Hybrids & Electrics

Is Buying a Tesla Worth the Money?

Since its launch in 2003, Tesla, the electric car company named after famous inventor Nikola Tesla, has been a pioneer in the automotive industry. Teslas are luxury electric vehicles with a big reputation for cutting-edge technology. The Tesla Model 3 sold more than 140,000 units in 2018, making it the best-selling luxury vehicle in the U.S. Ranked 20th among the top 35 auto marques in the U.S., Tesla’s 2018 sales excelled those of Acura, Cadillac, Chrysler, and Infiniti.

It’s possible to own a Tesla for less than $30,000 if you buy a base Model 3 and get an EV with a 220-mile range. Still, they are luxury vehicles that can be quite expensive depending on the model and options you want. Are Teslas worth the cost?

Tesla’s turbulent 2019

Tesla’s 2019 has been a wild ride with highs and lows. While they produce cars that people love and that rate among the safest vehicles you can buy, the company is often entangled in drama.

Tesla’s CEO, the brilliant Elon Musk, has brought the company far in its 16 years. But it’s also believed that Musk put the company in danger by trying to do too much too fast and taking on over $13 billion worth of debt. The company has been burning through cash in 2019 and its stocks are struggling as a result.

The production of cars is capital-intensive. When there’s demand, companies able to put out thousands of cars weekly bring in big dollars. When demand wanes, the same factories are a liability. In 2018, Musk pushed to get three to five thousand units of the Model 3 produced weekly. By the time he reached that goal, the demand was weakening.

The EV market is saturated everywhere but China. It’s also suspected that Tesla fans might be holding out for the forthcoming Model Y, an SUV crossover unveiled in March. In truth, it’s unlikely to deliver until early 2021.

Add to that the fact that the U.S. government scaled back financial incentives for consumers buying electric vehicles. The trade war with China, the biggest EV market in the world, didn’t help either. And while every fatality to date in a Tesla was brought about by driver error, the media has relentlessly sensationalized each one. 

What customers are saying

Most customers are happy with their Tesla cars. And when you take a closer look at a Tesla, there’s a lot to love starting with basic luxury. Teslas are luxury cars. You not only get a fast ride but a very comfortable one and they still manage to provide a surprising amount of cargo space. Thanks to rear hatches and a front trunk, or “frunk,” most Teslas can keep up with any SUV when it comes to hauling cargo.

Many drivers are wowed by the experience of driving a Tesla. The fact that their cars can go from zero to 60 mph in about 4 seconds is impressive. Some drivers have expressed a love of the point-and-shoot steering and the old-school feel of the car.

Not only does Tesla have the highest ranges in the EV market, but Tesla’s Model 3 sedan earned the top safety rating from the IIHS — the first Tesla vehicle to accomplish that rating. Tesla consistently earns solid safety ratings.

Finally, the quickly expanding charger network provides Supercharger locations on heavily-traveled routes so you can get where you want to go in your Tesla. The Superchargers can recharge your Tesla at 135 kilowatts, using direct current to get you back on the road fast.

While many are huge fans of Tesla, some have experienced a few troubles with the cars. Earlier in 2019, Tesla’s Model 3 lost its Consumer Reports recommendation because of reports from members. There were issues with, according to the Consumer Report’s survey, the electronics, paint, and trim. 

Business Insider also reported on difficulties some consumers faced in getting customer service, getting cosmetic repairs to the vehicles, and the quality and speed of both delivery and service.

Is a Tesla worth the money?

While many Tesla enthusiasts would automatically say they found the vehicles worth the money, the recent new safety rating Tesla received may have more people echoing the sentiment.

Fox Business is reporting about the new top safety rating the company just received and how it could lead to an insurance premium drop for Tesla owners. The IIHS in September gave Tesla Model 3 a “Top Safety Pick +” rating. The agency stated the Model 3 “earns good ratings across the board for crashworthiness.” The EV earned a superior rating for its standard front crash prevention system.

The company has struggled to keep insurance rates down for their consumers so this is welcome news. The automaker even launched its own insurance company in California in August with plans to expand to other states. Rates have been high in the past because of the cost of maintaining and repairing Teslas. Insurances rates for Teslas are typically similar to those charged for luxury vehicles.

Amid recent reports from the NHTSA that Tesla embellished crash-test results, the news was very good. With the potential for lower insurance rates, in addition to being eco-friendly and loaded with great features, many may just find Tesla worth the cost.