I generally make $90K a year. I have a mortgage, taxes and home insurance and generally no credit card debt. I currently drive a 2010 Honda Civic. How can an average person like myself afford a Tesla new or used?

Joshua Burstyn | January 14, 2014

Put it on a 7 yr payment plan and make a significant down payment. If you have kids and/or a significant other, things might be tight though.

PatT | January 14, 2014

It kinda depends on where you live. In Arkansas or most of the mid west you're probably fine. In California or the northeastern states you probably will have to stick with your Honda.

Timo | January 15, 2014

Wait for couple of years, Model E (orwhateveritmightbecalled) will come available in around 2016 (my estimate), and it will basically be smaller version of Model S and cost quite a bit less.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 15, 2014

Just keep driving that 2010 Honda until it is paid off, then keep driving it for another 4 or 5 years, banking the payments. That will give you a great downpayment. Since the Tesla Gen 3 will be a lot cheaper, and, minus the cost of gasoline, your future cost of transportation will be reduced significantly. In the mean time, it appears that those making enough money to afford the Tesla Model S are doing so, meaning Tesla will still be here when you are ready for them.
Our energy needs are a long-term problem. Just keep thinking long-term.
I drove my late grandmother's old Buick for 5 years, waiting and saving to replace my EV1 because I knew the first in the next wave of EVs would be very expensive. When Tesla came out, I put a license plate frame on it saying "waiting for my Tesla".
It was kind of funny when I drove in to the office in a bright, shiny new Tesla Roadster after I'd been commuting in a 15 year old Buick previously :-)

sindykelsick | January 15, 2014

I certainly a[preciate the feedback. It was all very helpful. EArl and Nagin I like you way of thinking. What you suggested is a great idea and yes the license plate frame sound funny. I know you everyone with your it. Thanks again. :-)

EVenthusiast | January 15, 2014

Musk says cheaper Tesla model 'about three years away'

I am so in on this when it is available for preorder...

ian | January 15, 2014

Does it have to be new? You should be able to find a used S in about a year when the X begins delivery. There seem to be quite a few multiple S owners looking to get an S and trade or sell one of their S's.


sindykelsick | January 15, 2014

@Goneskiian I would prefer new if I could. Even the used Model S are on the pricey end; @Earl and Nagin, where can I get that license plate frame i really dig that idea. Thanks again to all for your feedback.

thatheard | January 15, 2014

Earl and Nagin are spot on, that's what I did as well. I'm in roughly the same demographic as you, and I saved aggressively for years to make a large down payment (most of the cost of the car), and got a great interest rate for the rest.

When you're doing your financial check to see if you can afford it, remember that a luxury sedan is going to increase your insurance too. I went from an '07 Honda Fit to my Model S and my insurance went up about $400 per year. I calculated it into my costs and decided I could take the hit.

Good luck in your saving, and remember that Top Raman tastes a whole lot better when it's followed by a Model S!

jordanrichard | January 15, 2014

Hey, don't knock Top Raman, I majored in that in college..... :-)

What one can afford is relative. It depends on what your current monthly bills are, do you consider savings a "bill" when doing your budget? Do you have kids college funds to finance? The tricky part is that there is no clear definition of what one can afford. Theoretically, someone making a lot less than you could easily "afford" the car, but perhaps they don't set aside any money in savings be it for themselves or kids education, live in an apartment, etc. and they do eat Top Raman noodles :-)

Haeze | January 16, 2014

The best way to do it, is to configure the car you want, see what the estimated monthly payments are, and start putting that much into your savings every month, acting as if you were making payments on a Tesla.

If you find you can do it reliably for a year, without missing a "payment" then go ahead and buy the car, using that money you saved as your down payment.

During that time it is a good idea to watch your gas usage and see how much you spend per month on gasoline for your Honda. Once you buy the Tesla, that money that once went to gas will now be the money you are putting in your savings each month, and it will be used to pay for taxes, car washes, road trips, and other fun stuff.

candice.gannon | January 16, 2014

Well if things work out for Telsa Motors they will launch its smaller electric sedan "Gen III" in late 2016, with a range of at least 200 miles and a price point "half" of the flagship Model S.

It will be about half of the price for the Model S which starts at $62,400 after a $7,500 federal tax credit, meaning the Gen III car will start at about the same price as the Nissan Leaf SV and have triple the real-world range.

This car will need to have a useful range of 200 miles for it to be compelling for people to buy. Let's hope it happens.