How much is a Tesla? All models & prices in 2021
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Tesla is one of the most forward-thinking automotive firms in the industry. Thanks to their high-performing electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla has single-handedly proven that electric cars can be exciting, desirable, and affordable.
Tesla hasn’t just captured our imaginations, but serious market share too: Tesla cars account for an estimated 75%-85% of EVs sold in the US alone.
Of course, there are many factors that have driven Tesla’s success, such as their unrivaled range, innovative use of technology, and their radical rethink of interior car design. But there’s one key factor that’s not often given enough credit, and that is Tesla’s aggressive car pricing.
Indeed, offering great electric vehicles at competitive prices has been Tesla’s goal all along. Back in 2006, Elon Musk said that Tesla’s long-term goal was to offer electric cars at prices that most consumers can afford. This dream was realized with the launch of their affordable electric sedan, the Model 3, and their affordable crossover vehicle, the Model Y. Huge demand for these vehicles meant that Tesla delivered just shy of half a million vehicles in 2020.
Tesla cars are successfully tempting more and more Americans to make the switch to electric vehicles. Are you also thinking of buying a Tesla? Or are you just curious about what their pricing is like?
In this blog, we’ll tell you exactly how much Tesla models and customizations cost in 2021. We’ll also look at the other costs associated with owning a Tesla, so you know what to expect if you get one.
Tesla is unique — and not just because of their branding and design. When you buy a Tesla — regardless of the model or trim level — you work directly with Tesla, not a third-party sales force as you would with traditional car brands.
In fact, you can buy a Tesla remotely from the comfort of your home. You just go to their website, customize the vehicle of your choice, place your order, and wait for it to be delivered. There’s no haggling, pushy salesmen, or dealership gimmicks to deal with.
While Tesla doesn’t have dealerships, they do have showrooms for those seeking an “in-store” experience. There, you can go for a test drive, speak with a specialist, or customize your car. But even at the showroom, you actually place the order using the official Tesla website.
In short, all Tesla vehicle orders are placed through its website.
Tesla currently offers four vehicles for sale:
Tesla keeps prices for new inventory the same across the country. So, the price of a base Model 3 in New York is the same as in Beverly Hills.
Each of Tesla’s vehicles comes in a few different versions, each with optional upgrades that can drastically affect the price.
We’ve created a handy table to show you the price range for each model and variant. All Tesla prices we’ve quoted here are the final retail prices, straight from the Tesla website.
Now, let’s drill down a bit and see the prices for every version of the Tesla cars.
|Model and Version||Range||Base price||Fully loaded|
|Model 3 Standard Range Plus||263 miles||$37,990||$50,990|
|Model 3 Long Range||353 miles||$46,990||$59,990|
|Model 3 Performance||315 miles||$55,990||$67,490|
|Model Y Long Range||326 miles||$49,990||$67,490|
|Model Y Performance||303 miles||$60,990||$73,490|
|Model S Long Range||412 miles||$79,990||$97,490|
|Model S Plaid||390 miles||$119,990||$137,490|
|Model S Plaid+ (mid 2022)||520+ miles||$149,990||$167,490|
|Model X Long Range||360 miles||$89,990||$114,990|
|Model X Plaid||340 miles||$119,990||$144,490|
**Range estimates as per Tesla, which is known to be aggressive in its advertised ranges.
Tesla website visitors in the US will see two different prices:
The purchase price is the real sticker price of the car. It’s also the price that we’ve used throughout this blog when discussing Tesla prices.
However, when you’re on the Tesla site and click on a specific car for more details, the 'Include potential savings' price is shown to users by default. This savings cost includes tax incentives and estimated "gasoline savings". This price is lower than the price that consumers will actually pay to purchase the car, and thus, in our opinion - not a very helpful number.
The Model 3 has an official starting price of $37,990 for its Standard Range Plus variant, making it the cheapest Tesla car currently offered. The car is very popular: it is the top-selling EV in the world, by a large margin.
