10 New Tesla Buying Mistakes In 2022 | Don’t Be Fooled:- If you’re looking to buy a Tesla or similar EV, it’s both exciting, and a bit daunting. These cars are getting way more popular, but particularly buying a Tesla, you’ll find that there’s a lot that’s different from how cars have been for a while.
Not only are there things to adjust to like charging instead of filling up with gas, but the entire buying process is unlike most companies. You order online and never go to an actual dealer. Tesla has an inventory site, but this is usually empty as its demand vastly outnumbers its current production capacity.
For other companies, this is the same story, but usually on another level. Today, I’m going to break down the common mistakes to avoid when buying a Tesla, and what has changed in 2023, so let’s get into it.
1-2-3- Tesla Car Buying Mistakes
Mistake #1, First up is something that is brand new for 2023, the federal tax credit. Recently, with the passing of the inflation reduction act, an updated $7500 tax credit was reinstated for EVs from all manufacturers.
Previously, once a manufacturer sold 200,000 EVs, the incentive disappeared, and this favored those companies who have been dragging their feet on EVs. Once they get around to it, customers can buy their cars for $7500 less than a Tesla, or EV from GM.
Now, this cap has been removed. That means that in 2023, Teslas, and GM EVs will again qualify for $7500 off. At this point, we’re entering Q4, and Tesla’s lead times have gotten a bit shorter, but remain fairly long depending on what you order.
A Standard range or performance Model 3 says it will be delivered this year, but for the long-range Model 3, they aren’t taking any more orders until 2023. For the Model Y, Tesla says a long-range model could come anywhere from December to April. Performance comes much quicker, this month or next.
Now, these are the only Teslas that could qualify for this credit, and most likely, this is what you are looking at buying. However, the credit is pretty specific.
There are several battery requirements, MSRP caps depending on vehicle types, and more, so the best assumptions people have are that only the Model Y will qualify for this.
The good news is, the tax credit which used to be taken off of your tax liability, appears to be changing to come off the sale price of the car.
If nothing changes with Tesla’s pricing, that would mean that the Long Range Model Y at $65,990, would instantly become $58,490 if purchased and delivered in 2023. We of course haven’t seen this in practice yet, and don’t know exactly how it will work, but we’re in a super weird limbo period right now.
People like myself ordered a Model Y earlier this year, and have a lower price locked in, so it doesn’t make sense to cancel, and re-order, but buying now is pretty confusing. Honestly, if you’re buying a Model Y and want to ensure you are saving money, it might be a smart idea to wait and see how this develops.
However, Tesla has raised their prices significantly this year, so anything could happen. I can’t guarantee anything, and no one can until the new revised tax credit is in place, but it could be a mistake to order a Tesla or EV right now. It might be smart to wait to guarantee $7500 off at the point of sale.
Again, this isn’t advice as many things could change, but there’s a lot to pay attention to.
Mistake #2 is not looking into all the EV savings you can get. The federal credit is extremely complicated and unclear as of right now, but many states have their incentives already in place.
California has a website called drive clean.ca.gov, and you can type in your zip code, and vehicle to find exactly what incentives you could qualify for. When I originally purchased my 2020 Model Y, I received $2000 from the state of California, and $1000 from SoCal Edison for buying an EV.
$3000 in checks after buying an expensive EV is incredibly nice to have, so be sure to look into this. Often people simply don’t know these programs exist and are leaving money on the table. Plug-in America has a good breakdown of EV incentives by state, and I’ll link that below.
They show everything you can get for installing a home charger, buying an EV, and the advantage you can get with HOV lane privileges.
Mistake #3 is one that sometimes is controversial amongst Tesla fans, and that’s buying full self-driving. I did this on my 2020 Model Y when it was half the price of today, and I regret it.
If I price out a Model Y, I’m already looking at $65,990. Let’s say I want black paint, that’s another $1500, I want the cool black 20-inch wheels, that’s $2000, and I want a tow hitch, that’s $1000. Right there, I’m already looking at $70,490, and there are more options I could add like 7 seats, and the white interior.
However, if you scroll down further you can see that Tesla has the option for Enhanced Autopilot of Full Self Driving Capability. Enhanced autopilot is $6000, while FSD is a whopping $15,000. That takes my $70,000 car up to $85,000.
Using Tesla’s default payment calculator, takes a monthly payment of $1068, up to $1307. So you’re paying $239 extra each month in this calculation, for Full Self Driving. Currently, Full Self-driving gets you all the features of enhanced autopilot, plus the opportunity to be added to the FSD beta.
Currently, this beta requires a LOT of attention and is very much a beta. Also, you have to earn your spot as part of the beta with a good safety score, at least until Tesla opens it up to wide beta. Elon Musk says this will happen this year, but as we’ve learned, he’s very late with everything regarding full self-driving.
