Don’t Want To Wait For A Tesla Model 3? How About A Used Model S Instead?

Tesla Model S

AUG 18 2017 BY MARK KANE 82

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

Categories: Tesla

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82 Comments on "Don’t Want To Wait For A Tesla Model 3? How About A Used Model S Instead?"

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Sorry, no. No AP 2, non-starter.

Model S is being Osborned to death right now. Look for some serious deals on “inventory” units and leases before the end of the year that would make buying used feel unwise.

Personally, I’m holding out because of all the improvements to the 3 that haven’t made it back to the S yet.

Well, Musk said that’s exactly what he expected to happen, but in fact, Model S and X sales picked up!

Right. Claiming that the MS and MX are being “Osborned” by the TM3 is flatly ignoring the facts.

@AlanSqB said: “Model S is being Osborned to death right now. ”

Wrong…. the opposite of that is true.

Models S is getting a lift from the high media attention of Model 3. There are a bunch of people through the press learning about Tesla for the first time.

Also, a large portion of the recent press generated about other automakers is about what those other car makers have in the works to respond to Tesla…which generates even more interest in Tesla…hence more Models S sales and more (~1800/day net ) Model 3 paid reservations.

Alan, Having AP1 and recently taken an AP2 loaner X (May ’17 build), I can say holding out for AP2 is a double-edged sword. Right now, it is still worse than AP1. Others say what I would affirm, that it still isn’t as smooth between lane markings and generally more temperamental. I’ve rejected updates, past 17.14.23 because other AP1 owners noted how their cars were made worse. More nags, more hesitations in stop & go, and, sadly, newly introduced capped speeds on two-lane roads. AP2 has been chasing AP1, since day 1 of its intro. Musk got rid of MobilEye, and with what we may as well call the elements of the periodic table, he then rolled with a lofty “FSD” goal (full self drive). I love the Tesla, right now, and wouldn’t touch anything else, but I’m with others who believe if they can’t get AP2 to mimic AP1, to an extent they will make AP1 mimic AP2. The joy of “updates” /sarc. A number of Tesla owners are in a holding pattern, not downloading their updates, because the reported real-world improvements simply aren’t there. If some other “must have” improvement arrives, then confronting what you give up for… Read more »

So if Nissan is using MobileEye, does that mean that ProPilot = AP1 (at a minimum)? Interesting.

Reviews will say everything.
-Will Nissan take the risk, knowing they don’t have a forgiving “beta” culture?
-MobilEye is just the radar. Tesla’s use of camera and parking sensor integration is still their own.
-Things like radar ground-bouncing, to see two cars in front, were Tesla finding its own legs with MobilEye hardware.

So, its hard to call whether “MobilEye”, itself, is the key to AP1 level performance with other brands. They’re certainly all over the place, for the adaptive cruise systems. That, and the value Intel saw in them, has to speak for something.

“A number of Tesla owners are in a holding pattern, not downloading their updates, because the reported real-world improvements simply aren’t there.”

How odd that you’re describing an advantage of the Tesla Models S & X as if it’s a disadvantage!

Kudos to Tesla for giving you the option of selectively updating Autopilot, or not, as you please.

Trying to convince people to buy an older vehicle for (even slightly) more money is always a tough sell. And although you can find a used model S for 35-40K it will be a 2012 with over 100,000 miles on it, at least 10% battery degradation, big bulky car that’s more difficult to navigate around tight spaces in the city, no all-Wheel-drive, no autopilot hardware and several relatively expensive parts (tires/brakes/shocks/youNameIt) that may soon need replacing, with an expired warranty. Not to mention all of the early-year quality control issues that model s had in 2012/2013. No thanks.

My 2012 Model S signature doesn’t have the 10% battery degradation, it has about 1%. My 2013 Model S has 2% degradation. 65-75k miles on each. You are far too presumptuous to be quoting battery degradation figures like that. Heck, even the folks at Tesloop know that your figures are off, and their Tesla’s drive all day, every day. There’s a local car service where I live seeing better battery health.

Maybe you mean a GM or Nissan battery will degrade like this, but it sure hasn’t been my experience with Tesla!