The Model 3 - Tesla’s best-selling and cheapest vehicle - will set you back anywhere between $37,990 and $67,490 depending on trims and customizations. Image source: Tesla
While the Model 3 doesn’t have the performance or features of Tesla’s premium sedan offering (the Model S), it’s still classified as a luxury sedan by most auto magazines and websites. This puts the Model 3 in the same class as gas-powered cars such as the BMW 3 Series.
The Model 3 — like all Teslas — comes standard with a 4-year basic vehicle warranty and an 8-year battery and powertrain warranty.
The mid-level variant, the Model 3 Long Range - features all-wheel drive and gets you 90 miles more range; it starts at $45,990.
The top-level Performance trim, which begins at $55,990, sacrifices some of that extra range for better speed and acceleration, and throws in bells and whistles like 20” wheels and alloy pedals.
[Are you looking for a $35,000 Model 3? Elon Musk did repeatedly promise that it would cost this much, after all. Well, it was available - as a hard-to-find, ‘off-menu’ item - but was discontinued for 2021].
The Model Y is Tesla’s offering in the fast-growing crossover vehicle category. The Model Y has a starting price of $49,990 for the cheaper Long Range trim, and $60,990 for the higher-end Performance trim.
Need more space than a Model 3 but don’t have the budget for a Model X? The crossover Model Y might be what you’re looking for. It will cost you anywhere between $49,990 and $73,490, depending on variant and add-ons. Image: Tesla
The car drives, looks, and feels very similar to the Model 3. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise: 75% of it is built with parts from the Model 3. The main difference, of course, is that the Model Y is larger and offers more space, both for passengers and cargo.
The Model Y Long Range variant is available in two seating configurations: the standard two rows that seat five passengers, or three rows that seat seven, which costs an additional $3,000.
The Performance variant offers a sportier ride with a more luxe interior starting at $60,990. It does not, however, offer the option of a third row.
The Tesla Model S underwent a redesign in early 2021. It now has a starting price of $79,990 for the Long Range variant, which is more than $10,000 higher than its previous starting price. At this new price, you get a car with an impressive 412 miles of range and a refreshed interior with a powerful new infotainment system, along with other changes.
In January 2021, Tesla unveiled the ‘refreshed’ Model S, featuring new looks and better performance - as well as a higher price. The Model S now starts at $79,990 for the Long Range variant, and $119,990 for the Plaid. Image source: Tesla
If you’re looking for more speed, check out the three-motor Model S Plaid, which replaces the previous “Performance” variant. It will take you from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.99 seconds - making it the quickest production car currently in existence - and has a high speed of 200 mph. This variant has a starting price of $119,990.
If you want to go even further into exotic car territory (and are willing to wait) there’s the upcoming Model S Plaid+. It will be even quicker than the Model S Plaid, while offering an unrivaled EV range of 520+ miles. Tesla is currently promising delivery of the Plaid+ in mid 2022 on its website, where it's currently available on pre-order for a listed price of $149,990 and upwards.
The Model X is Tesla’s larger SUV option, known for its distinctive ‘falcon-wing’ doors. Like the Model S, the Model X has undergone a refresh for 2021, which has brought its starting price up to $89,990.
The Model X has also seen a design refresh accompanied by a price hike. The Model X Long Range variant now retails for $89,990, while the new Model X Plaid starts at $119,990. Image source: Tesla
Both variants of the Model X come with three seating options: 5-seater, 6-seater, and 7-seater. The 6-seater option uses captain’s chairs and is the most spacious configuration, but it’s also the most expensive, adding $6,500 to the price.
If you’re more interested in one of Tesla’s upcoming offerings, here’s a quick look at what you can expect to pay for each model, and when they're scheduled to be released.
|Model||Base price||Max price||Expected launch|
We recommend that you take both the estimated prices and release dates with a grain of salt, as Tesla is notorious for production delays and repeated changes to vehicle prices before and after their launches.
