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The 5-Year Tesla Depreciation Study: Is There Value in Buying a Used Tesla?

Tesla Depreciation Study: Is Buying a Used Tesla Worth it?

Our 5-year Tesla depreciation study takes a closer look at Tesla’s used car market as consumers contemplating acquiring an EV are questioning if there’s any value in buying a used Tesla

Electric vehicles (EVs) have been accelerating into the mainstream auto market, with Tesla at the forefront of this electric revolution. 

Teslas have not only transformed how we view future transportation but also raised questions about their long-term value. 

As prospective buyers and current owners ponder, “Will a used Tesla hold its value?” it becomes essential to look further into the dynamics of EV depreciation, particularly over 5 years.

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Tesla Depreciation Table of Contents

The 5-Year Tesla Depreciation Study

Many industry groups have been following Tesla’s depreciation trends like iSeeCars and cleantechinca. We have taken a look at these studies and based on their findings we decided to take a closer look into Tesla’s depreciation trends.

Tesla has been the darling of the EV revolution with customers flocking online or the Tesla store to order their Tesla. 12 years later, we are taking a closer look at each Tesla model that has been on the road for the last 5 years and looking at their resale value. 

We will be taking a look at the following Tesla models and their depreciation for the last 5 years:

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model Y

Before we break down each brand, I will share the EV depreciation percentage for the Tesla Model 3, Model X, Model S, and Model Y. 

I will then use the California Tesla market and take a look at what each model’s current trade-in value is and what current owners are selling their Teslas for. 

Things to consider: 

$7500 Federal EV Tax Credit

Pandemic Used Car Pricing

Tesla Price Cuts on New Cars

Low Trade-In Value

How much does the average 5-year EV depreciate?

Right now the EV 5-year depreciation percentage average is 49.1% according to iseecars.com

The current baseline for EVs’ 5-year depreciation rate is 38.8%. This percentage is expected to fluctuate as the market matures. 

 

A car can lose up to 20% of its value in the first year, and over the first five years fall to around 40% from the original price. That means it loses about 15% of its value each year after the first year.

What is the 5-year depreciation of a Tesla?

The Tesla Model 3 depreciation is 42.9%, the Tesla Model X is at 49.9%, the Tesla Model S is at 55.5% and the Tesla Model Y is at 50%

Which Tesla depreciates the most?

Out of the 4 models, the Tesla Model S depreciates the most at 55.5% at the 5-year mark. The main factors are battery replacement costs and Tesla price reductions for its new cars.

Tesla Model S Car Price History

Do Teslas Depreciate Faster Than Other EVs?

At a glance yes but there are some factors to consider. The EV market is still very new and growing. 

 

Tesla is a tech company FIRST, and a car manufacturer SECOND. Their builds are starting to show their design flaws now that these models have been on the road longer. 

 

This is the first time Tesla is making so many vehicles at once to satisfy demand. Scaling without sacrificing quality is tough to do. This is where all the recalls issued tell the story. 


The top carmakers in the US are vehicle manufacturers FIRST, and tech company SECOND. Their focus is to create EV vehicles that customers would buy and that are scalable to make. These carmakers have a clear advantage over Tesla.

Top Manufacturers in the US

Does Tesla hold its value?

If this was 2021, the industry would have said “Yes, without a doubt” as there was a shortage of new cars because of the pandemic but we are now in 2024 and with Elon’s price adjustments and the used car market stabilizing plus batteries nearing the end of their useful life, Tesla’s resale value will take a hit.

The question of whether a Tesla will hold its value is complex. On one hand, Teslas are at the forefront of EV technology, with a strong brand that commands premium pricing. On the other, the rapid pace of innovation within the company and the broader EV market means today’s cutting-edge features may become tomorrow’s standard offerings, potentially impacting resale value.

To understand Tesla’s resale value, it’s essential to consider both the broader trends affecting EV depreciation and specific factors related to Tesla’s models. As we progress through this article, we’ll examine these aspects in detail, providing insights into how Teslas fare in the resale market.

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Tesla 5-Year Depreciation By Model

Several interesting trends emerge when examining the depreciation of Tesla vehicles over five years. Teslas tend to hold their value better than many other vehicles in the electric vehicle (EV) and luxury car segments. 

This is due in part to the brand’s strong market presence, continual software updates that keep older models current, and the vehicle’s high performance and safety standards.

  • Model S and Model X: These higher-end Tesla models generally see a steeper depreciation curve in the first few years, stabilizing as they mature. This pattern is consistent with luxury vehicles, where initial depreciation is offset by the vehicle’s lasting appeal and performance.
  • Model 3 and Model Y: These models have introduced Tesla to a broader market, and their depreciation rates are notably less steep. The Model 3, in particular, has been highlighted for retaining its value exceptionally well, attributed to its popularity, affordability, and lower maintenance costs than traditional vehicles.
Tesla Model 3 Depreciation Chart

Tesla Model 3 depreciation at 5 years

Often cited as one of the best in terms of resale value among EVs, the Model 3’s 5-year depreciation is 42.9%, which is considerably higher than the industry average, of 38.8% for electric vehicles alike.

Tesla Model 3 Price History Chart

To the left is the Tesla Model 3 price history to date. Based on the different packages available.  You can see how the price has adjusted throughout the years and how the depreciation trend has a sharp decline in 2023. 

