In the context of a long wait for the Tesla Model 3, Consumer Reports raises the point that it might be worth one's while to just opt for a used Model S today instead.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 is the entry level Tesla (from $35,000 - full details here), which means it's not really a direct competitor or a successor to Model S in any way - but a case can be built for optioning for the Model S in its place.

As there is now more than 460,000 reservations for the Model 3, that can translate into a 1.5 year wait for new would-be Model 3 owners.

Additionally, a well-equipped Model 3 will cost between $50,000 and $60,000, which is starting to get close to the entry-level Model S.

Now, if we add in the consideration that the federal tax credit will decrease from $7,500 to $3,750 some 91-182 days after Tesla exceeds its 200,000 car sales (the halving of the credit is likely to occur on July 1st, 2018), then down to $1,875 by the end of 2018, and to nil in the Summer of 2019, the price comparison of a Model 3 with a used, but well-equipped Model S does make a lot of sense.  Although we sense Tesla would rather sell you a new Model S or 3 just the same.

Check out Tesla's own listings for used Model S sedans here.

Therefore, for similar money you can the get larger, premium Tesla, with better performance, range, features and even free Supercharging today.

Well, to be fair, the maintenance (like tires) will be more expensive-the car is indeed older, and one does not necessarily need a car that big...but if you don't want to wait for Tesla Model 3, Consumer Reports released some advice.

The most important of which is to search for Model S not older than September 2014, as this was the time when Tesla introduced first Autopilot (although if you don't care for Autopilot-these early versions are less expensive).

"These might be appealing to an impatient Model 3 shopper because:

  • They have roughly the same shape as the Model 3 but are larger and roomier.
  • The Model S has more usable space because of its hatchback design.
  • The EPA-estimated range on a fully charged battery for used Model S sedans runs from 208 miles to 265 335 miles. In CR’s test of our own 2013 Model S 85 with rear-wheel drive, we got 225 miles of range. Tesla says the Model 3 with the long-range battery should get 310 miles, or 220 miles with the standard battery.
  • Buyers of a used Model S get free supercharging for life, according to Mel Yu, a CR auto analyst. But buyers of new Teslas after Jan. 15, 2017, get up to 400 kWh a year free (which doesn’t roll over to subsequent owners).
  • Used Model S buyers get a four-year, 50,000-mile pre-owned limited warranty with 24-hour roadside assistance. Warranty coverage can be two years and up to 100,000 miles if the vehicle has more than 50,000 miles already on it, Tesla says.
  • While the first versions of the Model 3 are rear-wheel drive only, you can get a used Model S with all-wheel drive.
  • The Model S has a larger screen than the Model 3—17 inches vs. 15 inches—and there’s an instrument cluster behind the steering wheel that the Model 3 doesn't have."

source: Consumer Reports