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Can't Afford a Tesla!

I am a Leaf owner of 2 years now. My household income is well over $200k between my wife and I (And my mortgage is only $1600 with no debt). However I still feel priced out of a Model S. There is nothing more that I would love than to be able to afford a Tesla but they need a model that one can afford. Not just the "wealthy". What about people like me the "well offs". I can spend $30K-$40k on a car no problem... $80k... no thanks.


Im in the same bought as you not everyone is in the position to be an early adopter. Just have to enjoy the forum until the GEN III arrives.

boat not bought wish there was an edit function

Sorry you are so strapped for money only making well over $200K. Your income level is about were mine is, my house payment is 3 times yours, paid cash for my car. They are working on a model for just the well offs like yourself, be patient it will come. Meanwhile drive the Leaf knowing you are doing what you can to help the movement.

How much are you spending in short and medium distance travelled. If you are happy with a Leaf then long distance trips are not essential. If you drive infrequently, the cost will never pay for itself.

That being said it makes sense to wait for the Model E or buy a used Model S privately in a year. It does look like so far they are holding their value.

With that kind of income and low mortgage I'm sure you could afford the car. On the other hand I can understand that you have different priorities than spending $80K for a new car.

There is more to factor in than just the initial cash outlay and monthly payments. I am not "well off" and my household income is about a three quarters of yours (~170) but I have a very well equipped 85kw model S. During my cost benefit analysis I discovered that while my payments may be a bit higher than my previous vehicles, the fuel savings alone brought the benefits column to a level where I am now paying less a month in installment payments than I was for all three of my old vehicles combined. Your CBA may differ depending upon your commute and circumstances.

No one here will fault you for being cautious, this is a large expenditure on a depreciating asset, I have no regrets on my purchase.

I am not sure I understand completely. What are you driving now? What are you spending on gas and maintenance? What is your total monthly cost to operate your vehicle(s)? Unless you are driving a 10 year old beater and driving less than 12k per year, I am not sure how you can not afford one. Total price is not the only determining factor.

I assue you are not Mr. Bohnert of the Bohnert Equipment Company Inc that makes equiment for auto repair industry.

That would be an interesting coincidence...

excuse me... assume.

VIN - I think he said he's driving a Leaf right now, so no gas, little maintenance. In his case, the usual Model S savings arguments don't apply... he would have to get it based on raw sex appeal!

Well sure, if he never takes a trip more than 30 miles one-way at 50 mph with no AC, or loves 'range anxiety". But, I was assuming he must have something that is used for anything beyond the limited range of a 2 year old leaf. Must live in NYC, so why get a car anyway. Also. I have a beautiful basic black 4 which was $60K out-the-door with tax credit, so I am wondering how seriously he looked at the website and did the calculations.

So wait for gen three? I guess I don't get the point of this post. 200k (depending on where you live) could afford you the car, but like others said, it depends on your priorities.I bought two model S (a 60 and p85) and it's like another mortgage for a large house for me. While, I have to be more accountable for my spending, but I think it's worth it because I want my children to grow up with this as a part of their consciousness. I love that when my two year old plays "race car" he has to stop and "recharge" instead of fuel up.

"Afford" and "Feel comfortable with" are two completely different things. At that income and expense level, it's pretty likely you can afford it.

Not wanting to spend that much on a car, on the other hand, I completely understand. It's tough. Give it a couple more years for the Gen III release.

+1 Gizmotoy

Good point Gizmotoy. I'm not comfortable with the price of espresso, cigarettes, energy drinks, credit card interest rates, gas, fashion brands and cable TV.

Lump all that together and it just would pay for a Tesla in no time.

Have you cut out lattes?

Yep. I make my lattes at home. That alone paid for the espresso machine in no time.

I even have a cup that fits my cupholder in my car. But, It turned out that I don't use the cupholder for that.

Funny you should say that Captain_Zap. I stopped smoking in 2008. Never did buy the expensive coffee on the way to work and take my lunch to work... those savings alone make the extra monthly Tesla payment over a regular car.

A Leaf that has such a limited range would never cut it for me. I am really curious what range people get in their Leafs when the temp is 24 degrees outside.

Turns out my Tesla doesn't handle 90% of my driving needs. It covers 125%. 100% of my needs then my wife drives it when I get home and covers 25% of her needs. Can't wait to get her a GenIII.

I don't think it's a matter of $200,000 leaving a person too poor to purchase a Model S and more a matter of priorities..... and it's not unreasonable for a luxury car to not be a priority.

