Are Teslas Worth It? Here are Our Findings

Article Summary:

Gas savings, low maintenance and electricity costs, advanced technology, and government tax credits are some of the benefits that make Teslas worth it to their owners. However, the high price tag and insurance costs, coupledl with reliability issues, has kept Tesla struggling in rankings by magazines like Consumer Reports. Tesla is inarguably one of the biggest electric vehicle makers, but its reliability has repeatedly been a problem for consumers.

Tesla cars are some of the most stylish and luxurious electric cars on the road today. As buying electric vehicles has become more mainstream, Tesla continues to be one of the top brands making electric cars today. Features like autopilot, lithium-ion batteries, the ability to summon the car from a garage or parking spot, and low maintenance costs have helped solidify Tesla as one of the more popular electric car makers around.

However, with the proliferation of more automakers producing their own electric cars, consumers have begun to ask if Teslas are worth it. With high price tags and insurance premiums, as well as reliability issues, not everyone is as enthralled with Tesla as they were when the company first emerged on the scene in 2008.

What is Tesla?

Tesla was founded in 2003 by entrepreneur Elon Musk as an electric vehicle company, that has now transformed to include clean energy and storage products, as well as battery packs. The first Tesla debuted in 2008, and the company currently has over two million cars on the road.

Tesla vehicles are produced at its factory in Fremont, California, and Gigafactory in Shanghai, China. They have become one of the most well-known automakers in the world and driven much of the newfound competition in the electric vehicles market.

Musk has also gained notable fame in the years since founding Tesla, creating additional and equally ambitious companies such as SpaceX, Starlink, and The Boring Company. Despite these developments (and the fame he gained in the cryptocurrency universe), Tesla is still the most established and profitable of his businesses.

Tesla models

Below are some of the most common Tesla models currently on the road. By comparing price tags and features, you may find a Tesla is worth the money if you find the right model.

Model 3Model SModel XModel Y PerformanceModel Y Long Range
Base price*$46,990$104,990$120,990$69,990$65,990
TypeSedanSedanSUVCompact SUVCompact SUV
Seating5 adults5 adults5 adults5 adults5 adults
EPA miles/charge267 miles405 miles348 miles303 miles318 miles
Features 15″ touchscreen
Remote summon
17″ touchscreen
Multi-device Bluetooth and charge
Remote summon
17″ touchscreen
Multi-device Bluetooth and charge
Wireless gaming
Falcon wing doors
Remote summon
15″ touchscreen
Remote summon
15″ touchscreen
Remote summon
Add-ons $12,000 – Full self-driving capability $12,000 – Full self-driving capability $12,000 – Full self-driving capability
$6,500 – Seating for 6
$3,500 – Seating for 7
$12,000 – Full self-driving capability
$1,000 – Tow hitch
$12,000 – Full self-driving capability
$1,000 – Tow hitch
$3,000 – Seating for 7
*As of June 2022

What are the positives of owning a Tesla?

The biggest positive of owning a Tesla is the fact that you are driving an electric car, meaning that you don’t spend money on gas. Not having to fill up at the pump and stop at a gas station is a major advantage for Tesla owners, saving both time and money. However, there are also other incentives to owning a Tesla besides the obvious.

Maintenance costs

Car maintenance is next to nothing for electric vehicles. There’s no need for things like tune-ups and oil changes, and you can even go a little longer in between brake pad replacements. Although most electric vehicles still use hydraulic brakes, regenerative braking helps charge your battery while braking, meaning they last slightly longer.

The most expensive maintenance cost Tesla owners encounter is when the car’s battery pack needs to be replaced, which could cost anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000.

Electricity costs

Your electricity costs are also hardly impacted by the addition of a Tesla. For example, a full charge at home costs between $7.65 and $12.54, or $0.03 to $0.04 per mile.

In comparison, a traditional vehicle, such as a Toyota Camry, typically costs 15.9 cents per mile, while gasoline obviously costs much more.


Another major pro to owning a Tesla is the expansive technology that’s included in the car. For example, one of Tesla’s major selling points is its self-driving technology. Although it’s not fully autonomous, current autopilot features include lane centering, traffic-aware cruise control, automatic lane changes, semi-autonomous navigation on limited-access freeways, self-parking, and the ability to summon the car from a garage or parking spot.

Additionally, if you go for some of the more expensive battery upgrade options, Tesla models can have some of the longest battery ranges of any electric vehicle on the market.

Tax credits

You can also receive a federal tax credit from the government for owning an electric car. Although the big $7,500 federal tax credit was phased out for Tesla in 2020, you can still get tax credits based on the state you live in. States like Colorado, Delaware, and Massachusetts offer as much as $2,500.

What are the negatives of owning a Tesla?

Despite all the new technology and the prospect of greater fuel savings, Teslas also come with their fair share of problems that might not seem so attractive to potential buyers.

Insurance costs

Car insurance costs for your Tesla will depend on your state and the model you buy, as well as your personal driving history. That being said, insurance rates are typically higher for Teslas than they are for other vehicles.

