Tesla Model S Is The “I Want One” Of Electric Vehicles


Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Doing Some Stress Testing

Recently, Forbes turned to Max Warburton, analyst with Bernstein Research, for a discussion on Tesla Motors.

Model S Keyfob

Model S Keyfob

Warburton weighed in on several aspects of the automaker, including its ability to drive down battery costs quicker than the competition.  As Warburton suggested, he may well have to “revise upwards his assumptions about the success of electric vehicles generally” if Tesla can prove that battery costs can be decreased quickly.

Warburton made several comments in the Forbes article, including the following:

“The genius of Tesla has been to position its product at the high end of the market – this has been more instrumental to its success than cost or technology.”

“Tesla is selling cars to emotional buyers who are comparing the Tesla S to other emotional, irrational and expensive products – such as the Mercedes S class and Maserati. That’s the genius of the product – consumers are not doing any cost/benefit calculations – but rather just saying “I want one.”

So, the Tesla Model S has become the “I want one” electric vehicle.  The desire to get what one wants surely is a driving force behind some Model S sales.  In this way, it’s an object of desire that tugs at the emotions of, as Warburton says “emotional buyers who are comparing the Tesla S to other emotional, irrational” automobiles.

We’ll close with this question: Buying the Tesla Model S may be an emotional, irrational choice, but for you is the Model S the “I want one” automobile?

Source: Forbes

Categories: Tesla

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32 Comments on "Tesla Model S Is The “I Want One” Of Electric Vehicles"

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The main reason I bought mine is because I wanted one (also to support Tesla) but now am realizing I don’t really need the range it offers. EXTREMELY fun to drive and practical for many people though.

Yes, Big Solar. Tesla cars suck, but most buy and keep them to ‘support’ the people who work in Tesla and are millionaires and billionaires.

Tesla should be classified as a 501(c) charitable organization. Their cars just suck. They are the worst electric cars ever in this generation.

Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel about Tesla. 🙂

Is this some kind of failed attempt at a joke?

He’s kind of a regular troll.

Probably married to CherylG. 😉

Thats a good one. I wonder if they bathe in gasoline together?


Man, are you an ***-troll or what!
(Sorry for the language used but…)

Actually I have owned 7 different electric cars and the Tesla is by far the best. You seem to have trouble reading.

Agreed Tesla’s are such horrible cars! Cant believe people buy those crappy things!


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

You may not need the range, but in order to get the power levels up the vast # of cells is necessary. Until there’s high-power and higher-discharge-rate batteries, ganging large #s together to get the power is the way to go, with capacity as a fringe benefit.

Quantity has a quality all its own.

The benefits of the high end are not just emotional to overcome some perceived price disparity. High end cars have larger, more expensive drivetrains and other related equipment (transmissions, NVH) to cater to the luxury car buyer. The electric motor has particular advantages in this value space. Depending on the battery size, Tesla can actual have price advantage versus the competition. Some of this was lost with the cancelling of the 40kwh size but in the “let them eat cake” market that is less important.

I’ve been continually baffled by major automakers releasing underpowered EVs. If you’re going to sell them, pony up the extra $1k to make it high performance and increase profit. Tesla got 250hp from 32kg of steel, copper, and aluminum in the Roadster.

There are several low cost battery chemistries with 10C pulse capability, so that’s not an excuse either.

The beefier power electronics and geering do cost a little more, but too much. I think this is one of the few mistakes GM made with the Volt. Originally it was supposed to be a 130kw traction motor but they ended up with 110kw. If they had actually up the design to 150kw, I think the Volt (and ELR) would be selling better with the higher performance even if the price was a little more.

I want two and I would buy one if I had the money :-). So I must wait for Tesla Model E…

Well I definitely wanted one but I did A LOT of cost benefit anaylisis before getting one. Go and compare a 7 passenger s60 to a similarly equipped 7 passenger SUV and you’ll see why I picked the s60.

Just because its expensive doesnt mean it can’t make sense. When I looked at buying another MDX versus a Tesla the decision was the same when looked at in my circumstances — mileage and timeframe.

More info here:

I think that Forbes is trying to tell you that your MDX was also an irrational purchase. If you buy a car to save money, you just can’t beat a used Honda. I don’t care how much more money you’re paying in gas, the < $10,000 purchase price for a car that's cheap to maintain and does everything you want it to is going to beat the cost of your MDX (or Tesla) any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. I don't think that was Tesla's rationale, however. It was probably more like "well, any electric we build with this kind of range is going to be expensive, so let's build an expensive car around the powertrain and justify the price tag." Which, coincidentally, is also kind of the path Nissan took with the Leaf. The Leaf is by no means the cheapest possible hatchback under the sun. But it's not an all-in bet like Tesla's, either. They made a small hatchback that cost $40,000, and then tried to add features that justify that cost. Although in the end, they had to reduce that cost, but that also appears to be have been the plan all along, or… Read more »

I wanted an EV because I’ve invested enough of my time & money in car maintenance, thank you. I skipped the hybrids – still those gas engine parts to maintain – and looked at several makes of EV’s, saving the Model S for last because of its price. But the much greater range of the MS couldn’t be ignored when living in the vast urban sprawl of Atlanta. Lust didn’t develop until I saw one in the flesh & took a test drive.

