TTAC Long-Term Tesla Part 2: Buying Direct From The Factory

Ed Zitron
by Ed Zitron
ttac long term tesla part 2 buying direct from the factory

To buy a car, you usually go to a dealership. You wait to see if someone is available. You wait a little more. That person comes to you. You look over the options, they attempt to sell you something else. You eventually settle upon something (or, of course, you leave and go somewhere else). Once you do that, if you don’t have the cash, you go to their finance person, run credit checks, talk about your options, and eventually come to a deal. You put down money. You get sold on services (tires, service plans, warranties, etc.). You sign many, many documents. You get sold on more services. You – after hours of waiting – get to see your car (assuming it’s actually available – otherwise you’ve just made a deal and will wait a few days to a few weeks). You’ll be rushed through a product demo. Anywhere from two to eight hours after arriving, you get in your car and leave.

With Tesla, most if not all of this takes place online. You order the car, and depending on the options it’ll take 2-3 weeks, unless you buy the 85KWh Performance mode, which can arrive in 1-2 months. I ordered the P85, and received it just over a month later. You choose all of your options online, everything from battery size to whether you want leather seats, and then put down $2500 to ‘reserve’ it. You get a few weeks to pull out before the deposit becomes firm, and the car starts being made.

From there, you can apply for financing online – and if you don’t work with Tesla because of your credit, they will find you a bank that will. Everything is done digitally – down to the signing of the car purchase agreement – and the services are offered up front. You can call and ask really, really stupid questions, like “what is a caliper” and “what’s a power liftgate” and “what is suspension” (I asked all of these questions). They don’t even laugh at you. But feel free to laugh at me.

In essence it’s not too dissimilar to buying things off of Amazon, except it’s a very expensive car.

An important side-note – I highly recommend the P85 option. It’s $10k more for 65 more miles of range, Supercharger capabilities and yes, 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. I may not be a “car guy”, but I like making bad decisions. Constant full-throttle sprints up to 60 mph is one of life’s great pleasures.

When my delivery day came around, I went to Fremont to pick it up. The ‘delivery specialist’ was waiting for me. He handed me two pieces of paper. I signed them. I was walked to an iMac. I hit “accept delivery” on “Okay, great. The car’s over here.” The car that had been sitting there the entire time that I assumed was a store model was actually mine.

When I originally ordered my Model S, the ‘multi-coat red’ looked kind of burgundy. Sort of stylish and reserved. My Model S was…a cherry red. What I imagined was going to be my sleek electric car was a big red sports car. What was I gonna do, ask them to go paint it a new color? I was stuck with it. It’s not so bad, aside from every person telling me how “cops pull over red cars”.

The delivery guy walked me through the car’s operation, helped me set up my phone and answered my incessantly stupid questions. At the end of it all, more Tesla employees were there to wave goodbye. One shook my hand vigorously and said “congratulations.” Everyone was so happy. I’m in PR and can spot a fake smile from space. These guys seemed to really like the idea of getting up and going to work every single day. When you’ve just made a major purchase, it helps to make the person feel like they’ve made the right decision.

When I bought my Volvo, they sort of grunted at me and handed the keys over while one guy cackled like a pawn shop broker.

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4 of 202 comments
  • EchoChamberJDM EchoChamberJDM on May 01, 2014

    There is a used 2013 Model S tesla on the Penske used car website. Been there for well over a month now. Don't believe the hype, the cars are not in demand used. Elon Musk makes lots of people believe the hype on the new car side, but the used car market is about as "pure" as used can get. Tesla is a used car no one wants. What will Tesla do 3 years from now when they have to "eat" all the guaranteed resale value claims? Oopps, they have no cash left because they spent it all on 2 "gigafactories" to produce lithium ion batteries that are 10 years out of date.

    • See 1 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on May 01, 2014

      Never mind. I found it. The site is asking $75K for a 60KWH model--that's $10K OVER the price of a brand new one with 0 miles. No wonder it's not selling! To quote directly from the site: "KEY FEATURES INCLUDE >Navigation, Rear Air, Back-Up Camera, Bluetooth, Aluminum Wheels, Remote Engine Start, Dual Zone A/C Rear Spoiler, Keyless Entry, Remote Trunk Release, Child Safety Locks, Electronic Stability Control. OPTION PACKAGES 60 KWH BATTERY, SOUND STUDIO PKG: 580-watt amplifier, Dolby ProLogic 7.1 surround, 16GB hard drive, dual USB ports, HD radio, WiFi connectivity, 17" touchscreen, (12) speakers. Model S with White exterior and Black interior features a Electric Motor with 362 HP at 6000 RPM*. " Remote engine start? Huh? Really? Outside of that the only non-base-model option is the Sound Studio package--which certainly isn't worth $10,000.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on May 02, 2014

    Ed, Nice job on this article. (grin) Cool color, by the way. I've only seen black Tesla's.

  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗
  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!