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Racked with indecision...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by pete8314, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    This isn't a dramatic plea for attention, more for opinions.

    I've been all over this forum since I found out about the Model S (only since around May, I think), and I put down the $5k deposit within a week. My assumption, back then, was that I'd go for a 40kw, or maybe a 60kw. However, thanks to some fairly sophisticated marketing (or me being easily influenced, depending on your point of view), I've now convinced myself that only the P85 will do. I know others have been through this slightly bizarre process, just a few months ago I thought $50-60k was a lot to spend on a car, now, somehow, $90k+ seems perfectly reasonable. I've no idea how it happened, but it did, and I do know that even though I'll very rarely get to use the additional power of the P85 (over a standard 85, or even a 60), it's the model I'd have to buy. This is partly just a mind-set thing, partly because with the particular set of options I'd choose, the premium of the performance over the normal 85Kw is quite reduced, making the P85 a relative bargain. Relative, that is, to other cars I could barely afford.

    I was never buying the Model S as an EV. It was always because it was a great car, fast, techy and good looking. However, in the ~$80k arena, there's lots of cars like that. And, to qualify what I regard as 'affordable', I've got maybe $30k of equity in my current car, insignificant savings, and enough money left over each month to afford $600-700 in a loan, so on that basis, $80k is affordable (with a long loan), but it's by no means a no-brainer for me. I do not want to gamble with the residual value of the car. Based on every car I've ever owned, I fully expect to be bored with it in 3 years, and want something new.

    I'll be the first to admit I got wrapped up in the hype of the Model S, and I genuinely believe in what Tesla are trying to do. I've got the cap, the t-shirt and the Telsa iPad skin. I own stock. I preach to anyone that'll listen about Tesla. I'm getting a charging bay built in the company parking lot. Part of this coming to a head now is that I was about to by a vanity plate, that would have something to do with Tesla or Electric, so I really need to decide. Plus, as I'm P8901, I guess I'll have to lock-in within the next month or so.

    I'm not American, but I think the idea of building innovative products in the US is great. Car-building is, arguable, something the US is/was good at, so it makes sense to evolve that. Most everything is made in China these days, often for valid reasons, but premium cars are not a strong point for China, so this is an area in which American manufacturing can actually take a lead. this is one of the reasons I'd happily 'take a chance' on a Tesla, I want then to thrive, and even if history just remembers them as the company that finally kick-started mainstream EVs, then that's still a huge achievement.

    Like many, I think Tesla's communications have sucked lately, and the charges for service, super-charger access for the smaller batteries, unknown data plans etc all add to the monthly cost of the car. I like the 21" wheels (and dislike the 19's), so I probably need to add in a set of tires each year. There's some bugs in the software, that, although cosmetic, I feel should have been ironed out. I find it surprising that none of the extended reviews so far have noticed, or commented on these issues, almost as if they were turning a blind eye to a few of these trivial little issues in return for getting the car for an extended test. Who knows.

    Anyway, now I find myself going back to my original short-list that I had back in May, which was the Audi A7/S7, Range Rover Evoque, or a Merc E Coupe. I've discounted the Merc, but I am very taken with the Range Rover, and the S7 is beautiful, inside and out. It'll cost around $80k, and has solid residuals, I can all bit guarantee what it'll be worth in 3 years. A fully loaded Evoque is $55k, with the same solid residuals. It's nowhere near as fast, but it does have the looks and technology. And I'd only need a loan for $25k rather than ~$65k.

    So that's what I'm struggling with. Some of the appeal of the Model S has diminished, but I do realize that the nature of these forums can sometimes be critical (as they should be). As I said at the beginning, the fact it's an EV was a happy bonus for me, not a reason to buy. The annual savings are trivial, based on my mileage, and some of the additional costs that I wouldn't pay for the ICE cars. The gadget-freak in me knows, for sure, that the Model S is the best gadget I could ever own, for now, at least. But the slightly practical side of me is saying buy an ICE, keep it for 3 years, then see where Tesla is at. I don't need something the size of a Model S, so maybe a loaded GenIII will be the ideal option for me, once the tech has matured a bit. However, that approach is not at all typical of my normal MO.