For me, I don’t think the features that enhanced autopilot delivers, let alone FSD are worth it, but the other side of things is: if you change your mind, it’s simply a software upgrade. Within the Tesla app, you can add FSD for $15,000.
It will arrive in your car within minutes, and there is no hardware upgrade necessary if you have a new Tesla. For the last couple of years, every car comes with the full FSD computer by default. Then, if you want to subscribe to FSD, Tesla allows this for $199 per month.
As you can see, that’s about $40 less than financing the $15,000 FSD cost. Of course, owning things is usually better than perpetually subscribing, but quick math shows that at $15,000, it will take over 75 months before you’re paid off, versus subscribing.
That’s over 6 years, so it’s quite a long-term investment for beta software. The reason Tesla charges so much and keeps raising the price is that they see FSD developing into something that truly drives you anywhere without you needing to pay attention.
It could also be a robot taxi for you, earning money, so it’s a smart investment there. However, the timeline has taken so long and been delayed that many think that paying $15,000 will end up with you having beta software, and selling your car before anything worthwhile truly arrives.
FSD stays with the car, and you lose it when you sell it. That’s why, if you find these features worth your time and money, I recommend the subscription, although Tesla could raise this price as well.
Also, there is enhanced autopilot which includes Auto lane change, the only feature I find worthwhile. Still to me, it’s too expensive at $6000.
Next up is #4, and that’s buying an EV or Tesla with too much range. Many people assume that they need an electric car with the absolute most range possible. 400 miles plus is the only way because you need to be covered on that road trip you do once a year
Well, in reality, assuming you can charge at home, you’ll find yourself likely paying more than you need to for a range that you won’t utilize. More range is achieved with more batteries, and that’s part of why cars like the Model S, starting over $100,000 gets 400 miles of range.
The Model Y is quoted at 330 miles. I used to think it was long-range or the highway, but I’ve been driving a standard-range Model 3 for some time now. I’ve done road trips to las vegas, from Los Angeles in this car, supercharging along the way, and it was a breeze.
For daily driving, I have never run out, and charging at home has been super easy. It happens when I sleep, and I wake up the next morning with still over 200 miles at my disposal. I think the standard range Model 3 is very underrated, and many will find that it will fulfill their needs just fine.
I hope Tesla re-introduces the standard range Model Y soon because it can be a great option for many people who don’t constantly need access to 330 miles quickly. The Lucid Air is a great example of an EV with immense range, at 520 miles, but it comes at a significant cost.
For most people, this is far more range than they need to buy. Tesla superchargers are very convenient for Teslas, and for other EVs, there are third-party fast charging networks that are growing, making sure you have options on a road trip when you travel more than one battery’s worth of range.
Mistake #5; On the other side of things though is #5, and that’s buying too little range. EPA estimates are just not accurate. Nearly every single EV, and especially Teslas, does not get their EPA estimated ranges in the real world.
Most Teslas got around 12% less range when Inside EVs did their 70mph highway testing. Other cars too, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E route 1 edition got 6% less range, while the extended range got 5.5% more range. The Lucid Air, the longest range EV ever at 520 miles, got 4% less range in testing.
As you can see, Teslas seem to be designed for EPA testing numbers, but get quite a bit less in the real world. This is important to keep in mind when buying an EV. Most EVs underperform estimates to some degree, so a standard range Model 3 with stock wheels, quoted at 272 miles EPA, might only truly get 239 miles of range in the real world.
If you’re planning to get an EV, and need to drive 125 miles out, and 125 back multiple times a week, you’ll find the standard range Model 3 won’t cut it, since its EPA range prediction is generous. You’ll end up supercharging more than you want, and will wish you had upgraded to the long-range Model, which Tesla says will be available in 2023.
As I mentioned before this, if you have good charging options, you may find that you can get by fine with an EV that has less range, and that brings us to #6. Don’t make the mistake of planning for charging after you get your car delivered. Buying an EV is an adjustment.
It’s a very worthwhile adjustment, and an easy one, but if you try to buy a Tesla without any sort of charging plan, you’ll find yourself frustrated. Home charging is by far the best option for an EV if you have that available to you. For this, I recommend a few different options.
The best option is the Wall Connector that Tesla sells for $400. This can charge up to 48 amps, getting around 44 miles of range per hour, so even if you use up your full battery, you can charge it easily overnight. Getting this installed is the extra expense here, and depending on how your panel is, and how far the line needs to run, could run you anywhere from $500 – $1500 in my experience.
There are more affordable options though. Tesla sells their mobile connector for $200, and this includes a normal NEMA 5-15 plug, along with a 14-50 adapter. A 5-15 plug will charge very slowly, over 24 hours to get your full car charged, but this can get the job done, especially initially when you order your car.
