How Much Does a Tesla Car Cost?

Last Updated on February 21, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Tesla is one of the biggest names in electric vehicles. As Tesla cars grow in popularity, many prospective buyers want to know – how much does a Tesla cost? This article provides detailed pricing information across the Tesla lineup.

We’ll look at base prices, available upgrades, additional ownership costs, incentives, and more to help you understand the total cost of buying and owning a Tesla EV.

How Much Does a Tesla Car Cost?

Tesla vehicles offer a broad range of pricing options from $43,490 up to $250,000 and more, allowing buyers to customize their cars according to their preferences and budget. Here’s a look at the typical cost spans:

  • Model 3 – $43,490 to $59,990
  • Model Y – $53,490 to $69,990
  • Model S – $84,990 to $134,490
  • Model X – $108,490 to $138,490
  • Roadster – $200,000 to $250,000 (estimated)

Keep in mind that these prices can fluctuate and go even higher depending on the upgrades selected. The wide range illustrates how buyers can equip a Tesla to their preferences and budget.

EnergySage writes that the base price range for Tesla cars in 2024 is between $42,990 and $119,990 for a new vehicle, before any tax credits or customization.

Solar Reviews notes that the cheapest Tesla model is the base Model 3, which starts at $40,240. The Model S has the highest price tag, starting at $108,490.

According to MotorTrend, the dual-motor Tesla Model X now goes for $81,380, down from its recent charge of $122,190.

Overview of Tesla’s Electric Vehicle Models

Founded in 2003, Tesla launched its first car – the sporty, electric Roadster – in 2008. Today, Tesla offers several electric vehicle models aimed at different segments:

  • Model S – Tesla’s premium electric sedan with up to 405 miles of range. The Model S starts at $84,990.
  • Model 3 – Tesla’s compact electric sedan. The Model 3 is Tesla’s most affordable car with a starting price of $43,490.
  • Model X – Tesla’s mid-size luxury SUV with falcon wing doors. The Model X is priced from $108,490.
  • Model Y – Tesla’s new compact electric SUV built on the Model 3 platform. The Model Y starts at $53,490.
  • Roadster – Tesla’s upcoming electric supercar is expected to launch in 2023 starting at $200,000.

As you can see, Tesla cars span a wide range of prices depending on the model. Read on as we take a detailed look at the cost factors for Tesla vehicles.

The Base Price of Each Tesla Model

The base price gets you the most basic version of each Tesla model. Here are key details on what’s included at the base level:

Model S

The Model S starts at $84,990 for the rear-wheel drive Long Range version. The base price includes:

  • Dual motor all-wheel drive
  • 19″ Tempest Wheels
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Premium audio system
  • Basic Autopilot

Model 3

The most affordable Tesla, the Model 3 has a base price of $43,490. The standard equipment includes:

  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 18″ Aero Wheels
  • Premium interior
  • Single center screen
  • Basic Autopilot

Model X

This electric SUV starts at $108,490 for the five-seat version with dual motor all-wheel drive. Standard features are:

  • 20″ Silver Wheels
  • Black and cream premium interior
  • Premium audio system
  • Basic Autopilot

Model Y

Built on the Model 3 platform, the Model Y has a base price of $53,490. Here’s what comes standard:

  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 19″ Gemini Wheels
  • All black interior
  • Basic Autopilot

As expected, base prices increase for the larger, premium Models S and X. But there are many ways to customize and upgrade a Tesla that can raise the price significantly.

You might also like our articles about the cost of charging a Tesla, replacing a car battery, and the cost of a Tesla magnet.

Cost of Popular Tesla Upgrades and Options

Tesla MaintainanceTesla offers many premium upgrades and options to customize your vehicle. Here are some of the most popular add-ons and their additional cost:

  • Long Range battery – Adds up to $10,000 for extended range up to 405 miles.
  • Performance package – $2,000-$6,500 boosts acceleration and top speed.
  • Full Self-Driving Capability – $8,000 for Tesla’s advanced autonomous driving feature.
  • Third row seats – $6,500 on Model X for additional passenger capacity.
  • Premium interior – $4,500-$5,500 upgrades interior materials like wood décor and leather.
  • Enhanced Autopilot – $6,000 for advanced driver assistance features.
  • Tow package – $1,000 adds tow hitch and trailer features.

With so many upgrades available beyond the base models, many Tesla configurations end up costing $10,000-$20,000 more than list price.

