Tesla Cost of Ownership & Is It Worth It?

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Tesla Cost of Ownership & Is It Worth It?

Tesla (TSLA) has emerged as one of the world’s most popular automakers. In reality, it is one of the top automakers in terms of market capitalization. At the conclusion of the Oct. 7, 2021, business day, the company’s market value was $785.68 billion, with shares ending at about $794. For the fiscal year 2020, Tesla recorded total revenue of $31.5 billion.

Tesla was formed in 2003, and the Roadster debuted five years later. This car was outfitted with an electric powertrain. The carmaker presently produces four models: the Model S (the original), the Model 3, the Model X, and the Model Y. According to the firm, Models 3 and Y are the most popular, with 454,932 cars made and 442,511 delivered in 2020. However, how much do these models cost? Here’s a deeper look at how much you might expect to pay for one of your own.

Key Takeaways

  • Tesla is one of the world’s most popular automakers and one of the top auto firms in terms of market capitalization.
  • Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y are the most popular models on the market.
  • A base Model 3 or Model Y with no enhancements is similar to some of its gas-powered and electric competitors.
  • Teslas do not need regular maintenance such as oil changes or visits to the petrol station.
  • To offset the cost of ownership, certain Tesla owners may take advantage of electric car tax benefits.

How Much Does a Tesla Cost?

The price of a Tesla is determined by the model you want to buy. A new 2021 Tesla Model 3 standard range car has a manufacturer’s recommended retail price (MSRP) of $43,190. The long-range variant costs $51,190, while the performance edition costs $59,190. The Model 3 is the top-rated electric vehicle and the second-most popular luxury electric car on Edmunds, with an expert rating of 8.4 out of 10.

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A fresh new Tesla Model Y from 2021 is the most cheap of the company’s vehicles. The base Model Y costs $41,190, while the long-range and performance versions cost $61,190 and $63,190, respectively. Edmunds gives this vehicle an 8.2 out of 10 rating. Consumers rank the Model Y as the second most popular premium electric SUV and the second most popular compact performance SUV.

Keep in mind that these costs do not include any optional features that may improve your driving experience if you buy a Tesla. For example, if you prefer a color different than the standard white, which is free, you will have to pay more. Changing the color of your interior (other than black) has a cost as well. In addition, Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system costs an extra $10,000 to install.


The federal tax credit for Teslas has expired, however certain states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, provide rebates and tax incentives to new Tesla owners to help offset the cost of purchasing one. Certain states may impose income limits.

Is a Tesla Worth the Cost?

Purchasing a Tesla Model 3 or Y without any accessories is rather inexpensive when compared to the prices of similar gas engine cars, most notably:

  • Model 3 competitors include the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C (beginning at $46,986), Lexus ES ($48,492), and BMW 3 Series ($44,578).
  • Model Y rivals include the Mercedes-Benz GLE ($54,750), BMW X5 ($59,400), and Audi Q8 ($73,500).

Don’t forget about the various electric automobiles on the market today. Some of the most popular electric economy and luxury cars, crossovers, and SUVs are as follows:

  • Kia Niro ($39,090)
  • Volkswagen ID.4 ($39,995)
  • Porsche Taycan 4S ($79,900)
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: ($42,895)
  • Audi e-tron ($65,900)

The prices given above are for the basic model with standard features and no upgrades.

Remember that expenses do not just refer to the buying price. Maintenance, convenience, and gas—if you buy a classic gas-powered vehicle—are other costs involved with automobile ownership.

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No More Stopping for Gas

Tesla owners will undoubtedly realize that the greatest savings come from never needing to fill a petrol tank. Model 3 owners can drive 353 miles on a single charge, whereas the Model Y’s anticipated range is 326 miles. The battery in the Model 3 is 54kWh, whereas the battery in the Model Y is 75kWh. The average cost of completely charging a Model 3 is less than $8. The Model Y, on the other hand, costs little less than $12 to completely charge.

Let’s contrast that with the most cheap car and SUV on the list: the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. The 330i model from BMW offers a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 MPG, whereas the GLE 350 has a combined fuel efficiency of 22 MPG.

Assume the average price of petrol is $3.27 per gallon. The BMW 3 Series will cost $1,635 per year at 15,000 miles per year and 55% of driving in the city, while the GLE 350 will cost $2,230. This equates to 10.9 cents per mile as opposed to 14.9 cents for each.

Another advantage of charging a Tesla rather than fuelling it is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the car is ready to go every morning. No need to arrange a stop at the gas station, stand in the cold, or smell gasoline fumes—just plug in at night, disconnect in the morning, and the battery is charged.

Maintenance Savings

Telsa cars will need significantly less maintenance than gas-powered automobiles since their electric engines have far fewer moving parts than ordinary internal combustion engines. Batteries have an eight-year warranty.


While it’s doubtful that you’ll need to do so considering how long they last, be aware that replacing a Tesla battery for a Model S may cost between $3,000 and $7,000.

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Do The Math

It helps to study the figures in black and white when considering if a Tesla is a smart investment based on the cost to acquire and own it.

Tesla vehicles are all funded directly by the firm. A 72-month loan with a basic Model 3 or Model Y has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 2.49%. The total amount borrowed for a Model 3 and Model Y with a down payment of $4,500 and delivery costs of $1,200 is $39,890 and $37,890, respectively.

Using Investopedia’s loan calculator, the Model 3 will cost you $42,985.25 plus $3,095.25 in interest. A Model Y costs $40,830.06, which includes $2,940.06 in interest.


Tesla financing is not available in all states or for all models, which may restrict your choices if you wish to finance your purchase.

The Bottom Line

The average monthly cost of a typical premium vehicle is about $730, give or take. You can get a Tesla Model 3 or Y for the same price as a Lexus or an Audi and enjoy the convenience of not having to fill up, as well as the peace of mind and additional time that comes with not having to worry about maintenance concerns like oil changes or purchasing new filters.

Combine that with the Tesla’s claim of having “the greatest safety rating of any automobile ever tested,” and you have a good economic alternative for today’s buyers who can qualify for financing or afford a cash purchase. If you’re not interested in a Tesla, compare the best vehicle loan rates while looking for financing.

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