Tesla Financing and Lease Options

ByG. Dautovic
March 07, 2022

Despite only entering the auto manufacturing world in 2003, the Californian company Tesla has already become one of the largest auto manufacturers by market value, reporting $31.5 billion in revenue across 2020 alone. Unfortunately, the fact that new Tesla vehicles can cost as much as $125,490 means that few people can afford to just cash out for them.

Tesla financing options have therefore become a pivotal part of bringing the company’s business to the mainstream. They are available starting from 2.49% APR on all current passenger vehicles in production, such as the S, 3, X, and Y models. Tesla leasing options on the S, 3, and X are also available for terms of 24 to 36 months.

However, before using these benefits, consumers must work out how to finance a Tesla and whether the manufacturer’s loan/financing terms are the best or most affordable solution for their needs.

What Is Tesla Financing?

There are multiple financing options available for each vehicle of choice, providing an accessible and appealing way to invest in otherwise out-of-reach models. Access to Tesla's financing calculator makes it easy to calculate payment predictions. However, before truly understanding whether this is the best way to get yourself a Tesla, it’s vital to consider what this type of financing entails and what that means for your finances.

Perhaps the most tempting aspect of these financing options is that individuals with decent credit ratings can finance 100% of their vehicle across terms lasting as long as 72 months on all Tesla models.

Unlike many other financing offers, Tesla does require a down payment of either $4,500 (Model 3 and Model Y) or $7,500 (Model S and Model X) to cover non-transferable taxes and fees out of pocket, including a $100 non-refundable order fee and a $1,200 destination and document fee.

That said, leasing deals that include 10,000 miles per year can still bring even the Model 3 within reach of most customers, with Tesla financing rates of just $389 a month across a 36-month term.

Tesla Financing and Lease Options

  Model 3 Model Y Model S Model X
Lease Terms 36 months 36 months 24, 36 months 24, 36 months
Annual Miles 10,000, 12,000, 15,000 10,000, 12,000, 15,000 10,000, 12,000, 15,000 10,000, 12,000, 15,000
Down Payment $4,500 $4,500 $7,500 $7,500
Finance Terms 48, 60, 72 months 48, 60, 72 months 36, 48, 60, 72 months 60, 72 months

Is Tesla Financing Worthwhile?

Financing through Tesla makes sense, especially considering that applications are made 100% online. That said, even this level of ease doesn’t make it a worthwhile option for everyone.

There’s also the fact that Tesla lease and financing options aren’t available in certain states, meaning that individuals here must seek auto loan solutions elsewhere (we’ll discuss those options a little later).

States that support financing options include AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MN, MO, MS, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WA.

Another downside to Tesla’s solution for financing their cars is the pre-specified loan terms that are not as flexible as other options on the market. 

Delivery delays that have haunted Tesla over recent years have also been problematic for financing. The need to order your vehicle before completing a finance application, along with having 60 days to get everything sorted, means that if your vehicle isn’t ready in two months, it may be necessary to reapply for it and damage your credit rating/financing offers by doing so.

Are There Alternatives?

Though the ability to order and finance your Tesla vehicle from the same place sounds tempting, this is far from your only Tesla leasing option. In fact, you can apply for Tesla financing by choosing one of an increasing number of lenders that also offer competitive terms.

Some of the most popular options are PNC auto loans, Suncoast Credit Union’s ‘green car loan,’ and Bank of America auto loans.

How To Finance a Tesla

If Tesla financing or leasing feels like the right solution, it’s important to understand how the approval process works. Perhaps the most interesting thing to note here is that, just as Tesla does everything a little differently, their financing process is also unique. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Selecting Your Vehicle

The fact that each Tesla is made to a customer’s designs and specifications means that, until you’ve placed your order, there’s no vehicle to finance. Once you’ve completed an order, you must therefore keep hold of your Tesla order agreement for your financing claim, which you must place at least 30-60 days before your delivery date. 

Applying for Tesla Financing

Once you’ve received your order agreement, Tesla will prompt you to specify your payment option. By ticking the leasing or the Tesla auto loan option, you can begin your credit application.

You will have already provided your name and residence during the ordering process, but to gain Tesla approval during your finance application, you must also provide information such as:

  • Your social security number
  • Your credit score (poorer scores generally result in higher interest rates)
  • Your phone number
  • Your payment details

Comparing the Offers

Tesla should contact you within 48 hours to inform you whether or not you’ve been approved and, if so, what terms they can offer. Do note that you have a waiting period of 60 days from this first contact to commencing the agreement, meaning that now is the ideal time to once again consider all of the available options before committing.

FAQ

Does Tesla have 0% financing?

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Not yet. Tesla’s 2021 ‘financial leasing’ enables consumers to buy their vehicles with no down payment, but this addition is currently only available in China.

Does Tesla have financing?

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Tesla offers competitive financing options with terms of up to 72 months on specific models, including their S, 3, X, and Y vehicles.

What credit score is needed to buy a Tesla?

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Tesla financing doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but applicants should generally aim for credit scores of at least 720 to secure the best deals.

What bank does Tesla use for financing?

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Tesla financing is made possible thanks to the company’s partnership with US Bank and Wells Fargo, which provide 10% down financing on vehicles like the Tesla Model S.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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