A potential buyer here, clearly I'd like to own a Model S as we'd use it heavily as our commuter car and put around 20k miles per year on it. It wouldn't be a toy car but the one we rely on (although we have plenty backup cars). Our last new purchase was a Toyota Sienna in 2004 and I vowed I'd never buy new again and lose out on the depreciation curve, but here I am. I'd like to focus this discussion on total long-term cost of ownership, as we would own and use this car until it died (Our 9 year old Sienna has almost 230k miles on it now).
I don't need to address the purchase price, that is easy to discern.
When we buy a car, we will have the option (actually obligation) to purchase a service plan in order to get the warranty. This four year plan is $1900, although to us that really means 50k miles as that is the mileage limit and we'll hit that before we go 3 years. As per the website, an additional 4 years/50k miles at that point costs $2500. So for $3400 you get a service plan for the first 100k miles. I don't know exactly what that covers and doesn't cover, but it looks almost like you really only have to worry about wear and tear plus tires. Is that right?
Ok, with that as the first discussion, my next discussion is what happens after 100k miles? Will software updates and at least monitoring of the car be at no cost, with service at whatever the prevailing rate at the time? Will there be an option to further extend the service plan?
Now let's move on to battery. We would purchase the 85kwh battery option, which means 8 years unlimited miles. That's great! And if we drop an extra $12k it appears as if I can go ahead and replace that battery pack at 8 years. Here are my questons with respect to that. When can we pay that $12k? It would be much more convenient to time that payment with when the tax incentive/refund is paid out (next year when I file my 2013 taxes). Is there a window of time where that option is available, and if so how long is the window? If we do this battery pre-purchase, at 8 years if the batteries are still stable, do I have to replace the battery pack at that time or can I wait until the originals are ready to be replaced? What if my batteries are replaced under warranty at 7.5 years, certainly I wouldn't want to use up my $12k investment 6 months later? If we have that new set of batteries replaced, what is the warranty on those? Is it also 8 years unlimited? Is this pre-purchase transferrable, which would make a 6 year old car much more marketable to a potential buyer who knows that while the life of these batteries at that age is suspect, you get brand new ones soon!
The cost of connectivity is something that will be announced at some point in the future, but is something that also contributes to the long-term cost of ownership.
I understand all the savings on gas, routine maintenance (such as belts, oil changes, air filters, etc etc.), so the purpose of my post is to focus on things required to keep the car going.
In closing, to buy a Model S, in my opinion, is not an effort to save money. I can buy a nice luxury family car for cheaper and still save money long-term buying gas and doing maintenance. That's ok with me, I'd still prefer the Model S because of the new technology, the cool factor, the quiet ride, the different factor, etc etc. The purpose of my post is solely to get a grasp on what the total cost of ownership would be simply to see if it is even viable. I've never spent half of what the purchase price of this car is on another car.
'85 Ferrari 308 GTS/QV (euro)
'91 Bentley Turbo R (make an offer to help fund a Model S downpayment)
'39 Rolls-Royce Phantom-III
'57 Chevy Bel Air
'78 Mercedes 450SEL (make an offer to help fund a Model S deposit)
'91 Volvo 940 Turbo
'94 Toyota 4Runner
'04 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD
'13 Tesla Model S wannabe.....