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Two Years with the Tesla Model S

Discussion in 'Blog Archive' started by dmetcalf, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. dmetcalf

    dmetcalf S258

    Jun 2, 2012
    Merritt Island, FL
    David Metcalf

    Next week will mark 2 years of owning my Tesla Model S. I also passed the 50,000 mile mark two weeks ago. I thought I would share a few impressions from the thrill of initial ownership, to being the first to complete Elon Musk's 400 Mile Challenge/Production Vehicle World Record for the Longest Drive on One Charge, to settling into daily driving what many of us believe is the best car ever built. I have also been tracking costs and stats very closely to get a true 2 year glimpse of why buying a Tesla has been a smart financial decision for me and may be for you too. Beyond the obvious facts presented, I'd be lying if I tried to deny that owning the Tesla Model S has brought about positive life changes that as a generally conservative/frugal person, I never would have attributed to a car.

    When I first researched and signed up for the car, it was quite a mental stretch to think about buying such an expensive, depreciating asset. Even though I could afford it, I had never bought a car over $35,000 and thinking about $50,000 at the time seemed to be quite a justification. Fortunately, I drive around 100 business miles a day so had plenty of justification that actually worked out nicely on paper. It was enough to justify the Model S Signature cost and show the car paying for itself in a little less that 4 years and paying for the car plus 12 years of operating expenses in a little over 6 years. I am happy to report that most of my math and estimates were correct, but I do only average 372Wh/mi due to heavy highway driving on roads with average speeds above 65mph for 80% of my daily driving. Electricity cost in our area averages 9.5 cents/kWh.

    Like most Model S owners, I have chewed through tires quickly compared to other vehicles I have driven. Averaging a new set of 2 tires every 15,000 miles has led to 6 tires so far with about 1/4 of the tread left on the most recent set of 2. Slight overinflation, a minor rear camber adjustment from Tesla service and long distance driving on relatively smooth roads, along with a change to cheaper Hankook Ventus V12s has led to some improvement in cost per mile.

    In both cases, remember that your mileage may vary.

    I have also cheated a bit by only taking into account the additional cost of insuring the Tesla ($554) over the cost of my Sebring since insurance is a sunk cost and had other increases unrelated to the car (changes in liability, other vehicles added and a ticket : ( ).

    Total cost is about 6.6 cents per mile so far. Assuming all continues to work for at least the 8 years of the battery and motor warranty period. From there we can all hope for the best but this is the unknown risk many of us have taken in purchasing an innovative product. I have always driven my vehicles into the ground, keeping cars 13+ years or longer. I hope this is true of the Model S as well.

    Part of why I will most likely keep the car for a long time is both the iconic status of the car (award after award and a major first for redefining the category) and my own nostalgic memories from my son, Adam and I breaking the world record and also completing Elon Musk's 400 mile challenge. for more on this you can see the thread here on TMC or under customer stories on Tesla's site I will never forget the excitement and encouragement from everyone at Tesla Motors including George Blankenship, JB Streubel, and Elon Musk and the positive effect it had on my son. Thank you all. If I wasn't already totally sold out for Tesla, the experience and much higher media attention than I expected sealed my commitment.

    That brings me to my final point that is much harder to quantify- it's the idea that somehow, owning this car has made me a more thoughtful and engaged driver and person. Driving 100 miles+ every workday saves me time (no gas stops), makes me a more efficient driver (regen and thoughtful timing of lights and passing strategies) and gives me the peace of mind that I am saving money and making a lighter environmental footprint. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I love supporting innovation and being an early adopter on the underdog "bet" that Tesla would be such a winner in so many ways. I was a bit worried about how others would react to the car, but have been so pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response and excitement just by seeing one, even now 2 years later. people seems to be excited about their chance coming with the Model III and love the anticipation of their own future with electric cars. From day one, I have let friends, family, influencers and fans have a chance to test drive or borrow the car and experience what I am blessed to enjoy every day. This reinforces both the goodwill and my own joy- i still don't think I take it for granted. It has also lead to some interesting relationships with my local and regional community, concerned with many causes like our environment, economic development and charities. I have donated "appearances", rally/parade use, and even auctioned test drives to raise awareness and significant money for a variety of worthy causes. I never would have suspected that buying a high-end car that at first seemed a bit selfish, would allow me to be generous with it and build goodwill and relationships with great people who have broadened my horizons and are helping our world. The mobile technology innovations in the car have even been a source of interest in some of our research efforts at University of Central Florida, especially as we enter the era of self-driving cars and advanced mobile capabilities combined.

    While I am sure this article seems overly positive from a researcher, I can't quite be dispassionate and removed from something that has had so many positive effects. Instead of a scholarly treatise, maybe just consider it a simple Thank you note to Tesla with some explanation for those of you curious about what a couple of years with a Tesla has been like.

    Go Mobile! Go Electric! Thanks,
  2. California

    California New Member

    Nov 12, 2015
    Los Angeles
    Thank you for the insightful message. I also agree, the market often react overly positive or overly negative from a researchers. They often missing the entire point. Was the world better from before TESLA and after TESLA motors?
    IMO, the answer is absolutely YES.

    Go Mobile! Go Electric!


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