2014 Tesla Model S 'P85D' all-wheel-drive modelEnlarge Photo
One of the defining features of buying a Tesla Model S electric car is the online ordering, at a fixed price.
Thus far, the only way to get a Model S at a discount from Tesla Motors has been to buy a service loaner/showroom model direct from the company.
Now, however, Tesla has doubled the discount on its older inventory vehicles that lack the latest hardware upgrades--offering a chance to get a lightly-used Model S from the company for slightly less than before.
As they say, however, this is a limited-time offer. The inventory of loaner cars will run out at some point--so anyone who wants one of these cars is advised to act quickly.
Tesla Motors has always offered a discount on inventory vehicles of $1 for every mile it has been driven, plus 1 percent for each month the vehicle has aged.
The per-month age discount has now been doubled to 2 percent on inventory vehicles that lack the recently introduced Autopilot hardware, announced last month along with the optional Dual Drive all-wheel drive.
2014 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
I was able to learn of the raised discount rate when my friend Rifleman, from the Tesla Motors Forum, became the lucky recipient of a better-than-expected price on a used loaner car.
His car had a new price of $83,000, but he was able to get a discount of about $18,000, bringing his total purchase price to just under $66,000 (before the $7,500 federal tax credit) on a very well-equipped 2014 Tesla Model S with the 60-kilowatt-hour battery.
Rifleman has followed Tesla since the days of the Roadster, and says he has always felt the company was destined for greatness.
It came about because 10 days ago, a product specialist in a Tesla Store told me that the company had just released "a ton" of 60-kWh Model S service loaners into inventory.
Rifleman was still in search of his Model S, so I suggested he ask if there had been any recent releases to inventory in his region.
His owner adviser in Cincinnati confirmed that nearly every S60 in the service loaner fleet had indeed been released to inventory.
Rifleman sent me his quote, and I was shocked. This week I took a closer look at his quote, compared it to my own Motor Purchase Vehicle Agreement (MVPA), and noticed that something seemed off.
2014 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
I too had bought an inventory vehicle from Tesla, but about five months ago, before the raised discount.
I discovered the new rate by comparing our two age discounts, calculating the rough ages the cars had been in the fleets, and finding that his per-month discount was roughly double mine on a percentage basis.
After my double-take, I asked him if Tesla had increased their discounts on inventory vehicles--and he told me about the doubling of the age discount.
The mass release of S60 inventory likely serves two purposes for Tesla Motors: An aging service fleet can be entirely replaced with P85D models--the new top of the line--and it may also give fourth-quarter delivery numbers a boost (if Tesla's "deliveries" figure includes loaner cars delivered to Tesla Stores).
Regardless, the presumably temporary doubling of the age discount provides a major incentive for prospective buyers to purchase slightly outdated models, trading lower cost for a lack of autopilot & enhanced safety features.
As always, your nearest Tesla showroom is the place to contact to see if it has any of these recently released inventory vehicles at the higher discount rate.