GM batteries are very good in terms of degradation. Possibly better than Tesla’s. Volts have experienced almost no degradation.

Nissan batteries, on the other hand…

To be fair, the Volt has a huge amount of unused capacity that the battery eats into as it degrades. This doesn’t mean that it degrades less slowly, it just means that you don’t experience the degradation. There’s a difference,.

Right. It’s not that the Volt battery pack doesn’t degrade, it’s that GM has engineered it to hide the degradation, and doesn’t allow the driver to use as great a percentage of the full capacity as Tesla allows.

No, all the evidence is that the Volt battery packs are simply lasting forever, with their cooling system probably playing a major role (along with generous reserves).

One bit of evidence is that when used Volt batteries are pulled from crashed cars and used in home-build projects, the batteries aren’t degraded. If the Volt software were hiding the batteries getting degraded, the folks doing retrofits into home-builds would have seen it.

(see my apology below for what may be my role in creating this confusion).

Idaho National Labs AVT test data on the Volt batteries disagree with your assertion. They certainly do degrade. AVT takes the battery out and does bench testing to confirm. GM did choose a very large buffer to cut down on the degradation, but it certainly isn’t zero.

I’m not so sure about those tests and how predictive they are. The 4 cars they tested were basically run like hybrids, with 65% of mile in CS mode, possibly with the battery depleted much of that time. shows that real world drivers have the complete opposite blend, with 30% of miles in CS mode, and 70% of miles in EV mode.

But I will admit that I’m getting more and more rusty on my Volt information as I’m no longer as involved in that community.

“No, all the evidence is that the Volt battery packs are simply lasting forever, with their cooling system probably playing a major role (along with generous reserves).”

Nix, you know I have great respect for you and the authority with which you usually posts, but this is the scientific equivalent of claiming 2 + 2 = 5.

It simply cannot be true.

Now, if you want to present evidence that Volt battery packs are showing even less degradation than Tesla packs — well that’s possible, and I’d love to see the data. But to claim Volt packs are showing no degradation… I seriously doubt GM engineers have figured out how to stop entropy!

The Volt does have a big battery buffer, especially Gen1.

But, it’s never been proven that the software actually makes use of that buffer to keep range steady.

In any case, people with 200,000 and even 300,000 miles on their Volts still see the same range as new. Solid engineering.

It might be the best car GM has ever made. Too bad the company has no idea what to do with it.


I think I may be guilty of creating that false meme getting close to a decade ago over on when the Volt was still a concept car. I theorized that GM (or any PHEV for that matter) COULD program their computer to provide the same range over the entire usable life of the vehicle as the battery range depleted. That the top and bottom reserve could be shifted over time to make up for batter degradation.

It seemed to catch fire as fact, when actually no evidence (that I’ve seen at least) has ever been presented that GM or any PHEV builder has actually implemented any such code.

I apologize for that. It just goes to show that bad memes are hard to kill once they are free on the internet.

Nix said:

“…actually no evidence (that I’ve seen at least) has ever been presented that GM or any PHEV builder has actually implemented any such code.”

There is very strong evidence that GM has engineered the Volt’s software to “hide” battery pack degradation by “eating into” the reserve; the fact that no Volt driver has yet reported any drop in maximum EV range!

I won’t claim this constitutes absolute proof, in the scientific sense of proof. But if we apply Occam’s Razor, it certainly points to GM doing exactly that. Certainly, Nix, that’s infinitely more likely than your assertion that GM’s engineering is so superior that Volt battery packs will last forever!


Wow! You really packed a lot of FUD into your post, didn’t you?

Let’s debunk at least some of that:

“…with over 100,000 miles on it, at least 10% battery degradation”

Very few Model S owners, not even those with the most mileage on their cars, have reported as much as 10% degradation. That would be a rare, outlier case.

See graph here:

“…big bulky car that’s more difficult to navigate around tight spaces in the city”

It’s a “premium”, or luxury, car. A roomier interior of course comes with a larger exterior. It’s not a disadvantage; it’s a choice. If you want something smaller, then buy something smaller.

