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Ordering a Tesla: my first in 2009 vs. my fifth in 2018

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by ChadS, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    #1 ChadS, Apr 23, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
    In 2008 I converted my wife’s Prius to a plug-in hybrid. I really enjoyed it for 3 days…but then was frustrated by the gas engine constantly coming on.

    So I purchased my first BEV in March 2009. It was a 2003 Toyota RAV4-EV that I bought on Ebay. I really enjoyed it for 3 weeks…then my wife performed a hostile takeover, because she could easily tell that it was a nicer car than her PHEV Prius.

    I wanted to sell the Prius and get another BEV. As it would be our second BEV, I knew it had to have a lot of range. The only PEV option at the time was the Roadster. I loved the thought of owning a Roadster, but…man. Every gas car I had ever owned was under $20k. Tesla was having financial difficulties. Everybody I talked to tried to talk me out of it – was I even sure I would get the Roadster? (You had to pay in advance).

    It took me until July 2009 to wrap my head around paying that much for a car. Placing that order was a very big deal for me. But – no regrets!

    Roadster.jpg

    Since then, we’ve been familiar faces at the Tesla store. In 2012 my wife traded her RAV4 for an S.

    Electra.jpg

    In 2016 I traded my Roadster for an S.

    Shadow.jpg

    Just a few months ago my wife traded her S for an X.

    Belle.jpg

    And just this month, I placed an order for a 3.

    Model3.jpg

    Boy, ordering the 3 sure was a lot easier than ordering the Roadster. Here is a table of some of the differences:


    Car Roadster Model 3
    Price $110,000 $55,000
    Range 244 (on an old scale; perhaps 220 today) 310
    Seats 2 5
    0-60 time 3.9 seconds ~4.8 seconds (Tesla says 5.1)
    Autopilot Psht. No Yes
    Fastest charging 19kW 120kW
    Charging Network 6 single Tesla L2 stations in Southern CA 500 clusters of Superchargers nationwide, plus hundreds of destination chargers, plus all the J1772 stations
    Nearest charging station An L1 outlet stuffed in a Chargepoint post 700 miles away Several L2 stations 2 miles away
    Nearest sales/service center 800 miles away 14 miles away
    Delivery Shipped by truck to my house Pick up at nearby delivery center
    Tesla’s financial state Had recently laid off ~30% of their workforce. “Tesla Death Watch” was in effect. They had shipped about 300 cars, and were having trouble getting them out the door Still just about to go bankwupt, lol. They have now delivered, what, 300,000 cars? Still having trouble getting them out the door fast enough, though
    Payment options Full payment in cash before they would start building the car Still no leasing, but they offer financing. And other than $2,500, the balance is not due until delivery
    Consumer impressions of the brand Nobody I knew had ever heard of them Of those familiar, either very kewl (the vast majority), or a horrible leach on the taxpayers run by a charlatan (common online opinion, but not common in the real world)
    Consumer impressions of EVsMostly did not know they existed, so unsurprisingly not considering one. Happy to find they could look good, and handle freeway speeds. But the “range anxiety” media storm had not yet started. Range and charging time were not common questions Many more are beginning to consider them. But they still have an awful lot of questions! Quite a few still dismiss them out of hand as impractical or too expensive.
     

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  2. ww73

    ww73 Member

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    Congrats on the new 3!
     
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  3. Chuq

    Chuq Active Member

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    Oh no, you broke the trend of every car being a different colour :)

    Great write-up. I love the now-and-then comparison table! I'm sure I've read an earlier version of this post too, the "hostile takeover" phrase sounded familiar. Not only from you writing it, but I recognise the feeling because my wife did the same thing when I got our first EV, a second hand Nissan Leaf, in 2016 .. and despite being a day one reservation holder, I still have 18+ months until I even get a chance to configure my Model 3!
     
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  4. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    #4 ChadS, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    ww73 reminds me of an addition I should make to the table:

    Test Drive Tesla didn't have a store up here yet. I didn't really need a drive, as I knew I would like it...I just wanted to make sure they would really deliver what they said. Fortunately I ran in to a Roadster owner at an EV event, and asked him one question: does it do everything they claim? He affirmed, so I placed my order soon after.Tesla is happy to let you drive the S and X, but still doesn't have 3s for test drives. Fortunately ww73 (who had once driven my Roadster) offered to let people try his 3. Again, I didn't really need to...but it helped cement my decision to replace my S with a 3. Thanks, ww73!
    As for colors, I hear what you are saying, Chuq. However, my wife would disagree. The Model 3's Red Multi-Coat is not the same thing at all as her old Signature Red S, and she is unhappy about that. (Although, of the colors to choose from, multi-coat red is her favorite on the 3. Funny that she hates silver on the 3 and S, but it was her favorite for the X).

