How much does a Tesla cost?

Image credit: Tesla

In 2018 Tesla became the first new auto manufacturer to reach mass production in the US in decades, and it did it with electric vehicles. Moreover, its Model 3 became one of the best selling cars in the country as the manufacturing began nearing its production goals of 5,000 vehicles per week. That mass production also means that Tesla also became the first auto manufacturer to surpass 200,000 EVs sold in the US—an important threshold for IRC 30D tax credit, a federal incentive program, under which buyers could expect to save $7,500. Now that company has sold over 250,000 EVs, the company’s cars will receive lower rebates throughout 2019. They will receive $3,750 rebates between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2019, and $1,875 rebates from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Many states and even some utilities offer incentives and rebates for buying EVs, which help reduce the costs of the vehicles even more. For instance, California offers an income-based tax credit of up to $2,500, and Colorado offers a $5,000 tax credit for buying an EV. The Model 3 is Tesla’s least expensive model and quickly became its most popular model, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised a $35,000 version of the car. However, the cheapest version of the vehicle that’s available (as of January 2019) has a base price of $44,000. Between Jan. 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019 buyers will receive a $3,750 federal rebate, dropping that model’s price to $40,250. Then the rebate falls to $1,875 between July 1, 2019, and the end of 2019, making that model $42,125.

Tesla’s other models command much higher prices. In 2019, the Model S sedan starts at $94,000 and the Model X crossover or SUV model starts at $97,000, are available. It’s $200,000 to $250,000 supercar, the Roadster, was announced in 2017 but won’t be expected for delivery until 2020. The rebate levels and dates are the same for the Model S and Model x vehicles. Tesla’s site said it expects the standard battery option for the Model 3, which should have the $35,000 base price, will be available within 4 to 6 months. That will likely have a base price as low as $35,000 and a range of at least 220 miles per charge. Making it a more realistic vehicle for middle-class families in the US. It’s perfect timing, too. EVs across the board are becoming more affordable as competition ramps up, the costs of battery technologies come down and more consumers are interested in the benefits of EVs, like lower operating costs, and home charging in conjunction with a solar system and home energy storage systems.

Even if you can’t afford the cost of a more than $70,000 luxury vehicle like the Tesla Model S or can’t wait for the Model 3, you still have options beyond Tesla’s EVs, like the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Bolt, or other options, including some from BMW and Mercedes Benz. The Bolt, which has a base price of $36,620 and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated range of 238 miles per charge, is likely the closest competitor to Tesla’s widely anticipated baseline Model 3, however. Before getting to the cost of Tesla EVs, be aware that you can’t bargain for a Tesla, like buying another car at a dealership. Tesla owns all of its car stores. So the MSRP is what you can expect to pay for a Tesla and Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn’t want it any other way.

In October 2016, for instance, Musk publicly chided his sales team for offering discounts on a factory new Tesla. "There can never -- and I mean never -- be a discount on a new car coming out of the factory in pristine condition," Musk stated in the letter. "This is why I always pay full price when I buy a car and the same applies to my family friends, celebrities, no matter how famous or influential."

Wait, Really no Bargaining?

Well, there are still some ways to get a price break on a new Tesla. Owners of Tesla’s vehicles can refer others to Tesla for certain price reductions, which in the past have included $1,000 off the price or unlimited free usage of Superchargers. Another potential way to save a little cash is to see if the Tesla dealership has any vehicles that others ordered but canceled before picking them up, they might be eligible for a discount, observes a forum post on Tesla’s site. The other option is to see if you can purchase a demo vehicle from the sales office or if the office has any Tesla vehicles that were delivered in damaged or non-pristine form.

Another way to score a Tesla for less is to look at used Teslas. As the company has introduced more and new models, buyers have upgraded or sold their Tesla for a newer model, which means a chance to score a great, used EV at a lower price. The company keeps a listing of locally available used EVs on its site.

Tesla car prices 2019 Models and Specifications

Model2019 Base Prices Low to High (by model)EPA-Rated Mileage per ChargeTop Speed (mph)0-60 mph (in seconds)
Model 3 Standard* $35,000 220 130 5.6
Model 3 Mid-Range (rear-wheel drive) $44,000 264 140 5.6
Long Range Battery (dual-motor all-wheel drive) $51,000 310 145 4.5
Performance (dual-motor all-wheel drive) $62,000 310 155 3.3
Model S 100D $94,000 335 155 4.1
Model S P100D $133,000 315 155 2.5
Model X 100D $97,000 295 155 4.7
Model X P100D $138,000 289 155 2.9
Roadster* $200,000 620 250+ 1.9
Roadster Founders Series* $250,000 620 250+ 1.9

*Not available as of January 2019.

What’s the difference in Tesla’s performance packages?

With the introduction of the Model 3 Teslas and evolution of its battery packs, Tesla is changing its performance package offerings a bit. All of its current Model S and Model X vehicles have 100 kilowatt-hour battery packs. The 100 D models are slightly lighter, have a slightly longer range, between 6 and 20 miles, but are slower to accelerate than the P100D models of each vehicle. All of these models are all-wheel drive with dual motors

The Model 3 is offered in more configurations and though Tesla has not stated the energy capacity of the batteries, it’s expected they are offered in a 50 kWh, 62 kWh, and 75 kWh configuration. The Standard option, which is expected later in 2019 will have an estimated range of 220 miles. The Mid-Range, rear-wheel drive has a range of 240 miles and both of its dual-motor, all-wheel drive, long-range Model 3’s have a range of 310 miles per charge.

Another thing to consider about Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles is that its network of SuperChargers offers free, fast charging for the first six months of ownership. Owners of the Model 3 electric cars will pay to charge their vehicles at the Superchargers. So, if considering a Model 3 getting a powerful, efficient home charger will be important. That’s something that can help with understanding.

So how much do the other models cost?

In 2018 Tesla’s most expensive vehicles are the P100D versions of the S and X. The P100D Model X has a max price of $157,000 in 2019, including a $5,500 wheel option, a $6,000 seating option, enhanced autopilot and more. The P100D Model S has a max price of $145,000 with all available options including a $4,500 wheel option, improved autopilot and more.

What’s the best way to charge my Tesla?

Teslas come with a plug that allow owners to charge their vehicles at home overnight using a standard 110-volt outlet in the US. But the amount of power that can flow through one of those outlets is much less than the vehicle can handle and essentially trickle charges its batteries, adding about 5 miles of range for every hour charged. A more practical solution uses a higher amperage and 240 volts of power, like the larger plugs that clothes dryers, electric stovetops, and some other larger appliances use. With these chargers a homeowner can charge a Tesla within as little as 6 hours. The Supercharger stations use even higher voltage and amperage to add up to 170 miles of range to a Tesla within about a half hour.

This is where rooftop solar power and energy storage systems can shine. By using these with an energy management system, the energy management system can provide the least expensive way to power both your home and your EV. In areas with time-of-use charges, the system can buy power off the grid when it’s cheapest, use the power stored in the energy storage system to power your Tesla or use power from the sun directly to charge your vehicle’s batteries.

How much does a Tesla car cost to charge?

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