View Poll Results: I planned on puchasing a 40 kWh Model S

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  • The S40 still fits my needs, and I am still getting one

    46 58.23%
  • The S40 no longer meets my needs, so I am going with a S60

    29 36.71%
  • The S40 no longer meets my needs, so I cancelled my reservation

    4 5.06%
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Thread: Is anyone actually buying the 40 kWh Model S at this point?

  1. #1
    Driving a Volt for now...
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    Is anyone actually buying the 40 kWh Model S at this point?

    When Tesla announced the Model S, the starting price of $50,000 drew me in. This was only a little bit above the very upper limit of what I was able to pay for a car, and when gas and service savings were taken into account, it was just barely workable. I figured "160 mile is plenty! My longest daily commute is 90 miles, and I could do that with the AC on full and driving like I stole it with a car with 160 miles range" When I put my deposit down, I was planning of getting a 40 kWh Black Model S with cloth seat and no options other than the Air Suspension. I was going to be pretty close to the mythical $50,000 Tesla. I imagine that most people who are planning on buying the 40 are probably doing something pretty similar, and are really stretching the budget to get into a Tesla.

    Since I put down the deposit, the Model S has slowly slipped farther and farther out of reach.

    First, supercharging is not available on the S40. Disappointing, but its not like the supercharging network is likely to be anywhere close to me in the next few years, I can live with this.

    Next, all indications are that the normal mode range for the 40 is going to be around 100 miles (when the battery is brand new). The 1 day a week i drive 90 miles may not be possible for long, and even when the car is new, I am going to have to think about energy usage. At this point, I start to question the 40, and start doing math about how much ramen I will need to eat to afford the 60. With only 30 miles more range than a leaf, I am starting to wonder just how many people would not have their needs met by a leaf or volt, but would have them met by S40.

    The final blow to the S40 is the service plan. It is probably safe to assume that most S40 customers are stretching the budget. Adding $700 per 12,500 miles broke the budget in my case (I drive 18,000 a year, and even though a service center is opening up in my state, it just slightly out of what I think the battery range for the s40 will be) Prepaying for the service is also not a good idea in my case, as I would need all available capital to use as a down payment to bring my monthly payments down to a manageable level.



    As most of you know, I cancelled my Model S reservation on Monday, and latter that night went out and leased a Volt for 36 months. For me at least, the S40 was no longer a viable product for purchase.


    The question for the poll is, for those who originally planned on buying a S40, what are your thoughts on it now? I am just curious to see if I am the only one questioning this product.

  2. #2
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    My thought was go small or go big. I'd either go all out with the 85kwh and use the car even on road trips or I was going small with 40kwh and having a commuter and around town car (albeit a really nice one). I was fairly aware of the range limitations and battery degradation rates from obsessive early research, so that didn't surprise me.

    Given my usage profile, the 40kwh would still be fine for me. My wife has an ICE, so were I in your shoes I'd probably swap cars the once a week I needed more range. Were the Nissan Leaf not so god awful ugly, it'd would have been in the running as well.

  3. #3
    Model S 03182 ElSupreme's Avatar
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    I have been a 40kWh proponent for a while now. It will fit my driving habits (where a LEAF or FOCUS EV or Volt would not). I am stretching to buy the Model S in the fact that it is way more than I should/would pay for a vehicle up front. Over the course of about 6 years though the cost of it will be in an acceptable level for me. But waiting a year for my 12,500 in tax rebates and that I have to finance my equivalent fuel costs will stretch my credit.

    The price of the service plan does hurt. It is over double what I have put into my current ICE. I drive about 20,000 miles a year, and my power is dirt cheap, so service will cost more than double my electricity costs too.

    Right now my thoughts on options are:

    Leather: Not likely; I like cloth better, but want heated seats. But I did drive my dad's car for a week and that leather was kind of nice.
    Pano Roof: Maybe if I can easily finance the extra 1,500; I run windows down all the time. But have had a roof rack on my car, and I dislike the noise that comes through the glass. But I won't keep my rack on the Tesla so ... I don't know.
    Tech: Absolutely; This seems like a de facto base price increase to me.
    Air suspension: Maybe; Leaning towards it as my favorite add on.
    Color: No extra; I want white anyway, with black still being thought about. If I win the lotto I'll go pearl white and a performance model.
    Sound: Not likely; unless the base system sucks I'll be sticking to the base; even though it seems to be a decent bargain for the additional speakers you get
    dual chargers: Nope, I think if I need 80A I'll get them later, right now I don't think my house could spare another 80A without an expensive service upgrade.
    wall charger: Nope, putting in wire for 100A (50A breaker) feed to a NEMA 14-50 plug. If i get the dual charges I'll get the wall charger
    wheels: 19"; don't ever want to pay for 21" tires even though I'll get some nice sport tires after the first ones wear out
    paint armor: No. I don't use screen protectors on my phones either. Or cases for phones. or silicone sleeves.
    Rear seats: nope. Don't have little people to put back there.
    Rear shelf: Yes; what is $250 after a purchase this big?
    Opportunity Consoles: Nope. I like the openness of the S.

    Future EU Spec amber signal rear tail lights: YES!


    I am getting the Tech package, and the rear shelf no matter what. I will probably get the following options in order (assuming I want to/can afford them when my day comes) Air suspension, pano roof, sound, leather, dual chargers, wall charger, color (pearl white). But as I get close to 10k in options (beyond the Tech pack) I'll consider getting the upgraded battery. Not because I need it but because I think it has more value than the other options.

