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Stepping up from a Prius - any advice?

cezdoc

Member
Aug 15, 2015
527
808
Aberdeen, UK
Hello all. I currently drive a 2009 Toyota Prius and have started looking at options for replacing it. Initially I was looking at plug-in hybrid options but have had my head turned by the Tesla Model S, especially as I was lucky enough to have a test drive in one a couple of weeks ago.

I believe the car would be an excellent solution for my driving habits: urban commuting (which any EV car would cope with) plus more one or two trips from NE Scotland down south (which is where the MS + the ever expanding supercharger network come into their own).

I would be a private buyer and can afford to buy outright if it's the best deal for me, but what would I be letting myself in for in terms of owning and running a car in the luxury/premium league? For example a full set of Prius tyres recently cost me £300, insurance is just over £200, I can happily park it most places without worrying (who'd want to nick a Prius?!) - that sort of thing.

I'd be interested to hear thoughts/anecdotes from any current MS drivers or owners of other £60K+ cars - can you sleep at night without worrying about your pride & joy parked outside, or how much a dent in the door is going to cost to repair?! thanks!
 

Electric700

Active Member
May 21, 2013
1,782
444
Florida, United States
Welcome to the forum!

I had a lot of the same concerns as you before I got my Model S, but am very happy with the decision I made. Do you have a garage or an area that is well lit at night where you can park and charge the car?

Overall, I'm very impressed with the design of the Model S including its liquid cooled/heated battery. Also, the free Supercharger network is really great.
 
Hello all. I currently drive a 2009 Toyota Prius and have started looking at options for replacing it. Initially I was looking at plug-in hybrid options but have had my head turned by the Tesla Model S, especially as I was lucky enough to have a test drive in one a couple of weeks ago.

I believe the car would be an excellent solution for my driving habits: urban commuting (which any EV car would cope with) plus more one or two trips from NE Scotland down south (which is where the MS + the ever expanding supercharger network come into their own).

I would be a private buyer and can afford to buy outright if it's the best deal for me, but what would I be letting myself in for in terms of owning and running a car in the luxury/premium league? For example a full set of Prius tyres recently cost me £300, insurance is just over £200, I can happily park it most places without worrying (who'd want to nick a Prius?!) - that sort of thing.

I'd be interested to hear thoughts/anecdotes from any current MS drivers or owners of other £60K+ cars - can you sleep at night without worrying about your pride & joy parked outside, or how much a dent in the door is going to cost to repair?! thanks!

Without knowing your specific situation it's impossible to guess on insurance, but you can safely assume rather more than the Prius. The Model S is the least stolen car in the US - theft is a completely irrelevant worry. Bodywork repairs are expensive (but that's true of just about all cars, including on a Prius) and I guess the width does make dents a bit more likely in UK car parks.

If you avoid the 21" wheels the tyres will last a long time and are not super-expensive, but more than on the Prius - perhaps £150 a corner, every 25,000 miles (ignoring nails, etc).

But the big challenge you will have living in Aberdeen is nothing to do with it being a luxury car. It's this: Tesla Service Centers in United Kingdom | Tesla Motors UK

The nearest service centre to you is 400 miles away, and realistically you WILL need to take the car there perhaps three times in the first year (bound to be some early snagging issues), and twice a year after that (assuming you have it serviced, plus one other visit). Can you bear either the time and effort of travelling yourself (assuming it hasn't developed a fault that means it can't be driven), or the cost of having the car transported by flatbed? I'm not trying to suggest it's an unreliable car; just being realistic!
 

ArtInCT

Always Learning
Sep 2, 2014
1,713
435
Southern Connecticut
Well here in the states, I too have a Prius 2013 Level 4 loaded with all options. My auto insurance on future P90D will increase my insurance by about $700 annually mostly because of the value difference between the two autos. This probably has no bearing on costs in your geography.
 

pbceng

Member
Aug 9, 2015
42
4
UK
I replaced my original 2006 Prius with a Plug in gen 3 model in 2013 because at the time there weren't any EVs on the market that stood a chance of coping with my commute. If it's any help, although the new Prius is much more economical and has better handling (not saying a lot), I don't like it anything as much as the first one. I don't find the seating position comfortable for more than half an hour, I don't like the fussy interior, the in car screen with it's nav system and entertainment features is very poorly designed and in my opinion the level of road noise on the highway is completely unacceptable for a £35k car.

