Technology

Is It A Good Idea To A Buy A Used Tesla Model S In 2020?

With electric cars becoming mainstream with each passing day, it is no longer a distant thought to buy a used Tesla Model S in 2020. I am specifically talking about the Tesla Model S because it is the one that silently kick-started the electric car revolution.

When it was first revealed around six years ago, it fluently combined automobile and software technologies in a beautifully packed machine, which did 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and had a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge.

Fast-forward to several years later, the Tesla Model S, as of today, still costs around $100,000 for the top of the line performance version but offers so much more in terms of features, range, and overall value.

With so many accolades on its side, is a used Tesla Model S worth a purchase in 2020? What are the main fears and expectations you have about a used Tesla Model S that might influence your purchase? What are the parts that you need to replace when buying a used Model S?

We’ll see the answer to all these questions by going through the ownership experience of different real-life Tesla owners. These guys chose to buy a used Tesla Model S for different reasons, but in the end, they became a Tesla fan for almost similar reasons.

Everything you need to know while buying a used Tesla Model S

Tesla Battery Degradation Plateaus After A While

Probably one of the biggest fears when buying a used electric car is battery degradation. There have been instances of the Nissan Leaf losing a major chunk of its range when driven for thousands of miles. The Tesla Model S battery, on the other hand, lasts much longer.


2013 Used Tesla Model S RWD
Image: A Tesla Model S Rear Wheel Drive
Credits: Sean Mitchell on YouTube

Sean Mitchell, who owns a 2014 Tesla P85D, reported that when he first bought his car at 16,000 miles, his battery range was 201 miles at 100% SoC. After driving 50,000 miles, his range dropped by only half a percent to 200 miles.

This was the case when Sean admitted to charging to 100% every time. He is also a frequent user of Tesla Supercharger and uses it at least once every week. Furthermore, Sean uses his car for a daily commute and is not a rash driver.

Brooks, from Drag Times, is a drag racing professional who pushes every vehicle, including his friend’s 96k mile Tesla Model S, to their limits.


Used Tesla Model S P100D
Image: On the right is a Tesla Model S P100D with almost 96,000 miles on it.
Credit: Drag Times Youtube

When Brooks tested the old Tesla Model S, he reported a 10% loss in range and a 50 HP loss in power. That’s pretty great considering this Model S must have seen thousands of 0-60 mph attempts during its lifetime.

Part Break-Down On Tesla Model S

David, from Dave Drives, owns one of the earliest Tesla Model S and has successfully clocked in close to 212,000 miles. Over the course of his vehicle’s life, he’s had to replace minor cosmetic parts majorly.


2014 Used Tesla Model S Specs
Image: A 2014 Tesla Model S which belongs to David.

The one major issue that he faced was related to the drivetrain. He’s had his drivetrain replaced almost 6 or 7 times over the course of 200,000 miles.

Now before you get worried, remember that it is an electric drivetrain. It is a compact module that can be easily swapped in within 4 hours. Furthermore, the drivetrain issue has been resolved in all the AWD drive Tesla Model S and in the RWD Models as well.

The issue that David faced was only related to weird noises coming from the drivetrain. He was never left stranded on the road because of any breakdown.

Sean, whom I mentioned above, has had to swap his battery well after 100,000 miles as it gave out. The entire battery replacement cost him around $10,000-$20,000, and after that, he has reported no major issues with his used Tesla Model S.

A Great Replacement For A Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model S is a bigger car than the Tesla Model 3. The P90D Model S came with a sunroof, executive seats, free-supercharging, and much more. Buying a pre-owned Model S has an advantage that the Sunroof, in particular, is not available in the latest Model S.

Furthermore, several people like the interior of the Model S, and it is more spacious than the Model 3. Finally, when it comes to the looks, I’d personally say that the Model S looks way more premium than the Model 3.

However, buying a used Model S also has its downsides. First up, if you decide to go with the first generation Model S, then you won’t get Autopilot hardware, nor will you get a reverse parking sensor.

Secondly, the Tesla Model 3 comes with the Hardware 3 update, which will eventually make it suitable for Full Self Driving in the near future. Now, it will be quite sometime before any Tesla car becomes completely able to drive on its own. I don’t think that letting go of this upgrade will be a downside for most used Model S buyers.

So to sum it all up, it is a great idea to buy a used Tesla Model S, if you can find one according to your needs. An electric car has fewer parts in it, meaning less stuff to take care of or check when you buy a Model S used.

Also, the battery or drivetrain, if damaged in a used Model S, can be replaced easily, which makes maintaining the car quite easy.

As we have seen from the accounts of different Tesla owners, the Model S is a car that can last upwards of 100,000 miles. Despite being used, the Model S is easy to maintain because of its ingenious electric powertrain.

These are some of the reasons why owners of a used Tesla Model S love their electric car and are not willing to go back to anything else.

Do you own a used Tesla Model S? Let me know how your experience has been in the comments.

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