What is it like owning an EV or electric vehicle – Tesla Model 3 & Model Y

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My so-called EV Life

To be honest, when I created the electric vehicle survey, I wasn’t sure how many were going to respond as EV owners. I have a close circle of friends who drive an EV, and was quite surprised to see the number of EV owners in Daddy Travels Facebook group. In this blog entry you will see:
  • My EV journey (first and second Electric Vehicle)
  • Charging our EV
  • Any major maintenance or issues?
  • Tax credits and rebates
  • Online car sales websites
  • My new EV purchase

My first EV

I got my first EV in 2018, a Tesla Model 3. I was one of the early adopters.  It was sight unseen, a vehicle I’ve never driven. I placed my order for my Model 3 back in April 2016, a time when no one has heard of or seen a Tesla Model 3.
At the time, there weren’t exactly Tesla showrooms or dealerships. I remember placing my order by lining up at the mall – San Diego’s Fashion Valley Mall. It was a Black Friday-like line to place a deposit on a vehicle that none of us ever saw on the road. What’s my WHY? My groomsman owned two Model S vehicles, and honestly, he’s a car guy, always spoke so highly about his Model S, and that was enough for me to take a leap of faith.
It took 2 years for me to get my first Tesla. It was April 2018 when I picked it up in Marina del Rey (near LAX). This was my journey https://daddytravelsnow.com/…/tesla-model-3-wait-order…/
Pick up day – April 8, 2018 – Marina del Rey
At the time, we paid around $53K for our long range Model 3. I was able to get the following credits and rebate:
  • Federal tax credit – $7,500
  • California Clean Vehicle Rebate – $2,500
  • Southern California Edison credit – $500

Maintaining our war horse

That car was Nancy’s work vehicle. In 4 year’s time, we racked up over 80K miles. Maintenance? Honestly….hardly any. There was no oil change. I brought the car in for its regular tire rotation service – that was free as well at America’s Tire. In the 4.5 years with my Model 3, I’ve had to bring it in for a few minor issues here and there. There was a time when Tesla also sent a repair guy who came over and repaired the vehicle.

Charging our Tesla for FREE

I always get asked what it costs to charge our Tesla. I couldn’t give a straight answer. Why? Well, of the over 4 years of owning our Tesla, we charged the car 80%-90% of the time at a local charging station for FREE. We have this FREE charging station less than 10 minutes away from home, and all we do is bring the car there to charge. It’s free to the public. You simply plug and charge. We plan our days where we’d leave the car there for hours to get the charge that we need. It became our lifestyle. Nancy and I go to the charging station, and walk home which was a good 30 minutes walk.

During the times we’ve had to charge at home, we signed up for the Time-of-Use program with our power company where the rates are cheaper from 10pm and on. As far as using other public chargers, we only used them as needed when we’d travel quite a distance from home.

I wrote this a few years ago when I first got our Model 3.



My biggest issue and Hyatt was somewhat involved

We had a weekend planned to go to Ventana Big Sur, a well-known Hyatt all-inclusive property in Califonia. I knew that I would need to charge once from my house to San Luis Obispo and then head off to Ventana Big Sur. I made it  to the Tesla Supercharging station in SLO, but my car would not charge. I moved to another charger, same thing. No charge. This was not going well.
I found another Tesla destination charger (slower charge), and it worked but not with the Supercharger. Long story short, I charged just enough to get us to VBS. I planned to charge some more at VBS as there are Superchargers and regular chargers at VBS. It was very frustrating since I couldn’t drive my car around Big Sur or Monterey. The car just went past 60K miles at the time, meaning I was already outside of my factory warranty. I took the car to Tesla to get repaired, and I was expecting a hefty bill from Tesla. The repair was around $600, and that was the only major “paid” repair I’ve ever had to deal with this car after owning for over 4 years.

We needed more room

If there was any drawback, or something I wished we had, I wished we had a Tesla that would fit all six of us (we have 4 kids). We do so many things as a family and whenever there were 6 or more of us traveling, we ended up taking our Honda Odyssey. So I wanted an EV option. Oh and not only with our 4 kids, but we also have a huge extended family, and having the option for a vehicle with additional seats would help.
The Model X was out of the question – out of my price range. And when the Tesla Model Y first came out (smaller Model X type, crossover SUV type vehicle) was then rumored to include a 3rd row (7-seater)
We weren’t banking to get a super roomy 3rd row. We knew that wasn’t going to be the case. We just wanted to have a 3rd row option in cases when push comes to shove and we need room for 6-7 passengers. So we waited.

