Tesla Federal Credit Expiry And Model 3 Cost Estimator By Teslanomics

Red Tesla Model 3 at handover event


Now that much more information is available about the Tesla Model 3, a seemingly accurate and easy-to-use cost estimator is available online, and it’s the first to include a data-driven U.S. federal rebate estimate.

Many have tried to estimate the precise cost of the Tesla Model 3 through early guesses, leaked information, and now via some more concrete details. We have also found (and shared) some user-produced online configurators. The authentic configurator is available now on Tesla’s website, but unfortunately, only employees have access.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

All along we were told that the base Tesla Model 3 would have at least 215 miles of range and cost $35,000 before the U.S. federal tax credit. Tesla stood true to its estimates, with a 220-mile Standard version starting at the promised dollar figure (full Model 3 details here).

However, you can’t get it yet.

Instead, only the Long Range model is being manufactured initially. The good news is it’s only $9,000 more than the Standard version (from $44,000) and gets you a whopping 310 miles. For those who were planning to buy the base, and may or may not get the federal rebate, the math for the long range Model 3 with rebate is therefore pretty close.

Keep in mind, however, that if you check all the boxes (Autopilot, Premium Upgrades, Sport wheels, Paint aside from black, Self-Driving capability) you’re still looking at a $60,000+ car. Comparatively, a loaded Model S or X 100D will cost you about double that (at $114,500 and $119,500 respectively). This also brings to light the Tesla Model 3 dual-motor all-wheel drive performance variant, which Elon Musk assured will be offered by the middle of next year. While we don’t yet have a price for the performance Model 3, a loaded Model S or X P100D will set you back $152,000 and $159,000 respectively.

Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has now created a nifty Model 3 cost estimator that factors options and delivery date – check it out here.

Sullins used InsideEVs’ historic Model S and X sales data and all the information we have learned to date on the Model 3 roll-out in an attempt to forecast when the federal tax rebate will expire.

So, if your delivery date falls beyond Ben’s data-driven target date, the estimator will take that into account. It factors in when the rebate will begin its downward spiral, and applies the estimated remaining discount against the car’s price with options.

Video Description via Teslanomics by Ben Sullins on YouTube:

I built a tool to let you calculate the cost of your model, including the federal tax credit.

The way this came about was when I had this idea to try and estimate when Tesla will deliver their 200,000th car in the US. To figure this out, I partnered with the team at https://insideevs.com/ have some excellent data going all the way back to when the Model S was first released back in 2012.

Check out InsideEvs.com for more great insight

Since then they’ve been meticulously tracking how many EVs Tesla, and others, have sold in the US. If you have any doubt about this data, I suggest you check out their monthly sales scorecard which they regularly update as new information comes out. These guys do their homework, so I feel good about where the data is coming from here

From there it was pretty easy to generate a forecast model that would predict S and X sales for the next 12mo. Because both of these models have been in production for a while, this estimate should be pretty reliable, especially since we have data by month for almost five years now.

On the most recent earnings call Tesla also stated that “Orders for Model S and Model X have also been increasing, both leading up to and following the Model 3 handover event. In July, our weekly net order rate for these vehicles was about 15% higher than our Q2 average weekly order rate. In addition, although too early to draw strong conclusions, we are seeing an even further increase in net Model S orders since the July 28th event. This growing demand gives us even more reason to expect increased deliveries of Model S and Model X in the second half of this year.”

The next piece of the puzzle was to figure out the Model 3 sales for the next six months or so. And, on that same earnings call Tesla had some interesting things to say about this…they said “In addition to the increased orders for Model S and Model X, customer response to Model 3 has been overwhelming. Since the handover event last week, we are averaging over 1,800 net Model 3 reservations per day. We opened the Model 3 configurator to the thousands of our employees with reservations so they could begin ordering their vehicles. Soon, non-employee customers will begin receiving invitations to order their cars in small groups based on when they placed their reservations, with existing Tesla owners receiving first priority. Deliveries to non-employees will begin in Q4.”

Now you can see this as good or bad news…depending on when Tesla is estimating you’ll get your Model 3.

