Cost of S

Cost of S

I love the look of the new S model but the only way it will be in my garage is if the price is not to high.I am well aware that this is a new industry and that development cost are high but to get people into them on a mass market scale they need to be affordable at the moment they arn`t.

Timo | August 19, 2010

Tesla Type S is supposed to be luxury-class sedan, IE. BMW M6 Coupe. That costs around $100k and people do buy it, so I don't see any reason why Type S wouldn't sell. According to specs Type S has even better performance than BMW M6 Coupe (not higher top speed though). Type S is not supposed to compete with Leaf and Volt, but surpass them by great margin.

The next model will then be the affordable one.

gotwins | August 20, 2010

From what I've been reading the Type S would be around $50K-$60K, which I wouldn't consider being outside the mass market price range.

Brian H | August 20, 2010

And ... you could always mover to Oklahoma, which is offering a tax credit for 50% of the purchase price of any EV!! :)

Dan5 | August 21, 2010

I did the calculation for the amount of energy or gas I use over a 10 year period and the expected repairs for a normal car and the Model S.
For me, it turns out, when all is said and done, that the Model S costs the same as a base Toyota Corolla

The gas and oil make the Corolla actually go over the price of the Tesla Model S slightly

And as an added bonus, I don't have to sit in line for a Motor Vehicle inspections, worry about some check engine sensor failure, or worry about crap happening to the engine- the Tesla's have a very simple drive train compared to a normal car (handful of moving parts verses 600 and some in a normal car).

For that price, you are getting leather, remote control locks, power windows, a nifty 17 inch screen and really cool door handles verses a base Corolla. For me that's one heck of a deal- I expect to pay around (63 K base price minus 7.5 K fed credit and 4 K state credit = 51.5 K), heck for 63 K I would still buy it.

CoryS | August 21, 2010

Quoted from Tesla's Model S page, under the reserve pop up: Starting at $49,000 including $7,000 federal tax credit. So that isn't really out of a lot of people's price range. The roadster was the expensive one, the model S, for the luxury of it, is actually a bargain when compared properly to it's correct class, and as Timo pointed out, it's class is far from the leaf or volt.

Dan5 | August 24, 2010

Exactly, it's one good deal, I'm actually considering reserving another one- compared to a Lincoln towncar or Cadillac, or some other luxury sedan, the upfront costs about the same when you factor in all the tax credits for the Tesla and on top of that you have the gas savings!
The volt looks like a modified malibu and the leaf looks like a prius clone to me. And the fact that some chevy dealerships were charging up to 20 K over MSRP is shooting GM in the foot.
61 K for a modified Malibu (still uses gas and still has all the problems of gasoline engines) or 49 K for a Tesla- The Tesla is a much better deal. Plus Tesla knows has a proven track record when it comes to electric cars, GM does not

I estimated my total price of my Tesla Model S is going to run around 63 K based on comparable luxury sedans (upgraded battery, premium color, premium leather, floor mats, taxes, title, etc, etc) prior to rebates with all the options I want, who knows it could be lower, which would make me even happier.

Zed-one | August 26, 2010

If they can keep the price down to say around £30,000 then with its great looks this car will out sell some very big names.Did I mention I live in the UK?

mgreis | August 27, 2010

If only there was some way to subsidize the cost of a Type S sedan to make it affordable. If you took 1,000,000,000,000 and used it strictly to reduce the cost of the Type S instead of on something like, oh I don't know - the Iraq war for instance, how many at what price?

Seems to me you could take $40,000 off the price of 25,000,000 Teslas. How much less oil would we use with 25,000,000 people driving that many Teslas? How much less energy?

If Tesla was cranking out 25,000,000 sedans, couldn't they do it for a bit less money?

Even 40,000 off of 250,000 Teslas is a good start. Might even be good for the economy and environment.


Brian H | August 27, 2010

All in, including maintenance and not counting perks like free parking in many places, leasing and running a Model S works out to about the same net as for a $35,000 ICE, apparently. In Europe, many jurisdictions waive VAT and other taxes and charges; that can be serious money, cutting the net cost by 2/3 or so compared to an ICE. Many places here and over there offer free parking anywhere, even in commercial lots. There are lots of variables!

