Want to buy but need advice?

Want to buy but need advice?

Hey guys I'm new here was hoping I could get some help.

I have been looking at the tesla and I think it would make a great everyday driver for me but I need to make sure first.

I'm in south Florida from what I understand is a great location for the car. My electric is right around 11 cents.

I'm trying to figures out if it will work for me, I normally drive 1500 maybe a tad more a month, never more than 150 miles in one trip.

I currently drive a 2008 focus ses I get about 28mph and each tank costs about $35-40 currently.

Will the tesla save me money? Also how do you go about getting the charging station at the house?

Which features are necessary? Like 21 inch tires, surround sound, air suspension etc?

Does the tesla require any maintenance? If so how often and how much does it usually cost?

I really appreciate it guys! I don't plan to get one for about a year as I'm saving up so I can put a big chunk on the down payment.


SamO | 23. August 2013

1. Money savings: depending on driving, it takes 300Wh to drive 1 mile. At 11c/1000W, it would cost you 3.65c/mile for electricity. 300 miles = ~$10

2. You don't need a charging station in your house. 110V will give you 4 miles of charge per hour. NEMA 14-50 will give 30 miles of charge/hour.

3. 21" tires tend to have a shorter life.

4. Options: Tech package is necessary. Everything else is taste. Most popular options are 3rd row seating and Pano roof.

5. Maintenance: not necessary to maintain warranty but helpful to have Tesla look over your car once a year. 1000 fewer moving parts that a conventional ICE car. Only fluid you add is windshield wiper fluid.

J.T. | 23. August 2013

If you have a year then you have time for It's a workaround search developed by the illustrious nickjhowe, you'll meet him soon, I'm sure. Go to the search and enter each of your questions. All your answers are here, my friend, but there is joy in the seeking.
Good luck and welcome.

Jgraeff | 23. August 2013

Thanks guys really appreciate it!

jbunn | 23. August 2013


Damn, you nailed that, without extra text!

SamO | 23. August 2013


:-) Thanks

ian | 23. August 2013

Be sure to check out and as well. Lots of great info at these other sites too.


stigcell | 23. August 2013

Sounds like a 60w would work. I didn't get the tech package (and I have no regrets, except I miss xenon), but I ponied up for 21", premium paint, premium sound, and air suspension. The sound system is definitely worth it in my opinion. I am very pleased with it. I like the looks of the bigger rims - very pretty design. I got blue paint, but to be honest, it is so deep it looks like black in many lighting situations, so I'm not sure it's worth it unless you're in love with it. The air suspension is killer. I didn't have a choice when I bought it because they were only configuring with air, but I'd get it again.

My only regret was not getting the kids seats in the back. I recently got a P85 loaner with them for almost a full week and that feature alone sold itself. The kids loved it and so did my wife and I. I have contacted Tesla to see if I can get them added. My VIN might be low enough -- basically early cars had all the extra safety support that they were drop in and go.

Hope this helps. There is no better car.

lolachampcar | 24. August 2013


I'm in WPB and can help if you need local support....



lolachampcar with the obligatory com at the end :)

J.T. | 24. August 2013

@Jordan. Run, don't walk to take lola up on his offer.

negarholger | 24. August 2013

Electrons don't go freely into the battery and need some extra energy to be pushed in. Also car uses some energy when not moving. A good rule of thumb for charging cost is to multiply your usage by 1.25. My calculation for your case would be
0.34 kWh/m * 1.25 * $0.11 * 18000 miles = $842 per year for electricity

Actual usage depends very much how and where you are driving. I do a lot of city driving and the usage is more like 380-400 W/m, but on a flat highway 300 W/m is obtainable. My life time average is 337 W/m

PBEndo | 24. August 2013

@Jgraeff I agree with the previous comments. I am also in South Florida (Boynton Beach). I would like to add:

1. Many people are concerned about extra heat with the pano roof. I think it is a minimal difference. When I drove a loaner with no pano, I never noticed. However, I have had ongoing issues with windnoise, but I think they will eventually resolve that problem. In addition the pano gives you more headroom in the backseat.

2. In South Florida, you can get an HOV sticker for a Tesla ($5). This has turned out to be much better than I expected. I commute 80 miles/day, most of it on 95. When there is an accident or some other reason the traffic stops, the HOV lane often keeps moving at a good clip. It has definitely reduced my rush hour stress.

