Tesla hasn’t just captured our imaginations, but serious market share too: Teslas account for an estimated 75%-85% of EVs sold in the US alone.

Of course, there are many factors that have driven Tesla’s success, such as their unrivaled range, innovative use of technology, and their radical rethink of interior car design. But there’s one key factor that’s not often given enough credit, and that is Tesla’s aggressive pricing of their cars.

Indeed, offering great electric vehicles at competitive prices has been Tesla’s goal all along. Back in 2006, Elon Musk said that Tesla’s long-term goal was to offer electric cars at prices that most consumers can afford. Now, more than a decade later, we can see that Tesla’s strategy worked: in 2019, the Model 3 emerged as one of the top-selling cars in the US.

Tesla cars are successfully tempting more and more Americans to make the switch to electric vehicles. Are you also thinking of buying a Tesla? Or are you just curious about what their pricing is like?

Either way, in this blog you’ll learn everything you need to know about buying a Tesla.

We’ll tell you exactly how much Tesla models and customizations cost in 2020. We’ll also look at the other costs associated with owning a Tesla, so you know what to expect if you get one.

Buying a Tesla is different from buying other cars

Tesla is unique — and not just because of their branding and design. When you buy a Tesla — regardless of the model or trim level — you work directly with Tesla, not a third-party sales force like you would with traditional with car brands.

In fact, you can buy a Tesla remotely from the comfort of your home. You just go to their website, customize the vehicle of your choice, place your order, and wait for it to be delivered. There’s no haggling, pushy salesmen, or dealership gimmicks to deal with.

While Tesla doesn’t have dealerships, they do have showrooms for those seeking an “in-store” experience. There, you can go for a test drive, speak with a specialist, or customize your car. But even at the showroom, you actually place the order using the official Tesla website.

How much does each Tesla model cost?

As of July 2020, Tesla offers four vehicles:

  • Model 3
  • Model Y
  • Model S
  • Model X

Tesla keeps prices for new inventory the same across the country. So, the price of a base Model 3 in New York is the same as in Beverly Hills.

Each of Tesla’s vehicles comes in a few different versions, each with optional upgrades that can drastically affect the price.

We’ve created a handy table to show you the price range for each model and variant. All Tesla prices we’ve quoted here are the final retail prices, straight from the Tesla website.

Now, let’s drill down a bit and see the prices for every version of the Tesla cars.

Range and prices of Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X

Model and Version Range Base price Fully loaded
Model 3 Standard Range Plus 250 miles $37,990 $50,490
Model 3 Long Range 322 miles $46,990 $59,490
Model 3 Performance 299 miles $54,990 $65,990
Model Y Long Range 316 miles $49,990 $63,990
Model Y Performance 291 miles $59,990 $71,990
Model S Long Range 402 miles $74,990 $95,490
Model S Performance 348 miles $94,990 $111,490
Model X Long Range 351 miles $79,990 $103,990
Model X Performance 305 miles $99,990 $123,990

*All prices are current as of July 2020

Tesla website visitors in the US will see two different prices:

  1. Purchase price
  2. Include potential savings price*

The purchase price is the real sticker price of the car. It’s also the price that we’ve used throughout this blog when discussing Tesla prices.

However, when you’re on the Tesla site and click on a specific car for more details, the ‘Include potential savings’ price is shown to users by default. This savings cost includes tax incentives and estimated “gasoline savings”. This price is lower than the price that consumers will actually pay to purchase the car, and thus, in our opinion – not a very helpful number.

Tesla Model 3 price

The Model 3 is the newest car in the Tesla portfolio, and also its top-selling vehicle. Its base price is $37,990. This makes it Tesla’s most affordable vehicle, but unfortunately still almost $3,000 more than the $35,000 price tag long-promised by Tesla.

While the Model 3 doesn’t have the performance or features of Tesla’s premium sedan offering (the Model S), it’s still classified as a luxury sedan by most auto magazines and websites. This puts the Model 3 in the same class as gas-powered cars such as the BMW 3 Series.

The Model 3 — like all Teslas — comes standard with a 4-year basic vehicle warranty and an 8-year battery and powertrain warranty.

If you opt to customize the top Performance trim level with all the bells and whistles, it will set you back a total $65,990.

