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Tesla Model 3 = 24% of Small and Midsize Luxury Car Sales in USA (cleantechnica.com)
199 points by Osiris30 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 261 comments



Note that all the Tesla sales numbers in the article are estimates by the author of the article. There are no sources cited in the article. Other articles on this site from this same author are very clearly biased in favor of Tesla and electric cards in general. I would take this article with a grain of salt to say the least.

FTA: "Tesla reports quarterly sales and does not break them out by country or region. Eventually, we get registration data from Europe, China (educated estimates at least), and Canada and can then make a more solid estimate of US sales for the quarter, as well as monthly sales estimates. However, it’s a bit early for all of that since we don’t have September numbers from most countries yet. Even our data-loving friend and contributor Jose Pontes of EV Volumes didn’t want to venture out too far on a limb and provide an early estimate that he might have to walk back. That said, looking at previous months’ data, September figures from the Netherlands and Norway, and deeper historical data, I feel comfortable estimating Model 3 sales between 40,000 and 50,000 in the US in the third quarter. For this report, I’ve settled on 43,000."


For those truly wanting to do the due diligence, GoodCarBadCar does maintain a ton of sales data -- even down to by model, by month -- for the US and Canada

http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/us-vehicle-sales-figures-by-mod...


That is depressing... top three by a wide margin are pick up trucks.


Hard to read this as anything other than a sales pitch:

> While a 24% market share — 1 out of every 4 sales in this market — seems wild, the thing that blows the minds of many Tesla Model 3 owners is that anyone is still buying an Audi A4, Volvo S60, BMW 320i, Mercedes C300, etc.


Grain of salt indeed. I thought it was funny how the author decides to "settle" on some arbitary 2-sig-fig number.

It's worth noting that in the US, the SUV/crossover is king of sales.

As a quick basis of comparison, Acura TLX sales for the entirety of Q3 was 5,754 units (verified this figure), whereas Acura MDX sales for the month of August alone[1] was 5,976 units.

Now play this comparison game with Lexus[2][3][4], Cadillac[5], BMW[6][7][8], etc. and you'll discover similar patterns.

How meaningful is it to compare Tesla Model 3 estimated US sales figures to a relatively small market segment that has literally been and continues to be cannibalized by SUV/crossover conversions year over year? IMHO, it's like focusing on salt in the bleeding wound while turning a blind eye to the frenzy of sharks encircling.

[1] https://hondanews.com/en-US/honda-corporate/releases/release...

[2] https://pressroom.lexus.com/toyota-motor-north-america-repor...

[3] https://pressroom.lexus.com/toyota-motor-north-america-repor...

[4] https://pressroom.lexus.com/toyota-motor-north-america-repor...

[5] https://media.gm.com/dld/content/Pages/news/us/en/2019/oct/1...

[6] http://bmwmedia.iconicweb.com/mediasite/attachments/190801_J...

[7] http://bmwmedia.iconicweb.com/mediasite/attachments/August_2...

[8] http://bmwmedia.iconicweb.com/mediasite/attachments/191001_S...


They are wonderful cars and I have never heard anyone not loving the driving experience.

The only concern that I think is preventing growth (Other than production of course) - is the concern about long term reliability.

If you buy a camry or prius you know almost for a fact, that your going to drive 200k miles without a problem, and if there is one, its recognized as an engineering failure and the dealership fixes it for free - and fast.

But with Tesla, there are lots of rumors that the queue for getting stuff fixed it really long, and that after warranty expires, really expensive.

What I am really scared of is another "BMW" style reliability experience, which I would consider to be a catastrophic failure on the part of Tesla.

Edit - also accidents "caused" by "autopilot" software, and liability is still a big question.


> But with Tesla, there are lots of rumors that the queue for getting stuff fixed it really long, and that after warranty expires, really expensive.

Rich rebuilds did a great video on the out of warranty costs of older Teslas [1]. The summary is: they're surprisingly expensive to run; major systems break much more frequently than I would expect of say... a Japanese car.

The newer cars may or may not be better.

___

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq5c4jGR2gM


Speaking of RichRebuilds. His friend recently rebuilt a Tesla Model S P85D and it took them only 2 days because of how easy the are to work with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHq3eNO6QaA


Awesome channel! Am glued to his channel.


How good are Japanese cars?


They are extremely good. My first car was a 2005 Honda Civic that I drove for 10 years until I traded in for a First Gen leaf. Absolutely no down time. Changed all four tires once or twice. I went back and traded in my first gen leafs after 3 year lease expired and promptly bought a 2019 Honda Civic which drives like a charm. Even the whiz bang features like adaptive cruise and lane keep work perfectly! Very happy with the purchase, waiting for the 250 mi Honda Civic EV but am not holding my breath.


>They are extremely good.

Keep telling yourself that but it totally depends on what you get and who you are (i.e how you use it).

'09 "CVT" Altima owned by literally anybody. -> crap

'03 Accord owned by Grandma -> Perfectly fine car

'11 Tacoma owned by Joe the scrapper -> Made a one way trip over the scrap scale 5yr ago.

'11 Tacoma owned by upper middle class neighbor Steve who uses it to haul pine mulch for his garden and is generally easy on equipment -> Perfectly fine car.

It takes little more than a pulse to get your hands on (for example) a Nissan Altima or a Dodge Journey. They are solidly meh vehicles and (for the most part) bought in droves by people who's credit leaves them little other option. Time is not kind to vehicles under that kind of ownership. They get serviced when they have problems that impede their usefulness, maybe. Meanwhile, in an upscale gated community across town 4Runners plastered in honors student stickers will see easy use (food spills in the rear seats and smelly sports equipment are not particularly hard on vehicles) will see the kind of preventive maintenance the authors of German car service schedules lust over. When it comes to longevity the way a vehicle is treated matters more than anything else and over 20+yr the seemingly small difference between how different groups treat their cars will compound to be the dominant term in the equation.


It'd be interesting to see why people are down-voting. I purposefully picked examples that pretty much everyone in the low end used car world can agree on.


I drove a Honda Fit for 120,000 miles, rolled it, repaired it, drove it another 10k, somebody hit it when my wife was driving and it was totalled.

We had no major repairs in this time other than the rollover. I had to replace the break pads but neither the suspension or emission controls system was replaced. Sometimes the hatchback stuck and we had frustrations with TPMS. The safety systems worked perfectly both times, I didn't even feel any pain in my accident, the back window broke so I had no trouble getting out.

My take is that Honda and Toyota are in a different class than Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru and such. Subaru has fanatic followers but I think has awful TCO.

Contrast that to a Hyundai I owned that needed a $200 repair every month at 90k.

I think the luxury sedan market is a tepid category, driven by people who get $90,000 of value from a $90,000 car. I still remember Audi for their self-driving incidents in the 1980s and find it hard not to see them as a bastion of euromediocrity. BMW and such are always in the shop, so is Cadlliac. I see so many Cadillacs in the ghetto and driven by my ethnic white relatives (polish, italian, etc.). Cadillac has been kept alive by WW2 survivors who will never buy a German car.

Unlike the others, Tesla stands out. My wife rode in a Tesla and she said 'that was a special car's and she hasn't said that about other cars.


> Unlike the others, Tesla stands out. My wife rode in a Tesla and she said 'that was a special car's and she hasn't said that about other cars.

That's exactly what Tesla tries to sell, "a special car". On all the thinks they are focused on long term reliability and repair ability are likely not their priorities, for now.

In a certain way I wouldn't be surprised if they would have adapted some of the "ship fast + PR, then working and then (maybe) good" development mentality which is common in the software world.

I.e. I wouldn't be surprised if they prioritize innovation (e.g. self driving) and performance/range over safety/durability/etc. as long as safety/durability/etc. are "good enough" to get away with it.


Cost and service (call it reliability) were my biggest issues.

I have a long commute and needed to buy an economical car a little over 2 years ago. I live in a rural community and anticipated that it would be difficult to get a Tesla worked on. I pass multiple Chevy dealers on my way to work, so I bought a Cruze diesel. For the difference in up front cost, I can buy a lot of diesel -- at least enough for the first 200k miles and probably more. And if it breaks, I know I can get it serviced locally.

Teslas are really cool cars, but the math and potential ownership hassles still don't work for me.


From a 33,000 mile view of Model 3 RWD, LR:

- Oiled a squeaky driver side door

- Replaced tires

Meanwhile, some things got better:

- Tesla increased range by 5%.

- New audio CODECs improved sound.

- Driving safety features improved, even sans AP/EAP.

- Bunch of new toy features in the software.

Stuff I wouldn't expect on a $50,000 car:

- When rolled down, windows seem to not be secured within the door. Close the car door, and you can hear them bounce inside.

- Trunk lid doesn't have that 'solid' sound when closing like my 328i did.

Something of an interesting technical side effect:

- I neglected to rotate my tires (bad, I know), and, I did not replace the front tires when the rear were done (RWD). That meant that the front turned at a slightly higher RPM than the rear, cuz the rear had full tread, the front about 25%. When I took hard turns, it also meant the inside wheels turned slower than the outside wheels. Hence, at that point, it's possible all 4 wheels are turning at slightly different rates. That seems to invoke traction control, something I never (literally) saw in 33,000 miles up to that point.


What dealership is going to fix for free the problem you run into at 8years/150k miles?


The kind of problem caused by a manufacturing defect that leads to a recall. Parent's overall point is that you can effectively drive these cars 200k+ miles until the wheels fall off, and if you can't, it's due to a defect like that. Tesla is a younger company and it's not yet apparent how the vehicle's end-of-life will play out like it is for these sorts of vehicles.



Aren't there plenty of Teslas out there with 200k+ miles?


Anecdotally, but looking at older Model S on the local Craigslist equivalent, I see two listings right now that are ~6 years old with ~120k miles and say "recently replaced entire battery pack under warranty". If whatever fault that was happens to another Model S after the warranty expires, it's going to be a total writeoff. These cars are being sold now for below $30k (equivalent) with almost two years left of warranty.


Lots. https://sites.google.com/view/teslamiles

The Model 3 motors are designed for a million miles of service life.


The big issue is the battery pack. It's a major part of the total car cost, and it's not going to last a million miles.

For everything else in the car maintenance and longevity is going to be better than ICE cars due to the much simpler drivetrain, so the cost of replacing batteries and the battery lifespan is going to be the main factor in value of used fully electric cars.


At least in my experience, it's not the drivetrain you need to worry about. It's all the electronics and sensors - from antitheft to odometers to AC.

