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How Much Does a Tesla Cost and How to Pay for It

Tesla debuted in 2008 with the Roadster, and since then, has aimed to change the way we think about driving and buying cars.

The electric car company has grown quickly to rival sales of competing luxury cars, and people pay a small fee to reserve a vehicle when a new model is announced. Tesla has had trouble keeping up with demand even as it delivered 367,500 vehicles in 2019, some of which topped out at six-digit prices.

Today, the base price of a new Tesla ranges from $37,990 to $99,990 for its four current models, though you’ll likely pay more for options and extras to put one in your driveway. Tesla financing is one way to get the popular electric vehicle brand for yourself, but we’ll walk you through other options as well.

How much does a Tesla cost?

Tesla still hasn’t achieved the $35,000 vehicle it promised several years ago, but it has come close after cutting prices in May 2020. Its lowest-priced vehicle, the rear-wheel drive (RWD) Standard Range Plus model, starts at $37,990. Here’s a closer look at Tesla’s prices as of June 19, 2020.

Tesla Pricing
Model S Long Range Plus (AWD) $74,990
Performance (AWD) $94,990
Model X Long Range Plus (AWD) $79,990
Performance (AWD) $99,990
Model 3 Standard Range Plus (RWD) $37,990
Long Range (AWD) $46,990
Performance (AWD) $54,990
Model Y
Production to begin on a Standard Range version in 2021.
Long Range (AWD) $52,990
Performance (AWD) $60,990
Cybertruck
Production expected to begin in 2021.
Single Motor (RWD) $39,900
Dual Motor (AWD) $49,900
Tri-Motor (AWD) $69,900

Model S

The choices of Tesla’s flagship sedan say it all: range vs. performance. With the Long Range Plus version, you get a more extended estimated range and less performance in acceleration and top speed.

With the Performance model, you can experience an impressive acceleration of zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.3 seconds, thanks to Ludicrous Mode and the all-wheel-drive (AWD) powered by two motors.

Here’s a look at the prices for the two versions of the Tesla Model S and what you get for each.

Tesla Model S
Base Price Estimated Range Top Speed
Long Range Plus (AWD) $74,990 402 miles 155 mph
Performance (AWD) $94,990 348 miles 163 mph

Model X

The Model X fills the role of an SUV in Tesla’s lineup, with optional three-row seating that can seat six or seven people. While the “falcon wing” rear doors make the Model X look like a spaceship about to blast off, they provide easy access for the rear passengers. It has the same luxury interior options as the Model S — however, that extra space comes at a premium price compared to the Model S.

Tesla Model X
Base Price Estimated Range Top Speed
Long Range Plus (AWD) $79,990 351 miles 155 mph
Performance (AWD) $99,990 305 miles 163 mph

Model 3

The Model 3 was designed as a mass-market electric car, an affordable EV alternative to some of the top sedans like those from Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet. It seats five adults and scores highly on safety ratings. But it’s no slouch in the performance department either, as you go zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds in the top-of-the-line version. The dual-motor all-wheel-drive versions are designed for grippy traction in inclement weather.

Tesla Model 3
Base Price Estimated Range Top Speed
Standard Range Plus (RWD) $37,990 250 miles 140 mph
Long Range (AWD) $46,990 322 miles 145 mph
Performance (AWD) $54,990 299 miles 162 mph

Model Y

Just as the Model 3 is a lower-priced sedan, the Model Y is a lower-priced Tesla SUV. It can carry up to five adults with room for cargo, and more when the seven-seat option becomes available in 2021. The panoramic glass roof provides a spacious view from every seat, while its folding seats offer useful storage space.

The Long Range Plus and Performance versions are available for order; production on a standard range version is expected to begin in early 2021.

Tesla Model Y
Base Price Estimated Range Top Speed
Long Range Plus (AWD) $52,990 316 miles 135 mph
Performance (AWD) $60,990 315 miles 145 mph

Cybertruck

The Cybertruck wowed the automotive and technology worlds when it was unveiled in November 2019, blending a sports car’s performance with the workhorse attitude of a pickup truck wrapped in out-of-this-world styling. Production for the Cybertruck is scheduled to ramp up in 2021; you can reserve one today with $100 down.

Tesla Cybertruck
Base Price Estimated Range Towing Capacity
Single Motor (RWD) $39,900 250 miles 7,500 lbs
Dual Motor (AWD) $49,900 300 miles 10,000 lbs
Tri-Motor (AWD) $69,900 500 miles 14,000 lbs

Upcoming Tesla models

Tesla has said that the new Roadster model will be “the quickest car in the world,” based on acceleration, range and performance. It will run zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 250 mph or more. The battery will provide 620 miles of range — of course, driving enthusiasm could reduce that distance. The Roadster will seat four people under a removable glass roof.

A reservation of $50,000 will claim a spot on the waiting list for the car with a base price of $200,000. A limited-edition Founders Series is an additional $50,000.

Which Tesla model is right for you?

For now, Tesla offers two sedan choices as well as two SUV choices — that is, until it rolls out its new Roadster and Cybertruck. We’ll compare its premium offerings, the Model S and Model X, and the lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y.

