Life with Tesla Model S: out with the old, in with the new


2013 Tesla Model S owned by David Noland, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2015

2013 Tesla Model S owned by David Noland, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2015

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Over the first three years of driving my 2013 Tesla Model S, there wasn't a single time when I looked at another car and said, “You know, I’d really rather be driving that car than this one.”

Not once. The Tesla’s combination of performance, style, economy, technology, plus the addictive allure of electric acceleration, made it—to my mind—the perfect car.

Then, last year, with my car in for service, I drove a 2016 Tesla Model S 90D loaner for a couple of days

DON'T MISS: Tesla Model S battery life: what the data show so far

Wow: better acceleration. Better handling. All-wheel drive. Long range (46 more miles). Better efficiency (15 percent, according to the EPA, though I didn’t see that on the road.)

And some nice features I didn’t have, like auto-locking and turn-by-turn navigation.

The verdict was clear: I’d rather be driving the 90D.

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland

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But a new 90D, equipped the way I would want it, then listed at $91,500.  With tax credit and trade-in, my cost to upgrade would have been about $44,000.

In the end, I decided the benefits of a new 90D weren’t worth the money.

Besides, I had my eye on a Tesla Model Y, the moderately-priced crossover utility vehicle that I hoped might appear soon after the Model 3—just about the time my odometer clicked over 100,000 miles and my extended warranty ran out.

GO WAY BACK: My 2013 Tesla Model S Electric Sport Sedan: Delivery at Last! (Feb 2013)

“I’m good with the old car,” I wrote at the time. “For now.” 

Enter the 100D

That was then. This is now. And some things have changed in the meantime.

  • Since 2016, my financial outlook has improved. Only one year of my daughter’s college tuition left to go, and a very good year for one of my investments.
  • I turned 70 years old. For decades I’ve been saving and investing so I’d have money to spend in my old age. And suddenly, officially, here it is.

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland

Enlarge Photo
  • I recently suffered a retinal detachment, an abrupt reminder that stuff happens. Tomorrow I could be blind—or dead.
  • Elon Musk tweeted not long ago that the Model Y was still “a few years” away. (And confirmed this week that it wouldn’t arrive until 2020.)
  • Tesla introduced the Model S 100D, with all the benefits of the 90D, plus an EPA range of 335 miles—a full 90 miles more than my current car.
  • Tesla introduced Autopilot 2.0, with the expectation of fully autonomous driving capability within two years.

CHECK OUT: Life with Tesla Model S: replacing the drive unit (aka 'the funny noise'

Buying a new 100D made a certain amount of sense. It was cool and exciting. I had the means to do it. Life is short.

No free Supercharging

There was only one downside I could see: unlike my old 85, a new 100D would have to pay for Supercharging. This would add about $450 to the cost of my annual California trip, and $7 or $8 to my occasional lunches at a nearby Supercharged restaurant.

It’s not just the money. There’s something priceless about the feeling you get when you plug in for free, that vaguely nefarious pleasure of getting away with something.


 
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