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"Guilt" for being able to get a Model S?!

Discussion in 'Model S' started by gg_got_a_tesla, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913

    Jan 29, 2010
    Redwood Shores, CA
    Folks, I've got this awkward feeling of late: a sense of "guilt" when talking to my coworkers, friends (offline and online) and neighbors about my upcoming Model S delivery sometime this year!

    Granted, many of these have pretty good cars of their own - Porsches, Corvette, BMWs etc. - but, for some of them, affording an EV let alone a Tesla is something of a dream. And, in my drive to promote EVs in general and Tesla in particular by wearing a Tesla shirt to work, posting Tesla pics to FB, bringing the topic up over lunch etc., I got the sense that atleast some of them might be interpreting it as yours truly "showing off" to some degree!

    Anyone in the same boat? I guess it's also a function of the circles that you move in but, I'm trying to stay as grounded as possible while EVangelizing, if you know what I mean...
  2. dlmorgan999

    dlmorgan999 Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    Tigard, OR
    Indeed! Most of my co-workers are excited about it (one of them just took delivery of his new Audi A6 so he completely understands :wink: ), but a few of them joked "so you're going to put down a deposit, right?" expecting me to say no. When I said "I already did" they were very surprised and some of them seemed to react as you describe.
  3. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Delran, NJ
    Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat. (For me, no kids, no mortgage, no loans so I can afford stuff)
    I say don't worry about it- when all is said and done, you are on the cutting edge and by you purchasing it now, the prices for the next generation of cars will go down, so that they will be able to afford an EV.
    When someone asked me why I am getting one at the lunch table, my response was- "really, for me, the monthly payment is the same as it would be for your car + gas and gas cars are a vicious cycle , you buy one, have to constantly put money in it (gas, maintenance, etc), and when you sell the car it's worthless, and I tell them to try to get out of that cycle"

    You are in affect helping them, because your purchase along with the other Tesla purchasers will decrease the cost of gasoline slightly, enabling future EV people to be able to save up more and purchase an EV.

    I promised quite a number of people rides in it also.
  4. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009. EV miles: 233,000

    Jul 16, 2009
    Redmond, WA
    I know what you mean; I felt awkward when I bought my Roadster. I'd never paid even $20k for a car before, and suddenly I was showing off one that was over $100k. Some people really hate "rich douchebags" driving around in fancy cars--I have been called that online; although people are generally more circumspect in person. It didn't help that my wife and I chose yellow (largely for safety). In the end, I decided that while people that don't know me may decide to dislike me on superficial grounds, they were still bound to like the car, and end up feeling better about electrics in general. So I show off the car as often as I can and don't worry about it; the response is generally quite good. The few snide comments have been from people that haven't spoken with me at all.

    One thing for those that complain about price to consider is that the Mitsubishi i-Miev starts at $29,125. That $21,625 after the federal tax credit; and many states have some sort of incentive that will bring that under $20k. People of lesser means will no doubt get a loan and be making payments; so from the very first payment they can subtract their average $120/month fuel savings, which makes the total monthly outlay similar to a much cheaper gas car. I think in general, if you can afford a new car at all, you can afford an electric. Sure the i-Miev is not the nicest electric, and sure not everybody can afford a new car--but it's unreasonable to ask electrics to solve those problems.

    Another thing to consider is that one good way to bring the price of electrics down is to get the volume up. Those of us paying way more for electrics than we ever would for a gas car are making an investment to help future buyers get a more affordable version.
  5. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

    Jun 18, 2011
    On my boat
    Or could it be that they're just sick of hearing about it all the time? :eek: I would recommend not saying anything unless asked.

    As for guilt, most of my acquaintances can't afford something like that. But, by being early adopters, we make possible the next, cheaper generation of EVs. So when they say, "well that's all fine and good for the rich guys", you can say that you stretched your finances to squeeze the car in, enabling the next generation to be priced on the level of a Lexus and the generation after that to make it down to Civic levels. By then, there should be a used market as well.
  6. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

    Nov 24, 2011
    Atlanta Georgia
    That is exactly correct. The original iPhone was 599/699. I bought one. Now it's 199/299. The early adopter provides the return on R&D that allows economies of scale to develop for lower priced products later on. The Roadster buyers are somewhat supplementing the model s purchases and so on. Elon has essentially said that in various interviews.

