How does Tesla compare to similar products

If you’re looking to buy solar panels, a home battery solution or an electric vehicle (EV), Tesla is probably an option you have considered. Tesla seeks to bundle these products wherever they can to maximize revenue per sale.

However, as a consumer, it is important to look beyond the hype created by the Tesla marketing machine and their larger-than-life CEO Elon Musk. In this article, SolarReviews takes a look at how Tesla prices compare to their peers in each of their major product categories.

How much do Tesla electric cars cost in 2019?

The cost varies based on the model of Tesla EV you want to buy, as well as the size of the battery in kilowatt hours (kWhs). With electric vehicles, a bigger battery gives you better driving range, much the same way that a bigger fuel tank on a gas car extends your driving distance.

Below is the price for every model of car Tesla sells, along with their key technical specs:

Tesla 2018 Models and Specifications

Model2018 Base Prices Low to High *EPA-Rated Mileage per ChargeTop Speed (mph)0-60 mph (in seconds)
Model 3 Standard $35,000 220 130 5.6
Model 3 Long-Range $40,000 310 140 5.1
Model S 75D $74,500 259 140 4.2
Model S 100D $94,000 335 155 4.1
Model S P100D $135,000 315 155 2.5
Model X 75D $79,500 237 130 4.9
Model X 100D $96,000 295 155 4.7
Model X P100D $140,000 289 155 2.9
Roadster $200,000 620 250+ 1.9
Roadster Founders Series $250,000 620 250+ 1.9

How do Tesla prices compare to the other main makes of electric cars in the US?

These are the most popular electric cars offered by rival manufacturers:

Model

Base price

Price after tax credit

Mileage per charge

Battery size

2018 Nissan Leaf

$29,990

$22,490

151 miles

40 kWh

2018 Ford focus electric

$29,120

$21,620

115 miles

33.5 kWh

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

$37,495

$29,995

238 miles

60 kWh

BMW i3

$48,000

$41,500

114 miles

33.2 kWh

As you can see, competing EVs are either cheaper than or about the same price as the cheapest of the Tesla cars.

Why are Tesla cars so expensive? There’s a few reasons. Tesla manufactures their cars in the US, a higher cost location than most other countries. The lithium-ion batteries their cars use are expensive to manufacture. Combine this with the fact that Tesla has not traditionally been a volume car maker, and it’s easy to see why Tesla EV prices are relatively high.

The prices of Tesla cars, as well as all other electric vehicles, still need to drop a fair bit more to receive mass market acceptance.

What are Tesla solar roof shingles?

When Tesla announced its solar roof shingles they breathed new life into the building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) segment of the solar industry. The Tesla solar roof is designed to make solar possible without changing the aesthetic of a home. In fact, the Tesla solar roof tiles look amazing and the innovation is that the active solar tiles look the same as all the non-solar active roof tiles.

Tesla announced their solar roof way back in August 2016 but the product only began shipping in August 2018. The Tesla solar roof comes with a lifetime product warranty and is designed to handle extreme weather conditions. The image below is in order from left to right a Tesla roof tile, concrete shingle, and terracotta tile. They were each shot with a roughly golf ball sized chunk of hail at 100mph, the Tesla roof tile was unscathed.

Tesla hail test

Image source: Tesla

How does Tesla solar roof shingles’ cost compare to other solar panels?

According to Tesla’s website, if you have a $200 per month power bill in the PG&E territory, you’d require a $52,300 solar roof to wipe it out.

Let’s compare that with conventional solar panels. If I enter a $200 per month bill into the solar-estimate calculator it tells me that you’d need a 6.8 kW system that would cost $24,001 before claiming the federal solar tax credit. That’s a way lot cheaper. You might point out — correctly — that Tesla’s solar roof doubles as a roof. But combining the average cost of solar panels AND the cost of replacing your roof ($4/sq ft) still works out $16,299 cheaper than the Tesla solar roof.

Unfortunately, the fact that the cost of regular solar panels is so much lower means that Tesla’s solar roofs are unlikely to become a mainstream option...However, money isn’t the most important things for everyone, and so...

Should you buy Tesla solar panels rather than offerings from other solar companies?

If you enter your zip code into SolarReviews you’ll be presented with a list of the solar installers servicing your local area alongside their reviews and overall star rating. You will note that most solar companies in the list have a far better reputation than Tesla’s residential solar panels sales subsidiary SolarCity.

SolarCity Reviews:

SolarCity solar reviews overall ratings

SolarCity has improved their pricing in recent times to be more competitive against other solar providers but their poor reputation for after sales service is a major concern. This is a strong reason why homeowners are increasingly turning towards smaller, local and family-owned solar companies who have deeper roots in their local communities.

How much does the Tesla Powerwall 2 cost and how does it compare to other solutions?

The price of a Powerwall 2 is currently $5,900, with an additional $700 for the supporting hardware. Overall, this is about $4,000 cheaper than the next best battery the LG Chem RESU. The Powerwall also offers superior performance at 13.5 kWh of usable power, over twice the storage of the LG Chem. The Powerwall can discharge at up to 7 kW at one time and can keep a steady flow of 5 kW, which is more than the typical demand of a home.

Are there any rebates or tax credits for home battery storage?

A number of utilities offer rebates for battery storage solutions as it reduces peak grid demand. California offers the “self-generation incentive program,” which requires SCE, PG&E, San Diego Gas and Electric and LADWP to all offer rebates on battery systems.

Is the Powerwall eligible for the 30% federal ITC?

Yes. However only under certain conditions. For your Powerwall to be eligible for the federal ITC it must be powered 100% from a new or existing solar system.

How long can the Powerwall 2 power my home during an outage?

The average US home uses 28 kWh of power per day and the Tesla Powerwall can store 13.5 kWh of usable power. This means that in theory, your Powerwall will give you 12 hours of power assuming a constant demand.

However, if you are able to install energy-efficient appliances and cut down on your usage as much as possible you could last over one day. Preserving energy becomes especially important when you install a battery system in your home. The maximum consistent output of a Powerwall is 5 kW, this means if you’re using 5 kW per hour running off-grid you will run out of power in only 2 hours and 40 minutes. The truth is running completely off-grid is difficult and expensive — but not impossible.

To look at how you can save money and reduce electric usage, use the calculator on CutMyBill.

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