Tesla Model 3 Resale Market

This is what the resale market currently looks like in California for the Model 3. For the first example, the 2021 AWD Model 3 was going for an average of $48,198 and 3 years later it’s selling for $31,900.

According to Edmunds, the trade-in value for a 2019 Model 3 ranges from $17,211 in rough condition, $19,086 in average condition, $25,829 in clean condition, and $30, 638 in excellent condition depending on the package bought. 

Tesla Model S Depreciation at 5 Years

The Tesla Model S depreciates around 55% in value by year 5 making it one of the worst EVs to hold their value in the market. Initially, the Model S was priced high and many consumers bought at that price. With the current pricing adjustments by Tesla, a new Model S can be acquired for about $40,000 less affecting its resale value.

Tesla Model S Depreciation Chart

The Model S pricing history is a bit more aggressive than the Model 3. There was an interesting dip in price before the pandemic that leveled out in 2020. In 2021, Tesla prices followed the trend of “pandemic pricing” and finally started adjusting itself at the beginning of 2023. 

 

Tesla Model S Car Price History

Right now, Edmunds in California, a 2019 Model S 75D preowned is priced at $43.995. The Model S purchase price was around $75,000 minus the $7500 tax credit. The difference in price with 4 years of use is $23,505, about a 34.48% difference.

According to Edmunds, the current trade-in value for a 2019 Model S ranges from $26,196 to $52,165 depending on condition, mileage, and options.

Tesla Model S Resale Market
Tesla Model Y Depreciation

Tesla Model Y Depreciation at 5 Years

With its introduction as a more affordable SUV option, the Model Y’s resale value after 5 years is trending similar to the Model 3’s depreciation percentage. The saving grace of the Model Y is that it’s a popular option among consumers.

Tesla Model Y Car Price History Trend

This chart shows the history of the Tesla Model Y pricing where you can see from the pandamic to December 2022, the price of the Model Y continued to rise until 2023 when it corrected itself and started to decline. 

Telsa Model Y Used Car Market California

Taking a look at the used Model Y market in California, prices for a 2020-2022 range in the mid-30s and a used 2023 Model Y is $44,681.

In 2020, The Model Y Long Range AWD price was $52,990 plus taxes. The tax credit of $7500 was applied so the bottom line price was $45,490. In today’s market, the used Model Y is going for $33,588 which is a difference of $11,902. The depreciation so far is 26.16%.

Edmunds has a 2019 Model Y trade-in range from $23,952 to $36,495. All subject to condition, wptions and condition. 

Tesla Model X Depreciation at 5 Years

The Tesla Model X is shown to depreciate about 49.9% of its original purchase price at the 5-year mark. Since the EV market is still in its infancy, the used car market is not as robust as the gas-powered car market so depreciation is more of a factor.

Currently, Edmunds has a 2019 Model X trade in value between $30,769 to $63,521. The range depends on the condition of the EV, mileage and options. 

Tesla Model X Depreciation Chart

The Tesla Model X followed the same pricing trend as other Tesla models. The pandemic caused a price spike that corrected itself in 2023. Unfortunately, for those who bought high, the resale value will not come close to the purchase price. 

Tesla Model X Price History Trends

In California, Edmunds has various Model X listed and the prices are varied.

In 2020, a Model X Long Range Plus was priced on average at $94,990. The $7500 tax credit applied so the true cost was $87,490 plus taxes. Today in California, the used price is $52,995 which is a difference of $34,495 or a depreciation of 39.42%.

The Tesla used car market is still soft since consumers are still trying to figure out battery longevity and the costs involved in getting them replaced. 

Also, Tesla has been very aggressive in their pricing as of late, offering attractive discounts on top of the clean car tax credit.

Tesla Model X Used Car Market in California

Is There Value in Buying a Used Tesla? 

In my opinion, yes. Tesla is a cool car with a ton of new features. If a Plaid is on your “must have” list, then buying one 2 to 3 years old makes sense since the biggest depreciation hit has been taken.

Will the resale value remain in today’s used car market? I think that any Tesla over 5 years old will have very little resale value so if you are looking for an economical first EV for you or your kids, a Tesla would be a good option. Just understand that when it comes time to sell it, you probably won’t get much for it. 

As long as do your research and check the vehicle’s history including recalls, you can have a modern car that is fun to drive at a great price. 

Don’t forget that usually, the battery life ranges between 8 to 10 years and they are expensive to replace. It’s been reported that a 4-module battery pack could set you back around $20,000 to $28,000. 

Be smart, do your research, and monitor the Tesla used car market in your area. Happy Driving!

Tesla Depreciation 5 Year Study FAQs

The Tesla Model S experiences the highest 5-year depreciation among electric vehicles, losing 55.5% of its value over five years.

Unlike the Model S, the Tesla Model 3 has the lowest 5-year depreciation rate among electric vehicles, showcasing Tesla’s variable depreciation trends across different models.

A Tesla Model Y is expected to depreciate 39% after 5 years, with a projected resale value of $36,363.

A Tesla Model 3 observed about 58% depreciation over four years, slightly more than the anticipated depreciation rate for a $40,000 Model 3 SR+ after five years.

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