Is it financialy advisable to get MS

Is it financialy advisable to get MS

Hey all,
I currently make btw 9-10k/month (110-115K /YR)before tax. I am single, have a morgage of $1900/mo, few other bills that cost me $700/mo. is it financially advisable to get MS? i get angry every time i pull up to the gas station to get gas these days. i drive about 120miles/day, spend about $90/wk on gas. I love MS but will definitely listen to honest advise.

lilTeslaboy | September 1, 2013

Absolutely! You are in a good financial situation for the MS. Just think of all the gas money you would save! Plus if you get the MS im afraid you may not be single for too much longer. Haha.

romainiacWV | September 1, 2013

You have to really answer that question for yourself. I'd say the short answer is yes if you have enough saved to pay cash for the model you desire. Can still finance it, the rates people are getting are amazing. With good credit you can get 1.49% from Alliant. If you are going to finance it fully. Then it requires a look at your monthly income Based on limited financial info you provide and assuming you get taxed at about 25% of that income cumulative from state /US /local taxes filing single you may have about $4600 a month in "disposable" income. But this is x-other liabilities you may have. (CC debt, food, fuel, SAVINGS, etc.). A payment on a mid range priced model S a month is approx $ 1,200/Mo. if you get the above rate. If you are spending about 1/2 of the $4,600 on living now. You have $2,400 left. More than enough to fit in a car payment that is bigger than most mortgages if you so desire. Also, don't forget you'll need 10% DP Let us know what you decide? Everyone here is going to tell you it's worth it, do it, but only you can tell yourself if you can afford it.

Renegade | September 1, 2013

I'd say get it. You would save $4,600 per/yr in gas at least.

But there is a lot of info you haven't made know, such as how much you have for a down payment, do you own, lease, or finance your current car, if you own, how much is it worth, if you lease, how long do you have on the lease, if financing, whats the pay off amount.

All this will help you determine how much you will need to finance (if any) and what your monthly payments will be. Then you can better see if the pros of paying for a MS outweighs the cons of not having one.

But if you have the cash to pay for the entire thing... forget everything I just said, get the car, and ball out!!

bonaire | September 1, 2013

What is your electric rate at the house?

If you have a high-enough electricity rate, no it is not a financial way to "save money". If your delivered electric rate is about .10/kWh - it may be fine. Some states have a tiered rate and unless you set up metering and rates right, it can cost quite a bit to run an EV (say in California). Some eastern states offer electricity in the .16-.17 kWh and that has dropped a bit from a few years ago.

You may go from $90/wk in gas to $30/wk in electricity with a good rate. Not bad but is that really a big financial "win"?

Reminder - takes 1kWh to go about 3 miles (taking into account charging losses). Do the math off of that and your electric bill.

I drive a Volt and save an "ok" amount of money but NOWHERE near as much as the car costs (and it was $25K out of pocket). I would be better off buying a used Prius to save money on gas fees. 20K miles put on the Volt in the first year and I think I saved about $1200 versus my old Mazda at 25mpg. ROI is long when considering the price of a new vehicle.

Get a Model-S for fun, the tech, for all the reasons you want to stop using foreign oil, for a larger car, for whatever reason. I don't think you can justify any new car on cost-savings alone.

Exsedol | September 1, 2013

I made a similar thread to this a few days ago (called 'When can I afford a Model S?') and was asking if where I'll be financially in 18 months is good enough to buy a Model S. The short answer is 'yes' if that's really what I want, though there are always better investments than an all electric luxury sports sedan.

I suggest you invest in solar panels first, if that's feasible (good lighting, sufficient space on roof or ground). If you get competing bids from 5 or 6 solar companies, you can drive the price down such that your ROI is at or under 5 years. Then use the power from the solar panels for your EV. That's what I'm doing :)

soma | September 1, 2013

I think the short answer is no, there is no financial justification for getting this car -- not on fuel savings, not objectively compared to any reasonable sedan alternative. You have other reasons you really want this car -- the question is whether you feel that the financial tradeoff is worth the pleasure you get from having it, and satisfying your reasons.

redacted | September 1, 2013

I'm with @soma. It's stupid to buy a $100K car for any sort of financial reason, you can buy the biggest gas guzzler, pay far less for gas than you saved from buying the cheaper car, and have almost the same resale value in ten years.