As a result, rather than keeping it for 150-200k miles I'm now looking to replace it after 45k and the favourite at the moment is a Tesla Model S 70D or possibly an 85D. I made the mistake of getting a test drive yesterday and even though I was expecting a lot, was very impressed.
 

cezdoc

Member
Aug 15, 2015
527
808
Aberdeen, UK
Welcome to the forum!

I had a lot of the same concerns as you before I got my Model S, but am very happy with the decision I made. Do you have a garage or an area that is well lit at night where you can park and charge the car?

Overall, I'm very impressed with the design of the Model S including its liquid cooled/heated battery. Also, the free Supercharger network is really great.

Thanks for the welcome!
Parking at home should be fine for me - I have off-street parking and hope to get a new garage built in the next few months - it may take a while but I've decided the garage will be step 1 of achieving my goal of becoming a MS owner! At the very least I should have flexibility to install an EV charging point for some kind of electric or PHEV vehicle.
 

cezdoc

Member
Aug 15, 2015
527
808
Aberdeen, UK
I replaced my original 2006 Prius with a Plug in gen 3 model in 2013 because at the time there weren't any EVs on the market that stood a chance of coping with my commute. If it's any help, although the new Prius is much more economical and has better handling (not saying a lot), I don't like it anything as much as the first one. I don't find the seating position comfortable for more than half an hour, I don't like the fussy interior, the in car screen with it's nav system and entertainment features is very poorly designed and in my opinion the level of road noise on the highway is completely unacceptable for a £35k car.

As a result, rather than keeping it for 150-200k miles I'm now looking to replace it after 45k and the favourite at the moment is a Tesla Model S 70D or possibly an 85D. I made the mistake of getting a test drive yesterday and even though I was expecting a lot, was very impressed.

When I started researching replacement cars a couple of months ago I discovered that in the UK many PHEV cars start around £30K AND they are unlikely to be discounted. This meant the gap to an entry level Tesla (at £50K before options) was not nearly as big as I thought and to my surprise what is in essence a pretty good realisation of my dream car became a realistic proposition! I really like my what my Prius has offered in terms of economy and practicality (if not looks :confused:) but the plug-in version seems over-priced and too compromised despite the concept fitting my driving habits. I think Mitsubishi have done a better job pricing their Outlander PHEV at the same level as the diesel but SUV's just aren't for me.

Like you I had high expectations for the test drive, and am happy to say I wasn't disappointed. Good luck finding a replacement for the Prius!
 

rapoport3a

Member
Apr 30, 2014
372
91
Ontario
The distance for service looks a problem. How do others in Britain handle that? Or anywhere when the distance is too big.

FWIW, when (in a different country) we compared the insurance on our basic Prius to that on a fairly basic Model S85, the Tesla's insurance cost $30 LESS.
 

cezdoc

Member
Aug 15, 2015
527
808
Aberdeen, UK
...

The nearest service centre to you is 400 miles away, and realistically you WILL need to take the car there perhaps three times in the first year (bound to be some early snagging issues), and twice a year after that (assuming you have it serviced, plus one other visit). Can you bear either the time and effort of travelling yourself (assuming it hasn't developed a fault that means it can't be driven), or the cost of having the car transported by flatbed? I'm not trying to suggest it's an unreliable car; just being realistic!

Second attempt at replying (not sure where the first one went)...

Thanks for the really helpful insights.

I like the "least stolen US car" stat - that's reassuring! I've read another recent thread on the UK forum discussing insurance, and it sounds like there are insurers out there who are aware of the car and have realsitic requirements regarding things anti-theft devices. Higher premiums for a bigger, faster car with an aluminium body are to be expected. Other than that, no-one has flagged any costly ownership issues that I might have missed.

I spoke one of the (Bristol) Tesla staff about the practicalities of service and repairs after my test drive. They were very helpful but at the end of the day it's my responsibility to decide how realistic their suggestions are! What I do know is that there are already some owners in my area, and Tesla could contact them on my behalf to find out what arrangements they have in place. Also my wife has family in the Midlands area, so I might be able to convince her a MS would give us a reason to visit more often :smile:. So not impossible but point taken that I should consider the practicalities of 2-3 visits to a service centre each year.

For me it will take a while (maybe 6-12 months) before I could be ready to put down a deposit. In the meantime I've been impressed by how Tesla has expanded in the UK recently and hope their march north will continue. The Bristol staff said something about an upcoming Newcastle showroom and I think the Tesla blog mentions plans for an Edinburgh store. It doesn't seem unrealistic to hope that service centres will eventually follow.