First World Problems...

Well, I'm not in the 200k household category, but I can afford to finance an S60 over 6 years at 1.49%. The long term CBA based on gas and maintenance saving justified my purchase.

OTOH, I can't afford my wife either. She spends 4x my S60 payment each month. Do I have a choice? Nope.

I'll have to keep da wife and the mistress (MS).


You make well over 4x my income and though my ordered 85kWh 2013 Model S which I take delivery of in less than a month costs $89720 without the Government tax credit of $7500 which I do not get because I, like over 50% of Americans, do not make over $50,000 a year and therefore do not owe $7500 in Federal taxes to have credited.

But since a person who makes less than $50,000 a year cannot afford the gasoline at $3.509-$4.509 a gallon to drive 52 mile round trip a day to make my less than $50,000 middle class salary. I need an Electric car with a range of at least 60 miles per charge. (I have no mortgage and no debt.) I am within 6 years of retirement and am considering this car purchase probably will be the last car I will purchase in my lifetime. I want a 4 door car that can seat 5 when needed and has plenty of trunk space. Since I will probably like to take a few 300 mile trips after retiring a range of near 300 miles er charge would be desired.

I added up the price of gas at only $3.509 a gallon to drive the 20,000 miles per year over the next 6 years until my retirement and added that to the cost of my current ICE 5.5 year old car with 108,000 miles and I get the cost of my new 85kWh Model S.

I find it very interesting that a "well-off" thinks it's not doable to consider a car that is $80,000 and is whining on a public forum for a company to make a $40,000 car and I, which am closer to being a "have not" than a "well-off," can see that I can't afford not to by a Model S.

@Mathew98 All I ever aspired to was to make enough money to live as well as my wife and kids.

@ mrbohnert

you seem a little short sighted and over looking the overall cost of the vehicle over time. i use to spend $500 a month on gas, after i went with tesla, i spend only $120 on electricity. then i went the extra step to get solar and now i drive for free as i'm saving over $120 a month in electricity.

so here is the math... you can get the entry level tesla for ~$60k after fed tax credit. i save 6k a year on gas alone. after 10 years, my car is free.

this isn't even taking into consideration the maintenance is down to replacing tires and wiper blades. no oil changes and the motor is a commercial motor proven to last over 2mil miles.

now tell me you can't afford the car. pure BS.

Some people drive a Yugo, some a Maserati.

Nothing wrong with driving a Yugo...or a Leaf.


Nothing wrong with driving a LEAF; there is something wrong with a person that can pay cash for a Model S to be saying he can't afford one and that Tesla should be $30k-$40k so he an be more than "well-off"

+1 DallasTXModelS

I am also not in the OPs income range and would never buy a $100k ICE because of gasoline and maintenace cost. After looking hard at my finances it turned out not that difficult. Only the 85kWh battery was a little challenge, but we cut down our expenses for 6 months and could manage.

I drive for free today, my house + car electrical bill is the same as the house by itself because going from tired to TOU rate which I only get owning an EV. A little adjustment - we do now laundry only on Sa/So morning when the rate is $9 cent was all it took to make the car fuel cost disapear.

I said the same thing to Ferrari, but they haven't gotten back to me.

I wonder why.

Well, in this respect Tesla is a better alternative in Sweden.
We pay c. $8-8.50 per gallon here (to hear Americans whining about gas prices always makes me smile broadly), and in Norway that is even worse (better where I come from) - > 9 Dollars/gallon.
With a standard European car with standard consumption and driving 30k miles/year we're talking about 9'500 $/year in gas alone (add oil, exhaust systems, service etc etc). Deduct electricity prices for those that do not generate themselves and assume 300 Wh/mile = 2'000$ makes a net save of 7'500$ (actually more if you add the oil etc). With a financing of 5% interest you can buy a car for 150'000 for that - and what do you know: that's as much as I paid for my Sig P85 - exactly. Hmmmm. Coincidence?

In my case I generate my electricity, didn't have to finance and, if I add the life quality the Tesla gives me, and my good conscience, adding all the new acquanintances I get, while deducting the new lines I have in my face à cause de my constant grin, I could pay twice that and still be in the black. A no-brainer. A life-changer.

I might not be the right person to comment on the income level, but the 60kwh sans frills is effectively similar to the cost of a loaded 3 series after factoring in the gas savings and minimal repairs. (After tax rebates and such are assumed).

Plenty of my friends make less than the OP and drive M3s and Audi S4s.

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