Survey: Buyers Willing To Pay 60% More For A Tesla, 83% Percent Would Recommend Tesla To Friends


Tesla Model S EVs - Image Credit InsideEVs/ Mike Anthony

Tesla Model S EVs – Image Credit InsideEVs/ Mike Anthony

Tesla Model S EVs - Image Credit InsideEVs / Mike Anthony

Tesla Model S EVs – Image Credit InsideEVs / Mike Anthony

Courtesy of Barron’s, we present some Tesla owner survey findings.

As Barron’s writes, “Jefferies analysts Dan Dolev and Trevor Young observe that Tesla (TSLA) owners really love their cars. Oh, and they’re not all rich guys either.”

Here are a few of the survey findings:

Our survey of ~145 Tesla owners challenges conventional wisdom that owners are a uniform group of luxury car buyers (e.g. Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7-Series). The survey highlights a longer-than-expected tail of 82 unique substitute combustion engine models, with 13 of the top 20 models priced at <$60K and 4 priced at <$35K.

On average, owners assign a ~60% premium to Tesla, which could widen its global total available market by ~75%. On average, owners were willing to pay ~60% more for a Tesla.

Survey highlights exceptional brand loyalty… Twenty five percent of respondents are not considering any other brand but Tesla, 85% noted that their next car would be a Tesla, 83% stated they would recommend a Tesla to their friends

An impressive showing for Tesla, that’s for sure.

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68 Comments on "Survey: Buyers Willing To Pay 60% More For A Tesla, 83% Percent Would Recommend Tesla To Friends"

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Cool when the model 3 comes out you can expect many people who would only pay $25k to pay extra for a model 3


On eBay … while supply is constrained!


I suspect I’m in the 60% category. In in life, I’ve bought 5 cars brand new (0 miles), and the most I’ve paid for one is about $22K. I’m looking at an AWD Model 3 in a few years as my next car.


Once TESLA sells 200,000 vehicles, the federal rebate will not be available when the Model 3 comes out. So expect to pay the full price.

no comment

not all rich people are rolling s-class. but if your shelling out 6-figures for a car, you’re either rich, or you’re a fool. as to the willingness to pay a premium, that is not surprise; the tesla model s is not a luxury car, but as a performance car, it’s a bargain.


I’m not liking your comment. There are plenty of types other than “the rich” or “a fool”. I live of modest means…not rich….and was able to afford a Tesla after careful budget analysis…no fool… You sound jealous… My Tesla is by far the best car I’ve ever purchased…


Well most rich people are complete morons that have poor money spending…


Rich/modest is highly relative. Salaries in expensive areas can easily be double the pay for the same job in a less expensive region.
Last i knew the avg household income in the US was 50k. Probably a bit higher now, but the point is: $70k for a car is very different if you live in, say, rural Alabama than if you live in Silicon Valley, because “middle class” incomes in those 2 places are so different due to wildly different costs of living.

In some places, $70-100k is a 1000-sqft house. In others, it’s barely a down payment for one.


A friend of mine driving high mileage a year calculated on ten years… He would have to buy three ICE cars because the engine dont last long… or one Model S.

The savings on insurance and gasoline would compensate for the difference.
So he is now saving money, and the happiest man with the best car on earth, since 2013!

See Through

Well said. Not all are rich. Some are just crazy.
Nice extrapolation from the early adopter/Tesla enthusiast crowd to justify their lofty share price target.


Well, if they really love the car and they take of it, it will provide them many years of reliable and very inexpensive to fuel transport. So it might not be crazy at all.

Buying a big gas-guzzling truck if you really don’t need one is what is crazy.


And yet, when you look at total cost to own over a 3 year period, a base 60kWh Model S only costs marginally more than a Camry SE for the same time period. Yeah, that makes you a fool…


If not wanting to burn ANY gasoline in my car makes me a fool…..put me in the fool category!!! IMHO being bent over a barrel by the oil industry is what makes one look way less than mildly smart…..I hesitate to call anyone a fool. Elon Musk is “da man” If believing the climate is being effected by human behavior makes me a fool , check that box too……I’m a fool!! We don’t inherit the environment from our parents……we borrow it from our children.

