It’s no secret that Tesla vehicles come with a steep price tag, but there is good reason for this. For one, they come loaded with several unique features that can’t be found in other traditional gas-powered vehicles.
How much does a Tesla cost? Tesla vehicles vary in price from $33,690 to as much as $94,690, provided that no premium features have been added. Tesla vehicles owe their cost to many innovative features like a dual-engine system, long-range batteries, and autopilot capabilities.
The plethora of premium attributes in these vehicles certainly does set Tesla apart from the rest of the field, but are these premium features worth the cost? In this article, you will find a detailed analysis of all the costs associated with the purchase of a Tesla.
How Much Does a Tesla Vehicle Cost?
Tesla vehicles can vary significantly in cost across the four different models that you will see on display at showrooms. Just like any other vehicle, there are several trim levels for sale.
The prices listed below do not consider any potential discounts, nor do they include any modifications to the standard options. For example, if you decide to add the software for self-driving capability, you can certainly expect to pay a little more.
- Standard Range Plus (RWD): $33,690
- Long Range (AWD): $42,690
- Performance (AWD): $50,690
The Model 3 is the midsize sedan of Tesla’s lineup. It is undoubtedly the most affordable option, with the Long Range AWD (all-wheel drive range) trim coming in at a lower price than the Long Range Model Y. Think of the Model 3 as the Y’s smaller sister.
The Model 3 shares many of the same features that the newer Model Y has, including an expansive glass roof. This is the only model in the 2020 class available in a rear-wheel-drive standard range version; this leads to significant savings for the urban driver looking to take advantage of all the benefits an electric vehicle offers.
- Long Range Plus (AWD): $69,490
- Performance (AWD): $89,490
The Model S is Tesla’s answer to demands for a sporty electric vehicle. The standard all-wheel-drive vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds and even has a top speed of 163 miles per hour. It also comes with a battery range of 402 miles, which is significantly more than the rest of Tesla’s available models.
- Long Range Plus (AWD): $74,690
- Performance (AWD): $94,690
The Model X is the largest vehicle of Tesla’s core lineup. Those in the market for a luxury SUV will have a hard time passing up the Model X, capable of holding up to seven passengers. The roomy SUV has 88 cubic feet. The X also has a very futuristic look to it, owing to the passengers’ falcon wing doors in the second row.
- Long Range (AWD): $45,690
- Performance (AWD): $55,690
The Model Y is the compact SUV of the Tesla world. In terms of size, it is between the Model 3 and the Model X. It does share many of the same features as the Model 3, but with much more legroom and cargo space. The Y also has an expansive glass roof just like the Model 3 has.
This Tesla model is also reasonably priced because it does not have some of the S and X models’ luxury features. For example, the earlier mentioned Model S is a sportier vehicle, and the X has pricey falcon-wing doors at the rear.
Why Are Teslas So Expensive?
Tesla vehicles are expensive because of the way that they are made, as you will see here. The lineup has many amenities and features that you will only see in premium vehicles, such as autopilot capabilities. The brand has also moved towards offering more sustainable seating options, made from synthetic vegan leather.
All new Tesla vehicles are purchased online rather than being sold at dealerships. You can expect your car to be ready in 5-9 weeks. The significant advantage of this is the ability to customize your vehicle to the degree that you can’t always do with other manufacturers. The downside is that the demand does drive up the cost of the car.
Fortunately, you can still schedule a test drive if you wish to do so. (A request for a test drive can be submitted here.) The company has set up a touch-less driving experience that is fitting for modern times.
Tesla has installed a network of supercharger stations in urban areas all across the United States. Supercharger stations are typically installed in grocery stores, shopping centers, and metro downtown districts. You can plug your Tesla in and be back out on the road in as little as 30 minutes.
This charging network offers you the distinct advantage of driving your Tesla from city to city without having to worry about the battery running out of juice. If your Tesla does happen to need a recharge, you should not have to worry much longer than 30 minutes for the vehicle to be ready for the road once again. A mobile app will tell you when your car is ready for the road, no matter where you are.
Note: Please be advised that there are additional charges associated with using a supercharger station. In many circumstances, the accumulating charging expenses will be less than what you would spend to refuel an internal combustion vehicle.
All current Tesla vehicles can have autopilot/self-driving technology installed if you purchase the necessary software from Tesla. The sensors and other equipment for autopilot have come standard in Tesla vehicles since April 2019.
The autopilot package includes technology that automatically matches your vehicle’s speed to the speed of the other cars on the highway in a cruise control situation. An auto-steering option can assist with the steering controls, provided that the vehicle is traveling in a clearly marked lane.
The full self-driving capability package consists of a navigation feature that will suggest lane changes and help navigate them. This includes a sensor that will automatically engage the turn signal and make sure you take the right exit.
Another neat feature of the full self-driving package is that you will be able to summon your parked car from as far away as 200 feet. The one caveat is that the vehicle must not be parked on a public roadway.
This is still a pretty neat feature, though, particularly for those who have a physical handicap. It will also be convenient during those times when you would otherwise have to run across a parking lot in heavy rain or snow.
The Tesla can be summoned to your location via the use of an app on your mobile phone. You will even have the capability to customize how the summon feature operates by manipulating an assortment of settings such as how far your vehicle stays away from its nearest obstacles.
Premium Interior Materials & Features
Tesla vehicles are outfitted with premium interior materials. In 2019, Tesla announced that vegan leather would be its material of choice. This includes a steering wheel that is wrapped with a non-leather synthetic material.
The entirely vegan leather interior is available in the 2020 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles. This interior finally offers customers the opportunity to fully maximize their vehicle’s sustainability, which already has the massive benefit of not burning any fossil fuels while it travels down the highway.