That's why I'm not terribly optimistic on Tesla reliability. Powertrains rarely fail in the first place.


Tesla is working towards a million mile battery [1] (and the batteries they have on the road today will easily last to 500k miles, which under normal duty [average American yearly miles driven], you won't see until you've been driving the car for 37 years @ 13,476 miles/year). It would also appear, from the cost decline curve of lithium batteries [2], that to replace your vehicle's battery (if necessary; highly unlikely) in 8 years at the end of its warranty will be substantially cheaper than replacing it today.

At a million mile service duty for battery and motors, the powertain is reaching human life expectancy (74 years) at average miles driven per year quoted above.

[1] https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-may-soon-have-a-battery-th...

[2] https://i2.wp.com/evobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06...


This is sort of true. If there is something wrong with the battery then there is a good chance they will fix it for free even if it's not under warranty, rather than billing you several thousand dollars.

But if, say, the dash lights come on saying you need to take it in immediately because there is a problem with the battery, but when you take it in they can't find anything wrong with it, then they will still bill you a few hundred bucks for looking at it.


The system should totally keep a record of the dash lights shown, and they totally shouldn't charge you if you told the truth, yet they couldn't find anything wrong.



It doesn't say whether he had to make an out of warranty battery replacement.


Although it not "Guaranteed" you can rest assured when you buy a Prius for instance, the probability of you having a catastrophic failure or expensive repair before 200k miles is very low - and if it happens, is usually covered by Toyota themselves.


Sometime around 2004 or 2005 I had an 1996 Honda Accord with over 200k miles on it that I took to the dealership for some maintenance and was told it had a cracked engine block. The dealer said something to the effect "that's not suppose to happen" and offered me a loaner while they fixed it for free.


My 2002 Civic with 250k+ miles on it had free service done on it maybe 3-4 years ago as part of a recall. The fact that a platform that old had enough cars still registered on the road is usually a good sign for that specific platform even given the need for a recall.


My 2003 Honda Pilot had the airbags, a transmission part and a key cylinder replaced under recall in the last 4 years.

Also normal car companies that follow the law have third parties called mechanics that can order parts and get cars fixed.


I just got an extended warranty notice from BMW for a potential defect in my Mini Cooper's fuel pump (not a recall notice) that covered cars up to 160,000 miles.


Maybe it has worked out for you, but I don't know all that much about cars and my experience is that dealers usually talk their way out of covering something or add one extra crap they say is not covered that costs a lot anyway.


I have had the opposite experience, FWIW. Dealers get reimbursed by the MFG for warranty claims, so I've had them cover things out of warranty or give me a rental car so they can pocket the money from the mfg. To the degree the last Jeep service I did they were SUPER pushy about giving me one of their "Rentals"


My Honda hybrid’s battery was replaced for free at 11yo thanks to California’s emisiones warranty requirements (15y 150k mi for PZEV cars)


Why would it be catastrophic? That kind of reliability works just fine for other luxury brands. Tesla's should naturally be better anyway due to the simpler drivetrain and lack of maintenance.


>Tesla’s should be better if anything due to the simpler drivetrain and lack of maintenance

Eh, their reliability is much worse than other brands, even luxury brands.

https://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability-by-brand?min=2016&...

https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisf...

If it "works" it's great. But, once out of warranty it can be expensive and delayed before you can get your car fixed. On my S, I had to replace 3 door handles, drive unit, screen, TPS, passenger mirror was replaced, and a few other things. This was ~3 years of ownership and < 30k miles. Many of these things had a long delay before they could get fixed. I was in a loaner for over 3 weeks while they fixed the drive unit.

My father had an X that got bought back due to never being able to fix the rear door sensor. It would open a foot and freeze. He also had a handful of other issues. This was in less than a year of ownership.

My neighbor with the 3 got into an accident. It's ~6-8 months for them to fix their rear bumper. Additionally, one of the seatbelt adjusters and one of the AC vents rattle. So he stuck a piece of foam in there. His charging port has frozen and needed a manual release. And he says the screen sometimes doesn't come on. The nearest dealership is 100 miles away. He got an appointment, drove, got a loaner, drove home. They were 'Unable to reproduce' the rattles/screen issue. So he had to drive back and pick up his car with nothing getting fixed.


What did Tesla say when your neighbor insisted they revisit the issues again before he drove back?


He went on a ride along with them. But, they basically went around the block and it was fairly smooth. He said the AC vent was more noticeable at highway speeds, but they didn't want to go on the highway as they had their "own route".

Additionally, the screen was working when they were there.


That sounds exactly like my experience with a Nissan dealer.


I think that is a lazy business model, selling cars at a very low margin just so that you could make money by planned obsolescence and high cost replacement parts.

I would rather buy a car for more money that's engineered to the best possible attainable engineering perfection than one that is not.

Often, those more reliable cars are even cheaper and made in massive production. Given Teslas goal of accelerating the change to sustainable energy, it would be in their best interest to make the best possible and reliable car they could at the highest possible production numbers, instead of leaving a competitive advantage for toyota to take over reliable scalable production. Besides I would argue the purpose of the model 3 is a mass market vehicle that is really nice, and not just a niche "luxury" vehicle as is often implied.


I don't think BMW's business model is lazy. You'll come up against design decisions again and again where the trade-off is performance vs. reliability.

Toyota would more often choose the latter, BMW the former.


I disagree with the proposition that performance and reliability are categorically mutually exclusive.


With the difference that Teslas have Lithium batteries. Mobile phone batteries become so crap after a few years... Anyone have an old Model S and want to share their experience?


If you understand how cars work, you should know that an electric cars will probably drive 1million miles. It has less moving parts than cars. Engines - 500parts, transmissions 2000+ parts. Tons of friction, heat, wear and tear. Electric cars are so much simpler and if anything will prove to be much more reliable than cars. If anything that's what those companies have to worry about. Why would anyone want to replace their car when they can just replace battery? i won't be surprised if this is the reason Tesla is almost treating it like a modern day product with software upgrades. I suspect in the future, they will have it where you can just replace the exterior panel to get a new car and have the interior easily swapable as well.


There is a big risk you swap one kind of issue for another... It's no longer head gaskets blowing - now the issue is obscure software bugs which trigger constant rebooting causing the car to be undrivable, or a temperature sensor broken making it think it's at -273 C. A Tesla engineer could totally erase and reset the car to fix it, but when the cars 10 years old and on its 3rd owner, that engineer has probably retired, and a third party can't do anything because the car software is encrypted.


Id be more worried about the hassle/cost to repair all the “little” things that can really add up if parts and service are hard to find.

Windows, door handles, air conditioning, bumpers, radar sensors, sun roofs, seat motors, wiper motors, door hinges.


No really an issue at all. You can just use the Tesla parts catalog and call up Tesla to order a part. No middle man like AutoZone that get's a cut of the profit.

https://epc.teslamotors.com/#/catalogs


As the market scales up, OEM parts are going to be a thing.


What's your evidence that electric vehicle are more reliable than non-electrics? EV advocates make this claim quite frequently, yet I've never seen any evidence to support it. In the case of Tesla, their EVs are actually much less reliable than ICE and diesel vehicles (though I blame their problems mainly on Tesla's rush to production, and not on producing EVs per se).


There's low amounts of evidence because electric cars are so new but common sense would dictate that the simpler a machine is the less it will break all things being equal. Even if the current generation have issues, applying Toyota's continuous improvement paradigm to the process will ensure that they quickly speed up.


There's substantial complexity in Tesla's various black boxes full of electronics.

A Tesla's battery pack is a hell of a lot more complex than a full, sheet-metal gas tank. The charging, balancing, and protection circuit is more complex than a filler neck and screw-on cap, etc.


Tesloop released a very interesting review and summary of using "eHawk", the 2015 Tesla Model S over 450,000 miles (724,000 km), which is one of the highest mileages globally.

https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2018/7/16/tesloops-tesla-model-...

https://insideevs.com/reviews/350883/tesla-model-s-review-45...

What makes this particularly interesting is that the car was mostly charged using super chargers which accelerates battery degradation compared to regular home/Level 2 charging.


Electric motors that run in factories out last generators.


> Why would anyone want to replace their car when they can just replace battery?

Or why would anyone want to replace their battery when they can just replace the top of the car?

Peoples’ needs and tastes in cars change overtime. I’d like to see a future where you retain the “skateboard” of the car but swap the cabin and skin of the exterior relatively inexpensively.


If recent history is any indication, I don't believe that walled garden software will make for repairable, longer lasting, customizable cars rather than being used for planned obsolescence.


I wonder how the Tesla lease economics work out? Their lease is different than others in that you don't have th option to buy at the end of the lease--allegedly the cars will be going to an upcoming taxi service.

Anyway, if Tesla will be assuming all the mechanical/reliability risk/unknowns, does a lease work out better?


> If you buy a camry or prius you know almost for a fact, that your going to drive 200k miles without a problem, and if there is one, its recognized as an engineering failure and the dealership fixes it for free - and fast.

Nope, I had a Prius develop a problem where the entire dash display died at 105k, there was a previous recall for selected units of Prius for the same fault (not my S/N lot), but when it happened to me, I had to pay for a new one. You can see online where hackers fix the problem where it's a manufacturing fault with cold solder joints coming loose in the power circuitry. Complained to Toyota corporate about it, and they sent it back to the same dealership manager to rule against paying for it. Talked to other Prius owners that they did the same thing to. Makes me think twice about Toyota warranty coverage.


200K miles is nothing. There are a few Tesla Model X/S's used by the Taxi service Tesloop that are 450K+ miles.

Tesloop's "eHawk", the 2015 Tesla Model S over 450,000 miles (724,000 km), which is one of the highest mileages globally. A Model 3 can easily surpass that since hey are not as complex as the S/X.

https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2018/7/16/tesloops-tesla-model-...


Except the model 3 doesn't have an unlimited mile warranty for the battery. eHawk got two ~$5-7k batteries for free which wouldn't happen with the model 3. Additionally, they get a fair amount of "goodwill" work and inspections done. If you add in the costs for the two batteries that were replaced the TCO would be above that of the town car. Additionally, most taxis these days are hybrids which have a lower TCO than the ford. 20 mpg vs ~50 mpg, with a more reliable platform as well.


