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Is a Tesla Model S the car for me?

agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
I’m interested in getting a 2015 Model S. I commute 160 - 170 miles round trip per day. There are charging stations at my work and trough my commute route.

I’m concerned about the mileage and depreciation value, and the life of the battery. Should I be considering other EV options? I currently drive a 2016 Honda Accord EXL. I Spend close to $400/mo on fuel, which is why I’m considering an EV.

Any guidance would be appreciated!

Thanks!
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,072
11,321
Connecticut
No sweat! Assuming an 85kWh battery pack, if you charge up at night at home with a 240 volt circuit at 32 or 40 amps, that's enough to charge up every night while you sleep to say, 240 miles (~95% state of charge). Then to go say 90 miles to work, even in bad weather or traffic is a piece of cake. Then you can charge up a little more at work, even at a lower L2 rate of say 20 amps would be sufficient to have a big buffer going back home. Lather, rinse, repeat. In good weather, you could easily make it round trip on just one charge.

I don't think that kind of daily use would seriously degrade the batteries, it might even be good for them. And Teslas do not depreciate due to mileage nearly as much as gas cars do, simply because there are so many fewer moving parts. A Model S with 100k miles, if treated well, for the most part is indistinguishable from a MS with 20k miles, except for maybe the wear on the seats.

You could easily rent an 85kWh Model S from Turo for a few days and just try it out yourself to see what kind of range you get each way.

Good luck!
 
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Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,654
8,944
Palmdale, CA
What battery capacity for the 2015 are you looking at? I would think even an S60 could do your daily commute, but you wouldn't have much play if you wanted to run errands after work, its rainy and windy, etc. Since you are in San Jose, I am guessing you won't have to worry about super cold winters taking a bite out of your winter range.

Do you have home charging available? If not, is the work charging situation pretty reliable? (Like - they aren't full every day or have people unplugging others, etc.)

As far as depreciation - you are going to have lots of depreciation no matter what you buy with that kind of mileage. Model S's do take pretty big hits, especially compared to an Accord, as they are more akin to the luxury market, which is known for lots of depreciation. Tesla also updates their cars constantly, so your car may become 2 autopilot revisions behind while you own it if they keep their current pace vs a traditional maker which only does major revisions every 5 years.

Life of the battery: you will have an 8 year unlimited mile warranty if you buy an S85 or greater. S60s had a mileage cap on their battery warranty, so I would recommend getting an 85 if you can swing it.

Be aware of the maintenance/reliability issues with an S. While they do have fewer moving motor/drivetrain parts, they have lots and lots of fancy electronic equipment that is prone to go bad. Door handles, center screens, etc are known potential failure points and will be pricey to fix out of warranty. Some people have good luck and not many repairs, but it is luck of the draw. I had a CPO 2013 P85 which only had minor issues, whereas my husband has a CPO 2015 P85D that has had to be towed once for a failed power steering and is currently spending 2 weeks in the service center for suspension work plus a center screen replacement. He has owned it less than a year. If you are used to Accords, this may be a change.

Now for something you may not have thought about: Autopilot. Depending on your commute route, if it is favorable for AP usage, you can really cut down your fatigue and stress levels using autosteer with traffic aware cruise (radar cruise). If your commute has any stop and go, AP really shines in those conditions. If you have high speed highway driving on clearly marked, not crazy curvy roads, you will also be able to use a lot of AP. Buying a 2015 will have AP hardware, and you should be able to turn on the AP software if the car wasn't optioned with it.

I agree with Hank - rent one and try your commute out. See how you like it.
 

agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
No sweat! Assuming an 85kWh battery pack, if you charge up at night at home with a 240 volt circuit at 32 or 40 amps, that's enough to charge up every night while you sleep to say, 240 miles (~95% state of charge). Then to go say 90 miles to work, even in bad weather or traffic is a piece of cake. Then you can charge up a little more at work, even at a lower L2 rate of say 20 amps would be sufficient to have a big buffer going back home. Lather, rinse, repeat. In good weather, you could easily make it round trip on just one charge.

I don't think that kind of daily use would seriously degrade the batteries, it might even be good for them. And Teslas do not depreciate due to mileage nearly as much as gas cars do, simply because there are so many fewer moving parts. A Model S with 100k miles, if treated well, for the most part is indistinguishable from a MS with 20k miles, except for maybe the wear on the seats.

You could easily rent an 85kWh Model S from Turo for a few days and just try it out yourself to see what kind of range you get each way.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for all the details! I'm even more excited to possibly purchasing a model S. I spend so much on gas and maintenance, it only makes sense to drive an EV. I've wanted a Tesla for so long, and I'm in a position to afford one now. I may consider your suggestion about renting one for a few days to fully understand what I'm getting myself into. I'm very "green" (pun intended) when it comes to purchasing an EV, and I feel it would greatly benefit me in the long run! Thank you for you feedback!
 

Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
787
1,401
Montana
Another thing to consider since you mentioned the cost of fuel in both posts...unless something has changed since I last looked into it, the used Model S will come with free supercharging. We supercharge as often as we can since the cost of electricity, even with the EVA rate, adds up. If there's a supercharger on your route that could be a very nice sweetener from a financial perspective.
 

agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
What battery capacity for the 2015 are you looking at? I would think even an S60 could do your daily commute, but you wouldn't have much play if you wanted to run errands after work, its rainy and windy, etc. Since you are in San Jose, I am guessing you won't have to worry about super cold winters taking a bite out of your winter range.

I am looking into the S85 mileage as my commute consists of driving over a hill and to consider any cold weather during the year.

Do you have home charging available? If not, is the work charging situation pretty reliable? (Like - they aren't full every day or have people unplugging others, etc.)

I work at ChargePoint. We have our Charging stations located all around our HQ, and we have DC fast chargers also available. Home charges are also available, and I get a discount price!

As far as depreciation - you are going to have lots of depreciation no matter what you buy with that kind of mileage. Model S's do take pretty big hits, especially compared to an Accord, as they are more akin to the luxury market, which is known for lots of depreciation. Tesla also updates their cars constantly, so your car may become 2 autopilot revisions behind while you own it if they keep their current pace vs a traditional maker which only does major revisions every 5 years.

Should I end up purchasing the vehicle, I plan to own it for a very very long time. My concern as you mentioned, that I would eventually be a few revisions behind with any software/firmware updates.

Life of the battery: you will have an 8 year unlimited mile warranty if you buy an S85 or greater. S60s had a mileage cap on their battery warranty, so I would recommend getting an 85 if you can swing it.

85 indeed!

Be aware of the maintenance/reliability issues with an S. While they do have fewer moving motor/drivetrain parts, they have lots and lots of fancy electronic equipment that is prone to go bad. Door handles, center screens, etc are known potential failure points and will be pricey to fix out of warranty. Some people have good luck and not many repairs, but it is luck of the draw. I had a CPO 2013 P85 which only had minor issues, whereas my husband has a CPO 2015 P85D that has had to be towed once for a failed power steering and is currently spending 2 weeks in the service center for suspension work plus a center screen replacement. He has owned it less than a year. If you are used to Accords, this may be a change.

Would you mind if I asked how much it would have cost you to make the above repairs out of pocket? One of my other concerns is once the warranty expires, how pricey will these service parts and maintenance become for me. Should I experience some electrical issues down the road after expired warranty, am I looking at thousands of dollars in repairs? :/

Now for something you may not have thought about: Autopilot. Depending on your commute route, if it is favorable for AP usage, you can really cut down your fatigue and stress levels using autosteer with traffic aware cruise (radar cruise). If your commute has any stop and go, AP really shines in those conditions. If you have high speed highway driving on clearly marked, not crazy curvy roads, you will also be able to use a lot of AP. Buying a 2015 will have AP hardware, and you should be able to turn on the AP software if the car wasn't optioned with it.

The first 45mins of my commute consists of windy roads through a hill, followed by stop and go commute through various freeways. I could very well benefit with the autopilot feature!

I agree with Hank - rent one and try your commute out. See how you like it.

I just found an S85 available for rent for $120/day! I may just rent it for a few days as you both are suggesting!
 
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brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,098
6,651
Austin, TX
I’m interested in getting a 2015 Model S. I commute 160 - 170 miles round trip per day. There are charging stations at my work and trough my commute route.

I’m concerned about the mileage and depreciation value, and the life of the battery. Should I be considering other EV options? I currently drive a 2016 Honda Accord EXL. I Spend close to $400/mo on fuel, which is why I’m considering an EV.

Any guidance would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Yes. It is perfect for you. Please use my referral code :)
 

agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
Another thing to consider since you mentioned the cost of fuel in both posts...unless something has changed since I last looked into it, the used Model S will come with free supercharging. We supercharge as often as we can since the cost of electricity, even with the EVA rate, adds up. If there's a supercharger on your route that could be a very nice sweetener from a financial perspective.

Do I need to buy from Tesla's Used stock to receive the free supercharging, or will any used car dealership offer the same?
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,098
6,651
Austin, TX
Ok, just kidding above.

I do think it would work fine for you. Do you have home charging available? It makes a big difference in the convenience of an EV. Even if you are able to charge elsewhere.

If you go used, the initial depreciation hit would be on someone else.

Do consider insurance into the equation.

You might be able to nearly eliminate the fuel charges, but do check with your insurance agent and see rates if you want to get the big picture.

Agree with above. Rent one. Or ask for an extended test drive. Or both.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,098
6,651
Austin, TX
Do I need to buy from Tesla's Used stock to receive the free supercharging, or will any used car dealership offer the same?

Any S/X initially sold BEFORE mid January 2017 will gave free unlimited supercharging. Regardless of where you purchase.

