Tesla is a safe EV choice, but I realize that Tesla may not be the the right choice for everybody, especially if you live far from a Tesla Service Center, or you don't road trip very often and charge overnight where you live, like most EV owners.
Thankfully a few competitive alternatives have finally arrived here in the US that might be better suited for where you live and drive. If you're tired of emitting burning-dinosaur-juice-fumes from your tailpipe(s) everywhere you go, but aren't yet sure whether Tesla or another EV would probably be best for your needs, this article is for you! Warning, if you read this, you be a well informed EV shopper, and you'll learn a lot about the market leader Tesla, both the good and the bad. No car is perfect, but my Tesla Model 3 is still by far the best car I've ever driven, and I've rented nearly a hundred cars over the past 20 years of business travel.
If you are able to fully charge overnight where you live and you know all about the Tesla Model 3 and Y specs already, you can probably skip ahead now, jumping ahead to the EV DECIDER section below to learn all about actually owning a Tesla.
Going electric with both our cars turned out to be a great decision for my wife and I. We've had a lot of fun, and they're much safer too. This decision brought me the most joy of any purchase decision I've ever made, and each Model 3 actually exceeded our expectations. I'm not exaggerating, and these feelings are commonplace among the many dozens of Tesla owners that I've met. Word of mouth is powerful. There are very good reasons Tesla is making over a million EVs each year and growing fast every year, recently completing the world's largest factory in Texas while nearly all the other automakers are seeing serious reductions in sales. Tesla also invests their money into R&D and innovation, while the competitors are weighed down by hefty advertising budgets.
EV ownership isn't all sunshine and roses though. It takes time and ownership experience until all the the practical benefits and occasional drawbacks really sink in. I've overnighted at many distant hotels, and one hotel stay for a week had no charging and it was the dead of winter, hitting 10°F most nights. That's real-world experience for you, and it did require some very minor adjustments to my business trips. As for range, well, I've never met anybody around here in New England that regrets saving up for a longer range EV. If you drive in poor weather because you have to, AWD (All Wheel Drive) sure is helpful. I've had numerous occasions where I've driven my health care professional wife to work in some very snowy conditions. Most AWD EVs are fantastic in the snow, with today's traction control systems, even RWD models can do quite alright too. Nothing like the fishtailing of my parent's '73 Ford LTS Station wagon in any snow.
This article is all about helping you avoiding surprises and/or disappointment. Try to avoid assuming anything about EVs in general based on any second hand horror stories you've heard about EVs released before 2017 (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt): batteries, thermal management, and fast charging technology have improved greatly since those early relics of the past.
- DC Fast Charging
- Non-Tesla EVs
- Tesla EVs
- Dealer Markups
- Benefits of most EVs
- Prerequisites for all EVs
- EV DECIDER (Tesla or Non Tesla EV?)
- See also at TinkerTry
- See also
I see the competition not as Tesla vs all the other EVs. Instead, it's about getting any brand EV now instead of gas. Going all electric is far better for most folks pocket book than chickening out and just buying another gas car to drive, especially if you drive a lot of miles. Did you know that countries like Norway are way ahead of us, with fully electric cars accounting for 90% of their new car purchases? Across the EU, roughly 11% of all new car sales are fully electric. It's happening, and your gas car is likely to depreciate rapidly in the years to come. Now is a great time to get rid of it, especially with rising gas prices, and the inevitable, increasingly rapid movement of the US's grid toward cheaper, more sustainable sources of electricity.
If your first EV will be your secondary car and/or can't wait months for EV delivery, this decider should help you gain insight into many of the best questions to ask yourself as you start to shop around. Keep in mind you are likely to enjoy any EV you choose far more than any PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, still uses gas), but be sure you are an informed buyer before you jump in on this big purchase decision. If you allure has you glossing over the reality of figuring out overnight charging long before delivery, or has you focused on finding the lowest price instead of shopping for the best range you can afford, you could very well wind up being disappointed in the long run. Such mistakes are common, especially for the subset of drivers who live in an area that regularly exceeds 70 mph (Lower Midwest/Texas), and/or drive in winter often (Upper Midwest/New England). Read onward to learn why.