Yup. I absolutely agree. this is exactly why tesla is not on the top of my to buy list.

it's about total cost of ownership. All it takes is a couple of bad door handles (1500$ each) and a broken drive unit (10K$) and now your total cost 16K, just in repairs! if depreciation is roughly 15K over 10 years, then the cost of ownership doubles!


Your numbers are way off. Where did you get these figures? Citation needed...

Model S (most expensive) door handles are $750 and the new revisions fixed this issue (2016+ model years). Or if you're adventurous you can DIY it and buy a replacement part/rebuild kit for $175:

https://evtuning.com/products/model-s-door-handle-rebuild-ki...

Drive units are about ~$3-5K based on anecdotes from invoices by actual owners. This was in 2018, they are much cheaper now.

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/charged-for-new-driv...


i've seen the 1500/1300$ figure thrown around a couple of times by tesla owners: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/door-handle-replacem...

As, for the drive unit, I thought it used to be 10K maybe it's a bit lower now


Why are the door handles that expensive? What can even break about them?


They automagically extend out only when you're nearby, otherwise they're fully recessed into the car.


Man I’d love to just throw a tesla engine into like a Corolla. I’m sure there’s good reasons it’s not like that but this is some stupid bullshit to have to wade through.


>camry or prius you know almost for a fact, that your going to drive 200k miles without a problem

Is that stated explicitly in the warranty or just marketed by 3rd parties (i.e. You), so that the seller cannot be held accountable?


There are only a couple dozen parts in a Tesla. Electric cars are much simpler in terms of mechanics, and everyone knows the more moving parts, the more likely it's to break. They don't need oil, there's no combustion, etc. Pretty much all you have to worry about are the tires and the battery. The battery is rated to 500K miles.

Edit: wow the downvotes. You guys fall for media attack campaigns too easily. You can see the talking points (Look at the forums!!!!, This X person reported Y!) Even though we all know the loudest people go to the forums to complain, that's not an accurate representation of Tesla owners. And it's not even a valid complaint, it's a complaint of complaints. If you have a reason why it's unreliable, post it, don't point somewhere else or use a talking point.

You guys have fell for the car industry and oil/gas industry's propaganda. You guys are now defending them and attacking an electric car company trying to dethrone them for the good of humanity.


Read the Tesla forums about the reliability issues they have, and awake to the marketing spin of "fewer parts" being conflated with more reliable.


Anecdotes. I can find disgruntled users on any forum...

Where are your sources that the less complicated drivetrain is more unreliable than an ICE drivetrain? Where are you sources the battery is not in general reaching its mileage rating?


Dismissing information you don't like as anecdote is not a healthy thing to do. Making up things to argue against is also not a healthy thing to do. No one in this thread even mentioned drivetrain. The issues with Tesla service wait times and reliability are well-publicized and mostly revolve around things that have nothing to do with the motor or battery [1][2][3]. Tesla just sucks at quality control and has a really bad service parts supply chain + network.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-16/tesla-ord...

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/some-tesla-customers-experie...

[3] https://www.thedrive.com/tech/27989/teslas-screen-saga-shows...


I'm not dismissing it, I'm highlighting the fact that these are a few datapoints and not a real study. You have yet to link to a real scientific study.

Propaganda, pure and simple. Those articles are paid for by the oil/gas/automobile companies.

Can you point to one major issue that they cover? No, they are all written with a negative tone, highlighting small things and blowing them into a big deal.

> from scratched bumpers to moisture trapped behind the headlights -- the order of the remaining 85 Model 3s was called off.

Big deal, and the 85 were supposedly called off for other reasons. Depends who you believe.

> “I’m still thrilled by the car, because it’s just so much better than anything I’ve driven before, but the quality of the service and some technical parts are seriously worrying,” Rouven Volk, who said by email that he ordered his Model 3 in February and was slated to take delivery less than a month later.

Fair enough, but the first part is important. Also, just one data point. All these articles just cover a few people. There is no big study to indicate reliability. And the overall reports indicate Tesla owners love their cars.


Yeah there is propaganda mixed, but there is also Elon propaganda which you clearly have taken and believe as if it's your own idea.

Imagine owning a car which has a fender bent into the tire and no parts supplier or body shop is prevented to work on it. Your warranty for free rental car expires at thirty days, so now you sit with a $50,000 decorative statue and paying for a rental car out of pocket? These things can happen and do happen with Tesla and can't with almost any other vehicle.

Maybe Tesla will fix the issues, but I'm not going to pay that much for a car I can't have fixed.


https://www.tesla.com/support/body-shop-support

> In addition to Tesla Body Repair Centers, we’ve partnered with the world’s best body shops to form the ever-growing Tesla-Approved Body Shop Network. We demand the highest standards from our Tesla-Approved Body Shop Network, through rigorous training and assessments of all the technicians that will work on your car. To schedule an appointment, please contact the body shop directly.

I've entered my address and I found a dozen near me. And I live in the middle of nowhere.

Looks like they released this program 2 years ago. Seems they are addressing the problem.



For those who are thinking "the Model 3 isn't a luxury car", the model 3 is selling at about half the rate of the Camry or Civic.

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/honda/honda-civic/

Pretty impressive, IMO.


Your link shows that more Civics were sold by the third week of February than even the biased estimate in this post says Tesla is going to sell all year. For Camry the comparison is even worse.


My link gives monthly figures, not weekly figures.


Should check long-term.


I'd never in my life have thought I'd have bought a car > $50,000 and here I am with a AWD LR Model 3 and loving it! My other car was a 2011 Ford Fiesta. If you don't want to purchase one, don't do a test drive. Once my wife and I did a test drive in a Model S, we were both sold on a Tesla.


To be honest, the Tesla interior leaves me cold. It feels corporate, like being in a nice chair driving a 17" laptop to work. Feels soulless to me.

I really hate touch screens and have opted personally for a similarly expensive car with lots of switches and dials that I don't have to look at to make sure I'm on the right one. (Mini Clubman, with basically every option, literally months before they added a touchscreen entertainment system)


Yeah that's an entirely fair critique (I mentioned the Audi and Mercedes interiors being way nicer in a followup in this thread).

I'm ok with a more spartan interior as driving is just so much more enjoyable. The regenerative breaking takes some real getting used to, but once you've gotten used to it and you do 1 pedal highway driving (assuming you're not using auto-pilot) it is just so much less work. Most of the real fanciness in the Tesla is around making driving more enjoyable. I got the Model 3 AWD LR (not the performance model) and know I can out accelerate virtually ever other non-Tesla on the road. If someone wants to be a jerk and cut me off it is pretty much impossible unless they're in a super car (or another Tesla). Not being a gear head or car fanatic it just gives me more options when driving. That is worth a simpler interior. I was also fine with the crappy interior of my 2011 Ford Fiesta however, so we have different tastes.

The Porsche Taycan is the first electric car that seems to start to compete with a Tesla. The soon to be released Volkswagen ID.3 also looks like a pretty solid Model 3 competitor. The future holds a lot of options in this space, so you don't have to drive a Tesla to enjoy the all torque all the time driving of an electric drivetrain.


> If someone wants to be a jerk and cut me off it is pretty much impossible

Why such an adversarial mentality? Why not just let people change lanes if there's enough room in front of you?


I lived in Los Angeles for 6.5 years, where people are utter nightmares on the highway. You have to be very aggressive in traffic. Not because I want to be, but because I would put on a blinker and someone would speed up just because I was trying to get over.


Oh, you mean they cut you off when you're trying to change over. That's terrible, we get that here (Vancouver) a lot, but I doubt the ability to rapidly accelerate would help much. There's usually a car in front and racing the jerk for the limited space behind it would create all kinds of dangerous situations.


To drive in LA is to drive in dangerous situations sadly, playing it safe will only put you at a higher risk of being rearended or cut off and someone slamming their brakes on you. It sucks, but I don't see any other way. Once enough selfish people are in the batch, it forces everyone else to be selfish.


Well, you see, we used to be apes.


I also do one-pedal highway driving... and that is my other use case problem with Tesla (that I originally chose not to bring up as it takes me out of the category of potential buyers).

I live in Colorado; my highway driving includes driving 400-500 miles over mountain passes sometimes in the winter down to parts of New Mexico. I have all-wheel and an 8-speed sport transmission; so the Mini eats mountains for breakfast, doesn't drink its fuel supply extra fast when it's 0F in the snow over mountain passes, and doesn't need me to spend time recharging somewhere in the unpleasant cold. Highway speeds (85mph), I can go 400+ miles before refueling.


To each their own. That's the beauty of choice! The range is certainly less in the cold, but it is manageable. We drove from Chicago to Kentucky (~385 miles) when it was subzero or so last winter and stopped at the same place we normally do south of Indianapolis to charge and eat dinner. Do you drive straight through 400-500 miles or do you stop to eat and take a restroom break? I live in Chicago and know of this cold you speak of, but not so much of mountains. I don't think EVs are for everyone, or will be capable of every use case for a few years, but they certainly are incredible for the right use cases. Most of the country is blanketed by superchargers and there are in fact 14 of them along the highways in CO (checked via https://supercharge.info) and 9 in NM.

You can watch Netflix while charging in the warmth of your car if you choose (It is called Theater Mode). If Elon is to be believed, and you should always take what he says with a grain of salt, Tesla will have 400 mile range vehicles by the end of next year. The use cases Tesla are bad for are dwindling quite quickly.


Conversely, batteries don’t lose power at altitude. Test driving a model 3 performance and doing day trip to Vail may change your views a bit.


The same can be said of turbocharged ICE vehicles, which are quite common now especially with direct-injection.


Forced induction only minimizes power loss at altitude. Higher boost pressure can make up for the lower oxygen density, but at the expense of increasing intake air charge temperature, hurting power output.

The all time record holder of the Pikes Peak hill climb is an EV.


Compared to a Fiesta there's no doubt it impresses, but a comparison to an E-Class, 5-Series, or other comparably priced luxury vehicle would be more apt.


[flagged]


Please don't cross into personal attack, and please do assume good faith. This is in the site guidelines:

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Maybe you don't owe the other commenter better, but you owe this community better.


While I agree with you about the interior looking rather spartan and the superiority of physical dials and knobs, one nice thing about the Tesla touchscreen is that things are laid out in a somewhat intuitive feature.

I had the experience of sitting in a few other cars at the pricepoint (BMW 3 series, and a Mercedes C class), and the infotainment systems in there were way behind. Mercedes uses a touchpad along with a touchscreen for navigation, while the BMW uses a dial along with the touchscreen. I much preferred the Tesla touchscreen only to their weird physical/virtual button hybrid systems.


