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Model S as a first car

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Pilot_51, May 7, 2014.

?

Is Model S your first car?

  1. Yes

    7.8%
  2. No

    85.6%
  3. Planning on it

    6.7%
  1. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    #1 Pilot_51, May 7, 2014
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
    I'm in the process of buying Model S and I've been wondering how unique my situation is, in particular the fact that I'm buying it as my first car.

    If it is your first car and especially if you went through struggles to be able to afford it, I would like to hear your story.


    My story

    I first learned about Tesla over 6 years ago when Jason Calacanis was talking about and showing off the Roadster before it went into production. I've been dreaming of owning a Tesla vehicle ever since, but for the first few years it seemed like it would remain only a dream.

    My first "real" job was minimum wage at a struggling startup between 2009 and 2010. After being laid off, I started learning Java and Android development in my parent's basement, only using free online resources and encouragement from family and friends. Using the skills I built up over 2 years, I landed my current Android developer job in August 2012. From day one, I've been saving up nearly all of my money not going towards required expenses (rent, insurance, gas... that's about it), which has been approximately $2500/month.

    I was driving the family '97 Honda Odyssey until a couple months later when my brother got a job and started carpooling me. Shortly after regular maintenance, the Honda started burning through about a bottle of oil a day and the engine had to be replaced; the dealer wasn't much help and supposedly caused the problem with contaminated oil, so we went to an independent shop. Last year, my dad bought a Ford C-Max Energi (no doubt because of my EV evangelism) and had NEMA 6-30 + J1772 installed for his car and NEMA 14-50 installed in anticipation for my Model S. He sold his '02 Ford Explorer to my brother, so I started paying more for half the gas (about $200/month for 80 miles/day). The distance between our workplaces left me stuck at work for 10 hours each day and, including commute, made my day nearly 12 hours. I've been sacrificing sleep to make up for the lost free time; in fact, it's an hour past my "bed time" as I type this.

    I bought my first shares of stock last October almost immediately after the first fire, thinking I'd take advantage of the dip. When the other two fires made it drop further, I bought a bunch more. I currently have 75 shares with just over $2600 (21%) gain.

    I went to the last two Detroit auto shows to see Tesla, 2013 being the first time I saw Model S with my own eyes. I signed up for a test drive after this year's show, but the dealers forced it to cancel and leave about an hour before I got there, so never had a chance to drive or even ride Model S. I've even been keeping track of all my "in the wild" Model S sightings on a spreadsheet, which is currently up to five.

    I had every intention to save up until I could buy Model S with cash, leaving financing out of the question in an effort to stay out of debt, but the stress from carpooling was wearing me down. For a few months, I had considered a Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric as a stop-gap, but the limited range was a stretch, the Leaf had unacceptable safety ratings, and the Focus had some glaring quality issues, so I decided to wait for Model S. I created a spreadsheet to help me calculate when I could afford it with various options and had to recalculate a few times after realizing certain costs like sales tax (which I initially thought would be paid later as use tax). Once it was all worked out, I realized I wouldn't be able to afford it until at least next year. I concluded that avoiding a year or two of debt isn't worth the stress of carpooling for another year, so made the decision in early April to go with financing. I placed the order on the 14th and allowed it to sink in for a while, asking TMC for opinions on my choices (where people revealed their passion for the 85, to say the least), and confirmed on the 22nd. The rest is, well, future.
     
  2. Alexander

    Alexander P# 8,878

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    #2 Alexander, May 7, 2014
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
    This is not my first car, but it was a struggle to buy it.

    I saved for about two years before I had enough down payment to lower the payment to something I considered reasonable. I questioned myself many times, and thought about buying other EV's or plugin hybrids. At one point I literally test drove every plugin hybrid and EV on the market. The only car that came even remotely close was the Ford Fusion EV Titanium Edition. It had impressive acceleration, and is honestly the nicest Ford I've ever driven. But it had ZERO trunk space and it just felt thrown together. It was a gas car with an EV powertrain shoved into it. After that I realized it was go big or go home as not even the nicest alternative could compare.

    So I saved for another two months and got my Model S. Now that I have it I can't even fathom owning anything else. The first few days of ownership were almost magical. I would stand in my garage and just look at it, almost needing to pinch myself. Now all the pains I went through to get it are just a memory. So keep saving and buy when your ready. The struggle will make it all the more worth it, and once you have it you'll forget all about what you went through to get it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Active Member

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    Pilot_51, that is really an inspiring story. I look forward to your post on delivery day. And pictures. Lots of them.
     
  4. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams Active Member

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    I recommend financing so that you can have "gap insurance".

    Money is cheap to borrow now.
     
