The Model Y Experiment

In May of 2023, after many years of successful delay I let myself buy what is probably the ultimate no-compromise, do-everything vehicle currently in production, the Tesla Model Y long range all wheel drive.

One year later, I am absolutely enjoying the shit out of this thing, while racking up a surprisingly high 12,000 miles. Most of my driving has been road trips and camping trips throughout the American West including Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

The car is a superstar at everything it does, with cavernous interior space, rocket ship acceleration, sports car handling on the curvy mountain roads, bulldozer grip in deep snow whenever you need it, private jet comfort and convenience for cross-country road trips … and yet it is ridiculously efficient, fast, and cheap to refuel whenever you need it. Just eight bucks (!) of my own clean local power gives me another 300 miles (500km) of range. And so far, the car has delivered perfect reliability, demanding nothing from me aside from a top-up of windshield wiper fluid.

Battery Longevity

With all this driving and Supercharging, I’ve been keeping my eye on the car’s battery health (via a subscription to the Tessie App to indulge my engineer’s hunger for extreme data about all of the car’s inner workings.) Also, I want to see if these Tesla batteries are really as bulletproof as the legends say (some have had a 400,000 mile lifespan So far, so good as I’ve had only a fraction of one percent of degradation after over a year of heavy driving!

After this year’s experience, I feel it is freaking insane that any other new cars are even selling on the US market. The only logical choice in the “midrange new car” price range is a Tesla. Otherwise, you might as well just get a nice cheap used Honda or Toyota for basic transportation, or a sturdy work van if you need to carry really big stuff every day.

Affordability Update!

Since I bought mine, these things have become even cheaper, as Tesla dropped prices and the US expanded tax credits. You can now get this insane supercar at around the same price as its obsolete gasoline competitors like the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Outback and Honda CRV (around the $40k mark, or even $35k in states like Colorado!)

Tip: Be sure to include “inventory vehicles” in your search and use Tesla’s referral program – at the moment with a referral link like this one you can get various discounts and freebies.

Unloading the tools and coolers on Gandalf’s first road trip
I built a special rack which clicks into the trailer hitch mount, to carry my largest toolbox for extra cargo space.

Most Unexpected Things So Far:

PRO: Eating Up Vast Distances
Every Tesla comes with a partial self-driving feature called “Autopilot” which does most of the work for you on highways and country roads. I first tried it out in 2016 and even then it was amazing, but now that I actually use it regularly it’s insanely useful. It feels like a very stern German Soldier is driving your car with wide eyes and tense muscles, staying perfectly centered in the lane and responding instantly if somebody in front of you slams on the brakes.

Because I’m generally not driving around in cities, about 80% of my miles on this car have been in Autopilot, and I find it makes multi-hour drives feel about half as long as they really are.

PRO: Camping!
I was hoping this car would be okay for sleeping in a pinch, but it turns out it is more than okay – it’s fantastic. Because of this, I have already spent about 30 nights camped out in all sorts of locales, sleeping in the cozy, flat, 6-foot long passenger and cargo area (the rear seats fold totally flat). And the glass roof makes for a very scenic moon viewing as you fall asleep, and nice views of the trees when you wake up in the morning.

Sleep mask recommended for sleeping in a glass tent.

I set it up with a nice 2″ sheet of memory foam that I cut to match the space, then just bring along my favorite sheets, pillows and sleeping bags. If you enable “camp mode”, the car’s climate control runs quietly in the background, sipping just a small amount of the huge battery’s stored energy to keep your air fresh and comfortable. And the space is actually wide enough for two people, as long as you’re comfortable being fairly close.

CON: I do sometimes get annoyed about how automatic everything is. For example, the car doesn’t have normal door lock buttons or a normal key fob unless you buy it separately. Instead, it unlocks when you approach the car with your phone in your pocket, and locks when you walk away.

In theory, this is fine. Except when it’s not. For example, when I’m at home with the car in my secluded driveway, or parked at a campsite, I don’t want it to lock. So I have to disable that feature by messing with the touchscreen. But then if I take the car to Home Depot or something, I have to re-enable it. And if my phone’s Bluetooth is off or in a bad mood for some reason, all of this unnecessary fussing gets even more ridiculous.

