Trading in my Prius I insane??

Trading in my Prius I insane??

I've been kicking around the idea of trading in my 2016 Prius 2 for a model 3. I'm really not even sure where to begin....I'm in Minneapolis, and I would need more info before plopping down $2500 pre-order.

Should I be going to a local dealer? Is that how people finance the Tesla?

Danakazam | 02. August 2018

You can finance through Tesla, but they're just hooking you up with another lender. As far as I know they don't finance their own vehicles. Most people here seem to apply for private financing at the local bank or credit union. I did the latter option.

You should sign up for a test drive and then go from there!

gmkellogg | 02. August 2018

I'm trading in my prius C for one. Not insane at all.

Danakazam is right, start with a test drive. In the mean time you can research regenerative braking, Super Charging, service center locations, EAP, etc. Plenty of good information on the forum, use to search. Welcome to the party.

jeremymoore11 | 02. August 2018

I went through the trade in process, fairly painless, they ended up increasing the trade in offer after I took my car to a CARMAX to get their appraisal and then Tesla matched the trade in value, saved me 7% sales tax on the trade value...

cornellio | 02. August 2018

Believe me, once you drive a Tesla you will think you were insane for ever driving anything else.

Mathew98 | 02. August 2018

Not crazy at all. You'd get quicker acceleration. Then again, almost any EV would beat Prius' 0-60 MPH in 3 days...

ssdesigner71 | 02. August 2018

Thanks for the info, I really appreciate the help. A few other questions:

Who is best to ask about whether or not I'll actaully GET a tax credit?

Do we have any idea when the $35K model 3 will be available? Will it be a stripped down version of the current 3?

ReD eXiLe ms us | 02. August 2018

ssdesigner71: Think of it this way... As more and more of the Tesla Model 3 sell to the public at large, the 'value proposition' of your PRIUS (or any other ICE vehicle for that matter) is unlikely to go... UP. There will be no improvement. It will never be worth more that it is now. So, get out at the top floor. G'head. Get rid of it. You will not regret the decision. ;-)

dmitriyM3 | 02. August 2018

based on current delivery estimates you should be ok. But in worse case it would be half that starting Q1 '19. I would calculate based on worse case & be pleasantly surprised vs. disappointed...

@cornellio is right. Once you have it you gonna think u were crazy thinking u r crazy... :-)

CharleyBC | 02. August 2018

What could possibly be insane about your idea? Well, maybe if you can't afford it, then don't be foolish. But otherwise, go!

To be nit-picky, Tesla doesn't have dealers. They own their own stores. But by all means visit. I think most now have a Model 3 on the floor, though it'd be good to call first. You may also be able to schedule a test drive via the Web site.

As for learning about it otherwise, continue to hang out on this forum with all us obsessive Model 3 folks, and otherwise read all you want on the Web by googling and such.

The vagueness of the tax credit was finally settled last month. The quick answer is this: Full $7500 through 31 Dec 2018. Then half (3750) through Jun 2019. Then quarter (1875) through Dec 2019. Then zero. If you order now, I think your odds are good.

Revelate | 02. August 2018

Waiting for an SR is doubtful to get a tax credit at this point sad to say if you haven't already gotten a reservation in... at best you're looking at Q3/Q4 2019 and might even push to 2020 hard to say at this point as there isn't really a lot of information as to reservations in the US that are held unordered yet (presumably waiting for SR in one of it's iterations) and they absolutely appear to be going by reservation dates for AWD / PAWD so far.

If you go LR AWD based on this last week's anecdotal reports you probably get a car in a month... but the problem with that is the estimates are in a word fluid, and that might change at any time with the ramp in production of the aforementioned AWD / PAWD vehicles.

John | 02. August 2018

We could tell you to save $ and sell it yourself, then to go shop at Credit Unions. But that's not what you're asking, is it...

From my experience, when you place your deposit, you'll have the option to select "Trade-in" your vehicle along with choosing vehicle options. I've never had any problems changing my mind on how to finance or put down, but feature configuration is important to get right. (FYI, Tesla beat or matched all Credit Union quotes on interest rates, and I did shop around. Their negotiated rates with Chase were killer because we are a special class of people).

Then you'll be asked to go to CarMax (as I recall) for appraisal. When I arrived, they had my info on file and gave me a quote within 20 min. You can challenge it with your own, but why? It's really easy!

FYI, we heard last night from Elon that you have one of the top 5 most frequent trade-in vehicles. Kinda cool seeing you do this and validating what's really happening. You'll love your decision, the gifts and upgrades just keep coming and coming. Like seems we're getting new computers next year for free using Tesla's own AI chips. Another reason to select the Full Self Drive upgrade as I suspect it might be part of the strategy for those customers only - TBD because safety is also priority for all of us, and a smarter vehicle is better all around.

Sorcha3 | 02. August 2018

If you want to see, sit in, drive a 3, there is a very active Minnesota Facebook page with many people willing to let you do just that.
Nothing like first hand, local experience!

Revelate | 02. August 2018

Edit: sigh, that should've been LR RWD based on last week's.

