Though Tesla offers one of the most popular EV lines in the world, the company has come under fire many times in the past. Some people swear by their Teslas, while others deem the EV line to be overpriced. But what’s the reality here? Are Teslas worth it, or are they a waste of your hard-earned cash?
5 Reasons Why Teslas Are Worth the Money
Let’s start by discussing what makes a Tesla worth your hard-earned cash.
1. Removes the Need for Petrol and Diesel
As we all know, the key lure of EVs is that they don’t require any petrol or diesel to function, giving them an interesting edge over ICEs. All EVs use electric batteries over traditional fuel, which are charged using a home-based charging cable or a public charging station.
Even with the electricity costs of charging an EV, drivers can still save money when they’re not paying for petrol and diesel. According to Business Insider, one mile in a Tesla costs an average of 4.5 cents. Therefore, a fully charged Tesla will cost $15.62. This is drastically less than the charge you’ll incur to fill up a typical ICE tank with diesel or petrol and can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over time.
2. Useful Features
Tesla has a clear focus on driver safety and convenience, with its slew of great features designed to improve your experience. Whether you need navigation, entertainment, safety precautions, or even autopilot, Tesla can be of service.
There are a few key features offered by Tesla to take note of, including:
- Dog Mode: Keeps your dog cool when you temporarily leave the vehicle.
- Autopilot: Provides basic automated driving features, like lane centering and hazard awareness.
- Sentry Mode: Monitors movement around the vehicle when parked to pick up on suspicious activity.
- OTA Updates: Remote software updates that add extra digital features and support.
- Browser Access: Allows users to make internet searches from the touchscreen dash.
These are just a few of the many great features offered by Tesla that allow you to enhance and personalize your experience, be it when driving or stationary.
3. AI Implementation
Tesla uses artificial intelligence in its vehicles to keep its drivers safe. There are multiple instances of AI implementation in Teslas, with one of the most notable examples being the hazard detection feature. This uses cameras on the front and back of the vehicle, which feed visual data to an AI algorithm. This algorithm then determines if there are any hazards close to the vehicle and alerts the driver if this is the case.
AI also plays a big role in Tesla’s continuous development of autonomous driving. It’s not yet possible for a Tesla to drive entirely safely and efficiently in autopilot mode, which is why vehicles only currently offer a basic level of autonomous driving. However, as AI integration continues, we may one day see AI driving Teslas fully autonomously.
4. Low Maintenance
An ICE has a long list of components, all of which can run into issues. Combustion engines, fuel lines, multi-speed transmissions, and exhausts are all native to ICEs and can turn faulty at any given moment. These issues can be incredibly pricey to repair and can also become a common problem in older or poorly-maintained ICEs.
While EVs are by no means impervious to issues, they’re generally lower maintenance due to the fewer separate components required for operation. An electric motor is also simpler in design than a combustion engine, leaving less room for mechanical problems.
However, EVs do require battery replacements every few years, which we’ll discuss a little later.
5. Convenient Charging
When you need to fill up an ICE, you have to head to your nearest fuel station. This requires you to take detours and time out of your day to keep your car running.
With an EV, you can charge up your vehicle fully at home. EVs come with dedicated charging cables that you can use to power up at any time using your home’s preexisting energy supply. A lot of EV drivers charge their vehicles overnight so that they’re ready to go come the morning.
What’s more, there are now tens of thousands of public EV charging stations around the world, allowing you to charge your vehicle on the go. Note that these stations are not free to use, but are a convenient option if you’re far from home and your battery is low.
5 Reasons Why Teslas Aren’t Worth the Money
For all their perks, Tesla vehicles also come with a myriad of downsides. Let’s start with the build quality.
1. Low-Quality Build
Among Tesla’s most common criticisms is the vehicles’ alleged low build quality, and this isn’t exactly unwarranted. Throughout the late 2010s and early 2020s, Tesla received a wave of backlash about the finish of its vehicles. Not only was the quality of the materials used criticized but their installation, too.
For instance, many of the Teslas produced in the company’s California-based factory in 2019 received heat for the shoddy lineup of their panels. The exterior panels of the vehicle body were misaligned, with noticeable gaps being left in between each panel. With Teslas being considerably more expensive than many other vehicles on the market, the quality of the build was expected to be top-notch, but Tesla sometimes didn’t deliver. However, it’s worth noting that the instances of misaligned body panels reduced drastically when Tesla moved its production to Shanghai in 2021.
Many Tesla customers have also reported issues with the touchscreen dash, which has also put a blight on Tesla’s already dubious reputation. According to Car Scoops, there have been reports of misaligned doors, too. The individual who posted online about this issue only experienced a noisy drive as a side effect, but misaligned doors could also put driver and passenger safety at risk.
2. Multiple Past Recalls
Recalls are commonplace for all kinds of products, including cars. Tesla is no exception to this, with multiple recalls having been made in the past. Tesla recalls are made for multiple reasons, be it hardware or software issues, and also vary in severity.
Window motor issues, seatbelt design flaws, and camera problems have all caused hardware Tesla recalls in the past. All in all, these recalls have affected tens of thousands of drivers.
Tesla recalls have also been issued for software problems. In February 2023, over 300,000 Tesla vehicles were recalled when it was discovered that a software update was required for their self-driving feature. Hundreds of thousands of Tesla vehicles have been recalled for software issues, though these can very often be fixed via an over-the-air (OTA) update.
Elon Musk has expressed frustration over OTA updates being classified as recalls, stating that it is “anachronistic and just flat wrong”.
But regardless of Musk’s take on the issue, it’s still important to keep Tesla’s past software issues in mind.
3. Pricey Battery Replacement
Without the need for petrol or diesel, Teslas can certainly save users money over time. But this can soon come back to bite when it’s time to replace a Tesla’s battery.
All EV batteries are fairly pricey to replace, but the raw cost can vary massively from brand to brand and from model to model. There is no one price for Tesla battery replacement, with the cost ranging between $5,000 and $20,000 based on the model and location. But be prepared to fork out a few thousand dollars at least when the time comes to replace your Tesla’s battery.
4. Limited Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance and breakdown recovery for ICE vehicles is widespread, but the case isn’t the same for EVs. The majority of breakdown mechanics are not trained to work on EVs, with some services outright refusing to provide roadside assistance to electric cars. If you’re stranded with a faulty Tesla, this can be a real issue.
However, some big roadside assistance brands do offer EV support, such as AAA and RAC.
5. Variety of Great Alternatives
Tesla has no shortage of competitors in the automotive industry, with EV models now being incredibly common. Numerous well-known car brands have released one or more of their own EVs, including BMW, Nissan, Ford, Audi, and Chevrolet. Some of these vehicles offer a better build quality, more unique features, and come at a lower price.
If you’re in the market for an EV, make sure you look at non-Tesla vehicles as well as Teslas before making a decision.
Teslas Are a Real Mixed Bag
Teslas have a lot of great features but are by no means perfect. There’s lots to consider before buying any EV, including a Tesla, regardless of the model or age of the vehicle you’ve got your eye on. So, if you’re thinking of buying a Tesla, keep the above pointers in mind.