The only reason to buy a Model S is because "I wants it."

I suggest a Yaris, cheap, efficient, and far less. Unless you wants it.

Sanjuro88 | September 1, 2013

It is a luxury sports car, so it is difficult to justify based on the financial standpoint.

Having said that, you will save money and the environment, the more you drive. I think "filling up the tank" or charging up 85kw battery from empty is about $4-5, depending on your power company rates.

If you want to save money on gas, buy Prius. I drove it for 6 years, you actually get 50 miles per gallon. It's a fantastic car to get from the point A to B. if you want to do it in style, get Model S!!!

cwmenne | September 1, 2013

I'm in essentially the exact same financial situation as you, except I'm married with one child, but my wife and I keep finances separate and I have no regrets getting my MS. I ran the numbers and I couldn't lease a mid range 5-series for what I own the MS for. Drive 20,000+ miles/ yr and the more you drive, the easier it is to justify. It's the best car I've ever owned (including 5 & 7 series BMWs and Land Rovers) and the best decision I've ever made after marrying my wife. She loves the car too, by the way, and that says a lot.

info | September 1, 2013

There is no right answer. You can always justify spending less, but what are you going to spend what you save on? There is a cost to owning the most advanced transportation system on the planet. You spend enough on gas to save some real money. You also will save on oil changes and maintenance. As others have mentioned, it's hard to justify spending even $70,000 to save $3,500/year on gas. Like I said, you could buy a lot of gas with $70,000. On the other hand, the thrill of ownership of one of these cars---even a 60kw with no tech package is still more than you'd get with any other car. For me, I am saving $500/month on gas, I live near a supercharging station, and I have always been interested in cars and have no other life, it was easy.

SamO | September 1, 2013

3500 saved per year is a 5% return on your money.

There is a good financial reason for buying the MS.

1. You keep your car for 10 years.

2. You hedge against rising fuel cost, war in the Middle East, possible tax changes/carbon tax/fuel tax

3. Low likelihood of injury. Driving a car is the most dangerous activity we all participate in. Thus the likelihood of being injured/out of work/ disabled is greatly reduced. 30,000 die in crashes each year and 300,000 are seriously injured. This cost the U.S. alone $300,000,000,000.

This isn't just a luxury automobile. It is a money saver.

I spent $1500 on repairs to my 10 year old car this year before I purchased the MS.

I spent $300 in maintenance.

I lost 3 work days coordinating pickups drop offs.

I spent 26 hours at the gas station.

dramingly | September 1, 2013

As sanjuro says, it's a luxury item. I think that means that, no matter how we try to justify a purchase with gas and maintenance savings, you will never recoup the money you spend.

Every car will depreciate to $0 over time.

From a purely financial perspective, I don't think it's ever advisable to buy things like this (that being said, I'm anxiously awaiting mine!). They are basically toys and the question is how much you are willing to spend on toys and how much it will affect your present lifestyle and future finances. Only you know that.

SamO | September 1, 2013


I must disagree.

The op will recoup his entire purchase price if he drives the car for 15 years. That's assuming gas prices don't rise. And he assuming doesn't ever have to change the oil or do routine maintenance, smog checks, replace belts and brakes.

His payback might be much sooner.

And NO not all cars depreciate to zero. I'm sure many people here own "classic" more than 30 years old that cost more than the MS brand new.

Kimscar | September 1, 2013

@soma is absolutely correct. You are not in the financial situation to buy this car. You already have a big outlay for your mortgage plus other expenses. Are you putting away 20 percentage to a retirement? How many months of emergency money do you hace?

This is an expensive car. For me I am picking mine up next July paying cash with no impact on my retirement. I am clear this is not being bought for financial savings. My present cars are Saturns. I am buying the car because it is really cool, I am a recently retired aerospace engineer that loves the design, I feel enviromentially responsible for the future, I like that I will be supporting Tesla so they can bring it out to the masses in the future.