Model S vs. Model X

This pair is the premium level of the Tesla lineup, with performance and style to match. But each model serves a different purpose. Here’s a comparison.

Best FOR: The Model X is aimed at families that need passenger and cargo room or those who prefer the higher seating position of an SUV. The Model S is a sporty luxury sedan for those who like to ride in style and comfort.

Style

The Model X borrows styling cues from Model S, but is larger overall. The Model X is sleek and futuristic, looking like it’s about to take off even when it’s parked, with those falcon wing doors that fold up and out for access in tight parking spaces — however, those incredible doors make it impossible to fit a roof rack. Plus, it’s taller and sits about two inches higher off the ground.

Performance

Both models offer the same top speed, for each version. The Model S has faster zero to 60 miles per hour times.

Range

The Model S offers 50 miles longer range on paper, but an owner may not see much difference in real-world driving. However, the more extended range may help address range anxiety during long-distance trips.

Price

The Model X is about $5,000 more than the Model S for each model. The options are the same price.

Model 3 vs. Model Y

The Model 3 comes in three versions, each with progressively longer ranges and higher prices. The all-wheel-drive models use two motors to drive front and rear axles for additional performance.

The Model Y debuted with the Long Range Plus and Performance versions. Those looking for the lower-priced standard rear-wheel-drive version will have to wait until 2021.

best for: With seating for five or optional seating for seven (the latter will be available in 2021), the Model Y is the best choice for those who need the space.

Style

Like their larger siblings, the Model 3 and Model Y bear a striking family resemblance. Notably, though, the Model Y has higher ground clearance and larger dimensions to provide additional interior space.

Performance

The lighter Model 3 has higher top speeds across all versions.

Range

The Model Y offers longer range than two of the three Model 3 options. The Long Range Plus Model 3 tops the list at 322 miles.

Price

The comparable Model 3 options are $6,000 less expensive than the Model Y. It’s likely the standard version of the Model Y will be priced accordingly.

Tesla Model Comparison
Model S Model X Model 3 Model Y
Performance
(0-60 mph)
2.3 – 3.7 2.6 – 4.4 3.2 – 4.4 – 5.3 3.5 – 4.8
Range
(miles)
348 – 402 305 – 351 250 – 299 – 322 315 – 316
Passenger Capacity 5 adults 5, 6 or 7 adults 5 adults Up to 7 adults
Cargo 28 cu. ft. 88 cu. ft. 15 cu. ft. 68 cu. ft.
Displays 2 – Driver display & 17-in. touchscreen 2 – Driver display & 17-in. touchscreen 1 – 15-in. center touchscreen 1 – 15-in. center touchscreen
Supercharging Network Pay Per Use Pay Per Use Pay Per Use Pay Per Use

Tesla equipment: standard vs. add-ons

Tesla vehicles come with an impressive list of safety and convenience features. Some items that were optional in the past are now standard, simplifying the options list considerably.

Standard equipment

All new Tesla cars come standard with features including emergency braking, collision warning and blind-spot monitoring. Each Tesla includes 360 degrees of camera coverage, forward-looking radar and ultrasonic sensors to prevent potential collisions and assist with parking.

Autopilot

The autopilot feature that has grabbed headlines is standard, too. A Tesla is able to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. The National Transportation Safety Board found that Tesla’s autopilot feature was partially to blame for a 2018 fatal crash; however, Tesla says autopilot is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver.

Tesla add-ons

Buyers can prepare their cars for full self-driving mode when it becomes available by choosing the $7,000 self-driving option now; doing so locks in the price. Drivers can add self-driving later, but Tesla cautions that prices may increase.

Tesla Model S add-ons to consider

Many of the features that were options on the Model S in the past are now included, such as the HEPA air filtration system and premium audio system.

Model S Options
Standard Add-ons
Autopilot Full self-driving – $7,000
All black carbon fiber seating Black and white carbon fiber – $1,500
Cream oak wood decor – $1,500
Solid black or pearl white multi-coat paint Premium colors – $1,500 to $2,500
19-in. tempest wheels 19-in. carbon slipstream wheels – $1,500
21-in. sonic carbon twin turbine wheels – $4,500
Tesla Model X add-ons to consider

The six- or seven-seat options add room for friends and family to enjoy the ride.

Model X Options
Standard Add-ons
Autopilot Full self-driving – $7,000
Figured ashwood seating Dark ash wood decor – $1,500
Cream oak wood decor – $1,500
Seating for five Six-seat interior – $6,500
Seven-seat interior – $3,500
Solid black or pearl white multi-coat paint Premium colors – $1,500 to $2,500
20-in. silver wheels 20-in. two-tone slipstream wheels – $2,000
22-in. onyx black wheels – $5,500
Tesla Model 3 add-ons to consider

The Model 3 options list is aimed primarily at cosmetic upgrades to make your sedan stand out on the highway.

