A thought about lesser batteries

A thought about lesser batteries

I bought the 85kw battery based on several factors, after I originally signed up for the 60. My original thought was that I wanted to be able to use the supercharger system and I had to go from 40 to 60. The 40 was problematic because I often drive more than 100 miles in a day and although I'm close enough to the Hawthorne supercharger to take advantage of it, the 40 didn't give me that option. Once I was at the 60 level, and had to pay $2,000 for the supercharger option, it was easy to justify going to the 85 based on the unlimited mileage warranty on the battery. Although I've owned the car for 4 months, I've only used it for 3 months and have 8,000 miles on it. Here's my thought on overbuying.

For virtually everyone a 40 would be fine, but people don't realize that they're buying a car for 2% of their use, rather than the 98%. I have often thought that Tesla would sell more cars and eliminate vacation range anxiety if they simply said that the purchase price included 14 days of rental car for the typical 2 week driving vacation. If you can go back to an ICE for vacation, most of us could have lived nicely with a cheaper/lesser battery.

If I had saved $10,000 and gotten the 60, even at $50/day for a rental, I could have had 200 days of a rental. Over 8 years that means 25 days/year. And that doesn't account for the cost of money (present valuation)

With all that said, I like the option of getting from here to there in my 85 without stopping as frequently as if I had a 60. As the superchargers become more frequent and the charging time decreases with higher output, this will be less of a concern.

I guess after all this rambling, my point is that everyone should buy a Tesla. They should still make the 40 available and sell as low a priced car as possible. Instead of dropping the 40, they should make an effort to explain that a 40 is good for 95% of your use and a rental (even if you paid for it yourself) wouldn't cost as much as the money you saved on gasoline.

Tom A | June 12, 2013

I haven't bought a Model S yet, but I have been debating between the 60 and 85.

My driving may be somewhat atypical, but I drive beyond a 200-mile round-trip from my home near DC about 3 times per year. So, the 60 is perfect for me.

However, there are advantages to the 85 that are not so readily quantifiable:

80kWh vs. 60kWh:
~unlimited-mileage warranty (I'll probably never exceed the 125k in 8 years anyway for the 60kWh, but I digress);
~57 miles more range;
~0.5s faster 0-60 time;
~8lb-ft more torque over a broader range (up to 5800 rpm instead of 5k); and
~60hp more at a higher rpm range (6k-9.5k instead of 5k-8k).

Also, if you want the supercharging option, then you get all these other improvements for a net difference of $8k over the 60kWh car.

I would probably get the supercharging option on the 60 anyway, being able to finance the additional $2k instead of paying $2,500 out of pocket later, or docking $2.5k off of the resale price.

Still, $8k is a lot of money on top of a crapload of money for the car. The 60kWh car performance is way beyond anything I have ever owned. If I were to buy today, it would probably be the 60 despite the advantages of the 85 listed above.

Tom A | June 12, 2013

As far as the 40kWh goes, I was kind of sad to see it go, but CODA went 150 miles, was ugly (granted), and went bankrupt. Nissan, GM, Ford, Honda, etc., are all practically giving their sub-100-mile EVs away.

The 40kWh presented only 4% of orders despite the $10k discount from the 60. Granted, the availability of supercharging could have been a major factor. Plus, the 60 had better performance numbers than the 40, just like the 85 has better numbers than the 60. You get more than range with each larger-capacity pack.

Or, like me, said, "I really don't have room for $1k per month car payments in my budget, never mind 50% higher insurance premium and triple the personal property tax, so forget it."

However, market-wide, 200 miles seems to be the psychological barrier.

I can't blame Tesla management for simplifying production by dropping the 40 entirely, particularly since the Model X will only have the 60 and 85 options, as well.

Tom A | June 12, 2013

Oh, about the 85 vs 60, another advantage is the larger battery capacity won't be cycled as deeply, as often, as the 60 will for a given set of driving habits.

Tom A | June 12, 2013

Don't know what happened in my second comment...middle paragraph was a different thought that I thought I deleted...still no edit function after all this time...*sigh*

petero | June 12, 2013

Tom A. I bought a Model S, and debated between 40-60-85. I opted for the 60 and I am very satisfied with my decision. On rare occasions I have ‘range envy’ and lust for the 85. After all, more is more. The improved performance of the 85 over the 60 (not counting the Performance and the P+) is quite small – 5.6/5.9 seconds 0-60. The 60 is plenty fast and one of the greatest joys is “blasting” - quickly passing an ICEberg.

After 5 months, we recently used the supercharger (SC) and it was fast and easy. While recharging, I spoke to a couple that picked up their 60 in Fremont and drove it down to San Diego (often at 80 mph, stereo and a/c blasting) and had plenty of range to spare between SCs.