Your financial responsibility it to set yourself up for any contingencies that may come up and fund your retirement so you can play and enjoy.

jman | September 1, 2013

I am married with one child and a mortgage that is slightly higher than yours, and income that is a few thousand less than yours, BUT we are still going to buy the best car that is on the market AND it will increase its value over time BECAUSE of software updates (which isn't discussed much on these sites and not sure why), AND uses dramatically less oil than any other car you can buy !!!
Get the car and enjoy all the benefits it brings you ! And deciding on the extras is an entirely separate discussion 60 vs 85, interior upgrades or not, color choices, ect....

soma | September 1, 2013

jman, I just have to disagree with your middle point. The car will never go up in value, and definitely not because of software updates (unless that has some magic ability to extend range of the battery). No car is an investment, and we shouldn't deceive ourselves that it is.

TM themselves know that the depreciation is significant, and have given the 50% guarantee 3 years out to make people feel ok about it.

One or two generations of technology from now, in 5-7 years, and these cars will be selling like depreciated top end BMWs or Mercedes, and you should expect that decline in value. There probably will better range and better technology cars that make the MS obselete as a new car -- (unless they allow retrofit of the battery pan...)

Also worth noting, all those bells and whistles on top of base model will not be worth anything close to what you paid for them, which is why I plan to get 60 kwh stripped down. Takes out much of the fall in value compared to a fully loaded out model. No premium sound, no air suspension, etc. for me.

Consider an iPhone analogy. Apple charges an arm and leg for the increase in 16gb/32gb/64gb on their iPhones when they first come out - just like Tesla add ons. Basically $100 extra for each jump in memory capacity. Watch 2 years later, and the different tiers sell for maybe $20 difference between the tiers on the used market (go look at You can get a used iPhone 4 16gb for just about $20 cheaper than a used 32gb model -- because no one is clamoring to buy the iPhone 4 in general any more.

On samosam's points, they are just confusing. Keeping your car for 10 years, or it being a very safe car has nothing to do with the financial difference between Tesla and the other car you would be considering. There are just as safe cars out there for much less. His middle point about gas prices is possibly valid, but as before, increases in gas price will never pay for how much more this car costs. And if gas prices go up by 2x, we as a country (and we as individuals) will be having bigger problems than gloating over our gas savings.

michael1800 | September 1, 2013

I don't think it's ever advisable, but yes, you can afford it if those are truly your bill amounts and income. Although, I'd make sure your job is stable and you have a suitable emergency fund. With a low 6-digit salary, I'd recommend a decent down payment instead of full financing, but that's just my opinion.

togliat | September 1, 2013

I am single, no kids, never married. I make $153k. I am not sure if I can afford this car for the very reasons some of the more lucid posts above say. You can argue that buying a Model S is an environmentally responsible decision, and I would counter-argue that buying a USED CAR would be more-so, given the "carbon footprint" of creating anything from scratch versus recycling. Spending 100k to save $5k on fuel is not a strategy I would support. Buying a fuel-efficient car, or better still, a used car and keeping it roadworthy makes more sense from a PURELY financial angle. Finally, all cars will indeed depreciate to $0 and even into the negative rage (paying to have them hauled away), or having to spend cash to float its market value by keeping it road worthy.Just keep that in mind.

The bottom line is this: The Tesla is an amazing car, is arguably the coolest thing on the road right now, and I want one so bad I can taste it. I am not going to rationalize to myself that I am saving the planet through buying one (which I am not), nor am I going to kid myself that I am going to recoup my $100k in 20 years through fuel savings. I know EXACTLY how much I have spent on fuel since 2008 and it is not enough to justify buying a Tesla. Investing your "Tesla money" would be smarter than spending it on the car itself to save on fuel costs.

Again, Tesla (despite the hype) is not about fiscal responsibility It is about coolness or as one poster put it, "I wants one."

