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This is dangerous - for my wallet. Another should I thread.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by JMG, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. JMG

    JMG Member

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    I know, this is not smart. Coming to a Tesla enthusiast forum to ask this question. Like walking into a Star Wars fan rally and asking around if I should watch the movie or not....(although it doesn't cost $100k to watch Star Wars, so maybe that's a bad analogy). And in the end, I know these types of questions can only truly be answered by me, because only I know my situation. But its still fun to get independent and unbiased (right? :wink:) opinions. So here it goes anyways. *Caution, I tend to be long-winded, so if you don't care to read, no hard feelings.

    Up until 3 days ago, I wouldn't have even known what a Model S is. I knew slightly what Tesla was and who Mr. Musk was...but that was about it. That darn CNN Money article about the Tesla S and Consumer Reports ranking it on top for 2 years in a row, made me raise my eyebrows. Then I saw the rave reviews from the current owners. I had 0% interest in changing my vehicle right now, and here I am...3 days later...reading practically everything I can on the Model S, watching youtube videos, doing math in the shower...I even dreamed about charging last night. Sigh.

    I tend to get these types of things in my head and have a hard time letting them go until either A) I buy it or B) I come across a firm and logical reason for not going with Option A.

    So I'm still in this phase, and until I can figure out which option I'm going with...it's going to eat away at me.

    A little info on me.

    Early 30's, married, 2 kids, small business owner, live in a rural part of the country where cost of living is low, and I live about 35 miles away from my office. Currently I'm driving a gas guzzling 2011 Tahoe, and I (or business) am paying $400-$500 a month in gas. My company bought my vehicle back in 2010, and I have about 130k miles on it now. It has given me no problems at all, and the vehicle before that was a 2002 Tahoe that had 208k miles on it.

    I consider myself to be fairly financially conservative aside from a few things every now and then. We just put in a swimming pool last year and that was a major financial decision and one that didn't come without a lot of thought (and as a matter of fact, I did this same thing on a swimming pool enthusiasts forum. I need to stay away from forums apparently.) We are saving for retirement at a fairly aggressive clip, saving for kids college, and no debt aside from our mortgage. My business is very stable and generates a very steady flow of income that would take a major industry-wide event to have an appreciable effect. The business and/or I could handle a $1500 /mo car payment with no problems (assuming $100k 60 months).

    So right now, here are my current worries:

    1) The elitist effect. We are very conscientious of trying not to look like we're trying to show off. That's why we currently drive a Chevy and a GMC. In our small rural communities, even a Lexus will generate the perception that John Smith is just throwing money away and trying to show off. I know this vehicle turns heads, and I kind of like the fact that from one angle it could look like just your standard sedan and another angle you're like "Whoa is that a Maserati?" Have any of you found any negative social connotations with buying a $100k vehicle? I know in a neighborhood where Range Rovers and Mercedes are the norm, it would be no big deal. But driving around in a town where my vehicle cost twice as much as the majority of the homes here would really make me second guess myself, and wander if I'm really just being too materialistic.

    2) The sheer fact of spending $100k on a depreciating asset just kills me. Just a week ago if I saw my neighbor drive up in a brand new Jaguar, of course I'd be googling it, and then telling my wife at dinner that night, "Can you believe the Jones' spent a HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS on a vehicle? Those poor children..." It seems to be that if I'm going to buy this car, I have to throw all financial sense out of the window. I can't look someone in the eye and justifiably say, "Yeah, well I wanted to save $500 a month on gas because, you know, I drive a lot to work." Because the obvious retort to that is, "Oh yeah for sure. Spending an extra $50-$60k on a car to save $5000 a year in gas totally makes sense". I would assume that most of you bought this vehicle because you wanted it, and not for the practicality of it (even taking into account the "full tank every morning" and "no more fill ups in freezing weather" etc.)? I realize there is real value in having enjoyment out of your car, especially if you spend so much time in it. Otherwise I could just go buy a Volt :-(

    3) I've never owned a sedan before. Here out in the rural parts of the country...guys either drive a truck...or a truck (in some cases an SUV like me, which is still unusual). I love fast cars and I enjoyed the heck out of driving my wife's old Toyota Camry V6 SE when we had to switch vehicles on occasion. Perhaps this shouldn't be a real worry after all.

