Would you sell your Tesla Model S for a profit? Electric superstar worth more used than new

Tesla Model S owners are in many cases turning a decent profit by selling their second-hand electric cars, according to car search engine iseecars.com.

Demand for the electric Tesla Model S – a car that achieved Consumer Reports’ highest ever score – is so fierce that the average resale value in 2013 was more than $99,000. That’s a figure well in excess of the MSRP of even the top-spec P85 Model S, which costs $87,070 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. The base 60kWh Model S starts at $62,400 with the same incentive.

Of course, most owners will spec a number of options for their car, but even with every optional extra on the Tesla Motors website selected for the Model S P85 the total price comes to $117,020. And not every Tesla is shipped with the Performance Plus pack ($6,500), the Tech Package ($3,750), or rear facing seats ($2,500). The average used price of a Model S P85 was $106,395 – within touching distance of the average used price for the entire range.

“The Tesla Model S is still just a sliver of the used electric car market since it was only recently launched in 2012, two years after the Leaf or Volt,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iseecars.com.

“However, it seems to be in great demand as used Model S are selling above its new car price. Surprisingly, the average used Tesla Model S is selling for over $99K which is above the average of its new car MSRP. On the other hand, the average used car price for both the Volt and Leaf are below their MSRP.”

Tesla sold 22,450 examples of the Model S last year (beautifully photographed here by Axel Schmies), which, combined with an average used mileage of just 3,725, helps explain why the pre-owned cars are commanding a premium. All but brand-new, used Model S buyers skip the three-month waiting period that new buyers have to hold out for their car to be built at Tesla’s Fremont plant in California.

Positive press, record-breaking safety scores, and the ability to outrun dedicated sports car rivals – not to mention the practicality of seating seven and a zero emissions range of nearly 300 miles – have added up to make the Model S one of the most sought after cars in North America.

In comparison, the other two most popular electric cars in the US – the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt – usually trade at more than $6,000 below their new price on the second-hand market.

Posted by Richard Lane

Richard is a London-based automotive journalist specialising in future mobility and sustainable design. Having fallen for cars because of the virtues of a particular German flat-six, it's what we'll all be driving next that now interests Richard most. Dream garage: Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior and a Detroit Electric SP:01.

  1. Wow! If that’s how you feel about the best car in history, I can only vaguely imagine how many shades of color you’d turn commenting on the other ev cars in the industry.


  2. The Tesla model X. is the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. They are the first manufacture that I know of that has made the gullwing uncool. I doubt those doors will do will in snow, ice and garages with low clearance.

    Tesla is one of the first auto manufacturers to have their production car’s computer connected to the Internet, which opens up customer vehicles to many security risks. Tesla recently hired a hacker, probably to try to combat the security threat.

    Tesla had a bad start in Norway. Tesla was not proactive in properly testing Tesla Chargers to make compatible with Norway’s power grid. Resulting with many disgruntled Norwegian Tesla customers that could not charge their cars. Despite complaining for several weeks to Tesla customer support and service the problems, the issues were not resolved. So customers went to the media. Tesla management claimed they didn’t know there was a problem until they saw it in the headlines. So there are also serious communication problems at Tesla. Despite customers complaining for many months in the US about Tesla charger connections overheating, melting and burning the problems have not been resolved. Tesla did not declare a recall until the Tesla fire hazards were reported to the media and government agencies. Allegedly even though a recall vote you out on on on on the weight on and ignore it would be very very that he already. Despite Tesla promising to address the Tesla charger connection fire hazards in a timely manner, Tesla has been slow. Tesla is still in denial about the Tesla charger fire hazards. Tesla is playing blame games trying to pin the rap on house wiring and wall outlets. There is no doubt that in some cases there are and will be bad house wiring and wall outlets; but that should not be used as a scapegoat. Tesla is putting itself in a position of huge liability that could destroy the company. Tesla is putting customers at risk gambling with safety.

    The Tesla model S. still has defects that make it a fire hazard. Tesla charger connections are still overheating, melting and burning. Tesla batteries are poorly located and poorly protected. Tesla is Junk.

    On 1/9/2014 Elon Musk said that replacement adapters that are part of the recall would be mailed out within two weeks. A month later Tesla customers have still not received the replacement adapters that are part of the Tesla model S. recall.

    Several people have been injured by faulty Tesla charge connectors. Tesla is big on making promises and hype, but short on delivery. Tesla needs to start making safety a top priority. Tesla needs to stop playing blame games and games with semantics. Tesla needs to stop lying. Tesla needs to be proactive instead of reactive. Tesla is being a follower of technology, rather than a leader. Tesla is a greedy corporation that has a disregard for safety. The Tesla model S. is an E-Pinto.


    1. So how much did you short the Tesla stock by?

      Or are the oil companies funding you?



    2. Jim, you’re not just a frustrated troll, right? Short maybe? Anyway, you are seriously clueless.


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