Taking into account those statements and also their estimate that they ” are confident we can produce just over 1,500 vehicles in Q3, and achieve a run rate of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of 2017” my original delivery ramp is looking pretty good

So when you add up the S and X projections from before with these Model 3 predictions, I have them hitting that 200K mark in late Q4 of this year, which could be a disaster.

The way the tax credit works is once a manufacturer in the US hits the 200K mark the “phase out” begins. All cars produced that quarter and the following receive the full credit, people that take delivery in the next two-quarters get 50% of that, then for the last two quarters of the phase out individuals who take delivery just get 25% of the 7500 credit.

So my guess is that Tesla will push out that 200,000th delivery until early Jan 2018 so they can maximize the tax benefit to us model 3 reservation holders. Elon even tweeted about this when asked and he said “We always try to maximize customer happiness even if that means a revenue shortfall in a quarter. Loyalty begets loyalty.”
So that’s why I’m estimating Tesla will deliver their 200,000th car in the US next January of 2018. This was the inspiration for the calculator.

On the calculator, I wanted to make it more than just some boring numbers so I ended up building a visual version which will let you pick your color, wheels, and upgrades. From there you click “Show Me, ” and a new page opens with the result…On this page, you’ll have a beautiful printable invoice, yet something I hope you still find pleasure in viewing and maybe even printing out to hang on your wall or cube or wherever you spend most of your time.


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36 Comments on "Tesla Federal Credit Expiry And Model 3 Cost Estimator By Teslanomics"

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Sadly, by the time I get to purchase, the Fed rebate will have expired. Hopefully a new one will come up.

Hopefully NO new one will occur which like the current on would be a great rip off of ordinary taxpayers subsidizing the typically higher income folks who think an electric car would be cool.

Tesla has done far more than any other company to push forward, and accelerate, the EV revolution. If Tesla had not had government support as a startup, then at best it would still be selling a rather small number of very high-priced cars like the Roadster, if it was even in business at all.

Those in the lower economic strata will eventually benefit from the EV revolution, in two ways:

1. The poor and struggling are benefiting right now from being able to buy used EVs, at a lower price because the original buyer was given a lowr purchase price due to the government incentives you’re complaining about.

2. As more EVs are put into production, the price of the average EV will drop due to economy of scale. Again, that positive trend is accelerated by those government incentives.

Asserting that no auto maker should benefit from EV incentives if they don’t make cars aimed at the working poor and lower middle class, wouldn’t benefit the economically disadvantaged at all. It would just consign them to driving gasmobiles that much longer.

Your assertion, Dan, is just another case of “The perfect driving out the good.”

Dan, so far for the most part the $7500 federal tax incentive has been passed on to second buyers for most EV’s.

If you want to stick it to that rich guy, just buy their EV on the secondary market. That way the $7500 tax incentive they got from the gov’t gets passed on to you in the form of lower resale values.

So if you are whining about wanting what those rich people got, it is all on your own shoulders to make it happen. Why are you complaining about your own failure to act?

Nicely done

“would be a great rip off of ordinary taxpayers subsidizing the typically higher income”
So if i get to keep $7500 of my own money and not give to Sam by buying an ev i’m ripping people off? GLADLY!!!

Dan, most tech starts as too expensive. The cell phone started in the 1980s costing over $100 and was a backpack. Then it was a brick in the early 1990s. I had one costing over $200 and hated it and sold it. Each minute cost me at least $1. I sold it. Getting dangerously political here, we agree that nearly all government subsidies turn out to be vast Enron-like wastes of money, handouts to the politically favored few, to get their votes. (The Government Golden Rule: He who has the Gold gets the Rules). It would be better to have a small flat tax like the 10% biblical tithe on gross income, and let the economy roar with superpowerful growth and no handouts. Let charities help the poor like it did until the 20th century? With a roaring economy there are many jobs and fewer poor. I get it you hate a subsidy to Tesla, as you have a case of “envy for the rich.” The richest 10% do pay most US taxes, duh, so I don’t hate them for catching a break. We ALL use tax breaks when we can. Sometimes a stupid govt. subsidy actually does good, even… Read more »

Correction: The cellphone started at a price between $1000 and $10,000. Sorry I dropped two zeroes. As a kid in the late 1960s, I saw a radiophone precursor in a luxury car driven by a millionaire.