    4 - 16) Again, just the money. I just have this bad feeling in my stomach that I would have immediate buyer's remorse for spending that much money on something like a car. Not a business, or house, or weekend home (any of those that would hold or appreciate in value), and especially giving where I live. I don't mean to make it sound like I live in the slums, because my house is in a decent middle to upper middle class neighorhood (homes anywhere from $120k to $450k). But where I work tends to be in a little more economically stressed areas. I realize that no one would continue to be on this forum if they decided that they had made a mistake and sold it anyways. I guess if that really happened, these cars seem like they hold their value really well and I could sell it and recover a lot of my money if I did go down that road.

    Again, mainly this is just be venting and putting some thoughts down somewhere. I'll welcome any and all comments, suggestions. Thanks!
     
  2. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Everyone talks about the car being $100K. My S60 was $70K minus $7,500 federal tax credit and no sales tax (NJ) so it was effectively around $58K which is the exact same MSRP as my wife's 2014 GMC Adadia Denali. Plus, the savings on gas and low maintenance and it becomes even more "justifiable". Add to that the fun factor of how great the driving experience is and the convenience of home charging and it is easy to justify.

    With a 35 mile commute to work, I would think 200 miles is plenty of range for your typical day.
     
  3. JMG

    JMG Member

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    Agreed, and good point. However, I know me, and I'd want the 85 for the added safety net as I do travel for business from time to time. Plus, I'd want the tech package, 21" wheels, etc etc. I wouldn't want to spend $70k on a car that I didn't get at least 90% of my wants.

    Good points though, thanks!
     
  4. Mike_Schlechter

    Mike_Schlechter Model S - P457

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    It is always fun to hear about the discovery phase from folks.

    I've had my Model S about as long as anyone who isn't a signature holder, so I've had many conversations with people about whether to buy and why and things like perception. For me, I'm not a flashy person, and this is by far the most expensive sticker price for a car I've ever bought. However, I drive a lot and once you start looking at total cost of ownership that sticker seems a lot lower.

    So, to the perception of luxury side of the equation, two thoughts. First, it isn't really anyone else's business what you spend on a car. That said, if interrogated, or you have an ornery in law who demands an explanation of your purchase (speaking on specific experience here), do the math. With the cost per mile, times miles drive, plus things like tax incentives, and free charging you see that owning this car is like owning a camry after X number of years, only a lot cooler.

    Owning a sedan is one thing, but the MS is more of a hatch back. I'm continually amazed at the storage space.

    The thing you will want to think about are the roads and the wheels. I have 19"s on mine, and have still managed to taco a rim and had a friend taco two (a cop - don't let a cop drive your MS). If your roads are rough you will wait the air suspension.

    This is a long term buy. No matter how you justify it, you can't think about the initial cost, the depreciation or the perception issues. I still get eyebrows raised at me when folks learn I own a Tesla. I'm over it. I don't spend freely on other things (point in fact, the shoes I'm wearing as I write this have been resoled three times.... why by new ones, when I can get these fixed up), but this worked for me. I do live in a solar powered house and am very green, so there was that angle for me, but regardless I would have ended up in the Model S. Once I drove it I was hooked. Actually, it was a ride in the Alpha prototype, after I'd made my $5k deposit.

    Almost 27 months later and I have no regrets at all.

    Sorry for the ramble - wrote this on an iphone while ignoring a conference call....
     
  5. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

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    Hello JMG. I have other posts also pondering the purchase of a vehicle costing 2X more than any other car investment. Some immediate differences I am currently in a BMW family, and nearly twice your age.

    As far as the elitist effect, not much you can do about it unless you can convince those who's opinion matters to you about the social/environmental benefits of aBEV. Personally I do not drive trucks, don't even like SUV's so the S is just up my alley. However, being able to afford it is only a small part of the decision equation. But there are several factors that are a plus to you:
    -You can purchase as a business vehicle with associated write-offs
    -The S can carry so much stuff it may functionally be equivalent to your Tahoe
    -You drive a lot of miles per year and will get excellent value out of the 8 year unlimited mile drivetrain warranty
    -You currently drive a PIG, MPG wise thus the fuels savings will make a considerable dent in offsetting payments. For example I currently drive about 18K miles a year on a car that averages over 30 MPG thus the fuel savings for me is almost insignificant relative to the payments. But this plus value you can get out of the 8 year warranty will probably make the TCO not that much different than the Tahoe. I do not think you would be throwing all (some maybe but not all) financial sense out the window.
    -Your children can ride in a car with top safety ratings
    -You get to enjoy the largest change to transportation since the model T
    -You can be proud to be an early adopter

    But about being an early adopter. Fantastic and unbelievable car, but when something does go wrong it will typically end up on a flat bed This includes poor management of battery charge. Having tolerance of being an early adopter is part of being an owner. This is one of my personal obstacles for such a purchase. I look forward to being an early adopter, my wife, not so much, especially at the high cost of admission. My wife wants to preserve this type of $$ should it be needed in our retirement (we're in good shape on that front already). Thus I do consider such a purchase a family decision (the kids will definitely say yes).

