At the tail end of September 2020 we finally did it; we picked up a Model Y from Tesla. Now we can officially say we’ve owned all models ever produced by Tesla. Here is the story of how we got here…
Our first EV came in the form of a 2012 Nissan Leaf SL. It was a good car, and we managed to put nearly 30,000 miles on it during our 3 year lease. As it replaced a pair of vehicles, primarily a Volkswagen with a 3.2L V6 motor that required 91-octane fuel and averaged 19 MPG in the city, we saw splendid savings. Back then my wife and I were commuting together, and even in the winter the 73-mile EPA range was enough to get us round trip. We made the best of some level 2 charging at home before running errands, but definitely had to lean on our second car which drank dinosaur farts (petrol/gasoline).
While the Nissan Leaf was my wife’s car, my vehicle changed a few times during that period. But after two years of Leaf ownership we were hooked, and decided to become an all-electric household. And so entered our first of nearly a dozen Tesla vehicles that would grace our garage.
NOTE: These are listed by mine first, then my wife’s cars there-after. Not necessarily in chronological order so much as simply an order that made sense to me!
Tesla #1 :: 2014 Model S 85 RWD (Silver)
Somewhere during the 2013 calendar year there had been a Tesla event at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport. That was the first time I had the chance to drive a Tesla, and this came a year into Nissan Leaf ownership. I was sold! From that day forward it was just a matter of when the stars would align for me to own my first Tesla.
Thanks to showroom discounts and $7,500 Federal Tax Credits, everything tiled into place in December of 2014. For those unaware, the Model S came out in 2012 and while AutoPilot features are now synonymous with the brand, those features didn’t come out until 2015, in conjunction with the “D” (Dual Motor All-Wheel-Drive) (see the next car for more about that). This first car was rear-wheel drive, and while fairly nicely equipped, would be considered fairly bare-bones nowadays. I’ve seen these early cars trading for $25-30k in fair shape, and they are a great way to get into the EV market, just be aware of what they lack compared to the cars that came right after.
Tesla #2 :: 2015 Model S 85D AWD (Red)
Just a few months after purchasing my new Tesla they announced “the D” — or Dual Motor. While the 85 RWD did fine in the snow (with snow tires), living in the snow belt of Ohio makes one lust for all-wheel drive. Once again, showroom discounts made this possible, in conjunction with it being a new calendar year, and another chance for the still active Fed tax credit. Enter my red 85D shown here.
Out of all the Tesla vehicles I owned, this one will always be one of my favorites. It received the most love when it came to aftermarket goodies, and aesthetically made me smile more than most. From the HRE wheels to the UP carbon fiber side skirts; from the air-ride lowering links, to the German Rush rear carbon splitter; this car was a money pit of fun through-and-through. For some of the BEST photos of the car ever, CLICK HERE!
This gorgeous red 85D lasted from Spring 2015 until Summer 2016. During that time my wife’s Nissan Leaf would reach the end of lease, and she would procure her first Tesla. But more on that later … for now .. onto my next one!
Tesla #3 :: 2016 Model S 70D AWD (White, Facelift)
This car wasn’t around for long, but it checked off the box of wanting to finally order my own car to my own specs. Where the first two cars were inventory cars (which came with showroom discounts), this car was custom ordered and built the way I wanted it. Beyond swapping out the 19″ wheels for 20″ Model X wheels (as shown in the single photo above), it was our first non-nosecone Model S.
It was a good car, but short lived. By this point my wife had a white model S, so I decided to get a model X (see below) to give our garage a bit of variety. As you can see, my goal was simply to enjoy and own ALL iterations of the cars. They had all been great, super reliable, and fun to drive. And I was having a blast enjoying the tax credit (which you can get 2x per household per year, so why not?!)
Tesla #4 :: 2016 Model X 75D AWD (Midnight Silver)
Rather than reinvent the wheel, you should go check out my Model X acquisition post RIGHT HERE. While I had many road trips in Tesla vehicles up to this point, my one-way flight to Tampa to then drive 1,200 miles home in the MX was perhaps the most adventurous even to this date. And it was a blast!
You’ll find other articles here on my blog, about the Niche wheels I put on the model X, the dash cam I installed (back before AutoPilot hardware included this natively), and other reviews. Overall we really liked the model X, but my wife/I are short people, and we rarely go anywhere more than just the 3 of us (parents/kid). And I was missing having a sports car. Again my wife still had her Model S, so we moved onto other fun adventures.
Tesla #5 :: 2010 Roadster 3.0/R80 (Red)
Every Tesla I’ve owned has been amazing. But for the most special and unique experience, this one takes the cake. For years I had wanted a Roadster, so when the perfect car popped up in Florida I jumped at the chance to own it. And getting this car home was an EPIC ROAD TRIP!
Crazy enough, too, is that I sold this car and bought it back, such that I owned it TWICE! It now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with an owner who is likely to keep it forever. In many ways I wish I had kept this car, but funds and storage space prohibited this from occurring.
It was a very special car with under 5k miles when I picked it up in Florida. Single owner, retired race car driver owned it, and it had all the carbon fiber options PLUS the $29k R80 3.0 Battery Pack. Chances are such a gem won’t come up again anytime soon, and not for nearly as little as I paid either. But given the (lack) of parts availability and my fears of such a unique, rare car being driven too often, I am glad to see it be in a true collector’s home now. It was cherished for the time I had with it!