> while the BMW uses a dial along with the touchscreen

I have a Bmw with both, and I never use a touchscreen, using the idrive joystick is so much easier than reaching for a touchscreen


It is great, same system exists in my Mini with a pre-touchscreen and I use it with Spotify all the time. I love it to pieces. (edit: Yes, I know Mini is owned by BMW and that is why the same (literally) tech is in my car.)


I believe mini is owned by Bmw, a lot of the stuff is borrowed from Bmw


I can't disagree, most of the other touchscreen UIs in cars are worse. I fear I'm going to start sounding like the cranky old man when it's time for the next car after this one whining for a more tactile UI. :)


Mini has historically had the most amazingly satisfying physical switches/knobs/dials. I mean, the Start switch is fantastic [0].

But unfortunately, it looks like their newer models are now adding a touchscreen :(

[0]: https://external-preview.redd.it/DQgq34IMDr2WUwv-x1_X-JVsjge...


Last year I took a ride in a 4-5 year old Model S. I loved everything about the car except the interior. It was very drab, parts of the interior were hard where it should be soft, and the carbon fiber accents did not look as great as cars half the price. It was very plain, not quite Toyota plain but I felt it was missing something.

For Porsche money the Model S should be on point. All the above critiques would be fine on a Model 3. I hope the recent Model S’s have improved.


It's nice to see somebody taking risks in interior design; it's definitely not for everybody but it's nice to see a design that doesn't feel like they're trying to copy German luxury cars.

Of course I don't want companies innovating on design at the expense of safety but it does appear that Tesla has a fairly well thought out set of physical controls. Is it enough? Good question.


> like being in a nice chair driving a 17" laptop to work

This is the kind of content I'm looking for lol :)


Exactly the same for me. Had never spent more than 22K on a car in 20 years of driving. The model 3 changed all that and just feels like the car of the future. So much fun to drive. Like the first time using an iphone.


I totally get this. I have a new phone after about five years and it is such a pleasure to use. Really enjoying it. Felt like an outrageous amount of money, but it truly is pleasant using it.

If I had the money, and needed a car, I would give it serious consideration.

Alas, I only buy used cars and The most I’ve spent is 17k.

I’ll pony up more cash next time just to be sure I have some of the driver aids/safety features that might help me from rear ending someone because I glanced at the gas gauge in stop and go traffic.


Just wait a couple of years for the used market to really open up, and pick up a standard range +


I'm shocked you love a 50,000 dollar car when your last car was 8 years old budget car.

Reminds me of comparing this year's iPhone to a no name Android.

Op, did you realize you did this?


Well of course the Model 3 is amazing, but my point was I would NOT spend this kind of money on a BMW or a Mercedes or any other existing luxury car. I am not a luxury car owner and never planned on being. I saw the idea of what Tesla is going for and want to see the future Musk and his cult of personality are trying to build. Self driving cars sound cool, but they lead to all kinds of interesting societal changes. My cousin was killed by a drunk driver. Self driving cars means less drunk drivers. My father had a seizure while he was driving and almost died in the resultant wreck. I'm not saying he (Musk) will necessarily meet all of his goals, but if he hits even 1/2 of them, it is the future I want to live in. I purchased the Tesla to help him make it so.

I jokingly have been comparing the Model 3 to an A10 Warthog. The A10 Warthog (famously) is literally a plane built around a really big gun. The gun is the primary focus of A10 designers and it shows. When it comes to a Tesla, it is a computer with amazing batteries that happens to live in a car. It isn't like any existing car on the market, because primarily, it is a computer. This is really exciting, and very different.


This is the thing that always drives cognitive dissonance for me. Computer professionals know how buggy and unreliable computers are more than anyone else in the world, so why would we want to actually drive a computer and put our (and others') lives in the hands of software to this degree? "It's a computer" is always my explanation for what I DON'T like about Tesla.


The problem with this point of view is that people drive incredibly poorly. I went back and hit my dashcam over the last week, and there were _5_ illegal actions, two of which could have resulted in potentially fatal outcomes if one more thing went wrong.

Yes, software is limited. So are people, so I choose to combine both systems for safety. I use autopilot, but my hands stick on the wheel. I spend much more time on total awareness as opposed to just what is immediately in front of me.

Compare the Tesla's system to the current flawed system, not a utopian system where people don't make any mistakes.


What I always tell everyone is that the car and I together driver better than either of us on our own.


Humans are just as buggy, they're just buggy in ways you're comfortable with. I can almost say with certainty that a tesla will never rearend another car while self driving while texting humans do it often. A tesla on the other hand will see a half painted line and veer into a concrete barrier while a human probably won't.

They both have their risks so it's whatever you're comfortable with. I ride a motorcycle in los angeles and own a tesla model 3 so I have a pretty good feel for how drivers behave and I've been equally pissed off at both drivers. haha.

I will say that the Model 3 is definitely an amazing car by what it does already. Last night I had it pick me up in front of my grocery store and I loaded the trunk and took off. It honestly makes me giddy what it can do now considering the flaws.


Because we know how buggy (imperfect) and unreliable human being are, and we are more concerned about other human drivers than we are about computer drivers.


IF you're this spooked about a computer in a car, let me tell you about what runs the airplanes and ATC's...

Any car past the year 2000 probably has a computer in it, and virtually all modern cars have them. Your 2013 truck or 2016 sedan are all using computers to balance gas, traction, gear shifting, and other critical functions.


> it is a computer with amazing batteries that happens to live in a car

hum pretty sure the value of your Tesla will drop to zero if it can’t drive anymore. What are you talking about?


I don't see how this comment ties to the parent comment in any way? What part of their comment are you referring to?


Like how the Tesla is an amazing computer? Besides the ML chip.


You fundamentally didn't understand my comment. Like the A10 being a gun with a plane built around it, Tesla vehicles are computers with amazing batteries and a car built around them.

My Model 3 didn't have an alarm system or dashcam when I purchased it in November of 2018. I got that later as an OTA update. How many vehicles can do things like that even today in 2019? Precious few that aren't Teslas, mainly due to dealer network legalese. They wanted us to bring our Ford Fiesta into the dealer for them to load a new version of Sync on it via a thumbdrive. Such silliness.


I was telling my family this yesterday. This is the first car I have ever owned where it is unquestionably a better car a year later then when I purchased it.


Did you compare it to a $50K Audi or BMW? They’re also pretty fun


Even this is misleading, since in terms of TCO, the model 3 is _not_ a 50K car, it is much more comparable to a 35-45K car, depending on your own mileage.

While the electronics are good, they are somewhat limited, no "birds eye view" for example, and the interior fit and finish are not equivalent to 50K cars, IMO at least.

However, people look at the sticker price, and get shocked by what it costs, and don't think about the TCO.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that this is a cheap car, far from it, but it is cheaper to own than the sticker price would suggest.

Disclaimer: I _do_ have a Tesla. They are great cars, but they are not sticker price comparable to other luxury cars, at least not in fit and finish. Driving on the other hand…


I sold a 2017 Audi TT convertible for a 2019 Model 3. I've previously owned an RX-8, a BMW M3, and an MX-5, and the Tesla is my favorite car just barely squeaking past the M3.


Turns out this is part of a trend of luxury car owners switching to Tesla and its driving down costs of pre-owned luxury cars:

https://www.capitalone.com/cars/learn/finding-the-right-car/...


I compared it to my buddy's Mercedes GT sports car and an Audi A5. The Tesla's instant acceleration is like driving a roller coaster. There is simply no comparison.

My stepfather asked "So Jeff, how many gears does this have?" right as I pushed the accelerator to the floor. The glasses ontop of his head flew off and he said a few choice words. There are no gears in a Tesla and it is instant torque. The interior in both the Audi and Mercedes were nicer no doubt, but you I care about the driving more than the interior. The Model 3's interior isn't terrible, but isn't luxury by any stretch.

Does that make sense?


>There is simply no comparison.

The numbers would indicate that Dodge makes several points of comparison though making such a comparison would certainly get everyone to recoil in horror as though you brought up Bud Light in a discussion of micro-brews.


Which one? Isn't the Hellcat their top-end one? A Dodge Hellcat's 0-60 is 3.6 seconds. A P100D Tesla Model S's 0-60 is 2.28 seconds. Tesla doesn't win max speed against really any of the muscle cars until they actually produces the Roadster v2, but I was referring to acceleration.


The Demon does 0-60 in .02 sec more than the P100D for $50k less (83k vs 133k according to Google). The Hellcat does 0-60 in .4 sec more and costs ~$10k more than the Performance trim Model 3.

In any case, nobody ever won internet points (or the approval of snooty coworkers and neighbors) by driving a Dodge.


You also get to cry every time you fuel up several times a week. I owned many performance gas cars before. BMW M3, MB C63s and now have a Performance Model 3 that is a joy to drive.

The best part? it only cost me $20-30 a month in energy cost.


I don't think anyone buying a $50k+ car that specifically caters toward performance (i.e. excluding work vehicle owners) is going to be doing much crying over fuel economy.


Tesla Model S Performance is currently $99.990, not $133k.


0-60 is a much more practical metric as it lets you get away hairy situations and you get to use it everyday.

How many times have you drove a car at max speed really? You'd be lying if you tell me all the time. Unless you track it every weekend.


Exactly. As an Android user, I always used to laugh when (10 years ago) people would upgrade to an iPhone from a flip phone and say "the best phone I've ever had".

Ridiculous :).


>I'd never in my life have thought I'd have bought a car > $50,000 and here I am with a AWD LR Model 3 and loving it! My other car was a 2011 Ford Fiesta. If you don't want to purchase one, don't do a test drive

What about the Model 3 swayed your opinion enough to spend 2-3x more on a car than you previously had? I love that Tesla has finally brought "cool" electric cars to the market that don't look like they were purposefully designed be a science experiment (Honda Insight, older Priuses, etc...). However, as a long time auto enthusiast I can't help but wonder how many people who share your sentiment of "once you drive it you'll need it" would end up in a different car if they had also test driven other similarly priced performance cars like the M3/M4, RS3 and C63 AMG.

I find it interesting that a tech company has been able to convince people to spend significantly more on a car than they ever would have, and the only two reasons I can come up with are the convenience of charging at home and the big screen. I'm not suggesting Tesla makes sub-par products by any means, only that exciting cars packed with features have been around forever. Many driver's assists like auto pilot and self-parking that people rave about have been offered by Mercedes and BMW for longer than Tesla has even existed, so I don't think that's it, but of course people could be unaware of those features. I'm excited to see what other boundaries Tesla pushes, because every other manufacturer has no option but to play keep up now.


