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"Permanent" Car?

While pondering the price/value equation (with a realistic 18-24mos purchase timeline for reasons I've explained elsewhere), a recurring question has been: Why would I ever need to replace the car?

For my current ICE vehicles, the potential answers are obvious: frame rust, engine dies, transmission fails, accident, outgrow/change in desires.

With the exception of accidents and "falling out of love" with a Model S, the other reasons seem irrelevant/not applicable.

I could foresee needing/upgrading a battery-- or even the motor-- but those seem like fast and easy changes, if not inexpensive ones... but beyond that, could it be that Model S is as close a "permanent car" as we've ever seen on the market?

Owners: What would cause you to sell or replace your Model S?
 
The only thing I really think is technology getting a better. Yes, there are software and hardware updates that can be done but at some point that becomes limited. It's nice to always have the latest tech, but not required. The current Model S will be ahead of everyone else for probably a couple years, then it will be mainstream, so lots of time before it becomes outdated ;)
 

austinEV

Active Member
May 16, 2013
3,233
7,384
Austin
While pondering the price/value equation (with a realistic 18-24mos purchase timeline for reasons I've explained elsewhere), a recurring question has been: Why would I ever need to replace the car?

For my current ICE vehicles, the potential answers are obvious: frame rust, engine dies, transmission fails, accident, outgrow/change in desires.

With the exception of accidents and "falling out of love" with a Model S, the other reasons seem irrelevant/not applicable.

I could foresee needing/upgrading a battery-- or even the motor-- but those seem like fast and easy changes, if not inexpensive ones... but beyond that, could it be that Model S is as close a "permanent car" as we've ever seen on the market?

Owners: What would cause you to sell or replace your Model S?

Yes this is the exact logic I am using to justify the purchase of a Model S. I normally drive an ICE 10-12 years (I am 40, so I have only done this twice...) I figure that the things that start to make you wish you want to ditch an ICE at 10 years won't happen on a Model S. For me, this is engine noise, engine warning lights, $1000 repair bills. I figure the Model S will age much more gracefully with fewer moving parts. In 15 years I expect the things that will be annoying will be a very outdated touch screen interface and an old pitted windshield...
 
If battery upgrades are available as Elon has repeatedly hinted, and relatively affordable, then I see no reason why the Model S can't last 20 years or more. Sure hoping it will, like austin this is one of the justifications for purchasing a car nearly 2x the cost of any other we've had :)
 

kendallpb

Model S: P 8061
Oct 29, 2010
1,254
57
MD, USA
With cars and tech, I tend to not replace until the stuff either (a) dies, or (b) clearly needs replacing. I mean "needs" as in it's bad shape and maintenance feels like it's more trouble than it's worth, it's flakey/unreliable, etc.

I still have an iPhone 3GS; my company will pay $150 towards replacing it, but I keep telling myself "...but it works...why won't this thing die?!" ;-) I replaced my Miata after I should have, probably--not in great shape, periodic repair needs, service always found new stuff, etc.

So I expect to have this longer than my previous car (12 years) or the one before that (10 years), but it's way too soon to predict how long, and certainly it won't be forever. Nothing lasts forever. Hopefully Tesla will offer small upgrades here and there, so I don't feel like my car's a dinosaur that just! won't! die! ;-) But heck, my Miata had no features and I didn't care--I loved that car, and I love the S even more--so if it's a dinosaur at some point (shrug) who cares? I was brought up to keep cars a long time. And just think of what cars may be like when my Model S finally gives up the ghost--OMG! :cool:
 
I have already sold and am replacing my Model S with a different color and more tech. I'll probably get a GenIII when they are available. Many people replace their cars not because they really need to, but because they want a vehicle that satisfies their rapidly changing interests and priorities. I love the Model S, but I have every faith that technology will improve and I will submit to "the tyranny of the new." How many current iPhone2 users I you know?
 