“…no autopilot hardware…”

The article quite clearly advises “…search for Model S not older than September 2014, as this was the time when Tesla introduced first Autopilot…”

So that’s just more FUD.

“…with an expired warranty.”

All Tesla CPO cars come with a limited warranty. Period.

Nice clean-up on aisle 1! 😉

“Very few Model S owners, not even those with the most mileage on their cars, have reported as much as 10% degradation. That would be a rare, outlier case.”


At least 8 cars on that links you provided have lost more than 10% of the capacity in less than 60KM which is only about 40K miles of driving.

So, how can you say that it is “very few”. In addition, we don’t know if they are 60kWh or 85kWh or both.

I have heard few of 60kWh owners that have seen about 10% degradation within in the first 3 years.

Maybe one of those reasons that “used” Tesla do seem to have more degradation is the possibility that owners that see more degradation are more likely to upgrade to the newer and better versions?

“So, how can you say that it is ‘very few’.”

Quite easily, since I’m a touch-typist. 😉

I wondered just who would be silly enough to engage in a semantic argument over the meaning of the word “few”… then I glanced up and saw it was you, MMF. Find someone else to direct your pointless arguments at; I’m tired of them.

“In addition, we don’t know if they are 60kWh or 85kWh or both.”

The claim I was disputing didn’t differentiate, either. But it would be useful to distinguish between the various pack sizes, to see how much correlation there is with capacity lost and smaller pack sizes.

Your graph and trend line intersect 90% at almost exactly 100,000 miles. You actually presented information to substantiate his argument.

His trend line never intersects 90% it it’s 5% at 100,000 KM and 8% at 240,000

Thank you.

I’m frequently gobsmacked at how anti-Tesla FUDsters make claims that are so obviously wrong. In this case, graphically so!

“Very few Model S owners, not even those with the most mileage on their cars, have reported as much as 10% degradation.” But the only “reporting” they have is the car’s self reporting which may or may not be accurate. There are Tesla’s the reported little degradation but car in turn refused to go as it had conflicting data saying no battery capacity. And this was in cases where one would expect high level of degradation, the Tesloops vehicle that had high discharge rates combined with constant fast rechargers which, as the technical article on Lion batteries notes, is the perfect storm that will increase battery degradation. One would need to disconnect the cars controls to allow full actual discharge of the battery to test actual degradation. Tesla may be doing that in some vehicles but that is not reflected in any of the varied graphs and reports to date. Most Teslas are not deeply discharged and are charged at home on slow charge on a daily basis so one would expect the general population of Tesla batteries to date to show slight degradation. My usage will be 35% discharge per day and slow recharge at night on a daily… Read more »

FISHEV posted more FUD:

“There are Tesla’s the reported little degradation but car in turn refused to go as it had conflicting data saying no battery capacity.”

One mark of a FUDster is how they cite one extremely unusual outlier example, and write as if that’s within the normal range of things, or even insinuate it’s the average.

Dude, in all the time I’ve been following the story of Tesla, and all the times I’ve read discussions on the Tesla Motors Club forum, I have never seen that reported. Now, that’s not to say that it never has, but citing what I would guess is a very rare malfunction, or possibly one that only happened once ever, isn’t very useful in discussions of what a typical buyer of a used Tesla should or should not expect.

More useful would be the frequency at which Tesla has had to replace malfunctioning battery packs. From all I’ve read, that percentage would be very low indeed. Certainly much lower than the rate at which gasmobiles have to have the engine replaced!

I bought a model S – 85 (2014) used four $53,000. The warranty is better than my new Pathfinder from Nissan. The car had 31,000 miles on it. It was a $95,000 car with new with a bunch of options. I plan on keeping this car for 10 years and just absolutely love it.

+1 The warranty is what I think should stand out for people. 4 years, 50k miles, on a used car. Electric cars need less maintenance, and Tesla puts its money where its mouth is. The power train / battery are 8, anyway.