You're talking about the next model, a family car half the price of the 'S'. But probably not till '16. But see my calculations above; you really have to consider total expense, not just sticker price.

Brian H | August 27, 2010

My guesstimate is that before VAT, the 'S' will be about £37K. Figure in all the perks (no congestion fees, free parking, etc.) on top of the gas savings (probably about 20p/mi.) and you might find it's a bargoon!

Valentine39 | August 27, 2010

Personally, I would be happy to pay only $50K for a Model S, however as I read the poop it's $100K with a $50K tax credit. I am not in a tax bracket that can afford it. $50K out of pocket OK by me though. The car MUST have a 275 mile range with AC working on a full charge. That gets me to Richmond, Fredericksburg and perhaps DC and home again w/o a recharge. DC is iffy if there is a hangup on I95 in either direction.

rletourneau | August 27, 2010

I have a Tesla Roadster. The beauty of sitting in a traffic jam is that you use NO energy while you are waiting - actually your expected range goes up if you are crawling along in a traffic jam!

To all;
Did the latest newsletter actually try to slip by that the Model S is going to be delayed another 6 months later than we expected? (mid 2012 instead of late 2011 to early 2012). I hope not, as I have a reservation in.

DartLady S77 | August 28, 2010


I don't know where you "read the poop", but the Tesla website (click on the "reserve" button) lists it as starting at $49,000 Canadian. That is $46,613.70 USD at todays rate. The posted range is 480km per charge, which is 298.25 miles. Sounds to me like your needs are met and you need to get your deposit in!


Stuck in traffic DOES use some energy to run the display, AC, radio and whatever other peripherals you are running - but the drain for these things (except the AC) is relatively minor.

I had the pleasure of a Roadster test drive and I can't wait to get my Model S (I'd get the Roadster but it's too low to the ground for my husband to get in and out of, and the price is out of my budget)

likuid435 | August 28, 2010

I don't know where some of you people get your information. The car is NOT 100k with a 50k tax credit. Where the heck did you get that information???

It says it on Tesla's website: The caris about 56k, but after a 7k tax credit the lower range battery model is 49k (there is a 5k downpayment that goes towards the price of the car).

likuid435 | August 28, 2010


Can you buy me a Model S? It is clear you have some dough, so if you want to pass some my way, I will be a joyful recipient =) I have a civic hybrid and get about 51mpg, but it is nowhere near the ∞ mpg

TslaFan | September 6, 2010

From everything I've read, it seems the car will be around 60K, plus you should see some kickback via rebates.

Here is a article on this:

BYT | September 7, 2010

Is that true? "Oklahoma, which is offering a tax credit for 50% of the purchase"

If that's the case I would fly out to Oklahoma for two months and rent a place for the address just for the credit of 50% off the purchase!

Brian H | September 9, 2010

I think you have to be a resident and file your annual tax return to qualify.

Qball | September 10, 2010

Is it 50% credit of purchase price or 50% credit of the sales tax on the vehicle? I highly doubt that the Govt would be up for just giving you ~$25,000.

Brian H | September 10, 2010

50% of purchase price, applied against your annual income tax bill.

"For tax years beginning before January 1, 2015, a one-time income tax credit is available for 50% of the incremental cost of purchasing a new original equipment manufacturer AFV or converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel.
For vehicles propelled by electricity only, the credit is based on the full purchase price of the vehicle."

Brian H | September 10, 2010

And for the Roadster Sport, that would amount to about ~$65,000, not just $25,000.

Timo | September 11, 2010

So you are saying that if you buy a Roadster Sport there and then sell it later to someone else you basically win the purchase price of Type S?

This makes me wanting to move there, take a loan and buy Roadster Sport. :-P

Brian H | September 11, 2010

Well, you'd need to file your year's income tax return there to get the money back! But yeah, it looks like you could do that. I'm sure lots of people are contemplating little schemes like you are! ;)

Brian H | September 11, 2010

I assume OK knows people will try to game the system, but it is clearly competing for people, business, and investment. So the long term payoff is more than just cutting local tailpipe emissions.