I answered this a bit:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21181145

and:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21181755

TL;DNR: I buy in to self driving vehicles being good for humanity as well as electric vehicles being good for humanity. I purchased a Tesla to help make the future Elon opines about into closer to reality (even after the Elon distortion field is removed).


Interesting. From what I've read is it fair to say that you're not primarily concerned with the driving experience, but rather the convenience a Tesla provides and supporting them as a brand? I hope I'm not at all coming off as judgemental, I'm genuinely curious about what draws people to the cars they own. I'm a huge auto enthusiast and I too couldn't care less about luxury. The driving experience is about 90% of my consideration when I'm shopping for cars, so I find it interesting to see what factors other people consider. I ended up with a GT-R, which I'm sure a lot of people think I'm absolutely insane for being willing to shell out that much for a Nissan. I can't wait to see the Tesla Roadster in action, it's really going to shake up the world of drag racing.


No the driving experience is utterly incredible. It is unlike anything I've ever driven, but the fanciest car I've ever driven on a regular basis was an early 2000s Camaro Z28 (in the early 2000s).

Tesla is not remotely unique in having a lot of nice driver assist functionality, but the stuff they have does a great job to reduce driver fatigue. It is the little stuff, like the wheel vibrating when the autopilot sensor suite notice you're drifting off into another lane (either side).

It is the radar that bounces under the car in front of me to the car in front of it and back. The tesla alerts me that the car in front of the car in front of me (via the radar) just slammed on their brakes. I slow down and about a 1/2 second later, the car in front of me slows down. This has prevented me from rear ending people 3x now.

Some people see autopilot as a party trick, but I see it as something that enhances me as a driver, but doesn't replace me. I'm able to get a better situational awareness of what is going on around me while not really worrying about the accelerator / brake pedal or turning the steering wheel. Much like when I was a UAV (drone) pilot in the Army, I've developed an "instrument scan" while on autopilot and part of my scan involves checking cars to my sides and behind me. I'm literally more aware of the road because of autopilot and end up after long drives more refreshed and less exhausted. The only thing that I'm not fully a fan of (yet) is the auto lane changes. Sometimes it gets spooked by shadows and will swerve back into the lane you started from. This seems to have stopped since the major V10 software update a few weeks ago, but traditionally has been a pain point.

Things like Caroke and Theater Mode (netflix mainly) are huge hits with my daughter and keeping the kids happy is a huge part of making a drive enjoyable or utterly miserable.

As I've also said elsewhere, the OTA updates are a real game changer. When I first purchased my Model 3 AWD LR, it didn't have a Dashcam or an Alarm system. I setup a gopro for a dashcam and was considering an aftermarket alarm system. After someone tweeted Elon and asked, he directed his engineers to create TeslaCam, which is an always on dashcam using the autopilot cameras (of which there are 8 I believe). Now if there is something bad, I can push a little icon and the last 10 minutes of footage will be permanently saved (it deletes old clips in a rolling fashion to keep free space on the disk). Then Sentry mode was rolled out and suddenly, I've got a free vehicle alarm system which will send notifications to my phone when it is triggered. This is great! The features of the vehicle continued to increase. It is kind of a pain in the butt to crack the windows because after you close the door the car rolls all of the windows up. The new V10 software has a "vent" mode where it will open all of the windows a crack with 1 push of a button in the app (this can also be done remotely if you so choose) and ditto to roll the windows up remotely. Then there was the time consumer reports said the Model 3 had poor braking distance and showed it. About two days later, a software update was released and Elon admitted the algorithm driving the braking wasn't ideal so they'd fixed it. Consumer reports re-tested and agreed the problem they brought up was indeed fixed. How many cars get safer after you purchase them? This really is the future.

There are lots of reasons to love a Tesla, believing in the future Elon is attempting to build is one of my bigger ones. It isn't the only one however :)

Hopefully that helps answer your question?


I don't drive a lot and aim to drive even less, I guess i shouldn't take a test drive...


This is really important to me, because it's showing up all of the other automakers dragging their feet on making electric cars - giving this excuse and that excuse why it doesn't make sense or it can't be done. It's forcing them to acknowledge that electric is the future, and they're going to have to go electric to stay relevant. I think it's safe to say at this point that Musk has done his job, regardless of the future of Tesla.


I agree with the sentiment but think his job will be done once the legacy automakers have actually switched (not simply made announcements - although those are encouraging signs). He still needs to continue to grow production. This year will be about 360k in sales. Tesla is on the radar and they need to keep the pressure on.


Most of the people I know who got Tesla instead of similarly priced Audi/Bmw/Mercedes did that for “auto pilot” and being electric for some of them was actually a downside.


It is hard to believe when the fact it is electric makes it cheaper to charge, more convenient, and provides quicker acceleration. Not to mention the environmental reasons.


I have a Chevy Bolt and a Model 3 in my household. Of course I much prefer to drive the Model 3, but the Chevy bolt is also all electric , goes about 240 miles on a single charge and costs about $20k less than the Model 3. Why more people don't get a Chevy Bolt, is a mystery to me.


I got a second Tesla instead of a Chevy Bolt because 1) Superchargers 2) Autopilot 3)Huge screen 4) continuous software updates 5) larger trunk and frunk space 6) more efficient battery 7) long range option 8) no dealership model


Having to interact with dealerships and their bullshit, no autopilot, inferior aesthetics, less performance, no supercharger network


We ended up getting a second Model 3 as we felt all the other options weren't as appealing. The SR+ (which also has 240 miles of range) is not $20k more than a Bolt and is an amazing value of a car. It has the majority of the benefits of the more expensive Model 3 variants and I felt I got the same car for $20k less than my first one.


The Bolt looks pretty good on paper. Unfortunately, it's also one of the ugliest cars I've ever seen.


I promise you that less people by the Bolt because it looks like an electric car, a bean. The i3 looks like dogshit too. The model 3 just scratches that itch for a cool looking car. The i8 does too but I think it only gets like 13 miles on its battery?


The Bolt is not $20k less than a model 3 in the US. But more importantly to me, it is really really tiny compared to a model 3. I feel like many of the comparative reviews fail to mention this.


https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/by-the-numbers-tesla-mode...

The Model 3 is 20 inches longer, 3 inches wider, but 6 inches shorter. It looks like it has more comfortable passenger space, but comparable cargo space.

Overall, the Bolt is not that much smaller on the inside so I don't believe it's accurate to say that it's really really tiny compared to the Model 3.


I think the storage space figure for the Bolt is a bit theoretical. Its storage area is tall, but otherwise a relatively small area behind the rear seats that would be difficult to fully utilize.

Standing next to them makes the difference in dimensions readily apparent. The Bolt just looks tiny. My current car is an RX-8 with rear suicide doors because of its limited space. Even it looks larger than a Bolt (probably because it is 1 foot longer than the Bolt).


>Why more people don't get a Chevy Bolt, is a mystery to me.

Lack of service for me. Unless you live in an urban center, most independent dealers can't afford the service center upgrades required to service EVs, especially if they only sell a handful a year.

source: talked to my local, small-town GM dealer.


While I love my 2013 Volt, GM has not release ONE software update (that changes anything I can detect) since I bought it. The car I bought in 2013 is the car I have now. All my TM3 friends have a car that constantly improves constantly in both dramatic and trivial ways.


Is there something wrong with your Volt that needs updating?

I have no interest in owning a car that tracks everything I do and is the control of someone else.


You can opt out of data sharing.

I don't know if they had "something wrong" when initially purchased- they were great cars already, but in the last year or so Model 3s have had braking distance improved, a 4-camera dashcam added, a security sentry mode added, games added w controller support, a Netflix/YouTube/hulu theater, new music steaming (Spotify) on top of existing slacker, two types of self-summoning, new remote controls via the phone app, improved range, traffic visualizations, energy usage visualizations, new crash avoidance systems, faster supercharging, better cold weather improvements, a refreshed/refined ui, improved navigation, better driver personalization, fun Easter eggs, camping mode, better acceleration, new 3d climate control visualizations, much better lane keeping & "drive on nav" with auto lane changes, dog safety mode, track mode, and many more I'm forgetting.

Known to be coming in the next major versions- everything from user-selectable horn and pedestrian safety sounds ti improved "come to me" summoning and suggestions keep coming.

All these incremental improvements are delivered OTA.

Was there something wrong before? The longer braking distance might have required a trip to the dealership to fix on a traditional car, but otherwise, not really.

Is there any doubt these cars are improving significantly after purchase in both large and small ways?


(And as Pavon reminds me- regular security updates...)


Anything that is connected to the internet needs regular updates to remain secure. As a Bolt owner, I too am disappointed about the frequency of security updates. We have had ours for 18 months and only received one update.

I like the fact that GM is taking a more conservative approach to what components of the car have internet connectivity compared to Tesla, and that was a big factor in me choosing the Bolt over waiting for the Model 3. I also don't have any expectation for feature updates over the life of the car. But that does not excuse them for not providing security updates for the portions that do have internet connectivity.


The last thing I want for my car is for it to be connected to the internet.


"Chevy"


"Chevy"

That iconic American brand that's been in business for over a century, producing money for shareholders, jobs for 10s of thousands and tax dollars to benefit every American.


Wouldn't buy a Chevy in a million years. Their reputation is for making cheap hunks of unreliable junk. Maybe that's changed and their new cars suck less, but the brand will forever have a stigma in my mind.

Plenty of other useless or actively harmful products also match that description. Philip Morris death sticks. Kellogg's sugar cereals. NFL concussion factory.

The point of the GP's comment is to answer the question of "why don't more people buy a Chevy Bolt". Because for a lot of people the Chevy brand is a negative, not a positive.


I think he was thinking more along the lines of "won't have the instant approval of the internet like brands that start with T, end with A and have 5 or 6 letters will"


I have to say if anyone are in doubt about getting one, for me personally the experience of driving the car trumps all other issues I've had with Tesla. I used to be a A to B car person, now I drive for fun all the time. I make up excuses just to drive.

Tesla is a startup company and can be a bit difficult to deal with but I will repeat what John Carmac said about his Tesla [1], "It's my happiness machine".

