I’ve owned my 2013 Tesla Model S for more than three years, and put 66,000 miles on it now.
It still runs great, and it makes me happy every time I drive it. I plan to keep it for at least a few more years.
But I can’t help occasionally peeking at the Tesla Motors online Model S configurator to check out the prices and features on the newest versions.
Tesla just recently revamped its lineup, bringing back an entry-level 60-kwh model and bumping the 70-kwh car up to 75 kwh.
At first glance, these two new models are remarkably similar in range and performance to my car, in both of its incarnations—first with its original 60-kwh battery, later upgraded to an 85-kwh pack.
So I was curious to see how my golden oldie stacked up against the newcomers in terms of price, features, and overall bang per buck.
2013 Tesla Model S owned by David Noland, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2015
The original price of my car, as delivered with the 60-kwh battery in February 2013, was $72,320.
That price included optional green metallic paint, leather seats, and air suspension. I skipped the fancy wheels, sunroof, and tech package.
Its EPA-rated range was 209 miles, the 0-to-60-mph acceleration was listed as 5.5 seconds, and its top speed was 125 mph.
After about nine months, I upgraded the 60-kwh battery to an 85-kwh pack.
READ THIS: Life With Tesla Model S: Battery Upgrade From 60 kWh To 85 kWh (Dec 2013)
In effect, that retroactively raised the list price to $82,320. (I paid a lot more than the $10,000 list-price difference for the upgrade, but that’s another story.)
With the upgrade, my car’s range jumped to 265 miles, its 0-to-60-mph acceleration fell to 5.2 seconds, and its top speed rose to 150 mph, eventually.
So how do the two newest Model S versions stack up to my car(s), dollar-for-dollar?
Very well indeed, it turns out.
2013 Tesla Model S at Supercharger station on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]
Old 60 vs new 60
Due to differences in the standard equipment and options packages, it’s impossible to do a precise apples-to-apples comparison of the two cars.
But configuring the current Model S 60 as closely as possible to mine—metallic paint, standard leather-and-cloth seats, and air suspension—I arrived at a price of $70,700, including $1,200 for delivery.
So, three years later, the new car is $1,620 cheaper than my original car. If we account for inflation, the price of the new 60 declines to $68,350 in 2013 dollars—about $4,800 less than my original.
Despite the lower price tag, the new 60 has a number of features mine lacked. Among them:
- Full turn-by-turn navigation
- Automatic keyless entry and walk-away locking.
- Center console
- Automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance.
- Parking sensors
- LED headlights
- Folding heated side mirrors
2016 Tesla Model S
I would be delighted to have any or all of those features in my car.
The new 60 also has two major software upgrades available: a 75-kWh battery ($8,500), and Autopilot ($2,500).
Thet battery-upgrade option is about half what I paid for mine back in 2013. (Tesla, by the way, no longer does the 60-to-85 upgrade at all.)
The Autopilot upgrade was (and still is) impossible to get for my car, because it wasn't built with the necessary ultrasonic and radar sensors.
Overall, the new 60 blows away the old one in terms of value.
It has the same range and performance, with many more useful features, for about 5,000 fewer inflation-adjusted dollars.
2016 Tesla Model S
Old 85 vs new 75D
Unfortunately, there’s no current Model S 85 version to compare to my upgraded 85-kWh car.
The 90-kwh model is now available only with dual motors, which puts it way out of my price and performance league.
But, surprisingly, the current 75D has range and performance numbers that are very close to my current 85.
It gets 259 miles of EPA range (only 6 miles less than mine) and 0-to-60-mph acceleration of 5.2 seconds (the same as mine).
So let’s compare the old 85 to the new 75D.
Configuring a new 75D with the same options as my car, we arrive at a price of $84,200, including delivery.
2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland
That’s about $1,900 more than mine. Account for inflation, and the effective price drops to $81,400—about $900 less than my car.
The 75D has all the same list of standard features as the 60, above, that my car lacks. The 75D also has all-wheel drive, with corresponding improvements in handling and winter traction.
And again, the 75D looks way better than my 85 in terms of value: virtually the same range, same acceleration, better handling, better traction, and a raft of extra features—all for basically the same price.
My only doubt concerns the 75D’s EPA range number of 259 miles. The 75D is supposedly about 13 percent more efficient than the 85, which allows it to achieve virtually the same range on a smaller battery, in theory.
But I’ve driven its predecessor, the 70D, and found it to be no more efficient than my 85. So I wonder if it really achieves that lofty range.
If we accept that 259-mile range figure, the 75D is a compelling value compared to the original 85.
It appears that Tesla is fulfilling the prophesy that electric cars will decline in price over the years.
2016 Tesla Model S
For the Model S, Tesla seems to have chosen to use some of that cost savings to improve the car rather than slashing the sticker to the max.
Presumably the company doesn’t want to cut Model S prices down to the point that they'd start to infringe on Model 3 territory. Either way, it’s good news for Tesla buyers.
I wonder how things will look in 2018 or 2019, when I’ll be ready to trade mine in ....