Just got a new job where I won't need a car to commute...

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#1
Guys, I need some help making a decision here. I just got a new job where the company is located *right outside* the train station and my house is within walking distance (15-20 mins) of the corresponding train station in my city. Bay Area traffic is horrible and I would have to be a masochist to choose commuting by car over commuting by train (it would be a much longer than my current commute since this company is further from home than my current company). Yes, there is EAP on the Model 3 but it's not like I'll be able to completely take my eyes off the road and answer emails during my commute until FSD is available (like I would be able to on the train).

So, my rational brain is screaming at me every chance it gets, telling me not to be a buffoon and buy a $55k+ car. On the other hand, I will probably get the full federal tax credit (Nov - Jan delivery timeframe), and this would be my last chance to do so unless my home state, CA, passes the new EV legislation that would allow the consumer to pay the price of an "equivalent" ICE car after rebate.

Sure, I still need a car for things other than commuting, but I'm not the kind of person who regularly takes road trips to LA/Vegas/etc, so my 2002 Volvo that just got a ton of repairs done would be more than sufficient (it even has an aftermarket bluetooth entertainment system). Maybe I'll discover roadtripping if I get a Tesla? Perhaps EAP will make things like day trips to Yosemite possible?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

p.s., Train ride is 20-30 mins depending on the type of train. Car commute would be 45-50 mins, perhaps 35-40 using carpool lane with the model 3.
 
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Mr. Watts

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#2
I'm in a similar boat. My office is located in NYC and I take a bus right in front of my house then walk when I get into NY. I currently have a Honda Civic that runs fine and has given me minimal issues. While I do want to drive an electric car and reduce my carbon footprint, I can't justify a $50k+ car that will sit at my house from Sunday evening to the next Friday or maybe even saturday morning.

I really want this car as my job can change and where I live can change, but the tax credit and car wont wait for that to happen. I'm stuck but will have to make a hard decision soon
 

garsh

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#3
If I were in your situation, I would not buy the car. That's a lot of money to spend for something that you won't be using much.

I drive my car for almost 2 hours every day (40 minutes to work, 60 minutes coming home). I looked into public transit, but it would have turned that 40 minute drive into a 2-hour ride using two bus lines, so not worth it. So I'm in a very different boat.
 

JWardell

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#5
Save your reservation. Wait and see how things work out, how you like the train, etc. Maybe the situation will be different in 6-9 months. You don't need to order right away.

Nothing beats commuting on the train, where you can do other things with your time like read etc, not to mention the health benefits of not stressing about traffic, and standing instead of sitting. Then again, depending on your train system, it might have reliability or schedule problems like we have here.

I live 4.5mi from work. Most days I take bus & train, but that takes nearly an hour without any problems, and can often be 1.5hours. I'm getting tired of it. Driving takes 35min or so. But that's 35min of stop and go, traffic lights, stop and go. So I try to drive once or twice a week. When I get the Tesla I plan to drive more, hopefully autopilot will remove some of that stress. But your situation seems much more conducive to taking the train.
 

Daliman

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#6
I would not buy the car now, it is too expensive for your current situation and your already using a green way to commute. I agree save the reservation if you can afford to. If the Tesla network gets up and running in 3-5 years the economics of ownership will alter much more than the tax rebate.
 

Ip Man

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#8
Simple-
when it is your time to configure the car ask to push it later about 6 months or take the base model 3 option to get incentive/ev and spot in line.

Or-get it and sell it-see if you can't get retail price for it as that person won't have to wait for it-personally, I think this would be quite easy.
Just forget anything incentives if you do this.

Or-postpone order - think it over longer - or give yourself more time to come up with the money.
Last option-completely cancel order.

In the end, it's completely up to you.
 

mkg3

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#9
First, I personally do not equate owning a car to commuting.

If you don't need the car, then buy it, get the tax credit and sell it. Given how tight the 3 supply will be during the first year, I'm sure you'll get at least what you paid for it and most likely more.

This way you come out a head than just letting your spot in the line go to waste. Since you are not a Tesla employee, you should be able to sell the car for whatever you want it for, as long as there are buyers.
 

garsh

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#10
If you don't need the car, then buy it, get the tax credit and sell it.
Be careful about reselling. It may disqualify you for the federal tax credit.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/plug-in-electric-vehicle-credit-irc-30-and-irc-30d
The vehicles must be acquired for use or lease and not for resale. Additionally, the original use of the vehicle must commence with the taxpayer and the vehicle must be used predominantly in the United States. For purposes of the 30D credit, a vehicle is not considered acquired prior to the time when title to the vehicle passes to the taxpayer under state law.

https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/the-ins-and-outs-of-electric-vehicle-tax-credits.html
The federal tax credit isn't applicable to an electric vehicle being purchased for the purpose of reselling it. That's a gray area, though, and would be tough for authorities to prove.
 