Genius? Warburton should as much acknowledge the genius of the automakers who successfully avoided forcing lower margins upon themselves, by avoiding superior, quitter, more functionally elegant drive trains. I guess he doesn’t understand this. Then, he goes on cost benefit and “irrational”. Apart from distance charging, and maybe interiors, Tesla is precisely where I think the rational buyer ends up, in this segment.

The only thing that explains sitting in traffic polluting, with an engine running, and then going to gas stations weekly, rather than simply plugging in for a third the price, at home, is “emotional, irrational”. I can think of other words, too. How he can’t simply watch their ads and not conclude they are the sitting ducks of “I want one”, is beyond me.

How do you calculate the cost benefit of “I ONLY LIVE ONCE” and “I CAN’T TAKE MY CASH WITH ME WHEN I DIE”/
If you can afford the best, why not? Meanwhile, I must wait for my boat to come home…. or get those pesky lawmakers to change the loan limit in 401k’s so I can loan myself my TESLA!!!!!

Forbes is the kind of place where “spend craploads of money on a car” and “invest craploads of money to make more money” are compared on their merits. And every time, “spend craploads of money on a rapidly depreciating asset” is a wildly irrational choice, regardless of the kind of money the kind of people Forbes worships, spend on cars on a regular basis. So, from the Forbes perspective, the only rational choice for shopping for a car[1] is a 2010 Honda Civic. Because the asset has already depreciated the most in absolute value that it ever will, and it’s dependable enough to have a low maintenance cost. [1] Not buying a car at all would technically be the most rational choice, until you factor in the value of your time. And anyone who is busy enough to care about the value of their time isn’t going to say the extra half hour required to bike or bus to work is worth the money they save. Likewise, the cost-benefit analysis of just living next door to work favours living far from work, where the cheap real estate is. And so, no Forbes reader gives a tinker’s damn about externalities that… Read more »

I m from India and i want one but i know at this price i can’t afford one.. Infact at 35000 USD also i can’t afford one but still i desire a Tesla..

There’s been talk (very little as the timeline is yet too far out for details) about a Tesla City Car after the F-150 Electric Truck killer Elon wants to build…

How about a Tesla City where it is completely powered by renewables and no carbon burning at all. To the trolls, the battery factory (if it makes any pollution at all) will be next to your houses.

We wants it, the prrrrescious…

I think it is the emotional and *rational* choice.

Yup. Combine emotional need with the pragmatic joys & benefits of EV ownership, and you’ve generated one irresistible force…

““Tesla is selling cars to emotional buyers who are comparing the Tesla S to other emotional, irrational and expensive products – such as the Mercedes S class and Maserati. That’s the genius of the product – consumers are not doing any cost/benefit calculations – but rather just saying “I want one.””

What back-handed compliment. Complete garbage. They are buying them for rational reasons .. . it is a great car. So many rational non-emotional reasons: Clean, quiet, fast acceleration, looks good, can refuel from your rooftop PV, great range, very low maintenance, no smells, no oil drips, no toxic fumes, can refuel at home, etc.

Have been running a Plug-in PRIUS since it became available in UK,July 2012.In our 80’s,only travelled(UK spelling!) 5000+ miles.It has only used 29 gallons(UK Imperial gallon=1•2 US gallon),’cos we are charging it with PV&Baxi’Ecogen’domestic c/h gas boiler (BRITISH made!)=180mpg(UK)150mpg (US).LOOKING FORWARD TO TOYOTA/TESLA MODEL T

And,guess what!We are PAID to generate the electricity, EVEN IF WE USE IT ON SITE (INC.
CHARGING THE PRIUS!),’cos it costs electricity to transport electricity. So we are running a car mainly on fuel,in the form of electricity, which we have been PAID to generate! WOW!I LIKE IT!SO MUCH THAT I SINCERELY HOPE THAT MR.TOYODA&MR.MUSK CAN BECOME EVEN MORE GOOD FRIENDS A.S.A.P!
THAT would be an UNSTOPPABLE (literally!)
combination. Were it up to me to name their first new model,I would call it the
MODEL T(with ALL the significance implied!)