Tesla Model Y price

The Model Y is Tesla’s offering in the fast-growing crossover vehicle category. The Model Y has a starting price of $46,990 for the Long Range trim.

Tesla Model Y in red

The car drives, looks and feels very similar to the Model 3. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: 75% of it is built with parts from the Model 3. The main difference, of course, is that the Model Y is larger and offers more space, both for passengers and cargo.

For now, the Model Y is only available with two rows of seats, with the 7-seat version slated to become available for an additional $3,000, some time in 2021. 

Tesla surprised observers by starting delivery of the Model Y in March 2020, a full year before it was expected to bring the car to the market.

Tesla Model S price

The Tesla Model S starts at a cool $79,990 for the Long Range variant. At that price, you get a car with an impressive 373 miles of range. At the time of writing, this is the longest range of any EV on the market by a large margin.

Tesla Model S in black paint

If you’re willing to put down $95,490 for the Model S Performance, you’ll get a lightning-fast car that’ll take you from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds.

The Tesla Model S was the first mainstream car released by Tesla, and remains their flagship offering. However, the once-revolutionary EV hasn’t changed much since its launch in 2012, leading many car aficionados to call for a refresh.

Tesla Model X price

The Model X is Tesla’s SUV option, known for its distinctive ‘falcon-wing’ doors. It has a starting price of $79,990, which positions it in the luxury SUV segment against gas-powered vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLE or the BMW X5.

Tesla Model X in black paint

What’s interesting is that the Model X has the largest range between the base price and fully-loaded price. This is mainly due to the high cost of the six-seat option: choosing this spacious seat configuration adds $6,500 to the price.

Now let’s take a quick look at the pricing of some competition: the Audi eTron and Porsche Taycan, Tesla’s top rivals in the luxury EV segment.

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Prices of Tesla’s closest electric competitors

No other electric vehicle brand in the US has come close in terms of Tesla’s popularity. However, for the sake of comparison, we’ve included some price information for EVs from rival manufacturers. We’ve selected the Audi eTron and Porsche Taycan, cars that compete with Tesla in the luxury EV segment.

The Audi and Porsche prices reflect the Manufacturer Recommended Retail Prices (MRRPs) posted on their respective websites.

Audi eTron price

The Audi eTron, German luxury-car marker Audi’s electric SUV, starts at $74,800, a price not much different from the Model S and X. However, while similar in price, the eTron really lags behind the Tesla cars when it comes to performance and range.

Porsche Taycan price

Meanwhile, the Porsche Taycan has the highest starting price of all. Porsche has played up the relatively reasonable price (for a Porsche!) of $103,800 for the entry-level version, the Taycan 4S. Except when you check its price online, there’s a base equipment cost of around $9,190, making the actual starting price $112,990. A bit sneaky on Porsche’s part, if you ask us!

As with every car offered by Porsche, the Taycan offers a staggering amount of add-ons and design options. That means that the price difference between the cheapest 4S version and a totally tricked-out 4S Turbo ($243,480) is a massive $130,490!

Base price to max price: Tesla Model 3, Model X, and Model S vs. Competitors

Graph comparing Tesla, Audi, and Porsche vehicles

Upcoming models: Tesla Cybertruck price and Tesla Roadster price

If you’re more interested in one of Tesla’s upcoming offerings, here’s a quick look at what you can expect to pay for each model, and when they’re scheduled to be released.

Model Base price Max price Expected launch
CyberTruck $39,900 $76,900 Late 2021
Roadster $200,000 $250,000 2022?

We recommend that you take both the estimated prices and release dates with a grain of salt, as Tesla is notorious for production delays and repeated changes to vehicle prices before and after their launches.

Tesla Cybertruck

The reveal of the retro-futuristic Tesla Cybertruck in November 2019 definitely had people talking. While people have mixed feelings about its looks, all agree that if Tesla does actually deliver on the Tesla Cybertruck prices projected on its website, this pickup could pick up massive market share.

You can currently book the Tesla Cybertruck by paying just $100 as a deposit.