Tesla vehicles many other premium interior features such as:
- Tablet dashboards: Tesla cars are known for the tablets on the center of the dashboard, as large as 17” in size. Some models have a large tablet at the dashboard center and a smaller tablet behind the steering wheel.
- Noise-reduction engineering: Advanced sound engineering has delivered an interior sound experience that has been compared to that of a recording studio. In fact, there are 15 different speakers in the Model 3!
- A spacious front row: There is no need for a large engine compartment in the front of the vehicle; this leaves passengers in the front row with more room than they would have in a gas-powered car.
- Seat heaters in both the front and rear seats of the car: Drivers and passengers can ride in comfort during the coldest of winters.
- Second-row seats that each fold independently: Foldable seats mean greater storage opportunities, ideal for families, and people always on the go.
The First Tesla with A Heat Pump: Model Y
Efficient heating and air conditioning are always a concern in electric vehicles. When on full blast, the AC and heat units can put more strain on the engine than would be the case with a gas-powered car.
The good news is that Tesla has developed a heat pump for the first time, installed in the Model Y. A heat pump is an improvement over the resistive heating system that has been a mainstay of the Tesla lineup. The heat pump offers more efficient heating over other systems.
What makes a heat pump so much better?
- Lower power consumption
- 7-30% better battery range in cold weather
- Optimized temperature control when switching between the cooler and the heater
It remains to be seen if heat pump systems will find their way into other Tesla models, which will undoubtedly drive their price higher.
The core vehicles manufactured by Tesla, the Model 3, S, X, and Y, have a significantly more advanced computer system than the average car. Harvard Business Review notes that it would be challenging for rival companies to imitate Tesla’s hardware architecture.
Here is a breakdown of the technology found in current 2020 Tesla vehicles:
- A flat-pack of batteries at the base of the vehicle
- A dual-engine system: there is one electric engine at the front of the vehicle and one at the rear
- A drivetrain (transmission) with just 17 moving parts, as compared to the 200 moving parts seen in the average gas-powered vehicle
Long Range Battery Pack
Tesla vehicles are capable of lasting longer on a single charge than their competitors. The secret to success lies in the use of software designed to make the batteries more efficient. The dual-motor setup mentioned above removes the need for clunky multi-gear transmission systems. The lithium-ion battery itself also doesn’t take up too much space, as the whole thing is positioned directly underneath the car’s floor.
The Tesla Model Y, Model S, and Model 3 all have an expansive glass roof that extends from one end to the other. This provides the vehicle’s occupants with a view of their surroundings, unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. The glass is tinted with ultraviolet and infrared protection, so there is no need to worry about the blazing sun inside the car.
The Model X also has a windshield that goes back as far as the falcon wing doors in the second row. Although not end-to-end like with the Model Y, this expansive windshield offers everyone a panoramic view of the sky above them.
Falcon Wing Doors (Model X)
As mentioned, the Tesla Model X is outfitted with falcon-wing doors in the second row. These are doors that open upwards rather than outwards in the way that standard car doors open. These falcon-wing doors come equipped with sensors that ensure that the doors do not become damaged from being opened in tight spaces.
Tesla vehicles consistently rank amongst the safest of cars in their respective classes. The NHTSA has given the 2020 Tesla Model X and Model 3 a five-star safety rating. The manufacturer has included all the favorites when it comes to safety features.
The following safety features come standard:
- Forward Collision Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- Crash Imminent Braking
- Dynamic Braking
- Back-up Camera
While safety features indeed tend to drive up vehicle costs, they also come in high demand. Safety and security are a top priority for the modern consumer, so Tesla certainly hits all the marks when it comes to both.
The vehicle’s built-in security hardware allows the driver to activate a pin-to-drive feature. This security barrier requires any driver to enter a four-digit verification code to start the ignition. You can also activate sentry mode, which records suspicious activities taking place around your car.
How Can I Save Money on a Tesla?
The most affordable, newest Tesla vehicle is the Standard Range Plus (RWD) Model 3, starting at a price of just $33,690. This pales in comparison to the price tag on some of the other models like the S and the X that fall within the range of $65,000 to $95,000. The Model Y is also a relatively affordable option, starting at $45,690.
Since Teslas are ordered online, the vehicles are easily customizable. This allows you the opportunity to save money by trimming down on expensive accessories and choosing parts that come standard rather than premium features. For example, the 19” Gemini wheels are included with the Model Y, but the 20” Induction wheels cost an extra $2,000.
You can also save money by choosing the interior color that comes standard with the factory vehicle, as alternative options can cost at least $1,000. You should also consider whether you really need a seven-seat interior, as this can cost several thousand dollars more.
Also, assess your needs for the full self-driving feature. As helpful as this feature is, it does cost nearly $8,000 more.
Cutting back on excess features will save you quite a bit of money in the end, although it would also be nice to enjoy the benefits of premium accessories. Being able to order and customize vehicles online will certainly help you weigh and compare your options.
Tesla’s innovations in the world of electric vehicles do come with a price tag. However, there are many unique features that Tesla vehicles have that you do not see in the leading competitors.
In summary, here are some of the reasons that Tesla vehicles cost what they do:
- Supercharger Stations: Found in several cities and setup by Tesla, these stations can offer a recharge in as little as 30 minutes.
- Dual-Engine System: Part of the engine at the front and the rear cuts down on weight.
- Long-range battery: The flat lithium-ion battery pack can last more miles than the batteries used in most electric vehicles.
- Self-Driving Capability: This helps take much of the strain out of driving, but it does come with a price tag.
- Summon: This feature allows you to bring your car towards where you are standing rather than having to walk across a parking lot.
Although these features are nice—and sometimes necessary—there are still plenty of ways to save money on a Tesla vehicle. For one, you’ll need to consider which additional features are worth paying for and which options are best left out.