Similarly, you need to use the touchscreen to open the glovebox, or adjust the climate control, or change the windshield wiper settings, or turn on or off the headlights. Most of these things have automatic modes that are supposed to just work, but that’s dumb. I don’t want my car to “automatically” heat or cool itself to a specific temperature, I want to crank a knob to blow the right amount of outside air on my face based on my current needs. Which change depending on how I’m dressed, whether I just finished a hot workout or a cold swim in the ocean, who is in the car with me, and so on.

Oh, and in the next generation of this car (thankfully not yet), they are getting rid of the turn signal stalk and replacing it with hard-to-use thumb buttons on the steering wheel (!!!)

Elon has this infuriating slogan he likes to repeat that explains this car design philosophy, “All Input is Error”. I just happen to have the opposite philosophy, “Almost all automatic shit is error.”

Thankfully, the car’s numerous “settings” screens allow you fix a fair amount of the car’s silly defaults, and an aftermarket kit called the S3xy Buttons allows control lovers to add back in many of the physical buttons.

And it’s still infinitely better than any present-day Toyota, who makes cars so annoying that they beep inside the car when you are in reverse (??) and shred your eardrums with a shrill beeping every time you press the button to close the liftgate. But still, Tesla is supposed to be the cool brand, so let’s hope they keep making more improvements in this department.

Why did you choose this car?

Of course, I ordered mine with the tow hitch!

As of 2024 there are a lot of electric cars supposedly on the US market, but only a few solid, reliable ones in volume production – most of them made by Tesla. This is because the company has about a ten-year lead on everyone else, having started mass-producing electric cars in 2012 while most carmakers are just getting started now. In practice, this means that when you try to buy any other EV, you will find yourself talking to a car dealer who knows nothing about electric cars, trying to sell an inferior product at Tesla-like prices. (Did you know that the new Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid actually costs more than the vastly superior Tesla model 3!?!)

On top of that, Teslas are the only brand of EVs that can easily and reliably do road trips anywhere in the US, because they operate their own network of many thousands of reliable chargers, whereas every other brand is left to depend on a piecemeal of unreliable garbage networks like Electrify America (which also charge more for the electricity they dispense!)

Note that for anything other than road trips, the best deal is the 250-mile Chevrolet Bolt at only $20k after tax credits. But GM is ending production later this year so get ’em while you can!

All this will change within the next ten years, but for now Tesla is the only game in town for long-range road-trippable electric cars.

What about the Environment?

Since the beginning, there has been a weird battle / conspiracy theory that says electric cars are actually worse for the environment than their gasoline counterparts because of either battery components, or the dirty sources of some of the US electric grid, or whatever. As a former electrical engineer who now specializes in clean energy, I looked into all of this and it’s totally wrong. The real story is this:

  • All cars are hugely bad for the environment simply because they are large and heavy chunks of manufactured metal and other minerals
  • Roads and parking lots are even worse so we should stop designing our cities around cars.
  • But electric cars are far less harmful than gas cars, because they avoid the burning of 50,000 pounds of gasoline over their lifetimes. Then, all those minerals in the batteries can be reused to build future generations of batteries as needed. As for the electricity: the US energy grid is fairly clean already and is rapidly moving towards being 100% clean. Plus you can easily generate your own solar power as I’ve been doing since 2018.

Why would you give Elon your money? He’s evil.

Because I buy products based on their engineering specs rather than the social media posts of the founder (who is only one of 130,000 brilliant hardworking people at the company).

I happen to disagree with Elon Musk’s behavior on Twitter from about 2022 onward – mainly the fact that he seems to be acting deliberately provocative and divisive. In my opinion, the role of a company CEO is to be diplomatic and mature and lead everyone by positive and uplifting example, and I’m not seeing that these days.

On the other hand, Elon is a self-admitted Asperger’s syndrome person and an extreme chronic workaholic who lives under constant stress and sleep deprivation. A lot of this self-destructive behavior makes sense if you read the new Walter Isaacson Biography on Elon.

So, while I wish he would get some sleep and start being nicer to everyone, the provocative tweets are not enough to make me rule out buying the cars.