Tesla is still far ahead of all competitors when it comes to longer road trips, with an unmatched Supercharging network that makes it not just possible but quite effortless to drive across the US without worry. Check out these maps to see whether charging is available right along your family's route to grandma's house. Having a sense of the travel convenience is important, keeping in mind all places you frequently visit. I say this as a frequent business traveler who has dealt with dozens over overnight hotel stays in distant places. I can't be late to meetings to charge. Newer or pricier EVs actually precondition your battery to warm it up before fast charging, getting you in and out much faster. They also tend to have heat pumps that can significantly lessen the impact driving in sub-freezing temperatures has on your range. Bottom dollar EVs tend to use older tech, lacking one or both of these attributes.
The focus here is on 2022 model year cars and beyond, not on used cars. Why? A 2018 Tesla is not a 2022 Tesla for example, with significant improvements made to ride quality and wind noise reductions, a larger battery pack for most models, a heat pumps increasing efficiency in winter, and greatly increased range overall.
Keep in mind that like most EV owners, you'll probably be happiest if you can charge overnight where you live, leaving each morning with at least a 90% full "tank" of electrons. This sort of daily driving convenience simply isn't possible with gas cars. I can't overstate the importance of this enough, the vast majority of most EV owners do almost all of their charging at home. More about charging in the Appendix.
Next, we'll talk about the other kind of charging that is very important for long road trippers like myself.
These are also known as Level 3 chargers, and generally located near highways, mostly intended for the fastest possible charging used when doing long distance road-trips that exceed the range of your chosen EVs. If you're in a modern EV, these stops usually take anywhere from 15 to 75 minutes, depending upon the EV brand, outdoor temperatures, and for some older stations, whether the station next to you is in use or not.
There's a bit more to say about long distance road tripping before we can proceed to the decider. With Tesla, their huge competitive advantage is their ease and availability of Supercharging today. It's the safe choice in this regard. Any concerns new Tesla owners initially might have about loved ones road-tripping quickly evaporate: all they need to do is enter their destination address, and if needed, the car will tell them exactly where to exit to Supercharge, guiding them right to the charging stall. They simply plug in the cable, and charging starts in about 3 seconds. No questions asked, no app to fiddle with, no QR codes to read. It's automatically billed to the Tesla owner's account. NO need to wait around either. The in-car and apps both display exactly how long to charge to continue safely, so you know how long you have for a bio and food break, usually somewhere between 15 and 40 minutes. Eventually, here in the US, Tesla is considering opening its Supercharging network to non-Tesla EVs, but the time frame for this is unknown, and it will likely take longer and cost more than Teslas using the same facility, and will require an adapter.
I've driven 56K miles these past 3.3 years in my 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range, charging at home most of the time. But I also road trip a lot for work and for family, stopping at 117 Superchargers at 68 different locations across the Northeastern US, with zero instances leaving me without the ability to charge. The Tesla Supercharging network is remarkable.
Non-Tesla Fast Charging
I sincerely hope that growing networks like Electrify American and EVGo for all other brands of EV are going to be built-out quickly, for the growing onslaught of non-Tesla EVs finally coming to the US market. For now, there are just far too many instances of charging difficulties that road trippers encounter, with Plug and Charge not yet a pervasive standard on new EVs. Another big challenge is how they often DC Fast Charging locations have just two 150 kW stalls and 250 kW stalls per location, where Tesla tends to have at least 8 stalls at all the but most rural of locations. This means your odds of not successfully charging due to broken hardware, and/or having to wait behind others to charge first, are significantly higher.
The Tesla referral program ended long ago, so you could consider this article a public service announcement, intended to help folks be a more informed and ultimately happier EV buyer and long-term owner. I'm well aware many folks don't choose Tesla for a variety of legitimate, situational reasons.
If you finish this EV DECIDER below and it turns out Tesla isn't likely the best fit for you, check out my EV Owners Show & Tell YouTube Playlist featuring a wide variety (and growing) list of EV makes including Rivian R1T, Hyundai IONIQ 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar Polestar 2, and VW ID.4. There's also a growiing list of new EVs coming very soon to the US, with most of them listed right here at TinkerTry.
Comments below this article or any of the videos to provide me with ideas for improvement, or to share your decision making process, or if you're curious about some concerning information you've come across. Your words surely will be appreciated by both me and my readers!