I understand that this won't be a popular opinion. But I felt an obligation to the poster to get to the heart of the matter, beyond all the enthusiasm which, despite this post, I certainly feel in spades.

I respect Mr. Musk, and what he is doing. I think electric cars are indeed the future. But if saving money (or more accurately, "spending less") is what you're after, there are other, more viable options. If you want a Tesla model S, buy one. But don't kid yourself that you are doing anything "fiscally responsible" in the process.


SamO | September 1, 2013


No facts and no numbers mean your argument is a null value. Please refute anything I wrote above.

JAFIC | September 1, 2013

For me, i ordered the car based on the fact it's a family sedan that happens to have great acceleration. Oh it's electric too.

Find me a family sedan that can sit 5. Not 4. 5 persons including driver AND have great acceleration and performance.

Keith72 | September 1, 2013

I don't agree with you that buying a used car and keeping it roadworthy is necessarily a better financial decision. I had a car that I kept for 25 years, but only because it was a classic and not because it was worth it financially (until you sell it as a classic). Eventually it becomes too costly to justify keeping the car roadworthy. I got to the point where I only put about 1500 miles a year on it. Most companies that have company cars get rid of the cars within 3-4 years, as do car rental companies. They do all sorts of financial analyses to determine when to get rid of the car, and 3-4 years seems to be the sweet spot. Only time will tell if this sweet spot will be higher for a Tesla, but some lifetime analyses seem to project that the total cost of ownership over it's lifetime will be much lower for a Tesla than an ICE. Other forums go into more detail and debate on this.

JOED | September 1, 2013

From my point of view this purchase is almost a no brainier !
For my daily driver I would only spend 500 to 600 per month, but the choices are limited for my desire,
I was also spending $400 per month on gas
If you take the monthly target of 600 add 400 that's I000
Using the 10% down option puts me right there in out of pocket
No sales ax in nj
7500 tax rebate next year
Hopefully the monthly increase in electric bill is 50
The buy back option at 36 months combined with the 7500 gives back more than my downayment

While not saving actual dollars the benefits of this car are outstanding, combined with fun
And having a leading edge. It's a no brainier !,
My only regret was not buying te stock st 30!

Brian H | September 1, 2013

It may be quite a bit brainier! AFAIC, that's a no-brainer. ;p

Fight! Samo vs samo. Getcher popcorn here!

jbunn | September 2, 2013


Gas savings on my Tesla made 2 out of 6 car payments the last 6 months. We really enjoy it. I had to buy a new car anyway, so why be tied to gas for another decade?

BossFox | September 2, 2013

The Model S is too expensive to justify buying it for the gas savings.

Yes, the gas savings do help. But there are far cheaper cars on the market with lower "lifetime" running costs. I am running a Nissan LEAF while waiting for my Model S.

If you are looking at spending this amount of money on a luxury car then it's going to make more sense than most other cars.
It'll depreciate like anything else, more than you can buy a cheaper car for.

Brian H | September 3, 2013

Depreciation is so far unknown; probably the TM 3yr 50% guarantee on 30% or so of new purchases may set a floor.

eAdopter | September 3, 2013

Sorry, but if you need to ask these folks for financial advice then you're probably not ready for a Model S. I think a $70,000+ car is for people who can make their own life/financial decisions.

jat | September 3, 2013

I bought it and I love it, but there is no way it is the best choice from a purely financial decision. Even if you think you will pay back the costs in 15-20 years, who knows what will happen by then - the car has only been on the roads for a year.

Now, if you want some of the things the Model S offers and not just how cheaply can I get from point A to point B, then the cars that offer some of those features aren't that much cheaper, and you can start to justify the increased cost with fuel savings and other intangibles. If you want a car that has everything the Model S has, then the only question is can you afford it because there isn't another car out there that matches everything.

eAdopter | September 3, 2013

@jat +1

Brian H | September 4, 2013

In terms of "value per dollar (Euro)" it's pretty hard to find a competitor, unless you reduce the denominator to such low levels that the end product is not worth much. In countries like Norway, the contrast is particularly stark.