There is nothing quite as expensive as a brand new Tesla. These EVs are pushing the envelope in terms of automotive innovation. The cars are surprisingly fast for running off just a battery. It also helps that they are easy on the eyes in terms of design.
But is there a way to beat the prices and get a Tesla for cheap? The long and short of the answer is yes. But you have to become slightly creative. Let’s explore how to get a Tesla for cheap.
Save Big With a Base-Level Model 3
Your best bet is to look at base-level Tesla cars. More specifically, look to a Model 3 for the best possible deals.
A good option is to go through a private dealer to secure a low price. It is good to avoid buying it through an online EV marketplace. Avoid as many brokers as you can to minimize their commissions.
You might also want to stay tuned to Tesla’s CPO offerings. Those cars tend to be less expensive.
Here are a few tips on how to secure a Tesla for cheap.
Let’s get an uncomfortable truth out of the way. Tesla cars already have a high retail price, to begin with. The average price for a Tesla is higher than for non-EV cars. You have to be realistic about the prices you can expect to find. Even the cheapest Teslas will be more expensive than an Accord or a Hyundai.
That said, your best option is to look at the used Tesla market.
What is the Price of the Cheapest Tesla?
The price of Tesla cars depends on four main factors, these are as follows:
- Model year
- Special features
Other factors can also influence the price, but the above four are key aspects. The Tesla model is the biggest factor that affects its value. This is primarily because later models are superior to their earlier counterparts.
For example, Tesla vehicles before 2014 did not have an Autopilot feature (AP1). This dramatically lowers their value in 2022. Tesla launched the second version of Autopilot (AP2) in 2016. This version allows for self-driving and other high-end features.
The value of present-day AP1 cars is lower than AP2 cars. In turn, Teslas that don’t have an autopilot feature are cheaper.
Mileage also plays a major role in the value of Teslas. The higher its mileage, the lower its value. However, mileage is not a major concern for Teslas because they are driven by electricity. Mileage is more of a concern for gasoline-driven cars.
Tesla Model 3s with mileage as high as 40,000 experience a very small depreciation. Teslas with over 100,000 miles are also a good option to purchase. It is not uncommon for Teslas over 200,000 miles to be in good shape.
The feature set of your Tesla also plays a role in the price. For example, upgrades like Full Self-Driving and Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) tend to cost more.
So how low can the price of a Tesla go? Market trends show that the cheapest Tesla costs around $30,000. The prices will get even lower as the miles stack up.
It is also worth noting that damaged Teslas will cost even less. However, undamaged Teslas won’t depreciate much in terms of pricing.
Tesla cars come in different models and trim levels. The prices also depend on the battery and motor configurations.
The table below reflects market trends for Teslas based on the four factors discussed above.
|S||$30,000||100,000||2012-2013 S 60|
|3||$32,000||30,000||2019 Standard Range RWD|
|X||$48,000||100,000||60D and 75D|
|Y||$50,000||20,000||Long Range AWD|
Get the Most Basic Trim
The cheapest version of any Tesla would be its most basic trim. This trim will strip away the Tesla of all the extra bells and whistles. After everything is removed, you will be left with a basic car.
In some cases, you can take off as much as $20,000 off the price.
Does it matter which trim you buy? We believe that a basic trim is as good as a high-end trim. You still get to own the incredible machine. The basic trim will make a great addition to your garage.
The most cost-effective way to get a Tesla is to opt for a high-mileage option. These Teslas are cheaper because they have seen use. However, an electric vehicle can last a long time. Most experts suggest that Tesla motor and battery packs are good for at least 500,000 miles.
This is your best course of action if you’re looking for a small price tag.
A negotiation is an art form. It requires persuasive skills and leverage over the seller. Several factors go into a successful negotiation. This song and dance require a very good understanding of human psychology.
Most negotiations only work if you are going through a used car salesman or dealership. You can also haggle with a private seller – but this step is easier said than done. Try to understand where the other party’s perspectives and use your bargaining chips sensibly.
For example, dealerships buy used cars at low prices. They later jack up the price when selling the cars. This business model is crucial for the dealer to survive. But shrewd negotiation skills can help you curb the price somewhat in your favor.
Pro tip: Always do your homework before starting negotiations with any dealer. Use price
estimators to understand the worth of a Tesla. This is your starting point.
The best way to save money is by paying the full price of Tesla. Try to put as much money as downpayment as possible. This will minimize the monthly value of how much you owe.
People use this common technique when buying a Tesla for cheap. If you have more disposable money, we suggest you use it. This will save more money each month in savings. The best part is that you’ll save in the long run. It will also free your monthly budget by paying up front.
