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Many questions about Model S.. vs.. premium gas car

Discussion in 'Model S' started by stealthnhawk, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. stealthnhawk

    stealthnhawk Member

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    Hi All,
    I am new to forum and trying to figure out if Tesla Model S is car for me.
    Currently, I am set for the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F-sport model which will run about $58 to $60k after tax.
    Recently, I saw announcement of the Model S with the 40kW (160miles) for $50k after the $7500 credits which got me interested in the Tesla and technology since I can buy the Tesla for about $60k after tax.
    I have a few questions that I hope some members could help answer:
    1) I am read some thread about the battery life. I am located in San Jose, CA (close to Fremont, CA). I guess it doesn't get super cold like some northern states. So realistically, 160mi version will get how many miles at year 1, 5, and 8? since the warranty is good to 8 years.
    2) After 8 or 10 years, say that I can buy a new battery, can I buy the 60k or 85kW? Will it fit in the 40kW space?
    3) I've got a chance to talk to a rep at the Santana Row store and she mentioned that Model S needs very minimal maintenance. Only need to check the brakes, tires, and some software updates which sounds really good. Is there anything else that she didn't mention? It seems that dealer won't be able to make much money from servicing which sounds too good to be true. For gas cars, that's how dealers make money.
    4) Last question. For luxury car with like 25mile/gal, the cost of gas per mile is about $4.00(for 91 gas)/25 ~ $0.16/mile. I would assume it will get only worse as the economy recover. How about EV? how much does it cost of charge per mile? I've seen people say from $0.02 to $0.06? If $0.06 is true, for 100k mile, I would save $10k if I drive Tesla Model S instead of gas car?

    It seems to me buying a Tesla has soo many benefits. Am I missing something?

    Sorry for so many questions, but kinda excited about the potential of Model S.

    TIA
     
  2. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    First, Happy New Year and welcome to the forum! Looking through the forums (should keep you busy until your Model S arrives, if not longer) will answer most of these questions, but here's a start:

    First, note that the tax credit does not mean you're not paying sales tax in CA. You still are, and on the $57.4K amount. That's also assuming you get the absolute low-end base model, which won't be as fast 0-60 as the Lexus, nor as luxuriously equipped (leather is standard on the Lexus, not on the Model S). On the good side, the Model S won't have the silly engine sound generator that the Lexus has.

    1) The 160 mile version is at 55mph when using all of the battery, which is not recommended for frequent use. I'd guess the 160 mile battery is good for repeated drives up to about 100 miles, and to 130 miles every now and then. Assuming you put 12K-18K miles/year on your car, then you'll start to see some range reduction at 5 years, and at 8 years you'll probably be at about 75% of original capacity. All guesses based on Roadster reports and Tesla Roadster warranty statements - which may not apply to the different Model S batteries.

    2) In 8 or 10 years you should be able to buy a replacement battery with more capacity, and it will fit in the same space. Tesla might have a 500 mile battery out by then. No-one really knows, and no-one can predict the costs. Recently, prices have been declining at a pretty nice clip.

    3) Tesla doesn't have dealers. Tesla owns all the stores and all the service centers. Being in San Jose, CA, you'll have great access to what is now Menlo Park servicing, which may move, but will still be relatively close to you. And yes, maintenance will be much less in terms of frequency than an ICE car, although the cost of the Model S's yearly maintenance hasn't been announced. It's $600 for the Roadster. Thanks to regen, your brake pads and rotors will last a longer time, too.

    4) If you get the E9 plan from PGE, your off-peak rates can be as low as $0.05/kWh, depending on how much electricity you use overall. There's talk that the rate plans will change, though. At 333 Wh/mile (70-75 mph), you're getting 3 miles per kWh, which is less than $0.02/mile. So yes, in terms of fuel costs, you save quite a bit. But that's not the whole story. While you may save $14,000 after 100,000 miles in gas, you may then need to buy a replacement battery, which could easily cost more than $14,000. However, as you guessed, it may be possible to get a high capacity battery for less money than it costs today. On the plus side, you'll have less overall maintenance costs, will not have things like timing belts to replace, nor undergo smog checks, nor engine rebuilds. On the unknown side, a true TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) comparison requires knowing the value of the car down the road. That's a big unknown. People are worried about battery life today, so a used EV may not fetch much unless you're willing to replace the battery to get the sale. OTOH, 8 years down the road people may be more comfortable assessing the life still left in auto batteries. But, things could go the other way just as easily.