“Still, $8k is a lot of money on top of a crapload of money for the car.” We agree to disagree! The Model S (MS) is no more expensive (MSRP) than its’ luxury car competition (BMW, MB, Audi) and has a substantial advantage when refueling/recharging and repairs are factored in over an 8-10 year period. What sets Tesla apart from everyone else, is their appealing and compelling product. I would never consider buying a $76K (MSRP, $66K net in CA) BMW (et al), yet I was compelled to buy an MS.
We love our MS, it is quiet, smooth, quick, plug and play. The minimalist interior is a joy and the 17” infotainment is so easy to use. Bottom line, there is only one 21st Century automobile on the market – only one!

carlk | June 12, 2013

That's a thought. Tesla does not even need to give free loaners. You just figure in 2 weeks rental car cost to the price of MS and see if that makes sense to you. Many people do have another ICE car they can use for long trips.

Mathew98 | June 12, 2013

I purchased my MS60 as a daily commuter where a 40 kwh would suffice. However, since the MS40 is no longer available, I'll just have to "live" with the MS60.

For longer trips I would just use my other hybrid that's gathering dust on the street.

I'm really not comfortable driving an $80k+ vehicle to any destination which requires me to hand the keys to a valet attendant making 10 bucks an hour. It's a horror story waiting to happen...

Vicelike | June 12, 2013

My experiece with my Porche is that the valets are thrilled to drive your car and will handle it with care.


Another way to look at it is you save almost the cost of a rental car in fuel saving for every 265 miles you drive. So if you drive 12000 miles a year you save enough to rent a car for 45 days. On the question of 60 versus 85 the other consideration is the new recommended optimum charge level to maintain capacity for the longest time is 50%. So an 85 at 50% is 133 miles.

GLO | June 12, 2013

Love our 60 and as of yet, have not had any limitations as we typically end up charging at the usual superchargers where the 85's are anyway. I'm sure there will be times when we wish we had the larger battery but by then, I'll have a Model X with the 85! :)

amir | June 12, 2013

The only problem with the 2 week free rental for vacation is: who wants to drive an ICE on vacation once you get used to your Model S? A swappable extra battery for long trips would be more compelling.

NICE | June 12, 2013

From my understanding, there are standard and trip charging options. I was told by Tesla the lower percentage you charge daily the longer your battery lasts. With that in mind, the 85kw is 41% bigger than the 60kw thus will last longer given the same amount of use and charge level. Correct me If I have been misinformed.

ellcyc | June 12, 2013

I believe the Fiat 500e comes with 12 days a year of free car rental through Enterprise.

Neech | June 12, 2013

I have the 60 and am quite happy with the mileage. We don't have superchargers in the Chicago area yet, so I can't speak from experience using them. However, as the majority of the superchargers are going to be around 150 miles apart, the 85 will have to stop just as often as the 60 when travelling long distances. I also considered the trade-off of saving $8,000 vs. using a rental car for the occasional long road trip (which I hope I will never need once the superchargers are built up).

FLsportscarenth... | June 12, 2013

In the near term the dearth of superchargers on the southern portion of I-95 makes long distance driving with an S not very practical. But renting an ICE car, no way... A second car EREV like a Volt you can go anywhere and not have to deal with the nastiness of ICE cars. Non vacation time your EREV is ok for short commutes or running around town petrol free.

My Mercedes is awaiting final verdict, if it is a compression problem like it seems then I will send it on its way to car Valhalla, a hero at 259k miles but alas such is the fate of all the outmoded ICE machines... Still... Was a wonderful car and will be sad to see it go to the scraper...

Now the remainder of my ICE inventory I wish Tesla made a conversion kit for... I am NOT scraping my Delorean, Mera or Firebird despite how I have grown to dislike their ICE bound encumberances...

ppff | June 12, 2013

New to this- considering the 85-my concern is battery life- I will probably put on close to 20,000 miles a year. Does that mean I will probably HAVE to replace the battery in about 8-10 years. I would like more longevity without having to through in another $12,0000 down the line

keichhor | June 12, 2013

Personally I would have been one of the people who bought the 40S, but the option for supercharging if I ever wanted too made me put in the extra 12K for the 60S.

Then with the LEASE like offer, I was happy!!! We will upgrade in 28 more months!!

Neech | June 12, 2013

The Volt uses an ICE, so you would still "deal with the nastiness" because the battery only lasts 35 miles (on a good day). That is not going to get you very far without using gas. South Florida will have quite a few superchargers so you could travel long distance. It doesn't sound like you own a Tesla, so I don't see how you can objectively put down the merits of the car.

Brian H | June 12, 2013

Ya, scaping them would be just petty, like keying their doors. But will you be scrapping them (or at least selling, assuming they all run?) ;p

DouglasR | June 12, 2013

@Brian - so is scaping them a contracted method of getting away from them?

Brian H | June 13, 2013

No, scratch that.