Recently a friend of mine was contemplating buying a Roadster. Of course, he wanted my advice during the process. In the area there were (and still are) two for sale of the same 1.5 vintage in the same color. He had arranged a test drive of one of the two Roadsters and wanted me to check it out for him.
My friend is a true car nut and has owned 27 vehicles. He knows he likes to switch cars after only a few years. One nice thing about the Roadster is that very few were made. He is thinking there will not be much depreciation in the short term. The current prices are in the same ball park as the price I got for my Roadster 2 years ago. I probably sold mine at the worse possible time as there was a market glut as many Roadster owners switched to driving the Model S.
The Roadster we test drove had one slightly nasty scratch on it, but it handled flawlessly. I really enjoyed my short spin around the block as I had not driven a Roadster in a couple of years. I like driving a smaller car as it is simply easier to fit in the congested roadways. I also just enjoyed the overall zippiness but I did find the steering just a wee bit loose. Before we finished checking out this Roadster, the car reported that it needed service. The owner had a very recent service report from Tesla.
In my area there always seems to be a handful of Roadsters for sale at any given time. My friend and I found the two Roadsters for sale through two different 3rd party dealers with prices within $5,000. The two third party dealers use different business models. One dealer does negotiate and takes trade ins but also has a stellar reputation for being in the used car business. The other dealer does not negotiate. If the car does not sell within a period of time, the price drops.
As with any car, the buyer needs to discover the service record, the current condition of the car and also any existing warranty. But with the Roadster or any electric vehicle, the buyer needs to pay attention to the state of the battery. One of these Roadsters had about 15,000 miles and the other about 60,000 miles but surprisingly the battery values were quite similar. Neither dealer posted the charging value clearly on their website. At a minimum I would have them charge the car up in standard mode and report the rated miles listed before purchasing. The easiest way to check if your battery is in range of normal is to compare it to the data at plugin america.
In the end my friend did not buy a Roadster. He realizes that his partner would be much happier in a Model S. He ran the numbers on a 60 and decided he didn’t need another vehicle that would run him about $1,000 a month.
I’m also not all that surprised that the two Roadsters are still available. Winter is a slow time for convertible sales despite it being 70 degrees here this week, which is very warm for January.