Advertisement

What Kind Of People Are Ordering The 2012 Tesla Model S?

Follow Nikki

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

Enlarge Photo

You’ve heard about the 2012 Tesla Model S Sport, read our first ride review, and seen our 2012 Tesla Model S gallery -- but unless you’ve already put down a deposit for the 2012 Tesla Model S you won’t be getting one for a while. 

So who is getting a 2012 Model S? What kind of people put down $5,000 deposit on a car well before they had even seen it for the first time? And what sort of cars do they already drive? 

We were at the 2012 Tesla Model S reservation event and talked to many different reservation holders about the electric car they’ve put $5,000 down on. Here’s what we found out. 

Some Model S reservation holders are Tesla Customers already

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

Enlarge Photo

Many customers at the event were existing Tesla Roadster owners, who were either looking to switch their roadster for something more practical or who wanted a second car for a spouse.  

More than once during the evening, we overheard Roadster owners moan about the lack of space in their current Tesla, keen to buy something a little larger which was also electric.

In fact, during the event, we noted a total of around 20 different Roadsters parked in the public lot at the NUMMI facility making use of Tesla’s concierge charging service, with many more Roadster owners flying in from around the world. 

But it isn’t just celebrities and business moguls 

While the 2012 Tesla Model S is an expensive, luxury car, not everyone buying it is an A-list celebrity or wealthy businessperson. 

Admittedly, some of the recipients we talked to were business owners or executives in industries as diverse as car dealerships through to solar panels, renewable energies, medical equipment and of course, the tech industry.

But a large number of reservation holders were fairly average white-collar workers from a range of industries, with positions in large firms, earning moderate to good salaries -- many of whom had been saving up for years to place an order on the right electric car when it arrived.  Most of these reservation holders were between 45 and 65 years of age.

One reservation holder told us that his current car -- a 2002 Toyota Prius -- was the last car he said he would ever buy that ran on gasoline. After he had finished paying off his car loan, he continued to put aside money every month into a savings account, convinced someone would make an electric car that met his needs in the future.

Chic drives, but so does politics, green issues

While Tesla’s “Apple of the Auto Industry” ultra-chic image surely prompted many buyers to reserve a 2012 Tesla Model S -- it isn’t the only reason people are buying one. 

We talked to a collection of buyers for whom green issues and political motivations played a large part in the buying process. Common among them was national security and cutting reliance on foreign oil, while others were driven by a desire to cut their carbon footprint. 

Some electric car fans, but not as many as you’d expect

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

Enlarge Photo

One thing we weren’t prepared for was the lack of existing knowledge about electric cars. 

Rather than being a body of obsessed electric car fans, many Model S reservation holders have no pre-existing knowledge or experience of electric cars, wanting to know the answers to some really basic electric car questions.

In fact, many uninformed buyers are choosing Tesla over cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf because of range anxiety. Worried the 2012 Nissan Leaf won’t provide them with the range they crave, they’ve chosen to suffer the Model S’ high sticker price in exchange for range peace-of-mind.  

An eclectic parking lot

But perhaps our biggest surprise was the variety of cars on display in the Tesla Lot that night. 

Everything from Porsche Cayennes and Toyota Prii to beat-up Honda Civics vied for space alongside sports cars and motorcycles in the public parking lot. 

In other words, the Tesla Model S has captured the imagination of a huge cross-section of the car-driving public. 

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (7)
  1. " In fact, many uninformed buyers are choosing Tesla over cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf because of range anxiety. Worried the 2012 Nissan Leaf won’t provide them with the range they crave, they’ve chosen to suffer the Model S’ high sticker price in exchange for range peace-of-mind. "

    How is that being uninformed. The 2012 Leaf only travels 100 miles whereas the Tesla Model S have a range of 160, 230, 300, or 320 miles. So they were exactly right when they said they would reduce range anxiety by choosing Tesla if they were deadset on having an pure EV.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. Totally agree. A Leaf simply cannot function as anything other than a second car. As a single person,I'm not about to keep two cars around. So, in effect, a Tesla Model S is actually not much more costly than owning a Leaf, since in that case I would require two cars. Two insurance policies, etc.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

  3. As I have stated many times as a successful product developer - people will far more easily forgive you for price than for any infringement on the essential utility of the product.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  4. In this case, uniformed meant that they believed the 2012 Nissan Leaf could only travel 30 or 40 miles on a charge.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. I called it a game changer and it sounds like it is. It sounds like the reservation holders come from all walks of life and have very different income levels. And thats why it's a game changer, because the Model S is an electric car that everyone can appreciate regardless of social standings or income level and that is due to the fact that the Model S is as capable as any ICE car on the road. You have to admit most electric cars are odd looking, small, slow, and can only go around 100 miles per charge give or take. But the Model S is good looking, spacious, fast and has a range comparable to any modern car. The Model S will finally show the world that EVs work, there will be more but the Model S is really where it starts.
     
    Post Reply
    0
    Bad stuff?

  6. Glad to read this wasn't just a fat cat convention, though owning a Model S is not going to be cheap depending on battery life. The only shocker was the picture of the awful cyberpunk style dashboard. That had better not be in the production model if they plan on selling any cars in Europe...The front trunk is a bit of a shocker too but in a good way. Tesla is braver than Nissan that way since Nissan felt it needed to disguise the engine compartment like a regular ICE engine bay in order not to shock people too much. Clearly the Model S is aimed at a more sophisticated public then so the lack of existing knowledge about electric cars Nikki found among prospective buyers is a bit surprising.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. First of all, I am #1838 on the pre-order list for my Model S and I am not rich, famous or an owner of any business. I am buying the Model S because #1, it's the only "real" electric car that I can afford. I am sorry, any Hybrid in my book is still a gas guzzler and I will not buy it! #2, have you seen this car? It's the first car to look like a car people would want to drive! Not some ugly Prius or lame Volt or some other Japanese toy also saying they can get you 35-40 miles to the gallon in a hybrid?? PLEASE! I used to get better then that in my old 1985 Honda Civic back in the day! I want to be free of oil and that is my way of both helping the environment and no longer supporting Saudi Arabia that is a terrorist funding country!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.