..8 years, from new

That would work out to a 2 year warranty on a $70K car in my case. And it costs you $5K additional to get the 50K warranty. Buying the service/warranty extension, Tesla only gives you total of 50K mile warranty so you have to deduct the cars existing mileage. At least that was policy earlier this year when Tesla was calling those of use with Model 3 reservations and trying to upsell us to TS’s and TX’s.

We considered doing this, but we could not find a Model S at the price point we wanted with the features we wanted. For us it was better to wait until the Model 3 is widely available.

True. All the AWD vehicles are in $80K prices range. Only a few low range, 220 mile, RWD Model S’s are available and those are the price of a fully optioned 300 mile Model 3.

Makes no sense.

Tesla S is HUUUGE! It’s over 4 ft longer than SparkEV. Tesla 3 is “only” 3 ft longer.

Umm, hmmm. Damn, I really wish I can keep SparkEV…

@SparkEV said: “I really wish I can keep SparkEV…”

@SparkEV – Why can’t you keep Spark EV?

1. DCFC clogging by all the free charging Leaf / i3 / Bolt makes it almost impossible to drive more than 40 miles from home. Clogging will get worse.

2. It cannot tow a trailer, thus requiring me to get the gasser for buying plywood or even some “smallish” sized TV.

3. It will never have auto pilot ability. Eventually, I want to sleep in the car while moving.


Your #1 (charger clogging)…I feel your pain… I’ve experienced it myself with my newish Bolt on my first two attempts to take a long (~400 miles) road trip with it… I now only take my older Model S for the longer road trips. My hope is that the traditional car makers sooner rather than later address the topic of convenient & reliable supercharging.

Too bad Tesla Model Y is still a few years out… sounds like perhaps a new or CPO Model Y would check all your boxes?

“2. It cannot tow a trailer,”

Doesn’t the Model S have the same “issue” for you?

Model 3 also doesn’t tow as far as everyone knows but somehow “you claim that it will have tow package”…

Yet another reason why no Tesla S for me. Musk tweeted 3 will be able to tow, we’ll see. If not, I’ll have to wait for another, Tesla or otherwise.

Wouldn’t it be funny if new Leaf can tow? Crap…

How “roomier” is it really? As far as I heard passenger space volume for Model 3 is still a secret, only trunk+frunk volume was released.

Someone asked: “As far as I heard passenger space volume for Model 3 is still a secret,”

Then a self claimed owners of 2 Model S made a snide comment of:

“Branch out your news sources:

Which is from electrek, also known as Tesla fan boy cult sites.

The best part is that on that specific page, interior passenger volume is NO WHERE to be found. Yes, plenty of interior dimensions, but NO passenger volume at all…

It just shows that reading Electrek (alternative reality news source) will turn a normal person into a fan boy idiot…

So that is what happened to you after you read that page? Thanks for the heads up!

No, they have not released the passenger volume yet. Only cargo volume, and it is unclear as to whether is includes the frunk or not. (EPA does NOT include frunk as storage space in EPA Interior Volume numbers.)

It is still a secret, just like the official details on EPA range and MPGe are still secret. All the EPA numbers (including official EPA passenger volume numbers which are part of EPA classification) are all still under review. Even the 126 MPGe number we’ve seen is based upon the provisional window sticker, and still isn’t official yet.

All the EPA numbers will be released when they all become official after Pruitt’s EPA finishes their review work.

I would buy a used Model S before I would buy a Model 3 anyway. The Model 3 was designed to a price point and the dash is stupid. With Tesla’s CPO program, you can get a really good warranty with a product that seems to have most of the bugs worked out.

I searched a few of the used car websites locally and I was astonished at the number of Model S that were available from non-Tesla used car dealers. No way I would buy a used Tesla without a warranty. search 100 miles range Los Angeles, any price resulted in 67 cars found….an astonishing numbers…btw, what exactly your dictionary say that “astonishing” means?

Well for starters, I am in GA – not exactly a Tesla hotbed. Given the numbers I see on ev-cpo (140 nationwide), I would say that the 67 you say are within 100 miles of LA is significant.

Running the same search within 100 miles of me (Atlanta) there are 26 Model S with only 3 being at Tesla. I guess I was astonished to find so many used Teslas sitting on random dealer lots. Apparently I can trot down to my local Honda dealer and pick up a used Model S.

