I had reserved the Tesla Model 3 over 16 months ago. Ever since Tesla’s event a few weeks ago, I’ve been going back and forth on the car. The base price will be $35,000 for the 220 mile range or an extra $10K for the 310 mile range car. You’ll have to pay an extra $5K for a nicer interior, another $5K for autopilot, and then a final $3K for self-driving. This excludes the extra $1K if you want a non-black color. All of that added up really fast!
Standard or extended battery?
This decision is different for everyone. Initially I was going to go for the 220 mile version since I didn’t plan on taking the car on road trips (use my gas guzzling SUV instead.) Then on the other hand, people will say, ‘Well if you have self driving, maybe you WILL go on road trips more often.’ While that’s a fair point, I’ve come to the realization that what I hate most about road trips isn’t the physical part of driving… it’s the wasted time in the car. If it’s going to take more than 4 hours to get to, I’ll just FLY instead. I know some of you are road trip people; I’m just NOT one of them, so I think 220 miles is more than plenty for a commuting car.
Used Tesla S’s
Before I came to the conclusion that I was fine with a standard battery, I added up a fully loaded model 3, which would cost $58K. That’s not far off from a fully loaded S that is 82.5K, and you don’t have to wait months or risk the $7500 federal tax credit running out and plus I’m sure the S will be nicer than the 3. I then went to look at used S’s. The cheapest one with Autopilot is around 70K. That’s only 12K more than the fully loaded 3. Eventually I started asking myself, “Do I even NEED a new car?” The answer to that is definitely a NO. A new car definitely ranks up there as a ‘nice to have,’ especially if you have functional cars already.
I then found a used S on CL and the car was a year old with 8K miles and the buyer wanted 75K. I told him he was smoking crack because the KBB said it should be mid $60’s, and why would I pay $75K when I can get a new one for $82.5K – $7.5K credit = $75K. He muttered nonsense that the $7500 tax credit would go away. I told him good luck selling it.
In my head, I thought WA state didn’t hit you with the 10% sales tax if you bought an EV. Well apparently since 2016, the state decided to lower that amount to a $35K MSRP car, but they eventually raised it to $42.5K MSRP. So whether I bought a new or used S, I’d still have to pay sales tax. However, if I bought a new 3 that is under $42.5K MSRP, I’d avoid WA sales tax and I’d be crossing my fingers the $7,500 federal tax credit would still apply.
I think the play for me since I live in WA state is to just buy the standard battery with the $5K interior upgrade for an MSRP for $40K. This would then save me $4,000 in taxes. I could then pay for the autopilot upgrade after the fact for an additional $6K, so my net cost would be $46K. If I add the autopilot during the initial purchase, then I’d have to pay $45K + $4.5K tax = $49.5K. Thus, I’d save $3.5K by paying for it after the fact.
I thought about the self-driving feature, but it’s not ready yet even for the S, so I’m not going to deposit $3K or $4K for a feature that doesn’t exist yet. I think I’ll just wait until it’s actually available first. Maybe by then, I’d sell my used 3 and get a newer version 3 with the self driving pre-installed. We’ll see…