Additional Costs of Owning a Tesla Vehicle

Beyond just the car’s purchase price, there are ongoing ownership costs to consider with a Tesla EV:

  • Insurance – $100 to $250 per month depending on age, driving history and location. Tesla insurance is also now available.
  • Charging – Home charging runs around $35 per month. Public charging varies by station fees and electricity rates.
  • Maintenance – Tesla maintenance is minimal, averaging $700 per year including tires.
  • Registration/fees – $300 to $800 annually varies by state.

While electricity and maintenance are less than a gas car, consider all recurring costs when budgeting for a Tesla. Insurance, fees and public charging can impact the overall expense.

Savings and Incentives for Tesla Vehicles

The upfront cost for a Tesla EV can be daunting. However, buyers can offset some of the initial price through incentives and long-term savings:

  • $7,500 Federal Tax Credit – All Tesla cars are eligible for the full electric vehicle federal tax credit.
  • State/local incentives – Additional rebates up to $5,000 are available in some areas.
  • Fuel savings – With far lower electricity costs vs. gasoline, buyers save $5,000+ over 5 years.
  • Reduced maintenance – EVs have fewer mechanical parts requiring less annual upkeep.
  • HOV lane access – Electric cars can use HOV lanes in some states.
  • Resale value – Tesla cars historically retain value better than gas models.

While offsetting costs upfront, the incentives and lower operating costs help reduce the lifetime expense of Tesla ownership.

Choosing the Right Tesla for Your Budget

With Tesla’s lineup spanning everything from an attainable Model 3 to a supercar Roadster, there’s flexibility to choose the right EV for your financial situation:

  • The Model 3 and Model Y provide the most affordable entry points to Tesla ownership for budget-minded buyers.
  • The premium Model S and versatile Model X appeal to buyers wanting greater size, luxury, and performance with prices reaching up to $140,000.
  • The futuristic Roadster with its $200,000+ price tag is exclusively for exotic car enthusiasts and ultra-wealthy buyers.

Think about your needs, intended use, and budget when deciding on a Tesla. An affordable Model 3 can still deliver a great EV experience. But those wanting prestige can splurge for the top models and upgrades.

Conclusion – What Determines the Cost of Tesla Cars?

In the end, the total cost of a Tesla comes down to:

  • Base Model – Model S and X have higher starting prices than Model 3 and Y.
  • Range Needs – A long-range battery adds $10,000 to the cost.
  • Performance and Features – More premium options increase price.
  • Customization – Personalized upgrades and add-ons.
  • Incentives – Tax credits and rebates can lower effective prices.
  • Ownership Costs – Lower maintenance but higher insurance costs.

For many buyers, stretching to get their desired Tesla model and customizations is worth the investment. Despite higher upfront costs, Tesla cars represent meaningful long-term savings and environmental benefits compared to gas cars.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Tesla determine its pricing?

Tesla takes several factors into account when setting their vehicle pricing, including:

  • Production costs – The battery and manufacturing costs significantly influence the base price. As production scales, Tesla can lower costs and reduce pricing.
  • Competitive landscape – Tesla prices models competitively with luxury gas rivals like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.
  • Customer demand – Popular models like Model 3 allow room for higher pricing and margins.
  • Technology upgrades – Major tech improvements like new batteries support higher prices for customers.
  • Strategic positioning – Early on, Tesla priced cars higher to establish a premium brand image.

How much does it cost to maintain a Tesla?

The average cost to maintain a Tesla is around $700 per year. Teslas require far less routine maintenance than gas cars since they have fewer mechanical parts and fluids. Tire rotation and battery maintenance are the main regular service items.

Tesla cars can save owners thousands in annual maintenance costs relative to traditional vehicles.

How long will a Tesla car last?

Tesla batteries and motors are designed to last for over 300,000 to 500,000 miles. The cars are built well and early Tesla Model S sedans have reached over 400,000 miles driven.

Overall, a properly maintained Tesla should operate for 10-15 years at a minimum, on par with most gas-powered cars. The long-term durability and low maintenance of Tesla cars make them a cost-effective choice.

What are the negatives of owning a Tesla?

Some potential downsides of Tesla ownership include:

  • Expensive initial purchase cost if unable to utilize tax credits
  • Availability of public charging stations in some areas
  • Advanced features like Full Self-Driving require higher trim levels
  • Build quality or reliability issues on earlier models
  • Parts and service delays since Tesla cars are only serviced at Tesla shops

However, as the public charging networks expand and Tesla improves production efficiency, many of these drawbacks are diminishing. For most owners, the positive experience of driving an innovative Tesla EV far outweighs any disadvantages.

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