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#11
Thanks for the honest and sensible advice despite this being the model 3 fan club. The good news is that my parents might still be getting one (though we're not letting the fact that we've already set up our Tesla wall charger trigger the sunk cost fallacy).
 

Kizzy

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#12
I have a similar dilemma. When I ordered the car I often drove to work because public transit can be such a bummer and often takes twice as long due to my need to switch between transit systems

Now I work from home and travel maybe 50 miles when I do go out, though I regularly take trips of 150-200 in a day.

I'm trying to balance affordability with anticipation with practicality with adventure.

I want to take more epic road trips again.

Can I do a $50K car without Autopilot, or should I settle for a $46K car with Autopilot (possibly without Autopilot).
 

Michael Russo

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#13
Affordability vs. need is always an important factor. However, as @mkg3 stated, choosing to own a car is not necessarily a function of whether or not it is a commuter only.

@Kizzy sheds light on one of the possible drivers, namely the desire for 'adventure' during your free time. If you don't have that and you don't particularly like to drive, I wouldn't get any car...
Yet if you do, boy, what thrills will Model 3 give you!! :)

@Kizzy , to your question I would choose the battery version in function of how often & and how long your adventurous road trips could be. The LRB appeals to me because, as an early retiree, I plan on many of those so EAP will have to wait... unless a miracle happens by then... ;)
 

JBsC6

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#14
Cancel your order and keep your old Volvo...unless you have the coin to afford the luxury of a new car ..driving to work or taking the train? Good luck with that old Volvo that you spent a ton on repairs...it tends to continue
 

mkg3

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#15
Be careful about reselling. It may disqualify you for the federal tax credit.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/plug-in-electric-vehicle-credit-irc-30-and-irc-30d
The vehicles must be acquired for use or lease and not for resale. Additionally, the original use of the vehicle must commence with the taxpayer and the vehicle must be used predominantly in the United States. For purposes of the 30D credit, a vehicle is not considered acquired prior to the time when title to the vehicle passes to the taxpayer under state law.

https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/the-ins-and-outs-of-electric-vehicle-tax-credits.html
The federal tax credit isn't applicable to an electric vehicle being purchased for the purpose of reselling it. That's a gray area, though, and would be tough for authorities to prove.
Its a good point. I wasn't thinking about the financing aspect of the purchase. Probably because I don't finance vehicles using traditional loan/lease.

I use HELOC and make a clean purchase,. This results in taking the title of the vehicle at the time of the purchase. Also, any payment interests are tax deductible (if your income is not over a certain threshold in US) also.

If you flip it, then the second point may apply but if you keep it for few months, then who is to say you didn't like it and changed your mind....
 

LUXMAN

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#17
While I would love for you to cancel to move up in line, my suggestion is to 1) take the Train, 2) buy the car as you have obviously worked hard to afford something nice and 3) get rid of the Volvo now (its 15 years old and getting older) while it is in good order and before it costs you more $$ and lastly 4) enjoy the nice car for many years with low annual mileage
 

mkg3

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#19
@mkg3 , this calulator may help to see if financing might be a better option with variable interest rates increasing.

http://calculator.me/vehicle/car-loan-vs-heloc.php
Thanks for the link.

I have a very good HELOC and like the flexibility to pay whatever amount I want depending on what else is going on with the cashflow. Some month, I may choose to pay double or triple of what would be an equivalent of a standard monthly payment and some months, I may pay just the HELOC minimum.

I've bought my last two cars this way and its worked out for us. Cars are paid off in 2~3 years. Given the Fed's trajectory and forecast for rate hikes over the next couple of years, I would be very surprised if my rate increased more than a 1% during that time.

All things being equal, using the link, hypothetical 4yr loan at 2.5% auto loan on $50K with $3.5K downpayment, using my current HELOC rate, I'm better off using HELOC by few hundred dollars per month. But like I've said, I get flexibility using HELOC whereas fixed payments on a conventional loan.
 

ng0

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#20
Interesting dilemma. I honestly don't know what I'd do. As it is, I have a hard time justifying this much for a car, but at least I have a half hour commute each way to and from work and almost no decent public transportation in San Diego. I've been waiting for this car for years, so I just can't imagine cancelling at this point! I'm not going to complain if you do though because you're ahead of me in line! :p I'm estimated to get it between Dec-Feb.