LR AWD is probably November/December at this point ordering off the street, but may be sooner based on pipeline for those but we haven't cleared even a small fraction of Day 1 / Day 2 reservation holders yet on that model.

Instant Acceleration | 02. August 2018

@jeremymoore11 - That is great info. I'm in Georgia where they also have 7% state tax (TAVT officially) and it is reduced by trade in value. I'm trading in a Model 3 RWD for a P so that will amount to over $3000 in savings, which already gives Tesla a leg up on other wholesalers. So, you used the Carmax offer to negotiate the trade in amount? I may try that as well.

@ssdesigner71 - Your tax adviser is really the only one who can officially help you with that, but the main qualifications are when you take delivery (not place the order) and how much tax liability do you currently have. If it's this year and over $7500, then you'll likely get the full $7500 credit. If it's first half of next year, $3750. The credit does not roll over if you don't use it all.

Here are the official other qualifications from the IRS for 8936 (
The following requirements must be met to qualify for the credit.
You are the owner of the vehicle. If the vehicle is leased, only the lessor and not the lessee, is entitled to
the credit.
You placed the vehicle in service during your tax year.
The vehicle is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways.
The original use of the vehicle began with you.
You acquired the vehicle for use or to lease to others,
and not for resale.
You use the vehicle primarily in the United States.

Alternatively, if you aren't sure, you could buy a slightly used one, take delivery sooner, and likely get most of the tax credit amount off the sales price. As I mentioned, I'm selling a RWD LR.

SR is officially 6-9 months away. No one that knows anything more specific is allowed to tell you. :D

For 35k, it will likely be black on black, no EAP or FSD, 18" Aero Wheels, and no premium interior, which all cars produced thus far have (so I don't even know officially what it includes).

John | 02. August 2018

I'm guessing earliest is Q1 for $35K version. Depends on demand and Tesla cash-flow.

You can get rebate of 1/2 of $7,500 in 1H 2019, 1/4 in 2H 2019... Get a performance version and you'll have one delivered very soon.

John | 02. August 2018

One more thing, if you want to get out of town, get more battery now, IMO. I like prefer quick charges only from about 30% to 70%. Higher "fill-ups" to 90% or 100% take much longer and you pay for time on the super-chargers not just energy. $3.50 for my fillups.

Pee-n-Go far!

ReD eXiLe ms us | 02. August 2018

ssdesigner71: What you actually GET in terms of a Federal EV Tax Credit depends upon... 1) Your own financial situation; and 2) when you take Delivery. Everyone who gets a Tesla in the U.S. on or before December 31, 2019 will be eligible to receive at least some portion of the Federal EV Tax Credit. It hasn't just ~*poof*~ disappeared, as some would prefer Tesla Customers to believe.

· Everyone that takes Delivery of a NEW Tesla in the U.S. through December 31, 2018 can potentially claim the full $7,500 Federal EV Tax Credit. Some of those might get the base version of Model 3.
· Everyone that takes Delivery between January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019 may claim the reduced amount at $3,750 as a Federsl EV Tax Credit.
· And for all remaining NEW Tesla Deliveries to U.S. Customers from July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 a final $1,875 amount will be available as a Federal EV Tax Credit.

Under the current system, no one will receive a Federal Tax Credit of any type for Tesla vehicles beyond January 1, 2020. There is a proposal on Capitol Hill to extend the program to ten years, but I do not know if that is total since January 1, 2010 (when the program initially took affect) or for the anniversary of crossing the 200,000 unit barrier for each manufacturer.

Due to its size and weight, the Tesla Model X will remain eligible for a 'Commercial Vehicle' Tax Credit to businesses that own and operate them -- that is different, and has no expiration, likely because it was presumed to apply strictly to gas guzzlers (like the HUMMER), and no one thought to lock out EVs. Strange isn't it, how there is no phaseout to incentives for ICE vehicles -- they are eternal, instead. Oh, and the gas guzzlers get the credit over multiple years, not just one-and-done, like the Federal EV Tax Credit. Hmmm...

Balbanes | 02. August 2018

Everything has been covered well by the users here so far. I would just add that at best you're looking at a Q4 2019 delivery if you're going with the 35k model... most likely 2020 delivery. There are a lot of people in line ahead of you and the short range (SR) model is probably going to be one of the most heavily ordered.

Best bet right now is to order the Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD), Long-Range (LR), Premium UPgrade interior (PUP) in whatever color and wheel combo you want. Base is black w/18 inch wheels and your price is $49,000 - $7,500 tax credit. Leaves you paying $41,500 for it plus tax, tag, and delivery fee ($1,000). Of course the tax would be on the entire amount, not the 41k. That is the "smart money" buy. The All-wheel Drive (AWD) model adds a second motor, faster 0-60 for $4,000. That is probably the best VALUE option the Model 3 has. An entire second motor for only 4k is a fantastic deal. Plus, presumably, less wear and tear on the individual motors, better grip, faster, etc.

If you go LR/RWD/PUP you're probably getting delivery within a month or less, but could go as late as Nov. If you go LR/AWD/PUP you're likely getting delivery in Nov or Dec, but still, at this point, before the full credit goes away.

