Tesla has updated the way it displays pricing on its online design studio to be more transparent about pricing before incentives and gas savings.
Over the years, Tesla has gone back and forth on a somewhat controversial way of displaying prices on its online configurator by prominently showing the price after gas savings and other incentives.
The strategy is controversial because gas savings over time are based on many variables that will vary greatly for every individual and Tesla is using extremely optimistic variables in its calculations.
After some complaints, Tesla stopped using the method to display pricing for a while but then the company brought it back last year.
Across all its online design studios, Tesla started to prominently display the price after savings for each option with the actual price at the bottom:
With this system, Tesla ran into trouble with some consumer agencies and according to our poll from March, the vast majority of Tesla and EV enthusiasts believe that Tesla should change its way of displaying pricing:
In a new update to its online design studio heading into last weekend, Tesla actually did change its way of displaying prices by adding a toggle button to switch between prices before and after savings:
The default option still shows the prices after what Tesla now calls “potential savings”, but prospective buyers can now see the actual purchase price based on all specific options if they switch to “purchase price.”
I made my opinion clear about this a while ago.
While I like that Tesla is telling buyers about potential gas savings, which I think should be factored in the EV buying decision, I believe the method has been misleading.
Tesla is using a fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon which the company says is based on “a comparable gasoline-powered sedan, for example, the 2017 BMW 3 series.”
They are also using the national average of “$0.13 per kilowatt-hour for electricity and $2.85 per gallon for premium gasoline over the next six years.”
Those are way too many assumptions. I don’t think this profile would fit the majority of customers.
I believe Tesla should use some kind of customizable calculator to give buyers an idea of potential gas savings.
As for the actual display of the price after incentives and gas savings, it should be available but not prominently displayed over the actual purchase price.
This new update is not perfect and I think it still puts too much emphasis on the after savings price, but it’s more transparent and a step in the right direction in my opinion.
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