Hybrids & Electrics

Can You Lease a Tesla?

Whether you love or hate Tesla, there’s no denying the fact that it develops some of the coolest electric vehicles in the industry. These vehicles are also some of the most expensive. This means the prestige of owning a Tesla might be out of the question for some consumers. 

There are other options for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle you can’t afford to buy outright, however. Leasing is one way, and many drivers take advantage of it every year. Still, does Tesla lease its vehicles out, and is it a good financial decision to lease?

Yes, you can lease a Tesla

Just over a year ago, leasing a Tesla was not an option. You either bought it, or you didn’t get one. Period. It appears that Tesla has seen the wisdom in allowing drivers to lease after all, and it now offers it as an option.

It’s now possible to lease either the Model 3, Model S, Model Y, and the Model X. Leasing doesn’t come very cheap, however.

According to Car and Driver, “The cheapest Model 3 is $504 per month for a 10,000-mile-per-year, 36-month lease.” The mile range can be increased to 12,000 to 15,000 miles, but this of course means more money. New lessees must make a down payment of $3,000. This price jumps to $4,000 at the time of signing. 

It’s even more expensive for the Model S and Model X. According to Car and Driver, “The lowest minimum down payment for both is $7,500, at which point the cheapest Model S lease is $1,203 per month and the cheapest Model X is $1,283 per month, both with more than $9,000 due at signing and terms of 10,000 miles per year for 36 months.”

There are some definite benefits for leasing

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There are some definitely good reasons to lease a Tesla. According to Barron’s the main reason is that Tesla models hold value very well. Unlike some vehicles that immediately lose thousands of dollars in value the second you drive it off the lot, Tesla vehicles don’t lose their value at the same rate.

There is also the prestige of driving around town in a Tesla. While everyone doesn’t want to own a Tesla themselves, there is a certain appeal one that is undeniable. 

Other features that make leasing a Tesla attractive include frequent system updates and the money you’ll save at the pumps. That’s about all, however.

These are the negative things you need to keep in mind when leasing

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While there are a few decent reasons for leasing a Tesla, the downsides tend to outweigh the good. The biggest negative to leasing a Tesla is the fact that once the lease is up, you don’t have the option of buying it like you would with other automakers. For anyone who leases, the idea might be to own the vehicle once the lease is up, so to hear that you’ll never actually be able to own the vehicle is probably a dealbreaker for many lessees.

This may seem counterintuitive, and it is. For the lessee, at least. For Tesla, it’s brilliant. Tesla needs vehicles to do research for things like its automated driving program. Building new vehicles that will never actually draw in any income just costs the company money. But if they build a vehicle, allow it to be leased for a couple of years so that they earn a very handsome profit, and then repossess it and turn it into a research vehicle, it’s a win-win situation.

The lessees get a few years of driving their favorite vehicle, but then have to turn it in. That’s not exactly a good deal for the lessee. Still, some drivers prefer to lease to owning anyway, so if you don’t care that you’ll never own your vehicle, this might be a good option. Otherwise, you might want to skip on leasing a Tesla and invest in an EV you can actually own someday.