Most Bang for the Buck?

Most Bang for the Buck?

A friend and I were discussing the “S” and of course we both would like a Performance 85 with all the bells and whistles - $95K+ (after rebate). I ordered a heavily optioned 60kWh and he a lightly optioned 85kWh. The discussion degenerated into not “wants and needs” but which configuration of “S” offers the greatest value? We both agreed that a 40kWh would fulfill 60% + of our daily driving needs and we both have access to ICE vehicles.

I proposed the base 40kWh “S” ($49.5K) with leather ($1.5K) being the only option. What do you think?

I may order one of these, and sell my 60kWh model when I get it in Dec. 2012 - January 2013. Think about it, the profit I make on the 60 would reduce my cost by $15K (+ or -). My only loss is time, go to the back of the line.

shawn.tritt | 10 oktober 2012

i think it's a completely personal decision based on wants and needs. no clear answer. same with regards to resale. it depends on what the buyer wants. you only need one buyer.

strictly speaking if the majority of the driving is within 100 miles or so then the 40 will provide the most bang for the buck - you can either use someone else's ICE if you want or rent a car. i think you would be hard pressed to find $10,000 worth of rental/gasoline costs over the life of your S.

you also have some added performance with the higher battery packs per tesla.

for me, i will have complete range satisfaction with a 40kW but am getting a 60kW because i know i do want a little more performance (as posted numbers are) and never want to worry about 8-10 years down the road if my driving habits slightly increase. i like going 70-80mph with the AC on!

bottom line - no clear winner for everyone but certainly clear winners for independant situations.

Aleksandyr | 10 oktober 2012

85 performance all the way. You are talking about Bang. 0-60 is awesome and no range problems. Free supercharging

mrspaghetti | 10 oktober 2012

There are as many answers to this question as there are combinations of options for the car.

jbunn | 10 oktober 2012

The S made MSN's Ultimate Car Collection list. Looks like we're all getting plenty of bang regardless of configuration. Part of the article said;

"'s also hands-down one of the best-looking sedans on the road, now or ever." - Josh Condon MSN Auto

BYT | 10 oktober 2012

I took a different look at it. I know this car is minimum 4 times more then I ever spent on a car. I asked myself questions such as these:

How long do I really plan on driving the Model S for?

What features are a must?

What features do I really want?

Are those features worth the cost?

How about if I divide the cost over the practical amount of time I plan on owning the Model S, does that make those options sound more practical?

Eventually my answer to the above let me to purchase a Performance Model S Signature series and I hope to live happily ever after.

Volker.Berlin | 10 oktober 2012

In terms of "which config earns Tesla the smallest margin", i.e., which config has the least markup and a price that is as close to production cost as possible, I'm pretty sure it's the 40 kWh w/o any options. That's the configuration they had to squeeze just under 50k by all means. Anything on top of that almost certainly adds more to Tesla's margin (not only in absolute numbers, but also relative to the total cost of the vehicle).

Other than that, I agree with the comments above. It all boils down to how big your disposable budget is...

mrspaghetti | 10 oktober 2012

@BYT - good way to look at it.

If you're getting a car like this, go all-in.

DarrellH | 11 oktober 2012

I'm with tesla.mrspaghet. Every bell and every whistle please. And that is what we did and we absolutely have no regrets.

My parents taught me that if I have any regrets in life, it'll be for the things I didn't do, not the things I did do. Same with this car. Enough said. Guess I'll go out and drive. 8-)

TikiMan | 11 oktober 2012

I think it's really impossible to decide what is a better value, because it really comes down to 'personal value'. Each of us are different, have different lifestyles, different commutes, and different likes and dislikes.

For myself, if the 40 kWh battery and 19" wheels were the only option, I would have not bought a Tesla. I drive well over 125 miles a day, love flashy cars, great music sound-systems, and the quicker the vehical, the better!
So, for me, the performance Signature with the styling 21" dark-grey wheels is a bargain, and a great value, considering my other options (Porsche, Jag, BMW, MB, Audi).

I would have never consider a Prius or Volt, as for me, they all appear and feel like a serious compromise based on where I am at in my life and career. Some might call me superficial, wanting to drive a HOT looking and seriously fast modern EV, however, I that's what 'floats my boat'', so again, we are all different, and value different things.

Swigg66 | 11 oktober 2012

I agree with everyone that everyone has there own personal opinions, however, in my case i could have purchased the 85kwh without the interior color i wanted, and the better sound system etc.

so i went with the 60kwh- Tesla pearl white, 19" rims, tech package, sound studio package, air suspension, and tan Nappa leather.

i feel 100 percent better than leaving all those upgrades out.

murraypetera | 11 oktober 2012

While if I were single with no kids I would be all in on the Performance S but i am not and I am part of the neglected middle class. I will have to pay full price for collage for 2 kids in the next few years.

For us it was it was 60KWh with no option or 40KWh with options so we got the 40 and all the options. I am sure at some point I will have the ability update the battery when needed. 90% of our driving is in the range of the 40 and for the locations further away I am finding charge point or putting in 14-50 plugs. Much cheaper than $10k for 60KWh pack.

I really really wish they would add the 40 to the Super Charge or at a min...put in HPC's at the Super Chargers.

Timo | 12 oktober 2012

Distances between SC:s are longer than 40kWh car range. They could add some HPC:s there, but you still would not be able to do long range trips with 40kWh, at least not without annoyingly frequent charging. 40kWh is basically for city only. Kind of Nissan Leaf with much nicer packaging.

If I would need to choose between 40kWh Model S now, or longer range GenIII later I would choose GenIII. I just hope that "affordable" in that case doesn't mean that they do not offer longer range with extra $$$.

ChasF | 12 oktober 2012

I also agree that it boils to individual situation and personal choice.

Per Volker, the 40kW w/ no options probably represents the smallest margin for Tesla = largest financial advantage for me. So, my top ten reasons for choosing the 40kW pack:

1. My daily commute is 30 miles RT. Family weekend outings average 75 miles/day. Heavy travel weekends have seen 125 miles/day. The 40kW will meet 95% of my travel needs.

2. Based on my travel patterns, the 40Kw battery will be in a more favorable average SOC than with a larger pack. This should minimize capacity degradation.

3. For trips over 300 miles I decided a long time ago I would rather fly. No supercharger needed.

4. EV batteries are very expensive now. I would rather spend $15K or less in 7-8 years to upgrade to the latest tech = 500 mile battery (pure speculation, but my strong belief) than to spend $10K-$20K now and sit on excess battery capacity I will hardly use that is also rapidly depreciating in value. This plan also takes full advantage of the available warranty.

5. SuperCharger access could be 2+ years away (east coast) so requisite hardware would be idle $ in a depreciating asset before any value could be realized. Would also be as many years closer to newer battery tech.

6. I've estimated the 40kW compromise would be the once-a-year trips over 100 miles one way, but using our other ICE on those occasions is a good trade for the extra $10K - $20K in savings.

7. I am not rich

8. Even though I think the Tech Package is overpriced and doesn't represent a lot of apparent value for me, buying the 40kW allows me to get it without guilt and worry that I may be missing out on something unforeseen.

9. The $7500 tax credit will be a much larger discount (on a % basis) for the 40kW config. = more financial value.

10. I plan to keep the car for 15 years (especially after a battery upgrade) so resale value is not a consideration.

Now, adding in my must-have options brings my configuration to:

40kW Model S - Standard
19" Wheels
Tech Package
Pano Roof
Air Suspension
$1900 prepaid service

Every configuration presents trade offs, but this one will meet 99% of my needs. Good enough for me, but again, personal choice.