    And good memory on "hostile takeover" - I used that phrase in a blog about invisible EV benefits. When I ordered the RAV4-EV, my wife told me I could experiment all I wanted with MY car, but warned me that I was to leave her Prius alone. It was funny how fast she flipped once the RAV4 arrived. Like your story, it is common in EV circles...nobody wants an EV until, well, they try one. That's why I spend so much time giving rides.

    More unnecessary color on difficulties I had ordering the Roadster that I did not have with the 3:

    I had been following Tesla (and every other EV company I could find) since 2006. Of course I ogled the Roadster, but I did not take it seriously because of the price. In fact, in 2008, Tesla brought a Roadster to Seattle and I could have taken a test drive there. I put it on my calendar, and I was free that day. But in the end I did not go, because there was no point given that I was not going to spend that much money on a car.

    Even after my wife appropriated the RAV4-EV, I still didn't consider the Roadster a serious option right away. No other EV was available at the time, but I started looking hard at EVs that companies said they would be producing in the future. It was at that time that I came across Tesla's Secret Master Plan. The second car (the S) sounded the best out of all options I could find at the time, and the third car (the 3) was what I really wanted long term. Now, I wanted to make sure Tesla had enough customers to make it to producing the 3.

    My fifth Tesla had a lot to do with why I bought the first one.
     
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  5. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    #5 ChadS, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    I should have spent more time thinking about the chart before posting it. More additions:

    Screen size3"15"
    Over-the-air updatesNoYes
    Power steeringNoYes
    Included charger120V120/240V
    Storage spaceNot reallyPretty good for car size
    RoofAir or cloth (or carbon fiber as extra option)Glass or metal
    Seat comfortVery thin seats. Fore/aft adjustment on driver's seatNice comfy seats. 12-way power adjustments with memory
    Sound systemUhm. There was one. Hard to hear over all the noise from the carQuite good
    The tables are pointing out an awful lot of practical advantages of the 3 over the Roadster. They are all true, and it is half the price. But don't get me wrong: I loved the Roadster. What a blast to drive!
     
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  6. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    That was a nice post to read, thanks for sharing.

    I saw my first silver x the other day, and completely agree with your wife.
     
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  7. Mark T

    Mark T New Member

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    Curious why you want to replace your S with a 3?
     
  8. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    Short answer: The S is leased, so I have to replace it with something. I really like the S, but the 3 is smaller and cheaper. (If we need more space, my wife still has her X).

    Longer, boring answer: I am very aware that I am going to be giving up things when I switch from my S (a loaded 2015 P90DL) to the 3. For some of those things, if I was to wait, Tesla will probably offer them later on 3 - but I just don't need them. Yes, I LIKE them, but not enough to wait AND pay Tesla's prices for them:
    • adjustable suspension
    • AWD (we may very occasionally need it on our hill - but my wife's X has it, and we have winter tires for the X too)
    • Performance
    Other things I am simply going to lose. I will miss them. But they are not critical, and I am willing to give them up for the 3's advantages (see below):
    • slightly cushier ride
    • more cargo space, and a hatch to access it (again, my wife's X has plenty of space, so I don't need it in this car)
    • better looks
    • free supercharging
    • sunroof
    Here are some advantages to the 3 that make me willing to give up the S advantages:
    • notably more efficient
    • smaller - easier to park and wash
    • slightly sharper handling
    • better sound system
    • far lower price (not just up front, but tires, annual registration fee, etc)
    Of course, that's what I say now. Maybe some day I will trade in the 3 for something else...

    (For those who wonder why I have a fully loaded P90DL if I am fond of low prices, it's because I got a fantastic 2-year lease deal on an inventory car. I'm paying about what a stripped 60 would have cost at the time)
     
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  9. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2020: Drain the Sewer

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    Thanks for taking the time to write. Made my day :)
     
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  10. Mark T

    Mark T New Member

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    Thanks for the breakdown. I don't have either yet, and am debating between a used S or a new 3 at roughly the same price. I live in Georgia, so AWD is not something I need to wait for.
     
