In this article, I remind you that free Supercharging from the Tesla referral program is ending in 2 days. I also go over the reasons for waiting to buy a Model 3 and whether they still make sense. I’ll go over 3 reasons why you might not have already ordered a Model 3.
- It’s not the car for me
- I’m waiting for the $35,000 car
- I’m waiting for leasing
Before I go on, for easy access here, if you are ordering a Tesla in the next couple of days, you can use my Tesla referral link to get up to 9 months of free Supercharging (6 months if you have test driven a car with Tesla) on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. Here’s the code: https://ts.la/paul92237
The Tesla Model 3 Is Not The Car For Me
There are many good reasons the Model 3 might not be the right car for your needs. I wrote about 7 of them here. If you don’t want to read that link, I’ll summarize and update that article below.
- Some people need a tougher, bigger vehicle (like a pickup or SUV), and although the Model 3 is a lot more practical car than a Corvette or Mustang, it’s no SUV.
- Those who live in rural areas without charging stations and who drive few miles really don’t fit the target market of the car either.
- If you don’t drive 10,000 miles a year, you miss out on a lot of the fuel savings. Of course, it is so enjoyable to drive, you will probably drive more places than you are driving now. Some trips that you fly today, you may choose to drive.
- Those who usually buy used cars will save money by staying on that path. I’ve purchased a lot of 3 year old cars and I always did this in the following frame of mind: Why buy a new car when I can get a 3 year old car with the same features and still under warranty for about half the price? The Model 3 changes that equation. There are no 3 year old used cars with anywhere near the safety, performance, and efficiency features of the Tesla Model 3. That’s why I bought my Model 3 instead of getting a 3 year old Nissan Leaf. The Model 3 has way more range and is much more fun to drive.
- Next, I mentioned that if you are risk averse, this might not be the car for you. The car is still shockingly different than anything else out there. It is obvious that the industry will take its design cues from the Model 3 on its upcoming models, but if you need more time to adjust, you might want to buy something else to ease your transition to the future.
- Lastly, I said that those who don’t have a place to charge the car daily should wait. I think this is changing with all the new public charging stations being installed and the 264 mile range of the Mid Range Model 3. I think you can just charge it as you run your errands every week (at the library, grocery store, shopping mall, etc.). If this doesn’t quite give you enough range, stop at a Supercharger once in a while and add a quick 200 miles range and you are set.
Other than those 7 reasons, I can’t think of good reasons to drive another car. Let me know in the comments section the reason you aren’t driving a Model 3 if I missed something.
The $35,000 Question
Many people are waiting for the $35,000 car, which is missing two features the $44,000 car has. The question you need to answer is: “Do I want those features anyway?”
So let’s discuss the Premium Upgrades.
Without the premium interior, the passenger or maybe even the driver’s seat will have manual adjustments and be covered in a very nice cloth instead of the very soft but durable vegan leather.
The center console might be smaller or missing on the standard interior. This isn’t a big deal, since there are sure to be 3rd party consoles available to fill any needs you have if you don’t like the open space.
The premium audio system will be downgraded to use fewer speakers and probably be less powerful. The existing audio system amazes me every day at how it can sound so good, but not knowing if they will downgrade it 5% or 50%, it is hard to judge if this option matters. I don’t think they will downgrade it much, though.
The tinted glass roof is an awesome feature, but I tend to think that it matters more to the passengers in the rear seat than the front seat. In very sunny climates, you may prefer the solid roof, since the glass roof (even with the factory tint) is too sunny for some.
The power mirrors seem to just be for showing off and fitting into tight garages. I don’t think I would miss them.
Custom driver profiles are great, but I doubt they will take them away in the standard interior, but even if they do, it isn’t a showstopper for me.
LED fog lamps wouldn’t be missed by me.
The premium connectivity will cost $100 a year on the standard edition to get live traffic and updates over the cell network. Well worth the $100 a year to me, but since the premium interior only gives 1 year free, not a big reason to upgrade.
Not listed above, but it has been listed in other places: the wood dash would be replaced with plastic and the rear seats wouldn’t be heated.
Overall, I think the premium interior package offers good value for the money, but there are no “must have” features in there. I think the standard interior will be fine if you are comparing to a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. If you are comparing to a Lexus or BMW, of course you want the premium interior.
Standard Range Battery
The standard range battery is expected to offer 220 miles instead of 264 miles for the mid range battery. Do you need that extra 44 miles of range? Only you can decide, but here are 3 questions you have to answer to help figure it out:
- Do you take a lot of long trips? If you do, a larger battery is probably worth it. I don’t take many long trips, so I only got the big battery because I wanted the car sooner.
- Do you live in a place it gets cold for 6 months a year? If you do, the reduced cold weather range may mean you want a bigger battery, but it depends on how you use your car.
- Do you like to take breaks on your trips? I like to stop every 2 to 3 hours to walk around and stretch, so the standard range battery would be fine, but some people don’t have time to stop and charge that often, so I recommend they get either the mid range or long range battery.
My update on leasing availability can be summarized as “it depends on the trade war with China.” 8 months ago, Elon said it would probably be offered in 6 to 9 months. Now, I know about Elon time, but this isn’t a product feature that needs development — just a financial decision.
I expect they will offer leasing very soon (by the end of March) if we resume the trade war with China and China raises tariffs on the Model 3. Tesla won’t have the right-hand drive cars ready to ship (which would open new markets to the company) and its Shanghai factory won’t be ready, so Chinese demand will drop like a rock with high tariffs. The standard battery pack might not be ready and the backlog from Europe for the high-end Model 3s will be satisfied. They will need to pull a demand lever to keep the factory running at full speed.
If the trade war is resolved (I think it will be — President Trump loves to declare victory, whether he has accomplished anything useful or not) and Chinese tariffs stay low, Tesla might just ship most of its Model 3 production to China, where there is very high demand for electric cars in general and Tesla vehicles in particular. I visited China last year and when I saw the amount of interest in the Tesla showroom in Bejing, I knew the Tesla brand had significant value there. Even though domestic Chinese manufacturers make some very good EVs, members of the rapidly growing upper middle class would gladly pay a little more for a Tesla to show off to their friends and family.
Should you buy a Tesla now or wait for a cheaper Model 3 to come out later? Only you can decide, but if you live in the northern climate of the US, Canada, or even Europe, the extra range will be appreciated when range is reduced in the cold. Also, the incredible handling of the cars on slippery conditions in addition to the market-leading safety features are worth considering.
If you still need more info, listen to the info that comes out of the Tesla earnings call on January 30th. But don’t wait too long — February 1st is the deadline to order your car using a Tesla referral code. Don’t let this chance pass you by.
Again, you can use my Tesla referral link to get up to 9 months free Supercharging (6 months if you have test driven a car with Tesla) on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. Here’s the code: https://ts.la/paul92237