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  4. #4
    Member Tommy's Avatar
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    @Rifleman, you have stated some "facts" that I would have to disagree with:

    The range of the S40 is 160 miles if you are using 100 miles as the range for the Leaf, a difference of 60 miles not 30 miles as you state. We both know real world #'s are less, however, the 1 day a week you drive 90 miles should be easy for the S40 if charged in range mode.

    In the case of Tesla's maintenance costs, I understand you leased a Volt. However I don't quite understand your reluctance to pay Tesla's prepaid maintenance at $450 per 12,500 but are ok with paying excess milage charges on your volt lease as you are putting 18,000 miles a year on the Volt. That excess milage charge has got to be at least $450 a year.

    I know you crunched the numbers, it seems like the costs that are front loaded with the S, mainly purchase price, are what stopped you from going through with the purchase.

    And to be sure there is no misunderstanding, happy you're happy with the Volt.
    Last edited by Tommy; 2012-09-20 at 02:42 PM. Reason: clarified range between S and Leaf

  5. #5
    Model S 03182 ElSupreme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy View Post
    The range of the S40 is 160 miles if you are using 100 miles as the range for the Leaf; We both know real world #'s are less, however, the 1 day a week you drive 90 miles should be easy for the S40 if charged in range mode.
    I expect to get about 95-100 miles on a standard charge on day 1. I expect that should remain until about 40,000 miles or 2.5 years whatever is first. After that your driving habits will change. Your driving requirement may change. Or you can start range charging, or charging during the day. I hope to have a plug at my work after a few months.

    Think with dispassion; Speak with equanimity; Act in calm.
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  6. #6
    Member Tommy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElSupreme View Post
    I expect to get about 95-100 miles on a standard charge on day 1. I expect that should remain until about 40,000 miles or 2.5 years whatever is first. After that your driving habits will change. Your driving requirement may change. Or you can start range charging, or charging during the day. I hope to have a plug at my work after a few months.
    Agreed

  7. #7
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    I never considered the S40 good value for money. That's why I'm only looking at the S60 and up. IMO the P85 is the best value for money - provided you can afford it. Right now I can not.

  8. #8
    Driving a Volt for now...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy View Post
    @Rifleman, you have stated some "facts" that I would have to disagree with:

    The range of the S40 is 160 miles if you are using 100 miles as the range for the Leaf; We both know real world #'s are less, however, the 1 day a week you drive 90 miles should be easy for the S40 if charged in range mode.

    In the case of Tesla's maintenance costs, I understand you leased a Volt. However I don't quite understand your reluctance to pay Tesla's prepaid maintenance at $450 per 12,500 but are ok with paying excess milage charges on your volt lease as you are putting 18,000 miles a year on the Volt. That excess milage charge has got to be at least $450 a year.

    I know you crunched the numbers, it seems like the costs that are front loaded with the S, mainly purchase price, are what stopped you from going through with the purchase.

    And to be sure there is no misunderstanding, happy you're happy with the Volt.
    Using range mode for the 1 day a week I drive 90 miles was the solution I came up with. The range was not the deal breaker for me.

    You are right about the issue being front loaded cost. In my case I have $x available for up front cost (down payment, pre-payed service, ect) and $y available for monthly payments. In this case, its not the service plan price itself that put it over the edge, but the total cost of ownership. The extra $84 a month for the service plan pushed the monthly operating expense of the Model S out of my budget (I was already REALLY stretching to fit the Model S into my budget.) Since the pre-paid service was due within 30 days of purchase, I would have been forced to either buy the service up front, but have a smaller down payment (and thus a higher monthly payment) or pay as I go, and pay more for the service. No matter how I did the math, it was still just a little over what I could allow myself to spend on a car at this point in my life. The price of the service plan is the straw that broke the camels back for the S40 for me.

    Withe the volt lease, I was able to negotiate to have the lease include the 18,000 miles a year, so there will be no overages. My total monthly operating expenses for the Volt are just a tiny bit above half of what I was looking at for the S40 (gas included). Since the car was leased, my up front cost was essentially nothing (in my case, a 10 year old pontiac was traded for the up front fees, and they valued it at 30% above blue book) The rest of the cash I had set aside for the up front payment on the Model S has now been set aside for Gen III. I am hoping with what I save in monthly payments, plus the down payment I had saved up for the model S, I will be able to pay cash for a pretty nicely loaded Gen III.

  9. #9
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    The one key advantage over the LEAF would be better aerodynamics which should mean fewer lost miles in a highway commute. Hopefully potential owners will start seeing rich geek owners posting some range stats to give a better idea of what the car can comfortably do.

    I think that with your infrequent need for the longer distances you made a good compromise. Spend the difference on energy-saving home improvements.

  10. #10
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    I have to admit I'm on the fence too. The up-front costs are simply a barrier:

    - Maintenance Contract,
    - Self-Fronting of the State and Federal Tax Credits,
    - No lease option (for now) to spread out the initial investment and to take advantage of the tax credits,
    - Electrical needed to install charging unit at home.

    And then there is the issue of potential gating on features by going with the S40 battery (inability to upgrade at a later time).

    Taking the long-term view of S40 justifies the total cost of ownership . . . but as Rifleman said, I am starting to think that anyone that has the cash to make these initial investments can afford the bigger battery anyway.

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