This article will be an update on a bunch of year-end Tesla topics. I’ll cover the latest news on the tax credit, the referral program, availability of inventory cars, the improved financing, the trade-in and delivery process, whether wait for the $35,000 car, and the latest on volunteering at the end of the year at a Tesla Delivery Center.
Tax Credit Update
Tesla put on a blog post yesterday reminding everyone the tax credit is expiring soon.
Full $7,500 Federal EV Tax Credit Expires in Under Two Weeks
The full $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla customers ends in less than two weeks, and we’re doing everything we can to try to ensure those who order a vehicle today can take delivery by December 31st and take advantage of the savings. To help ensure vehicles are available, we’ve released all our fleet vehicles – like those used for test drives – and vehicles where the original customer can’t take delivery by the end of the year. Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy – and to do that, we need to get as many electric vehicles on the road as quickly as possible, which is why we are working around the clock to meet demand before the end of the year.
In addition to the $7,500 tax credit, a number of states offer other electric vehicle incentives for customers. These, combined with the reduced costs of charging your Tesla versus paying for gasoline and a lower overall cost of ownership, result in significant savings for customers and mean our vehicles are even more affordable than some may realize. For example, after factoring in estimated gas savings and government incentives, the effective price of a new Model 3 mid-range Rear Wheel Drive in California is $31,700. In addition to the federal EV tax credit, here are some other state and local/utility incentives you may not be aware of:
- California offers a $2,500 state rebate, and PG&E offers an additional $800 rebate for applications submitted on or after January 1, 2019.
- Connecticut customers are eligible for a $2,000 rebate for new Model 3 RWD vehicles, as well as exemption from state emissions testing and a reduced vehicle registration fee.
- Massachusetts offers rebates up to $2,500 for new EV purchases.
- New York offers rebates up to $2,000.
- Colorado offers tax credits up to $5,000.
- Pennsylvania offers rebates up to $1,750.
For the list of available state and local incentives and qualifications, visit https://www.tesla.com/support/incentives. To order a car online and take delivery by the end of the year, go to www.tesla.com or visit your nearest Tesla store for more information. You can order knowing that if you purchase a car without taking a test drive, you have three days to return it for a full refund.
The tax credit is set to be cut in half from $7,500 to $3,750 as we described here and here. As I stated at the end of November, it isn’t very likely the tax credit will be extended or eliminated. Congress is fighting over a border wall instead of the EV tax credit.
|Tax Credit Amount
Referral Program Extended, Yet Again
On December 17, Tesla extended its referral program, offering 6 months of free Supercharging once again for Tesla buyers using a referral code.
If someone you know has helped you by giving you a ride in their car or educated you about the Tesla or EVs in general, please use their code. If that person is me, here is my code: ts.la/paul92237.
Elon Musk has stated several times that free Supercharging is unsustainable, but Tesla keeps extending the offer. Will it be extended into next year? Your guess is as good as mine!
Tesla Model 3 Inventory is Finally Here!
The bad news is that in most parts of the country, it is too late to custom order a Tesla for 2018 delivery (you may be able to still do it in California). The good news for buyers is that Tesla kept the factories running even when there weren’t orders and pre-shipped cars around the country, to all the regions of the country! I called Tesla dealers in Florida, New York City, St. Louis (Missouri), Chicago (Illinois), Houston (Texas), and San Jose (California), and they all had a good selection of colors in Mid Range, All Wheel Drive, and Performance Model 3s. If you want a demo model, those are mostly Performance Model 3s as well as 100D and P100D Model Ss and Model Xs.
The Performance Model 3s get about $1,000 to $2,000 off the price of the car, the Model Ss and Model Xs have a little bigger discount.
When I configured my Model 3 in the late spring, the paperwork/trade-in process was a mess. It took me over a week to get trade-in value (I recommend going to CarMax for a 1 hour appraisal — in my case, I got an extra $400 and Tesla matched the offer) and financing was so slow, so I just got my own. In talking to Tesla now, they can do both the trade-in and the financing in less than a day.
The process is:
1. You order the car you want (either from the website by designing what you want or by calling the store and asking them to send you links to specific inventory models).
2. If you put down a $2,500 deposit, then you take pictures of your trade-in and fill out the credit app.
3. The next day, you test drive the car if you want (or just take it and you have 1 day to return if you have test driven a Model 3 before or 3 days if you haven’t test driven one) and you pick up the car in a few minutes.
They will value the trade-in and arrange your financing for you before you go in. What took weeks for me, they have down to less than a day!
Note: I can’t verify this, but I’ve heard rumors that if you order a low-end car (Mid Range, Black exterior, Black Interior, 18″ wheels) and they don’t have that particular combination, you may get a small upgrade (color or wheels) for free.
Buy Now or Save a Buck a Day Waiting for the Standard Range Model 3?
The Mid Range Model 3s going for under $50,000 will sell out first and there won’t be time to receive more before the end of the year in most parts of the country. So, if you are still waiting for the $35,000 car, read this article for the details about why you won’t save much to wait (it all depends on when the $35,000 car is delivered).
The news that the AWD and performance cars are selling well around the world suggests Tesla might delay the $35,000 car a bit more.
Volunteering at the Delivery Centers
I also asked at several delivery centers if they have a program for volunteers to help with orientation of the vehicles for new customers. They took my name and number and email and will contact me if they need assistance.
Some Tesla Clubs are trying to organize this, but our club in Florida has not gotten a response from Tesla on where and when to help. It’s possible they are going to just use the new 5 minute delivery method and not do extra training this quarter.
In looking at the Tesla Motors Club forum, it confirms the delivery centers are not asking for assistance this quarter.
I do think the cars are so much different than anything else that people do need a 30 minute overview. If you have heard anything about volunteering this quarter end, let me know in the comments below.
This may or may not be the last offer of free Supercharging, but I’m pretty sure that after I cried wolf several times claiming this is your last chance to order a Tesla and get the $7,500 tax credit, this time really is your last chance.
In talking to several owner advisors, the Model 3s under $50,000 are going to go first. If you want one of those, order it as soon as possible. If you want an AWD or Performance model, you can probably wait till next week (maybe). Tesla Sales is closed on Sunday in most locations, closes early on Christmas Eve, and is also closed on Christmas.
Now that it only takes a day to do the paperwork and financing (maybe more if you are in a state that doesn’t allow Tesla to sell cars in your state), if you want to get the full tax credit, I’d order one now, and if you don’t like it, take Elon up on his offer that you can return it in 3 days if you haven’t had a test drive (or in one day if you have test driven one).
Also, Tesla policy is that if you order a car without a test drive you get 3 days to return for full refund vs 1 day if you do get a test drive (resources are overbooked)
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2018
You can use my Tesla referral link to get 6 months free Supercharging on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. Here’s the code: https://ts.la/paul92237