So you’re thinking of getting a Tesla and wonder, “how much is a lease?” Smart choice. Have you considered the Tesla’s cheapest EV, the Model 3? Or perhaps you have the money to splurge on the Model S Plaid? What color? What added features? Should you buy instead of lease? These are all questions you’ll need to consider before your first zero-emission joy ride.
Fear not prospective leasee, below is a comprehensive guide outlining what a new Tesla lease entails, and what options to consider before you put the pedal to the floor.
Table of contents
- What’s the best Tesla to buy or lease?
- What states can you lease a Tesla in?
- How much does a Tesla lease cost?
- Is it better to lease a Tesla or another EV?
- Is it better to buy or lease a Tesla?
- What Is the new Tesla leasing experience?
- Keep an eye out
What’s the best Tesla to buy or lease?
The first step in making a major purchase is always to browse the aisles, research your options, and decide what’s best for you. Choosing the right Tesla model is no different. The automaker currently offers four available options in its fleet — two sedans and two SUVs.
Tesla’s Model 3 sedan has quickly become the world’s best-selling electric vehicle to date due to its status as the most affordable Tesla… at least until the $25,000 model comes out.
The other sedan, the Model S, is Tesla’s longest produced EV and has a track record of style and top speed (currently fastest in the world for its Plaid trim). With the sporty design and top shelf performance comes a much higher price tag, however.
Tesla’s Model X is the automaker’s second longest produced EV and is by far its largest. It offers high marks in cargo room, range, and performance with plenty of upgradable options like six or seven seats. That said, it comes with the highest bill of Tesla’s standard models.
The Model Y is Tesla’s newest EV to hit the road, arriving in March of 2020. As more of a crossover version of the larger Model X, the Model Y comes at a more affordable price than its larger, older brother, albeit in a smaller package.
Tesla started rolling out leasing options shortly after the debut of its Model S sedan in 2012. Since then, all models have all become available with leasing options as well — the Model Y being the most recent to launch its leasing program in July of 2019.
Whether you’re looking for a Model X Plaid with a seven seat interior, or a Standard Range Plus Model 3 with zero upgrades, there are leasing options available. Here are some further thoughts to consider.
What states can you lease a Tesla in?
Unfortunately, Tesla leases are not currently available in all 50 states, but so far they are available in 42 of them, plus DC. Here are the states that you can lease a Tesla in:
- Washington DC
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
That leaves the following states that Tesla currently does not offer leases:
- New Hampshire
How much does a Tesla lease cost?
Note that all prices listed are as of publish date. For the sake of comparison, each model’s pricing pertains to a 36 month lease at 10,000 miles a year, and a $4,500 downpayment.
Furthermore, these are base model prices with zero upgrades or add-ons.
Tesla Model 3 lease
To begin, leasing prices for a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus are $409 monthly for 36 months, at 10,000 miles per year, with $5,604 down (including acquisition fee) offering a total cost of $19,919. That comes out to roughly $553/month including the down payment and acquisition fee, and $0.66 per mile.
For Long Range Model 3, leasing will cost $519 a month with $5,714 due at signing totaling $23,879. All in all, that equal around $663/month with the downpayment and $0.80 per mile.
Moving on the the Performance trim on the Model 3, you’re looking at $669/month to begin along with $5,864 total downpayment. That brings your cost for 36 months up to $29,279 total or $813 a month. That also equates to $0.98 a mile.
Believe it or not, the Model 3 is by far the most affordable Tesla in the fleet, so this would be the best place to begin to grasp the “low end” of the leasing spectrum.
Tesla Model Y lease
Aside from being Tesla’s newest EV, the Model Y is also the second most affordable option based on standard starting price.
Leasing prices for a 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range are as follows: $579 monthly for 36 months, at 10,000 miles per year, with $5,774 down (including acquisition fee) offering a total cost of $26,039. That comes out to $723/mo including the down payment and acquisition fee, or $0.87 per mile.
The Performance Model Y comes in a bit higher at $709 a month and $5,904 due at signing. That totals $30,719 or $853 a month total. That also equates to $1.02 per mile.
Tesla Model S lease
To drive off in a new 2021 Tesla Model S Long Range, it will cost you $1,248 a month for 36 months at 10,000 miles per year, throwing $6,443 down (including acquisition fee) totaling a cost of $50,123. That bill comes out to about $1,392/month including the down payment and acquisition fee, or $1.67 per mile.
Get ready, because we’re going Plaid, and so are the prices. For the ultra-high performance Model S Plaid with $4,500 down, you will have to pay a whopping $1,838 a month plus $7,033 due at signing, totaling $71,363. All in all, that’s $1,982 a month or better still, $2.38 for every mile.
Tesla Model X lease
The Model X is Tesla’s largest EV to date, boasting a huge interior and plenty of useful upgrades… if you can afford them.
For example, in order to lease a 2021 Tesla Model X Long Range, it will cost $1,348/ month for 36 months at 10,000 miles per year, with $6,543 down (including acquisition fee). That leaves a total of $53,723 which breaks down to $1,492/month including down payment and acquisition fee, or $1.79 per mile.
With the its 2021 refresh, Tesla introduced a Plaid version of the Model X as well, due out in the summer of 2022 for those ordering now. If you’d like to lease this bad boy, it’ll cost a pretty penny.