There are several reasons for this, mainly due to both the higher repair costs for Teslas. But it’s also because some insurance companies classify them as a luxury car and charge high car insurance premiums.

If you already own a Tesla and want to save money on your premiums, you can compare your auto insurance options below.

Price tag

Teslas are some of the more expensive cars on the market and come with a high base purchase price. Although the Model 3 is a relatively affordable option compared to other cars, its $38,000 price tag is only for the base model. That’s not to mention the Model 3 has one of the lower battery ranges of the Tesla models.

There are also start-up costs that come with installing one of the at-home charging stations needed to charge your Tesla at a faster pace than just relying on the Tesla Supercharger network. Depending on your electric company, an at-home charging station could cost as much as $1,500, on top of what you’re already paying for your Tesla model.

Pro Tip

The Tesla Supercharger network contains over 30,000 Superchargers located around the United States, making it the largest global, fast-charging network in the world. In just 15 minutes a Supercharger can add up to 200 miles of range.

Weather dependent

Though most cars can be scary to drive during cold weather, Teslas may be a little more so. In addition to the potential need for snow tires (which could cost an extra $2,000), a Tesla’s accuracy may diminish in the cold.

Similar to some gas-powered cars that estimate how far you can drive before running out of gas, Teslas have a range meter to estimate how far you can drive based on the battery’s charge. But because the Tesla is an electric vehicle, low temperatures could cause the car to miscalculate its own charge. Some users report the range meter to be unusable during the winter, which could leave you stranded in the cold without a charge.

Why are Teslas considered so unreliable?

Despite the expansive technology, several recent reports have criticized Tesla cars for their reliability issues. Brands like Consumer Reports rank Tesla near the bottom of reliability surveys due to reports of body hardware problems, water leaks, trunks not closing, and missing weather stripping. Tesla has also faced several recalls due to problems with the car’s build quality. Problems like those, coupled with high maintenance costs and difficulty with finding someone to actually service the Tesla vehicle, can make would-be buyers suspicious.

However, despite these problems with unreliability, Tesla owners are enthusiastic about their cars and consistently rate them well on customer satisfaction surveys. Some of the newer Tesla models coming out today are also steadily improving those rankings. The Model S in particular has garnered better reliability ratings than other Tesla models.

That said, overall, Tesla vehicles do still have low reliability scores when compared to other vehicles on the market.

Is a Tesla worth it?

Now that there are an increasing amount of electric cars on the road, you might wonder if buying a Tesla is the right decision for you. Many car companies are beginning to focus on similar electric car designs, with the promise of long-range batteries and fast wait times for recharging.

One of the more important things to focus on when considering whether to buy a Tesla vehicle is your finances. Can you afford the car insurance costs? The installation of at-home charging stations? The battery pack replacement when the time comes? These are questions any new Tesla owner needs to think about.

A Tesla car comes with a luxury price tag and isn’t often considered affordable for the majority of consumers. If what a Tesla costs doesn’t seem financially feasible, there are other options on the market that can still bring you the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.

Are used Teslas a good deal?

Purchasing a used Tesla can be a way to work around the high purchase prices of many newer models. And, unlike many used electric cars, used Teslas depreciate at a slower rate than average. Tesla owners are also notorious for taking excellent care of their cars, meaning it’s likely to be in good condition compared to other used vehicles.

However, before purchasing a used Tesla model, it’s important to pay attention to the condition of the car’s battery pack. If the Tesla is several years old, the chances are higher that the battery isn’t quite as fresh as it could be, which means it could end up needing a replacement much sooner than expected. You may even consider leasing a Tesla before you buy, to determine whether this is a good fit for you.

Key Takeaways

  • The first Tesla debuted in 2008, and the company currently has over two million cars on the road.
  • The Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y are the four main models on the road today.
  • Gas savings, low maintenance and electricity costs, advanced technology, and government tax credits are some of the benefits of owning a Tesla.
  • The expensive price tag and high insurance costs are two of the major drawbacks to Tesla’s vehicles.
  • Tesla has faced several issues with recalls, originating from the car’s poor build quality. There are also problems with finding repair shops that service Teslas.
  • Buying a used Tesla can be a good way to work around the high purchase price that comes with newer Teslas. However, if the Tesla is an older model, the chances are higher that the battery isn’t in quite as good condition as it could be.
  • With many car companies beginning to invest in electric vehicle technology, consumers have options outside of Tesla they can now consider. If you can find an electric vehicle that is cheaper and carries lower maintenance costs, a Tesla might not be worth it for you.
View Article Sources
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  2. Model 3 — Tesla
  3. State Motor Fuel Tax Rates — Federation of Tax Administrators
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  5. What’s The Total Cost of Owning a Car — SuperMoney
  6. 10 Brilliant Hacks That’ll Help You Save Money On Your Car — SuperMoney
  7. How to Invest in SpaceX — SuperMoney
  8. How to Invest in Starlink — SuperMoney
  9. Elon Musk: ‘Crypto is impossible to destroy’ — SuperMoney
  10. Ultimate Guide to Luxury and Exotic Car Loans — SuperMoney