For shoppers more interested in a sportier ride, faster acceleration, better cornering/less body roll, and the most range for your money, then the Model 3 will be your best choice, featuring a generous trunk and frunk. Note, the low doorway height getting into the low back seat will make entry and exit more of a challenge for taller or older passengers.
For both the Pearl White Multi-Coat and the Midnight Silver Metallic, here's the pricing:
- $46,990 - 272 mile range Model 3
RWD, 18" wheels best if you have potholes, made in CA, LFP Battery can be charged to 100%
- $55,990 - 358 mile range Model 3 Long Range
AWD, 18", made in CA
- $62,990 - 315 mile range Model 3 Performance
AWD, only available in 20", made in CA
For shoppers with growing families, and/or frequent passengers using the rear seats for road trips longer than 1 to 2 hours, the Model Y will likely be a better choice. It's essentially a Model 3 and shares many of the same components, but it's stretched to be 2.2" longer, 7.2" taller, and 2.8" wider. Those same Tesla-made wonderfully comfortable Model 3 seats are now mounted on risers for a more commanding view, with a motorized hatch back design with straight in loading with no lip in the way, wand a very generous trunk and frunk.
For both the Pearl White Multi-Coat and the Midnight Silver Metallic, here's the pricing as of April 22 2023:
- $59,990 - 279 mile range Model Y
AWD, 19", made in TX, price estimated
(coming soon, I wouldn't recommend, mere $3K savings for 50 miles less range)
- $62,990 - 318 mile range Model Y Long Range
AWD, 19", made in CA, eventually TX too
- $67,990 - 303 mile range Model Y Performance
AWD, only available in 21", made in CA, eventually TX too
With the basics and budget now out of the way, let's get into some very honest questions you can ask yourself that will help determine whether you seem to be a good candidate for buying a Tesla EV vs any other EV, with some starting around $44,000, but eligible for $7500 in Federal Tax Incentives.
In today's supply chain constrained world, the harsh reality that the average new car in the US now tops $47,000, and that substantial price markups at dealerships are commonplace, not just for EVs. This behavior that profits only the dealership, not the manufacturer. It may very well steer you more toward the direct sales model of companies like Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, with established brands like Polestar, Volvo, and BMW heading that way too, and even Ford taking steps too.
It's interesting to note that a lot of money is spent on advertising, both by dealerships (local press/news), and by manufacturers (Super Bowl).
Disclosure - My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We purchased two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all-electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!
- Eases the pain of high gas prices and vehicle maintenance, with a cheaper and generally much easier ownership because of electricity prices that are considerably lower across the entire US than buying gasoline, and because of less maintenance.
- Do away with disdain you (or your significant other) has for going to gas stations to fill up, sometimes when you're in a rush and on a tight schedule, but you forgot your tank was low.
Now let's figure out which EV(s) you should consider test driving and maybe pre-ordering. This article is no substitute for a proper test drive of multiple EVs. The more car brands you test drive, the better informed you'll be, and the better you'll probably feel about your eventual buying decision, knowing you've done your due diligence.
- Do you have a way to charge most nights?
- Do you have a garage, where you can have an electrician install a 240V outlet?
Ranging from ~$200 to $1500, but many states and utilities offer substantial rebates & incentives.
- Does your apartment/condo have a garage where paying for an electrician could get a 240V outlet installed for fully recharging even an empty battery overnight?
- Does your street parking near you offer a safe way to 120V (normal outlet) charge for days at a time after longer road trips?
- Do you have a garage, where you can have an electrician install a 240V outlet?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it sure sounds like you're ready for an EV. If you fall short in the area of charging, you might be able to get by until you resolve it, getting creative temporarily by 240V charging all day where you work, or maybe even DC Fast Charging every week or two someplace near where you live or work. How practical this will be largely depends upon how much you drive, or if you live in a street-parking-only area with something like this nearby. If you wind up getting a Tesla, I have details about home charging here below.
Things to consider when deciding on a Tesla Model 3/Model Y vs another EV brand.
I'm leaving out the luxury Model S and Model X, which were recently refreshed and start at $100K, which is well out of the reach of the vast majority of new car buyers reading an article like this. If budget isn't issue for you, and driving for 6 to 9 hours at high speed without stopping is the biggest priority for you, consider the USD Lucid Air Dream Edition with over 500 miles of range at 70 mph, with prices for such extended range models starting at $95,000.
