When it comes to the major carmakers operating in the world today, Tesla is the youngest one around. The company has only been around for 15 years since it started back in 2003. Yet, in a short span of time, Tesla has managed to not only show it has what it takes to compete with other carmakers around the block but also garner the respect of people worldwide.
A huge part of what's made the company such a success is one of its founders and current CEO Elon Musk. He sees the company as something more than just another automaker. Although Tesla cars appeal to a specific (and affluent) clientele at the moment, Musk hopes to one day make their vehicles affordable to all. Unlike other carmakers, their sole focus is on alternatives to fossil fuels like electric vehicles. Right now, they have three models: the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model X, and the Tesla Model 3.
Yet, underneath all the flair and titanium bodies of their cars may lie a truth that many have wondered for some time: are Tesla cars really the best on the market? Although no car is perfect, many perceive Tesla cars to be the cream of the crop when it comes to automobiles. Is that giving the cars too much credit, though? In actuality, there are a lot of reasons why buying a Tesla could actually be the worst idea to come to car buyers today. Here are the top reasons a Tesla may not be the car everyone is dreaming of.
22 Purchasing One Takes Months
In a traditional car-buying scenario, prospective owners go to a dealership and usually leave the same day with a new car. That's not how it works for Tesla buyers, though. It's a whole different story. Instead, those who buy a Tesla often find there's a wait involved.
According to Fortune, customers can wait for as long as several months from the time they purchase it to the day their new car arrives.
Many argue it's a business model that doesn't compliment U.S. thinking, which often eschews delayed gratification. On the flip side, they do offer lots of customization features, which tends to explain the delay.
21 Autopilot System In Doubt
The Autopilot feature sounds like a dream come true. Drivers keeping their hands off the wheel and letting the car steer, accelerate, and brake for them is certainly futuristic, though in a report by the New York Times, there have been several red flags, including a driver in California who crashed back in March. Apparently, the crash occurred when both the driver and the system itself failed to brake. While there's no doubt Tesla is working to improve the Autopilot feature, it's something of a gamble to give this flawed system a go. It's just another reason prospective buyers are better off waiting to see what happens next before taking the plunge.
20 Tesla Sales Reps Require Hours To Explain The Product In Stores
Those used to buying cars at a dealership who are in the market for a Tesla may be in for a rude awakening. The idea behind Tesla stores is totally different from those behind other dealerships. This, in many ways, comes as a relief. Dealerships aren't exactly at the top of the list for people's favorite places to visit, though Tesla stores may not improve on that reputation by much. They're really intended, as Fortune details, to educate customers. That means customers could spend hours at a time with sales reps who want to give the complete lowdown.
19 Cold Climates Affect The Performance
Winter is coming. No, it's not Game of Thrones but a warning to all Tesla owners: the cold beats Tesla car batteries.
As Electrek notes, in cases of extreme cold, the battery is at risk of performing properly.
Even features on the car like the regenerative brakes may not function, which forces drivers to use the old-fashioned brakes. Tesla has wisely adopted a feature in the system that warns users how much of the battery will be unusable in cold climates, though many who live in colder areas will likely think twice about getting a Tesla if they know it won't perform at its full capacity.
18 Shareholders Want To Remove Elon Musk
Ask someone what they think of when they hear "Tesla," and chances are strong they think of Elon Musk. Few CEOs have managed to gain such wide popularity and appeal in such a short timeline. Already, people are comparing him to other greats like Steve Jobs, though according to Tech Crunch, shareholders may feel otherwise as there are rumblings they're looking to oust Musk. Jing Zhao, one of Tesla's stockholders, previously issued a request to replace Musk's position as chairman. That there are dissenting interests within the company's board could send negative ripples down to the product level. At the end of the day, whatever happens at the top affects everything below, including the quality of the product and the services the company offers.
17 The Cars Cost An Arm And A Leg
Teslas have earned a reputation for being top-of-the-line luxury vehicles. It's also another way of saying the cars will cost owners an arm and a leg to get one.
As Mashable reports, it's practically impossible to get one without taking a loan out—unless the buyer is a brain surgeon.
To give one a sense of exactly how much, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000 before tax. While it's not the worst price tag on the market today, for what one gets in a luxury sedan, it's certainly on the pricier end. As the next entry details, that pricing has the potential to go even higher.