Look at what Moore’s law has done to computers. Every smartphone has more computing power than the Apollo rockets that landed on the Moon. I am using a desktop computer, that has more power than the Cray supercomputers of the 1970s when I was a college student. A Tesla car is as much a computer as a car, and is similarly driven by Moore’s law. (pun intended). 🙂

what happened to the supercharger portion of Tesla.com?

It was moved. You can find it via the little menu button top-right, then: Charging

Also: https://supercharge.info/


Ben’s message: Tesla will manage around a Q1 2018 delivery of the 200k’th Tesla. No sooner.

Part of “Production Hell” comes down to “as many as you can make”, in 2018. Well beyond the 200k’th car, all production will qualify. Tesla aims to make >200,000 cars for U.S. registration, in just this year (conservative, <20k/month). All will be eligible for a tax-credit.

What's hard to predict, is how people will configure specifically to preserve their tax-credit. In this price bracket, with $7,500 in tax liabilities, what option wouldn't you give up to get inside of 6/30/2018, or 12/31/2018?

If I wait for the AWD or D-version, I will lose my full $7500…

*sigh*, dilemmas!

Or you can buy whatever they offer while you can get the tax credit and sell it when they offer AWD in 3 to 10 years later.

I would change the year eange to 1 to 10 years just to cover all bases…

10 years is too long to live with a car that I don’t want.

1 year is a problem since I often keep my cars for about 15 years at a time.

taxes and depreciation would probably eat up quite a bit of that $7500 tax incentive.

Depending on timing, most current reservation holders would likely be better off just taking 1/2 incentive in July-Sept 2017, or even 1/4 credit in Oct-Dec 2017. The AWD’s should be available by then for most US reservation holders.

The dates are a bit off.

If 200K USA total sales are reached sometime in Q1 2018, the full tax credit expires June 30, 2018. The 50% tax credit runs for 2 full quarters after the full tax credit expires (expiring on Dec. 31, 2018). The 25% tax credit runs for 2 full quarters after the 50% tax credit expires (expiring June 30, 2019).

For reference, click on the link below. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Phaseout” to expand the section.

Waiting on AWD will cost me 50% of the tax credit ($3,7500) plus the cost of AWD $3,500? That’s over $7K for AWD. Ouch.

Just added up the charts roughly and looks like your wrong about when the Tesla will hit 200K in the US.. Only sold 110K up to the end of 2016 in the US and in the first 7 months of this year just over 23K! Even if they get both S/X to 50K US sales in 2017 then total will be 160K + how many model 3 they can make (Q3= 1500) maybe 10K by years end ( maybe 20K if your lucky!) Still will only be 180K very optimistic total!! The 15% higher order rate for S/X is caused by customers mostly out of US since they don’t want to wait till late 2019 for a Model 3. Am I missing something here?

This makes total sense!!

“The 15% higher order rate for S/X is caused by customers mostly out of US since they don’t want to wait till late 2019 for a Model 3. “


Tesla IS leading the EV way, taking the other car makers into the future.

Seems like Musk either has to push out crazy production numbers by q1, or else halt deliveries below 200,000 until such time as the factories can crank to fulfill for his deposit-held customers. Blowback from his ‘true-believers’ wouldn’t be pretty…

I’m a true believer and I will not be mad if I don’t get tax credit when I buy model 3. If you put it into perspective, it took Ford 4 years to produce the Etsel.

200K vehicle sold on Jan 1 vs Dec 31 is worth at least $450 million. (5,000 vehicles/week * 12 weeks/quarter * $7500). Wow!

My M3 reservation in IL shows a Dec-Feb first production run and a Feb-April standard battery delivery. Earliest Dual motor is in August. Thus I will rule out the dual motor variant due to the tax credit availability.

IMO anytime the advantage of the larger battery providing extra range is mentioned (as above), the faster potential rate of supercharging should always also be mentioned. It’s as important if not more than total miles.

Not so fast.

Saving 5 minutes at a supercharge is great. I’ve supercharge 7 times in 2.5 years and 40k miles. So 35 minutes for $9k?

Ok – I’m headed to the mountains with no supercharger nearby (1 hour out of the way). Staying at a cabin with 120V only. Those 90 miles are worth a lot more than 35 minutes total over 2 years.

