Buying a Tesla Model Y
How to and why choosing electric is out of reach for too many
For reasons I can’t entirely explain, I’m concerned with the plight of humankind and the collective selfishness of many northern hemisphere countries on stage at COP 27 this week. I’m vexed by the bare faced lies and obfuscation, common parlance from governments, oil companies, airlines, car manufacturers and every other vested interest kicking the carbon can down the road.
I also admit to being that middle aged greenish person, a champagne socialist to resuscitate an old label, unaffected by the stupidity of this British government with time to investigate, discover and share experiences. A luxury not afforded to many in this country, never mind the world.
I’m very grateful.
The experiment is finished
The reason for buying a Tesla Model Y, is because my longer than expected test is over. Driving an electric car is so much better than the alternatives, aside from no car at all. Beyond bicycle distances and London’s excellent public transport network, a car remains the only option.
A year ago, I found a company, Onto, which only rents electric vehicles on monthly contracts. Although terms and conditions are similar to the more established leasing schemes which account for 82% of UK new car sales, the big difference is the contract period, 28 days versus years. This made it easy to walk away if it wasn’t for me.
The costs are competitive, depending on your choice of car. At the start, the monthly price was £589 with 1,000 miles included. In August, the price rose to £639 and the monthly mileage reduced to 750, upsetting for those using their electric vehicles (EVs) for work. Still included, is insurance and three recharge cards (Shell, BP and InstaVolt) which means no expensive fossil fuel fill-ups with your included miles.
I chose a Hyundai Kona, which gave a range of about 220 miles from the 64kWh battery. With mercury rising in summer, this increased by a further 40 miles.
Why stop the monthly?
I love the electric drive experience and I’m not alone. Speaking to plenty while charging, no one wanted to go back to fossil fuel despite the obvious drawback of charges taking longer. Perhaps there is a touch of pioneering spirit added to the hubris I discovered. Having accepted that change is happening, they were delighted to be leading. Good for them.
Onto don’t currently offer the Model Y and the long range Model 3 they do have is £1,299 per month. Not a deal breaker if you want to try one out for a month. Less practical to park on the drive indefinitely.
While not a fault of Onto per se, travelling outside the UK on any sort of contract requires permission, admin payments, and potentially a mileage bolt-on. All of that fuss disappears with ownership and our desire to enjoy our 90 European days in any 180 (British citizen rule post Brexit).
I’m not interested in cars
Given that I sold an automotive business, my statement might sound odd. I spent so many years driving crap ones while growing the business, the ego had well and truly learnt to cope by the time real choice was restored.
I am interested in technical innovation with green outcomes though. Being able to drive something designed specifically with battery power in mind is irresistible, even better if it’s British. I discounted the Nissan Leaf and Mini Electric which are produced in the UK because of limited range, conventional fossil fuel design and the pug ugliness of the Leaf.
He may not be as ugly, but I expect Elon Musk is a charmless soul. I’m under no illusions but I have to admire how he has forced traditional car manufacturers to pay attention to Tesla, forcing them to put electric powertrains and zero emissions at the top of their agendas. From this perspective, he has achieved more than any government and deserves my business until a better option appears.
He’s even managed to do it with US government subsidies and at least $6 billion of government backed electric vehicle credits sweetening the consumer’s deal, bolstering sales.
How to buy a Model Y?
The options were simple. Either order a vehicle directly from Tesla, it takes less than 5 minutes online and it will turn up in March 2023. Or you can search on AutoTrader, and specify a Model Y with low mileage or delivery mileage as dealers prefer to call it, assuming you want a new one (other sales platforms are available).
My specific search found at least 10 vehicles for sale in the UK last week. I discounted private sellers because of the added complexity and bought from an independent dealer in York (Tesla has no dealer network) who sent a video prior to purchase.
I’m not sure what impressed more. A single to York which cost £35 (with railcard) and took 2 hours 2 minutes or the drive home in the Model Y. That took a bit longer, but it gave me plenty of time to familiarise myself with the iPad in the middle of the dashboard. It’s also quiet, very quiet, because of the double-glazed windows. The charge time was also so much faster than the Hyundai.
A lack of UK government incentive is at odds with their 2030 ban?
There is no longer any real government incentive for purchasing a new EV, aside from zero road tax and London Congestion charging. From 14th June, 2022, the grant was closed to new orders on the rationale that the job was done, although less than half a million EVs have been sold to a population of 67 million.
By comparison, Norway with 5.4 million people, an oil rich exporter, has more EVs on their roads than the UK.
No longer having the luxury of free charging, I’ve ordered a home charger from podPoint. The £350 grant is now only available to EV owners who live in flats or rental accommodation. Homeowners no longer qualify, which for many will be irrelevant anyway, given the recent mortgage rate hikes.
podPoint offer three speeds, with the most popular 7kW option chosen, charging fully overnight with no electrical upgrade needed. Be prepared to take photographs of fuse boxes, proposed siting of charger and vehicle proximity.
EDF, our electricity provider have withdrawn any off-peak tariffs for the time being. I’ve joined a wait list and take solace in the fact that the VAT rate on my home energy bill is 5% versus the full 20% for public charging. A clear indication of how the government is going to replace fossil fuel revenues in the future.
I’m not against tax, far from it. But to shift the dial with EV take-up, costs need to come down further. This now seems to be the sole responsibility of car manufacturers for affordability and charging networks like InstaVolt for access, at least in the UK.
Great car, good choice. If you can afford it. I’m almost an EV convert. However, for £200 per month, £165 p. a insurance, £20 road tax, and 65 mpg my Toyota Yaris is my economy choice. No current EV comes close on annual costs. Not only that, due to the shortage of second hand cars, Toyota called me up 18 months in to my pcp contract and offered me a new Yaris for no extra cost. I’d love an EV having driven several now but still too expensive. There’s a great YouTube channel by R Symons where he compares running costs of various EVs at the new electric cost versus ICE cars. One day……
Exactly. My ideal driveway would be a Tesla and a Fiat 500e. However, neither make economic sense when compared to a Toyota Yaris and Smart ForTwo. (Both do over 60mpg). Both cheaper than an EV in every way including running costs. I’ve reached the age of head over heart purchases :-) However, one day……….