    Ultimately, the reason for this indecision is because the marketing has steered me towards a P85 as being the only option. I'm annoyed at myself for that, but that's how it is. And in that price range, there's a lot of very worthy ICE cars.

    Help? Questions, comments all welcome. Maybe I'm not the only one in this position, I feel like I'm getting pulled 2 ways, and I do value everyone's opinion on here.
     
  2. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    You don't mention in your post if you have test driven the S. My advice is to do that and then you will understand why an EV, done Tesla style, will put your other choices on the back burner.
     
  3. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I am in a very similar 'crisis'. I got my 'finalize' email and all of the sudden I am thinking about ponying up for the 85kWh pack instead of the 40kWh pack. I've convinced myself at this point the panoramic roof, air suspension, tech package, and probably the sound are all worth the money. The only think left is what color, and what pack.

    I am not thinking much about residual value, I plan on having my Model S for at least a decade. I think the longer you have the car the more value a larger pack will give you. One thing to think about is fuel savings. I drive a lot, but I will save over $300 a month is fuel. This makes a $90,000 vehicle inside (just barely) my price range. I have no problem financing, especially with today's rates being so low.

    And remember this purchase isn't about making financial sense. You should go buy a LEAF or Versa if you want to make an economic decision. The real question is how much do you want the S. And will you be able to pay for it.
     
  4. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    Hello Pete,

    You sound a lot like me at the beginning of May and in fact I was very close to reserving around that time as well. For all decisions that are as large as a car in my life I try to sit back and look at the bigger picture in a financial sense. That is, I too got sucked up in the hype. In the beginning I only wanted the 40kwh and damned be the reasons for having more mileage! I then thought a 60kwh would be better simply for that extra mileage and lets face it, I didn't want to show my friends a cutting edge EV that couldn't make it outside the city. I added on option after option and before you knew it I was at 80k spending. I thought about the 85kwh and I was seriously considering it for awhile. I have no toned back my opinion to the 60kwh and all the options (except the kid seats), let me tell you why.

    Now, this is obviously a case by case basis and everyones financial methods, thoughts, and feelings on buying a car are wildly different, but here are the reasons I cut back and how I am going to get this car.

    1. It is not the same cookie cutter car.

    You said it yourself, you are in it for the tech and not the EV and greennes of it. This is the exact reason I love this car as well, the fact that I am helping the environment and helping push humanity forward is a small plus. Consider that all the bells and whistles on a Lexus, a BMW, a blahdy blah blah are the same stuff under the hood. I feel, and I am NOT a car person, that all the other vehicles are uninspiring. Today I saw a commercial with the background voice saying "Count the amount of buttons on your car... now count the amount on your iPad"... I rolled my eyes. Yes, please place your 6 inch touch screen in the car, that will sell it </sarcasm>. My main point is, a lot of cars have the techie stuff in it, but how has that improved the automobile industry and uplifted it? I truly feel we have been in the steam-punk world for 50 years and we are afraid of the disruptive technology of something greater.

    2. I wanted a payment that I not only could afford, but could afford with being unemployed.

    In my case I am glad I held off on reserving, as since the 60kwh is my goal I decided to see if I had the mental fortitude to save up 20k first. I did not want a car payment over 700 dollars even though I could easily afford it. My main gripe NOW is that I have enough debt and my current car payment is 450. I JUST payed off my car... did I really want another payment? So, I know this doesn't pertain to your situation, but back when I "knew" I wanted or thought I "needed" a performance 85kwh, months of saving put things into perspective. Also, recently not having a car payment put things into perspective, now I am going for a fully loaded with super charger 60kwh and couldn't be happier with hat decision. You may have quite a wait on your hands anyway, I don't know if your doing this, but I would try to take the money you WOULD put on this car and put it into a back account for a large down payment. It may help your financial perspective of what money you won't have when you purchase the vehicle. I would also take the time to consider what would happen if you became unemployed, times are troubling unfortunately. For me my wife works, so having a lower monthly payment is again beneficial.

