When most people think of electric vehicles (EVs), there’s one prominent name that’s top of mind: Tesla. It’s not all that surprising, considering that the electric car company owns roughly 80 percent of the electric car market share in the U.S.
Tesla’s constantly innovating and releasing new electric car tech to the market, and today can boast of four commercially available car models, each with its own unique set of perks: the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, the Tesla Model 3, and the Tesla Model Y. In this article, we’ll break down the car prices for each of the different Tesla EV models, and explain how you should compare them.
- Tesla’s electric cars have base price ranges between $39,990-$129,990 depending on the model
- Customization like paint changes, interior upgrades, and self-driving capabilities can tack on up to $19,000 more to your costs
- Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for state or local incentives that will reduce the cost of a Tesla
- You can easily compare electric car costs, aesthetics, ranges, and eligible incentives using EnergySage’s EV showroom
How much does a Tesla car cost?
Tesla’s current car line (Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y) has market sale price ranges between $39,990 – $129,990 – this is the cost before any tax incentives or local rebates. On the more affordable end is the Model 3, which Tesla first released in 2018. The car has a sticker price that comes in at a whopping $90,000 less than the company’s most expensive option: the Model S Plaid.
Keep in mind that the prices above don’t include any customization. Extras like paint changes, interior upgrades, and full self-driving capability can add anywhere from $2,000 to $19,000 onto your costs depending on your preferences.
Quick history of Tesla’s models: from Model S to Model Y
Tesla began commercially manufacturing their first electric car, the Roadster, back in 2008. However, it wasn’t until the company purchased its factory in Fremont, California that they started to build the four models we know and love today:
- Tesla Model 3 (compact sedan)
- Tesla Model S (mid-size luxury sedan)
- Tesla Model X (mid-size SUV)
- Tesla Model Y (compact SUV)
First came the Tesla Model S, a mid-size luxury sedan vehicle, back in 2012. And from there, Tesla went on to diversify its option set. Their first SUV option, the Model X, came to market in 2015, followed by their more affordable compact sedan option–the Model 3–three years later. Most recently, Tesla started shipping its first compact SUV, the Model Y, in 2020.
Excitingly, the electric car giant plans to release a new and improved version of its flagship electric car, the Roadster, in 2023. Tesla has promised that this sports convertible will be the quickest car in the world – we’ll have to wait and see!
Tesla model superlatives:
- Most affordable: Tesla Model 3, Standard Plus ($39,990)
- Most expensive: Tesla Model S, Plaid ($129,990)
- Longest range: Tesla Model S, Long Range (405 miles)
- Shortest range: Tesla Model 3, Standard Plus (262 miles)
- Fastest top speed: Tesla Model S, Plaid (200 miles per hour)
- Slowest top speed: Tesla Model Y, Long Range (135 miles per hour)
- Newest model: Tesla Model Y (2020)
- Oldest model: Tesla Model S (2012)
How much does a Tesla Model 3 cost?
Tesla’s Model 3 is their most affordable line of cars. With the base model selling for $39,990, this car is Tesla’s first attempt at a mass-market electric car to appeal to automobile shoppers of a wide range of budgets. And it’s working: the Model 3 has quickly become one of the most talked-about and popular electric cars thanks to its unique combination of performance and affordability. In fact, in 2020 the Model 3 was the 16th best selling car in the world – that’s including traditional gasoline-fueled cars!
The Model 3 comes in three different versions ( Performance, Long Range, and Standard Plus) that offer driving ranges between 262 and 353 miles.
Tesla Model 3 product line: drivetrain, price, range, and top speed
|TESLA MODEL 3 PRODUCT||DRIVETRAIN||BASE PRICE (BEFORE TAX CREDITS)||RANGE OF DISTANCE (MILES)||TOP SPEED (MPH)|
|Performance||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$56,990||315||162|
|Long Range||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$49,990||353||145|
|Standard Plus||Rear-Wheel Drive||$39,990||262||140|
How much does a Tesla Model S cost?
Well known as one of the leading EVs available, the Model S is a popular sports car with top-end ranges and speeds to match. Similar to the Model 3, buying a Model S will cost more or less depending on the model you buy and the tax credits available. Model S pricing starts at $89,990, and the company offers two car variations that you can choose from: the Model S Long Range, and the Model S Plaid. The more expensive of the two–the Model S Plaid–has tri-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) and has a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
Tesla Model S product line: drivetrain, price, range and top speed
|TESLA MODEL S PRODUCT||DRIVETRAIN||BASE PRICE (BEFORE TAX CREDITS)||RANGE OF DISTANCE (MILES)||TOP SPEED (MPH)|
|Long Range||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$89,990||405||155|
|Plaid||Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive||$129,990||396||200|
How much does a Tesla Model X cost?
For most Tesla fanatics, their primary interest has long been around the company’s Model S sedan. That changed at the end of 2015 when Tesla released its highly anticipated SUV offering, the Model X. Though the Model X is often marketed as an electric SUV, its size more closely resembles a compact crossover like a Subaru Forrester or Toyota Corolla. The Model X is the fastest sport utility vehicle in the automobile industry – the Plaid model can reach 60 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds!