- Can you wait from 4 to 12 months for delivery?
After placing your $250 deposit upon ordering at tesla.com, can you tolerate that kind of wait, knowing in advance that delivery estimates and scheduling the delivery are known to be rough around the edges, notorious for inaccuracy, or sudden changes. Get over it, and warn others of this up front. Finalizing the delivery may also require a lot of flexibility on going with whatever Tesla's chosen delivery date is.
Stories of out of the blue changes by Tesla urging an immediate delivery are commonplace. Despite worldwide production of over a million EVs over the last year, reasons for Tesla delays and reallocations include supply chain constraints, tremendous demand, and the reality that the Gigafactory Texas isn't scaled to full production volumes yet, initially making only Model Ys for east of the Rocky Mountains. Coupled with a history of not doing well getting accurate delivery dates to customers, and it's a reality you'll just need to come to grips with for the forseeable future.
- Is safety your #1 priority?
My wife and I have have both been hit from behind, by drivers going at high speeds. This gives us both a bias in our buying decisions. So for us, the very long waits for our Model 3s to replace our old Honda Civics was worth it, especially given how long we plan to drive them for. It was a huge stretch for us, having our kids just finishing up college, but the Model 3 has lowest probability of injury tested in a sedan. That mattered to us. Which car is second? The Model Y, with the lowest SUV rollover risk ever tested.
Your priorities may differ, especially if the lowest price is your top consideration. In general, EVs tend to have a lower risk of injury partially due to their lower rollover risk due to a lower center of gravity, a higher weight, and no large gas engine to encroach upon occupants in a collision. They also have less than 1/10th the risk of fires.
- Do you travel long distances in cold winter (under freezing) conditions often, which will require more frequent stops to DC fast charge along the way?
- Do you travel long distances at high speeds (above 70 mph) often, which will require more frequent stops to DC fast charge along the way?
If your answer is yes, read on. Let's say you have trip you drive often that is 200 miles. If you buy an EV with an EPA range of 220, that won't be enough. You'll have to to DC Fast Charge for about 10-20 minutes along the way in winter, or when driving at high speeds. It's better to save up for a longer range EV, probably one with at least 300 miles, which would likely eliminate that stop, and eliminate any range anxiety. Rarely does anybody regret buying an EV with too much a range.
- Are you very tall, and would rather not have to duck a little getting in and out?
- Are you getting older, and find getting into CUVs (Compact Utility Vehicles) / SUVs easier?
- Do you prefer a very large hatchback instead of a traditional trunk?
- Do you frequently have adult or older passengers in the rear seats on long drives?
If your answer is yes to any of these, then you're likely to want to save your $ and wait for a Model Y CUV instead of the Model 3 Sedan, with easier entering and exiting, especially for the rear seat. Note, your range and acceleration will be a bit lower in the larger Y than the 3.
- Do you want access to by far the largest network of DC Fast Chargers (Superchargers) that are generally well lit, near bathrooms, and are integrated right into the in-car navigation including stall availability and precise charge speed estimates?
If your answer is yes, in 2022, the answer is still get a Tesla, unless you have access to Electrify America or EVGo in all the places you wish to go, or if you don't plan to road-trip very often at all. Sadly, competitors generally don't try to guide you to faster Level 3 chargers, say 250 kW instead of 50 kW, which is a major pain for road-tripping, and could cause multi-hour delays in your travel plans. Want evidence? Watch this segment on trying to get from Boston to Montreal.
- Can you handle trips to your nearest Tesla Service Center for occasional maintenance, particularly when under warranty, and/or recall work?
Note, Tesla Mobile Service is pretty amazing in my experience, and has been similarly awesome for many others. They handle basics like tires, cabin air filter replacements, and component swaps. You can also do basics like tire rotations or replacement at your local tire shop. But if you have a warranty claim or a recall notice, you will likely need to go to Tesla Service. If you have collision damage, you will want to get your Tesla to a Tesla Service Center that handles collisions, see Collision Centers on this Tesla map, or find a Tesla-Approved Collision Center near you.
