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How to Buy an Autopilot Equipped Tesla Motors (TSLA) Model S on The Cheap

Tesla Inc (TSLA)

Tesla Motors has been under fire in the last four months after people started finding fault with its Autopilot technology. Model S and Model X cars have been in a number of crashes while Autopilot was engaged and some of the crashes have been fatal. However, on Sunday, CEO Elon Musk unveiled an updated version of its Autopilot software and the hounds may want to desist from haranguing Musk. At the same time, the Tesla Certified Pre-owned program is offering some relatively “cheap” Autopilot equipped Model S sedans on the firms website. More on that below.

According to Musk, Autopilot 8.0 promises to help drivers be more responsible behind the wheel as well as making the car more aware of its surroundings. Interestingly, Wall Street seems to think that Autopilot 8.0 is a good move and the stock rose by 2% on Monday even though it had lost about 19% in the year-to-date period.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Certified Pre-owned Program CPO

Autopilot 8.0 could have saved Brown’s life in May

Autopilot 8.0 doesn’t require new hardware but Tesla Motors has found more ways to make the current hardware more efficient. To start with, the new autopilot how has a greater reliance on radar instead of cameras to ensure that the system has improved ability to identify other objects on the road. Musk notes that Autopilot can now see “anything metallic or anything that is dense… as long as it’s not large and fluffy.

More interesting is the fact that Elon Musk referred to tragic death of Joshua Brown and he observed that the new Autopilot could have saved Brown’s life. In May, Brown’s Model S drove under a semi-trailer while in Autopilot mode. Investigations revealed that neither Brown nor Autopilot applied the brakes and it seems that Autopilot mistook the white site of the trailer’s side for a bright sky.

Musk says, “We believe it (autopilot) would have seen a large metal object across the road… Knowing that there is no overhead road sign there, it would have braked.” Musk also revealed that the firm has made long strides in its fleet learning system to ensure that the new Autopilot doesn’t frustrate drivers with false alarms.

Here’s the cheapest way to own a Tesla

Tesla Motors cars are priced in the luxury cars market segment and even the mass-market $35,000 Model 3 might end up costing almost $50K when you add desirable options. However, Elon Musk doesn’t want you to break the bank just because you want to drive an EV and his firm has started lowering the prices on certified pre-owned cars. If you don’t have a fixation on “brand new cars” and have a strategy for getting an auto loan, you can actually own a Model S this month.

Tesla’s pre-certified cars have been fully reconditioned and they are as good as new. Buying Tesla’s certified pre-owned cars might be a cheaper way to own an EV if you don’t mind the fact that someone has enjoyed the first “new-car smell” before you. A quick trip to Tesla’s website showed that the you can buy one of 8 low-millage pre-certified Model S under $50,000 right now.

Autopilot hardware has been installed on all Model S sedans since October of 2014. Many of these vehicles are coming off lease or are being traded in on newer models so it has become increasingly common to find Autopilot equipped vehicles on the CPO program. They go fast so if you see one on the firms website, get your deposit in fast. Or, go to a local Tesla store and tell them you want one and they can help you find one before it goes on the public site.

Used cars should logically be cheaper than new cars but Tesla’s car have managed to retain their value even in the used car market. In August, BlackBook revealed that a 3-year old Model S would retain about 62% of its MSRP while the best gasoline cars only manage to retain 50% of the MSRP value.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.