Joe Hays

60% more? I am not “willing” to pay the current prices, much less 60% more. OK, I am “willing” to pay the current prices, I am just not able to pay the current prices. Oh to have money…

David Murray

Well… I could probably afford a base model-S… and it would stretch my finances a lot. But it doesn’t make any sense to me when I can buy 4 used Chevy Volts for the same price. I’ll stick to my used Volt.


Same here. I would be a stretch for the 70D. For now I’ll stick to my Leaf. I’m also not convinced that the the model 3 will be $35k. But, interesting times are coming when my lease is up in 2017.


I could buy one, but I just don’t think ANY car is worth that kind of money. Even if “it handles like a Ferrari that got porked by a Luck Dragon”.


Yeah, the main reason to have an expensive car past a certain point is to demonstrate you have more money to burn.

And no matter how expensive they are, all the same aging issues apply: Dents, scratches, bent rims, worn joints, sun rot, trim falling off, faded paint, stinky interior, broken switches…… Even a Tesla is subject to aging.


I don’t think the Model 3 will be $35K either. But if it comes in around $40K to $43K . . . that will be good enough.


i’d rather buy 1 Tesla over 4 Volts

can’t wait till they drop low 50’s high 40’s


You misunderstood the survey, they are willing to pay 60% more than the car was, they had before. So if you had a 50k BMW, you would consider buying a 80k Tesla.


Exactly – very cool metric, too. Looking at the vehicle that the Tesla replaced for each owner would seem to me to be a more accurate basis from which to project sales.


I take the “60% more” to mean above a comparable car that isn’t a Tesla. So for example, I might be thinking about buying a 5 series for $50,000.00, I’d be willing to pay $80,000.00 for a Model S.


RS, that was strange, while I was typing, you come up with the exact same example.

Mike I



One thing to consider is that the gas saving can be substantial.

I drive 20k miles per year, and assuming $4/gallon (already that here in CA), so the savings is around $20k for me over 10 years.

That makes a $80k Tesla more like a $60k ICE car, with is a much smaller mark up.

Mike I

I think you’re missing the point of the math in the article. I took it to mean that somebody who would otherwise buy a $47,000 car would buy a $75,000 Tesla. That is an example of “60% more”. I think it’s spot on. I would otherwise buy a $32,000 car and I will certainly buy a $50,000 Tesla Model 3.


If Tesla hits its price target of $35K for the Model 3, this would imply that people who would normally buy a $22K car would consider it. Oh my.


If (and that is a huuuuuuuuuuuuge if!) they hit 35k, then expect the waiting list to be about 3 years long.


With 19 million in demand, if they only produce 500000 per year, the waiting time is going to be decades. We are going to be in for a super scarcity problem. Is Tesla going to keep the first in first delivered policy or are they going to increase the price until they have a match between demand and their maximum output?

Stephen Hodges

Interesting to see all the interpretations of what seems a simple concept… just to say I had another… I immediately assumed that it meant that Tesla buyers would be prepared to fork out 60% more for the same car if necessary. If Tesla priced a $100k car at $160k they would still (just) buy. I wonder what the survey writers meant?


i think the 60% more is based on which other car they thought as an alternative which typically is some luxury performance in 60k range


I drive a Leaf and my goal is to get a “Model 3 D” so I must fall in the “willing to pay ~60% more for a Tesla”.

mr. M

I read “Twenty five percent of respondents are not considering any other brand but Tesla” AS

25% want a reliable charging network and a BEV with range above 250 miles. As there are no other companies where you can buy such a car they are bound to tesla. I am waiting for 2018 when there should be minimum 2 luxury car maker (+Tesla) with a long range BEV.


Don’t forget the exclusively first-party dealer network. How many people love their luxury car but hate their dealer?


I wonder if this is just a electric car thing or Tesla specific.

Most my cars are 2-$3K used and im considering getting a 10K used Leaf, my wifes car is $10k used and im considering a $20k used Volt…

so im willing to pay 200%+ on a used electric car over a similar used gas.


I switched to an EV and would most definitely love to switch my wife’s car as well. I think many first-time EV owners go through this same phase.

