Falling for the trap

Falling for the trap

I initially starting with thinking that the Model S would be a $60K car and thought it was worth it and put down a reservation. Thought would get the base model with limited options (kids seat) and get a 7 seater which is not a gas guzzler. We have a merc e350 and a prius.

But then realized for me
1. Tech package a must, otherwise will not get keyless entry ( my 5 year old prius has it)
2. Sound a must - otherwise no XM
3. Pano roof a must - since head room limited at back
4. Leather a must since I need memory seats .. my wife and I would be driving the car (that is the most used feature in my merc)
5. 85kWH is a better option - 40kWH is just very less range to make any roadtrip impossible .. and limited battery warranty. Which will make my tesla just used for commute which is no fun.
6. You need to get $1900 for maintenance
7. Air suspension most likely needed - the rep said otherwise the ride is not going to be as comfortable as my merc :(

Now I am tempted that with 10K more then you get significant improvement in performance/kick (and better wheels/sporty looks, much higher power, better interiors)... all with no extra maintenance/energy costs. I looked at the new red and that is tempting as well... so everything put together .. it comes to $112K+ on road. Of course I would get $7.5K back
I wish there was some incentive/concession for topping up all options? I probably will get all options except for parcel shelf and chargers.

I was really not intending to spend $110K on a car .. but then I took a test drive and this baby is too tempting to pass. How are folks resisting the temptation .. or should I just go for it? The fact that the same car is going to be $6K costlier for reservations made in 2013 ($2.5K price increase, + $3.5K 21" wheel optional in performance) makes me think I am getting a deal... just as a consolation.

Tâm | December 16, 2012

Sorry for falling for the barebone base price trap!

However, this is a big improvement since a few years ago. The base price for a Roadster started about $110,000.

Currently, a base price of $50,000 would get you a nice, quick, silent electric city car.

However, if you want an inter-Supercharger premium car, then I am afraid that you'll have to double that base price up!

It's your decision. Pay for a fully functional premium electric car now or wait for the base price to drop down to $30,000 some day.

riceuguy | December 16, 2012

I've gone the middle-of-the-road approach; I also planned for $49,900, but the idea of supercharging was too tempting. On the other hand, I have a pretty hard ceiling at $70k with tax, so 85kwh was out of the question. Trap yes, big trap not as much!

jat | December 16, 2012

Personally, I never considered anything but 85kWh -- if I can't take it on out-of-town trips, then I might as well keep driving my LEAF. Sure, the Model S is faster/etc, but there just isn't enough improvement in value to justify trading at this point.

I did add the air suspension and sound system that I didn't originally plan on though :).

desiguy | December 16, 2012

One thing I worry about is if the price of the new car will drop by $10K+ in the next couple of years/car depreciates in value much more drastically.

But ... the battery technology is not improving at that rate. Also they are increasing price by 6K. The federal tax credit might get removed by then.. so the value of the car is not likely to drop significantly.. but it is surely a risk for someone jumping in on the early band wagon I guess. Also since the maintenance costs are probably going to be lower (due to lesser number of parts/lesser wear and tear).. the car should hold value for some time .. I guess I am just convincing myself when I know this might not be fully true :)

Volker.Berlin | December 17, 2012

How are folks resisting the temptation... (desiguy)

This is definitely the wrong place to ask this question! ;-)

or should I just go for it? (desiguy)

Based on this forum, definitely yes. Here are some suggestions that may help you rationalize:

Hogfighter | December 17, 2012

I did the same rationalizing that you are, desiguy. I started bare-bones, now I'm spending almost as much as you possibly can for the car.

I don't regret it for a minute.

Cattledog | December 17, 2012

.. or should I just go for it?


ddruz | December 17, 2012

For those who are wondering if it is possible to avoid falling into piling on the options trap IMHO it is possible though perhaps not so easy. Truly there are a number of unnecessary necessities in the options if one's checkbook is also a consideration. One need not be intimidated by others on the forums to overspend what they can reasonably afford. Stretch if it makes sense but overstretching may lead to problems.

JohnQ | December 17, 2012

Battery and leather were my must haves. Everything else, for me, was truly optional. So, take 57k (before rebate), add 21.5k and get 78.5k. Then, thinking about the fact that for (only!) 7k more I could get the tech package, multi-coat paint and air suspension, and I was mid-80s. No tax incentives in CT, add delivery and prep, and blew through the 90k mark. Fortunately, the fed tax credit will offset the CT sales tax. It's really easy to go from "oh, this is a 60k car" to holy c**p, I've never spent this much money on a car.

krogers | December 17, 2012

I found that during the long wait between putting down my deposit and finalizing my design, that I was able to slowly rationalize picking options that I originally thought I would never consider. I do know folks who had much better self-control than I, who were able to have a price closer to what I originally thought would be my upper limit. Remember the best feature of all is the awesome acceleration and quiet operation and that is bundled into the base price. Enjoy!