4 years/50K miles for Basic Warranty, whichever comes first. Please refer to Tesla Warranty for details on the battery and drive unit warranty.
When getting service, you can't count on a loaner Tesla being available, although you can up your odds if you schedule your service for first thing Monday morning. When they don't have a (usually older Tesla) loaner, they offer you Uber credits instead. Because of these factors, if you have an accident, even a minor one, you can anticipate long repair times, so it's probably best to contact your auto insurer to add rental coverage.
Use the Tesla locator to search for "Service" in your area.
- Can you endure multi-month parts shortages that Tesla owners often face in 2022?
This isn't just a Tesla thing, check with other EV makers for their parts availability too.
- Can you handle a modest service experience without fancy amenities, and without special handling for anybody?
You might be lucky and live near a Tesla Service Center with excellent ratings, or you might have one with a not-so-great reputation for customer service and timely repairs on the first try. Or somewhere in between. It's pretty well known that Tesla Service can be an inconsistent experience depending upon where you go. This is true in the automotive dealership world as well. It also tends to not matter if you spent $35K on your base Model 3 Standard Range RWD in 2019, or if you spent $136K on your Model S Plaid that can go 200 mph. In general, you'll need to check your entitlement at the door, and be prepared for sluggish communications about repair status, mostly relying on the text messaging built-in to the Tesla app. This can be frustrating.
I hope Tesla addresses these shortcomings. Meanwhile, for my wife and I, it's easy enough to drive each other's cars if one lands in the shop. With Cloud Profiles coming very soon, even our seat and climate control preferences will remain the same when driving the other Model 3. Eventually, this could be true when renting a Model 3 from Hertz when on vacation.
- Are you fine with knowing that Tesla sometimes makes decisions quickly to get past production challenges, but usually does the right thing in the end?
Tesla did not make a smart decision to suddenly remove the Mobile Connector (charging cable) from all new Tesla's starting with orders made after April 17 2022, especially since they're out of stock at the Tesla store (details below), and it can sometimes take months to get an electrician to put a 240V/NEMA 14-50 (looks like a dryer outlet) in your garage. People need a way to charge from a normal 120V outlet those first days or weeks after taking delivery, albeit it at a slower pace, while they figure out the best solution for their needs.
Ultimately, due to tremendous negative feedback from the Tesla community, Elon lowered the price of the $275 cable down to $200, which will be helpful once it's back in stock.
- Are you totally OK with lots of neighbors, friends, and strangers driving the same car as you?
Tesla's mission with the Model 3 and Model Y was always mass production, scaling up to make as many as they can to fulfill demand. Tesla’s new Giga Texas plant in Austin is the country’s biggest factory by size and will also be the highest-volume U.S. auto plant when fully ramped up.
If you were looking for a rare car that turns heads, the Model 3/Y aren't for you. Coming from a family of Honda Civic owners, this wasn't exactly a problem for us.
There is an advantage to owning a car that many others have, a healthy aftermarket accessories market that'll be very likely to fulfill your desires for little enhancements for many years to come. As far as software glitches, with millions of Teslas already on the road likely experiencing that same glitch you are, it's also far more likely to get fixed than by a manufacturer of niche products that only sell in small numbers.
- Are you OK with a chance of minor cosmetic issue(s) discovered at delivery day that will eventually need a visit to Tesla Service to rectify under warranty?
My 2018 Model 3 had some moisture issues in the tail light, and my wife's 2020 had the roof glass panel and a bumper trim piece slightly misaligned. My wife didn't notice or care about either issue, and both were handled by later Tesla Service visits. None of these issues impacted the ownership experience in any meaningful way for us, but that's not to say others haven't had body panel alignment issues, aka, panel gaps.
Overall, build quality for Teslas coming from the Freemont CA plant has been improving over time, with occassional exceptions still happening. Most owners taking delivery without anything of note. The Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg and Gig Shanghai factorys' Teslas seem to be built to even higher fit-and-finish standards, which bodes well for the also-new Giga Texas as well, with Tesla very good at making good use of its learnings from challenges they faced in the past.