Tesla #6 :: 2014 Model S 60 RWD (White)
Ahh, the White Whale! My mission to the Tesla sales team locally was to keep their eyes open for the most deeply discounted yet lease-able Model S they could find. Over the period of a few months they managed to find this gem: it was a 60 RWD car with NO tech package, and mostly cosmetic options. These include the Pearl White paint, the 21″ wheels, the Carbon Fiber decor, supercharging, Tan Performance Leather seats, and the Alcantara headliner. It had a nearly $85k MSRP, but had been a service loaner down in Florida. With nearly 6k miles on the odometer, and a very long period of sitting around not being snapped up (Because non-tech meant no turn-by turn directions, which was just silly!) — it had almost $14k off MSRP.
Back in the heyday of the model S these discounts, now long gone in the Tesla world, made for some amazing deals. In this case, a $600 monthly lease payment! That was unheard of — and allowed my wife to exit her Nissan Leaf into this Tesla. She was ecstatic, and for a while she was happy. Eventually she got sick of the lack of turn by turn directions and the only ~200 miles of range, so we stepped her up to a slightly more nicely equipped car. And a buddy was happy to take over the lease!
Tesla #7 :: 2014 Model S 85 RWD (White)
Beth’s second Tesla was not really much of an upgrade, retrospectively. It did give her a bigger battery pack and it was a CPO car at a pretty reasonable (at the time) price tag. But we quickly missed the pearl paint (this was solid/basic white), the flashy 21″ wheels, and around the same time that I sold my final Tesla this became our only EV in the garage. Plus, AutoPilot was just sort of coming into focus.
So we discussed it and so long as we were only going to have a single Tesla in the garage for a while, we wanted it to be all-wheel drive, and have semi-autonomous driving features. Time to upgrade … again!
Tesla #8 :: 2015 Model S 85D AWD (Silver)
This time around we made sure to find a CPO that checked off ALL the boxes because we anticipated this car would be around for a while (it wasn’t, LOL). But it had the pano roof, Tech Package (AutoPilot v1), Subzero weather, upgraded stereo, air suspension, supercharging, and all-wheel drive. We bought a set of 21″ wheels and kept/used the factory 19″ wheels for winter time. It was a good car for family trips, daily driving, and general Tesla fanboy/fangirl enjoyment. Beth was happy, as was I, and all was right in the world.
Eventually we started to see more and more of the facelift cars on the road, and at this point remember, we only had 1x Tesla in the garage. We started looking at chances to get into a non-nosecone car and missed a chance on a really slick white one. Then I got a call, it was December and the end of another calendar year. Fiscal decisions helped persuade us to grab another tax credit, and another upgrade.
Tesla #9 :: 2017 Model S 75D AWD (Black)
Our final model S was a facelift 75D with Enhanced AutoPilot. We went full tilt on protecting the car to ensure the black paint looked as good each day as the day it was new. You can read all about our visit to Rehab Detailing by CLICKING HERE!
We held onto those lovely 21″ wheels once more, and they graced yet another car. This car had the VIP treatment thanks to Ross/Rehab, and when we sold it to our friends at RSM Motors, it looked pristine. This time around we let the 21″ wheels go with the car, because Tesla had just announced a new model. We waited for the right trim level to come out, and it did … so we upgraded to …
Tesla #10 :: 2018 Model 3 Performance (White)
Over the last two years we’ve owned this 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance. Just to mix things up, we had Brad do his detail magic (see HERE), and the car got the same level of love the black car did. More recently, the car got a detail refresh at Ceramic Pro Cleveland, so check them out too! So many great detailers in NE Ohio to pick from!
During our 36,000+ miles of ownership these recent years I’ve said time and time again the Model 3 Performance is the epitome of electric cars, and more so, sports sedans of any fuel type. I’d take a Model 3 Perf over any Audi or BMW or Mercedes sports sedan. And yes, even the newest hotness from Porsche, their Taycan, is hard pressed to best the Model 3 in this trim level. (Subjectively it has a nicer interior, and objectively it may be faster to 60 MPH, but I’ll save my Taycan vs Model 3 for another day, another blog post).
We love our Model 3 Performance, and don’t plan to get rid of it in the immediate future. But when the model Y was announced, my wife indicated a want for one. If we weren’t going to ditch the 3, but she wanted a Y, there was only one way to make this work!
Tesla #11 :: 2020 Model Y Long Range (Black)
And this brings us to present day (September 2020). I sold my BMW i3 (one of just MANY other non-Tesla EVs that I’ve owned) as well as my sports car, and consolidated my love into the model 3 Performance I was bragging about a moment ago. Leaving my wife in need of a car. She had the choice of any color she wanted, my only demand was that we got the gorgeous black 20″ wheels and the Long Range AWD version. And, that we leased it and avoided the cost of Full Self Driving, since those expensive features were already on the model 3 that could handle road trips and family vacations. Indeed, this model Y was to be her daily driver as needed (and as we no longer commute together, two EVs made sense once more).
So here it is… a 2020 Tesla Model Y with endless Black visualizations. We’ll tint the windows, black out the emblems, and do our best to keep it to just that (since it is a lease after all). And Beth can’t complain about her lack of a power lift gate anymore! (wink, wink) It is a great car, and in many ways bests the model 3 for practicality and just general comfort. It is indeed the best small SUV on the market today, just like the model 3 performance is the best sports sedan.
In the last 25 years I’ve personally owned over 75 vehicles, and a good portion of them were BEV/PHEV vehicles. If there is one thing I’ve come to find it is that Tesla has a lot of competition, but none of them quite stack up. In the coming months I may revisit some of the cars I’ve owned and talk about my thoughts on them. Perhaps even try my hand again at YouTube.
It has been a while since any new content graced my blog. And my writing this latest entry is to share my Tesla roadmap with those asking about it on the Cleveland/Akron Tesla Owner’s Group (Facebook). For those of you who made it all the way to the end, thanks for reading! Stay safe.