    Just some food for thought, which is what I believe you are seeking.
     
  6. jpwe10

    jpwe10 Member

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    #6 jpwe10, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    Hi JMG and welcome to the forums!

    I was in the same position as you a year ago. I was driving a 2002 Tahoe with 200k miles on it (now my son's beater car), and before that I was in a 1996 Tahoe. I run a non-profit where most of my clients cars are between the $15k-35k mark (though one of them got a Model S which I like to think from due to my recommendation :smile:), and I had the same worries as you for the "elitist effect". I had also never spent over $20k on a car (my kids called me a "cheapo"), never bought a new car, and never bought a luxury car of any sort. This was new territory to me entirely.

    Fast forward to June of 2014. To make a long story short, I ended up buying a slightly used inventory S85 for about $90k. After 8 months of ownership, I must say it has been one of the best decisions I have every made. Just the pure joy of ownership is amazing! I love everything about it - except the fact that I didn't get the Performance package - but who am I to complain?! Waking up with a full "tank" everyday is wonderful, the car getting better and better with software updates, paying $40 a month for fuel (I drive quite a bit - 20k miles in 8 months), the EXCELLENT sales and service team, and, of course, the acceleration! There is nothing I can find about this car that I don't like!

    All you need to do is drive it and take the plunge. It is so worth it. Plus, they have business leasing ;-)

    One more thing - I've tested the total storage space with our Tahoe and with our Tesla. We filled the Tahoe with a various assortment of bags and boxes, until it was almost blocking the entire rear view. We then took that stuff out and immediately transfered it to the Tesla, filling the trunk and frunk. Everything fit except one small backpack. We did this with the seats up in both cars and no third row in the Tahoe. The Model S has a deceiving amount of space.
     
  7. RyanT

    RyanT Member

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    I'd say go test drive the car, and see what you think after that. The best parts about going electric is upping the fun factor by quite a bit and being able to charge at home having a full tank every day.

    The model S has a ton of storage space. It's also an easier decision to get on the accelerator since it doesn't attract as much attention as a high revving engine. The car does kind of look expensive when you see it in person but not as much as some other vehicles.
     
  8. xytor

    xytor Roadster #221

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    This. Test driving is free and easy. If you're at the point where you're asking the forums, then this is a no-brainer. I test drove the Model S twice, just for fun. (P85 and P85D). I was also a passenger in it when a service tech mashed the accelerator. Those were awesome experiences and I think you should do it before thinking about the money.
     
  9. JMG

    JMG Member

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    I knew should've stayed away. You're making too many good logical points.

    I need to go unplug the ethernet cable quickly.

    GREAT stuff guys. Glad to know I wouldn't be the only one jumping straight into unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable territory. Albeit, in 2010 the sticker price for my Tahoe was $48k. So the same Tahoe today is $65k.

    I probably should NOT take a test drive until I've made up my mind. I know once I test drive it, it'll be done and over with.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. sickfox

    sickfox Member

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    Test driving the car WILL seal the deal. Don't do it if you're not prepared to press the submit button in your MS P85D configuration. :tongue:
     
  11. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Go for it JMG.

    I had a number of the same concerns and like you affordability was not one of them. In the end I decided to take the leap. I concluded that I was not just going to be buying a one-of-a-kind great car but joining a cause. That sealed the deal.
     
  12. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

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    You think just like me. I never test drive a car unless there is at least a possibility that I may purchase it. Tasting forbidden fruit can be extremely dangerous. Both my wife and I have test driven a P85 about 6 months ago. She DID like the experience but the $$$ was still an issue.
     