  5. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I agree Tony. However I also agree with the OP about getting in debt. Especially when you are starting out, debt can be a bad habit to break. However, it seems the OP has the right attitude towards it. I think you made the right choice in the end. I am sure you will enjoy your Model S and find it to be a very practical car as well.
     
  6. snooper77

    snooper77 Member

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    My P85 is my first car - at the age of 36! I have lived in European cities for most of my life (currently Zürich), all having provided excellent public transport, so there was simply no need for a car. There still isn't, but fell in love on my 1st test drive :)
     
  7. Voltan

    Voltan Member

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    OP, I admire your discipline on the build-out. I am thinking of the 85 kwh, but without the pano, the air suspension, the fog lights and the interior lighting package, but with the addition of leather interior, package concealment and paint protection. What is the Subzero that you have on order?
     
  8. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    Glad to know that dreamers/dream pursuers are still alive and kicking in this country. Congrats, OP, and welcome.
     
  9. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    According to the Design Studio:

    • 3 zone rear seat heaters
    • Wiper blade defrosters
    • Washer nozzle heaters

    Not critical since most cars don't have those features, but definitely nice to have for the Michigan winters.
     
  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Bravo to you on your discipline and tenacity. I award you a waiver of the "your first car needs to be a '74 Dodge Colt or '85 Chevrolet 'vette... CHEvette" rule.
     
  11. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    I share your aversion to debt. But like you have decided to bite the bullet. Sometimes you just gotta.
    If you've been saving that long, it's obvious you won't have a problem. And depending on your situation, you may end up paying it off early anyway.
    First car though... that's really something. It's admirable you've brought yourself to this level so quickly, skipping all those interim cars most of us had to deal with.
    Since I've been driving over 30 years, there's no way MS could have been my first car. That was a '68 Plymouth Valiant slant 6 3-speed column shifter. But it was all mine for $350!
     
  12. dfitz206

    dfitz206 Member

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    I'm in the club... '73 Dodge Colt here :smile:
     
  13. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    #13 Pilot_51, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
    I'm thinking of selling most or all of my TSLA stock to finish off the loan, which I projected could be done in Q1 next year at the earliest. If I keep the stock, I'm looking at Q3. If I factor in keeping a decent buffer/emergency fund, that's maybe 4 more months. Other unplanned expenses could push it back further. So, best case is 8 months from delivery. Debt is not something I want to ever feel comfortable in. As long as I have a functioning car, I intend to save up and buy all my future cars with cash.

    Edit: There goes most of my gain. Down $1700 today. I trust it will pick back up to $200/share before too long.
     
  14. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I never owned a car before. My Model S is co-owned by a community of EV enthusiasts, with the intention to run the project for 4 years. After that, I hope for Gen III or a used Model S.
     
  15. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    It is quite an accomplishment to do what you are doing. It looks like hard work and persistence paid off for you.
     
  16. AndroidDream

    AndroidDream Member

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    Looks a lot like my choices. I tried to limit the extra cost adders to keep it "affordable". I'm going with aftermarket paint protection though, since it sounds like factory isn't the greatest. I'm in Michigan and did not get the Subzero. I can live without the washer/wiper heaters, and I don't plan on having many back seat passengers, except my kids, and I don't want to spoil them with warm butts. :wink:
     
  17. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    I'm considering aftermarket paint protection since the Model S paint is so easy to damage. I still need to decide what kind, where to get it, and when. I don't think I'll rush it since I'll be parking in a garage at home and most likely keeping my distance from other cars and trees at work.

    I'm mainly after the wiper defrosters. Sometimes ice causes the wipers to get stuck to the windshield and at pivot points, which can be a hassle especially when you're in a rush. I haven't seen issues with frozen washer nozzles before, though I don't use them all that often. My only experience with heated seats was on a rental Chevy Malibu when the Honda was out of commission around February last year. I wasn't impressed, I would much rather have instant heat on the front of my body. What I think would be better is cooled seats and steering wheel so I don't get burned after it's been sitting in the sun during the summer, but I suppose remote climate control would mitigate that issue.
     
  18. selsrog

    selsrog Member

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  19. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    @Pilot_51: as you might have already read elsewhere on these forums, a big advantage of the seat heaters in Model S is they use far less energy than the forced-air heat. If (when) you take the car on long trips in cold weather, it can make a significant difference in your range. When it's really cold you might end up using both, but you can be comfortable with less forced-air heat than you'd use if it were your only option.

    Remote climate control helps in both hot and cold weather. Run it while plugged in, and you'll not only be comfortable right when you get into the car, you'll also extend your usable range.

    Also: great story. Congrats on the purchase. And I suspect as long as you remain wary of the debt and treat it with high priority, as it sounds like you plan to do, you'll be just fine.
     
  20. huntjo

    huntjo Member

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    I voted no. Though it is my first new car, i've had numerous used ones over the years
     

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