    Buying a Tesla has many benefits, from helping wean us from foreign oil, to reduced pollution (CA uses very little coal to generate electricity), to supporting designed and made in America, to starting with a "full tank" every day, to the sheer fun of driving a quiet car with instant low-end torque. However, it may not end up costing less than your Lexus, and it does require some behavioral changes (can't just take a long trip without planning), and some leaps of faith in both Tesla as a viable company and EVs as a viable technology N years down the road.
     
  3. NielsChr

    NielsChr Member

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    About #1, is really difficult to answer without having owned a Roadster (witch could reveal what to expect from the model S), I haven't seen any complains about capacity wear in the roadster forum, so I expect they are still happy) - the battery type being used is known to have full capacity the first year and then drop a few % (e.g. 5%), after this little drop the capacity should remain for many meny years - Tesla have at present good insight in expected battery lift due to the experience they got from the Roadster - first they did announced to offer a warranty for 7 years, but they have recently raised this to 8 years - I guess they fell comfortable to do this, since they know it will remain, even after 8 years.
    The battery pack consist of many cells, which is grouped into larger groups – these groups are surly monitored individually and if a drop in capacity is register, it might not be necessary to replace the entire battery pack – just a few cells/group of cells need to be replaced.

    About#2, Yes the 60Kw and 85kw battery will fit, and can be replaced into a 40 Kw model - I guess you might need a software update as well and maybe a few adjustments as well if capacity is changed. But no one really knows yet, currently the 60 Kw battery seem like the sweet spot - the 60 Kw pack have the same number of cells as the 85 Kw, and might result in longer life (due to less load on each cell).
    Tesla do Plan to build other Models on the same platform (Model X) in the future – this indicate that the Battery form factor also is supported for many years and we will posible see future improvements offered in the same form factor – in 5-8 years you could see a 100-150 Kw pack battery pack depending on how battery technology evolves.

    About #3, most say it will have less maintenance, and I agree - minimal wear on breaks as well due to regenerating braking, I would expect some maintenance on the sophisticated cooling system, witch is made of 2 water cooled pipelines - might be simple though and require minimal service, but it is a essential part of the car - if this not runs 100% correct you may ruin your battery warrenty (hope they built in some sort of surveillance of it and a alarm to sound/indicate)

    About #4, The Model s will use approx. 0.3 Kw/mile - if you add 10-15% waste for the charging/aircon, it will run with a real world number of 0.35-0.40 Kw/mile - you should then be able of calculate your price for your mileage depending on what you pay for the electricity.

    A last note, Model S is surely not a cheap car (neither is Lexus), don’t buy this car only to save money, buy it due to the technology this car is using/represent – any 2 cars out there have different price tags, you can not only compare 2 cars on price. Telsa is a totally different car than any other, and price will be different – e.g. Model S is not only a EV, it is also a car made of Aluminum – find another Aluminum car and you will find out that Model S is extremely cheap…
     
  4. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    #5 dsm363, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
    steatlhnhawk : Welcome.

    Would the Model S be your only car or would you still have an gas car you could take on long trips if you needed it? That may play a factor in your decision. Since you're in CA though, you're much more likely to be able to access chargers and maybe even the Tesla super chargers (although you'd need to get the more expensive 60 or 85 kWh pack cars).

    While you can upgrade the battery pack as smorgasbord said, we also don't know if the performance will also increase since it's unknown if the 40 kWh cars are set up differently than the other Model S cars (the bigger battery packs have faster 0-60 times and may have additional hardware).

    Overall, I think you'd like the Model S. You live so close to Tesla that service shouldn't be a problem as well. You also have to factor in how fun and unique the Model S will be on the road compared to the Lexus. Also, as an EV you can gain access to the single-occupant use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOVs) lanes. Basically, get the biggest battery pack that you think will cover 99% of your trips and you'll be happy. You can always rent a car for that one or two trips a year if you need to.
     
  6. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Model S Facts | Tesla Motors

     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I've seen this. It still doesn't say that we guarantee that if you upgrade down the road from a 40 kWh to a 85 kWh pack, your acceleration will also increase. They imply it but it could also be interpreted as get the bigger battery pack now if you want quicker acceleration.
     
  8. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Of what i Understand in this explanation it does!

     
  9. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    You may be right, but it would be very uncharacteristic of Tesla to cripple a car unnecessarily. The consensus on the boards is that the lower acceleration on the smaller packs is caused by the number of cells, and cell chemistry. Change those, and you'll change the car's performance.
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    #10 dsm363, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
    I think that you're likely correct. Just wanted to point out to the person in the original post that the possibility of keeping your baseline performance even while increasing your range in the future is there. I'm sure we'll be able to ask Tesla and get a definitive answer. They do say in their facts page above

    "While technically possible to upgrade from a 40 kWh battery to a larger battery at a later time, Tesla recommends configuring your Model S with the battery that meets both present and future needs."
     