  13. Victory

    Victory Member

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    Based on how long you keep your cars for (8 years on the previous Tahoe), the gas savings alone could pay for this car in itself. At $500 a month on gas, you're spending $6k a year on gas. If you keep this car for 10 years, that will mean you have saved ~$60k on gas, and add that to the remaining value of your Model S ~$20k (conservative estimate at 20%), that would mean your cost of ownership relative to the Tahoe would have been only $20k or $2k a year over 10 years. Compare this to your gas car, assuming you bought the car for $40k and $60k spent on gas, your total cost of ownership comes up to $100k (same as the sticker of the Tesla), but I doubt the $40k car would still have $20k value on it (probably closer to $10k).

    Annualized over 10 years, the Tesla makes much more financial sense. If you get rid of the car in less years, the car becomes less worth it but still very close based on your driving habits.
     
  14. Griffinlair

    Griffinlair Member

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    I, like you, researched and researched. I drove my wife crazy by the number of times I would lean over to her on the couch and say "you gotta watch this Tesla crush this sports car". She is the one that suggested going for a test drive. I warned her just how dangerous that is. I crunched the numbers so I could convince myself I could afford it, whether it is a good financial investment is a different debate. But I knew if I drove it, we'd own one. I drove first, then she did. When we got back to the store, she's asking me "so which color do you want"?
     
  15. Teslawisher

    Teslawisher Member

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    Great post! and welcome to the forum. As a NON-OWNER (not by choice BTW), I really enjoy these kinds of posts and the feedback given. I do feel I can add a small tidbit extra here. Regarding part of your story I quoted above... Take that $5,000 and be sure to multiply it by years of assumed ownership. Let's say 5 years, but subtract approx. $500/yr for your new "fuel" you'll be paying for. You have now paid $50-$60k extra on a car to save $22,500 in gas. The longer you own it, the more it is. Now, your $100,000 car is close to $78,000. Drive it another 3 years past the initial 5 and it's $64,000. Then, start factoring in all the extra stuff (similar cargo, full tank at home, freakin' awesome car!, being more responsible with the environment, etc. etc. etc.). Maybe the decision gets easier.

    Good luck on your decision!! FWIW, I am quite the same on the decision-making style front. :)

    Edit: I see Victory beat me to it by 2 minutes. Great minds...!!!
     
  16. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If you are looking to reduce cost you may not want the 21" rims. They do look much better but if cost and grabbing attention are the main concerns that's one area you can save on. Tread life is around 10-15,000 miles so adds a fair amount per year on top of the $4,500 I think it costs to add them. 85kWh a good idea in Texas I think and the tech package is worth it too.
     
  17. fadkar

    fadkar Member

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    Oh no. This is the exact phase that I went through last month. And here I am awaiting for my delivery date... Aside from the fact that owning such a new product can sometimes come with a few quirks, there really is no reason to not buy the car. This car is so awesome. I made the mistake to test drive it during my phase of uncertainty and that only compelled me to place my order that much quicker. I'd suggest getting a "D" model so it'll pretty much replace your SUVs functionality perfectly. Of course, the storage space will be very comparable to your SUV but it'll be a whole hell of a lot more fun to drive!
     
  18. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    You're not going to find anything in the "B" category, so you may as well just put in an order now so your wait (pain) is reduced.
     
  19. JMG

    JMG Member

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    You guys are awesome...or..horrible, depending on your point of view.

    That is SO hilarious Griffin. Literally, last night in the kitchen, I started off the conversation with, "Honey, you're going to think I'm crazy...but...what if.." and soon thereafter I'm bringing up "Model S vs Ferrari" videos, and she's trying to cook dinner with screaming kids on her legs and gives me the look of "Are you serious right now?"

    And fadkar, great post as well. I fear I might be heading down the same path....scary.

    And good point about the functionality as well. The only times my Tahoe is really "needed" is to pull my trailer to pick up things, which is vary rare, and can be done by my wife's Acadia. Hauling the dogs to the boarders (Acadia, again), and Costco trips. And I'm convince that I probably would have almost the same if not more storage room than my Tahoe.

    Sigh, this is scary.:scared:
     
  20. donv

    donv Member

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    It sounds like you can afford it, but are worried about the perception and just the psychology of buying something that expensive. Fair enough-- in that case, I would suggest that you buy a used one.

    There are lots of used ones on the market, and if someone asks you, you can tell them that, sure it's expensive, but you bought it used. That seems to help with the perception.

    Psychologically, you can know that some other poor fool took the initial depreciation hit, and you're saving a bunch of money by buying used.
     

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