True Costs To Own A Tesla

woman driving Tesla

Do you like turning heads on the road? If so, then you’ve probably already fantasized about owning a Tesla. If the price tag doesn’t scare you away, more power to you. These all-electric cars can go fast, they don’t use gas, and they’re sexy. But they are also expensive to drive off the lot.

How Much Does it Really Cost to Own a Tesla?

Base Price

According to Car and Driver, as of 2018 prices start at:

Model 3           $50,200

Model S           $75,000

Model X           $80,700

Roadster         Pricing not available, but you get the idea.

They’re expensive, even at their cheapest, and that’s not even adding on the considerable bells and whistles available.

Federal and State Tax Credits

Right now, you can still receive Federal tax credits, often taken as a rebate. You can, instead, opt to claim tax credits when filing your income taxes. Federal tax credits are phasing out, however.

According to Tesla.com, incentives for purchasing a Model S, Model X or Model 3 are as follows:

$7,500 Tax Credit        When purchased on or before December 31, 2018

$3,750Tax Credit        When purchased January 1 to June 30, 2019

$1,875 Tax Credit        When purchased July 1 to December 31, 2019

Several states and local utilities offer non-cash incentives. For example, California gives you access to carpool lanes and free municipal parking. You can see incentives by state here.

Eligibility for tax credits is based on your individual tax situation.

Maintenance

Since Teslas are electric, they don’t require the usual oil changes, spark plug replacements and fuel filter changeovers. Plus, no emission checks are needed. You’ll rarely need to replace brake pads because wear is significantly reduced.

Tesla recommends a yearly inspection, or when you hit 12,500 miles, whichever happens first. Inspections look at:

  • Wheel alignment and condition
  • Windshield wiper blades, key fob batteries and other replacement parts
  • Software updates

Tesla, like other car makers, offers maintenance plans and warranties for new vehicles.  2-year Extended Service Plans can cost approximately $2,100 to $2,900 and 4-year plans can range from $4,250 to $5,300, depending upon model and whether you buy it at purchase or within 180 days of purchase.

Fuel

Although you save with an electric car, you do have a higher electric bill from charging up your Tesla every night. But, the company offers 400 kilowatt hours of free charging at its Supercharger stations every year, which will get you about 1,000 miles. Taking this into consideration along with the average kilowatt costs in your area and model of the car, one estimate has net savings at as much as $891 per year.

Tesla estimates with its Model 3 Fuel Savings Calculator that in California, driving 1,300 miles a month, knocking 15% off with Supercharger savings and a current 30 MPG on existing car you can save $100 a month and $1,199 per year for a 64% annual savings.

Insurance

Like any car, a Tesla can be insured. You pay more depending on the size of the model technology involved. To cost of liability, personal injury, collision, comprehensive, uninsured or under insured motorist and gap insurance protection for your Tesla, use our Quote Generator tool and compare your options.