    The same is true with ICE automobiles. My 2010 Fusion Hybrid has features that were first seen in luxury cars 5 years earlier. The new 2013 Fusion Hybrid has even more luxury features for essentially the same price (adjusted for inflation) as the 2010.

    I don't feel guilt for my ability to buy the model S. I do feel some uneasiness spending 90K on the car (as priced with my selected options) because I have to overcome the thought that I am not a luxury person. It's not who I have been. I have had nice things but wonder if this purchase meets my style. However, the fact that I can easily afford it is because my style has been to live on 25% of my income.
  7. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

    Jan 13, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't really feal guilt per say. But I am fairly young and I don't really think people will like the fact I am driving a 63k car. But after tax rebates and fuel savings it is going to work out over 5 years to cost about the same as a 35k car. Which all the people at my office my age have. I really don't want to justify the cost.

    The real bummer about the 63k price tag is that it will be the pricyest car in my lot. Even costlier than the CEOs of our ~60 person engineering firm. He drives probably a ~45k F150.
  8. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Nov 10, 2011
    "The few snide comments have been from people that haven't spoken with me at all."
    There are some people that can't be reached, and aren't worth reaching. Never worth your time to stress about them. Just don't upset them enough that they would key you or somesuch.

    As for the rest...

    It's all about presentation and audience.

    The gossip types want to know everything; you can babble all day about every last detail and they'll eat it up.

    The EV types will want to know all the green details -- and/or project their own understandings into the discussions; sharing what you know as fact and gently offering course corrections on their "facts" is an art form, but can be very effective.

    The car-as-a-black-box type will want to see it race, how long between fillups, how long the fillups take, and the effective $/mi. They don't care what's under the hood. They aren't EVangelists nor ICE-zealots; the underlying technology is just a means to an end -- a fun, effective transportation device.

    The gear heads. They "know" ICE. They like ICE. Partly because they know it. For some change is exciting, for some it's scary. For the excited, it's a mix between the gossip ("knowledge" sponge) and the EVangelist (new tech is cool because it's new). For the scared subtype, some will fall into the "can't be reached" crowd; others will be resistant but can be lead from the dark (scared) toward the light (excitement).

    Know your audience, tailor the discussion (or avoid it) accordingly.
  9. ahimberg

    ahimberg Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    Woodinville, WA
    I think a big thing that contributes to this is the belief that getting a Tesla is still going to be a 120k+ purchase (many people assume the pricing is the same as the roadster). But vaulting into the $ sooner or more often may make things worse.
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    I wouldn't feel guilty. Especially if those same people own Porsches and BMWs since you'll be basically in the same market with this car. As was said above, you're also paying an early adopter penalty to help make EVs more affordable in the future for others. Tesla seems to be different. People want to hear about it and will ask you. Very little advertising needed.
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

    Feb 6, 2011
    Columbia River Gorge
    I felt that way at first with my Roadster. I was a single parent for most of my son's childhood & money was tight early in my career. So I understand the comments at times. I typically just point out they still have kids to put through college, mortgages to pay, and they are earlier in their career than I am in mine.

    One person mumbled that my Roadster purchase was a clear sign that I was having a mid-life crisis. I just laughed and said, 'well I was ... but I purchased my Roadster and the crisis seems to be gone'.
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'm not someone who likes to go around showing off expensive stuff. The Roadster is my one exception... no getting around it... it's just a wee bit flashy. Comes with the territory. But that aspect of it allows me to spread the word about electric cars on a daily basis, so I figure that flashiness is doing something positive - changing people's perceptions about green technology.

    No one has ever said anything unpleasant (at least not to my face) or acted funny. Sometimes if they ask how much it cost they're a bit surprised (I round down to the nearest 100k). Overall people I've met have been very receptive; they either think the car looks really cool, performs really cool, or it's really cool that it's 100% electric. Sometimes all three, sometimes one or two.