Well, for once I agree with an anti-Tesla FUDster.

It is astonishing that so many people would choose to do a normal trade-in of their used Tesla car to a legacy auto dealer, instead of selling it to Tesla’s CPO program. I guess the word has not gotten around about how much better you can do by selling it back to Tesla!

Wow, thanks. That’s great coming from a self-infatuated serial Tesla apologist.

And get your facts straight. We’ve agreed before.

Gosh, I’ll try to bear up under the terrible burden of being castigated by a serial anti-Tesla FUDster and troll. 🙄

“Well, for once I agree with an anti-Tesla FUDster.”

Geez, he at least drives a Nissan LEAF and seriously care about EVs.

What are you? a NON-EV owning Tesla cheerleader who likes to comment on the internet to defend Tesla?

Doesn’t that sound like a “paid poster”?

No, I don’t believe Pu-pu is paid. Some people are just too asocial and dumb to be hired even for paid troll role. You would not want them on your side, they would do much more damage than good even if paid to work for you.

I certainly agree that if Tesla were to hire an internet shill, they should certainly pick someone more willing to suffer fools gladly than I am!

I see, so according to you: Because I am no longer able to drive, this disqualifies me from caring about the EV revolution, or about the environmental cost of burning fossil fuels to power transportation?

I’m guessing that neither Logic nor Debate was among the subjects you passed in school.

And to be consistent, next time you go to a baseball game, presumably you will demand that everyone sitting in the bleachers must currently play baseball, or they have to leave.

Rather than an either/or on Models 3 vs Model S there are some Model 3 reservation holders that are electing to buy a used CPO Model S now while they wait for their Model 3. It will be interesting to in the future hear their experiences of going from used Model S to new Model 3.

Yeah Sorry No! Even if you’re only going to get half the tax credit, which is about the deal if you order now, you’re still better off with Model 3. Plus you know that Elon will not sit there and watch while other manufacturer’s offer full tax credits because they haven’t reached 200K. Guaranteed he creates an additional incentive to buy the Model 3. Likely what you’ll see is price reductions on other options that have high margins, such as the bigger battery or autopilot.

The reality on why the used Model S cars aren’t selling is a result of both the Model 3 coming out and the major advancements in the current Model S range. For sub $70K the current Model S75 is twice the car of a used 2013 S60 with a degraded battery. 4.3 0-60 instead of 5.5. Bigger pack, advanced autopilot, self driving hardware, glass roof, air shock system, etc…. The used Model S market is finally starting to feel the pain that the rest of the used EV market is.

The model three is priced to be competitive without the tax credit.

I don’t think Tesla will reduce the price or add features for no cost until they need to generate demand. They are very far away from that at this point.

@Jonathan B said: “The reality on why the used Model S cars aren’t selling is…”

Your wrong about Model S cars aren’t selling… it’s the opposite of that:

Tesla’s used car business is rapidly expanding, on pace to triple used sales.


“Guaranteed he creates an additional incentive to buy the Model 3.”

And what is your “guarantee” worth, exactly? Are you going to make up the difference in price for everyone reading your post, when Tesla doesn’t lower its price? Due to demand being so much greater than supply, Tesla almost certainly will not lower the price.

And it’s disheartening to see people so frequently misusing the word “guarantee”, regarding things over which they have absolutely no control whatsoever.

“The reality on why the used Model S cars aren’t selling…”

They aren’t selling according to just who, now?

If they weren’t selling like the proverbial hotcakes, then the prices would be much lower. In fact, Tesla cars retain their value on resale much better than the overwhelming majority of other cars, because demand is so high.

To get a comparably priced model s, you’re looking at an early 60 or 85kwh model. Range and performance are not not superior to the model 3, and are inferior to the long range 3. Efficiency is also much worse, which matters any time you need to fall back to lower power chargers. I didn’t think supercharging was even standard on the 60, which is going to be the only model you’ll find even close to the 35k entry point (assuming no tax credit). The early model s interior also doesn’t seem to have held up all that well.
I’m definitely sticking with my early m3 reservation. My Dad ended up buying a ’12 85 earlier this year and is already dealing with a broken door handle that’s not covered by the warranty. Hopefully the m3 will have a simpler design with less to break.

