Freudian slip. Should have read upgrade FOR wife. OOOOOPS.
dude, keep your DS. You only "lose" if you sell it, and it's totally functional for around town. I am keeping mine (same as yours) for my seasonal job 50 km commute (and it *is* more efficient than the Model S). The 2013 Zero's look like a great upgrade, but they're talking about upgrading again in 2014, too, and it's only going to get better (did you do the phone interview with their new CEO? Zero seems to be open to feedback - convince them to implement a buy-back program if you NEED to upgrade every year).
Re: new Model S, we don't know timelines yet because I don't think their ramp-up is where they want it to be yet. My WAG is if you reserve before mid-December you'll wait around 9-10 months+. But I really don't know. You could always reserve and cancel later.
I've got 6K miles on my Zero since March and love it. Still plan to use it to get to the airport every day even with a MS in the garage. Regretfully, I just gotta have that 2013 DS. Sad but true.
Be careful with your assumptions regarding all the new info stabilizing the secondary market. Personally I will only get the Model S on lease, the residual is an open ended question with few answers at the moment and I think people may take on more risk than they assume. Clearly this is a solid amazing car. However, BMW Merc and all other ICE cars usually don't go down much in the cost to produce. Hence a S Class won't cost Mercedes much less to produce in 3 years than it does today. That's NOT the case with Tesla. You'll get your car in Sept 2013 exactly 36 months prior to most manufacturers releasing their MY 2017 cars. By all indications battery density will improve 200% - 300% at least by then and KW cost will probably drop by 60%+. Smaller battery due to density increase means less weight and thus less power needed. The reduced power will be significantly cheaper. If Tesla were designing a Model S equivalent to debut in 2017 the cost to produce a top level 300 mile equivalent will probably drop by 40% (the lower range battery 40kw equivalent by at least 30%). So in 2017 Tesla can either keep their price artificially high (to support residual and increase margins) or cut the price substantially. The decision may not be in their hands as many other manufacturers will be producing electric cars and Tesla will have to be competitive on price. So what the depreciation will be on a car when the MSRP of comparative product is dropping fast is an unknown at this point. IMO, if a midsize electric with 300 mile range sells in 2017 for $50k - $60k (by Tesla or others), then a 3 year old version probably wouldn't be worth more than $35k - $40k. On a fully loaded MS, that's a 35% - 40% 3 year residual. I have no idea if any of the above will happen but I'm personally not willing to take on the risk - that's why lease only for me.
There are a lot of reasons I dislike forums. Posts like yours are the reason I enjoy them.
I think you make some very good points. I suspect those that price the leases will be thinking very much the same thing. I look forward to hearing how the lease front shapes up. I do remember thinking I really should have leased that RS6 and left the residual issue to someone else.
I guess we will all find out in the next 36 months or so.
Omer, I agree that significant advancements in new EVs (if they come) could make current EVs lose a lot of value.
But I don't think that gas cars will hold their value even if future gas cars cost as much to make as today's. I think capable, cheap EVs in the future would mean that new gas cars will sell poorly, and the value of used gas cars will drop even farther than the value of used EVs. The promise of better EVs in the future does cause uncertainty; I just want to be explicit that the uncertainty is for all cars, not just EVs.
I know you didn't mean it this way (obviously, given that you are getting a Model S), but I want to make sure nobody takes your point to mean that they should put off buying an EV until some improvements are made. It's like trying to decide when to buy a computer: they are always getting cheaper and faster, but if you wait forever for the next model then you never get the benefits of owning one.
Personally, I think many of the risks that a rational lease company would price into the residual value are low. I firmly believe Tesla will survive or be acquired by a company that will fully assume the warranty obligations. I do not believe that gasoline prices will fall below $3/gal, but are more likely to rise markedly. Furthermore, I don't flip vehicles often, so I don't much care about residual values. These beliefs make me think that I am better able to bear the residual risk than the lease company. YMMV.
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For people that don't intend to flip and plan on using their car for 6-8 years, the whole discussion is moot; it's like unrealized losses/gains - meaningless until you sell. I've never owned a car for more than 3 years (severe ADD).
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