Any new car of any make tends to have more issues during the early production ramp-up, so for me personally, I'd try to stay clear of roughly the first 50,000 of any new Model. An example of this is the new structural battery pack version of Model Y AWD soon coming out of Giga Texas with the new 4680 battery cells. If you order now, it'll be so many months before yours arrives mostly mostly due to chip shortages, so this is likely a moot point anyway, they'll surpass 50,000 by then. Eventually, the plan seems to be CA-built Tesla Model Ys are for west of the Rockies and TX-built Model Ys are for east of the Rockies, with Model 3 continuing to come out of CA, but perhaps eventually from TX too.
Are you a fan of sportier/nimbler handling, and are OK with a tighter suspension (rougher ride)?
Are you OK with some wind and road noise (vs cars that cost about the same, but have lower road noise from more sound deadening)?
- Do like a simple, modern, and uncluttered interior featuring minimal visual distractions when looking at the road ahead?
There are steering wheel controls for critical functions such as setting cruise speed, follow distance, as well as entertainment functions like changing volume, choosing the next song/previous song (skip back/skip ahead for podcasts), and activating voice controls. Things like wiper speed, seat heaters, and window defrost are available using voice commands or the touch screen's UI.
My wife and I love the simple and easy-to-clean interior, and the way we see things, there's less to go wrong here. We're also not a fan of complex things like sliding sunroofs that tend to break after a few years. We are practical people. For my wife and I, coming from about 30 years of mostly owning Honda Civics and a Honda Civic Hybrid for >10 years each, our standards for road noise and comfort were fairly modest. We were blown away by what a big upgrade our Model 3 was, in every way This was especially so when first experiencing the instant response to pushing the go pedal, but the very sure footed handling at all times, even under acceleration, earned our confidence very quickly. There's no engine, and you can't hear the pleasant motor whine highway speeds, but you can hear some wind noise. That aside, we quite enjoy finally being able to have conversations with rear seat passengers at highway speeds, at least on most road surfaces.
For some folks already accustomed to luxurious cars in the > $60K price range with lots of noise dampening materials (added weight), they might find Tesla Model 3/Y to have a little more wind noise than they're used to. Also, the Tesla 3/Y suspension to feel a little too taught, aka, sporty, for their smooth highway ride taste. Have a listen to this InsideEVs Weekly Podcast segment talking all about it, and to this video where the large improvements made to wind noise reduction in a 2022 Model 3 is noted, albeit without head-to-head measurements. While an air suspension would add to the comfort, it would also add considerably to initial cost of the car, and impact the overall cost of ownership due to inevitable repairs by whoever owns the car >100K miles down the road. Folks looking for a cushier ride will probably prefer the VW ID.4, Hyundai IONIQ 5, or Kia EV6.
With Tesla, you are paying a premium for the advanced and mature motor, battery, and range extending technology, gained from years of experience mass producing the #1 most popular EVs ever made. You are not paying for lots of flashy chrome and knobs and buttons.
As for the single central screen, we both got used to that within days. I'm 6'1" tall, so my long torso usually means I can't see the speedometer through the wheel in nearly every car I rent. In our Model 3s, the (visual angle) distance our speed indicator is from the road ahead is about the same as most other cars. While it's a non-issue for us, apparently Tesla may change things up a bit at some point, but such tech changes are notoriously very difficult to predict with any accuracy.
- Are your reasonably comfortable with your back-in parking skills?
All Teslas globally have their charge port located at the back left corner. For Supercharging, those cables are short, with an easy to find and easy to push release button. But this means you'll need to back in to Supercharge, some in between stalls that are already occupied. Gladly, all Teslas have rather large backup up cameras, so it's rather straight forward to back in. Don’t expect great visibility out the rear window of the Model 3, with even less of a view for the Model Y. But if you're not used to backing up to park, this can be an inhibitor for some, but likely resolved once you have experience doing this a few times, like most things in life.
Be aware that CCS (EU) and CCS2 (US) connectors are bulky, with somewhat tougher to press release buttons. The cables tend to be thick. Dealing with DC fast charging can be difficult for some.
- Are you totally fine with skipping optional Full Self Driving?
If you don't like this driver assistance program that still very much requires your attention, often referred to as FSDBeta, simply don't buy this option. The lane-centering and adaptive cruise control on the highway are still excellent and come built-in to all new Teslas anyway, no extra cost required. You can always try FSDBeta on a monthly subscription basis later on at any time. Gladly, the learnings from the current beta tester in North America are making the software smarter that powers all recent Teslas. This will ultimately making them all safer, even if you don't order Full Self Driving, for things like accident avoidance or collision damage mitigation.