How much does it cost to drive?

If you charge an electric car at home, the cost of the electricity is so cheap, it’s equivalent to getting your gasoline at about 75 cents per gallon. Forever.

On road trips where you need to travel more than 300 miles per day, you’ll be charging at a public charging network, which charges more for electricity than you pay at home. Tesla’s Superchargers charge an average of 35 cents per kWh (a bit more during on-peak hours, less during off-peak), which is equivalent to paying about $2.60 per gallon for your gasoline.

For non-Tesla drivers stuck using the janky Electrify America network, those prices are 48 cents/kWh and an unfortunate $3.60 per gallon equivalent. Which is another big factor in Tesla’s favor.

Do I need a special charger?

Not really! Every electric car (Tesla or otherwise) can plug into any standard electrical outlet and charge at a rate of about 3-4 miles per hour. But you can also set up a faster charger at home that can add up to 50 miles of range per hour, if you’ve got enough capacity in your electrical breaker panel. There are lots of options here, I covered some of them (including how to install one yourself if you are so inclined) in this Youtube video. See the links in the description.

How Fast Does It Charge?

The best answer to this is “about ten seconds if you’re charging at home because you just plug it in and forget it” But there are other answers too.

If you plug in at a typical public “level 2” charger, like the free ones you’ll see in the city hall or Whole Foods parking lot, or an average garage charger like this one from Amazon, you will get about 25 miles of range added per hour.

And when you need real speed on a road trip, Tesla’s Supercharger network will add about 200 miles of range to your car in the 15 minutes it takes to plug it in, find a restroom, and do a quick stretch and a few pushups before hopping back in for another three hours on the highway. If you’re stopping for an entire meal, you will find the full 300+ miles has been added back to your range.

Are you going to splurge and get the $8,000 Full Self Driving (FSD) option?

I think it’s a cool technology that will eventually change the world, and I’m actually testing it out right now thanks to Tesla offering it as one of their perks in the referral program. So far, it’s very impressive and promising but still not worth that price. The feature is also available on a subscription basis at $99 per month, which could already be worthwhile if you have either a long commute or a big road trip planned.

There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating the ongoing progress of FSD beta and they seem very promising to me. I do believe Tesla will succeed eventually, but it might be 1-5 years before they get the system working better than a really skilled human driver, which must be thoroughly proven before it will earn approval to start driving unattended in most cities.

The reason it costs so much is that Tesla plans to keep grinding on this tech until it is good enough to function as a “Robotaxi”, aka an unattended Uber driver which allows you to send your own car out to work and earn income giving rides while you’re not using it.

What do you think about Tesla Insurance?

For the past fifteen years I had been using Geico insurance, which offered the best price on insuring my fleet of old, cheap cars. But when I got a quote for the new Tesla, Geico was no longer competitive. So I switched to Tesla Insurance.

I posted this initial update on Twitter, which got an unexpected 3.8 Million views due to a “like” from Elon Musk himself:

But then ironically, I ended up keeping Tesla Insurance for only the first two months and then switching to Costco insurance due to an even lower quote. Also, I found that the “telematics” feature of Tesla insurance, while a great idea, still needs a few bugs ironed out.

Most notably, their Forward Collision Warning feature was giving me serious dings on my safety score and thus raising my future insurance premiums, even when there was no possibility of a collision in sight. For example, when cruising slowly up to a green light or a stop sign where the car in front is gradually accelerating and you are gradually decelerating in order to match their speed and join the ongoing flow of traffic. The final straw was when this happened as I was carefully coasting down at only 15MPH at the end of my little residential street!

If the system becomes more intelligent and learns to separate super attentive driving like this, from the inattentive driving that actually causes forward collisions, then I’d love to return to Tesla Insurance and try it again.

Why did you get a new Model Y instead of a used one?

I do always look on the used market before buying anything new, whether it’s a car or a bike or a fridge. In the case of the model Y, I found that the used prices weren’t any lower than new ones (remember the number to compare when cross-shopping is around $40k since there are no tax credits for used cars here, and you still have to pay sales tax). Model 3s were a bit more widely available, but that car is of no use for my needs because it’s not a hatchback.