In late 2012 my wife and I starting shopping for cars in the $40,000 price range and decided to test drive a Model S since at the time the base model could be had for only $10,000 more (after incentives). We were blown away by the test drive and worked our way up to a $76,000 (after state and federal incentives) 85 kWh Model S after all was said and done. That was far more than we ever expected to pay for a car, but there was simply nothing else comparable on the market (and there still isn’t almost three years later). After living with the Model S and its smooth, silent, immediate acceleration for a year, we decided all our future cars would have plugs. When it was time for my wife to replace her Acura, we ended up leasing a BMW i3 BEV since it was much easier to park in San Francisco- and we couldn’t afford a second Model S. When the lease is up on the i3, we plan to return it to the dealer and get a Tesla Model 3. When the time comes, we’ll certainly shop around. But unless someone else makes an EV… Read more »

Good story. Bottom line is people are willing to stretch their finances to get a superior vehicle. Which I guess is what this story is all about.


Previously my family owned BMW E32 7-series, Acura RL before. I had developed mechanical skills that allowed me to own high-mileage BMWs without breaking the bank having someone else maintain them.

I bought my first new car, a 2011 Toyota Prius.

Three years later, Toyota sent me a letter saying I should buy a new car because my current car wouldn’t be dependable anymore.

I thought what a great company Toyota was for telling me their product was junk. I also decided against another Toyota and bought a 2014 Model S 85 which cost more than I ever spent on all my previous cars combined.

I wouldn’t have spent $95K+ on a new Mercedes, BMW, or any other vehicle in that price range besides the Tesla.

Westchester EV

I brought an inventory 60 December 2013, installed a 13kwh solar system and when it came down to another new car … bought a MBe, couldn’t afford another S … but a got as much Tesla as I could. My wife loves her MBe includes the range extended.


“After living with the Model S and its smooth, silent, immediate acceleration for a year, we decided all our future cars would have plugs.”

Yep, this same story for any EV not just Tesla. The future is going to be GREAT!


As someone who plans to cross shop a Tesla III D with $30k PHEVs and BEVs in 2-3 years, I totally expect that I’d be willing to pay the 160% (50k) for the Tesla, so I’d fit in that category.


“willing to pay 60%” is a nonsense concept for people who don’t have that amount of completely discretionary money. Since Model S ASP is $100K+, we’re talking ~$60K lying around that you wouldn’t spend on anything else.

Mike I

For most people, having some sort of car is a necessity. It’s all about opportunity cost. Do you value the luxury and reliability of a new $60,000 car enough to spend the difference from a more basic new car or used luxury car? So, it’s not about having the full amount “lying around”.


Even if you assume a $100,000 price for a Tesla it’s only $42,000 more (70k+60%=102k). Tesla has a starting price of $70,000, however.

See Through

It is really more like $57k to $60k if you consider the huge tax payer money thrown at these rich buyers. Now, if you believe Tesla’s own ordering site, it is more like $50k for a 70 kwh.


Should charge all buyers of luxury cars a large tax premium, so we can up the incentives for getting a Tesla.

I can’t quite afford a Tesla, but I’d be able to stretch of the federal credit was ~15k.

Otherwise, I’m in a cheap used car.


Consider a used Tesla. They’ve sold for as low as $55K, and will presumably drop at some point…


There have actually been quite a few that have sold in the $40s 🙂


I purchased my CPO ’12 S85 for $50,400.


You missed the point of the article – the survey looked at what vehicle the owner had before they bought the Tesla. They found that the price of the car that the Tesla replaced, for each owner, was as much as 60% less than the Tesla model that the owner bought.

Bobby sweet

I am very tempted to buy one soon I have looked on the internet and found a couple used I could buy and almost made a purchase and then backed out not because of my leaf or model 3 or bolt but because I got to go back to court
Ps broken relationships are not fun


“On average, owners assign a ~60% premium to Tesla, which could widen its global total available market by ~75%. On average, owners were willing to pay ~60% more for a Tesla.”

This is typical of early adopters. They are the ones who self-select for being willing to pay substantially more to get the cutting edge tech.

This shouldn’t be seen as an indicator of willingness by the general public to pay that much just to get a BEV with a relatively long range.


Why would 17% not recommend a Tesla to their friends? What’s up with that?


Lack of Service Centers. If you live more than 200 miles away from a Service Center, I can’t really recommend Tesla at the moment, because servicing is a pain; getting to and from the Service Center is overly expensive.