Did your Dad buy CPO, or used? I’m not sure the warranty applies the same to cars not certified, even though Tesla has taken to selling both ways.

AFAIK, regular things, like brake pads, extend to air shocks and other “wear” items not covered by the $4,000 extended warranty. But door handles? CPO probably works the same.

Range and performance of the 35k car are not superior to the Model S 85. Maybe the 60. It may be true of Model 3, as well, but even the first Model S 85’s generally tested at 5.0 seconds, to 60, not their rated “5.5, er 5.6”. I’d try the controls of both cars, too, since your Dad has the dual-screen dashboard, you may be able to better judge the difference once you actually drive a Model 3, and try controlling it.

In CR’s test of our own 2013 Model S 85 with rear-wheel drive, we got 225 miles of range.


Why is CR compounding its error by repeating it?

CR should very clearly state that this range was limited by an 80% charge. Now, I can understand why CR chose to use only an 80% charge, because the manual recommends this for everyday charging.

But frankly I think it’s is pretty stupid, not to mention highly misleading, because anyone trying to maximize the range of a Tesla car would use a 100% charge.

Every time CR says it tested the Model S85 and found a range of only 225 miles, it should include “…with an 80% charge” to clarify the matter. The fact that CR consistantly avoids doing that makes me seriously question the neutrality of CR towards Tesla’s cars. 🙁

Pushi – are you saying for the tenth time (at least) that CR only charges to 80% because that is what Tesla Recommends?

DO you have any demonstrative information on this AT ALL?

It’s rather late for you to be challenging my reporting of that bit of data, Bill. Consumer Reports‘ full articles are usually behind a pay wall. The bit I’m referring to was buried several pages deep in the full article, which was available for a limited time after it was published. And in fact, one of the reasons for my complaint is that the fact they only charged the car to 80% was buried deep in the article, unlike the original claim of (if I recall correctly) 210-220 miles, which was in the opening paragraphs.

I’m guessing CR’s more current 225 mile claim is for the slightly more energy efficient twin-motor S85D?

Of course, Bill, if you want to pay to penetrate that pay wall, then you can read the full article, and you can find the citation for yourself. It was in CR’s first long-term driving review of the Model S, and I think it’s the same article where CR said the Model S broke their ratings system.

The InsideEVs article about that is dated August 27, 2015, if that helps you any.

There are 500 000 Model 3 reservations but only about 100 000 (?) used Model S vehicles, most of which are not for sale.

This being said…my used, RWD, no AP 2014 model S is the best car we have ever owned.

We will also be getting a Model 3 to replace our 2d car.

A lot of people really should consider this. It’s a great car.

Personally, the Model S is waaay too big for me. I’ve always driven small cars and big cars annoy me. Hard to park, more than I need, and they make me feel nervous driving them….I’m sure I’d get over that last one but why? I don’t need or want a big car.

Can we start talking about Model Y now?

It is the next hot item. Model 3 is so last month…


Reality check.

If you want autopilot which I do, then it’s easy to filter on the CPO site.

Right now the cheapest CPO with AP1 on Tesla’s site is around 70 before tax and license.

I can get a 310 mile range Model 3 for 56,500. That’s loaded only without the “someday” fully autonomous mode.

Delivery around Feb.

At this point in time the M3 is the price winner….not a used S.

Even so not sure I’m going to bite since it’s a bit like stepping down from a 700 series BMW to a 3 series.

The most valuable item in the Tesla Roadster I owned was the TESLA WARRANTY.

I’d be quite suspect of plunking down a huge amount of money for a used “S” that had a reduced Warranty.

“This Model S receives a full inspection, remaining battery and drive warranty and a four year, 50,000 miles pre-owned limited warranty with 24 hour roadside assistance.”
That’s from their website…i think 4 years 50k miles is pretty good…I imagine this is not the equivalent of the original warranty which is probably more extensive but still pretty good for a used car.