So for a used car, I take the price of its “new” alternative, and subtract about 20 cents per mile for the mileage accrued. So for example if a used car had 50k miles, I’d want it to be $10,000 cheaper than a new equivalent. With some fudge factor to account for the model year as well since newer Teslas tend to have more kinks ironed out and thus be more reliable. Of course, this implies that the car reaches almost zero value at 200k miles, which is *close* to being correct but still not quite right. So you can adjust this rule if you’re shopping on that older end of the spectrum.

I’ve always used some version of this equation when choosing between used and new cars, and usually it leads me to buying a used one. In this case, new was just a better value so I chose that instead.

Useful Accessories So Far

Since my car is mostly for work, camping and long-distance travel, I have added a few things:

Phone holder that mounts nicely to the back of the screen

Waterproof floor+trunk+frunk mat set (great quality and way cheaper than Tesla version!)

Portable 12V fridge/freezer rolling cooler. OMG life changing if you like bringing your own food when you travel as I do! But shop around as there are many competing brands and temporary promos. Mine was $315 after coupon when I bought it. Seems to be very high quality, also accepts optional battery and direct solar panel input (!)

USB hub so I can plug in my music supply at the same time as the Tesla dashcam USB drive (both need to be in the glove box)

3″ Memory foam pad which I cut to fit the back perfectly to create a cozy bed

Or for the fancy option, here’s a pre-made bed for the car

Custom rack for carrying my tool box and bikes – you can get a commercial equivalent here.

Jacking pucks which allow me to lift the car for tire rotations and swapping out summer vs snow wheels/tires

Lugnut covers, just a little cosmetic upgrade to make the base 19″ alloy wheels look nice if you choose to take off the plastic wheel covers that come with the car.

Trailer wiring adapter so the Tesla’s round plug could power my construction trailer’s rectangular wiring harness.

Maybe someday to come: the S3XY buttons kit which allows more control of the car with customizable buttons and an app which shares more engineer-type data in real time.

More Questions?

Add them in the comments section below!

  • David April 30, 2023, 6:31 pm

    What formula did you use to get these numbers?

    “an average of 25 cents per kWh, which is equivalent to paying about $1.87 per gallon for your gasoline.“

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 1, 2023, 1:50 pm

      Hey David, here’s a quick way to calculate and think about it:

      An efficient electric car like the model Y goes 4 miles on each kWh.
      An efficient similar sized SUV like Toyota Highlander Hybrid goes 30 miles on a gallon.

      How many kWh would it take for the Tesla to go 30 miles? 30/4 = 7.5
      How much would this cost if the electricity is 25 cents? 7.5 * $0.25 = $1.87

      You can put it all into one formula too: cost per kWh * 7.48 = equivalent cost per gallon.

      The numbers change a bit depending on the efficiency of each hypothetical vehicle, but it holds up fairly well.

      Reply
  • Roger Robb April 30, 2023, 7:23 pm

    Camping may be a challenge. It’s not wide enough in my opinion to be comfortable for two people. Some RV parks won’t allow cars without tents or trailers. Best to pitch a small tent and sleep in the Tesla, if you can deal with the narrow bed.

    With the tow hitch you can get a storage platform that fits into the hitch receiver. It will still create a charging challenge, but we leave the bed set up, so one of us can drive and the other person nap. The auto pilot serves the role of keeping the driver alert and everyone safe from a drowsy driver which allows us to cover more miles safely in a day. The down side of electric is that the maps are short 1-2 hours max because of necessary charging stops

    Reply
  • Tab May 1, 2023, 11:39 am

    So I was thinking you would eventually convert something to EV, like the truck Flash Drive Motors did. Did you consider this route or was it not something you didn’t want to deal with?
    https://flashdrivemotors.com/
    https://www.instagram.com/reel/CewV-JVgkHd/

    Reason I ask is I would rather buy a vehicle, truck or maybe a bug, that the motor has died on but otherwise functional, either convert it myself or have them do it.

    I think its awesome you got a Tesla and hope it works well for you!! Thanks for everything!!

