Financing a Tesla: 6 Things You Need to Know

Here's how much you'll pay for a Tesla and information on payment options.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a fuel-efficient vehicle or upgrading your existing vehicle to another model with a high resale value, you might consider a Tesla. Tesla CEO and founder of Tesla Motors Elon Musk unveiled the starting prices of the Tesla Model 3, the newest model to join the Tesla lineup, as well as prices for the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X.

As of March 2017, you can reserve your Tesla Model 3 online and purchase a custom Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X directly from Tesla Motors. But how much is a Tesla? Here’s what you need to know about Tesla vehicle pricing, loan offers and financing programs, Tesla leasing options, and discounts available when buying one of the most luxurious fuel-efficient cars.

1. Pricing for a Tesla Starts at $35,000

According to Tesla Motors, Tesla prices begin in the mid-$30,000 range: The starting price of the Tesla Model 3 is $35,000. Production is expected to begin mid-2017 and delivery will start in mid-2018 or later. You can reserve a Tesla Model 3 for $1,000.

The Tesla Model S is designed to be one of the most powerful sedans on the market and boasts an all-electric powertrain with Autopilot capabilities. A custom order of this model costs an estimated $59,500 after savings and carries a total cash price of $71,300.

The Tesla Model X has a futuristic design with an oversized windshield and Falcon wings, and is also an electric all-wheel drive vehicle. A custom order of this model costs an estimated $77,100 after estimated savings and carries a total cash price of $88,800.

Note that these are starting prices, so the final price you pay will depend on any upgrades and customizations for your vehicle. New Tesla Model S vehicles range in price from $84,200 to $156,800, and new Tesla Model X vehicles range from $103,200 to $106,250 in price. Additionally, you might need to pay more for a vehicle warranty and other options that aren’t included in the listing price of your chosen vehicle.

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2. You Can Get Tax Credits for Owning a Tesla

If you live in the states of California, Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, you might qualify for a federal tax credit when you buy a Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X. As of March 2017, the Model S and Model X both qualify for a $7,500 tax credit and might also qualify for other state-sponsored tax incentives and rebates. You can find out through the Tesla Motors website what other incentives or rebates you’re eligible to receive.

3. Tesla Financing Is Available

One way to buy a Tesla without paying the full cash price upfront is to get a loan with a Tesla financing program. You might be eligible for a loan offer based on a program with Alliant Credit Union available in all 50 states. The estimated monthly loan payment for a Tesla Model S is $995 per month with a $5,000 down payment and 72-month loan with a 1.99% APR. The actual monthly payment will depend on the interest rate you qualify for and your down payment at signing. Tesla Motors calculates the monthly payment at $903 per month after estimated savings.

The estimated monthly payment for a loan to buy a Tesla Model X is $1,253 per month with a $5,000 down payment and 72-month loan with a 1.99% APR. This estimation includes the $7,500 tax credit. Your monthly payment after estimated savings is $1,163 per month, according to Tesla Motors.

Find Out: Top 7 Hidden Costs of Taking Out an Auto Loan

4. You Can Opt to Lease a Tesla

If you don’t qualify for financing, leasing might be an option. You can customize your lease with the Tesla Leasing program to better afford the down payment and monthly payments.

Your lease payment will vary depending on the number of miles you plan on driving per year. For example, the estimated lease payment for the Tesla Model X is $1,131 per month if you drive 10,000 miles for the year, and $1,155 per month if you drive 12,000 miles per year. This estimation is for a 36-month lease, and you would need to make a down payment of $6,850 at signing. Information about Tesla Model 3 leasing has not been released.

Related: 5 Things to Never Tell a Car Salesman If You Want the Best Deal

5. You Could Save $5,500 in Gas Expenses

According to Tesla Motors, you would save approximately $5,500 in gas over five years when driving the Tesla Model S rather than a gasoline-powered vehicle. You would save approximately $5,400 in gas over five years when driving the Tesla Model X. Compare those numbers with a number of family cars with great mileage and you might find that a Tesla fits in with your financial strategy.

6. You Might Be Eligible for Tesla Discounts

You might qualify for a discount on a Tesla Model X or Tesla Model S through the Tesla Referral Program. As of March 2017, you can design your Model S or Model X online at Tesla.com and use a referral code to receive a $1,000 credit towards your purchase.

But if you’re not specifically looking for a Tesla, you can check out other options available for online car shoppers.

  • Vicki P.

    I might actually be able to afford a Tesla soon then. Interesting.

  • Kerri

    The timing of this car release perfectly fits when I’ll need a new car. Definitely going to think about this purchase — especially since I’m already savings way more than $250 a month.

  • Andrew

    You forgot to mention the $7500 tax credit that you get for buying a tesla. Makes the true cost of ownership much cheaper. Plus they require much less maintenance (1 trip to the dealership per year) and extremely cheap fuel I bet would make this car as affordable as a decked out new camry in 2017