Why A Used Tesla Model S Can Cost More Than A New One (TSLA)

  @angeloyoung_ a.young@ibtimes.com on
Tesla S 2012 Getty Images
A Tesla S.

It’s common knowledge that a car begins to lose value from the moment it’s driven away from a showroom, but this isn’t necessarily the case with the Tesla Model S.

According to an analysis of millions of used car listings in 2013 and 2014 by Boston-based iSeeCars, the Model S luxury electric sedan from Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) can cost up to 20 percent over the average price of a new Model S sedan.  

Price comparison The average price of a used Model S is going for a premium over the price of a new one, according to an analysis of the used car online marketplace. The average mileage of a used Model S is under 4,000 miles. Are some early Model S adopters making a profit in the aftermarket?

“The average used Tesla Model S is selling for over $99,000, which is above the average of its new car MSRP," manufacturer’s suggested retail price, said Phong Ly, CEO of the online car-buying search engine. He used a search algorithm to scour 45 million online used car search listings to study the aftermarket value of the Model S and the Nissan Leaf, both fully electric cars, and the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid with both electric and gasoline power.

One factor contributing to the appreciated value of the Model S is that first-buyers in the U.S. benefit from a federal tax incentive that knocks $7,500 off the MSRP. Secondly, Tesla is grappling with production constraints, which means it can take months between the time a down payment on a Model S is made and when it’s delivered to the customer. What this means is that in this clique of wealthy, early-adopting electric vehicle enthusiasts, supply constraint is driving up the resale value.

The study found that even the higher-end Performance Model S (more horsepower with the same 265-mile range of the 85 kWh battery pack) is pricing about the same used as it is new, at $106,800. Prices will vary depending on the options of any single used Model S, but clearly at this point buying used is not much of a bargain.

The study also found the average mileage of a used Model S is very low, at 3,700 miles, which suggests some early adopters may be taking advantage of the aftermarket prices and unloading almost-new Model S sedans at a profit. 

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