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I've noticed that the supply of used Tesla Model S in my area has dried up somewhat, both in number and price, and the used 60 kWh Model S seems to be gone for the moment in my area from the Tesla website, and that the lowest available prices have not continued the downward trend I had hoped to see as a potential buyer. Basically, I'd be paying more than $30k for a ~2013 Model S whereas comparable 2013 gasoline vehicles from Lexus, Mercedes, BMW have buys in some areas less than $20k.

Meanwhile, the used Bolt prices have finally (and predictably) dropped dramatically in the last few months and while I'd probably have to go out of state to do it, I could probably get one now for under $20k.

Yes, I know they're far apart as vehicles and segments. Before someone starts going on about that, please note that they are the only two used vehicles available in the US at the moment that fit the criteria:

liquid-cooled
60 kWh or above
enough time in the market for their depreciation to kick in to drop a good percent of their MSRP

The Tesla seems to be defying the usual economics of depreciation, though it's in a somewhat unusual situation, including the relative lack of much competition (used or new) in BEV, and any possible impacts of the resale value guarantee program. (Yes, I know we saw stories about the program being discontinued, but the promise extended through about now. Also, their reports do not seem to me to be clear that all resale value guarantee programs are completely ended.)

It does make me wonder, when the manufacturer buys back vehicles, if it is only under the resale value guarantee program or if they take the initiative to buy back some models and refurbish them (or not) and put them back on the market. This seems far-fetched, but just wondering.
 

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I guess Tesla is the only one who knows for sure, but my thought is that they would not take the initiative to buy back some models and refurbish them (or not) and put them back on the market.
Also, Tesla model S was introduced in 2012(?) or about 7 years ago. Initial price was around 100K and the last time I looked was around 30K. I don't know how much a luxury car would normally depreciate over 7 years.
 

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I guess Tesla is the only one who knows for sure, but my thought is that they would not take the initiative to buy back some models and refurbish them (or not) and put them back on the market.
Also, Tesla model S was introduced in 2012(?) or about 7 years ago. Initial price was around 100K and the last time I looked was around 30K. I don't know how much a luxury car would normally depreciate over 7 years.
For comparison, I just did a quick look on ebay for 2012 bmw 7 series using similar original retail pricing. A 750 and the Model S P85 were both in the mid $80's. The S60 was a little less than $60k, and a 740 was around $70k.
If as the OP claims, the S60's are north of $30k now, that's significantly better than the BMW's which are between $10k (740) and $20k (750) now. Seems as though the Tesla's depreciate about 1/2 as much as comparable luxury cars. The one snag to the argument is the Federal Credit impact. You could argue that the Tesla's have a built in $7,500 buffer (would actually be $7,500 less todays credit of $1,875 if you want to split hairs) over ICEV's, meaning that the true purchase price of the Tesla's were $7,500 less than the list price then. But you could also say that nobody pays full retail on any legacy car brand's product so maybe a wash.

I don't think the buyback program was in place then but even so, doubt that it is artificially inflating the current sales pricing. My thoughts are that the Tesla's have proven themselves over time to hold up well with very little TCO comparatively as well as the only BEV without compromises. The OTA's and the supercharger network probably have as much to do with it as anything though. There's a list of many other features that could also impact retaining value but hard to quantify. There's also a limited supply due to the customer satisfaction being so high and when they do sell/trade, it's for another Tesla. That doesn't have anything to do with the used market supply but just a telling statistic on demand. Extremely rare for a Tesla owner to go back to ICEV's or even other brands as Jaguar and Audi are seeing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the thoughtful quick replies.

A few links I think are useful not only for measuring these prices for personal buying/selling interest, but also just for general industry discussion and research:

Model S (and other) aggregated price trends:

The quick ebay search that dyefrog did is more or less similar to how I am checking, but I am just looking at cars.com and similar, to get an idea of lowest prices of Teslas and comparables. eg:

Model S:

BMW 7 series from 2012 onward:

etc.

(Cars.com seems to readily allow for searching the whole US at one time, which fits with this type of non-personal research, whereas sometimes I run into more issues with this at other sites).

