Buying a car typically involves haggling over prices and financing. Gearing up for a trip to the dealership can feel like shadowboxing before a fight. But purchasing a Tesla is little different.
Can you negotiate with Tesla? Since Teslas are sold by company stores rather than dealerships, there is no negotiation when it comes to purchase price. However, there is some leeway in price with regards to options and a discount for floor models and demos.
Teslas are in demand, so you can’t simply walk in and expect the salesperson to meet you halfway. But you can keep your eyes peeled for discounts, shop around for the best trade-in price for your current vehicle, and research options to help you get the most bang for your buck.
The Price of a Tesla
Tesla currently has three models with two more coming soon. Every model is all-electric, dual motor all-wheel drive (with the exception of the Model Y, which has both all-wheel and rear-wheel drive options), and includes all the state-of-the-art sensors. They come with a 4-year basic warranty and 8 years for the battery. I’ve listed the basic specs below, but you can find more details on tesla.com.
|Model available:||Model 3 now||Model S now||Model X now||Model Y late 2020||Roadster est. 2020|
|— after est. savings||$30,815||$70,115||$75,315||$43,700|
|Range||250 mi||373 mi||328 mi||300 mi||620 mi|
|Cargo||15 cu ft||30 cu ft||88 cu ft||66 cu ft||unknown|
|Stand-out features||The most economical of the bunch – $30,815 is less than a Chevy Bolt, an Audi A3, and BMW 2-series||The classic: a sleek sedan with spacious interior and insane acceleration||A 5-star safety rating SUV that can fit the whole family – and their luggage||A car to fit every need: the optional third row can seat as many as the Model X while being much more economical||The ultimate status symbol: faster than you could ever need, and a snazzy glass roof|
The estimated savings listed above include not only your savings in gas, but also credits and rebates at the federal and state levels. There is currently a US federal tax credit $2,500-$7,500 (depending on your vehicle and its battery), but lawmakers are looking to expand that. State-level rebates vary, but you can find a complete list on this Tesla page. The same page also lists deals that various electricity providers and others offer to electric vehicle owners, for example, discounting your rate or rebates for home charging station installation.
Upgrading a Tesla
Every Tesla model has at least two trims, usually called the Long Range and Performance models. The Long Range – the cheaper of the two – has (you guessed it) a slightly longer range, usually around 30 miles or so more.
The Performance model has faster acceleration, including something called “Ludicrous Mode” for accelerating from 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds, which by all accounts lives up to its name and is generally impractical in everyday life. It also has a lot of upgrades to the interior.
Are these differences worth the additional $10,000-$20,000? That’s for the buyer to decide – but again, that price is non-negotiable.
Potential Discounts for a Tesla
Though you can’t negotiate the price, there are a few ways of saving money and still getting that Tesla.
- Buy a used Tesla. You can even peruse used vehicles on the Tesla website. As the Model S has been around longest, it has the most options for buying used – including some 2014s that now cost the same as a brand-new Model 3. The other models are newer, so there are understanding less to choose from and not as big a price break. However, buying used may make you ineligible for some of those credits and rebates.
- Look for demos and floor models. Tesla cycles out cars used for display and test-drives, and if you manage to get your timing right you could save several thousand, depending on the car in question.
- Buy an older model. if you get a car that turns out to be slightly older than you expected, you could get a few thousand dollars off or free upgrades. This Tesla owner’s story goes into his personal experience with this particular angle.
Getting the Best Deal on Your Trade-In
Since there’s no negotiation in the purchasing part of this process, you’ll want to work for the best price when selling or trading-in your current vehicle.
- The first step of selling your car is to know what your car is worth. One of the most trusted resources is the Kelly Blue Book. This is an essential task: knowing your vehicle’s value lets you know what to ask for.
- The next step is to make your car attractive to its potential buyers. This means making sure it is clean (exterior, interior, and even under the hood) and that most (if not all) repairs are taken care of. Your car should make a good first impression!
- You’ll also need to decide whether you’re going to sell or trade in your vehicle. Selling it yourself will probably bring in the most money. You can simply place a “For Sale” sign on it, or you can post it online, for example on Craigslist. You will then, of course, have to handle the title transfer yourself, there will undoubtedly be some haggling over price, and it may take a while to find the right buyer.
Trading your car in is therefore much more convenient, though it does bring in less than selling it yourself. Third party trade-in places like CarMax will probably offer more than the dealership, but you can shop around and negotiate for the best price. Another benefit of trading in is there is usually a tax incentive, and there may soon be an extra incentive for trading in gas vehicles for electric ones.
Other Electric Options
If after all these tips you’re still not comfortable with the price of a Tesla, there are numerous other all-electric options, with more and more coming out every year. Tesla leads the way in the electric vehicle market in terms of range, but there are plenty of benefits to the other choices. Here are just some of those options.
|Model||Nissan LEAF||Chevy Bolt||VW e-Golf||Hyundai Kona Electric||BMW 13|
|Range||150 mi||238 mi||125 mi||258 mi||153 mi|
|Max. cargo||30.0 cu ft||56.6 cu ft||52.7 cu ft||45.8 cu ft||36.9 cu ft|
|Stand-out features||An affordable, trustworthy electric vehicle. A very popular, award-winning option.||Tons of room and a great range. A great made-in-the-USA option.||Volkswagen’s first electric car puts the focus more on overall performance than range.||An SUV to compare to the Model X, and the only make to offer a lifetime warranty on the battery.||Sustainably designed interior, a luxury vehicle like the Tesla, but with the capacity for negotiation|
Several of these models offer upgrades to the battery – and therefore the range – for a few additional thousand. However, more and more charging stations are springing up in cities, at schools and businesses, and many of these models fully charge in half an hour or less.
The benefits of driving an electric vehicle hold for all of these models just as they do for a Tesla: you can save up to $10,000 just in federal and state credits and rebates, you get access to the HOV/carpool lane in many states, these vehicles are often at the cutting-edge of technology in more ways than one, and most importantly, you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something to help the environment.