16 There Are Hidden Costs And Add-Ons
Tesla makes it known that they're different from the rest. Not only do they sell cars differently; the car-buying experience is also much different than those in traditional dealerships, though, in one area, it isn't surprising Tesla is no different. They, like any other car purchases, have unexpected expenses. Whether it be in the form of other trim options or other better accessories, as Mashable reports, the pricing can go way up. Don't forget about taxes either. One of the add-ons, for example, is a bigger battery that lasts longer in between charges. Instead of equipping all cars with this feature, there's a bigger one customers pay more for.
15 Some Report Their Teslas Creak And Rattle
Since Tesla has entered the market, they've managed to set the bar extremely high for themselves. The Model 3 is a huge step forward (or backward) for the company, depending on whom you talk to. For many, the car is the future. Others, on the other hand, report a rattling sound that occurs whenever one is driving.
Even more, as CarBuzz reports, Tesla's warranty doesn't cover what it dubs "knocks, creaks, rattles, and wind and road vibration."
One can only hope that it was just on some of the early models and that Tesla ironed it all out.
14 Maintenance Is A Pain
Part of driving is the risk that any number of accidents can happen at any time, not to mention the usual wear and tear that occurs from just driving it normally. A Tesla isn't invincible. Nor is it any different from other vehicles and will, inevitably, have to go in for repairs and maintenance. That process may be something of a labor, though. According to The Motley Fool, after a Tesla Model S got rear-ended, the owner reports that it took over seven months for Tesla to fix it. Apparently, it was due to a delay in getting the right parts over. With a standard accident causing seven months without a vehicle, some buyers may think twice about getting a Tesla.
13 Charging Station Locations Are Limited
Gas stations are everywhere. When it comes to filling up, there's no real concern about running out of gas unless drivers are in a really remote area. Teslas, on the other hand, depend on charging stations to get from place to place. According to Mashable, major cities aren't a problem; New York, for instance, is equipped with 909 stations (as of August 2017). At that time, however, there were a little over 6,000 throughout the U.S. While the company will (hopefully) continue to expand this number, it still acknowledges another consideration for Tesla drivers: there are some who are going to feel restricted by this in the end.
12 The Company Is Juggling Too Many Ambitious Projects At One Time
The love people have for the company's CEO, Elon Musk, goes beyond his work at Tesla. It also extends to his other companies, as Mashable reports, which includes SpaceX and The Boring Company (not a typo, but really his efforts in Hyperloop transportation). Those other companies are also hugely ambitious, demanding and time-consuming. Aside from Musk's own occupations, Tesla has reported work on a power plant in Europe, funding a Gigafactory in China, and more. Not to mention, there's the actual car-manufacturing side of things. With all these projects on the forefront, how does the company balance all these while pushing the product forward into the future?
11 Cheaper Alternative Modes Of Transportation
The automobile landscape is changing. Not only is it changing; it's also doing so at an unprecedented rate. This day and age, people don't even need to own cars to get around. With services like Uber and Lyft, it's never been easier to get around. So, what does this mean for prospective car buyers? As Mashable reports, the question car consumers are asking themselves these days is "Do I really need a car?" While the answer for most is still a resounding "Yes," it's not hard to imagine a future where car ownership plummets. People may be better off using that money for something else instead of a new Tesla.
10 No Way To Test Drive
There's something everyone expects from the car-buying experience. They expect a friendly welcome, that someone offers coffee or water and to take a car out for a test drive. Tesla, on the other hand, doesn't really offer this last feature.
According to Mashable, Tesla expects customers to buy a car without interacting with it up close and personal.
In one way, it says a lot about Tesla's confidence in their own product, that they believe that customers will drive away completely satisfied. Although it says a lot about Tesla's product and their faith in it, it really alienates a majority of prospective buyers who've become accustomed to test driving their cars.
9 There Have Been Reported Problems
No car company is perfect. There's a lot that goes into making an automobile, not to mention all the red tape it has to go through before arriving on the street. Though it's worth examining some of Tesla's challenges up to this point. According to Mashable, the Model X—which is the company's SUV—experienced some technical issues with its doors. Apparently, the seals around the doors were defective. What's good news is that the company acted swiftly on the matter. Buyers should know, though, that Tesla hasn't had a perfect track record when it comes to delivering their vehicles' quality.
