Tesla just announced a new financing program for its cars. One of the eye-popping details is the claim that the Tesla S can be owned for effectively $500 per month.
When considering the savings from using electricity instead of gasoline, depreciation benefits and other factors, the true net out of pocket cost to own a mid-range Model S drops to less than $500 per month.
$500 a month is not that much, so if you could really get the car at that price, it would be intriguing.
But realistically, it seems not many people will be eligible to do so.
Tesla has nicely provided a calculator on the site to figure out your effective cost of ownership.
We've selected the mid-range vehicle, and figured out how to get it down to just $446 per month.
The first problem is that you have to live in a state with generous tax credits.
If you don't live in Colorado, California, or a handful of others, the national tax credit won't get you enough of a break.
The next problem, and here's the real catch, is that you have to be able to deduct your Tesla as a business expense.
That saves you $227/month. But how many people can really claim that deduction? The majority of people can't.
And finally there's an assumption that you'll save $100 from not going to the gas station four times per month (assuming each trip requires 15 minutes and your time is worth $100/hour). That's great (time is money) but there's also plenty of time required to charge your TESLA at a charging station.
So yes, if you live in one of a few states, and you can deduct your car for business, and you don't have to spend any time charging your Tesla, you can get a mid-range vehicle for effectively under $500, according to their calculator.
For most people, no dice.
And now if you uncheck all of the boxes above, here's the real cost of ownership: About $940.
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