How to Secure the Best Tesla Financing Rate

Tesla financing rates: Tesla wall connector

Shopping for a new vehicle is about more than choosing a stylish, efficient, and tech-savvy new car. It’s also about getting the most affordable loan payment and interest rate

If you’re in the market for a new electric car, you’ve likely already perused Tesla‘s latest lineup of vehicles. And you’re not alone. In fact, in 2020, Tesla produced and delivered a half million vehicles globally, a testament to their high demand.

Getting the best rate and low monthly payment on an expensive vehicle like a Tesla Model X is no easy task. Like any major purchase, it requires diligence and research to land a car loan or lease package that can help you get behind the wheel of the car you want most while sticking to your budget. 

Read on to learn more about Tesla financing rates, and to get a sense of what you might need to know before you order your new Tesla online or head to the dealership

Tesla Financing Rates: The Basics

There are two ways to finance a Tesla:

  1. Qualifying customers can lease a Tesla through the company itself over periods of 24 to 36 months.
  2. Like many automakers, Tesla offers car loans through their own partner lenders and financial institutions, and also allows purchasers to finance through third-party banks and credit unions.  

Financing on a Tesla model through the automaker itself is required to be over a loan term of 36 to 72 months, and is available only to applicants after a pre-approval process dependent on their state of residence.

The company’s loan pre-approval process is based on criteria commonly found in credit applications: amount of down payment, credit score, income, and income-to-debt ratio, among other factors. 

Customers with higher credit scores and down payments are commonly able to secure a lower rate of interest. That said, it’s also encouraged to do a little research to secure the best rate on a new Tesla, particularly if your credit score is far from perfect.

Researching Tesla Financing Rates

Tesla financing rates: Tesla Model Y

At Compare.com, we offer a vast array of helpful information and strategies that can help you navigate Tesla financing rates with clarity and ease. 

Looking for an auto loan, but have bad credit? There are a number of steps you can take to secure an auto loan for a new model Tesla without getting gouged on price or interest rates.

In addition, our Car Loan Glossary can get you up to speed (pun intended) on common car loan terms and conditions so you’re not confused when it comes time to research the best Tesla financing rates.

If you’re not sure whether financing through Tesla or a third-party lender or bank is the right decision for you, we also help you make some sense of the differences between borrowing money from a dealership versus borrowing from a bank.

Lastly, it’s important to consider whether or not short- or long-term financing is better for you, your family, financial plan, and monthly budget.

In addition, Tesla offers an online loan calculator to help you calculate a projected payment plan based on monthly payment, payment due at signing, and related order fees based on the new Tesla you choose to finance or lease. 

Average Tesla Loan Rates

Couple sitting in a brand new car

Tesla financing rates begin at 2.49% APR for borrowers with sterling credit, but these rates can fluctuate dramatically between financial institutions and lenders. Consumers are encouraged to do as much research as possible before committing to a lease or loan.

Tesla does not have a minimum credit score requirement to apply for a loan, but borrowers with lower credit scores will of course have higher financing rates. Getting your credit score in order before applying for a car loan can go a long way in reducing your finance rate and securing a lower down payment. 

This chart illustrates a common loan offer for a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range.

Model Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
Vehicle cost $39,990
Loan term 72 months
Down payment $4,500
Delivery fee $1,200
Total loan $41,190
Amount financed $36,690
APR% 2.49%
Monthly payment $549.00

Source: Tesla

Tesla offers financing for its entire lineup of vehicles in all model types. It does not yet offer financing on its forthcoming all-electric pickup truck, Cybertruck. However, buyers can be placed on a waitlist for the vehicle by paying a $100 fee.

Tesla Leasing

Tesla‘s vehicle leasing program is available in all but nine states: Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. 

These states do not allow Tesla sales because the Tesla company itself runs its own dealerships, unlike other automotive brands who allow franchises (local dealerships) to purchase cars from the automaker before selling them. Many of these states have consumer protection laws that prohibit automakers from selling directly to consumers.

Tesla offers 36-month leases for all four of its flagship models, Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y. Only Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X, however, are available for 24-month leases. It’s also important to note that Tesla does not offer leasing on pre-owned Tesla models. The following chart illustrates a standard lease package on a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range.

Model Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
Vehicle cost $39,990
Annual miles 10,000
Lease term 36 months
Down payment $4,500
Delivery fee $1,200
Total $41,190
Monthly payment $349.00

Source: Tesla

Used Teslas

While pre-owned Teslas are not available for lease, they can be a much more affordable option to explore for drivers who are interested in getting behind the wheel of their own Tesla, but don’t necessarily have the credit score to purchase new. 

Tesla offers a vast inventory of pre-owned vehicles across the country. Each pre-owned Tesla has been certified with a 145-point inspection and is covered by the company’s Used Vehicle Limited Warranty.

Pre-owned Teslas are often covered by the remainder of the four-year/50,000-mile Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty offered to the original purchaser. After that warranty‘s expiration, the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty provides additional coverage of one year or 10,000 miles.

Things to Consider When Exploring Tesla Financing Rates

Blue Tesla

There are several steps car buyers can take to secure the best Tesla financing rates. First, review your credit reports to eliminate possible errors that could be affecting your score. 

Secondly, gather income documentation and seek pre-approval for a loan before choosing which Tesla you’d like to buy. That way, you can shop for a new Tesla with the comfort of knowing it will fit your budget.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Tesla, like many car dealerships, accepts cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs for trade-in towards the purchase of both new and used Tesla models

Due to their volume of sales, Tesla buyers are no longer eligible for federal electric vehicle tax credits. That said, many states still offer Tesla buyers rebate programs that can significantly reduce the expense of Tesla financing rates. In addition, if Tesla is out of your price range, there’s certainly no shortage of Tesla alternatives to choose from. 

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