Do Teslas Really Help Save Money?

All electric, fast, and lots of luxury bells and whistles. That describes Tesla’s overall mantra. But do you really save money on an all-electric vehicle? The answer might surprise you.

The Base Cost


Image via Flickr by Benjie Castillo

Before 2017, buying one of Tesla’s three available models was in the high five-figure range, and well into the six-figure range if you added some options. In 2017, Tesla added the Model 3. With a starting price of $35,000, suddenly the money-saving ratio of driving a Tesla got a whole lot better.

Unfortunately, Tesla is way behind on delivering these cars, so if you plan on buying one, expect a 12-18 month waiting period before yours is sitting in your driveway.

Tax Rebates

The federal government would like to encourage you to save the environment and to do it, they are offering everyone’s favorite incentive, cash. If you buy a Tesla, or any other hybrid or all-electric vehicle, you will get a $7500 tax refund.

Washington D.C. and several other states also offer tax rebates. Check with your state to see if you might qualify for some extra cash in your pocket after you buy your Tesla.

Gas Savings

This is one of the biggest money savers when it comes to Tesla. Results will vary depending on where you live, but according to Tesla’s charging calculator, a 300-mile charge will save you around $25. If you live in California you can apply for a reduced electric rate to charge your car. In some cases, this can save you 40 – 50 percent of the standard electric rate.

Maintenance Costs

How many times will you need to change the oil in your Tesla? None. Tesla’s all-electric motor has less moving parts, and oil changes are not required. This means the maintenance costs for your Tesla will be much less than a car with an internal combustion engine. Tesla does offer a yearly service package for $600. Compare that with Triple AAA’s average maintenance cost of a sedan of around $750, and you are still saving money.

A Few Hidden Costs

Driving a Tesla does save money over time, but there are a few other costs you need to be aware of before you order your new ride.

- A charging station. While all Tesla’s come with a wall converter plug, Tesla says the charging station will charge the batteries faster. The purchase price of the charging station is around $1000, and then you will probably have to pay someone to install it.

- The battery. The battery in your Tesla is warrantied for eight years, after that the cost falls to you. A new battery will cost you around $10,000 dollars. You might want to trade in your Tesla before you hit that eight-year mark.

- Faster depreciation. Electric vehicles are known to have very low resale values. In some cases as low as ten percent of their purchase price after just five years.

Driving a Tesla is an experience all its own. High-end luxury, speed, and saving the environment all wrapped up in one package. Will driving the car save you money? When comparing it to a high-end gas model, the short answer is yes.