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Could the Model 3 be the last car you buy?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Matth3w, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. Matth3w

    Matth3w New Member

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    For those (like me) who are committed to buying a Model 3 (not leasing), could the Model 3 be the last car you actually ever (need to) buy?

    Consider a few different factors:
    1. Provided it's as well built as we expect it to be (early fit and finish issues excepted), the electric drivetrain should outlast virtually any ICE-based drivetrains out there. Simplicity should = durability, but this will remain to be seen and perhaps the most important determining factor in this argument.
    2. Future battery replacement options. Considering that battery prices will continue to drop and capacity per cubic measurement will increase, we should expect that a battery pack replacement may become an affordable option in a few years should the original wear out or a newer pack provide extensively more range at a reasonable replacement cost. This could significantly extend the life expectancy and utility of the car (given point 1 holds true).
    3. The expected autonomous driving hardware is truly level-4 (fully autonomous) capable and software updates and fleet learning allow it to keep pace with the industry and regulations so that it can (perhaps eventually) truly serve long-term as a single car solution for an entire family for years to come.
    4. Finally, once the car is ready for retirement as a Powerwall battery and recyclables, you're either nearly dead yourself, or the whole transportation ecosystem has shifted irreversibly to "sustainable transport as a service" to such a degree that personal auto-ownership becomes an economic (and perhaps social) liability. In other words, it's easier and much cheaper to autonomously Uber/Lyft where the service nearly predicts your needs and the minimal time-inconvenience factor is a small trade-off for significantly decreased transportation budget. You can still get your vroom-vroom jollies by renting a sporty Tesla for an extended weekend with your savings.
    Possible arguments or events against:
    1. There will always be new tech and performance improvements that us gear- and gadget-heads will be hard-pressed not to trade-in or upgrade well before the car ends its useful life.
    2. You live in a rural or less congested area where car ownership will still make economic sense where autonomous transport services are less ubiquitous and convenient.
    3. You simply can't bear the thought of not having your own set of wheels to escape from a localized or generalized apocalypse, and waiting for an autonomous Uber in such an event fills you with dread.
    4. Some non-autonomous non-intelligent human driving Luddite t-bones your Model 3 in year 4 of ownership, necessitating a replacement before it's expected life should have ended. Of course you all survive unscathed because Tesla, and only another newly appointed Model 3 (or Y or ?) will do.
    5. You sell it to your college graduate son or daughter in year 10 of ownership and joyfully build out a new one.
    6. The world fails to heed the warnings and global warming requires you to trade in your electric self-driving Tesla for an electric self-driving boat (Model B?).
    How long do you expect to own your Model 3? Once that period is over, what potential technological, economic or social changes might cause you to forgo car ownership?
     
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  2. strykeroz

    strykeroz Member

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    I actually consider this a real possibility. By the time it's up for a battery repack we'll be empty-nesters so the need for another larger vehicle, and potentially even a second vehicle entirely, goes away. Aside from the potential that car sharing could supersede ownership for us in a similar timeframe this relies largely on if the battery and onboard charger can be affordably replaced at that 12-15 year mark.

    There's so many factors that impact the answer I I'll be reserving that call for 14 or so years time.
     
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  3. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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    #3 cwerdna, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
    No, to your question. There's also a difference between want vs. need.
    Re: the bolded part, sure, the keyword is should. But that hasn't proven to be the case at all w/the Model S drive units.
    Yes. People get tired of their current car and eventually get another, even if they don't care about new technology or don't know how to operate some of it or their vehicle has PLENTY of useful life left.

    I was at a Leaf owner's appreciation dinner last week w/a Nissan corporate rep speaking. He basically asserted that on average people keep their car for 5 or 6 years. I'm assuming he's referring to new cars with their original owners/drivers and maybe worldwide or the US market. And, there are people that lease. Lease length typically in the US is 2-4 years. I unfortunately wasn't able follow up with him on that. I know the average age of vehicles on US roads is of ~11 years, but those consist I'm sure of both outliers and people who bought their vehicles used + commercial vehicles.

    Don't forget that other parts on the car outside of the drivetrain may wear out and/or fail and might end up being cost prohibitive/not worth it to fix.

    Here are some posts on the durability testing front that I and others made, and these aren't even from automakers that make the most reliable vehicles. Nissan is pretty hit/miss in reliability.
    Official Tesla Model S thread - Page 270 - My Nissan Leaf Forum
    Official Tesla Model S thread - Page 270 - My Nissan Leaf Forum

    I started automotive reliability and durability testing but that thread is mostly crickets. And again, some of the names there make rather unreliable vehicles too.

    Here are some long-lived Priuses, for example: Lifespan/Operating costs.
     
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  4. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Last car? I don't know if any car, even a Tesla would last as long as I do. My second vehicle was almost 30 years old and I was keeping it together with duct tape. If I hadn't rolled it I would have replaced it anyway.

    There's always the Model Y, the new Roadster, etc. to look forward to after the 3, although in my case the Roadster would be to expensive for me to afford.
     