They used to offer an “unlimited free Ranger service” plan but they discontinued it.


OK, that makes sense. Thanks for the response.


“Why would 17% not recommend a Tesla to their friends? What’s up with that?”

Cause they feel special and dont want their friends to have the same car 😉


I had never considered spending more than around $40k on a car…until now. I haven’t, so far, but every time I ride in my friend’s S I’m just a little closer. I’ll absolutely buy a used 85 when they hit the $50k mark.

Warren M

On paper I am a net worth millionaire, yet I am not rich because my money is tied up in real estate, and I dont plan on selling my houses soon. So i just dont have the money available to spend on a car. And if I did have any extra money it would probably go into more real estate. So yes, if I lived in an apartment only..perhaps I would have a Tesla. But otherwise I just cant swing it. Different priorities for different folks.


I could own a used Tesla if a strech every penny, but I can’t convince myself that this amount of money could not be spend at more pratical thing.
Just like I hate paying for gasoline that screw everything around in such a way that leave most unaware of all that waste.
I already paid premium for my Leaf that was out of my conceptual value, so I would say that this article show you that everybody is willing to add somme money at something they share and think is worthy of the effort.
Not burning gas in a car, is priceless!

There are other area like this. LED light bulbs are exspensive but are they when they are paid for in 1 year in power savings and more in less payment to utilities in years to come. I am not talking about CFLs, do not purchase CFLs do not listen to utility companies. LEDs are the best choice. As for EVs they will definitely slow down gas spending. I was spending 50 to 75 dollars a week in fuel to go back and forth to work. After buying a Volt that amount was changed 50 dollars a month. Today we spend around 20 dollars a month on the Volt. Depends on how much long range we travel. The Tesla is definitely a good choice today compared to other vehicles over 50K. Their service is the best. The quick charging network is there. If I had that money I would have a Tesla. My next vehicle will be a long range EV. I believe in the future better batteries will be available for todays EV. However those batteries will not help prius and other hybrids. Unless you change the electric motor to be like the Volt. With that much work you might… Read more »

My house is 3/4 LED (bought 3 years ago when they were still pretty expensive) and 1/4 CFL. It makes for very nice electric bills. At current prices, LEDs are the way to go. They would probably pay for themselves in two months.


How many of those interviewed partly paid for their Tesla with stock growth in their TSLA holdings? And in those cases, was it enough to pay that extra 60%? That kind of “profile of customer” is not long-term, only during these heady periods.


I still haven’t bought one yet. Hopefully next year. The last car (my current car) I bought new for $16K. The Tesla will run around $75K. That is a whole lot more than even this survey suggests.

Bellaire Boy

Had never spent more than 35k on a new car before I bought my Model S for 52.5k after tax credit (when you still order a 40kw). Never been more in joy over a car and wouldn’t want another. The article is correct people will go well outside of their normal spending window for this car. Hadn’t personally bought myself a new car for about 20 years. Didn’t hesitate for even one second in putting 5k down to reserve my spot for one. It was this car that I had been waiting for.


In Sweden with high taxes we pay 100K for the cheapest Model S.
Best car ever made by mankind and worth every dollar.

We have two in our family and we are buying two mer in the near future.
We mainly charge for free at home and at work with our solar panels. So we can’t afford to not drive Tesla cars.

My 85D is used almost exclusively for business. Its 4 months old and has 15K miles on it. It was very easy to justify buying this car for the business. The previous company car was a $42K Buick. The company owned it for about 2.5 years and put 110K on it. It was starting to have engine issues and a trusted mechanic said, “dump it… its done”. Due to the high mileage it was only worth about $14K on trade. When we added the fuel, repairs and maintenance on top of the depreciation on the car this car ended up costing us $54K for 2.5 years. The Model S comes with an unlimited mileage 8 year warranty. About 80-90% of the charging is at Superchargers at no cost. The monthly payment is $1,140, so in the next 2.5 years it will cost about $34K plus about $1,200 in annual service and maybe $1K in electricity when charging outside of the Supercharger network. So, in our high usage case the Model S is substantially less expensive to operate than a Buick! I know its counter-intuitive, but the numbers don’t lie. I love driving this car and anticipate putting over 200 K… Read more »