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua-ikbZVofc [VIDEO]


I don't see this mentioned anywhere. But the Tesla model 3 has the highest saftey rating of any car.

disclaimer I am pro tesla.

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/tesla/model-3-4-door-se...


> But the Tesla model 3 has the highest saftey rating of any car.

Confirmation bias.

The overall rating is also held by BMW 3 Series, Lexus ES 350, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class (which all rated better in child seat anchors ease of use)...and that's just in the midsize luxury cars category[1].

[1] https://www.iihs.org/ratings/class-summary/midsize-luxury-ca...


Not really...

You only mentioned IIHS but the Model 3 has been consistent globally on safety test results (Cherry picking?).. Along with NHSTA and IIS in the U.S.

While BMW's crash avoidance systems also failed miserably while the Model 3 aced it the test because of the superior auto emergency braking:

https://twitter.com/tesla_truth/status/1160779803349282818

Tesla Model 3 awarded 5-star ANCAP safety rating in Australia

https://thedriven.io/2019/07/30/tesla-model-3-awarded-5-star...

Model 3 earns 5-Star Safety Rating from Euro NCAP | Tesla

https://www.tesla.com/blog/model-3-earns-5-star-safety-ratin...


Now read one step above[1] my remark.

The parent made a false assertion (the claim of "highest saftey (sic) rating of any car") while specifically citing IIHS ratings. I corrected this assertion with fact by citing a higher-level IIHS reference. That's not cherry picking...that's proper constraint.

In contrast, you'll have to do a lot better than actual cherry-picked Twitter garbage, blog spam, and self-referencing Telsa press releases.

> Along with NHSTA and IIS in the U.S.

Remind us who IIS is again??

I'll be happy to digest any independent NHTSA OVSC test reports on the subject that you point us towards...coincidentally, I've been shits-and-grins analyzing a bunch of FMVSS 106 and 218 test reports in preparation for next year's racing season, so I suspect they won't put me to sleep...to be sure, not that I really care for Tesla.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21182264


Compare their crash test videos. The difference is evident.


I did but nothing really jumped out as evident. However, the post-mortem analysis was indeed revealing.

TL;DR the Model 3 didn't perform as well with respect to driver-side door hinge pillar intrusion and door sill buckling, contributing to "moderate risk of injury to the left lower leg".

General remarks for Mercedes-Benz C-Class[1] and Lexus ES 350[2]:

> The dummy's position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver's survival space was maintained well.

> The driver's space was maintained well in both tests, and risk of injuries to the dummy's legs and feet was low.

...as opposed to Tesla Model 3[3]:

> The dummy's position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver's overall survival space was maintained well, despite moderate intrusion of the lower part of the door hinge pillar and buckling of the door sill.

> Although intrusion overall into the driver's space was minimal, door hinge pillar intrusion contributed to a moderate risk of injury to the left lower leg.

[1] https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/mercedes-benz/c-class-4...

[2] https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/lexus/es-350-4-door-sed...

[3] https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/mercedes-benz/c-class-4...


Very good points, but I wasn't able to find videos of comparison with those cars you mentioned specifically, but check Volvo's S60, which also scores the highest:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGgoPOGgOcc


The Volvo S60 didn't even make the secondary IIHS Top Safety Pick list for 2019, let alone the highest Top Safety Pick+ list being discussed. Why is this video relevant? Nevermind that there isn't a dummy post-mortem analysis supplementing the video.


You are correct. I had in mind a different test.


Fantastic technology, great driving experience, lowest cost of ownership, safest cars on the road.. the masses will catch on..

Yes, I own TSLA and multiple Teslas.


Makes sense since electric cars has no engine, leaving more room for the crumble zone. On top of the center of gravity with the battery pack.


Great job for Tesla! I was interested in an EV but ended up with a Volt myself - the expiring GM $7,500 plus huge discounts GM was having after announcing after shutting down Volt production let me get a $40k car for under $24k.

If I had to pay full MSRP I would have preferred a Tesla (or Bolt) and go full EV rather than PHEV! I do see more and more Telsas on the road, more than Priuses, Leafs, or any other EV/hybrid.


Good choice - Chevy Volt is one of the most under-rated cars ever!


I'm curious to know how people who bought Teslas thought about these pros and cons:

• lower maintenance costs than ICE vehicles

• higher insurance costs than ICE vehicles

• possibility of long delays for repairs (moreso than other EVs)

• possibility of company going out of business, and impact on software maintenance, software updates, and parts availability (also moreso than other EVs)


I always wanted a Tesla ever since the Model S came out in 2012. But have been skeptical since I have not owned an electric vehicle before. Did a ton of research and asked questions from actual owners and ignored the noise from media outlets.

June of last year, I finally got a used 70D Model S from Tesla since it comes with 4yrs/50K mile warranty for $47K to minimize the risk. Delivery experience was not the best but Tesla made it right.

I would occasionally drive my wife's MB SUV and just couldn't get over how dated everything felt. Decided to trade that SUV in for a Model X and now we are an all Tesla household (never would have imagined this). I traded in the Model S for a Model 3 last July since it's more efficient/fun commuter car and I grin every time I get in it and often find excuses to drive it. The product is that good. It changed the whole driving experience for me.

Maintenance so far has just been tires and washer fluid. Lower insurance cost through USAA. Zero issues with repair even though the closest service center is 200+ miles way in Salt Lake City.

Service is handled by two Mobile Service techs in our area because of the interestingly fast adoption here in the Boise, Idaho area... I schedule via the app they call within 24hrs to confirm and they show up either at our driveway or work parking lot to fix issues.

If they need it longer, they also drop off a loaner. The pundits have been saying that Tesla will never make it or will go out of business since 2009. Yet here we are in 2019 and YoY growth and sales are still growing. Amazon, Apple or Google will quickly snatch up Tesla if it ever get's in peril.

My experience has been eloquently put by Chamath Palihapitiya on this video:

https://youtu.be/lx6GJADrflk?t=255


How is the Model 3 a more efficient/fun commuter car? Is it just used versus new, or is the Model 3 also better than a new Model S for you?


> How is the Model 3 a more efficient/fun commuter car? Is it just used versus new, or is the Model 3 also better than a new Model S for you?

Excluding the obvious that Model 3 is smaller and weighs less less, the drive units on the Model S/X are conventional induction motors.

The dual-motor versions of the Model 3 have an induction motor in the front and a permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor (PMSRM) in the back making it much more efficient:

https://evannex.com/blogs/news/taking-tesla-s-model-3-to-get...

The new Model S/X "Raven" updates were able to leverage this new (PMSRM) drive unit tech which also improved their efficiency up to a record 370miles:

https://www.tesla.com/blog/longest-range-electric-vehicle-no...

https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/24/18513899/tesla-model-s-x-...

The Model 3 is more fun to drive since it's more nimble. Though the ride quality and cabin noise on the S/X is better. The S feels like a boat, while Model X feels like a tank. The Model 3 has improved battery cooling and "track mode" which you can't do on the S/X since both will overheat (2012 design?).

Lastly, the Model 3 is also the only Tesla that can take advantage of the maximum rate of 250kW that was introduced on the V3 superchargers which can charge up to a rate of 1K mile an hour.


Long Range Dual Motor Model 3 owner here.

> lower maintenance costs than ICE vehicles

I researched it prior and it seems people pay very little for maintenance. I've personally logged 13k mi in 10 months and literally had no maintenance expenses.

> higher insurance costs than ICE vehicles

There are so many variables to insurance pricing. Not to mention that you can bargain. I honestly have a hard time comparing. My rate is around 600 per 6 months.

> possibility of long delays for repairs (moreso than other EVs)

I've heard about wait times for particular parts. I haven't had an issue myself. I can't compare to other EVs, since I haven't owned others.

> possibility of company going out of business, and impact on software maintenance, software updates, and parts availability (also moreso than other EVs)

This seems extremely unlikely at this point. Should it happen, the car will still charge and drive just fine.


Glad to hear about the insurance. I was surprised how much mine went up when we got an inexpensive, used plug-in hybrid (Ford C-MAX). Apparently the repair cost estimates are higher since any damage to the electrical system is very costly to repair (and likely means the vehicle gets written off as totaled).

My question about long delays for repairs was regarding collision repairs, about which I've heard horror stories of months-long delays. I've never heard anything like that for vehicles made by big manufacturers.

Regarding Tesla going out of business, I wonder if they're more likely to get a bail-out if needed, since so many powerful/wealthy people drive their vehicles. Nonetheless, I worry about having a car that is so dependent upon software, and which currently can't really be maintained by anyone other than Tesla. Presumably Tesla would open up their maintenance protocols so other people could keep the cars on the road, and a cottage industry would pop up to maintain the vehicles.


The sedan market is small and shrinking: there is a reason Ford has abandoned it. Tesla should be viewed in relation to the entire passenger vehicle market. According to http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/us-vehicle-sales-figures-by-mod...

... The Model 3 ranks 50th or so.


Why do all the real manufacturers have very precise numbers yet Tesla has an estimated number?


Article clearly explains that Tesla does not break out region sales, just world wide quarterly sales, so this number is an informed estimate.


When the news is good, you shout it from the rooftops. When the news is bad, well, you do what is legally required by the SEC.


Other manufacturers sell through dealers, Tesla doesn't.


In other words, for other manufacturers there are several places in the supply chain to get the numbers from. For Tesla, the only place to get numbers is from Tesla itself.


I still think it's only a matter of time before Apple takes another bite at Tesla. They want into the space, and are just too far back on the technology curve. They could engage someone to build the car for them, ala what they did for Foxconn, but they are not going to deliver better technology then what Tesla already has. There is a insane amount of overlap between Tesla owners and Apple's most lucrative customers, and Tesla's owner satisfaction is through the roof. It would be pricey, but I can see Apple making a huge bet there.


I have trouble squaring this ostensibly fantastic news with the constant dire predictions about the stock.

Is it just the stock is considered by some people to be simply overpriced, or is Tesla the company in danger of going bankrupt? I'd like to get a Tesla, but I worry about the company going under and being left with a car that has no resale value or ability to be maintained.


> Is it just the stock is considered by some people to be simply overpriced, or is Tesla the company in danger of going bankrupt?

Not immediate danger, but Tesla has never made a yearly profit in this entire decade. The two profitable quarters (Q3 2018 / Q4 2018) were completely wiped out by awful performance in Q1 2019.

If things keep going the way they're going, I'd estimate Tesla only has maybe till 2022 or 2023. That's enough time to turn the company around, but you can only lose billions-of-dollars / year for so long before the whole shebang collapses.

