Now that we have many of the details surrounding the Tesla Model 3, is it worth waiting for, or should you just go get yourself a used Model S?
Who better than Ben Sullins of Teslanomics to give this question a college try? He's actually tackled it in the past, but that was before we had all the Model 3 details. It really is a tough question and probably doesn't have an answer that will suit everyone's fancy, but it's not hard to see how the two stack up in the categories that matter most.
Inside the Tesla Model 3
Initially, most people may have said the price would be the biggest differentiating factor. This is not really the case anymore. Ben thinks the vehicles' overall utility may play the biggest role in your decision.
In regards to price, used Model S' are selling cheap (as low as ~$40,000) and the current production Model 3 starts at $44,000. However, most Model 3s, once reasonably equipped with what most people want in a Tesla (and what's already going to be included in the used Model S), could cost $50,000 or even as much as $60,000. If the price is key ... unless you want to wait years for a base Model 3 (which will likely not enjoy the federal EV rebate), the used Model S is much more bang for much less buck.
Ben breaks down all of the other categories, as well. Many are going to be pretty obvious for those that understand cars (compact vs. large/entry level vs. flagship, etc.), and especially for those that understand Tesla. The Model S has more range, more power, more cargo space, potentially free unlimited Supercharging, and immediate availability. Ben says the Model 3 may win the "tech" category since it's new, and he notes that it's easier to park the smaller car. Aside from that, the Model 3 won't stand a chance against the Model S, and even Tesla has made a point to repeatedly remind us of this.
Use Model S interior
One category in Ben's "study" is up for debate. He gives the "looks" win to the Model 3, although he argues for the Model S being "classicly beautiful". What do you think?
Video Description via Teslanomics by Ben Sullins on YouTube:
Likely the biggest factor when looking at either a new Model 3 or a Used Model S is going to be the utility of the vehicle itself.
// Range (draw) Both the Model S and Model 3 have excellent range. The lowest I’ve seen for a used model S is 200, and if you were to go with a new 100D you could get 335mi on a single charge. The model 3 is also well equipped with the standard battery starting at 220mi and the long range going up to 310 miles.
// Supercharging (point - Model S) All of the used Model S on the site currently come with free supercharging for life whereas the Model 3 is listed as pay per use. So currently, according to the site as of September 2017, to get Free supercharging on a Model S you need to use a referral code. Since we’re comparing a used Model S I’d say it’s safe to say in the near term you’d likely get free supercharging.
// Performance (point - Model S When it comes to performance, both cars are pretty amazing. The Model S 75 clocks in with 0-60: 4.3sec and a top speed: 140mph. The Model 3 is pretty quick also, but def a step behind the S. The three clocks in with 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds (long range) and a top speed: 130 mph.
//Availability (point - Model S) If you order a Used Model S today, depending on your location, you should have it within a month. Even new ones might only take a month or so. Of course, if you order a Model 3 today you could wait upwards of a year or more, which for most people is too long to wait.
// Tech (point - Model 3) Now my favorite feature about all of Tesla’s models is the tech inside. This is what drew me to them and why I eventually started this channel.
So as for the Tech, the Model 3 has to win this although I’ll say if you don’t have a Tesla now nothing else compares to it in this category, and you’d be satisfied with either choice.
// Price (draw) Many were surprised when Elon unveiled the price for the different options for the 3. When you compare that to a new model 3, which the average price is going to be around 50K, these two are comparable.
So for the price, I’m going to call it a wash as well since they’re both in the same ballpark depending on what you find on the used inventory.
// Looks (point - Model 3) Before seeing a Model 3 in person, I was pretty skeptical about the looks of it. I love how my Model S looks and wasn’t excited about some of the angles I saw in spy shots of the 3 online. After seeing it up close and getting to ride in one however, I can attest it’s sporty and sexy. So, in my opinion, the 3 has a better look although the S is a classically beautiful car that has stood the test of time.
// Parking (point - Model 3) Another advantage of being a slimmer version of the S is that the 3 will fit into parking spaces better. Now for some of you, this might not be a concern, but considering roughly 50% of all Tesla’s live in California we can attest that parking an S in a tight spot can be tough. So the 3 gets a point for being easier to park merely because of the slimmer size
// Storage (point - Model S) The Model 3 has a slightly below average amount of storage at 14 cu feet, still more than the BMW 3 series, but compared to an S it’s not even close. The Model S has around 30 cubic feet of trunk space, so more than double the 3.
// Overall? (You Decide)
In the end, I think many will decide between the two on these last few factors. Many of the specs are comparable however the utility of the vehicles is the differentiator and for those of us with kids, a must.