8 Electric Car Technology Isn't Perfected Yet
One of the traits that set Tesla above the rest is its ability to innovate and look to the future. In having a forward-thinking model, Tesla must adopt new technology to separate itself from the rest of the pack. As detailed in the introduction, electric cars are just one such avenue they're expanding in. The only problem with that, as Fortune notes, is that electric cars are still a new technology. It's easy to get excited about something new that could change the world—such as electric cars, though it's going to take time before electric cars work the way that Tesla envisions the future.
7 Tesla Reported Low Earnings
Fuel to the flame that Tesla is now on the downslope of their peak was added by its last quarterly earnings. According to The Street, Tesla reported $4 billion in revenue, which comes slightly above the forecasted $3.92 billion. The company, however, still has yet to remain profitable in any of their quarterly earnings. When customers purchase a new car, they want to know they're in good hands and that they'll have the support they need for years to come. With Tesla reporting less-than-stellar earnings, it's something of a risk for car buyers to go with Tesla in such uncertain times.
6 Tesla’s Sales Model Doesn’t Allow Buyers To Haggle The Price Down
It's assumed that when you walk into a car dealership, there's room to haggle down the price. That's not the case with Tesla, at least at this point in time.
Although Electrek points out that Tesla may move to a more traditional model where customers can haggle the price, negotiating isn't an option for new cars.
On the other hand, Tesla does have some decent promotions. One program encourages buyers to refer prospective owners, which in turn, takes $1,000 off the total cost. Still, buyers have to be willing to pay the full price for a new one.
5 The Basic Models Are A Joke
Some car buyers consider the higher trims when purchasing, while others tend to go for the basic one. The thing is, some sedan base models are great. Cars like the Subaru Impreza or the Hyundai Sonata are going to provide decent offerings on the base model for the price. The Tesla basic model, on the other hand, is just there so Tesla can say their Model 3 starts at the tempting $35,000. The bigger battery, autopilot, the heated seats, and more are just some of the extra features, as Mashable notes, that customers will have to pay more for.
4 There’s A Learning Curve To Owning One
When customers buy a Tesla, they have to be willing to go to school. Since Tesla employs new technology that isn't as widely known or equipped in traditional cars, every new owner needs to get up to speed. Thankfully, Tesla has recognized this need and provided education centers, as Fortune reports, to give prospective buyers and owners insight. The only problem is it's not always convenient (as detailed in other parts of this post) for people to take the time. What proves problematic is the fact that any learning curve exists at all, which is less a fault of Tesla's than it is the automotive industry's at large.
3 Early Models Haven’t Worked Out All The Kinks Yet
Tesla touts their vehicles as state-of-the-art pieces of technology. It's a positive strategy to separate oneself from the other cars on the market. However, an allegiance to technology has its own myriad of problems. Like any other piece of technology, like a computer or a smartphone, there are often bugs for a company to sort through in the early stages. Plus, as Mashable details, the Model 3 is Tesla's first mass-produced car. With Tesla entering new territory, there's inevitably going to be some issues to work out. For those who want a Tesla now, it may be best to go with an already established model.
2 Tesla Is Fashionable Today, Out Of Style Tomorrow?
French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Fashions fade; style is eternal." While Tesla fans have thrown out plenty of adjectives to describe the brand, none of them have been lacking in hyperbole. As Mashable points out, Tesla's Model 3 is being likened to what the iPhone did only within the industry. That's huge praise to bestow on Tesla, especially considering the iPhone changed the phone industry. Could fans be buying into the excitement of Tesla too much? Only tomorrow will tell. In the meantime, those who want a Tesla should examine whether their desire for one is coming out of a genuine love for the car itself or is simply fulfilling a bandwagon need.
1 Tesla’s Future Looks Uncertain
Some of the major carmakers have been around close to or more than 100 years. Tesla, on the other hand, is still a young company. Already, though, the future of Tesla looks questionable in spite only starting back in 2003. In a report by the New York Times, Moody's Investors Service—which rates businesses' credit ratings—put Tesla down a few notches from before. The outlet even goes so far as to suggest that critics worry over Tesla having enough money by the end of the year. If Tesla's financial woes are really as bad as they sound, then it might not be the best time to get a Tesla when the company is struggling.
Sources: New York Times, Fortune, Electrek, Mashable, The Street, Tech Crunch