Buying a cheap Tesla is easier said than done. For starters, it is not easy to find vendors who would sell it for cheap.
Most automotive platforms are centered around gas-powered cars. This makes it harder to fine-tune your search for Teslas. For example, sorting a Tesla by trim, model, and mileage is not easy. The search function of most websites is not adequate.
Moreover, low-priced Teslas are bound to sell like hot cake. They get scooped up by eager buyers very early on. So you have to keep your eyes and ears to the ground for cheap Teslas.
It is also worth noting that some platforms require new members to create an account. This can take time, depending on the registration process. By the time you get your new account, the cheap Tesla will be gone.
Some platforms don’t allow buyers to post their contact information. They require you to use the chat feature to communicate instead. This further adds to the delay and prevents you from getting in touch quickly.
Then there is the problem of fake Teslas. Certain platforms don’t regulate their ads properly. You will have to trust the person at a huge risk to your finances.
All of the above concerns raise a question: where to buy cheap Teslas?
Let’s take a look at some great options.
This is the best way to buy a cheap Tesla. The Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program should be your number one choice for buying used Teslas. This is because these cars are sold by Tesla. The degree of security that Tesla offers is unparalleled because of its reputation.
The best part about CPO is that the cars are audited by Tesla itself. All the used Teslas are inspected thoroughly for problems. They also warrant the cars to give you peace of mind. Tesla makes sure that used cars are roadworthy. Selling a car that is not roadworthy is illegal in most places.
Tesla inspects the car for mechanical problems as well as cosmetic damage. Their checklist includes the following points:
- Powertrain system
- Steering and suspension components
- Braking system and brake pads
- Driver controls
- Evidence of structural repairs
- Charging system
- Equipment functionality
- Scratches over 1” and 3”
- Dents of up to 0.75”
- Safety system
As you can see, Tesla’s inspection is very detailed indeed. There is virtually no room for major cosmetic defects or mechanical problems. A few scratches should not depreciate the value too significantly either.
The only problem with CPO is that Tesla does not make the cars look new. Another major problem is that Tesla does not let you inspect the car before purchasing. You are buying the car without taking a good look at it. Some people may be too skittish about using Tesla’s CPO policy because of this reason.
Tesla also provides a warranty for their used cars. They offer a maximum of 8 years or 100,000 miles. Tesla may also extend the warranty of a car depending on various factors. This warranty is worth having because the used car may be susceptible to problems.
The CPO program comes with a markup in price because of the guarantees. However, they are still cheaper than new Teslas. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of CPO based on your budget.
You might find good ads on social media groups. Real people create most ads for real Teslas. These cars may or may not be cheap – this depends on the seller’s preferences. You can get lucky if someone decides to sell the Tesla for real cheap. You might find some sellers hoping to sell their used car for full price.
The only way to know for sure is to visit these groups. A big disadvantage with social media groups is the unhelpful search feature. There is no way to filter ads. You will only see ads with the highest visibility (usually high comments). Most buyers will have to really dig deep to find high-quality ads.
But crawling social media groups may be worth your time. You may end up finding a diamond in the rough!
There’s no telling what surprises lurk on Craigslist. You might find a scam or a genuine seller. However, expect to find a lot of scams and fake ads.
Auto Dealers are a good choice for buying a used Tesla. However, most of them are not buyer-friendly. Some ads are extremely expensive, to begin with. They also have an ineffective search feature.
For every 1 Tesla, you will find dozens of gas-powered cars. This is because most auto dealers don’t specialize in electric vehicles.
You might want to begin your search in electric vehicle marketplaces.
Our recommendation is to stick to Tesla’s official CPO program. You get the best of both worlds: good price and guarantees.
It depends on where you live and your proximity to the seller.
It is not impossible to find a Tesla for cheap. However, you will have to be very thorough in your search. You may have to drop a few expectations for these cars. For example, don’t expect Tesla to have a self-driving feature. Moreover, Tesla may have run out of warranty already.
Running out of mileage is not necessarily a bad thing.
This depends on the model. A Tesla with Full Self-Driving continues to get more expensive. However, basic trims are getting more affordable with time. In all cases, you should keep an eye out for the Model 3. These cars will get slightly cheaper in the coming years as they get replaced.
The older models will get cheaper as the Tesla lineup gets bigger and better. Let us know if you have any questions about buying Teslas for cheap.
You may like the following Tesla electric car articles:
- How to Put Tesla in Neutral?
- How Much to Rent a Tesla?
- What is Tesla Destination Charging?
- How Much Does a Used Tesla Cost
- How to Precondition a Tesla Battery
- Are Electric Car Companies a Good Investment?
- Is It Possible to Jumpstart a Tesla?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.