- Do you dislike Elon Musk?
Well, how much do you know about the CEO of Ford, GM, Hyundai? This is a tricky subject. While I don't agree with him on many things Elon tweets, but I'm not really sure that's a good reason to avoid Tesla, maker of the most American car. Wealth doesn't necessarily equal bad, he genuinely seems to try to do good, and you might want to have have a look into his history of (eventually) delivering on his remarkable tech promises, including accelerating the auto industries reluctant move to EVs. I'm not a fan of some of the very dumb stuff he tweets, he has Asperger's, and his speaking style comes across as unusual. He is a flawed human. Perhaps do a little more digging to see why you hate Elon, as there has been a lot of misinformation out there trying to take Tesla down during their early Model 3 do-or-die mass produce days of 2017.
The way I see it, you're essentially weighing the risk of going with Tesla and the occasional snarky jibe from Elon-hating folks you know, versus the risk of going with a legacy brand who might not survive the transition to electric vehicles.
I won't pretend that this whole Elon buy's Twitter thing is a distraction that does concern me somewhat.
If you answered Yes to 11 or less of the above 13 categories
You likely need to find a non-Tesla EV, something more likely to give you a better overall ownership experience. One of the many EV options outlined here should work out for you. Enjoy those test drives as soon as you can, there's just no words I can write that substitute for testing out the seats, seating position, and ride quality by driving various EVs yourself, so when you place your order, you know what you're eventually getting. The more brands, the better.
Please note, due to the rather extreme backlog of orders due to constrained supplies of EVs, some dealers are apparently requiring credit checks just to test drive.
If you answered Yes to 12 or 13 of the above 13 categories
Congratulations, in my opinion, and my experience meeting very many other EV owners at various EVents, you're quite likely to be quite pleased with either a Tesla Model 3 or a Model Y, and you're seemingly quite ready to book a test drive. If it's your first EV ride or drive, it will ruin you forever, especially if you're the driver. All gas cars will suddenly seem ancient from that drive forward.
While Tesla Model 3/Y prices are listed above as of April 22 2022, they're subject to change so you should check on today's prices yourself. Everybody in the US pays the same exact price nationwide, and all Tesla car orders are done online:
- visit tesla.com
- clicking/tap on Model 3 or Model Y
- clicking/tap on ORDER NOW
- clicking/tap on Purchase Price (instead of Potential Savings default)
- clicking/tap on your preferred model, paint color, wheel choice, tow hitch, seating layout, and Full Self-Driving Capability choice
When facing the financing vs. cash buying decision, if getting your Tesla soon is your priority, you can use that time you're waiting for your VIN to be assigned to find financing separately, walking in to your delivery day with the check or electronic payment information in hand. If you can get past the silly thumbnail image that YouTube's algorithms basically require, this video explains it all quite well. You will learn important things like why you'll need to get your Tesla configuration right up front if you don't wish to lose your place in line, a line which can change for the worse or better at any time. Why? Because Tesla has a huge back order list, so they can get away with doing whatever they need to do to deliver as many cars as possible.
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- Teslas no longer come with the home charger, so you'll need one of these
- $275 - Gen 2 Mobile Connector Bundle
120V - comes only with slow regular outlet adapter, $45 NEMA 14-50 adapter sold separately. Full charge takes days.
- $400 - Corded Mobile Connector
240V, electrician installs NEMA 14-50 outlet, you plug it in. Full charge overnight.
- $495 - Wall Connector
240V, electrician installed. Full charge overnight.
- $275 - Gen 2 Mobile Connector Bundle
See also my fun, creative and dirt cheap overhead charging solution.
For folks that road trip beyond ~250 miles in a day often, DC fast charging speed will matter to you. While DC fast charge times in the newest, better (>$50K) EVs tend to be as low as about 15 minutes to go from 20% to 80%, they can be roughly 75 minutes for some that have slower charge capabilities and/or bigger batteries to compensate for inefficiency (Audio e-tron, Porsche Taycan Turbo, Jaguar I-PACE). That's kind of a big deal if you road-trip often.
Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We purchased two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all-electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!