3.The Tesla won't save you a ton of money on gas over the Focus. However, it is much more car than a Focus. If you compared it to a competitive ICE, like the BMW M5 (similar performance and price as P85) you would save thousands of dollars per year on gas and oil changes with the Tesla.

4. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you out.

pbendo (at) y a h o o . c o m

ChristianG | 24. August 2013

well you own a $23,000 car you want to replace it with a $63,000 car. You will probably never safe any money. the electricity is cheaper than gas, that's true. But Insurance and tyres will be more expensive so in the end I doupt that you'll save any money over the Focus.

The Model S is a fantastic car but in a very different league than the Focus and that will cost you. if Money is tight, the smart thing todo would be to wait a while. Used Model S will apear soon and price will get down.

Of corse for some the pull of Tesla is to great to be intelligent... DOH.

hademarco | 24. August 2013

must get the supercharging option if you get the S60, otherwise it comes with the S85.

ir | 24. August 2013

You shouldn't expect make your money back vs a ford focus on energy savings and maintenance alone. The money you will spend on the Tesla, you could buy 3 or 4 new Ford Focuses. Heck, you could buy a new one every other year and pay zero maintenance! Even if electricity is free, you will not make the difference back. Just like going to a casino, you go for the experience not to come back a Millionaire. You are paying for the luxury and performance, not the energy economy.

Speaking of free electricity, if you can find some you can avoid charging at home. Effectively getting free "gas". Some employers have free EV charging as a perk. Some stores or malls as well such as my local Target.

Carefree | 24. August 2013

Agree with everybody else. You are comparing apples with oranges. You will NEVER be able to justify the Tesla based on cost savings when you compare it to a Ford Focus - LOL.

I swapped our Prius for a P85 - am I saving money? Hell no! Do I have a much better car? Hell yeah! Am I having way more fun? You bet! Our roof is plastered with solar panels - my daily commute doesn't cost a penny BUT it would still be much cheaper to drive the Prius:-)

Jgraeff | 24. August 2013

I understand I won't make my money back. I know the price difference lol, I have been looking at upgrading to a Lexus/ BMW for a while, now the model s is slightly more than those but I feel it could be worth it in the end.

Thanks for all the info and calculations. That's what I'm mostly interested in to see what it will cost me other than purchase price. As long as it will fit my driving style comfortably I'm all for it.

It looks like a great car and I hope I can test drive one soon. Those of you who shared your info I will try to contact you after the weekend I really appreciate it!!

AmpedRealtor | 24. August 2013


I received my P85 yesterday. I live in the Phoenix area and it's really hot and humid right now. With that said, here is how I would address your concerns:
Will the tesla save me money?Yes, your Model S will cut a significant portion off your monthly refueling bill. As an example, it costs about $30 to fill up my Prius and I get about 450 miles to a tank, so a cost of 6.7¢ per mile. The Model S costs me about $4 in electricity and drives roughly 250 miles, so a cost of 1.6¢ per mile.Also how do you go about getting the charging station at the house? Model S can use any standard outlet, however to get the fastest home charging requires the purchase of the High Power Wall Connector (HPWC). Many owners are installing a 240v/50A NEMA 14-50 plug at minimum cost (under $500) to get the next best thing. HPWC will set you back $1,200 plus you'll need a 100A connection. Depending on your current electric panel and household utilization, you may be able to add a 100A breaker and wire your HPWC for the same cost as a NEMA 14-50, it all depends on the electrical situation at your house.Which features are necessary? Like 21 inch tires, surround sound, air suspension etc? This will be dictated more by your budget. Your best option is to go to and search the forums here for experiences and opinions. That will help you decide. Research the tires thoroughly, as owners are reporting short lifespans on the 21" of under 10,000 milesDoes the tesla require any maintenance? If so how often and how much does it usually cost? Tesla offers a $600 annual pay-as-you-go service option, or you can pre-pay $1,900 for four service visits ($475 each). Elon Musk, the CEO, stated that service is not required to maintain your vehicle warranty. Since this is a new vehicle design and bleeding edge drive train technology, it wouldn't hurt to at least have your car serviced during the first year of ownership and then make a decision as to whether you think that you need it. This is a big investment that you'll want to protect, so keep that in mind. The annual service includes replacement of certain wear-and-tear items brake pads.