    Reply
    • Unlimited Solar June 16, 2023, 10:36 pm

      Conversion is great for the environment but hard on your wallet! The general rule of thumb is you will spend twice as much on a conversion and end up with a vehicle half as nice, compared to an OEM EV. I affirm this after having owned 2 gas-to-electric converted vehicles before my Tesla.

      Reply
  • Artem May 1, 2023, 1:56 pm

    Just last summer MY was selling for $67k minimum – THAT was expensive.

    Now under $50k? Pretty cheap for a ‘almost’ highlander sized EV with supercar performance.

    But in my area electricity is ~40 cents/kWh. Gas is $4/gallon.

    MY is just a bit smaller than highlander and a bit bigger than RAV4. But for most purposes for me Highlander doesn’t offer anything on top of what RAV4 offer, so I pick RAV4 hybrid as an ultimate car vs MY

    So RAV4 hybrid will cost me $4/40 miles, or about 10 cents/mile. It will actually be cheaper for me because I’m hypermiler, but let’s skip this for now.

    MY will cost me about 300wh/mile or about 13cents/mile.

    But even if I somehow found a way to charge it for 25 cents/kWh by moving somewhere where I plan allowed for cheaper energy rate for EV charging – it’ll still cost over 8/cents/mile.

    On top of it Tesla has high rate of failure after warranty runs out, like famous example of 400k Model X, where maintenance and repairs were in tens of thousands where’s Toyota hybrids basically run forever. There’s taxi drivers out there with 700k mile Priuses with almost zero maintenance besides a single swapped battery and a couple sets of breaks.

    So even if MY offered cheaper fuel 2 cents a mile is not really a deal breaker or anything dramatic in any way.

    Reply
  • Ryan May 1, 2023, 5:16 pm

    Congrats on the Model Y purchase. I’ve owned one for nearly 3 years and love it. I’m curious on the calculations with regards to the equivalent mpg. I have found that you are lucky to get 3 miles/kWh on the highway (and even less in the winter) so using $.25/kWh and $1.87 equivalent mpg is assuming the average car only gets 22.4 mgp on the highway. Also, the $.25/kWh you reference is extremely outdated. In MA & NH most are over $.40/kWh so the equivalent gas price when comparing to a 30 mpg car is more like $4.00. I just checked a supercharger in Denver and there is dynamic pricing but from 8-5 they are charging $.40/kWh. The gas savings is no longer a reality for electric cars in much of the country unless you have your own solar (which costs me $.05 kWh so my cost to charge is negligible).

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 1, 2023, 6:12 pm

      Thanks for the updates Ryan, I will change those Tesla Supercharger pricing estimates. I can’t seem to find the data online, do I need to be sitting inside an actual Tesla to get those prices?

      Although I would disagree with the “savings versus gas car” thing in general. Superchargers may be overpriced at 40 cents, but the average price for US power is still below 15 cents, right? (It’s crazy cheap where I live at 8 cents for dirty power and 11-12 for the all-renewable option).

      And if you are resourceful, yes it’s even better to build/buy a solar array so you can get it far cheaper than that.

      I have always averaged over 4 miles/kWh across long road trips even in my model Y Turo rentals, but I guess it depends on how fast you drive, load in car, if you use A/C or heat, and all of that. After all, wind resistance DOUBLES if you just jump from 65 to 82 MPH.

      Also, since I do most of my driving in the mountains the air is 20-30% thinner than sea level (a surprisingly big boost to range!), but this model Y data I collected was partly in the great lakes last summer.

      Reply
  • Matias Alonso May 1, 2023, 5:56 pm

    Awesome as always MMM.
    I still can’t get past range anxiety for EVs though. I
    I like the BMW i3 REX idea. 100% electric with a small generator as backup. What Volt promised but didn’t delivered, Volt was actually capable of moving tires with its gas engine, there is a GM official document about it.

    Reply
  • Craig Yoas May 1, 2023, 7:50 pm

    One of my best experiences with my Model Y is the actual purchase. I will never buy a vehicle in a typical American dealership again!

    One kind of funny story: This February I was stopped in western Wyoming on I-80 for three days due to massive snow and wind. I spent two days in a Holiday Inn, then “camped” at a parking lot pole, plugged into the electrical outlet. Kept me and the car warm and slightly charging while I waited for the gates to open. Idling in an ICE vehicle would have been annoying!

