Tesla Cut Prices, But There’s One Big Caveat

If you’re buying a Model S or Model X, that is

A Tesla Model X electric SUV in white
The Tesla Model X just got a $5,000 price cut, but there's something you should know.
Tesla
By Alex Lauer / May 30, 2020 9:00 am

Tesla, like every other automaker, has hit a COVID-19 rough patch. Even though stock prices have rebounded for Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle empire, sales are most likely way down in line with the rest of the industry (though the company only reports sales numbers every quarter). 

To boost sales, Tesla is following in the footsteps of automotive giants like Ford and General Motors, which have been offering incentives to car buyers during the pandemic. But instead of going down the path of zero-percent financing and deferred payments, Tesla decided to cut prices up to six percent on a variety of models in the U.S., as Reuters reported earlier this week.

For those who have been waffling on whether or not to buy their first Tesla, or who want to upgrade from a Model 3, it’s an enticing offer: the flagship Model S sedan and the large Model X SUV both received $5,000 discounts, and the price for the entry-level Model 3 has been cut by $2,000. 

While this has been picked up by a variety of outlets, there’s one caveat that’s been somewhat left out of the conversation, and it goes back to what Dan Edmunds, former Director of Vehicle Testing at Edmunds.com, told us back when we reported on the state of EV charging.

I think an EV as an only vehicle for an individual, with no other vehicle, is a tough sell anywhere,” said Edmunds. “I guess the Supercharger network makes it possible with a Tesla.”

The Supercharger network is Tesla’s proprietary fast charging network that is currently unparalleled in the States. It’s one of the top reasons to buy a Tesla not only because it eliminates range anxiety, but because the service has sometimes been offered free of charge, no pun intended, to new car buyers. It’s like if you bought a new Jeep and they gave you a free gas card for life.

According to Reuters, along with the discounts, Tesla has also removed free unlimited Supercharging for both the Model S and Model Y. The perk was added to the models back in August 2019 to boost sales, but now it seems Musk is trying a different tactic. 

As TechCrunch noted, “The company has waffled on the free supercharging incentive before, removing it and bringing it back over the past several years,” partially due to the fact that Musk finds the practice “unsustainable.” But that also means it may see a resurgence.

On the other hand, if buyers respond to a lower initial price more than the much better, but more nebulous perk of free Supercharging, it may go the way of the Tesla Elise.

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