Probably the best advice I can give is to live and breathe the forums here and over at Ask lots of questions, read everything you can, and watch every Model S video you can find. Think about your driving style and what you are trying to accomplish. The Model S can be as plain or exotic as you want it to be, it all depends on how much you want to spend! :)

If you end up buying the car, I have no doubt that it will change your life and you will love it!

nickjhowe | 24. August 2013

@Jgraeff - I'm in Boca Raton. If you have any questions or want a drive give me a shout. nickjhowe at gmail

Most of my driving is up and down I-95 at a - ahem - reasonable speed, and I'm averaging about 330 Wh/m since January in my P85. So that is probably worst case.

If you head over to the Florida forum here or on TMC you might find a local driver with a 60 that can give you a real world comparison to your car.

fuellss | 24. August 2013

Another way of looking at it is comparing a new BMW/MB/Lexus at $60k vs MS at $80k. Not taking into account depreciation - > if you drive 20,000 miles/yr. Your electricity to charge at 11cents vs the cost of gas (20000 m/y at avg $4.50 premium at avg 20mpg) : $315 per month difference.

Lets say you keep your car for 5 years.

$315 difference per month x 60 months = $18,900.00

The travel part is a given - that's why we have cars. I know there are a lot of variables and I'm making assumptions.

Now take this $18,900 and add it the cost of the ICE -> $78,900
Nearly the SAME price of the MS.

Now I think you subtract the cost of travel (savings vs ICE)form the MS -> 80,000 - 18,900 = $61,100 after 5 yrs.

Maybe I'm double dipping but this is money (cost/savings of travel at 20k miles per year) that will be either spent or saved.

At 5 yrs - > the $80k MS is $17,800 cheaper then a $60k ICE.
(78,900 ICE - 61,100 MS)

What do you guys think?

Brian H | 24. August 2013

Definitely double dipping. You only get the no-gas savings once.

inverts | 24. August 2013

Re electricity, you may also look at Time-Of-Use (TOU) meters, if that is an option in Florida. Here in SoCal, regular rate is around 8.5 c/kWh, TOU at low rate (middle of night) is 5 c, and there is a 2.5 c EV discount, so it comes down to 2.5 c/kWh. Meter fee per month is $8.
I drive around 2K mi/mo, so EV TOU makes perfect sense to me. Install is about 2K, but I can get most of it back from The City through an incentive program. NEMA 14-50 would just about work, but got HPWC anyway. 110V is a non-starter.

All the rest, agree with others, on ride quality, savings (or lack thereof) etc. 21" tires are more finicky, and can get damaged by pot holes; they also use more energy. For long ride quality on FW, there is no difference between 19" (I own MS85) and 21" of P+ (loaner I recently drove for a few days). The suspension on the P+ is a tad stiffer.

I got also tech pano sound air. No 3rd row here, usually just me, occasionally the missus.

ddruz | 25. August 2013

RE options: Since you have the time before purchasing you owe it to yourself to sit in the back seat of cars with and without the pano roof. The headroom difference is significantly different--more with pano.

Many people find the rear seat headroom is too tight for their passengers in the hard top. Others are OK with it. You should decide for yourself by actual personal experience.

Everyone has their own opinion re the pano roof but it can be a critical decision because the difference is that significant. For example IMO the pano is the #1 option to add with Tech as #2.

Jgraeff | 25. August 2013

Thanks for all the replies and info guys i really appreciate it, I'm definitely going to do my research in the next year or so.

Im currently looking at the tax credits available and trying to figure out how they work.

it looks like on this site i can get about 11k altogether on tax credits for purchasing the car, is that correct? or is it only the $7,500?

also to redeem the tax credit i must owe upwards of $7,500 in taxes and then it just will zero it out? I normally end up paying taxes at the end of the year, so i could just change my dependents for this year to rack up what i owe i suppose if thats the case.

also are there any other discounts available for EV cars? Or any possible student discounts? just curious thanks guys!

Brian H | 25. August 2013

If the total you paid + owe for the year is over $7500, you will be able to credit that amount or get an actual refund.