    Reply
  • Ruth May 1, 2023, 9:44 pm

    Good for you, Pete. It’s a sweet, sweet ride. Enjoy it!

    Reply
  • Bryan Midlam May 2, 2023, 12:43 pm

    First of all, it’s about time, very excited for you!!

    I have been considering doing the same for quite some time as we have solar panels on our home and I have wanted an EV for years but this TED Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1E8SQde5rk) gave me a lot of hesitation. Is this what you reference above with the “What About The Environment” section? I’m hoping his assumptions were somehow flawed or they are, at this point, outdated.

    Reply
  • Joe M May 2, 2023, 5:05 pm

    My Tesla friends have grown weary of the small things that tend to get screwed up every now and then with the software (that runs the whole car) and also the price of any repairs. For example a rock chip that makes a crack in the windshield ($1800 for a new windshield!).

    Also where is the electricity sourced in your area? I think anything domestically produced is better than gasoline but some places are incredibly not green. I have an EV car and I find since it’s EV and so quiet and “feels” more ethical to drive I start to forget that driving is just not environmentally friendly in general. I get complacent and just drive instead of taking those bike trips.

    Reply
  • Joe Hughes May 2, 2023, 7:27 pm

    Long to reader in Fort Collins, CO. Laughed when I read this page as I also recently placed an order for a Model Y after long thought and deliberation. Paying cash, can afford it, have prioritized aggressive savings and investments, etc. My question regards your thoughts on protective films or ceramic coatings for the paint or glass. In the Tesla online community, there seems to be a number of people supportive of paint protective films and ceramic coating. Reading general automotive magazines and blogs, the consensus seems to be a little less supportive, from my readings to date. The concerns being addressed are Tesla’s reputation for poor paint quality, ease of chipping, as well as concerns for rock chips on the car body and windshield glass and the damage they can cause. Have you read into any of these products and considered their use in your new Model Y?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 3, 2023, 12:31 pm

      Congrats Joe! I hope you are taking less shit for your decision than I am receiving here on the blog :-)

      Re: protective coatings: I don’t really care about the paint, but I do care about the glass since a big crack can affect the driveability of the car.
      So I am hoping to stick on a layer of protective sturdy clear plastic (similar to a phone screen protector) around the outer 3″ of the windshield, the part you can’t see out of anyway. This apparently prevents a lot of the windshield-wrecking events, where a rock hits that outer edge which creates a crack out to the edge, which then propagates back to cut your whole windshield in half with a five-foot-long crack.

      Reply
  • Shannon B May 2, 2023, 9:14 pm

    Great choice. Although paying 100 $10 bills for gray paint (silver) is surprising. My preference would have been blue. Why did you go with silver? White seems to look nice and keeps the car cooler.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 3, 2023, 12:27 pm

      Yeah, I definitely had to do some self-questioning on the paint color. White is the most practical color both because it’s the cheapest option, and it reflects the sun better so it won’t fade as quickly, and it absorbs less heat (although this isn’t much of a factor for driver comfort since the entire canopy of the car is made of glass anyway).

      And I have always hated white cars, so I’d be less concerned about scratches because I would already hate my car’s paint color!

      But I still made the emotional decision to WASTE an extra thousand bucks to get a color that I actually don’t mind looking at.

      I would have preferred a very light silvery silver if they offered it. Or a sassy vintage 1970s color to match my personality, like burnt rusty orange metallic or an extroverted yellowy-olive green as I see some outdoorsy cars sporting. But meh, paint is just decoration on a transportation appliance so I try not to think about it too much.

      Time will tell if this was a wise decision or a dumb one.

      Reply
  • Tom May 5, 2023, 1:35 pm

    Hey MMM, glad to hear you finally made the leap into the Tesla you’ve been wanting. I’m considering buying one also and was doing some research and noticed they recently added a standard model with around $3k lower price. It appears that it has an updated battery (4680) that they plan on using in the future and can be charged to 100% all the time. I know the model you choose has more range but other than that is there any reason you didn’t choose the model with the lower price tag?