So, I sold my first Tesla …yes, I did

In June 2022, we finally decided to get a Model Y with a 3rd row (7 seats). There was a long waiting period for delivery. We also decided that perhaps we could sell our Model 3, and anything we get from the Model 3, we could apply that towards the Model Y.
Remember the used car craze last summer of 2022? First of all, my Model 3 at the time was over 4 years old. It could use a new set of tires, it already had over 81,000 miles. I went to the following online dealerships and got my car appraised, and I received the following offers.
  • Carvana $27,020
  • Tesla – $30,000
  • Vroom $33,846
  • Carmax $36,000
  • Driveway $42,830

$42.8K from Driveway – get outta here!

WTH is Driveway? I was shocked. The $53K vehicle that I purchased in 2018, that I drove for over 4 years with over 80K miles received an offer between $27K and $43K – that’s a huge range. Of course, I had to entertain the $42,830  Driveway offer.
I seriously had to ask and see if they were even legit. Members of the Tesla Facebook group pages have used Driveway. And the process was pure and simple.
  • June 3 – I used the Driveway website, plugged in my car’s info, and was immediately given an offer of $42,830. I received a text, and a phone call from Driveway, and was told that if I accepted the offer, they’d meet me at a local dealership, do a quick inspection, and give me the check. I asked, “Wait, you’ll be coming to give me a check? Don’t you need to see the car first? What if it doesn’t meet your criteria?” I was told that if everything I reported was accurate, then I should have no problem during the pick-up. The only drawback, due to their busy schedule, I was advised to wait a few weeks.
  • Somewhere in between, I had to send my Driver’s License, registration, etc, and I made sure they got what they needed
  • June 16 – I received an email about an appointment to meet at my local Toyota dealership (there was a Driveway office there). In my mind, good!!! I didn’t want to meet outside Walmart or McDonald’s.
  • June 17 – It was a vehicle hand off that was so unreal. The guy met me right in front of the Toyota showroom. He had a clipboard, walked around the car for a minute, and began handing me the check for $42,830. “That’s it????” Yes, that was it. He didn’t even take it for a ride. Without joking – 10 to 15 minutes tops. I had to let my baby go.

Directly after handing the check, I went straight to the bank to deposit the check.

EV-less for 6 months

They say “you don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone!” It was so true. I missed my Model 3 once I sold it to Driveway. I dreaded the days when I would have to pump gas using our other vehicles. It took 6 months for us to get our Model Y.

We finally got our Model Y

Fast forward, from June to December, 6 months later, our Model Y came. We had a mid-December pick-up. At the time, there was an instant credit of $3500 which was reduced from the sale price of our Tesla. But in 2023, the EV market had changed and there are many more incentives to be had. 
Our Model 3 pickup day – Dec 2022

Lower price and rebates/credits

The used car market and Tesla market have changed since. Tesla has lowered its prices and one could now get a Model 3 for as low as $37K-$39K before taxes and credits. There are many credits to be had as well:
  • up to $7,500 Federal Tax Credit -meet all federal requirements to be eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500
Check your state for other rebate programs. In California,
  • up to $7,500 rebate
(you will have to meet the requirements – this is the one for California https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/en

Other rebates/credits

Check your local city government or county, or local power company for other rebates or credits. In 2018, my power company issued a $500 credit when I bought my Model 3.

Check here for Tesla’s page of incentives.

Federal incentives

This is the one that is getting lots of attention – Inflation Reduction Act.

On January 1, 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 qualified certain electric vehicles (EVs) for a tax credit of up to $7,500. There will likely be reductions to the federal tax credit after December 31, 2023.

Qualifications include:

  • Customers must buy it for their own use, not for resale
  • Use the vehicle primarily in the U.S.
  • Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) limitations
  • MSRP price caps

If unsure if you qualify, make sure to check with your CPA.

There are also state, local, and utilities-specific incentives. Make sure to check. Click here, and/or join a Tesla Facebook group in your area.

Tesla referral links of $500 up to $1,000 off

If you or someone you know is in the market for a new Tesla, here’s our referral link. This is where I would start with my order.  Any questions about ownership, just ask.

For more travel deals and tips, follow me on my travel page on Daddy Travels on Facebook Group or Instagram or YouTube or Twitter

Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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