All in all, you’re looking at a monthly payment of $1,688 plus $6,883 down with first month’s payment and acquisition fee. That’s a total of $65,963 or $1,832 a month. Per mile, you’re going to pay around $2.20.
Hopefully you didn’t get your hopes too terribly high after seeing the word Cybertruck, because unfortunately the “Frankenstein’s Monster” of a Tesla truck is not available for lease yet.
Due to delays, Cybertruck is not scheduled to begin delivering until 2022.
It might be worth pondering a Tesla lease to hold you over until then, or ride your bike to save up (and save the planet!)
Original Tesla Roadster / Gen. 2 Roadster
The original Roadster model was the first to hit the pavement bearing the Tesla name. It was originally created to showcase the potential of the rookie automaker, and its sporty design was meant to convince investors that electric vehicles could also be cool.
Unfortunately, the original Roadster is no longer in production, and therefore not available for lease.
However, in 2017 Tesla announced a second generation Roadster in the works, but exactly when it may debut remains unclear. It was originally teased to deliver this year, but has since been pushed to 2022 and now 2023.
Is it better to lease a Tesla or another EV?
Even if you’re dead set on a Tesla lease after reading this guide, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and compare prices with other EV leases. The more informed you are, the better idea you will have about what leasing options work best for you.
Electrek has already taken the time to put together a meticulous EV lease guide, so a lot of the financial research has already been compiled for you.
To truly determine whether a Tesla is the right EV for you, is not a simple yes or no question. You certainly want to find an EV that stands out to you, and one you could see yourself cruising around in for three years.
Dare to ask questions. What mileage will the EV offer? Are there any discounts from the manufacturer or tax credits from the government for going electric? How much interior room do you need? How many seats? What sort of features come standard and what options would you like that may cost an additional fee?
A constructive approach would be to compile a list of wants, needs, and absolute dealbreakers, then compare different EVs to see which one checks the most boxes for you.
Is it better to buy or lease a Tesla?
This question may pop into your head long before you ever ask how much it costs to lease a Tesla. The answer to this one is truthfully subjective for each prospective customer, but it’s a genuine question to consider when you begin shopping around Tesla’s website.
While the down payments are pretty much the same for either option, the money down on a Tesla lease may be less expensive than other EV manufacturers.
Additionally, after three years you can trade up for that new Tesla you’ve been eyeing. On the flip side, you’re locked into that same model for three years on a lease, so choose wisely. If you buy however, you can upgrade whenever you want!
Consider mileage as well. If you drive more than 15,000 miles a year, it’s a safer bet to buy, but if you can stay within the limits of a Tesla lease, you’ll pay slightly less over three years by leasing.
Another factor to consider is maintenance. Because Teslas don’t require gasoline or oil, their upkeep is relatively simple in comparison.
Add the fact that each model’s software is updated over-the-air, you should rarely have to bring your Tesla in for anything.
Consider the value of buying
With gasoline costs and limited invasive maintenance, EVs do not break down as quickly as combustion engine vehicles and can accordingly retain more value over time.
Furthermore, Tesla (while growing tremendously) is still trying to keep up with customer demand, leaving less EVs available than the number of people looking to drive one.
As a buyer, you should be able to sell your Tesla down the road for cash back in your pocket, thus lowering your total cost of ownership.
In large part to these facts, buying a Tesla is currently a more sound investment compared to a traditional gas guzzler.
Whether it’s better to buy a Tesla than lease however, is still a question of money, daily usage, and model variety. Given that the monthly payments are relatively similar to a lease albeit for double the term, you are actually paying towards ownership, gaining equity.
Still not sure? Tesla actually offers a financing calculator on its website to help guide you toward whether a Tesla lease or cash payments work best for you.
What Is the new Tesla leasing experience?
In 2021, Tesla announced improvements toward a new leasing experience for customers. More details are sure to emerge, but Tesla leasees can now use their Tesla account to manage everything from payments, to early termination, and even purchasing their Tesla at the end of a lease.
Keep an eye out
As the most valuable automaker in the world by market cap, Tesla has quickly become a household name. With its land-speed-record pace of exposure has come several overhauls to many of Tesla’s previous policies pertaining to warranties, recalls, and return policies.
Prospective and current Tesla leasees should check Tesla’s support page regularly to stay in the know about the current leasing experience, as well as any other policy changes.
Tesla Lease FAQ
Tesla leasing is currently available in the following states: AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WY.
Yes. You can apply any time after you place your vehicle order. The credit approvals are valid to up to 90 days. If your delivery date falls after your credit application expires, you may need to start a new application.
No. No fees for credit applications pertaining to a Tesla lease.
At least one hard pull of your credit report is required; however, for some applicants, additional inquiries may be needed as Tesla works to find you the best credit offer possible.
Yes. If you have more than 12 months left on your lease, you may be eligible to transfer your lease to a credit-approved assignee. Transfer fees and applicable state taxes will apply.
Possibly. You may be eligible to purchase your car at the end of your lease. Review your lease agreement to find out if you qualify.
1. There are minimum coverage requirements unless you’re subject to state-specific terms. These requirements include:
– $50,000 for property damage
– $100,000 for bodily injuries to any one person
– $300,000 for any one accident
– Physical damage insurance for full value of vehicle
– Maximum deductible: $2,500
2. You must list Tesla Lease Trust as the lienholder and an additional insured party on the policy.
Note: Your lease comes with gap insurance.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.