    The Model S is certainly an attractive car, but is unlikely to be nearly the attention-getter that the Roadster is. People who are car nuts or follow Tesla will notice. Some people will see the nice lines, not recognize the car, and look closer. Most will not even look at it twice.
  13. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

    Apr 3, 2009
    Yeah, in the cases where they're driving luxury cars themselves, there should be no guilt. I tend to watch discussing pricy buys in certain situations though. It can get awkward and like you said, end up with them resenting you because they think you're showing off (or are somehow the reason THEY can't afford one).

    When I talk about the S I talk about how cool it is and try to stay away from money. Always a touchy subject in mixed company.
  14. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

    Mar 29, 2009
    Nixa, Missouri, United States
    I'm a physician, so I guess there's already a bit of expectation that I should have a nice car-so for the past 8+ years I've gotten to surprise people by telling them I drive a Prius! But I usually try to attenuate those comments a bit by telling them that while it's a bit expensive, that it still starts under $60k and since you never pay for gas and very little maintenance it balances over time. Also, I usually emphesis that I've been saving for it for over 3 years and that I see it as my 'duty' to support the technology so that prices will come down in years to come so they'll be more affordable for everyone...I usually then segue in talk of the Bluestar and how it's expected to be around $30k and Tesla's long term plans, and etc...
  15. PattyChuck

    PattyChuck Model S P100D, Model X P90D

    Jan 24, 2012
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    Most of my friends and co-workers are without the means to purchase this vehicle. Most of them, however, are tech-heads, and enjoy discussing technology. When the subject of the Tesla comes up, the first question I am always asked, without fail so far, is, "How much do they cost?" I feel guilty admitting the price, but I believe they are asking because if the price was right, they'd want to buy one, too. I usually discuss price by saying, "They're starting at $50K, and then they go up from there depending on the options." What I usually don't tell them is that the model I'm interested in is much closer to $100K, and I usually follow efusco's line and admit that I've been saving up for the car. After a short discussion about never having to fill up at the gas pump, do oil changes, tune-ups, etc, the discussion usually moves away from price.
  16. PeterW

    PeterW Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    Palmerston North, New Zealand
    What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business | Mind Recipes

  17. strider

    strider Active Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    NE Oklahoma
    I live in a pretty affluent area but I feel weird when people ask me what my Roadster cost. Most people are surprised and then I tell them how it's hand-made, all carbon fiber, limited edition etc and then launch into my Model S sales pitch. For Model S I say that they're targeting BMW 5-series/Audi A6 size and price point and everyone I've talked to have been excited about that. Those cars are quite common around here so it's in the realm for "normal" people. If they really dig in to the pricing details I remind them that you can option a 5-series to $95k without even getting the M motor. I also talk about how I went from spending 13$/day to commute in my Corvette to $1/day in my Roadster. I explain that I'm not going to make my money back on the Roadster and that it was an emotional decision (+carpool lane access) but with Model S there can be significant savings over buying gas and the numbers can absolutely work even with having to replace the battery pack in 8 years or so.
  18. gmontem

    gmontem Model S P01707

    Mar 24, 2011
    Castro Valley, CA
    I used to feel guilty of my P reservation, but I managed to convince myself that my future Model S purchase will be no different than someone proudly announcing a purchase of a home here in California.

    5 year Model S loan > 30 year mortgage
  19. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry Model S - U.S. P - #1649

    Jul 9, 2011
    Medical Lake, WA (near Spokane)
    Should I feel guilty that I can buy a house? I don't need to now, since it's paid off. I'm using up most of my "discretionary" spending for the next 10 years for this car.
  20. Sparrow

    Sparrow S105/ Roadster 189

    Dec 14, 2010
    Marietta, GA
    I bought my Roadster used on eBay so when questioned about its cost I always point to the discounted price I bought it for thus making my buy look like a great deal. I won't have that excuse for my S, but you see so many expensive cars on the road anyways and with the large price swing with various options and battery packs for the S, most people really won't think have any idea what it is worth. I will probably tell people that ask the base price of the car and leave it at that.

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