't do it). At $60,000 it'd cost significantly more than my annual gross income, and even though I don't have any debt or children that's a hard pill to swallow. I'd had my heart set on a Models S, but have accepted that in the near term its just not realistic for me.

    I'm part way through arranging a Volt purchase with an out of state dealer since its really the only practical vehicle for me to go electric for all my daily use, only using gas for the aforementioned monthly trip, and even then only about 5 gallons round trip if I charge overnight. I'll get free charging from work, so with 60 month financing, tax rebate, and the money I'll save on gas I'll have an effective payment of around $375 a month. I suspect the resale value will stay very strong so I'm purchasing instead of leasing; if i were leasing it'd be about $100 a month which is quite possibly less than I'll spend keeping my 2004 stratus on the road over the next few years.

    If the resale value for Volts stays nearly as high as it is now, I'm planning on selling it in 2-3 years to get a used Model S,
    a Gen III, or a new Model S if I'm able to save up enough to swing it.
     
  17. ChrisgG

    ChrisgG Member

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    I'm also think very similiar than you, and I still wait for european prices, and I'd never would take up a credit to buy a car. An alternative wich wasn't mentioned is Renault. They now have 3 models of pure electric vehicles out with a 4th one comming out soon. Especialy as you've a famely you might consider a car solely as a commuter car. Renault seems to have really cheap electric cars (compared to all the rest) and with a 110 mile range still not that terrible. If you just want to be electric and really want to safe money you even can go for the golf car version wich is rated as a quad ;). But at a price for 10'000$ it doesn't sound to bad.

    Only thing is that the battery is only rented. They garantee a battery with at least 75% of the original capacity and of corse it will be replaced in a case of failures. In short Renault seems to be the only car maker so far who has different cars out. They'll not be as much fun and qualety like a Model S. But compared to a leaf they look cheap.

    The Renault Z.E. Electric vehicles range
     
  18. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    I'd sell one of the Prius's and get the lowest end Model S ($50K with incentives, tax and delivery in CA and finance with your local teachers credit union you should get a great rate) and charge the battery at work (assuming you can) I'll bet this works out financially after about 5 to 8 years. Also, consider the intangibles...I'm imagining the joy and inspiration you'll create for the kids in your classes! Also, you can get into the carpool lane!

    But at the end of the day it's your finances and sounds like a big leap, so you can always wait for a GenIII or lease a Leaf/Volt.
     
  19. jkirkebo

    jkirkebo Model S P85+ VIN 14420 EU

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    Regaring hauling 2x4" and other materials, my Model S will probably end up doing quite a bit of that. However I will put most of it on the roof rack instead of inside the car. The pano roof has attachment points for a rack.
     
  20. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    Thanks again to everyone for the thoughts and ideas. Right now I'm working to track down a Volt in the LA Metro area to rent for a couple of days in order to take an extended test drive. Enterprise Rent A Car has a location in Ontario, CA, that has two for rent for about ~$80/day, but they're both out for month-long rentals. The agent said that one of them may be coming back next week. I found another place in Venice, CA that rents them as well, but they run about $130/day, so I'm going to practice patience and wait for one of the ones from Enterprise to come back.

    I'm also curious to see how the rentals have held up, as rental drivers are often less than kind to cars.

    So, once I've had a greater amount of time with the car I'll make the call.

    Thanks again,
    -Chris
     

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