Volker.Berlin | December 17, 2012

IMO the best feature is being part of it. That feature comes standard with the base version, everything else is just icing on the cake (but who'd want a cake without the icing?).

jhuang | December 17, 2012

I'm on the same shoe as everyone here. To me, the battery is still the most important option and initially thought the 60KWh would be enough. But since I missed the opportunity of finalizing early and now would have to put in another $2K for SuperCharging, I'm not obligated to pay another 8K for a bigger battery with SC included.

In terms of other options, I started with bare bone until I started through this forum. At this point, I'm adding almost all except for 21' wheels and active air suspension, both of which will most likely require the most maintenance in terms of down the road costs -- tire wear and repair costs for various components for the active air. I'm not concerned with the first 6 or 8 years, it's after the waranty, where I hear the cost could be as much as $1000 per suspension. So on top of the 4-5K I need to budget for extended waranty and service, I'll need another 4-5K of expensive just for a smoother ride not including tires.

fluxemag | December 17, 2012

I'm in the same boat. I originally had the idea that I would get the absolute base model. Then I decided I'd better have a nice stereo (XM as well). Then came the leather. Then I heard how the air suspension was a must. Then I sat in one with no pano roof and found out I needed that too. Add sales tax and maintenance and delivery, $70k. Oops.

dstiavnicky | December 17, 2012

I'm in the same boat. I don't really want the 21" wheels but if I order the performance I refuse to pay for them and not take them (there should be a $3,750 credit!).
Also, Tesla has hired a top suspension guy and aftermarket shocks/springs will likely have very good choice so I don't really want the active suspension (raise 1.2" in snow, ha!)

So there you go. Non performance with the options I want or performance and deal with the options Tesla thinks I should have.
Tough choice...

archibaldcrane | December 17, 2012

Only upgrades I'm looking at are the 60kwh battery and the air suspension. The former is so I don't have to worry about range (my wife's ICE is fine for road trips) and the latter so I can get into my garage over my steep driveway.

I don't have enough money to afford all the other fancy upgrades - don't need leather or memory seats, don't need the tech package (it's not like you don't still get the awesome 17" touchscreen, web browser, backup cam, cool handles, keyfob-aware turn on, etc. etc. etc. - the car has a lot of tech without it), don't need the upgraded sound, wouldn't get the 21" wheels even if they were free (who wants extra road noise and worse range, plus more expensive tires?) and I'm unimpressed with the sunroof compared to my wife's Jetta sportwagen.

So yeah, "trap" avoided.

If you've got the money though, go for it.

Jewsh | December 17, 2012

With all due respect to Tesla, I find that they nickel and dime you to death.

My 2008 Hyundai Accent comes with a sunroof and a trunk cover. On the Tesla these are $1600 CA and $250 CA options. To be fair, the Panoramic sunroof is much bigger and fancier than the basic sunroof in my current ride. Nonetheless my wife and I would've taken a lesser sunroof for the included price if we could've. The trunk cover should be standard on all cars though!

G-Man | December 17, 2012

My advice is to wait at least a week post test drive. Driving that car is like crack cocaine -- you gotta get more! Let the effects wear off before signing up for all the options.
The base model will get me around Chicago and the burbs on a charge. Other driving is usually over 300 miles so the 85kwh won't work.

The hardest part is waiting for the 40kwh production to start in March 2013.

jkirkebo | December 17, 2012

I disagree that the trunk cover should be standard. I've gotten them as standard in all previous cars and they all ended up permanently stored in the attic collecting dust. I'd rather not get one thanks, if it means I save a little money. I'm not getting it for $250 and I'd still not get it if it was $10.

If the panoramic roof was standard equipment, people who didn't want it would complain that they'd get no credit for deleting it. Better make it an option from the start, just as they should have done with the 21" wheels on the P85.

If there were credits for downgrading roof or wheels, how is that different from it not being standard (with the car being cheaper) and costing extra ?