    Reply
    • Unlimited Solar June 17, 2023, 10:32 am

      Looks like they don’t offer the LFP (100% charging) battery in USA Model Y’s yet, only in Model 3’s. MMM, did you see they have the RWD LFP Model Y in Canada for $44,311 USD? InsideEVs reported on it back in April.

      Reply
  • Eric May 9, 2023, 10:23 am

    Do you have any opinion on the value of upgrading to a Tesla for a shorter ownership period? With the tax credit available for Teslas again, purchasing one is intriguing, but we’re planning some upcoming family travels and would have to sell it in about two years. Would it make any sense to own one for such a short time?

    Reply
    • Unlimited Solar June 17, 2023, 10:40 am

      MMM did say the only reason he bought new is because it’s cheaper than used! Sounds like you would make money after driving 2 years for free.

      Reply
  • Manuel T May 29, 2023, 2:44 am

    How to determine if a new Model Y is cheaper than an old car/van? I own an old VW Golf, which costs me about 600 Euro/year for the last 6 years (excluding gas) but as a familiy we need more seats now.
    There are 7 seat options for 4000 Euro, how to compare with a new 50000+ electric car?

    Reply
  • Mark June 8, 2023, 12:41 am

    Hi there. I thought you would enjoy the electric car controversy kicked off over here in the UK by the guy who plays Mr. Bean (who studied electrical engineering…who knew?). See the linked articles below.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/08/fact-check-why-rowan-atkinson-is-wrong-about-electric-vehicles

    Reply
  • Steve Chit June 8, 2023, 2:31 am

    Hi, Did buying an older Tesla with free supercharging not factor in to your decision?

    Reply
  • Clay June 13, 2023, 10:24 am

    What are your thoughts on purchasing a model Y even though I’m not a millionaire yet?

    Backstory. 28 yo male. Been a mustachian for years now, my wife and I have a net worth of 450k in investments, this is excluding our house equity which is around 200k. We are debt free minus a mortgage of 180k on a house that is well below our means. (Family of 3 in a 3 bed/2 ba, adding to the family soon). I just took a job that increase my commute by 300% weekly (further commute and more days in office (but increased my total compensation by 60%) the car I drive daily is a 2015 Ford fusion with 220k miles on it. I know the practical thing is to drive this till it dies but the federal tax credit is very tempting and I could still get some resale value out of the ford at this age and mileage. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache June 14, 2023, 4:11 pm

      Great thought process Clay! I’d personally see if I could get a Bolt in that situation, just because it’s the ultimate commuter car at about half the net price of a model Y. But the Tesla is also within reason for your situation, with no debt and very affordable housing. It just depends if the fun factor is worth the extra cost (and remember that the Bolt is stil a heck of a fun car)

      Reply
  • Big Party June 22, 2023, 9:36 am

    Hi MMM,

    Long time fan and reader, first time poster.

    I’m about to pull the trigger on a Y myself. I’m curious why you had Tesla install the tow hitch when you could potentially save $500 by installing yourself. Obviously, that’s not huge savings when you’re already spending $50K on a car. Still, that’s the equivalent of about 100 fancy-pants coffees or craft beers that could otherwise be bought from the fun money budget.

    https://insideevs.com/news/414368/cheaper-tesla-model-y-tow-hitch/

    Thanks,
    BP

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache June 24, 2023, 12:25 pm

      Yeah, that’s great that there are aftermarket options too! Looking at that install video, it looks like a fairly serious project but worthwhile if you enjoy that kind of work.

      In my case, I was happy to fork over the extra to just have it ready to go, plus get the “trailer mode” software that comes with the hitch option. Instead I spent the time I saved on the install. building other stuff that I enjoy working on even more – including a hitch-mounted bike rack and camping box which I am now enjoying.

      Reply
      • Big Party June 27, 2023, 4:34 pm

        Thanks for the response, MMM! You’ve swayed me to buy the hitch through Tesla. I’m not convinced I could do it myself, and my local U-Haul would charge $300 in labor to do the installation. At that point, I might as well avoid the hassle.

        Now I will re-read your camping box article from… 12 years ago! Wow, you’ve been doing this for a long time! Thanks for all the inspiration!

        Reply

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