    3. I will get bored of the car after 5 years.

    If there was NO other car like the Model S (A full EV that could get outside he city with 200+ miles of range) I would not buy anything. I would sit on the gross amount of cash that is coming in without a car payment and invest it or put it towards my mortgage. I would get bored of any car that I buy however, even the model S. The Christmas present feeling will fade and if Tesla blows up with the Model S 3.0 that goes 400 Miles and is only 40,000 dollars in 5 years I will be kicking myself. For these reasons I made the analogy that I bought the iPad 1.0 with the lowest amount of memory, It's more then enough for me. I am supporting Apple with buying this product, they are making money and everyone is happy. Later, in 6 months when the iPad 2.0 comes out with double the space I won't feel so bad. If Tesla blows up and you buy something that isn't bleeding edge, you won't feel so bad when the newest Model S 3.0 is out for double the range and half the cost, in fact you would probably be able to better afford it.

    I hope that my not so well formatted post has helped you. I am by no means a Tesla fanboy to defend it to the ends of the earth, but I do believe they can be the next big thing for our technology. Hopefully I didn't come off crazy. :) I hope you choose a Tesla, let me know if there are any other questions you may have for me in my decision making. To give you some idea of my financial situation. I bring in maybe... 3600 a month, my bills sum out to maybe 1300 because I have no car payment. So, its obvious I could take a large loan out to just buy the top one, but again finances are very different from person to person and the choices therein. I am *cough cough* trying to become debt free and the Model S is NOT HELPING.
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It's a bit hard for me to offer advice because there is no way I would ever buy an Audi A7/S7, Range Rover Evoque, or a Merc E Coupe, or any other car with an ICE that was more than $30,000. Basically purchasing a Tesla consists of:

    1. Buying into Elon's vision of the future. If we don't solve the sustainable transportation problem in this century...

    2. Getting a car that is technically innovative rather than just a rehash of the last 100 years with a new skin (maybe).

    3. Getting away from fossil fuels without sacrifice. You don't have to make excuses.

    4. Getting away from the car dealer service. The black-box model of dealer service does not inspire confidence.

    For myself, I really dislike purchasing things that you only get a receipt for (like gas and electricity) and would rather spend more money up front.
     
  6. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    Man, that was a lot of typo's in my post. Hehe.

    I agree jerry, please go for a test ride before making a decision. In fact there was one poster that talked me out of the performance 85kwh and brought my perspective back to the standard 85kwh when they told me it was a much faster acceleration experience then my current V6 Mustang. Now I don't know how much you love performance, but I think the 85kwh may be enough acceleration for you.

    You can only know once you test drive :)
     
  7. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    Yup, test drove a P85 in Miami, and, with my wife driving, a non-perf in Dallas. I agree, it's a great drive, absolutely no criticism there.
     
  8. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Your finances scare me quite a lot. Call me old-school, but you should have a lot more saved than you do, to cover risk of unemployment, uninsured losses, and future retirement. In your shoes, I would save $500/month and buy a Volt.
     
  9. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    We frankly don't know enough about his finances. Though I would agree you need a bit more in savings, his wife may be taking up half the payment. I don't think this is a place for financial advice... unless pete asks if its a smart financial decision to get the vehicle. I don't know, he could always just save up for half the vehicle or a good chunk of it. The volt honestly is at what? 40k now? For only 30-40 miles of electric drive? I think the 40kwh base model S is a better purchase if it were to remain a communter. Honestly the best "Bang for the buck" is the 60kwh with supercharger if you are thinking about the future. If you aren't worried about long drives and you have a second vehicle (pete's wife may have a gas car) then the 40kwh is just as good a decision. To hard to tell.

    EDIT: Honestly pete sometimes we get sucked up in the hype and want the next big thing and were always searching for a reason to get the suspension or the bigger speakers. But I would say financially you probably won't be pissed at yourself if you went with something a bit toned down. Even if I could buy the performance 85kwh with no financing, I probably still wouldn't. Again, very different financial philosophy on my end and again I would probably put the savings to something else. The "Oh boy! Faster car!" will wear off me after awhile. Driving a EV won't however.
     
  10. shokunin

    shokunin P85 & S40

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    +1 I was thinking the same.

    There's a psychological pricing strategy Tesla is doing by subtracting the $7500 federal tax credit. Even though I have it all properly listed out on my Excel spreadsheet, the jaw drops when you get your final MVPA to sign off and it's six figures for P85. Then to add prepaid service, aftermarket paint protection fim and tint and I don't want to think about it sometimes as it 2x as much as I've EVER paid for a car.