Diane | December 17, 2012

My S is so stinkin' fast withOUT the performance package I cannot imagine how I would manage to keep my driver's license if I had that option. This car is extremely fabulous without that last $10K. But I agree with buying everything else on your list... particularly including the 85 battery.

olanmills | December 17, 2012

I understand where the OP is coming from though, obviously, what is a "must" for one person may not be so for the next. (though I'm about to contradict that with my own post below, lol)

Way back when (a couple years ago). I figured I would be going for a $60k car. This is when some of us thought that you might get a 300 mile car for $50k. This is before we knew all of the option pricing and stuff. I figured $10k for options (thought I was being conservative).

Then when all of the pricing and stuff gets announced, I figure, okay, I'm going for the 60kwh pack and my $10k estimate option was pretty good I guess. With air suspension and twin chargers, I'm at $12.6k in options, but I wasn't sure I wanted to get those two things at the time.

Then later, after considering the performance characterisitics more, and also the fact that 85kwh and air suspension means earlier delivery, I decided to make a the jump and go for those options as well.

So now I'm at $90k (+ delivery, etc. fees, -tax rebate). My point of going through all of that is to call out, yes, I'm in for more than I bargained for, as they say.

But the truth is, I'm not bothered by that at all. I wish the battery tech wasn't so expensive, but that's just where the technology and economics of it are right now.

I figure, as far as the options go, if you're buying a car like this, I think you might as well get those things that are going to improve your daily driving experience, and not have to think about regretting an option you missed.

I'm not saying everyone needs all of the options. If you have no interest in a pano roof, for instance, then by all means, no one should convince you otherwise. What I am saying is that, if I couldn't get everything I do want with this car, I would have just waited. So basically, desiguy, assuming you can responsibly afford it, I say that you should just do it! Either that, or wait years for more Tesla cars with more options to be around. But if you want one now, then I say that you should really get your enjoyment out of it!

The one option I think I could live without is the 85kwh pack. I think the 60kwh battery would work just fine for me, but I was attracted by the greater acceleration and earlier delivery of the 85kwh pack. The extra range margin is nice too, but I honestly don't think I will need it 90% of the time. Of course, the acceleration of the performance model is pretty attractive too, but that crosses over the cost-benefit line for me, especially considering that the only thing I would want in the performance version is the acceleration. I don't want the uplevel tires, wheels, carbonfiber, and while the look of the seats are nice, they're no better or worse than the regular seats to me.

bobinfla | December 17, 2012

I remember doing all the rational thinking back when I was thinking of putting down a Sig reservation before they ran out. Conclusion was that it was $7500 worth of red, and I couldn't justify that. Then went down to Dania Beach to see the car live before making the final jump, and they had lots of Kool-Aid available. Since then the options have just piled on and now am getting everything except the Child Seats (was afraid they may come with children pre-installed).

One of the things that I hold true is that "Almost" is a terrible place to land. I would rather buy something completely different, than to almost buy the car I wanted. If you get a Leaf instead of a Tesla, you don't begrudge the fact that it's not a Tesla every day. But if you get the Tesla without the X, Y or Z that you wanted to have, the thought will cross your mind "I really wish I had gotten X", every single time you get in the car, day after day, year after year. So if it fits in the budget (or if it's reasonable to expand the budget without cutting into real necessities) then go for it.

cmadsen | December 17, 2012

The only Tesla that we are considering is the performance option with most of the options. Slippery slope - this kind of money brings in alot of other car options. BMW 550 or M%, Porsche Panamera S or 4 - for sure performance. I am also dealing with this too.

Panamera Turbo ($150K) or Tesla S ($110K). Two totally different cars - way more options on the Porsche - also the no gas all electric Tesla. Different cars - different philosophies.

gagliardilou | December 17, 2012

I did not want to spend so much either but I ended up getting a sig performance with all options. I will say this, the car is amazing!!!!!! And I never think about I wish I got this or that. So far - no regrets at all.

Volker.Berlin | December 18, 2012

One of the things that I hold true is that "Almost" is a terrible place to land. (bobinfla)


Along those lines, cmadsen might actually be better off with a BMW or Porsche at this time. You can still buy a Tesla later when the cars are more mature and the battery has become a smaller factor in the total cost of these cars (Referring to another thread.)

Mark K | December 18, 2012

The measure of any maker is if they can offer you a compelling proposition to aspire higher.

I think TM just did that.

Live large, enjoy life and help save the Planet.

Hogfighter | December 18, 2012

The simple, but subtle, fact is that a 40kw base model and an 85kw Performance model are 2 different cars. Each are a relative bargain for their price point, if you include the cost of fuel over the life of the car.

But it is like going to BMW to get the base model 5 series and walking out with a top-of-the-line M5. (They do get ya on that stinkin' test drive, don't they?)

