Used Tesla For Under $40,000: Should You Buy One?

The future is electric, and one of the most trendy ways to join the high voltage age is in a Tesla EV. However, the marque’s pioneering EVs are prohibitively expensive for many car shoppers. Still, now that Teslas have been on the road for years, pre-owned examples are plentiful for savvy used car buyers. So, can you get a used Tesla for under $40,000, and better yet, should you?

Can you find a used Tesla for under $40,000?

You can buy some used Teslas for under $40,000. However, there are some caveats to that tempting prospect. First, most used Teslas that you’ll find under $40,000 have high mileage. Next, many of the cheapest Teslas you’ll find on your favorite resale applications have rebuilt or salvage titles. While a non-clean title isn’t a death sentence, it doesn’t guarantee a mechanically sound car and compromises resale value. 

An early Tesla Model S, like this red one, is an used Tesla that shoppers can buy for under $40,000.
Tesla Model S | Aram Boghosian, Getty Images

Still, if you’re willing to bargain-hunt, you can find a pre-owned Tesla for much less than a new example. For example, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) puts the fair price value of a 2017 Tesla Model 3 at around $40,781. However, you’ll miss out on the federal tax incentive that new EV owners enjoy. Coincidentally, that federal incentive is one of the reasons that most electric vehicles lose resale value

What is the cheapest Tesla you can buy used?

As of right now, earlier Model S and Model 3 cars are the cheapest used Teslas. KBB says that the first year for the Model S, 2012, presents one of the best bargains. A 2012 Model S base has a fair purchase price of $32,723 and less than 50,000 miles. That’s a lot of EV for a reasonable price, given how well Tesla holds value compared to the competition. 

Customers can buy early model used Tesla Model S EVs for less than $40,000
An early Tesla Model S in black | Thomas Niedermueller, Getty Images

Why are there so many used Teslas for sale?

Tesla has been selling cars for over ten years now and has expanded from the smaller lineup to include four models and two upcoming vehicles, the Roadster and Cybertruck. As a result, there is no shortage of used Teslas to buy. Frankly, Tesla fans tend to upgrade periodically, freeing up pre-owned EVs for first-time buyers. 

Should you buy a used Tesla for under $40,000?

A used Tesla could be a prudent investment if you’re in the market for a pre-owned electric vehicle. Also, Tesla models hold more value on average than other EVs on the market. Specifically, the Tesla Model 3’s rampant popularity secures its spot at the top of the list of EV resale value. The Model 3 retains all but 10.2% of its initial value, compared to the EV industry standard of 52%. 

However, if you buy a first-generation Model S for a little over $30,000, you overlook several newer options. For instance, you can buy a 259-mile range 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV for a similar amount, with a factory warranty. Scroll down to the following article to read more about Tesla models!


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