Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Atlanta's Home for Electric Vehicle News and Information


Leave a comment

Is now a good time to buy a Pre-Owned Tesla Model S?

I had lunch with a work colleague last week who was asking me about Certified Pre Owned Tesla Model S vehicles and if now is a good time to buy one?

Well year end clearance sales are well known in the auto industry and the last week of December is the biggest sales period of the year! So can you score a great deal on a pre-owned Tesla Model S before December 31st?

That all depends on your definition of a great deal. Tesla forums are exploding with stories of ‘cheap’ Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Tesla Model S citing a few available for under $50,000. Considering the average new car price is $36,000 that’s still a hefty premium to pay for a 2-3 year old first generation Tesla Model S.

Here is the link to Atlanta pre-owned Model S vehicles. Tesla Model S Pre-Owned Atlanta. As of today, 18 vehicles are listed with the cheapest being a 2013 60kWh for $59,000 and the most expensive is a 2015 P85D for $105,000! A lot of choice for sure.

But none of the 18 listings look like a bargain to the author. Why you ask?

Autopilot MIA: Keep in mind that almost all of these vehicles are ‘pre-Autopilot’ capable vehicles (generally VIN below 50,000/production pre-September 2014).  This is truly a Buyer Beware situation.  Because these Model S vehicles cannot be retrofit for Autopilot (Tech Package is not the same – it must say Tech Package with Autopilot) these vehicles are consigned to a pretty steep depreciation curve.

Uncertain Used Value: Because Tesla does not typically go through the Manheim auctions, used values are almost impossible to peg and at this point, Tesla can set what they want for that value. So you have no real market data to base the value of the CPO upon. Tesla likely paid only 80% of the listed price as a trade in, locking in a 20% non-negotiable profit margin for the company so that’s a good place to start to get a sense of the true wholesale value of these CPOs.

Evaluate CPO vs. New: you should always make the comparison between a new vehicle and the CPO and factor in the still available up to $7,500.00 Federal Tax Credit. The first owner took that credit so it is not available to you as a CPO buyer. Take the time to go on to Tesla Model S design studio and price out a comparably equipped Model S, deduct the $7,500.00 tax credit and see how close you are to the CPO. Tesla Model S Design Studio.

Remaining Factory Warranty: check out the balance of the factory warranty (4 years/50,000 miles) which is extended for CPOs. Ask for details. Most importantly, look hard at the remaining battery life which typically has an 8 year warranty (ask about mileage caps which can vary by battery size and year of production). Along with the electric drive unit, this is the most expensive out of warranty repair to consider ($10,000+).

Some of the early Teslas were purchased with the extended warranty which should transfer to the CPO buyer – be sure to ask.  Rim rash is common and should be repaired by the Tesla Service Center. Tires are replaced below 5/32 of tread life.

Lower Priced Entry Level Model S:  you may want to wait and see what Tesla does with the Model S entering its fourth full year of production. According to this article from the Motley Fool, Tesla may continue to reduce the price/feature set of the Model S to attract more buyers. Tesla has been focused on the $70,000 entry price point but ‘de-contented’ Model S could reduce that price further. Motley Fool Less Expensive Tesla Model S?. Time is on your side as the supply of CPOs with Autopilot grow and Tesla moves to lower the entry price point on a new Model S.

Bottom line: So if you are just interested in a great car that may be worth 50% of what you paid for it 3 years down the road and can live without Autopilot and all other self-driving upgrades, you may find a great deal.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you commit to a Certified Pre-Owned Tesla Model S. Buy only the options/features you want. Try not to get swayed by the sub-$50,000 hype.  God-speed finding the deal of a lifetime!


Leave a comment

Tesla Changes Model S Line Up Again – Risks Alienating Current Owners in Quest to Lure New Ones

“I’m begining to fear the announcement everytime Elon Musk steps up to the microphone” to paraphrase a member of the Tesla Fans of Atlanta Face Book page. And they are right.

What happened today?  Tesla announced three ‘upgrades’ to its product line

1). A revised Model S 70, now offering a ‘lower price’ single motor version of the vehicle and rolled back the base pricing to $70,000; identical to what it sold the outgoing Model S 60 for just 100 days ago.  Apparently jumping the base price to $75,000 to include Dual Motors (aka 70D) and supercharging did little for the base model sales.  So Tesla appears to have beat a hasty retreat to its single motor, Rear Wheel Drive platform.  Tesla is working hard to get it’s entry priced Model S below the $80,000 price point with the most popular options.

2). An upgraded 85 kWh battery to 90 kWh. The upgrade may foreshadow the battery pack for the forthcoming Model X where towing capacity of 10,000 pounds and 7 passengers is requiredTo appease recent 85/85D buyers, Tesla is offering a $3,000 upgrade (plus installation) for the slightly longer range battery, cleverly expressed as a “7% increase in range” which translates to 18 additional EV miles.

No such upgrade was offered to late buying 60 owners* who could increase range from 208 to 230 miles. One Atlanta Tesla owner noted “on my last trip I averaged 221 miles between charges.” That would be a meaningful upgrade for a Model S 60 owner**.

3). Addition of the Ludicrous Speed feature for $13,000 to reduce 0-60 time from 3.1 seconds to 2.8 seconds.  The base 70 Model S goes from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, the 85 5.4 seconds and the P85D 3.1 seconds, which was labeled “Insane” mode.  Why does a 4,500 lb car need 0-60 in under 3 seconds? And it requires both the $10,000 Ludicrous and $3,000 Range Upgrade Packages. On a per second basis, that is a $43,333! ($13,000/.3 seconds)

Tesla owners, as expressed by several members of the Atlanta Facebook group, are becoming wary of ‘upgrades’ which depreciate their already expensive vehicles.  Others express willingness to dump the last version of their Model S or pay for upgrades to get the newest features, and bragging rights.

Elon Musk describes Tesla as a car that just keeps getting better: cleaner grid, software updates, battery upgrades.  But if current owners cannot ‘pay to play’ to get the upgrades, then he is not truly fulfilling that promise. Buying one $100,000 car is a huge sacrifice. I am all for upgrades but with access to them by current owners. That would truly make Tesla and the Model S (and Model X and Model III to come) a truly revolutionary motor car company.

* Full disclosure:  I took delivery of a 2015 Tesla Model S 60 with full knowledge of the Model 70D.  The option to re-order with a 70 kWh battery without the dual motor (and loss of the very useable Frunk) was not available. Just 100 days later that option is available and I have asked Tesla representatives to consider offering a 70 kWh battery upgrade on the same terms as 85 kWh owners can do so.

** Owner has an 85 kWh battery  with a 265 mile rated range.  On a comparably equipped basis, the new 70 is $2,000 less than my 60 as Super Charging is now included in the base price versus being a $2,000 option back in March when ordered.