Volker.Berlin | December 18, 2012

Hogfighter, and indeed, the price range is the same. So much so that I wonder whether that's coincidence (of course not). Before someone disagrees, I was comparing German prices of the 5-series to my personal guesstimate of German prices for the Model S. The latter will likely be published, well, today?

bobinfla | December 18, 2012

Ps. As you slide down the slope, don't forget to budget extra for after-market upholders.

bobinfla | December 18, 2012

Ooops. Upholders

bobinfla | December 18, 2012

Last try. Cup holders. Damn spell corrector

JohnQ | December 18, 2012

@bobinfla, I thought that was a new type of car bra you were talking about :)

Grant910 | December 18, 2012

I think it is pretty easy to get avoid the "trap", keep it under $70K, and still get a vehicle that is head and shoulders above anything else available (except other Teslas)

I got a 60 battery pack, black paint, leather, pano roof, tech package, and air suspension. After tax credit, it is in the 60's. I test drove a nonperformance, and I was completely satisfied--faster and more exciting than any car I have ever driven. Unless you are drag racing with other Teslas, it really does not matter.

The 60 battery pack is good for me 360 days per year. For the other five, I will either use superchargers or (more likely) use the family car anyway. My only qualm is the service fees, which are of course offensive, but we have covered that in other threads already.

desiguy | December 18, 2012

Ok .. I drew up 4 versions I might go for.. I need to get back to all my finances and think about which one works for me. Now that I think about it .. after a couple of days after test drive, I am able to let go of some things to hit a budget. Thanks for all the advice folks .. you guys are awesome. I am buying the car anyway.

Skimpy Budget Comfort Luxury
Base price $57,400 $57,400 $57,400 $92,400
Tech package $3,750 $3,750 $3,750
Rear child seats $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
Pano roof $1,500 $1,500
Color $750 $1,500 $1,500
Air suspension $1,500 incl
Leather $1,500 incl
Sound $950 $950
85kWH battery $20,000 $20,000 incl
Tax & Delivery $5,859 $7,881 $8,392 $9,382
Maintenance $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900

Total $66,659 $93,181 $99,892 $112,882
fed 7.5K, CA 2.5K) $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000
Deposit $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Cost $51,659 $78,181 $84,892 $97,882

fluxemag | December 18, 2012

I went back and re-visited my saved design. I decided I don't want the air suspension. I'm sure it's nice, but I live in AZ where the roads are all relatively new, flat and dry. No problems with my current car on the driveway entrance. I would forgo the pano roof, but I need the head room. So that's a must. I'm on the fence about the stereo, I could put a nice aftermarket system in for $950, but it's actually not a bad deal at that price so I will probably get that as well. The only other thing I can't decide on is leather. My current car has leather and I like it, but cloth isn't bad for the hot summers and I rarely use my heated seats. The 40kWh battery is more than enough for me. I drive about 30-60 miles a day. My wife has a CT200h that gets 50mpg so we can take that on road trips or if for some freakish reason we need to drive 100 miles in a day.

Pano Roof
Stereo Upgrade
Standard suspension
Maybe leather. That's a game day decision.

Hard to make it any cheaper than that! Don't get me wrong, I slobber all over my keyboard thinking of a fully loaded performance with the gray wheels, but this is a stretch for me financially anyways.

The maintenance is really obnoxious. They need to stop talking about how much cheaper it is than an ICE because that's not true at all when they charge you for essentially nothing. I'll most likely only do it the first 4 year stint and then take my chances and start saving for a new battery.

Epley | December 18, 2012

Same thing happened to me. Caused some issues at home, too, when we realized what this would cost.

Now that we have it, I love every single thing about this car and I am so glad I just sucked it up and went all out.

Even my wife isn't looking back.

Bottom line is that the base car rocks. the top of the line is simply incredible. If you can afford it, go big, but don't worry if you can't because your car will still be great!

BYT | December 18, 2012

I started looking at the Model S with every intention of only spending $60k. I ended up with the Signature P85 with every single option for the exception of the paint protection because I went Pearl White.

I have no regrets, and I am not rich!! Brian H thinks I am though... :D

Brian H | December 18, 2012

fluxemag | December 18, 2012
The maintenance is really obnoxious. They need to stop talking about how much cheaper it is than an ICE because that's not true at all when they charge you for essentially nothing. I'll most likely only do it the first 4 year stint and then take my chances and start saving for a new battery.

Stick around and watch one annual Ranger maintenance session, and I guarantee you'll stop spouting that nonsense.

Brian H | December 18, 2012

Turn. It. Off.

Spelling correction is not obligatory.