The Model X starts at a base price of $99,990 and comes in two versions: Model X Long Range and the Model X Plaid.
Tesla Model X product line: drivetrain, price, range and top speed
|TESLA MODEL X PRODUCT||DRIVETRAIN||BASE PRICE (BEFORE TAX CREDITS)||RANGE OF DISTANCE (MILES)||TOP SPEED (MPH)|
|Long Range||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$99,990||360||155|
|Plaid||Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive||$119,990||340||163|
How much does a Tesla Model Y cost?
Tesla released their newest electric car model–the Tesla Y–back in 2020. According to Elon Musk himself, the car shares about 75 percent of its components with its more affordable sibling, the Model 3. The main difference between the two is that the Tesla Y is a mid-size SUV, rather than a sedan. This extra space comes at an additional cost: the Model Y has a base price between $53,990 and $60,990 depending on whether you go with the Model Y Long Range or the Model Y Performance.
Tesla Model Y product line: drivetrain, price, range and top speed
|TESLA MODEL Y PRODUCT||DRIVETRAIN||BASE PRICE (BEFORE TAX CREDITS)||RANGE OF DISTANCE (MILES)||TOP SPEED (MPH)|
|Long Range||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$53,990||326||135|
|Performance||Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive||$60,990||303||155|
Other Tesla car costs to consider
As with any other car purchase, paying for a car involves more than the prices we listed above, or the prices a manufacturer lists online. Additional fees–both ongoing and one-time payments–will increase the overall cost of buying a Tesla. When evaluating a Tesla purchase against other options, consider:
- Taxes and fees: depends on the model car you buy, as well as the sales tax rate in your area.
- Order fee: the nonrefundable fee Tesla charges to place your car order ($250)
- Destination & doc fee: the fee Tesla charges to transport your car from the Tesla factory to your delivery location ($1,200)
- Charging costs: varies based on your driving style, average mileage, the cost of electricity in your area, the car you drive, and more. Importantly, electric cars like Teslas typically offer significant fuel savings over gas-powered vehicles.
- Service & maintenance costs: depends on your area, the car you drive, how often you drive, and more. Fun fact: according to Consumer Reports, EV and plug-in hybrid car drivers pay about half as much on car repairs and maintenance compared to drivers of cars with internal combustion engines.
- Insurance: varies depending on your area, the cost of your car, your driving history, and more.
It can be hard to truly assess the total costs of driving a Tesla given the variability in some of the factors listed above; fortunately, our EV showroom personalizes your estimated costs based on your geography, how long you plan to own your car, and how many miles you drive each year. You can get your own personalized EV cost assessment here.
EV incentives and tax breaks for Tesla cars
Given how much you can save with EV incentives, it’s important to understand your eligibility for any tax credits prior to purchasing an electric car. The country’s most advantageous EV incentive–the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit–offers a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 on your electric vehicle purchase. However, this incentive is only available for the first 200,000 cars manufactured by a particular car maker, so if you purchase a popular electric car model, there’s a chance you won’t be able to take advantage of this incentive. Furthermore, you also need to have sufficient tax liability in order to take advantage of this incentive – what good is a credit towards your taxes if you don’t owe enough in taxes in the first place?
At the end of 2018, the full $7,500 federal tax credit available for Tesla electric vehicles was cut in half to $3,750, and dropped again to $1,875 in the second half of 2019. As of 2021, Tesla models are no longer eligible for the federal EV tax credit. This is because Tesla reached the threshold of 200,000 EVs sold back in July of 2018, triggering the phase-out period for the credit.
That said, your Tesla purchase may be eligible for other state or local incentives depending on where you live. For example, states like California, Maryland and Colorado offer cash incentives or credits for electric car owners. Others offer non-cash incentives like indefinite carpool access and free tolls. Regardless, there’s a good chance that the price tag for your Tesla car will look a lot better once you factor in credits and incentives.
Using EnergySage’s EV showroom, you can explore all of the electric vehicle incentives in your area by car make and model, tax filing status, and household income. Simply click the “Personalize Incentives” button and enter your zip code to get started.
Is buying a Tesla car worth it?
Of course, buying a Tesla will cost more than most cars upfront; despite the release of the more-affordable Model Y, it’s still regarded as a luxury vehicle and has the price tag to match. When it comes down to it, whether or not you should buy a Tesla depends on your preferences and personal finances. On the plus side, Tesla owners typically experience low maintenance costs and fuel savings relative to comparable luxury vehicles with gas-powered engines. Outside of financial savings, electric cars like Teslas also help reduce pollution, so if environmental stewardship is important to you, an electric car–a Tesla model or otherwise–is the way to go.
With any big purchase, it’s important to do a bit of research and compare your options before making a decision – and EnergySage’s EV showroom is a great place to start! Using our comparison feature, you can easily evaluate multiple cars side-by-side, including all-electric, hybrid, and gasoline models. Browse car options, explore local incentives, and get personalized costs and savings estimates, all in one place, all online.