My 2022 estimate is based on two things:

1. December 2020 is SolarCity's last bond. Most likely, Musk will find a way to avoid paying for the bond IMO (probably rolling off SolarCity as a subsidiary or something), limiting the damage to Tesla.

2. March 2021 is the next major bond repayment, initially taken out for the Nevada Gigafactory. Musk is pretty good about raising money, but after shenanigans with Dec 2020, I'm not sure if the market will be so forgiving. Banks would rather him succeed however, so I expect a kind of "One last chance" here.

3. March 2022 is the next major bond repayment.

4. If Tesla survives past 2022, they have over a full year before 2024 and 2025 bond repayments kick in again.

Tesla's next major tests are about whether or not they can pay back the 2021 / 2022 bonds. Well, not necessarily "pay back", but they should be making a profit and not just "borrowing more money to pay off older bonds". If the market realizes that Tesla is exponentially losing money here, they'll be in a bad spot.

That gives all of 2020 for Tesla to turn around. The Model 3 has proven unprofitable in the USA, the only hope is Chinese sales through the $5 Billion Gigafactory 3. Not exactly a bet I want to take (if the technology is unprofitable in the USA, why would it be more profitable if you made a similar factory in China?? Musk should have focused on profitability in Nevada before expanding...


Care to share where you saw the model 3 not being profitable? I'm not being combative. I'm genuinely curious as I own one. I know they were pretty break even early on but has that not changed at all?!


> Care to share where you saw the model 3 not being profitable?

https://ir.tesla.com/node/19496/html

The above 10k reports a $976 Million loss for 2018. If you want to "Ctrl-F" something, try "Net Loss", which should bring you to the $976 Million loss in the financial sheets. Or search for "(976,091)", which is the precise number in that 10k for their Net Loss.

--------

The 10Q reports (quarterly) for 2019 aren't much better.

Q1 2019 reports a $702 Million loss (in ONE quarter!!): https://ir.tesla.com/node/19771/html

Q2 2019 reports a $389 Million loss: https://ir.tesla.com/node/20111/html

H1 2019 has lost $1.09 Billion loss, and there's 2 quarters left in this year. Even if Q3 2019 ends up profitable (and I find that unlikely), there's basically no chance for 2019 to be profitable either.

Tesla has bet it all (again) on Shanghai Gigafactory 3. The Model 3 rollout to the USA has been wildly unprofitable, Tesla needs to sell significantly more vehicles at significantly higher prices.

Gigafactory Shanghai will arguably help, but that's another $5 Billion bet, and Gigafactory 1 isn't even paid off yet. (Gigafactory 1 was paid with debt due 2019 and 2022. The 2019 debt was rolled over to 2014, and 2022 isn't looking too hot IMO).

Tesla has time to turn things around before 2022. Although, maybe Musk can pull a Musk again and convince everybody that the company is worthwhile and all the bondholders offer another $Billion loan. Clearly it worked for rolling over the 2019 debt, but I have my doubts that it will keep working.

--------

EDIT: Elon Musk likes to confuse the issue by talking about "Gross Profits". Yes, Tesla has a "gross profit", but most people don't actually know what that means. When people talk about "profits / loss", they typically mean "net profit".

The TL;DR is that financial sheets talk about 4 kinds of money: Revenue, Gross, Operating, and finally Net. "Net" is the bottom line, while "Revenue" is every dollar that ever came into the company (usually sales).

Gross (aka "Gross Profits") subtracts "COGS", cost of goods sold. Operating (aka: Operating Profits or EBITDA) subtracts marketing / sales / other costs, and finally "Net" subtracts out debt and taxes.

So Musk confuses the issue because he talks "Gross Profits" when most CEOs really talk about "Net Profits".


Thanks so much! I have some lunchtime reading.


10k are almost their own language. If you have any questions, feel free to ping me. It took me a long time to learn to decode their language.

The three sheets of importance are:

1. Balance sheets -- Assets vs Liabilities. A listing of all of the debt, factories, cash, etc. etc. and an estimated dollar value on everything. Add everything together, and you have the rough value of the company, the so called "Equity".

2. Income Statement -- Calculates Profits (or in this case, a loss), which is roughly a "Change in Balance Sheets". "Net Profits" means balance sheets are more towards +Assets, while "Net loss" is balance sheet had more +Liabilities.

3. Cash Flow -- How much money is in the bank. Start with the Income Statement and "reverses" the calculation to get to actual $$ flowing in or out of their bank.

-------

When a business-folk says "profits", they talk about #2 being positive. But when colloquial people mean "profits", they typically mean #3. Understanding the difference between colloquial "Profits" (which is really Cash Flow) vs "Business profits" requires a good bit of study.

If Tesla pays for a $5 Billion factory (ex: Gigafactory Shanghai), you'll have -$5 Billion Cash Flow, but $0 in income. Because -$5 Billion cash becomes +$5 Billion factory in the asset sheets.


Refinancing their bonds at a lower interest rate is an entirely reasonable business decision vs having to pay them off. Cash flow is king, do whatever possible to maximize it.


> Refinancing their bonds at a lower interest rate is an entirely reasonable business decision vs having to pay them off.

Tesla's 2019 Bonds were initially 0.25%. They were rolled over into 2.00% bonds due 2024. Furthermore, Tesla paid hundreds-of-millions of dollars for this opportunity. I've seen estimates suggest that the "real" price (once the hundreds-of-millions are factored in) suggests a "real price" of ~8% on the 2024 bonds. (That is, pretending that the hundreds-of-millions Tesla paid for the opportunity to borrow money is instead "part of the bond", and suddenly the 2% bond is really closer to a traditional 8% bond).

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-03/tesla-rai...

Look: I get it. They didn't make money from the Nevada Gigafactory and needed the cash severely to fund Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai.

I'm just saying that when all of this debt hits them come 2022 (let alone the 2024 "recycled" debt to pay off 2019) Tesla will be in a much worse position.


I have no idea about Tesla's long term prospects, but the maintenance question reminded me of this story about keeping their original Roadsters running:

https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a28819221/tesla-roadst...

>There are unique challenges that come with working on these cars. You might have to rebuild a circuit board one day, and fabricate a new hood the next day. Actually, if any body parts are damaged, you'll have to fabricate them. Tesla doesn't sell parts to anyone, so Medlock has taken to fashioning new panels out of carbon fiber himself.


I wouldn't worry at all about not being able to maintain it. Worst case scenario: they get acquired and VW/Apple/etc will service your car. The brand is too valuable to die at this point.


You have a very optimistic definition of “worst case scenario”.

If Tesla is acquired I would imagine it would be for IP; I could easily see the brand going away with the billions of debt.


Just because the brand lives on doesn't mean the old tooling that makes the replacement parts didn't get sold to someone who will turn it into ball bearings during the liquidation and reorganization.

That said, considering how good Tesla isn't at supplying parts to their own shops (let alone the aftermarket) having Dorman (or whoever, but this would be a very Dorman thing to do) acquire all the body dies at some post-bankruptcy liquidation sale and start cranking them out from a factory in China could very well wind up being better for parts availability than the current situation.


>I have trouble squaring this ostensibly fantastic news with the constant dire predictions about the stock.

The problem isn't the "stock". It's the financials of the company that are an issue.

>simply overpriced

If you think they'll have half a million self-driving, appreciating robo-taxis on the road next year, it's probably cheap. I happen to think that ain't gonna happen.

>is Tesla the company in danger of going bankrupt?

16 years of losses so far. But they've been able to continue to find financing for now. That (We)works until it doesn't.


Or it turns Jeff Bezos into the richest man in the world... Anecdata can go both ways!


The inanity of the comparison knows no end... If you think Tesla and Amazon are similar businesses in any way, I have a short-term, tech-enabled, real-estate company to sell you, too.


I don't think Tesla is in real danger of going bankrupt. Investors are going to continue to throw money at their bond offerings and Tesla itself is close to becoming profitable. Much of it hinges on China where it's built a factory for domestic production, however China is going to be tough given how competitive the EV landscape is over there.

I own a M3 and I do think it's really an underpriced car for what it offers. With the new v10 update I've spent a few nights watching Netflix in my garage and it's such a great experience - who needs a theater room in the house? Tesla can (and should) raise the prices of the M3 by 10% and I believe they'll still be able to sell.


An M3 is not a good nickname for a Model 3, as it is a name taken by an icon in the auto-world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_M3


this is one of my pet peeves. The tesla subreddit (well, the teslamotors subreddit) is chock full of people referring to the model 3 as an M3. Another smaller but lesser example is people referring to Destiny 2 as D2 (especially when Des2ny was right there). I think the best abbreviation for the model 3 is TM3. Not to be confused with TM03, swords dance.


I hate the M3 moniker too. It's a model 3 or TM3 like you said.


With the price difference between a Model 3 and a regular car, you could install an entire theater room system with absolutely top-of-the-line sound quality and power, a cutting-edge HDR projector (or a big OLED TV) which would absolutely put to shame anything the Model 3 can do as a theater experience.

I think it’s cool that Tesla is finding new ways of getting value out of their cars, but to answer your question: Many people would prefer a proper theater or music experience. Also, while Tesla’s sound quality is among the best out there for cars, no car audio can hold a candle to the music (or theater) sound quality you can get from large high-quality speakers (far too large to fit in any car) in a well-damped room (with acoustic treatments if necessary, e.g. if you have hard floors or too many windows).

You could install the best speakers in the world in a car, but it would still sound worse than in an average house due to all the acoustically reflective surfaces at many angles (e.g. glass) and oddly shaped compartment which distorts the sound in ways that cannot be perfectly corrected even with DSP.


Tesla is focused on growth (and not profit) at this time. So the stock has that pressure on it. Tesla is worth about the same amount as GM and GM sold almost 10 million vehicles in 2017. It isn't so simple though and a crude analogy could be made for Amazon and Walmart 20 years ago.

I don't think profit will be the focus for a while as they keep investing in new tech, new factories, new product lines. All of those things will increase the potential for Tesla and its stock.

Back seat quarterbacking.. but they might want to strategically focus a little bit on profit though (show profit -> get added to S&P 500 -> more stable stock price).


You are mistaken. Growth / Capital Expenditures count as $0 on the income sheets.

Pay for a $5 Billion factory, and it cost you $0 in terms of profit.