Georg | September 12, 2010

And (not implying anything) your STATE tax liability needs to be VERY high in order to take advantage of this credit. And I don't really know anything about OK taxes ( including whether they have an AMT that negates the benefit ), and I am NOT a CPA, but with their 5.5% tax rate you'd have to earn at LEAST $65k/0.055 = $1.2M. That $1.2M less other deductions would get you to a Oklahoma taxable income level to take full advantage of the $65k. But :-) you could spread that credit against income over three years. (Tax form here:

BYT | September 13, 2010

So it's not feasible for me but that's still awesome! Sad we don't have a deal like that here in California the supposedly green state! $7.5k credit only, VERY LAME! Ahh, I guess it's better then not!

Georg | September 15, 2010

California also has a $5,000 rebate program, not income or tax dependent, but depending of funding availability. See here:

Mehdi | September 17, 2010

Here in State of Washington EVs are exempt from sales tax, so at $57,500 list price you would save $5700 compare to a gasoline car. Include the $7500 tax rebate and the Model S will cost comparable to a $45,000 ICE car, that's out the door.
That price beats all the Luxury cars in its class that I was looking to buy, BMW 500 series, Mercedes E series or Audi A series,(it even beats Chevy Volt)
And the price was only a small factor in reserving my model S.
Not haveing to go to a Gas Station, EVER, Priceless.

Vawlkus | September 21, 2010

At least you lot south of the boarder GET a rebate, those of us north of it eat the whole cost :P

come 2012, or 2013, I'm STILL getting a Model S. It's an AWESOME ride.

Jaffray | September 21, 2010

What Province are you in Vawlkus?

Ontario (I think it's a Provincial program, not Federal)just started a new rebate program...both the Roadster & the S car qualify for an after tax rebate of $8,500...not much, but it's a start.

Vawlkus | September 21, 2010

East Coast, Nova Scotia to be exact.

I'm just quoting off the blog for one of the first Roadster's to be delievered in BC.

Jaffray | September 21, 2010

Yeah, I don't know about the B.C. incentive program (if any)...the Ontario program started on July 1, 2010.

One area Canadians all need to lobby our politicians is having both Federal and Provincial EV incentive programs...from reduced or eliminated sales tax to much more advantageous write offs for business owned vehicles...Canada is embarrassingly lax in these areas.

zhengst | September 21, 2010


Is there a way to share your spreadsheet comparing the cost of Tesla vs. Corolla? It will be critical for me to get a green light from my wife on a Tesla.

Many thanks.

Tao Zheng

zhengst | September 21, 2010

Sorry, last question was for Dan5.

Ishiwago | September 21, 2010

same as zhengst, the spreadsheet would be good for me too!

chenglo1 | September 21, 2010

i'm not sure why we are comparing cars that have such a big gap in retail prices? Wouldn't it be more fair to show the wives the cost differences between the Model S and a Lexus GS450? or vs. Mercedes E class? BMW 500 series? Then again, if the overall cost ended up being same as a corolla, that would be more impressive. right? my wife is all about what i hand over to the dealer when we close the deal. I just told her, "if I like it, we'll buy another one."


Jaffray | September 22, 2010

Most here are comparing a BEV to another BEV, as opposed to comparing a BEV to a Hybrid or an ICE vehicle.

You are right though in so far as the comparative BEV's are not a good comparison to the S car...but then again, that's not Tesla's fault that (to borrow an ICE vehicle's mantra) "there is no substitute" lol!

I have a Lexus GS 450h...astoundingly fun vehicle to drive...doesn't come close to the Roadster's performance and I'm willing to bet that it won't match the S car's either...besides, a Hybrid costs more to run & maintain and still has an ICE...

zhengst | September 22, 2010

For me, I can't justify buying a luxury car, and I'm not a fan of them either. So there's no point for me comparing to them. But if the total cost of ownership of an EV can be on the level of a "cheap" ICE, and accidently the EV is in the luxury class, then it will totally sell.