After that date, free unlimited supercharging is first owner only and does not transfer.

Edit to add “initially”. It is the first sale date. Although it is a bit fuzzy, it depends on order date. Not delivery date.

Need to check with Tesla in a particular VIN. Owner can tell in the my Tesla web page.
 

Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
787
1,401
Montana
Do I need to buy from Tesla's Used stock to receive the free supercharging, or will any used car dealership offer the same?

I believe that if the car was first sold before Jan '17 the free supercharging is for the life of the vehicle, without regard to whether it's resold by Tesla or not.
 
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agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
Ok, just kidding above.

I do think it would work fine for you. Do you have home charging available? It makes a big difference in the convenience of an EV. Even if you are able to charge elsewhere.

If you go used, the initial depreciation hit would be on someone else.

Do consider insurance into the equation.

You might be able to nearly eliminate the fuel charges, but do check with your insurance agent and see rates if you want to get the big picture.

Agree with above. Rent one. Or ask for an extended test drive. Or both.

OMG! I completely forgot about the cost of insurance into all of this. haha Thanks for the reminder! Eventually, I could set up a home charger if needed. That referral code sounds tempting right about now :)
 

agonz73

Member
Apr 25, 2018
19
13
San Jose
Is this a trick question?

With that much driving, make sure you get autopilot and your daily commute will feel like a 30 mile commute..... seriously.

Thanks for the reply, as you can see this is all new to me. EV is uncharted territory for me lol Thnx!

I believe that if the car was first sold before Jan '17 the free supercharging is for the life of the vehicle, without regard to whether it's resold by Tesla or not.
Awesome! I'll do some research on this as well.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,098
6,651
Austin, TX
Here is a sample. My car was late January 2017 purchase.

F60FF211-4B9E-433E-9873-C7CE5F00BB31.png
 

buttershrimp

Click my signature to Go Mad Max Mode
Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2017
3,255
8,524
ATX
Thanks for the reply, as you can see this is all new to me. EV is uncharted territory for me lol Thnx!

Awesome! I'll do some research on this as well.
Just be sure to get autopilot. You'll be very happy even if you stretch to buy it.
 

Doanster1

Active Member
Feb 14, 2018
1,052
566
Oregon
OMG! I completely forgot about the cost of insurance into all of this. haha Thanks for the reminder! Eventually, I could set up a home charger if needed. That referral code sounds tempting right about now :)
With your commute, you absolutely need to have home charging setup. Otherwise you won’t charge enough each night to make it to work since 110V only gives you 4mph or charge.
You need either the NEMA 14-50 to use with the included mobile charger or the $500 Tesla HPWC (High Power Wall Connector). Either way, you’ll need to spend money for an electrician to come out and add a 40-50A breaker to your panel and run the wires for the NEMA or HWPC. It’s all part of the initial startup costs of owning a Tesla.
Go for it though!!!!
 

tslugmo

Member
Mar 6, 2018
19
2
Santa Barbara, CA
One other caveat, if the car has an existing bumper to bumper warranty, you can only transfer that to you if you purchase it from a private party. If you purchase it through a dealer, Tesla will not let you transfer the warranty and you will be unable to take advantage of the existing warranty. That's a big incentive to purchase from a private party.
 

cmaster

Member
Dec 4, 2014
240
101
United States
Of course! The Tesla Model S is definitely the car for you! Enough range to get to a super charger, mostly any supercharger.

All you need is to wait a couple minutes to charge. No range anxiety.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,072
11,321
Connecticut
One other caveat, if the car has an existing bumper to bumper warranty, you can only transfer that to you if you purchase it from a private party. If you purchase it through a dealer, Tesla will not let you transfer the warranty and you will be unable to take advantage of the existing warranty. That's a big incentive to purchase from a private party.

You're misinterpreting the rules.

The factory warranty always stays with the car and is valid regardless if the car is sold by a dealer.

What Tesla prohibits is a new buyer buying the Extended Service Agreement (i.e. extended warranty) after a used car has passed through a dealer. If a used car already has the ESA, Tesla will not strip the car of its extended warranty status, even if sold through a used car dealer. They just won't allow you to buy the ESA once sold that way.

See: Vehicle Warranty | Model S and Model X

Can anyone purchase an Extended Service Agreement?
Owners (excluding 3rd party dealers and vehicles purchased from a 3rd party dealer) with Model S or X vehicles subject to the New Vehicle Limited Warranty which are still within the eligible purchase period can purchase the Extended Service Agreement.

Can I transfer my Extended Service Agreement to the new owner if I sell my Tesla vehicle?
Yes, you can transfer the unused portion of your Extended Service Agreement with the sale of your vehicle. The agreement will transfer to the new owner when the vehicle ownership transfer is processed through Tesla. Please refer to the Extended Service Agreement Terms and Conditions for more information.
 
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