An embarrassed Elon standing in front of shattered window of the Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk faced embarrassment when the Tesla Cybertruck’s ‘armor glass’ windows shattered during the vehicle’s unveiling. Despite the hiccup, a quarter of a million Americans paid the $100 deposit to book one. Image credit: Forbes

New Tesla Roadster 

The new Tesla Roadster will be a major refresh of the 2006 Tesla Roadster, the car that launched Tesla Motors onto the automotive scene. Tesla’s 2006 Roadster proved that an electric car could deliver amazing performance and come with decent range.

Tesla promises the new version will be the fastest street-legal car yet, with a top speed of 250 mph and acceleration that will take the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds.

But all that speed won’t come cheap. The new Tesla Roadster will cost $200,000 a pop, or $250,000 if you want the Founder Series, which will be the first 1,000 produced.

Are there incentives or rebates to reduce Tesla car prices and costs?

You may be able to find some cost savings at the state level, but that’s about it.

Incentives that were previously available for Tesla purchases, such as the federal EV rebate and unlimited free supercharging for Model S and Model X, have now ended.

State-level incentives

Some states offer generous cash incentives and tax rebates for EV purchases.

California offers up to $7,000 based on income requirements, while Colorado offers an impressive $5,000 in state tax credit if you buy an EV with cash, or $2,500 if you lease one.

Other states offer associated benefits like reduced or free tolls, and unlimited access to HOV lanes.

1,000 miles of free supercharging on referrals

This incentive is only offered for cars bought through referrals. The way it works is simple: if you purchase a new Tesla car using a referral link provided by someone you know, both you and the referrer will earn 1,000 miles of free supercharging.

Federal EV rebate – no longer available for Teslas

This $7,500 incentive played a big role in boosting early Tesla sales. However, Tesla has fallen victim to its own success: Tesla is the first manufacturer that no longer offers the tax incentive on its EVs.

The incentive reduction was triggered by Tesla reaching the milestone of 200,000 EVs sold back in July 2018. The incentive is allocated on a sliding scale, so when any EV automaker reaches the 200,000 EV sales benchmark, the incentive is reduced before disappearing entirely, as it did for Tesla at the end of 2019.

Note: All other car manufacturers still qualify for the rebate, except for General Motors, whose rebate expired in April 2020.

How much do Tesla customizations cost?

The customization options for Teslas are quite limited. While that means there’s fewer decisions to make when you’re buying your Tesla, it also means less freedom to personalize your vehicle when compared to, say, the Porsche Taycan.

The table below shows you all Tesla add-on options, and how much they cost, as of July 2020.

The cost of Tesla customizations, by model

Feature Model 3 Model Y Model S Model X
Full Self-Driving Capability (Autopilot) $8,000 $8,000 $8,000 $8,000
Six Seat Interior $6,500
Seven Seat Interior $3,000* $3,500
Tow Hitch $1,000
Interior styles        
All Black Included Included
Black and White $1,000 $1,000
All Black – Figured Ash Wood Decor Included in Long Range Included in Long Range
All Black – Carbon Fiber Decor Included in Performance Included in Performance 
Cream – Oak Wood Decor   $1,500 $1,500
Black and White – Dark Ash Wood Decor
(only available in Long Range variants)
$1,500 $1,500
Black and White – Carbon Fiber Decor
(only available in Performance variants)
$1,500 $1,500
Colors        
Pearl White Multi-Coat Included Included Included Included
Solid Black, Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic $1,000 $1,000 $1,500 $1,500
Red Multi-Coat $2,000 $2,000 $2,500 $2,500

*Per Tesla, the Seven Seat Interior option will be available in 2021.

The crown jewel of Tesla’s additional options is the Full Self-Driving Capability, the more powerful version of the default Autopilot. This is the feature that allows Autopilot navigation, auto-lane change, autopark and the parking lot Summon feature. It costs the exact same for all Tesla models: $8,000.

The color customizations are also the same across all Tesla vehicles, though costs can vary, based on the model.

The availability of some customizations is more limited; the Carbon Fiber Decor interior styling, for instance, is only available for the Performance versions of the Model S and Model X.

Note: Tesla also offers several different wheel options based on model and version.

Are there any extra or hidden costs to owning a Tesla?

Yes, there are several additional expenses you have to account for.