  11. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    There is maintenance on the Model S and it's likely to not be cheap. The Roadster's annual maintenance is $600, which is more than many folks put into their ICE cars outside of a major engine repair.

    You won't need to spend money on gas, but on the other side of the coin is the amortized replacement cost of the battery in 10+ years; if you keep the car that long and if the mileage has been reduced below your needs.

    Currently, if you only look at it as transportation and compare dollars to cents, the ICE still makes more sense. However, if you want the joys of EV transportation, be prepared to spend a little more up front for the privilege. (And IMHO, it is definitely a privilege!)

    If you do decide to go with EV, even with the EV premium, then I would recommend boosting up to the 60kWh (230 mile) battery pack. It's $10,000 more up front, but there are numerous benefits over the 40kWh pack including probable longer lifespan. Only buy the 40kWh pack if your intention is for a commuter vehicle and around town driver. It's much better than the Leaf, albeit at a $20k+ higher pricetag.
     
  12. nleggatt

    nleggatt Member

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    @mycroft, what maintenance are you referring to that could be expensive? This is the first time I've heard maintenance costs could be in excess of my ICE. I also think the amortized cost of the replacement battery isn't a huge factor because most people after 10+ years would replace their ICE, which, we could assume would costs app $14k additional (either down payment or just in new complete car - though that would be entry level).

    Also, on a 230 pack, in theory even at a 50% charge you would still have enough to just use the car as a local errands vehicle, so you wouldn' HAVE to replace the battery. Your points are still valid, just offering another perspective.

    On my Acura, I have regular oil changes which are app $45 each. Than I have yearly services that range from $200-$500 (depending on what the HUD Code Says is needed).

    Another factor would be insurance premiums. If you insure a vehicle today that is $30k, and buy a new car at $70k, you're premiums will be more as well.

    Break even will be close, and maybe a bit higher. For me, every time I fill my SUV now, I watch the price inch up to $89 and think, wow, that's like 10-13 fills on my Tesla... and, I wouldn't be freezing outside in the wind right now!

    Also, the other day I went down to get a coffee for my wife and I, got in the car and the gas light cam on. Those coffees cost me an extra $60 to fill the tank. Merry Christmas. If it has been the Tesla, I would never have to consider that cost.

    Last, my wife and I love to visit Whistler. The other day we were wondering what we should do for the day and though we considered a drive to Whistler, the thought of spending $50+ in gas didn't sit well. If we had had the Tesla it wouldn't have been a second thought.

    (Just some rambling thoughts)
     
  13. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    #13 richkae, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
    A common mistake in the analysis of an ICE car vs an EV is the assumption of constant gas price over time.
    Over the past 10 years gasoline has averaged an 8.5% increase per year in the US ( electricity 4% in Washington state )
    There is no reason to think that those rates will go down.
    Projecting out it only takes 5.7 years for the Model S to save you $10000 vs a 25mpg premium burning ICE.

    However that is not the only cost consideration to weigh:
    At the end of 8 years, the Model S may need a battery replacement but it will still have a yearly fuel cost about $600 per year.
    After 8 years, gasoline will be $7.68 per gallon, and the ICE car will cost you $3688 per year to drive the same 12000 miles.

    It may seem like that is an argument that you can wait for the economics to improve to be more in favor of the EV, but I think it means that you should abandon ICE cars as soon as possible.
    I believe that over time ICE cars will have dramatically reduced residual value because an old ICE will be too expensive to operate, and EVs will prove to hold their value well.
     
  14. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    I know, it's a hidden cost because Tesla hasn't announced maintenance schedules or fees yet. But using the Roadster as a guide, the maintenance will be at least $600 per year. While my Mercedes maintenance is at least $1,000 per year, my Ford Escort is probably closer to $200 per year. Again, engine repair notwithstanding.

    It could easily be argued that engine and transmission repair over the life of the ICE car may be close to the price of the replacement battery pack. It depends on the complexity of the ICE and the cost of repairs.

    My point is that trying to prove that an EV is less costly than an ICE, apples to apples, is very difficult at this time.

    For me, the pleasure of driving an EV, the benefits of skipping gas stations, the luxury of a silent acceleration and a quiet ride easily outweigh any EV price premium their may be.
     
  15. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    EVs just drive better.

    I went from a 911 to a Roadster, I could never go back. Yes, maintenance on the Roadster is less than half, 'fuel' costs are much less (even more so since I can charge at work).

    But even without those things, the day-to-day experience is just so much better. Hard to put a price on that.
     