Fingers crossed but thanks again for the reality check!
 

smac

Active Member
Aug 4, 2013
1,745
851
Nottinghamshire
I agree with mgboyes on this.

My nearest SC was 150 miles away when I picked it up, and even though the car needed stuff "snagging" I just put up with it until Birmingham opened. Even though this is much closer it still requires logistics. I hadn't quite realised what a PITA this would be. A day out to get problems sorted is a lot different to a slight detour on the way to the office as you would for pretty much every other mainstream car :(

I'd also be nervous of relying on plans/speculation for Service Centres opening. It takes a while to become a full Service Centres, they start off as showrooms and in the case of Birmingham it took months after the official opening before they became fully operational. (Staff training, equipment etc. etc.)

Finally I'd add they also seem very stretched at the moment. I'm looking at a 5 week wait before the earliest slot to do my annual service becomes available :(
 

arg

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 22, 2012
1,817
1,821
Cambridge, UK
I have off-street parking and hope to get a new garage built in the next few months

Build it good and wide!

My Model S doesn't fit (at all) into my garage at home and is a somewhat snug fit into what I previously considered a large garage at another place I go. Length is not much of an issue in either garage, but width certainly is.
 

pbceng

Member
Aug 9, 2015
42
4
UK
If it's any help, I asked the question about servicing and the Birmingham SC suggested it was completely optional but that it might be worth considering a yearly or bi-yearly service visit just to make sure. They confirmed that whether you service or not does not affect the warranty - never come across that before!

Their comment was that with he high region level the brakes don't wear as fast, being electro-mechanically actuated there's no brake fluid to go off, the only coolant circuits are for the battery and motor, so basically regular servicing is mainly checking brakes, tires etc and topping the windscreen wash off. The Service Centre will also check alignment, any bolts that have loosened off etc, all the rest is done remotely over the air - if the car registers a problem it lets Tesla know so they can consider if any action is necessary and contact the driver.

I have definitely fallen in love with this car!
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,904
3,411
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
I agree with mgboyes on this.

My nearest SC was 150 miles away when I picked it up, and even though the car needed stuff "snagging" I just put up with it until Birmingham opened. Even though this is much closer it still requires logistics. I hadn't quite realised what a PITA this would be. A day out to get problems sorted is a lot different to a slight detour on the way to the office as you would for pretty much every other mainstream car :(

Just remember, those other cars NEED a lot more service, and they've had a hundred years to build up that very unsatisfactory aspect of owning "every other mainstream car".

I think it's worth it. Sorry its a PITA for you.

And for what it's worth, I have always paid nothing for service or maintenance, gotten a free loaner, and it was never crowded. That's California. It may be that when Tesla gets built out, it will be less wait and problem for everyone everywhere. But I still travel a hundred miles for a (rare) visit, and fit it into a trip to see relatives.
 

smac

Active Member
Aug 4, 2013
1,745
851
Nottinghamshire
Just remember, those other cars NEED a lot more service, and they've had a hundred years to build up that very unsatisfactory aspect of owning "every other mainstream car".

I think it's worth it. Sorry its a PITA for you.

And for what it's worth, I have always paid nothing for service or maintenance, gotten a free loaner, and it was never crowded. That's California. It may be that when Tesla gets built out, it will be less wait and problem for everyone everywhere. But I still travel a hundred miles for a (rare) visit, and fit it into a trip to see relatives.

I'm not sure I agree.

My previous car had 18 month / 24k mile intervals, so on my 3 year contract, it had to go to the dealership once in it's life. It was delivered to my office FOC, driven around faultlessly, then collected again FOC from my office on contract expiry. The single service it did need meant a 3 mile diversion on my way to work.

Contrast this to the Model S. It has already had to go back for "snagging" 4 times (the doors didn't line up, the onboard charger broke, the rear high level brake lights had blown bulbs, the cabin was creaking to the point of distraction). Coupled with the fact there are long waits (it's a 6 week wait at the Birmingham centre right now, just for a service/inspection).

Only yesterday the drivers side door card came away. Rather than mess about, I fixed it myself by punching it.... (I guess you can tell I'm a little frustrated)

So yes maybe in the US, a model S is a better proposition, and maybe they have got better at QC. But in the UK, living so far away from a SC I'd be nervous.
 

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