Weigh in the pros and cons and make the educated decision

There’s no denying that Tesla has changed the face of the EV industry. The company has forced other automakers to take this segment seriously. However, Tesla has the most loyal and most critical followers when compared to other brands. On one hand, you have people praising the brand and putting it on the pedestal, on the other you have people criticizing it in the worst way possible. But whether you like it or hate it, you can’t ignore it.

Given all the stuff you hear about Tesla, you might be confused about whether to opt for one or not if you’re out there to buy a car or an SUV. Well, we’re giving you five reasons each on why you should buy a Tesla and why you shouldn’t.

Reasons to Buy a Tesla

Running Costs

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Initial purchase cost aside, the running cost of Tesla cars is significantly lesser than an internal combustion engine car. For folks worried that the battery replacement charges in the long run, the savings on the fuel costs will cover up for it, don’t fret. Tesla is planning to come up with a battery that can last a million miles. Even in the current form, battery depletion is not a big factor to worry about in a Tesla.

Recently, a test concluded that the Model S’ battery is still at 98-percent capacity after seven years of usage. Do the math for yourself as per your annual usage and you will be able to come up with how much you’ll save every year on fuel alone.

Tesla’s supercharger price is $0.28 per kWh. This alone is a good reason why you should buy a Tesla. Tesla is even offering free unlimited charging at its Supercharger stations on some models. Just to give you a brief, here are the prices of the Tesla products:

Tesla Model 3 $39,990 - $56,990
Tesla Model Y $52,990 - $60,990
Tesla Model S $79,990 - $99,990
Tesla Model X $84,990 - $104,990
Tesla Cybertruck $39,990 - $69,990

High on Technology and Safety

This is where Tesla absolutely shines. You’ve got a huge touchscreen on the center console that controls everything in the car, right from your infotainment system to your HVAC controls. There are no knobs and buttons, and that gives the cabin a clean, minimalist look.

You can even watch stuff on streaming apps here. Then there is Sentry Mode that uses the external cameras to record and detect external threats. All these things are unique to Tesla and you cannot have them in vehicles from other automakers. Tesla cars also rank highly in the NHTSA ratings, with all of them (Model 3, Model S, Model X) earning five-star ratings in their respective tests.

Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot is a suite of advanced driver-assistance systems that features stuff like lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, and helps reduce your workload as a driver. You can purchase a full self-driving capability package as well for $7,000, but the technology is still under development and will be updated to your car over the air once it’s launched.

The automaker is constantly working on it and developing new features. Currently, it is testing a “Recognize and Respond to Traffic Signals and Stop Signs” feature, which basically recognizes the stop signs on the road and understands the traffic signals. Autopilot is arguably the most extensive system of its kind and it will only get better with time.

All Teslas Are Great Performers

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Tesla cars are known to be badass performers. Pick any model from the lineup and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The cars are insanely fast. Even the ones that are focused on efficiency are way better than some “fast cars” on sale today.

To put things into perspective, the slowest model in Tesla’s lineup is the Standard Range Plus trim of the Model 3 and it takes just 5.3 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark. Tesla further pushed the barrier by announcing Plaid-powered trims on its models. Even the upcoming Cybertruck will have it.

Easter Eggs!

Beyond the obvious reasons, there’s this point which makes the long-time ownership a happy one. Tesla is fun with all the Easter eggs. The best part is, people are still discovering them. There are things like Rick and Morty’s voice for the Sentry Mode voice activation, the on-screen animation changing to Mario Kart’s final round, and so on. There are a lot of them and it’s always fun to discover new hidden features. With such stuff and something to always look forward to, Tesla models just can’t get boring.

Reasons Not to Buy a Tesla

Not Convenient For Long Tours

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As urban commuters, Teslas make sense. But, for long commutes, not so much. Although the range is getting better and better, and the models are offering over 300 miles on a single charge, you will still suffer from range anxiety.

Before taking up any long road trip, you will have to figure out the Tesla charging station on the route, take your halts accordingly, and add the charging time at the stations to your itinerary. If you can find a Tesla Supercharger, you’ll be able to get a range of about 150 miles in 20-25 minutes. However, a public charger will give you merely 20-25 miles of range in one hour of charging. If you are the backpacking kind and believe that “we’ll go where the road takes us”, well, you won’t do it in your Tesla.

You Cannot Tow Without Compromising Heavily On The Range

If you want to hitch a trailer to your vehicle, Tesla isn’t for you because the battery drops significantly. This is not just a Tesla problem; all EVs suffer. Case in point: The Audi e-Tron, which comes with a range of 204 miles, recently towed to its full capacity of 4,000 pounds and took a trip. As per the company, the battery lasted for about 108 miles only! The Model X is rated to tow 5,000 pounds and has an EPA-estimated range of 351 miles. Do the math and you’ll know how frequently you’ll have to charge the SUV.

No More Federal Tax Credit Benefits

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If you are one amongst the first 200,000 EV owners of a particular automaker, you are eligible for a federal tax credit, which is essentially a discount. While most automakers have still not completed this quota and are eligible for the tax credit, Tesla has surpassed the number. For instance, the upcoming Fisker Ocean is priced at $37,499, but after the tax credit adjustment, the price comes down to $29,999. Since Tesla has sold over 200,000 examples, you cannot get a federal tax credit.

Not Suitable In Cold Climates

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First things first, electric cars aren’t efficient in cold conditions. There are multiple reasons for it, such as the cold air outside which results in higher drag, then the energy lost from heating the battery, and the energy converted to heat the cabin. Unlike internal combustion vehicles, EVs don’t produce that much heat and thus need a system to take care of the heating activities. Heat pumps solve this issue to a large extent; Nissan Leaf and Jaguar I-Pace use it. But, in the Tesla lineup, only the Model Y has it. All the other Tesla models use the Electric Resistance Heating System which brings down the range considerably when you use the heater in the car. Again, it’s a compromise and you need to choose between comfort and long-range.

Tesla Is Updating The Software, But Not The Hardware

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This is exactly like your old phone or laptop. You might be getting software updates, but the older the product gets, the lower the compatibility is because the hardware doesn’t support it. For instance, Tesla recently announced that a new infotainment system upgrade for Model S vehicles built before March 2018 that brings in Sentry Mode, streaming of Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube on the infotainment system and a lot more for $2,500. All these features won’t be available if you don’t upgrade the hardware.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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