  16. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    The question is whether it will indeed continue its upward trend in constant dollars. In 1981, gasoline averaged $3.31 in 2011 dollars. Not too far off from the current $3.50 or so average. over the past 30 years there was a steady decline in constant dollar gasoline costs due to flat to slightly rising nominal costs but significant inflation. In 1998 gas hit an all time low of about $1.50 a gallon in 2011 dollars. Since then it's been a steady climb with the exception of the 2008 recession where it dipped.

    I hesitate to predict the future costs of gasoline, adjusted for inflation. As prices rise, it becomes worthwhile to tap fields that were once too expensive to exploit thus increasing the supply a bit. Having said all that, the difference between the past 10 years and the 50 years before that is the emergence of multiple economies with an appetite for gasoline. Brazil, India, China, etc have large emerging middle classes that will, potentially, cause demand to significantly outstrip supply (even with increasing supplies).

    At the end of the day, I think it's a smart bet to move to an EV. I just don't know if it's going to pay off in the next 10 years. If I were viewing it in economic terms I would consider and EV more of a hedge.

    Source for gas data: http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Oil/Gasoline_inflation_chart.htm
     
  17. stealthnhawk

    stealthnhawk Member

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    Hi All. I just want to first say Happy New Year to every and thank you for soo many great responses. Sorry I was out and couldn't reply until now.
    To answer a few questions:
    I have an old honda prelude 2000 model and it's at about 170k miles. It still drives great but starts to make some noises and cost starts to add up. My wife has a compact 2010 compact SUV but it's too bumpy for her and soon to have a kid also. So we are planning to get rid of our 2 cars and get something more fuel efficient and enjoyable to drive (luxury car). Basically, we were planning to get a Prius V (vee) with about 40mpg and Lexus GS 2013. We don't plan to take long road trip but definitely would like to go to Monterey or San Francisco with the luxury car. But with further research, it seems that the 160mile version of Tesla S might not be possible since from San Jose to Monterey is about 75miles each way. I might need to consider the 230mile version instead.

    About the battery pack swap later, I guess I don't worry about performance. I think 6.5s from 0-60 is more than fast enough for me. Anything too fast I might wreck the car.. hehe.
    About the gas price, I also agree that gas price won't be constant. I guess I was assuming for the worse scenario in case gas price doesn't increase. I remember reading an article somewhere saying that those oil countries don't want gas price to go too high or else the world will push toward high efficient mpg car / EV and that they won't make much money. Anyhow, for the case that gas price go up to $8/gal or something, in 8 years, when it's time to replace the battery, I would have save more than enough money by driving EV car to buy another battery pack. =) The money saved would be more than 20k I guess.

    Regarding to the maintenance, are there any components (beside brake/tire/battery) that will go bad in 8-10 years? To be honest, I still like my 11/12 year old honda prelude. MPG is good (25mpg), but I am tired of taking it to the shop for here and there things. Over the lifetime, I replaced transmission twice (one under warranty at 60k and the other at 140k). For Tesla car, if I buy a model S, I would like to keep it for more than 10 years (replacing the battery is not an issue), but I just want to understand about any other mechanical or electrical component that will degrade over time and could cause expensive upkeep. I think the model S is a nice design that should last for long time (won't get bored looking at it).

    I need to discuss with my wife and see if we should be a deposit.. arg..
     
  18. stealthnhawk

    stealthnhawk Member

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    I've just reread some replies and for some reasons, I had always thought that the battery pack replacement is less than $10k, but it seems that the battery is very expensive.. lol silly me. I do hope in 8 years, it would be around or less than $10k for battery pack.
     
  19. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    For the Roadster, you can buy a $12k battery replacement option that you can pull at 7 years. Any year earlier you pay $2k extra, any year later you get $1k refund. Expires after 10 years so would be silly not to get a new battery then. It is hard to calculate TCO with parameters like battery price, gas prices, warranty and maintenance issues, capital interest rates, and inflation rates up to a point 6-10 years in the future... completely impossible if you want to base your decision of ICE vs EV on that.
    On this forum, everybody is convinced that going EV is the right decision and will pay in many aspects, be it money, joy to drive, pride of ownership, support for local manufacturer, reduce pollution, take the HOV lane, kick oil... you name it.
     
  20. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    @steatlhnhawk: I came very close to buying a Lexus GS a few years ago; they're nice cars.

    That said, in your shoes I would go with a 60kWh Model S and a Prius V. Get the Prius now, to replace that Honda before it craps out on you somewhere awkward. Then get the Model S as soon as it can be delivered (my guess is you're looking at March or April 2013 at this point) to replace the SUV. This combo gives you two very efficient vehicles, with a premium vehicle that can make useful day trips and a second vehicle that's both a great "around town" car and provides unlimited range if you want to drive somewhere beyond the Tesla's range.
     

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