Model 3 Options
Standard Add-ons
Autopilot Full self-driving – $7,000
All black seating Black and white – $1,000
Solid black or pearl white multi-coat paint Premium colors – $1,000 to $2,000
18-in. aero wheels 19-in. sport wheels – $1,500
Tesla Model Y add-ons to consider

Adding the seven-seat option helps the Model Y stack up against other three-row family SUV choices in the market.

Model Y Options
Standard Add-ons
Autopilot Full self-driving – $7,000
All black seating Black and white – $1,000
Seating for five Seven-seat interior – $3,000 (available in 2021)
Solid black or pearl white multi-coat paint Premium colors – $1,000 to $2,000
Tow hitch – $1,000
19-in. Gemini wheels 20-in. induction wheels – $2,000

How to pay for your Tesla

Like other auto manufacturers, Tesla financing options include its own lending and leasing programs. You could also obtain your own car loan by working directly with banks, credit unions or online lenders. But no matter which path you choose, it’s always a good idea to get your own preapproval offer — if Tesla can beat it, you’ll know you’re getting the best deal possible.

Tesla lending

Tesla is offering rates as low as 2.99% APR for qualified buyers as of June 19, 2020. Here’s an example of what it might cost to finance a Model 3 Standard Range Plus with Tesla.

Tesla Financing Example
Loan Terms APR 2.99%, 72 months
Vehicle MSRP $37,990
Down Payment $4,500
Monthly Payment $527

Terms are also available for 48 and 60 months. Estimated payments do not include taxes, tags and title fees.

Note that Tesla financing may not be available in all states — some states ban direct auto sales by manufacturers, though some have made allowances for carmakers that only offer EVs.

Tesla leasing

Tesla also offers leasing for 24- or 36-month terms and with different annual mileage options — 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000. Here’s an example for a Model S Long Range Plus.

Tesla Leasing Example
Lease Terms 10,000 mile per year
36 months
Vehicle MSRP $74,990
Down Payment $7,500
Additional Due at Signing $1,616
Monthly Payment $921

Lease prices do not include taxes or fees. Leasing from Tesla is available in 39 states and Washington D.C. You must return the car to Tesla at the end of the lease.

Other financing options

Financing a Tesla through a bank or credit union is similar to other luxury car loans. You may be able to find loan terms up to 84 months, longer than those offered by Tesla, at potentially lower rates. Your credit score and payment history will affect the terms for which you may qualify.

With LendingTree, you can receive up to five loan offers from lenders with one online form, depending on your creditworthiness.

What are the tax incentives to own a Tesla?

Federal tax incentives are no longer available on Tesla cars because the manufacturer has sold over the number set by federal law. However, there are state, local and utility incentives available for electric vehicle buyers. You may also be able to take advantage of benefits such as reduced taxes, carpool lanes and free parking.

Tesla lists the following state incentives for buying new Tesla vehicles.

Tesla Tax Incentives
Arizona Reduced vehicle license tax and carpool lane access
California $2,000 rebate for Model 3 and Model Y
Colorado $4,000 tax credit for purchase of a new vehicle
$2,000 tax credit for lease of a new vehicle
Connecticut $1,500 rebate for new vehicles with a base price under $42,000
Exemption from state emissions testing
Reduced vehicle registration fee
Delaware $2,500 rebate for new vehicles with a base price under $60,000
$500 rebate available for home charging installation
Florida Funding may be available for home charging installation assistance
Hawaii Carpool lane access and reduced rates for electric vehicle charging
Idaho State exemption from vehicle inspection & maintenance program
Illinois EV exemption from state emissions testing; reduced registration fees
Louisiana $2,500 income tax credit
Maine $2,000 rebate for new vehicles with a base price under $50,000
Maryland $3,000 excise tax credit for new vehicles with a total price under $60,000
$700 rebate on wall connectors and installation
Qualified vehicles are exempt from emissions testing
Massachusetts $2,500 rebate for new vehicles with a purchase price under $50,000
Nevada Reduced rates for electric vehicle charging
AFV parking fee & state emissions testing exemptions
New Jersey $5,000 rebate for purchase or lease of a new vehicle with a base price under $55,000
Sales tax exemption
10% discount on off-peak toll prices on NJT & GSP through EZ-Pass
New York $500 rebate for new vehicles with a base price over $60,000
$2,000 rebate for new vehicles with a base price under $60,000
State emissions testing exception
North Carolina State emissions testing exemption & HOV lane access
Oregon Standard rebate of $2,500 for purchase or lease of a new Tesla
Charge Ahead rebate of $2,500 for purchase or lease of new or used Tesla for eligible customers
Rhode Island State emissions testing exemption
Vermont Depending on income level, up to $5,000 rebate for purchase or lease of a new vehicle with a base price under $40,000
Washington A retail sales tax reduction is available on the purchase or lease of a new vehicle.
Washington D.C. Excise tax exempt
Reduced vehicle registration fees
Tax credit for 50% of costs of home charging installation, up to $1,000

These incentives are available when customers purchase a Tesla vehicle with cash or a loan. However, note that these incentives are limited to the following states when leasing a Tesla vehicle:  California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee.

 

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