This is the link I check for Tesla's direct sales in my region:

The results it gives have been very inconsistent. Once in awhile when I try to pull it up it is blank, but more often the point to note is that it seems to vary in what it pulls up in ways that I can't fully predict, but basically a small number from my area and then the rest seem to be from around the US. It is possible that pulling it up in a different zip code would show me very different prices, though so far that hasn't happened a lot. In pulling it up a moment ago from within my zip code, the lowest Model S prices I are from further away, with varying kWh, between $34.6k and $40k (plus the $2000 delivery price if I wanted to do it that way).

Note to Tom that while some Model S did around 2012 (and still do AFAIK) cost $100k and more, and while the curves may be skewed a bit if Tesla prioritized delivering expensive ones early on (I don't remember), I think the 60 kWh variants (and the rare 40 kWh variants) cost considerably less than that.

I think there are a number of possible explanations for the used Tesla Model S apparently high relative pricing. Perhaps in the end more than one of them will prove out. DyeFrog mentioned some that I agree with listing. One I'm not sure I agree or disagree is the question of the Federal Tax Credit. If a person (or bank acting on their behalf) bought a $87.5 (counting everything) Tesla in 2012 and then the person got back $7500 (assuming their 2012 taxable income was high enough), and so the effective price they saw was lower, then wouldn't this mean that the percentage depreciation they (or subsequent owners) are seeing is even that much more remarkable in how much of the vehicle value is retained? If they now sell the vehicle for worth $40k, then that is only 50% value loss (?!) in 7 years if we count from the $80 effective price. If we just do the straight math from $87.5 and ignore the $7,500, then the the vehicle appears only to retain 45.7 % of its value,.... but still pretty respectable, as far as I know. Also, I don't remember whether Tesla sales figures from the early days official 2012 models, whether they included any of the less expensive vehicles, so I don't know if my price is realistic. And of course there could be other subsidies to complicate the matter further.

Some of my thoughts and theories on possible factors:
- If the vehicle has proven overall that it costs relatively less (than a ff vehicle) time and money to service, and of course yes, if it costs relatively low money to fuel.

- If the batteries are proving to hold up. If not, then the used buyer is out a lot of money if key components are replaced beyond warranty. Buying a used Model S does seem to entail some bet on the outcome of the battery and other key components. That may be true for all used purchases, but is relatively unknown territory for EVs.

- Repairing a Model S may in some way be more "out of the question" than is apparent here. This has sort of been discussed (if I am not misrepresenting) on one or two really good spots on the Rich Rebuilds videos. That is, if Tesla has a history of making it ungodly expensive, and a ridiculous hassle and waste of time, to try to make certain repairs on a Model S, or if the cars simply get totaled out and thus do not show up for sale on boards like this, then maybe that is impacting the entire presentation of what is and is not available for purchase as a used Model S. I like this point not because I think it's necessarily the case, but if it is a contributing factor, then it provides what I think may be a useful counterpoint to the others.

- Perhaps Tesla under-priced the original Model S, not so much in terms of market demand, but in terms of the value they put into it, and what it cost them to make. I'm not sure how useful this point is, but throwing it in there.

- It may sound a bit much, but the world is in the midst of a trade battle, and has some increased concern about wars or battles, and some commodity price concerns that one often associates with these developments (including oil) and has had some increased indications of trouble on oil trade (seized tankers) and oil climate consequences (prominent Greenland issues this year for example). So, maybe that has increased demand, amongst those who can afford it, for that particular used long-range BEV? (This would seem to be somewhat possibly contradicted by the sharp recent drop in used Bolt pricing, but noting the theory).

- Regarding the resale value guarantee, a couple of side points, as best I can tell from somewhat cursory research:

--If much or all of the program ended approximately 3 years ago, and if it was said at the time that typically the guarantee is for about 3 years, then I am keeping in mind that in theory, the last of the vehicles is coming off that guarantee.
--There is a lot of information at this link under the search term "resale value guarantee".

It's hard to break down, but one point is that I'm not sure that all aspects of all "resale value guarantee" programs are over.
 

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