Balbanes | 02. August 2018

Oh also, on this forum you're unlikely to hear anything but support for trading in the Prius for a M3. I'm sure there are some negatives to it, but you won't get much of that here. My recommendation is to educate with this thread, which has a LOT of good info, then take it back to whoever you're close with and make the decision together based on your own pros/cons.

Kathy Applebaum | 02. August 2018

"you pay for time on the super-chargers not just energy"

That depends on the state. In some states they don't let you sell electricity, so Tesla charges you for time. In California, we pay by the kWh at superchargers no matter how fast or slow it charges. has a drop down where you can see what the rates are for various states.

Kathy Applebaum | 02. August 2018

* They don't let you sell electricity unless you're a utility.

CST | 02. August 2018

Depends on if you want to drive a car-thingy or a spaceship. If you like spaceships, get the Model 3. Car-thingy, keep your Prius.

gballant4570 | 02. August 2018

Another variable..... there is legislation being introduced (US) to change the tax credit to a rebate, with a 10 year horizon. Same dollar value of $7500.

My own perspective is to make choices as though there is no tax credit. If you get money back, its just a pleasant surprise.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 02. August 2018

gballant4570: Thanks for the correction on the new plan. I forgot that it was to become a Rebate, instead of being an extension of the Tax Credit.

Balbanes: Those of us who believe in The MISSION of Tesla offer little to no support for 'using less gas' in favor of 'using NO gas, at all' instead. Because a hybrid still uses gasoline for every mile driven, just like a gas guzzler. Every gallon of gasoline burned still outputs the exact same amount of carcinogens, it just covers a greater distance while doing so in a PRIUS. Yay?

There is no victory in being addicted to gasoline at 50 MPG instead of 15 MPG. That's like saying, "Sure, I smoke crack, but I can take it, and I can afford it! I don't smoke anywhere near as much crack as that other guy! He smoked away his Family, his job, his house! I still have it all! I deserve the release I get from crack!" The point is that you are still smoking crack.

So sure, driving a PRIUS, someone may not be destroying the environment as quickly as someone in a Lexus LS. The point is that by burning gasoline, you are still destroying the environment.

Many Tesla owners are previous owners of the VOLT or PRIUS. They acknowledge fully the benefit of that experience. And, they also note their realization that they would have a better experience with a fully electric car. Tesla brought that reality to them.

CharleyBC | 02. August 2018

@ReD eXiLe ms us, well put.

rob.kibler | 02. August 2018

We own two Prius(es). And I have to agree with @CST. The choice is between a car-thingy and a spaceship. In fact, I have been hypermiling for the last ten years, for a lifetime average of 59.7 mpg. Hypermiling was "fun" only from a geeky point of view. In fact it takes infinite patience and discipline. After driving the Model 3, I say to hell with patience and discipline. Driving is now fun again. Driving is now a blast again.

Wormtown Kris | 02. August 2018

@OP: You certainly wouldn't be alone. Yesterday Elon cited the top 5 trade-ins Tesla is taking in for the Model 3, and the first car on the list is the Toyota Prius. So you would be in good company.

RES IPSA | 02. August 2018

Don't trade it in. Car Max will give you at least 10% more for the car than the trade in. Or sell it on CL. Then use the money as your down payment.

TexasBob | 02. August 2018

@EV neophyte "Don't trade it in. Car Max will give you at least 10% more for the car than the trade in. Or sell it on CL. Then use the money as your down payment."

This is generally bad advice wrt the Tesla trade in program. Many, many of us have taken the trade-in vehicles to Car Max, gotten a written estimate, and Tesla has matched it or done better every single time. In many states, the sales tax is paid on the price of a new car minus the value of a trade-in (e.g. 60,000 new car cost $20,000 trade-in allowance, sales tax = sales tax rate x $40,000). So by going through Tesla you get the full Car Max estimate value plus the sales tax savings (in my case over $1,400).

PS I understand that at many traditional car dealers, what you have said is true, but that is not how it works with Tesla.

4barkie | 02. August 2018

As far a financing.....I now live in the SF Bay Area but used to live outside of Minneapolis. We used Think Bank, located in downtown Minneapolis. They have done financing on other Teslas so we're familiar with the documents they supply. The process was really smooth with them.

ebmcs03 | 02. August 2018

You’re insane for not trading it in sooner.

ssdesigner71 | 03. August 2018

Thanks again, everyone. I've emailed the dealer asking for a test drive appointment :)

Mike83 | 03. August 2018

We got our M3 months back and immediately sold our Prius. Two engines in the front vs. a low center of gravity for the M3 makes the driving worlds apart. A test drive will prove it. Plus no more oil changes, gasoline, muffler, catalytic converter or smog checks works to a big economic and time advantage besides having to deal with Service games.
The time and money we have saved is better than we had imagined. And damn the M3 is so much fun.

82bert | 03. August 2018

@ssdesigner call dealer for test drive. They will get you scheduled quicker. Worked for me.