On another note, I'd like to see if the analysis model take into consideration of the accelerated depreciation factor. An S might be comparable to a Corolla in TCO for the first 10 years. But for the first 5 years, the TCO for owning an S should be higher than a Corolla because of fast depreciation in the first few years, and that the majority component of the Corolla TCO lies in gas and maintenance.

Then again, here's the issue of oil price. Which I think most people should expect to increase in the near future with the economy coming back up and the oil reserve still reducing. The utility cost is much more stable than oil price in the first place. And if you are like me and plan to build a PV system to power the EVs, then the energy cost for EV should remain pretty constant.

Then again again, higher oil price would slow down the depreciation of EV because more people would turn to EVs and a second-hand EV should keep more value than if the oil price is lower.

So yeah, I'm pretty confident that the TCO of an S is very comparable to a Corolla.

Vawlkus | September 22, 2010

I actually think people are overdoing the depreciation rate of an EV car.

I mean, ICE car's depreciate because as the motor is used, it's more prone to breakage. The same is just not true of an EV motor. Even if you factor in the battery, you've still got a much longer time to even SHOW lessened performance like an ICE does.

ChristianG | September 23, 2010

I think old car is old car... if you buy a new car the worth of it in $ will drop faaast. I don't think it will matter much what type of motor you use.

The big plus of an EV sure is that electricity will be way cheaper than gas. and I doubt that that will change in the next 10 years.

Depending where you live you'll get tax reductions.

As it's a luxury car the insurance will be higher. (maybe there will be a green bonus...)

As it's a sporty car, the tyres will be bigger and more expansive

as it's a sporty car, the brakes will wear down faster

as it's a sporty luxery car the maintenance will be more expansive (Roadster is 600$ so it most likely will be cheaper, but don't think it will come down to the corolla)

So honeslty I think it will be cheaper than other luxury cars in it's class but I don't think it will outrun anything that it's half it's price.. but hey. It's only a gut feeling, prove me wrong.

Timo | September 23, 2010

You got one part wrong: the brakes. As a EV brakes are rarely even used. Regen takes care of that. Maintenance is way cheaper than equal ICE car because there are no oil changes or belts to wear down or anything like that. Probably not quite as cheap as Corolla basic maintenance / maintenance case, but in time probably lot less of those cases.

Vawlkus | September 23, 2010

Did you ever ask WHY an old car isn't worth as much Chris? 95% of the time it's because "it'll need more maintenance/parts".

Luxury cars aren't more to insure, although sports cars can be depending on the car.

Are you kidding me? Tires more expensive? *shakes head*
You get what you pay for, and you don't NEED high grade tires, they're just good to have if you're after performance. If not, Walmart has tires in the sizes listed.

As Timo said, EV cars dont' wear out their brakes because they don't need to use them as much as a ICE does. I drive a standard right now, and I am still on my first set of brakes because I gear down to avoid brake wear.

Oh, that $600? That's for a full year of maintenance. How often does an ICE go in? 4 to 8 times a year? $110 + minimum per visit? Doesn't seem like that much of a difference to me.

Had a look at 0-60 rating much? Model S isn't the fastest of all, but it's in the top 5 for acceleration. From a rollinig start? No ICE can touch it, and they never will be able to.

The Roadster? You need a $400,000 ICE to catch it.

The one and ONLY thing an ICE can do better than an EV is refuel. Charge your EV at night, and this becomes moot, because you're never waiting for your car to fuel; it fuels itself at night and always has a full tank when you want to go somewhere.

ChristianG | September 23, 2010

Hi Vawlkus,

ok the breaks I take back.

I havn't really owned a fast car yet, but most cars I saw with a similiar accelration as the model has has way bigger tires (broader) than mine. wich are probably used as the performance is wayyyy better. So it's a safety measure. So I think the recommendet tyres of the model S will be more expensive as the recommended ones for a corola...