“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.”

That is both US and international reservations combined. We don’t know how many are US. And international buyers aren’t going to get deliveries until around the same time the US tax incentive sunsets.

So for current US reservation holders, they really aren’t 460K+ people to compete with for US tax incentives. Especially if you are willing to buy RWD and not wait for AWD.

All the current US reservation holders (who are willing to get the RWD) should be able to get either full or half incentive. Most likely full.

So now let’s look at the used/CPO Model S cars. The cheapest AWD cars start at about $80K. So if we are talking about a used Model S for much under $80K, it is probably a RWD version. So scratch AWD off the list for both the Model S and TM3. They are both either too late or too expensive to consider NOW as realistic alternatives to buying a RWD TM3.

Tesla sells real well in California, so let’s use California state rebates (and it makes math easy). Total rebates are $10K

So here are the two line-up’s, after rebates:

TM3 220 RWD with premium pkg (30K-40K) vs. a S60 RWD (45K-50K)


TM3 310 RWD with premium pkg (40k-50K) vs. a S85 with RWD ($50-70K)

Even if you are comparing optioned TM3’s, unless you get them completely decked out and you don’t get incentives, the brand new RWD 3 is likely a better deal than used Model S.

When you leave out the premium options on the TM3, really there is nothing available in used Model S cars anywhere near the 25K TM3 220 and the 35K TM3 310.

Except that the Model 3 is a smaller, cheaper inferior car with a stupid dash which will depreciate 10% the moment you take delivery. Given Tesla’s CPO warranty, a used MS is the way to go.

I see on Tesla’s site a 2014 Model S 85 for $54,500 with 36,500 miles, with pearl white paint, leather seats, upgraded 19″ cyclone wheels, tech package, ultra fidelity sound system, free supercharging for life.

This one sounds good to me if I were in the market for a ~$50k car. No auto-pilot, but that’s not important to me at present. Having one of the best sound systems ever built into a car (supposedly) would be pretty amazing … I do love my music. Free supercharging and tech package both are valuable.

You can certainly get a very sweet Model 3 for $54k, but I think I’d just as soon have this Model S.

Warranty restrictions and limitations for CPO Tesla…
“The environment or an act of God,…”
What the hell, Tesla?!

I have certainly been tempted by a used model S because I love the look and don’t need autopilot. The battery and powertrain don’t concern me but once the CPO warranty expires $1000 door handle repairs and for cars with the air suspension big repair bills on that scare me too. People like to talk about ICE repairs but I keep my cars 10+ years and over the last 25 years ICE related repairs / maintenance has been <25% of the total and I have had $0 in transmission related repairs. The bottom line is the model S is a luxury car and there are a lot of things that can break on cars besides the ICE and transmission. And on luxury cars these items tend be big bucks to repair. Thankfully the model S is too big for me so that alone removes the temptation I get whenever I see one drive by.

I’m also very leery of repair bills on a used Tesla.

The Model Ss are also too big (and expensive) for me, but if I were going nuts and buying a $50k car it would be a Tesla. I’d only buy CPO, and probably plan on selling it when the warranty is up.

Yeah, I am very much NOT into shelling out $1000 for a door handle repair.

Honestly, the only thing that is different here with Telsa is the “wait time” for a Model 3 reservation and the “unknowns” regarding quality. Beyond that, buyers have always had the choice of buying a more loaded used higher tier model vs. a new lower tier model (i.e. do I buy the brand new mid-grade BMW 3 series or get a 3 year old CPO 5 series) for the same money. Indeed, in years’ past I have generally pulled the trigger on used cars as I simply felt I was getting more for my money. Now, having said that, part of the reason I felt comfortable buying used cars was that I am comfortable working on them. 6 year old BMW 3 series? Yep. 8 year old BMW M5? Of course. With Tesla, it has been a bit of a different story. There is very little DIY information out there, and it hasn’t really even been easy to figure out how you would get parts (short of “call Tesla service center”). Repair manuals are practically non-existent (although you can get a copy of the manual Tesla presumably published because MA made them – it is sparse in many respects though).… Read more »