--------

A $5 Billion factory will cause $5 Billion of negative CASH FLOW. But it won't actually change "net profit" at all. Tesla is losing money at the operational level: their superchargers and high-end mall space is too expensive, and their margins are too thin.

--------

On the asset sheets, consider what happens when you pay for a $5 Billion factory. You lose $5 Billion in cash, but you GAIN a $5 Billion factory. So +$5Billion factory - $5 Billion cash == $0 on the bottom line.


Problem is Tesla is losing billions of dollars selling these cars currently with no real profitability in sight. Tesla also has $11bn+ of debt on its balance sheet. Elon keeps promising profitability but then misses it badly.


Tesla is a growth company. Being "profitable" is irrational and stupid. They should be farming every cent they make into production, borrowing every cent that will be loaned, and selling stock. Why turn a $1.00 into $1.10 this year when you can turn it into $15 in ten years? This is how startups and growth companies work. Profitability is a very narrowminded view of how to run a company.

The goal isn't to turn a profit next year. The goal is to become a bigger company than Apple, to wipe out entire car companies in the process, and to change how we power the cars we drive.


> Why turn a $1.00 into $1.10 this year when you can turn it into $15 in ten years?

Because there's a very good chance you go bankrupt in year 3, turning your $1.00 into $0.00 instead of $15.

> Being "profitable" is irrational and stupid. [...] Profitability is a very narrowminded view of how to run a company.

What a weird, weird thing to say. As if it were straight out of the Silicon Valley TV show.


Not that weird. Seeking profitability too early can kill a company. Amazon barely turned a profit for almost a decade specifically to shovel money back into the operation.

Now you'll say that Amazon __could__ have turned a profit earlier than that. Which is true. For Tesla it is not, turning a profit isn't an option. The difference being that selling books and other things on the internet is relatively easy compared with manufacturing cars using an entirely new set of unproven technologies and techniques.

So if we use that model to think about Amazon overwriting retail, then Tesla would be looking to overwrite transportation. Given the difficulties of doing the latter I would expect Tesla to flounder around for another 10 years before it really starts to get going.

After that, if they get there (big if), the sky is the limit and the market is Teslas market. That's the point behind the "being profitable is irrational and stupid" comment. Penny wise, dollar stupid.

But as it has been pointed out ad infinitum, it's a big gamble. So far Tesla has delivered on product, they'll need to prove that they can deliver on operations for this thing to take off all the way.

Juries out, but I'm willing (and do) bet that they'll make it. Too many people (including banks and governments) want this to work.


Think of Tesla as maximizing the expected value of its entire profitability over its lifetime. Although you would like it to cease investing in new cars and maximize its profitability now, it has a good chance of making a lot more money by continuing to invest in itself. The odds are good that there will be a generation of Tesla cars which primary job is to make money for shareholders, and they will make so much more than is possible now (we can look at the existing automakers for examples of this level of earnings) that the profits exceed the present value of possible profits.

It’s different than the scenarios parodied in Silicon Valley, where companies with no business model, who can’t be profitable with their product, posture in order to be acquired to the extent that their founders believe the posturing.


> Think of Tesla as maximizing the expected value of its entire profitability over its lifetime.

I'm familiar with the discounted cash flow model of valuing a company. You're missing the point: If they keep losing money, they need more investments. At some point, they won't get any more investments, because potential investors won't believe that the company will be profitable in the future.

> [...] it has a good chance of making a lot more money by continuing to invest in itself.

Only if they don't go bankrupt in the near future, which is a very real possibility. Then all this talk about growth and "investing in itself" will be useless – they will make zero money.


Which happens to a lot of companies. Big deal. You invest in a growth company, you are expected to recognize the risk involved in that investment.

At the moment, Tesla seems to have no real trouble raising the kind of capital they need in order to maintain the level of growth they're experiencing. But it's going to take a lot more growth before they're on par with GM or Toyota or the like. And since that's the obvious goal, it's foolish to be "profitable".


I do not understand why you are sneering at the idea of re-investing profits then. Same for why the availability and cost of money (equity or debt) would not be something also forecast and planned for by Tesla.


You're right, the goal isn't to be profitable next year, it was to be profitable this year. Actually, Elon said "I am optimistic about being profitable in Q1 and all quarters going forward," not even a year ago. So much for that. Also, Tesla isn't a startup--they've been in business for more than 15 years.

Tesla's annual depreciation outpaces their capital spending, so they aren't even spending enough to maintain their current assets. Last year they missed their planned CapEx by something like $1 billion. Also not something a "growth" company does.

That's because they are (and have been) in a precarious financial condition for almost their entire history, only made worse by the recent acquisition of an insolvent solar company in order to bailout you and your family members financial stakes.


Growth companies are always in a precarious financial position. That is their nature. Default dead, as pg put it. The goal is to achieve market scale, then make that financial position stable and profitable, rather than precarious and feeding on investment.


And if you were to successfully achieve, or begin to achieve, market scale your revenue/income statement would look a lot like this... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla%2C_Inc.#/media/File:Tesl...

It took Amazon about 12 years to get to the same revenue/income balance... http://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_4298_am...


Sure maybe it would look like that if Tesla were in fact Amazon. But Tesla makes cars, they don't sell tablecloths and rent servers.

There is very high operating leverage in Automotive manufacturing. Hence why this cycle continues forever:

Elon: That's it, we don't need to raise anymore outside capital! 9 months later: Insert equity/bond/convert raise here.


Tesla is planning on releasing 3 new models next year (Y, Roadster, Semi), planning major updates to the S (plaid mode) have presumably started development of their fabled 25,000 car and are investing way too much money into self-driving. As an investor in TSLA, not putting every available penny into that R&D and returning a significant profit would have me start thinking about selling my shares.


My outsider impression of Tesla is that while they are not profitable most quarters, they at least have a clear path to profitability.

Before they ramped up their Model 3 production, they could have become profitable just manufacturing and selling Model S.

Instead they invested in a new model and its production lines.

If they need to become profitable at some point (because they run out of investors), it seems plausible that they could do that simply by producing and selling their existing models, and not come out with a new model for a while.

(I realize this hinges on a lot of assumption, like continued demand, stable margins etc., hence I don't think it's automatic that they will be profitable, but still plausible.)


You might want to go criticize how badly Amazon is doing too, then


Tesla has a market cap in between Ford and GM. Their share price most likely reflects an expectation of even more sales in the future.


Enterprise Value (shares + debt) is a much better measure of company size than just the share value alone.

By that measure, Tesla is about a third of the size of Ford & GM. (50Billion vs 150Billion)


I think there is a dilemma at Tesla whether to go with a mid range ($20-25k car) with limited miles(limited performance,etc etc, you get it...)vs going for the mid luxury to full on luxury ranged cars.

Also 2020-21 would be the years where mass market car companies like Honda / Toyota might release their cars and my guess it would start with ~$25k range


In an interview, Elon said:

> let's say ultimately getting like a twenty five thousand dollar car [...] if we work really hard we maybe could do that in three years [with time and scale]

https://youtu.be/MevKTPN4ozw?t=280


Is a base Tesla really too expensive, I mean the new Jeep Gladiator can top out at 55,000?


"Also 2020-21 would be the years.."

It is common to think that a legacy automaker will just start producing EVs in large volumes.. but no one has yet and we've all waited far too long hoping that will. They've made announcements and grand proclamations for well over a decade but haven't produced anything in volume. Meanwhile there has been no end to the shade thrown at EVs.. not enough range, looks ugly, poor handling, causes fires, isn't built by a union worker (even though it is car made in the U.S.A. in 2019!!), waiting for hydrogen/fuel cells, etc.

If someone else can produce some great EVs, I will wholeheartedly cheer for them as well! Until then, please join in supporting what Tesla is doing and has achieved.


Cadillac sold about 154,000 cars last year, but they're not listed.

The Tesla Model 3 is heavier than the Cadillac CT5 and CTS. All are 5 seats. The Cadillac CTS has a 1.5" longer wheelbase than the Tesla Model 3. The definition of "small and midsize" seems to have been carefully chosen here.


In my recent trip down the i5 corridor the M3 was the most common vehicle after the Camry.


I'm surprised you're seeing that many performance trim level BMWs.


M3 in this context means Tesla Model 3


This always trips me up, no matter that I'm reading the comments section about a Tesla-related article, or am on the Tesla subreddit.


TM3 is the correct abbreviation.


Thanks I'll use that in the future!


What's with the huge dropoff between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019?


If you bought in Q1 2019 the federal income tax rebate for buying a Tesla went from $7500 -> $3750. It halffed again in Q2->Q3 and will be $0 after Q4.


Q4 was the last month for $7500 incentive in the US, so they opened up to new markets. Thousands of cars were on ships headed to other countries which aren't counted as 'delivered' until over a month later.

Q1 is also consistently the weakest quarter for the overall car market.


It's remarkable that Tesla is making delivery records even though they've lost over $5000 of incentive per car in the US. For a lot of vehicles, that's the entire profit margin. And they're doing that on top of historically low gas prices and without a mid-level SUV or truck.

Tesla is proving more robust than the common narrative.


The worst part for Tesla is that the US federal tax rebate can still be used by the competition that is starting to arrive. Tesla fought such an uphill battle to make electric vehicles mainstream, but now can be undercut by $7500 by the incumbents entering late in the game.

This is a double-edged sword, since competition is good. Competitors also are unable to make the same profit margin as Tesla for now.


Right, they're fighting that competition right now (eTron has been available for months in the US and its sales are declining) but are still crushing it. In fact, it's disappointing that few have really risen to Tesla's challenge. Taycan does (I'm impressed by the higher voltage of the battery), but at much greater cost and still doesn't quite meet the highest Tesla trim performance.

The EV credit system is unfair for domestic EV makers who have taken EVs seriously (GM and Tesla) and advantages foreign EV makers like VW group companies (who count as separate companies according to the tax credit but can use the same platform for their EVs).


The only reason I'm not interested in the Tesla is the overall unavailability of replacement parts.


Is this a major concern? How often are people in accidents on average? I supposed one day this could happen to me. Or hopefully I wouldn't get unlucky and have a normal experience in this case. Regardless, I just haven't needed much body work over the last 15 years at all.

I assume this issue is improving too.


I had two minor accidents in 12 months, so yes, it's a major concern. If I were in a Tesla, it would still be drivable today, but something about having a car that is too expensive or hard to fix is not something I like or need.

The discovery I have made is that timing commutes away from rush hour does more to prevent accidents than anything else.


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