The reveal of the retro-futuristic Tesla Cybertruck in November 2019 definitely had people talking. While people have mixed feelings about its looks, all agree that if Tesla does actually deliver on the Tesla Cybertruck prices projected on its website, this pickup could pick up massive market share.
The most powerful (and most expensive) tri-motor variant is expected to enter production this year, with the cheaper dual and single-motor versions to follow afterwards.
You can currently book the Tesla Cybertruck by paying just $100 as a deposit.
Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk faced embarrassment when the Tesla Cybertruck’s 'armor glass' windows shattered during the vehicle’s unveiling. Despite the hiccup, a quarter of a million Americans paid the $100 deposit to book one. Image credit: Sky News
The new Tesla Roadster will be a major refresh of the first-generation Tesla Roadster (2008-2012). While not many were sold, the original Roadster changed the automotive scene by proving that an electric car could deliver amazing performance and come with decent range.
Tesla promises the new Tesla Roadster will be the fastest street-legal car yet, with a top speed of 250 mph and acceleration that will take the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds.
But all that speed won’t come cheap. The new Tesla Roadster will cost $200,000 a pop, or $250,000 if you want the Founder Series, which will be the first 1,000 produced.
In September 2020, Elon Musk teased the upcoming release of a new mass-market vehicle that will cost just $25,000. The announcement prompted feverish speculation among Tesla watchers; popular theories are that the new vehicle will be a hatchback and it will be named ‘Model 2.’ Guesswork aside, we have no concrete details about the car other than Tesla’s target price for it.
You may be able to find some cost savings at the state level, but that’s about it.
Other incentives that were previously available for Tesla purchases, such as the federal EV rebate and unlimited free supercharging for Model S and Model X, have now ended.
Some states offer generous cash incentives and tax rebates for EV purchases.
In November 2020, California introduced a ‘Clean Fuel Reward’ incentive on all new electric car purchases; the maximum amount ($1,500) applies to all Teslas. California also offers up to $7,000 based on income requirements.
Colorado, meanwhile, offers an impressive $2,500 in state tax credit if you buy an EV with cash, or $1,500 if you lease one.
Other states offer associated benefits like reduced or free tolls, and unlimited access to HOV lanes.
This incentive is only offered for cars bought through referrals. The way it works is simple: if you purchase a new Tesla car using a referral link provided by someone you know, both you and the referrer will earn 1,000 miles of free supercharging.
This $7,500 incentive played a big role in boosting early Tesla sales. However, Tesla has fallen victim to its own success: Tesla is the first manufacturer that no longer offers the tax incentive on its EVs.
The incentive reduction was triggered by Tesla reaching the milestone of 200,000 EVs sold back in July 2018. The incentive is allocated on a sliding scale, so when any EV automaker reaches the 200,000 EV sales benchmark, the incentive is reduced before disappearing entirely, as it did for Tesla at the end of 2019.
Note: All other car manufacturers still qualify for the rebate, except for General Motors, whose rebate expired in April 2020.
The customization options for Teslas are quite limited. While that means there’s fewer decisions to make when you’re buying your Tesla, it also means less freedom to personalize your vehicle when compared to, say, the Porsche Taycan.
The table below shows you all Tesla add-on options and how much they cost.
