Last week I was encouraged by a friend who owns TWO Tesla vehicles (!) to look into buying one for myself. I had only just started a 4 year lease for a 2015 BMW 535i back in March this year, but he suggested that the finance company would be fine with just swapping the lease over for a Tesla, because they were also responsible for Tesla financing and would be happy to promote Teslas. However, as I suspected, it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
There were a couple of options the finance company said I could consider. The first option was to keep my current lease and get another lease for the Tesla and end up with two leased vehicles. Achievable, but expensive. I didn’t want to pay my current lease PLUS another very expensive lease for the Tesla…
The second option was to pay out my current lease and get a new lease on a Tesla. But that option required paying for the interest remaining on the 4 year lease on top of the value of the lease. The payout figure was higher than what the car is currently worth. Of course I could still organise this. I could trade the BMW in on a Tesla, get the trade-in amount paid to the finance company to pay out the old lease, and then add the remainder of the old lease to the new lease and drive away with a Tesla.
But really, that’s just foolish. I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who would do it, and pay more than what they need to, just so they can be in something they want NOW. But down that path lies greater risk of financial misfortune and pain. I won’t be walking that path, and I told my friend he was wrong with his thoughts, and I won’t be joining him in a Tesla. He was disappointed, but life is full of disappointments. He’ll get over it.
However, going through this process made me look at the Tesla in great detail. It’s what I do, I’m intensely analytical. I researched the cars, their technology, how people felt about driving them, and the electrical vehicle (EV) infrastructure required to support them.
At the end of it all, it’s the infrastructure here in Australia that fills me with dread, rather than excitement. Tesla owners have named it as ‘range anxiety’. And while the Tesla recharging network has had significant improvement over the past few years, there’s still a very long way they need to go….
Trying to drive a Tesla outside the range of your local city involves a lot of planning and preparation, including bringing along cables, connections and adaptors for different kinds of power supplies outside of the standard supercharger or ‘destination charger’ network. Apparently you can use a supercharger – where you can find one – to charge your batteries in an hour or so. You can also use ‘destination chargers’ at destination points like hotels and shopping centres, where you have to stay for a few hours or overnight. This would be a huge pain if you can travel 1000km in a day in a normal car, but in your Tesla you have to stay overnight somewhere and charge it up because the range is only 500km… Or you can use industrial power supplies at some parks or locations along the way, to wait 2-3 hours to get another 100km range out of it…..
No thanks. Not really interested right now. Petrol is still the best way to go. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to install a charging station in my apartment building carpark, because residence is temporary and it also wouldn’t be approved by the body corporate. I’d really need to wait until I have my own house and garage and can have a Tesla charger installed there.
In relation to other cars…
In the short term, in relation to plans around cars (as per previous blog posts last year) there’s been no further movement. As you might remember, I was originally thinking that I’d have another 4WD by 2017, but while it was my wife’s idea to get back into 4WD adventures, she’s decided it would be better in the years to come, instead of soon. So the plan at the moment is to probably buy her a BMW SUV next year when her parents move here from China (if that occurs at that time), so we have a larger vehicle to comfortably transport 4 people all the time. There’ll be weekend traveling to show them around the countryside.
And at the same time, I may trade my BMW 535i in on something else next year or soon after, instead of hold it for the full 4 year lease period. As long as the trade value is equal to or higher than the payout figure, there’s no reason not to – unless you just want to keep the car, of course. But right now, I don’t want to keep the car.
What?? You don’t want to keep the car??
Hehe. I know. It’s a 2015 BMW 535i… a beautiful car, and a great performance car. Here’s some photos of it…
But I’ve changed in the last few months since I bought it. Let me share what’s changed….
Back in 2007 I bought a new Ford XR6 Turbo. I loved the feeling of powerful acceleration the turbo gave me, and occasionally playing with others at traffic lights. But ultimately it encouraged speeding, and my licence suffered for it over time with demerit points here and there. So in 2011 I completely changed my life and bought a 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser, to enjoy a more sedate lifestyle and give me opportunities to go where I never could before. It was great! But by 2015, after having it for 4 years, I was over that too…. I wanted a performance car again, but a luxury model instead of a Ford. So I bought a 2010 BMW 535i, which was nice, but it was ‘too old’ for what I was really happy with, and it had a lot of problems with it during the time I had it. So this year I upgraded the 8 year old BMW to a newer 3 year old version, a 2015 535i. It’s great! I loved the more luxurious feel of it, and the better technology that came with it. And, of course, the performance.
But…. Sometimes, playing at the lights with others scared my wife a little. And then she explained to me that she didn’t want me to die in an accident, and faster speeds (even up to the speed limit, which is how far I would go) creates higher risks. She didn’t like those risks I was creating.
I heard what she was saying. I understood where she’s coming from. I appreciated her love for me and her desire for longevity in our relationship. We’re both interested in maximising our time together on this earth. So ever since then, probably only 2-3 months ago, I’ve been mostly driving like a granpa… Occasionally I give it a little squirt, but my own enthusiasm for it is no longer there. Because I care more for her desires than for my own, and I care more about us being together without injury or death. I appreciate the risk she talks about.
So lately I’ve been considering a slower car, a safer car, but one which still has an enjoyable feel to it due to technology and comfort. It’s what led me to at least consider the Tesla, but it’s not the right time for a Tesla.
I might just end up getting the 4WD next year anyway. I can trade in the BMW, get a 4WD, and also get my wife her BMW SUV. But there’s plenty of options I can consider instead of the 4WD. With our primary car being the SUV, I might even just get myself a 2 door luxury coupe of some nature. Something like this would be nice…
It’s a 2 door BMW 4 series coupe. I wouldn’t need the powerful version, just a 420i would be good enough. I’d have it for its good looks and style.
But who knows what 2019 will bring? Last year I didn’t know what 2018 will bring… The journey is enjoyable though.
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