Want a Tesla Model S? Trade in a Tesla Roadster to in New Buyback Program

By Jacob Brown | October 22, 2012
Admit it, if you're on Tesla's waiting list for the 2013 Model S electric sedan, you probably already own a Tesla Roadster. You fancy yourself as a connoisseur of technology, a maven of what's going to be hot in the future. And you want to be on the cusp of what's going on, your podcast tuning you in to what's going on in Silicon Valley. The problem is, the Model S is expensive, starting at $57,400 and topping out over $100,000. You already cashed in plenty of your stock in Apple to get your Roadster. What do you do? Trade your old car back into Tesla, says the automaker. The last new Tesla Roadster sold in the U.S. was marked as a model year 2011 car, and Tesla has nothing else to sell alongside the Model S until the Model X crossover gets here, so it needs to build up some inventory. This sounds win-win, doesn't it?
The only problem is that Tesla isn't announcing what it'll pay for a good-condition Roadster. It will say that a 2008 Tesla Roadster with 31,000 miles will go for $73,300 if you want to buy one through the automaker. That's still a lot of coin for what company founder Elon Musk basically said was a Frankenstein car that was more of a science fair project for the Model S than a completely thought-out sports car. If you have a newer Roadster, you may be able to get as much as $94,000. And if that's more than what your ordered Model S is worth, "we'd write you a check," says Tesla's director of finance Tom vonReichbauer. Where the Model S has a 17-inch tablet monitor in its dash to control most of the car's functions, the Roadster doesn't even have power steering. It has what are effectively thousands of heavy laptop battery cells powering the car, and Tesla has not said whether or not it plans to refurbish them before letting the resold cars back out to the public. Because, after all, battery packs do wear out. Still, there's something endearing about the Tesla Roadster. While it's no longer the "it" car, it should have a loyal following. Built on the same architecture as the ultra-nimble Lotus Elise, the Tesla Roadster was a silent road-rocket. And if that weren't enough, there's always the prestige factor that comes with the fact that just 2,500 were made and it was the archetype for the mass-produced electric car. Unfortunately, unlike the Model S, it doesn't come equipped with a cupholder for your mid-afternoon Starbucks run. Source: San Francisco Chronicle