Ever Wondered What It Costs To Own A Tesla?

What Does It Cost To Own A Tesla?

There is a huge amount of interest in Tesla’s vehicles. The company has rewritten the rules for developing and producing electric vehicles, and has justifiably captured the imagination of the public. This has, unfortunately, also resulted in a huge amount of unsubstantiated hype around Tesla and its products.

In the interest of injecting a much-needed dose of reality into the conversation about Tesla, we have created this series of articles on the actual cost of owning a Tesla. It goes into great detail on all the costs and expenses related to owning one of these advanced vehicles. This way, you can decide whether Tesla ownership makes economic sense for you.

In the first article, we present to you the retail pricing structure of the three current Tesla vehicles, the cost of their options, and other related details.


Part 1: Buying A Tesla

by Brad Dias

Tesla is leading the charge for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Its newest vehicle has accumulated more than a half million reservations. Its current models offer superior performance with zero gasoline cost. It is no wonder that many people are eyeing a Tesla for their next car.

The Tesla model line consists of three different models, sold in a variety of versions with many optional extras: the Model S, the Model X, and the recently released Model 3. Let’s look at the first part of owning a Tesla in the United States – what it costs to purchase.

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is the first completely Tesla-made production model. It followed the limited run of the earlier Lotus-based Roadster. The Model S is positioned as an upscale luxury sedan and has become one of the world’s best known electric cars. Its base price starts at $74,500 and can go well over $135,000, before you add options. Head over to our Tesla Electric cars reviews to read our Tesla Model S P100D review

Base Prices

Model S Type Base Price (in USD)
75D $74500
100D $94000
P100D $135000


Prices do not include $1200 Destination and Documentation Fee

Optional Extras

Each Model S can be customised to become very much your own. The optional extras are listed in the table below. Most of these are self-explanatory, except for the Premium Upgrades package. This includes an air filtration system that removes bacteria and pollutants from the cabin, a custom audio system with satellite radio capabilities, heated seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper blade defrosters.

Options for Model S Cost (in USD)
Enhanced Autopilot $5000
Full Self-Driving (includes Enhanced Autopilot) $8000
Rear Facing seats to hold 7 people $4000
Premium Upgrades Package (for 75D and 100D) $5000
Interior Texture and Material Upgrade $3300
Sunroof $2000
19” Grey Wheels $2500
21” Turbine Wheels $4500
Metallic Paint / Multi-coat Paint $1000 / $1500


Adding all of these optional extras would add $28,300 to your 75D or 100D. The P100D comes with the premium upgrades package as standard equipment, and is also one of the quickest accelerating production cars.



Tesla Model X

Released in 2016, the Tesla Model X is the first SUV released by Tesla. Based on the Model S platform, the X is all electric, as well as the fastest accelerating SUV on the market today. Starting at a base price of $85,500, it’s priced between $5,000 and $11,000 more than a Model S with the same battery capacity. For additional Info check our Tesla Model X review

Base Prices 

Model X Type Base Price (in USD)
75D $85,500
100D $102,000
P100D $140000


Prices do not include $1200 Destination and Documentation Fee

Optional Extras

The Model X can be ordered as a five, six, or a seven-seat vehicle. Otherwise the optional extras are similar to the Model S.

Options for Model X Cost (in USD)
Enhanced Autopilot $5000
Full Self-Driving (includes Enhanced Autopilot) $8000
6 Seat Interior $6000
6 seat interior with center console $6000
7 Seat Interior $3000
Premium Upgrades Package (for P75D and 100D) $6000
Sunroof $2000
Interior Texture and Material Upgrade $3300
20” Carbon Wheels $3000
22” Onyx Black Wheels $5500
Metallic Paint / Multi-coat Paint $1000 / $1500



Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is known as “the people’s Tesla.” The Model 3 starts at $35,000, a very attractive price. The Model 3 base price is less than half of what the least expensive Model S costs, and should make a Tesla electric car more affordable for many people.

To get in line for a Model 3, you will need to reserve one with a $1000 down payment. If you have not reserved a spot yet, there are over 500,000 others ahead of you in line! Production started at a slow rate in July 2017, but is promised to eventually increase to a rate of 10,000 per week. As for optional extras, there is less variety than with the Model S and X.

Optional Extras

Two versions of the Model 3 have been announced: the standard and the long range version. The long range version gets 310 miles of range instead of the standard version’s 220 miles, plus a glass roof and a better sound system. That brings the price up to $49,000. A performance model may be on the horizon soon, which is likely to cost even more.

Options for Model 3 Cost
Enhanced Autopilot $5000
Full Self-Driving (includes Enhanced Autopilot) $8000
Premium Upgrades Package $5500
Long Range Battery $9000
Sunroof TBC
18” Aero or 19″ Sport $1500
Metallic Paint / Multi-coat Paint $1000


For additional information make sure to read our Tesla Model 3 review.

Tax Incentives

In the US, you get a $7500 federal income tax credit for buying a Tesla. Some states have extra incentives which you can see here: So whatever your Tesla ends up costing, you can subtract $7500 from your tax bill. The difference is the net amount you’ll be paying.

But there’s a caveat to this tax credit…once a carmaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles, the federal credit will be phased out over roughly six fiscal quarters. The full $7,500 tax credit continues through the end of its current quarter and to the completion of the next quarter. This gives a little time for buyers to benefit from the tax credit.

Once this period ends, the credit is halved to $3,750 for the next 6 months, then halved again to $1,875 for the next 6 months before expiring completely.

It’s estimated around early Q3 in 2018, Tesla will sell their 200,000th car. By really ramping up production, Tesla can sell as many cars in the quarter it runs out and the following quarter. So while there are many consumers who can still benefit from the $7500 tax credit, or part of it, everyone will not be getting one.

Your Waiting Time For Tesla Delivery

When you custom order a Model S or X, you can expect delivery in two months. A pre-configured Model S or X can be delivered within a month.

With the Model 3, you have some waiting to do. With such high demand, reservations placed now will probably not be filled until sometime in 2019.

There is a workaround to get one sooner, if you have lots of money lying around. Simply buy a Model S or X first. This way, you can jump further up the queue of over half a million reservations for the Model 3.

The long range Model 3 with premium upgrades is being produced first, followed by the standard Model 3. Tesla employees will be the first to receive (and test drive) them. Production is ramping up slowly. There are no firm delivery dates yet from Tesla, but be prepared for your delivery to be later than you expect.

Next Up: Financing And Leasing A Tesla

For all the inside information on the best way to finance or lease a Tesla, continue here.