|Feature||Model 3||Model Y||Model S||Model X|
|Full Self-Driving Capability (Autopilot)||$10,000||$10,000||$10,000||$10,000|
|Six Seat Interior||-||-||-||$6,500|
|Seven Seat Interior||-||$3,000||-||$3,500|
|Black and White||$1,000||$1,000||-||-|
|All Black - Ebony Decor (Long Range variants only)||-||-||Standard||Standard|
|All Black - Carbon Fiber Decor (Plaid/Plaid+ variants only)||-||-||Standard||Standard|
|Black and White - Walnut Decor (Long Range variants only)||-||-||$2,000||$2,000|
|Black and White - Carbon Fiber Decor (Plaid/Plaid+ variants only)||-||-||$2,000||$2,000|
|Cream - Walnut Decor (Long Range variants only)||-||-||$2,000||$2,000|
|Cream - Carbon Fiber Decor (Plaid/Plaid+ variants only)||-||-||$2,000||$2,000|
|Pearl White Multi-Coat||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard|
|Solid Black, Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic||$1,000||$1,000||$1,500||$1,500|
**Seven Seat Interior only available for the the Long Range variant
The crown jewel of Tesla’s additional options is the Full Self-Driving Capability, the more powerful version of the default Autopilot. This is the feature that allows Autopilot navigation, auto-lane change, autopark and the parking lot Summon feature. It costs the exact same for all Tesla models: $10,000.
The color customizations are also the same across all Tesla vehicles, though costs can vary, based on the model.
The availability of some customizations is more limited; the Carbon Fiber Decor interior styling, for instance, is only available for the Plaid versions of the Model X and Model S and the Performance and Plaid versions of the Model S.
Note: Tesla also offers several different wheel options based on model and version.
Yes, there are several additional expenses you have to account for.
Of course, this is the case with buying a car from any manufacturer. The total price you end up paying to complete the purchase process is always several thousand dollars higher than the advertised price.
Here are the various costs you should be prepared for when you buy a Tesla:
The good news is that the refundable $1,000 reservation fee and $2,500 order deposit that Tesla used to charge on all cars were dropped in 2019.
In addition to the tangible tax credits mentioned above, Tesla proudly promotes that its EVs provide “gasoline savings,” as well. Since you’re recharging your car battery rather than buying gas, the automaker assures that buying their EVs are cost-effective because of the savings you’ll see when it comes to gas money.
The gasoline savings that Tesla shows you varies depending on the model you select. But all their figures are calculated assuming that the average driver spends roughly $2.58 per gallon, and drives an average of 10,000 miles per year for six years.
Of course, gas savings can vary a lot based on where, and even how, you drive. Luckily, there are useful websites that allow you to calculate the actual gas savings you can expect with a Tesla.
If you’re charging a Tesla at home using utility power, it will cost you roughly $10-20 to charge a Tesla from a zero charge.
Another way to look at this cost is by the cost per mile metric. We analyzed the data and found that it cost between 2.9 and 4.7 cents per mile to charge a Tesla, depending on the make and model.
This compares very favorably when compared with the cost per mile to drive popular gas-powered vehicles, which is approximately 20 cents per mile.
And if you install solar panels on your home and use the power generated to charge your Tesla, the charging cost will be even lower.
Check out our detailed blog on the cost of charging a Tesla.
Teslas cost much less to service and maintain than traditional gas-powered vehicles. The reason for this is simple: EVs have much fewer moving parts than gas engines, and thus have less need for service and repairs.
In fact, according to Tesla, an annual maintenance service - which it once offered - is not necessary, and instead recommends a service only when you need to replace a part.
One estimate by a Tesla Model 3 owner calculated a 5-year maintenance cost of around $980 - compared to $3,974 for maintaining a Honda Accord for the same period of time. This may be a slightly optimistic assessment - the writer owned the car for less than a year and recommends changing parts yourself to save money - but it still points to substantial savings for Tesla owners.
While Tesla’s EVs aren’t the cheapest cars around, they offer plenty of bang for buck. They have innovative designs, the best-possible safety rating, and the longest ranges currently available for EVs.
You will also benefit from lower operating costs, especially due to the lower cost of charging an EV when compared to fuel costs for gas vehicles. Whether you choose to buy a Tesla now, later, or buy an electric vehicle from a rival car-maker, it's clear that EVs are the future.
And since EVs run on electricity and the cheapest source of electricity is generating your own solar power, you should definitely consider getting solar panels installed!
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