Of course, this is the case with buying a car from any manufacturer. The total price you end up paying to complete the purchase process is always several thousand dollars higher than the advertised price.

Here are the various costs you should be prepared for when you buy a Tesla:

  • Non-refundable order fee: When you buy a Tesla, there is a $100 non-refundable order fee that is charged in addition to the sticker price.
  • Destination fee: You’ll have to pay a $1,125 destination fee for the delivery of your vehicle. Most car makers charge a destination of about this much. 
  • Documentation fee: This will cost you an extra $75. Again, this is a relatively typical amount to pay when buying a car.
  • Taxes and fees: Model 3 buyers report paying between $4,500 and $5,000 in taxes and fees. You should expect to pay more if you buy a Model X or Model S.
  • Home charging station (optional): All Tesla cars come equipped with a Tesla Mobile Connector, which can give your car up to 30 miles of range an hour. However, Tesla recommends the more powerful Tesla Wall Connector; it’ll cost you $500 to buy one, and a few hundred dollars more to get it installed professionally. [Read more: Tesla charging options].

The good news is that the refundable $1,000 reservation fee and $2,500 order deposit that Tesla used to charge on all cars was dropped in 2019.

Do Tesla gas savings reduce the cost of owning a Tesla?

In addition to the tangible tax credits mentioned above, Tesla proudly promotes that its EVs provide “gasoline savings,” as well. Since you’re recharging your car battery rather than buying gas, the automaker assures that buying their EVs are cost-effective because of the savings you’ll see when it comes to gas money.

The gasoline savings that Tesla shows you varies depending on the model you select. But all their figures are calculated assuming that the average driver spends roughly $2.58 per gallon, and drives an average of 10,000 miles per year for six years.

Of course, gas savings can vary a lot based on where, and even how, you drive. Luckily, there are useful websites that allow you to calculate the actual gas savings you can expect with a Tesla.

  • Teslanomics: This site offers a calculator that takes into account your driving style, average mileage, and even how much you expect to use Tesla’s Supercharging network. For now, the Teslanomics calculator only works for the Model 3.
  • Chargehub: This website shows you gas savings for each popular EV (including Teslas), based on which state you live in.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

If you’re charging a Tesla at home using utility power, it will cost you roughly $10-20 to charge a Tesla from a zero charge. 

Dashboard with steering wheel and Tesla touchscreen

Unless you drive more than 50 miles per day, you won’t actually need to charge your Tesla all that much. Image source: CleanTechnica

Another way to look at this cost is by the cost per mile metric. We analyzed the data and found that it cost between 3.7 and 5.2 cents per mile to charge a Tesla, depending on the make and model.

This compares very favorably when compared with the cost per mile to drive popular gas-powered vehicles, which is approximately 20 cents per mile.

And if you install solar panels on your home and use the power generated to charge your Tesla, the charging cost will be even lower.

Check out our detailed blog on the cost of charging a Tesla.

See how much you can save by charging your Tesla with solar panels

How much are Tesla service and maintenance charges?

Teslas cost much less to service and maintain than traditional gas-powered vehicles. The reason for this is simple: EVs have much fewer moving parts than gas engines, and thus have less need for service and repairs.

In fact, according to Tesla, an annual maintenance service – which it once offered – is not necessary, and instead recommends a service only when you need to replace a part.

One estimate by a Tesla Model 3 owner calculated a 5-year maintenance cost of around $980 – compared to $3,974 for maintaining a Honda Accord for the same period of time. This may be a slightly optimistic assessment – the writer owned the car for less than a year and recommends changing parts yourself to save money – but it still points to substantial savings for Tesla owners.

Conclusion: Are Tesla cars worth the price?

While Tesla’s EVs aren’t the cheapest cars around, they offer plenty of bang for buck. They have innovative designs, the best-possible safety rating, and the longest ranges currently available for EVs.

You will also benefit from lower operating costs, especially due to the lower cost of charging an EV when compared to fuel costs for gas vehicles. Whether you choose to buy a Tesla now, later, or buy an electric vehicle from a rival car-maker, it’s clear that EVs are the future.

And since EVs run on electricity and the cheapest source of electricity is generating your own solar power, you should definitely consider getting solar panels installed!

Find out how much you can save with solar