I break down the pros and cons of getting Tesla now vs later.
First off…if you have to buy a car right now, you really should get a Tesla.
It’s the best car out there. I think the perfect one is the Model 3 Long-range All-wheel drive, also known as “Model 3 LR AWD”. It’s about $46k, lots of range, power, and future-proof for the electric future.
But what if you DON’T have to buy a car right now and just want to know your options?
BENEFITS of buying a Tesla now
1. Start enjoying your new Tesla now
As with anything, technology always gets better. But if you buy new, you get to enjoy now (but miss out on next year’s new features). If you wait longer, you get to enjoy more features later but still miss out on even later features then.
The only critical detail that matters is whether or not those promised new features will make that big of a difference in your life. I do like the idea of ‘living in the now’. 🙂
2. You get more services included (FREE)
I think this is a big one and very nice of Tesla to reward their early adopters. Don’t know if you remember but Tesla’s first buyers have free unlimited supercharging for life! Well that’s gone now and you only get maybe a year if that (depending on the promotion running).
However, there are some features included free that are going (or have already gone) away and will cost around $100/year:
- Internet connectivity
- Homelink (garage-opening capability)
- Slacker radio?
- I’m not sure what else.
3. Your Tesla model not be updated for a few more years, anyway.
As with many companies, they don’t do major upgrades for every model every year. They cycle through them and some models mostly stay the same for 3-5 years before a truly major update.
4. Largest EV rebates
It seems the government and local utility programs are offering the biggest rebates and discounts to early adopters. It used to be a whole lot more $7500-10000 to go electric. I think that’s dropped now to something more like $2500-5000. And soon, there probably won’t be any rebate at all.
But on the other hand, Tesla has adjust their prices to compensate for the decreased rebates. So in a way, you may or may not get a better price later due to further rebate compensation. One might argue it’s better to wait since you get a lower price on the car (paying less taxes) and not have to wait to get money back.
BENEFITS of buying a Tesla later
1. Save money now
I’ve heard the whole claim about EV’s saving you money because you don’t have to buy gas. If you’re trying to leverage that as your rationale, I’ll be the first to tell you that Tesla’s “premium” prices go against this. They save you in future costs but buying one now will definitely be the opposite of “saving money”.
This is especially the case if you’re already driving a super cheap ICE, low-maintenance reliable gas car, or car that you already paid off years ago. In which case, it might be a smart idea to hang tight for another 2 years and pad your bank account for the future purchase.
2. Matured product
This is by far the biggest reason for holding off on buying a Tesla. It’s still very obviously a new product designed by a new team and they’re still learning on the job. They’ve made incredible progress thus far but their cars are still very far from perfect. Little things that you’ve come to expect in other cars are still missing from Teslas. (No roof handles, spare wheels,
And then there’s all kinds of more quality control or bug issues like paint job, panel gaps, wind noise leaking around the seals, software malfunctions. Seats adjusting themselves out of position. A ton of stuff. Ok course, nothing so big that it overshadows Tesla’s accomplishments but definitely enough to bother people who are used to certain things.
Before you decide to act on this logic, make sure you know when your preferred model is expected to be updated. It could be 2-3 years away instead of next year.
3. More features
Another valid reason. Buying a car later means you’ll have even more features when you get it. My thinking is this. Technology will forever have new features…that’s kind of how it works and how things are sold. What matters is that you’re getting the features you absolutely need and a few other nice-to-have ones. What doesn’t make sense is holding out for vanity features you’ll never use and even have to pay extra for.
4. Better EV network
The longer you wait, the better the network for electric vehicles get. More charging stations will be built. More chargers will be available in public and private places. More businesses and technology will be built to fit the EV lifestyle.
Right now, EV can sometimes be inconvenient. Maybe charging stations are farther or more out of the way than you’d like. Maybe charging stations are still too slow or you hate waiting in line to charge. Maybe electricity isn’t cheap enough yet. Maybe the city where you live or a place that you visit often (national park? small town?) isn’t EV-friendly yet.