Tesla's impressive resale values may have people double-thinking before they buy a used Model S, 3, or X. Time and time again, Tesla has proven to be well worth its ticket price even when it's used. However, there may be a good reason for its high resale value, so anyone window shopping for a Tesla may still want to consider getting a used one.
Vehicle depreciation is a significant part of the car industry. Many tend to focus on a car's initial sticker price, but it's the depreciated cost that has a significant influence in the automotive sector. According to Tesloop, depreciated car prices can affect rideshare rates, car rental prices, and monthly payments for car leases and financing.
Car depreciation is inevitable. On average, a regular gasoline car depreciates between 25 to 40 percent within the first three years it's used. Some vehicles depreciate faster than others, and it does make a difference to owners, especially for people who love switching cars every few years.
Electric vehicles tend to depreciate fast, except for a few. Tesla is king when it comes to depreciation prices. According to Forbes, Tesla's resale values are so high, it might be better to buy a brand new one instead.
Based on Kelley Blue Book prices, a 2018 Model 3 with average mileage and in pretty good condition still sells for more than $47K. Similar prices for the Model 3 can be found on Carfax, ranging from $40K to $50K.
A brand new Model 3 can cost from about $39K to about $56K before options, like white seats, sport wheels, and Full Self-Driving capability. After comparing the KBB and Carfax's prices with brand new Model 3 prices, it may be more reasonable to buy a brand new Tesla after all.
However, there are some perks to buying a used Tesla, too. For one, a lot of older Teslas come with Unlimited Lifetime Supercharging, which are only available today on high-priced vehicles like the Model S and Model X. Another perk to purchasing an old Tesla would be upgrades that the previous owner may have placed on the vehicle before putting it on the second-hand market. For example, the previous owner may have splurged for Tesla's Full Self-Driving suite, which currently costs an extra $7,000 on top of a vehicle's price today.
It should also be noted that Teslas aren't like any average car—EV or gas. Elon Musk's electric vehicles aren't just cars, they're also tech devices. A big plus to buying a Model S, 3, or X is that they are continually being updated with new features, like Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. This means that unlike other vehicles on the market, Teslas actually get better over time.
At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to buying an old Tesla and a new one. So, customers should decide what they want out of their Tesla before buying one—used or not.
About the Author
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.