On November 16, 2017, Tesla debuted the perpetually upcoming Tesla Roadster 2.0. At that point, Elon Musk opened up the order banks for reservations. The reservation amount was substantial — $5,000 up front and $45,000 after 10 days — but if you wanted to secure that ultra lucrative Founders Series, you had to shell out the full $250,000 purchase price up front.
If you’re in a life situation where you can drop $250,000 on a hope and a dream, you probably did a lot of work to get to that point in your life. You probably made smart investments, started that killer business, or found success in real estate. Unless you were born into that money, you’re likely a pretty smart cookie.
Maybe you dropped the $250,000 because you thought the car was coming much sooner. I mean it is 2021 now, after all, and there hasn’t been an update in ages from Elon about when it’ll ship, or even if it will ship.
Tesla recently dropped the Plaid+ model of the Model S, with similar quoted metrics as the Roadster, because the regular was “good enough.” Realistically? The company can’t source the batteries needed.
So let’s play a fun game. Let’s see how much that money would be worth if you wouldn’t have granted an interest free loan to Tesla that they may never deliver a product for.
Since you likely believe in Tesla and the company’s mission, you would’ve been far better off investing in Tesla stock. According to this calculator, buying $250,000 in TSLA common stock on November 16, 2017 would be worth $2,496,493.28 at the time of this story’s publication.
That’s a heck of a return on investment, and even after the tax burden you’d still have plenty of money to put a deposit down on a Roadster today and wait.
That actually would’ve been more lucrative than Bitcoin, which would only be worth $1,216,695.80 based on this calculator.
Not that you would’ve invested in Dogecoin — Musk’s favorite meme coin — in 2017, but if you did, you would have $57,420,454.55 if you would sell today, based on this calculator. It’s also worth noting with the Dogecoin is that it would’ve been significantly higher if you would’ve cashed out earlier this year.
This isn’t investment advice, but there’s enough TikTok videos out there telling you to invest in companies and not buy products. While you should invest in products — it’s how the economy works — you might want to consider a few things before giving a massive loan to a car company that may or may not ever actually deliver on the final product.
Thankfully, reservations these days on the newer products are just $100, which are also fully-refundable, but that is still an interest-free loan to a company that you very likely will have to get a refund from for the deposit.
Of course, you’re absolutely free to do whatever you want with your money. I’m not here to stop you. But it is stark looking at how much money you could’ve made if you would have just invested in Tesla and not giving a loan for a product that you still don’t know when it’ll go on sale.