I just checked the actual insurance cost between a prius CHF 600.-- and a BMW 305 CHF 1050.--. No matter why it's more expensive.. the cars worth or that it's sportier. The same different, if not bigger would count for the corolla (at least it's that way in Switzerland)

My Prius (6 years old) goes in every 1.5 year or so and like I stated before it was CHF 300.-- half for the work and half for materials. I don't think it's much more with a corola. As I understand the 600$ from Tesla does not contain much material. But again it's a completely other league of a car.

Don't get me wrong I completely adore Tesla and it's cars so far. And with the Model S it's kinda affordable me. And I'm sure I'll get a completely green luxury car wich will be very fun to drive. But like with my prius i'm very skeptik about really safe some money with it.

Vawlkus | September 23, 2010

Here's a list of car's I've had so far:
Mercedez Benz Station Wagon
1990 Ford Mustang
2000 Dodge Neon
1998 Hyundai Accent
2007 VW Rabbit

I've gone from luxery to sports to mundane cars. I know the difference in gassers. Insurance was never much in the difference between the different cars.

Tires all have similar tread patterns, and they're all made of the same rubber. The only difference between them is price, brand name, customer gulability. Trust me, you may see a performance difference with performance tires under certain circumstances, but the Walmart brand will get you from point A to point B safely, otherwise those tires wouldn't be available for sale.

I have a hard time believing your Prius goes in every 1.5 years mate, the oil changes ALONE are more frequent than that. Add in fuel filters, ait filters, hydraulic lines, fuel lines, etc, etc, and you are either taking it in and not realising it, or you're really neglecting that car.

Regionally, there maybe something of a difference between where you are (Switzerland) and where I am (Canada), but some things are constant.

Jaffray | September 23, 2010

Tesla Roadster amongst the top vehicles in holding their value...

Check this story out from the Sept Tesla Newsletter...

"The Tesla Roadster boasts one of the highest resale values in the sports car class, according to a recent ranking by Road & Track magazine. Rivaling the Porsche 911 Carrera and the Audi S5, the Roadster is the only zero-emissions car to make the list - pretty impressive for a new entrant that also happens to be the only electric sports car for sale in the world.

"The 2010 Tesla Roadster is the sports car darling of tech-savvy early-adopters everywhere," the buff mag writes.

The Roadster's rust-proof carbon-fiber paneling and simple, low-maintenance powertrain will lock in high residual values for years. Pair this technology with a limited production run and the Roadster becomes an even smarter choice for serious collectors and commuters alike. "

Looks pretty good from where I'm

Jaffray | September 23, 2010

Oops! point of the previous post was if the Roadster holds it's value this well, there is no reason to think the S car won't...

ChristianG | September 24, 2010

yep I'm probably pretty lazy in maintancing my car. I now and then check the oil, but I never had to change it or refill it myself as it's always full and that's it. I checkt the numbers and you're right it was 14 month and 15 month between the last 2 services.

I mostly just wait untill the garage tells me that it's time again. It might be a bit overdue but so far the biggest cost so far was changing the brakes and now I needed new summer and winter tyres... without those special costs the service was around the 300$

As the insurances here even differ in the different regions of switzerland I'm pretty sure it's completely different from other countries... just got the numbers from a car-insurance-compare tool on the net.

But I'm very glad that my 'pessimistic' views seem to quiet ungrounded so I even more look forward to lay my hands on the model S.

jkirkebo | September 26, 2010

You service your car 4 to 8 times a YEAR ? Wow. My VW Touran 2.0TDI tells me when it needs an service & oil change, it usually lasts two years between each time. I drive about 9000 miles a year, so it needs service & oil change approx. every 18.000 miles.

I'd never considering buying a car that needs service more than once a year at the most.

txjak | September 26, 2010

Since part of the cost of gasoline is a so-called road tax, isn't it likely that there will eventually be some form of tax to recover this loss of revenue from PEVs?

ChristianG | September 28, 2010

Maybe, in a longterm view it's possible that all the tax rebates we get now will disapear and the existing taxes will be changed so all vehicles have to pay them.

But right now they just want people to buy green cars. As long as the EVs are not very common I don't think they change the taxes....