According to unsubstantiated rumor, Albert Einstein was once asked, “How does it feel to be the smartest man alive?” to which he answered, “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Nikola Tesla.” Tesla is the inventor responsible for the type of electricity that powers our daily lives. Today, one of the most expensive electric cars in the world bears his name; but is buying a Tesla car really the smart choice? Let’s find out.
“No Down Payment” Not Exactly True
In April of 2013, motorauthority.com reported that, “Tesla Motors is still advertising $500/month price despite revision of calculator settings.” According to the company’s website, one could get their hands on such a car for just $500 a month (“effective monthly cost”) with no down payment. In reality, you will have to pay a down payment, but Uncle Sam will reimburse you some or all of it in the form of a federal tax credit. If your state makes you wait until you file taxes to get that tax credit, then you must fork out the cash until tax time. Also, while some states, such as California and Georgia will only give you a $2,500 credit, the down payment for an almost $80,000 car at 10% is $8,000.
Bogus $500 Monthly Payment Claim
Just as the claims of “no down payment” aren’t exactly true, neither are the $500 a month payments. With excellent credit, a loan for a $79,900 Tesla car (most Tesla cars today are around $110,000+) is financed at 3% interest for 63 months, according to Forbes. This sets your payments at about $960 bucks a month. Other Tesla cars are sold for as much as $2000 a month. Of course, Tesla explains that the payments will equal out to about $500 a month when you consider the savings, etc of owning this car. First of all, there is the claim of a 43% resale value. Add in the federal and state incentives, such as the tax credit, savings from not having to purchase gas, tax credit if you use the car for business,(Tesla claims this will be at least $227 a month) and then you save as much as $100 each month on time that you didn’t have to spend at the gas station. If you can stretch your imagination to accept all of these savings and more, then your monthly payment “equals out to” $500.
The Good Stuff
So is owning a Tesla car worth the money? The answer will of course, vary from customer to customer. Although the “no down payment, only $500 a month” claim is mostly hype, the car is still an excellent choice for those who can afford it. According to Consumer Reports, the Model S was given a rating of 99 out of 100, which is their best rating ever. Huffington Post explains that it was the “safest car ever tested by the NHTSA, and that it was Motor Trends Car of the Year. It is a zero-emissions car with amazing options, featuring a top-of-the-line sound system, panoramic sunroof made totally of glass, and extensive warranty. Keep in mind, however, that in order for your resale value guarantee to be valid, you must maintain your Tesla at an approved Tesla facility or maintenance center, which can be hundreds of miles away. Driving, or shipping your car for these scheduled maintenance checks can be expensive. You will also be required to maintain a $600 annual service contract if you wish to keep your warranty. Overall, the car is a good one, and anyone who has driven one advises everyone to “try it at least once!”