    Even if you qualify for the tax credit, you're still fronting the cash until you get the credit and you're paying sales tax and registration fees on that $7500.
     
  11. jimbakker666

    jimbakker666 Member

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    Agreed. It sounds like you'd be sinking an awful lot into a vehicle (and a company) that is still working out all the bugs. If you believe in Tesla, invest in them and use the return you *may* get to buy gen 3 (or even the X). At least then you wouldn't be so committed financially.
     
  12. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    I think this is the sanest advice anyone could give another right now. I have a feeling that we all look at the Model S and let our imaginations run wild a bit. Tesla has a great marketing department, and if there ever was an automobile bandwagon, this surely is a time to jump on it and "be the first", an "early adopter" or have "bragging rights" about owning one of the coolest cars in the United States right now. This is a car that everyone will be talking about in 6-12m and everyone will want to own in the next couple of years.

    The sad fact of things is that this car, with good options and range, is well out of the price range of what 95% of people can afford. Suddenly, because this is such a revolutionary concept and such a cool car, 95% of people are thinking that they can afford this car by drawing from their 401ks, selling this and that, or taking out $50k, $60k, $70k loans! For what? This to me is the most incomprehensible financial strategy that I have heard since 2007 when everyone felt they should own expensive cars, rack up the credit cards, and pay for over-priced homes.

    I am very fortunate to have saved a bit such that my liability will only be about $15k or so when paying for the Model S. And, yes, I too have felt the "need" to upgrade from a 60 kWh to an 85 kWh and now I'm thinking P85! It's insane what hype and marketing will do to someone. However, I'm backing down to the 85 kWh again and may in fact downgrade to the 60 kWh model -- one I decided made more sense in May when I reserved it.

    It's a big financial decision. I don't think most of us would be buying $85k ICE cars. No way. I don't think one should rationalize it as "prepaying" for 10 years of gas. If you're rationalizing it as prepaying for 10 years of gas, buy a Leaf or a Volt and you'll still be prepaying for gas, but for a less expensive car. Sure, not as glamorous. But more sensible. Or better yet, wait until Gen III.

    But, I have to agree with Robert.Boston. You may be hit by a bus next year and be out of work. Buy based on what you currently can afford. Relying on low interest rates is just foolish.
     
  13. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Or the bus make take you out and you only live once!
     
  14. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    The key difference here is that he says he expects to get bored in three years and want a new car. As discussed in El Supreme's thread, the total cost of ownership of a car goes up massively the fewer years you keep the car. If you keep the car ten years, it's much more affordable than to keep it less than five years.

    I'm with Robert Boston on this one. I can't figure out what someone with little savings is doing buying any car over $40k. Unless you're willing to keep any car well over five years, I would strongly suggest that you downgrade your wish list substantially, and get something to tide you over until GenIII comes out.
     
  15. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    Honestly if pete just saves up monthly for a large down payment his loan will be far less then if he hadn't saved up at all for the 85kwh. If his time comes up sooner then he could afford, he can always push back the date. Like Kevin 15k - 30k may be a loan pete can handle, it is a number I am shooting for I just only started saving though a few months ago so it may take me longer.

    The best financial choice here may be, if you really want the Model S save for it, if you don't feel you can save for it purchase something less expensive. Even though I played down the Volt earlier, I hear is it a nice car. Though I still hold that the Model S 40kwh would be a better purchase over it if you have a second car for long trips.
     
  16. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Haha! Good one. It's funny: I was thinking that as well. More often in my business, you survive the bus hit and perhaps wish you were taken out.
     
  17. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    I agree with the both of you. The solution might be for the OP to wait until Tesla has a lease available for the MSP. This strategy, answers the boredom problem and doesn't overtax his financial reserve.
     
  18. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    For someone who will likely want a new car in 3 years, a lease does sound like the way to go.
     
  19. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    Agreed. Purchase only if you are certain that you want to spend that kind of money on an investment with diminishing returns.
     
  20. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    +1 for the lease solution.

    Or maybe get a Roadster on lease for a few years.

    I'm curious why every car on his list is relatively large though. It could be a Model S is the only thing that will fit his needs, so we're back to leasing as a known cost over 3 years. And the option to buy after 3 years if not bored with it.
     

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