Is a Tesla Expensive?

About 18 months ago, after driving two Tesla Model S electric cars owned by friends, I decided to write out that $5,000 check you have to send the company to get in line for the new Model X SUV. Imagine — seating for seven, lots of extra room and you can drive across the country for free by stopping at Tesla supercharging stations. What wasn’t to like about that?

A Tesla salesperson initially told me the car was expected to cost about $55,000. I rationalized the cost by figuring on a $7,500 federal tax credit, and the fact that I’d never need to change the oil and filter (now about $90 at many dealerships for more ordinary vehicles), add antifreeze, replace belts and hoses, do a tune-up, etc. I’d also save about $2,000 per year on fuel. I could drive pretty much anywhere I wanted on free electricity from Tesla’s hundreds of supercharging stations.

Well, production of the Model X got delayed and delayed, and then a couple months ago, when Tesla actually started building the Model X, I decided to check back in. I was pretty horrified to discover that although you could get a stripped-down version of the Model X for less, the vehicle as I was hoping to get it was going to cost about $110,000. There went my Tesla dream. I hope that price escalation doesn’t happen to the next model, which is supposed to come in around $35,000 in 2018.

Teslas, obviously, are not cheap, and people like to call them luxury cars. But they are also relatively far down the list of truly expensive autos.

Teslas, obviously, are not cheap, and people like to call them luxury cars. But they are also relatively far down the list of truly expensive autos.

Consider, for example, the One-77 model of the Aston Martin. Only 77 were made last year, and they were snapped up within weeks — at $1.4 million each. James Bond would have been given one to destroy for nothing. Sucking horrendous amounts of high-test gasoline into its 750 horsepower engine, the Aston Martin gives a Tesla P85d a run for its money at 3.5 seconds zero to 60 mph. But Bond wouldn’t want to be chasing a SMERSH operative in a Tesla, which can theoretically accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

Last year, Ferrari reached 60 years of age and had to do something to celebrate, so it built 10 expensive F-60 Ferrari America super-coupes, or super-coupe/Targa tops, depending on how you look at that removable top. The car sells for $2.5 million, even though it is mechanically a lot like the less-expensive Ferrari F-12. It can get from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, just a bit slower than a Tesla. And you could park about 25 Tesla P85d autos in your garage for the price of one Ferrari F-60.

Not to be left behind, Lamborghini celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and decided to build an expensive birthday cake called the Veneno (Italian for poison). Supposedly, it can tie the Tesla from zero to 60 mph at 2.9 seconds. That’s if you can stop staring at it long enough to drive it. From most angles, it looks more like a sideways rocket than a car. This single vehicle would set you back $4.5 million — so many Teslas you couldn’t find parking space for all of them.

And for all of you who have dreamed of owning a Mercedes-Benz Maybach, there is a really good bargain out there. Instead of the $350,000 the Maybach was pricing out at a few years ago, you can pick up its cheaper sister, the Maybach S600, for less than $200,000 — about two Teslas’ worth.

To your health and wealth,

Stephen Petranek
For, The Daily Reckoning

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