Ben W

2008 Roadster, 2017 M3, 2022 MY
Feb 27, 2009
774
773
Santa Barbara, CA
Bill Gates famously observed that people tend to overestimate the amount of change that will happen in the next two years, but underestimate the change that will occur over the next ten years. I expect that the 2022 Model S will have a dizzying array of technology and safety features that will make the 2012 S look positively clunky. (Already it is dubious whether the newly-introduced parking sensors will be retrofittable to earlier cars, at least not cheaply.) Imagine a Model S with the following capabilities:

AWD, 0-60 in 3 seconds
500-mile Li-Iion range with 1000-mile Al-Air extender pack
Superchargeable to 95% in 5 minutes
Magnetic induction charging while driving (South Korea is currently testing this)
360 degree sensors for fully automated driving
20 airbags for a 7-star crash safety rating, and tons of automated crash-avoidance tech
Body styling 10 years newer and more advanced

It's doubtful that such options would be retrofittable into the 2012 Model S, but quite likely that they will exist by 2022. Would all this make you consider an upgrade? I sure would.
 
The cell phone comparison makes me laugh. We both have pretty basic cellphones that work out to about $14/month. Smartphones would be nice, but not spending money we don't need to is nicer. They're toys that could never payback for the expense they incur.

Don't misunderstand-- I appreciate your feedback. By way of explanation, we don't typically replace anything we don't have to. It is that pragmatism that attracts me to the potential of a very long term "investment" in a car. Our current cars are 2001 and 2003, both under 100k. Side impact safety is a major consideration for replacing the '01 as well as avoiding significant future repairs (we've already made it through several rounds of those already). Add in the potential for long term savings a MS promises... and it is a compelling idea.

A very different proposition than the phone comparison.

I could foresee the advances rocketing into the future but I don't know that they would compel replacement. Longer range-- maybe, but consign the MS to commuter duty and replace my other car instead. In-car technology-- perhaps, but it never prompted me to replace a car before (I just added a Garmin to the '01). Performance-- unlikely, it's so far above mainstream already.

Barring metal fatigue of the frame, I'm just having a hard time working out what could break on an MS that would be more expensive to fix than its residual value or cost of replacement. At least... an MS without the air suspension (that's the one wear/tear item that would concern me).
 
If you're somebody comfortable with the idea of driving an older car, then I agree the Model S is likely to be a great car to own for the long term. As you note, though, current cars tend to be reliable enough to own for a long time as well. There are people who like to own their cars as long as they are working well, and people who like to get new cars every few years. I don't really expect the Model S to change that. In 10 years it will still look like a 10 year old car, regardless of how reliable it is. For myself, I bought the 85kWh specifically because I figured it would still have at least the range of the 60kWh and be able to drive from supercharger to supercharger for as many years as I care to own it. The main reason I could see to replace it early is that it's a much larger car than I like, and if the Gen III is really nice I might swap to that instead.

Who knows, maybe my Model S will become my 3 year old son's first car.
 
Well, I have a different perspective. I've driven Prius's for the last 12 years, 4 different models. I used to enjoy "upgrading", but I'm older (and wiser?) now.. I'm thinking that baring some other driver making the decision for me (major accident), this car will be my last car I'll need to buy during my life. I'm 53, and not in the best of health, if I can get 10-15 years out of the car, well that will pretty much line up with my time left. I'm also taking early retirement next year at 54 1/2, I've worked my entire life, so now I can relax and coast for the rest of it (and play with TSLA option contracts). Found an IRS rule allowing this, and to avoid the %10 penalty for early retirement withdrawals:
http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Substantially-Equal-Periodic-Payments
 
The Model S also has a computer and display in there with a responsiveness level that already feels 3 years out of date.

So in 10 years, it would be comparable to what we think about a 1999 computer today, running Windows ME.

this is the one problem i can see with this car,
the screens are powered by 2x nVidia Tegra3 SoC's (1 for each screen), they are already gutless to start for 2013,
it would of been better if they used an AMD E450 with 4GB (or another low power Fusion cpu with a fast GPU), at least that CPU/GPU has the power to decode 50mbit bluray's,
no matter how optimized the software gets, the Tegra will never be powerful enough to decode video from a DSLR or mirrorless (1080p/60FPS)
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
Moderator
May 17, 2009
18,280
162
Nevada
this is the one problem i can see with this car,
the screens are powered by 2x nVidia Tegra3 SoC's (1 for each screen), they are already gutless to start for 2013,
it would of been better if they used an AMD E450 with 4GB (or another low power Fusion cpu with a fast GPU), at least that CPU/GPU has the power to decode 50mbit bluray's,
no matter how optimized the software gets, the Tegra will never be powerful enough to decode video from a DSLR or mirrorless (1080p/60FPS)

Why would the Model S need to decide video? I don't think Tesla is planning on allowing people to play video on the main screen.
 

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