However, if you’re driving any distance, you’ll want to get at least a NEMA 14-50 installed to get enough charge each night. I charged my car off of this for a couple of years and it worked great. We moved into a condo briefly, and I used a Split Volt, which took my 30 amp dryer plug and split that to automatically switch between the dryer and charging my car.
All of these options have worked great and depending on where you live, one may work better than the other. It’s something to assess, and think about before delivery, and will make your transition to an EV incredibly smooth, instead of stressful. I save time charging at home versus going to a gas station each week, or more.
Now, if you can’t charge at home, that’s another area to look into. Is there a charger available at your work, or near your work? Plug share will show you where chargers are located everywhere, and what type they are exactly.
Often these can be provided by the city as well, and be entirely free, which would save you even more money compared to gas. For a Tesla, in addition to these stations that you can use with the J1772 adapter included with each car, there are thousands of superchargers.
They have a website where you can search for superchargers in your specific area, so you can see ahead of time if there are fast chargers near you. Having a charging plan is very important, and sometimes I feel that the most frustrated new EV buyers who give up, are ones who didn’t plan for this and found themself panicked about where to charge their new car.
Now Mistake #6 further relates to charging, and that’s not researching your power provider for EV plans. I live in Los Angeles county, so my power provider is So Cal Edison. Many people are in tired plans and will find that since they’re now charging a car each night, they will quickly bump into a high usage tier.
For me, if I didn’t do anything with my power plan, I would potentially be paying over 45 cents per kWh to charge my EV at home. This is higher than electrify America charges for level 3 DC fast charging. You’ll end up with a ridiculously high energy bill because now you’re paying more for all power you use.
That’s why most companies offer time-of-use plans that incentivize you to charge and use the majority of your power off-peak. SCE has a rate specific for EV owners called Time of use D prime, and this ensures that in summer, my rate is 21 cents off-peak during the week.
So I always charge my car during these times, and never pay more. In winter it goes down to 20 cents. Lucky for you as well, you might not live in California, so your rates will be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than this. Be sure to get this rate plan set up right away when buying an EV and charging at home so you don’t end up with a ridiculous energy bill you didn’t need to have.
For Mistake #7, I’m going to summarize a few quick personal preferences I’ve found after buying a few Teslas over the years. This is specific to Tesla, but I recommend that you don’t buy the upgraded wheels. The Model Y in particular rides fairly stiff, and I noticed a huge improvement by changing from the upgraded 20-inch wheels, which cost $2000, back to the stock wheels.
The ride quality is better. If that isn’t important to you, and looks are primary, then of course choose what you like, but I like making sure people are aware of this. Additionally, often Tesla will have a shorter lead time if you buy the performance model.
For the Model Y, that means you could get it a couple of months early based on Tesla’s current predictions, but I recommend not upgrading unless this is the product you want.
The performance is more expensive, has even larger 21-inch wheels that ride stiffer and are more subject to potholes, and the range is 27 miles less than the Long range Model. Also, the suspension is lowered, making this already relatively low SUV feel even lower when going over bumps, steep driveways, or going off-road.
If that’s what you want, then definitely do it, but if you’re only upgrading to get the car faster, keep these things in mind, and don’t make a mistake. Lastly, if you want the white interior, but are worried about cleaning it, don’t worry.
Many reviews have shown that the white interior holds up well and is fairly easy to clean. It can take a little more care than the black interior, but it isn’t a nightmare that many worry about.
So don’t avoid it and regret it later. It should hold up well. My Model Y coming next week has white seats, so I’m excited to try it in practice myself and report back on this channel.
Mistake #8; The 8th mistake to avoid when buying a Tesla or EV is not inspecting the car and delivery. This is fairly particular to Teslas, and unfortunately still exists.
Tesla is so popular, that fixing its quality control hasn’t gone as quickly as many had hoped. I’ve had issues that required service after buying each of my Teslas, and this is why it’s important to do a detailed inspection upon delivery.
You can note any issues with the car, ensure that they have them on record, and then get them fixed for free at service. Most times in my experience they are good about fixing stuff anyway, but they do have some sort of 100-mile policy for big issues. So check over the car in depth at delivery, and be sure to note any issues right away after buying.
Mistake #9, The 9th mistake when buying a Tesla is not shopping around for insurance. Interestingly enough, Tesla’s insurance has been expanding rapidly this year, and from what I’ve seen, it is bringing big savings for almost everyone signing up.
Many companies charge a lot when insuring a Tesla, in particular, so be sure to compare rates with what you currently have, what else is out there, and what Tesla insurance is offering if it’s available to you.
Mistake #10; Lastly, the 10th mistake to avoid is not planning for accessories. Tesla makes great cars with many features, but there are many areas of the car that can be optimized to make your experience that much better.
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