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  11. jimmyjohn

    jimmyjohn Member

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    I wish you were a contributor to Electrek.

    I love the table -- and its new additions; as mentioned above.
     
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  12. Yoshii

    Yoshii Member

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    Thank you for that post and pictures! Great story.
     
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  13. jackbowers

    jackbowers Jack Bowers

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    You will love the Model 3. It is very much the Roadster driving experience and the Roadster’s efficiency, but everything else is so much better. I still drive my 2008 Roadster, but compared with the Model 3 it feels like I’m stepping back in time some 20 years!
     
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  14. redy

    redy Member

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    The only other difference between S and 3 would be free supercharging. Although wouldn't matter to you if you were using X as the long distance car.

    I have a 75D right now, and it works fine for trips. We will get the Model 3 after the other ICE car's lease is up. The question would be should we use the 330 mile range Model 3 or Free supercharging Model S. Hoepfully that will be moot cuz I get a 110D :)
     
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  15. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    One minor correction I thought the Roadster came with the UMC for 240v Charging. At least mine did.
     
  16. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I love the table / comparison as well, and I'm glad you came back with this also. The Roadster was my first EV and comparing it to our Model X is just silly in lots of ways. And in both directions. I drive the Model X preferentially these days, and maybe someday it'll have 1/2 the nostalgia of the Roadster, but I sort of doubt it.

    Here's one for the table - people watching you drive by in traffic. Roadster wins that one by a country mile :)

    OR - blending in with the other cars in traffic - Model 3 by a country mile!
     
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  17. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    #17 ChadS, Apr 27, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
    I believe you, but mine only came with a 120V charger. At the time Tesla had a 240V 32A charger with a 14-50 plug that we could buy separately. But Martin Eberhard designed a mobile charger that would do 40A, and had changeable plugs. A local (now defunct) company built them, so I bought one of those instead. We had to mail in our 120V charger to re-use the Roadster plug.

    Tesla later made their own 240V/40A mobile charger with changeable plugs, and it looked a lot nicer than the one I had. On a road trip to San Diego just over 8 years ago, my mobile charger melted so I bought a Tesla one...which also failed when I was at a very remote, snowy campsite at midnight. But that's another long boring story.

    Jack reminds me of another entry for the table:

    How the charging network was expandedOwners did it. Tesla and Rabobank had put 6 chargers between LA and SF, but that was it. A group of WA owners put one in WA, and Drive Oregon put one in Portland. Then I heard that Jack had put two in Northern CA on his own. That motivated me to put a couple more in Oregon by 2011 (a far more time-consuming task than you might expect). That allowed us to drive from Canada to Mexico. I used that network to get to CA about 6 timesTesla is doing it. And doing a phenomenal job; my wife and I have taken over 30k miles of Tesla road trips. There were some sacrifices through 2013 or so, but since our 11k trip in 2014, they have been extremely enjoyable. We have Supercharged about 350 times, and every charger has worked, and the single time we had to wait for a slot the wait was only 45 seconds

    Agreed. The Roadster may be expensive and impractical and outdated, but I will remember it fondly long after I have forgotten the others.
     
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  18. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    Happy Days Chad!

    I've skipped the middle ones and jumped straight to the 3. I've struggled with what to do with the Roadster, well, until I took a drive yesterday. It's a rough, rattly science experiment and you'd be mad to do a cross-country drive in one ;-) but, when the battery hits 35℃ and you make the power gauge bounce on the end stop the decision is made. What a ride.
     
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  19. xAgyex

    xAgyex Member

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    Great write-up. Really shows that if we support Tesla, the change will come. My Model S was by far the most expensive car I have ever owned. Well above the price for my dream car the Acura NSX (Which I could have purchased instead of the Model S)...But no regrets what so ever. I am a car guy and I know the new world order is going to be Tesla and EVs. Time to start learning how to work on these things.
     
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  20. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009

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    I just ordered a sixth. Damn you Tesla! I was never like this with other cars.

    (I'm upgrading my 3 LR RWD to a P3D. Tesla gave me a trade-in offer I couldn't refuse).
     
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