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Things to Consider When Buying a Used Tesla & Why it is Difficult to Find Good Used Tesla

Electric vehicle sales are growing by the quarter, as and how countries are making it favorable to buy them. Of course, one of the biggest reasons to buy electric vehicles is the inevitable combustion vehicle sale ban in many countries. Norway has already announced that they are trying to ban the sale of combustion vehicles by 2025. However, the biggest hurdle that new electric vehicle buyers face is the slightly higher prices at which EVs start. Yes, electric vehicles end up being cheaper in the long run, but the lack of decent electric vehicles in the low-$30K range has made it difficult for many potential owners to make the switch.

Things to Consider When Buying a Used Tesla

Things to Consider When Buying a Used Tesla

Do You Want to Buy a Used Tesla Vehicle?

This brings in the next part of the discussion – used electric vehicles. Clearly, electric vehicles have been around for at least a decade now, so there are quite a few used electric vehicles out there. And when you talk about electric vehicles, it is difficult not to talk about Tesla.

The Tesla Used-Car Conundrum

Tesla Model 3 and Model Y sales are soaring at the moment. Cybertruck is just around the corner (according to Musk), and the company has received a lot of pre-orders. Elon Musk is always in the news, be it for any reason. It seems like Tesla is everywhere. So why is it hard to find a used Tesla vehicle?

This boils down to three main reasons. Firstly, the pandemic has cut short the supply of new car parts. The microchip industry is suffering a lot, which puts electric vehicle production in a spot. And when there is a shortage of new cars, people turn to used cars. In short, the decreasing new car supply has increased the demand for used cars.

Secondly, as and how more people get on the roads, driver behaviors from yesteryear are returning. And finally, used Tesla vehicles are selling like hotcakes, so by the time you think you have found one, it has already been sold.

Used Tesla Vehicle Sales

If one goes through the inventory numbers, one gets a much better idea of what’s going on. These numbers are a snapshot of what’s for sale, with 90-day sales figures. Four major electric vehicle brands saw their inventory numbers fall massively. Tesla inventory fell 42%, with Chevrolet not far behind at 38%. Ford (19%) and BMW (17%) also fell significantly. The next step is to go through the number of used vehicles that were sold in the same 90-day period.

Tesla Sales compared to other EVs
Statistics by recurrentauto

This yielded interesting results. The idea here is that if you sell more cars than you have for sale, you are emptying your inventory quickly. Looking at the data, one can see that Tesla is selling 4.5 vehicles for each one currently listed. Nissan and Volkswagen, on the other hand, sell less than just two vehicles per one listed.

This means that the number of used Tesla vehicles on the market is fast dwindling, which is probably why you cannot easily find one. Of the Tesla vehicles on the used car market, the Model 3 sells much faster. Its sales figure is 6.6 times vehicles sold per vehicle in inventory.

Things to consider when buying a used Tesla

Buying a pre-owned Tesla car obviously has its perks, the first and foremost being that it is cheaper. Even when buying a second-hand car, you get a premium electric car. And since Tesla vehicles tend to be more expensive upfront, there is a good chance that the first owner maintained it well. But as with any other decision, there are some cons to this one as well.

Firstly, many Tesla owners like to use the well-distributed Supercharger network. The thing with fast charging is that it can have an adverse effect on the battery. And once the battery life degrades past a certain point, you have to replace it, which is not cheap.

Secondly, many people experiment with their electric cars these days, especially Tesla cars. Chances are that you may end up with some modifications that you did not notice until after you bought the car. And repairing them may have some hefty bills attached to it.

Finally, with electric cars, most companies tend to give over-the-air software updates. These updates can even unlock hardware capabilities in your vehicle. However, there is a much better chance of getting more useful updates in the newer models of the vehicles than in used cars. Many companies, like Tesla, offer certain updates only to vehicles that have some base version in vehicles. If your vehicle precedes that version, you will miss out on those updates.

So, these are some of the things you need to consider before buying a used Tesla car. And even if you decide to go for it, you can see that it is quite hard, as mentioned above.

Our Opinion

This is a market that will now start moving quickly. Tesla launched the Model 3 in 2017 and the Model Y in 2019. The first batch of used Model 3 and Model Y has now started rolling in. And even if it is a used car, it is still a Tesla vehicle, complete with its small tidbits and features. At least, that’s the way people think. And you can see the result – Tesla is dominating the sales in this market too.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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