When I started sharing my journey about switching to an electric vehicle (EV) from a Jeep Wrangler, people made so many unresearched assumptions. Let’s talk about how and why we bought a Tesla Model 3 and love it.
Energy & Efficiency
First let’s cover the energy usage and emissions, since that is generally the biggest reason people switch to an EV. Fuel type aside, according to the EPA the Tesla Model 3 is 8 times more energy efficient than a petrol vehicle. If you calculate that in terms of miles to the gallon, the Tesla goes 141 miles on the amount of energy in a gallon of fuel. If your home is powered with energy from fossil fuels, charging an EV still results in substantially lower emissions per mile. We plan to install solar at home in the future to reduce our emissions further (a girl’s got to dream). There are efficiency measures built into the braking system as well, using regenerative braking to harness the energy from stopping and store it in the battery to extend your trip.
We charge our Tesla at home on a 110 volt outlet from our back porch for a rate of 6 miles per hour of charge. A simple home electric upgrade to a 220 volt would double the charging rate to 12 miles per hour. We have noticed about a $15 increase in our monthly electric bill. These options are recommended for daily use to extend the life of the batteries. When traveling longer distances, there are super charger stations at many gas stations that will give a full charge in just 15 minutes for an average cost of 13 cents per kWh or $13 for a full charge. The built-in navigation in the Tesla display will tell you where the charging stations are. There is also a trip planner that will tell you when and where to stop and charge to avoid getting stranded. If you run your battery dead no one can bring you a gas can, you will have to call a tow truck to take you to the nearest charging station, so plan your longer trips.
How is the ride?
The biggest thing I was not looking forward to was traveling in a car versus an SUV with concerns about being low to the ground or in a sluggish vehicle. Boy was I wrong! Everything is customizable and saves to the divers setting from the seat height and lumbar support to the mirrors and steering wheel height. The customizable features provide the ultimate luxury experience. This car is so fast it will pin you to your seat, I have a little too much fun with the performance. Now when I drive our truck, I feel like I am dragging cinder blocks.
Storage was another concern, however I can fit a BOB stroller (those things are not small) along with a kids potty and miscellaneous things in the trunk. With one of the back seats folded flat I can fit 2 sets of golf clubs easily. And when I pick up takeout, I put it in the frunk (that is a trunk in the front of the car) because I don’t want my car smelling like pizza or soy sauce.
If you were ever a Jeep owner you know about the Jeep wave. There is a community of like minded people who share a wave and smile when passing another Jeep on the road. I loved being a part of this community and was so excited the first time I drove past another Tesla they waved! It lives on.
I am not even going to get into the display because there is so much to play with, but the main point is it is clean and simple to navigate removing all the buttons and displays from the car. My first suggestion is to get online and schedule a free test drive. The Tesla shops are not pushy like most dealerships, think of it more like an Apple genius bar interaction opposed to a used car salesman.
I have not had any issues with the car working as expected. There are regular updates, just like any operating system, that will effortlessly occur. After one of them our display had a glitch, with a simple restart using buttons on the steering wheel it was fixed. You can use an app on your phone or a key card to un/lock and start the vehicle. I often use the auto pilot and have never had an issue with that either. You can adjust your desired following distance and alerts for lane lines and obstructions.
No more dirty auto shops, if you have an issue with your car you get online and book a service appointment for free technical support as most repairs can be made remotely. If there is something mechanically wrong, most locations will send someone to your house.
Purchasing a Tesla
Because Tesla’s hold their value so well, it was actually cheaper to buy a new Model 3 than a used Tesla from our local market. The purchasing process is a bit different than with other manufacturers and there are some tips you should know. You start by building your vehicle online choosing the model, battery, performance, color, wheels, and interior. Once you have created your Tesla profile and chose your car features you pay $100 to build the car to your specifications and pay the remainder once it comes in. I chose black exterior and interior with standard range battery and dual motor (or all wheel drive) and the final sticker price with taxes was $44K.
Keep in mind timing when you order your vehicle, Tesla delivers cars on a quarterly basis. So, if you order your car in July it is likely you will not pick it up until closer to September. This was important to us mostly because I was managing financing through our credit union (offers are usually good for only 1-2 months) and I was selling my Jeep to get more out of it than they offer on trade in. Plan out how long it will take you to sell your current vehicle if you need that cash for the Tesla. They will give you a 2-4 week window of when to expect your car. When the car is in transport to your nearest dealership for pick up you will be notified and will have 72 hours to schedule your pick up. This was a real crunch time for us because I was holding on to my Jeep so I did not have to go without a car (and it was a bit emotional). Tesla does offer trade in on your current vehicle but it was $2,500 less than selling to a local dealer. The vehicles they take on trade in just go to auction so there is no negotiating.
How did I justify a $44K vehicle? Pre-pandemic, my husband and I were spending over $200 a month on fuel for our vehicles. With a $7K down payment, we pay $140 a week for the car payment (weekly payments lower the amount of interest you pay and closes your loan sooner). There are also no oil changes which was anther $90 every other month. One thing I did not account for is my yearly premium for insurance went up by $300. Also factoring in charging my vehicle at home for about $15 a month. All of that considered, the car payment is adjusted to $400 a month. This accounts for $150 savings in gas as my husband and I try to share the Tesla as much as possible and only take the truck when needed. This is considerably less than my previous Jeep loan payment and massively reduces our carbon footprint.
Some tips for lowering the price of a Tesla include; choosing white paint will save you $1,000, and keeping the standard aero wheels with a $50 conversion kit reveals a spoke style rim that I prefer much more without paying $1,000 for the upgraded rims. Lastly, if you want to save $5K you can call and ask for a single engine vs the dual engine if you do not care for the benefits of the dual engine.
Looking into a Tesla is risk free, schedule a test drive and go from there!
This is an unpaid review. If you find that a Tesla is right for you, use referral link https://ts.la/tiffany36107 for 1,000 free charging miles.