Tesla Auto Financing Review: Is This the Best Way To Finance a Tesla?

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Quick Take: Tesla electric vehicles have dropped in price in the past 12 months, and the manufacturer is offering charging incentives to new customers. Coupled with a $7,500 federal tax rebate on some models, owning the number one EV in the country seems pretty enticing right now. But, with list prices starting over $40,000 for the Model 3 and ranging up to more than six figures, you'll probably want to finance your new car purchase. Luckily, you can do so with Tesla Auto financing.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • APR
    4.8
  • State Availability
    4.5
  • Loan Terms
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Interest rates lower than average for some borrowers
  • Flexible terms of 36 to 72 months
  • Faster than financing through a third-party
  • Apply for a loan online
  • No application fees

Cons

  • Not available in every state
  • May get lower rates from a credit union or other lender

Tesla Auto Financing Overview

If you’re looking to buy a Tesla EV, the quickest and easiest way to get financing is online through Tesla Auto financing. You can apply at the same time as you build your Model S, 3, X, or Y online, customizing the features you want.

Key Features

Here’s a look at some of the key features of Tesla financing.

Fees

You will not face any fees when financing a Tesla through their auto financing program. You will pay a destination fee, which is included in the list price. Taxes, title or registration fees relevant to your state will also apply.  

APR

When you visit the Tesla Design Studio online and build your favorite model, you can choose “loan” as the payment option. The option defaults to an APR of 5.89%. But the rate you get for financing a Tesla through their auto financing program might vary depending on your credit score.

This provided base rate is lower than the national average APR for new car loans, which is 6.58% across buyers. But Tesla’s rates are not as low as other options. For instance, the United States Senate Federal Credit Union offers rates as low as 4.24% for 36 months for new car loans.

State Availability

Tesla falls short when it comes to offering financing to car buyers across the U.S. When financing a Tesla, according to the Tesla website, you must take delivery in one of these states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MN, MO, MS, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, UT, VA or WA.

Loan Terms

Tesla Auto financing terms are comparable to most other auto loans. They have loan terms ranging from 36 to 72 months.

How Tesla Auto Financing Stands Out

Tesla financing makes it easy to order your new EV and apply for financing all on the same site. Rates for borrowers with excellent credit scores are lower than the national average interest rate across all buyers.

Comparable Tesla Auto Financing Options

When looking to finance a car, it’s important to know all your options. Here are two other companies to consider when looking to finance a Tesla.

Ford Credit

Ford Motor Company, manufacturer of the Mustang Mach-e all-electric SUV and the new Ford F-150 Lightning, offers multiple financing options. These are offered for new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles through Ford Credit. Terms range from 12 to 84 months, which is more flexible than Tesla’s terms.

The Flex Buy program, available in all but 7 states and Washington, D.C., provides a unique payment structure. In the first three years, users will have payments 15% to 18% lower than rates for the following years. Ford Credit also allows you to pre-qualify for a loan, putting it slightly ahead of Tesla’s financing options. The downside, of course, is it is only available for Ford vehicles.

United States Senate Federal Credit Union

If you have your heart set on a Tesla, you have options besides Tesla Auto financing. USSFCU is one to consider. They offer loan terms of up to 7 years, a 0.25% discount for auto pay and interest rates that start at 4.24% for qualified car buyers with excellent credit.

How To Apply

To apply for a Tesla auto loan, first design your vehicle in the Design Studio. This will provide your estimated payments, so you can add or remove features to create an EV that meets your budget.

Once you have created an account and logged in, visit the “Payment Method” section of your account and select “Finance,” then “Loan.” Choose Tesla as the financier and then complete the application.

You will need to provide some personal information, including:

  • Social Security Number
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Employment information

Tesla financing will have to do a hard credit pull at some point to approve your loan.

Who the Tesla Auto Financing Is Best For

Tesla Auto financing is best for those with a good to excellent credit score, who are purchasing a new Tesla and live in one of the 27 states where Tesla financing is available.

Final Take

Tesla Auto financing provides convenience, relatively low-interest rates and an easy online application. You may find lower rates or better terms from third-party financiers, however. Be sure to compare all your options before making your final selection.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about financing a Tesla.
  • What is Tesla's current financing rate?
    • When you create your ideal Tesla in the design studio, the APR for a loan starts at 5.89%. But this rate is sure to vary based on your credit score.
  • Is it hard to get financed by Tesla?
    • Tesla doesn't mention the criteria required to finance a vehicle, but the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be.
  • What credit score is needed to finance with Tesla?
    • Tesla doesn't list the credit score required to qualify for financing, but the consensus amongst buyers online is that a 720 or higher score will help you qualify for the best rates.
  • What is the longest loan term for a Tesla?
    • Tesla offers loan terms for up to 72 months.

Sabah Karimi contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of July 27, 2023. 

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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