  5. N5329K

    N5329K Member

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    I keep cars just about forever, or, at least, until it no longer makes sense to keep them. Maybe even after it makes no sense to keep them. That point generally arrives when major and expensive components begin to fail, as , being machines, they inevitably will. I kept a 1979 240D (rare manual with crank windows and an aux tank in the trunk) until 2002, when it got replaced by a Gen 1 Prius. That's 23 years. I still have the Prius, and after 14 years and 198000 miles or so, it still renders reliable and inexpensive transportation. Kept a 1991 Mercedes all-wheel drive wagon until 2013 (22 years) when it was replaced by a Prius V that fulfilled the Mercedes' mission cheaper and much more reliably. Transfer cases were consumables on that wagon. The 1978 Triumph is inexpensive to keep running and way too much fun to sell, though it is nearing its 40th birthday. It's brand new (to me). I've owned it for only 2 1/2 years.
    The Model 3, as a sedan, will replace the 2002 Prius sedan. But it's a machine, and no doubt it will be a very, very complicated machine, filled with a lot of remove and replace components rather than ones that can be repaired ( by me) in situ. While theoretically more simple and more reliable than a modern ICE car, I don't think experience in the Tesla fleet has proven that to be the case. So stuff will happen maybe more often than any of us might wish. Though I hope Tesla has internalized the lessons learned from the S and X, I expect that "stuff" will reduce my Model 3 ownership years considerably.
    But it will be a cool ride all the while.
    Robin
     
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  6. SΞXY P100D

    SΞXY P100D Member

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    I plan to keep my Model 3 forever until I see the Y. :D I've always liked owning new things so I doubt that the 3 will be my last car. Until the apocalypse arrives, there will always be something better out there such as the Model Y and the next generation of Tesla cars. However, there may come a time in the distant future when Tesla quality reaches its peak and then begin to decrease and a new leader takes its place. Look at what happened to Sony, Apple, Lexus, etc. That's when the old stuff becomes more valuable, unless technology has made it obsolete of course, e.g. when flying cars or amphibious EVs become the new norm.

    Speaking of which, Model B would then make the lineup... BSEXY? I'll take one when Greenland turns green. ;)
     
  7. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    It depends on your age. If you buy one when you're in your 70 - 80's. statistics would say probably so. Otherwise, statistics say probably not.
     
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  8. strykeroz

    strykeroz Member

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    If cars become more convenient/effective/affordable/sensible as a subscription service, I can see me freeing up some garage space for more hobbies!
     
  9. JoeCoolMan24

    JoeCoolMan24 Member

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    The only way this is true is in a very morbid or unfortunate scenario.

    YOU'RE SICK, MAN!
     
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  10. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    I bought my Model S when I was 66.
    I expect it will be the last car I buy. It should last until I am too old to drive.
    (I should note that I generally keep cars a long time. My backup car is a 17 year old Land Rover that just keeps running with minimal maintenance.)
     
  11. SΞXY P100D

    SΞXY P100D Member

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    knock on wood
     
  12. mhan00

    mhan00 Member

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    People expecting level 4 capability in the III are kidding themselves, at least in its first generation.
     
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  13. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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  14. Jayc

    Jayc Member

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    I think this is a valid question OP is asking.

    My current Toyota hybrid will be 9 years old from new by the time I get by M3 and I hope to keep it for at least 5-8 years. After that, it will be a question of waiting for a "compelling" reason to upgrade. That might be any one or more of the following:

    1. Things start falling apart or cabin rattles
    2. Too many out-of-warranty repairs
    3. Battery degrades and replacement makes no sense financially
    4. Someone comes up with a car that is a "real" upgrade in all aspects

    Same reasoning with current car and I am upgrading to M3 due to point (4)
     
  15. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    #1 has proven completely untrue in the Model S. The drivetrain seems significantly less reliable then a modern ICE drivetrain.

    #2 also has proven untrue. The S is 4 years old now and there is currently no way to replace the pack. In addition the pack costs are likely to plateau at such a level that it will rarely make sense to replace the pack vs replace the whole car. Lastly Elon has indicated that a 100kwhr pack maybe as large as they go. While I doubt this to be true, they aren't going to just keep going making larger packs forever, there are diminishing returns to making a larger pack.

    #3 We are still quite far away from Level 4. I'd be quite surprised if the Model 3 has anything better than what the Model S has now. and even if it does, it will still be a long way from Level 4.

    I suppose #4 might be true if you only live another 10 years or so. However keep in mind that the rest of the Model 3 will be just like a regular ICE, all of the suspension, steering, lighting, brakes, windows, doors will all have the potential to fail and will likely be costly to replace. This is particularly true if Tesla keeps with their current business model of requiring all work to be done at a Tesla service center and doing everything possible to prevent DIY or third party shops.
     
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  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    If N5329K is your Navion it seems you do the same thing with airplanes. N477EC was my equivalent, although I no longer own it. It still has the paint job I gave it, the same paint job I gave nearly all the airplanes I owned for personal use. The B206 was known as the "Regal Beagle" because Prince Charles got his MEL in one of them, they were known for nose gear collapse, which happened if the gears were not fastidiously clean. Mine had such an incident a couple of years go, I notice.

    There seem to be many parallels between old aircraft and old cars. Until Tesla, however, it has not been feasible to renovate a car in the way it has been long practical with airplanes. I wonder if The Model S, X and 3 all might well be economically viable for longer than other cars simply because the battery packs are easy to replace, most of the electrics are modular and, even for advances in autonomous driving, the hardware upgrades probably will be retrofittable for the Model 3, of not for current production S and X. Somehow I am optimistic; I installed a modern Garmin glass cockpit, new interior and new more reliable engines. Why can we not do that with our Teslas, probably easier, probably not much cheaper?
     
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  17. N5329K

    N5329K Member

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    Beagles rule. Always wanted one.
    Robin
     
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  18. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    M3 be a 'steel magnolia' so maybe not so much in the rust belt. Better have a beater for plowing thru salty slop and so of course you'll have to keep buying beaters!!
    --
     
  19. dsvick

    dsvick Member

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    No, regardless of how nice a car it is I'm sure I'll get bored with it eventually and get a new one.
     
  20. N5329K

    N5329K Member

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    image.jpeg




    Not too many people still driving these.
    Robin
     
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