So supercharging rate to me is about 10% of the value not over 50% which you imply.

Turns out I hit a deer about a month before the mountain trip so had an ICE loaner. So I never had to live out that inconvenience. And it does turn out that there was a public charger in a Blowing Rock parking lot. I could have left the car there overnight right before leaving. But even still, this is not an area with a lot of cabs and our cabin was 8 miles away.

Respectfully, it is very unlikely that Tesla crosses the 200K US unit milestone within Q4 2017. Here’s why: It is virtually impossible for Tesla to have the credits expire before 3-31-18 (barring a law change) and unlikely before 6-30-18; it is also reasonably likely to last at the full $7,500 amount through 9-30-18. Per the DOE, Tesla has sold approximately 112-14K (including the Roadster) cars in the US through 2016. In H1 2017, Tesla sold 47,100 units globally (per company announcement); assuming US vs. non-US sales distributions hold similar to 2016, fewer than 27,700 of those cars in H1 were sold in the US (using the ~59% split seen last year). This would place cumulative US sales at approximately 140K units as of 6-30-17. Tesla’s production targets (i.e., best case) for Model 3 include a ramp from 100 units/month in August to 20K/month in December; Tesla’s reasonable upper-bound on production for the Model 3 in 2017 would be approximately 37,000 units (all in the US), though the actual figure is likely to be lower. This would mean more than 50K Model S/X would need to be sold in the US between 7-1-17 and 12-31-17 to activate the reduction in the… Read more »

A typo; the 2nd large paragraph should read 1-1-17 to 12-31-17, not 7-1.

It is highly unlikely for Tesla to have the credits expire before 3-31-18 (barring a law change) and unlikely before 6-30-18; it is also reasonably likely to last at the full $7,500 amount through 9-30-18.

The only way Tesla hits the milestone by year’s end is if a) production goes perfectly b) demand in the US stays at historically high levels for model S/X, and c) the management is not attentive to when the milestone is achieved. If Model 3 production lags behind the aggressive schedule, the milestone achievement will occur even later.

I guess your point is that if Tesla ships as great a percentage of TM3s overseas as it currently ships MS/MX’s, then it absolutely won’t cross the 200,000 threshold before Jan. 1, 2018; and that Tesla could even delay it another quarter, depending on circumstances. While I agree that Tesla could certainly alter the ratio between domestic and foreign deliveries to put off crossing the 200k mark, there are two things I think you’re overlooking in your analysis: 1. The sales of the MS/MX have accelerated following the TM3 rollout, rather than dropping. It was always a fallacy to assume the TM3 would “cannibalize” sales of the MS/MX. Just look at any other auto maker: Does introducing a lower priced model cause people to abandon the higher priced model? Of course not! The greater attention the lower priced model attracts also causes more people to look at the higher priced model. That this is happening to Tesla should not be a surprise. 2. Tesla has said the focus will be on domestic deliveries of the TM3, at least through the end of 2017. While of course it’s possible Tesla could change course and divert some to foreign sales to avoid… Read more »

Thanks for sharing this well thought out analysis!

So looks like in the USA as long as you get your car before end of June you’ll qualify for the $7,500

so most people will get the full incentive and be happy.
QUOTE=The way the tax credit works is once a manufacturer in the US hits the 200K mark the “phase out” begins. All cars produced that quarter and the following receive the full credit, people that take delivery in the next two-quarters get 50% of that, then for the last two quarters of the phase out individuals who take delivery just get 25% of the 7500 credit.

So my guess is that Tesla will push out that 200,000th delivery until early Jan 2018 so they can maximize the tax benefit to us model 3 reservation holders.

So the justification for fleecing the tax payers to pay for people’s toys seems to have now shifted to ‘it will lower the resale value so others get to participate too’. First, that doesn’t really matter because the $7,500 has been picked from the pockets of the tax payers to begin with, so trying to self justify it now by saying ‘yeah but the next buyer gets to participate in the fleecing too!’ is disingenuous at best Second the initial buyer never thinks of it as a $X car, its a $X-$7,500 car so there is no real extra depreciation hit to them, it wasn’t ever $X to begin with. Third, lets say Jane gets a $47,500 variant (to make it easy). Jane is happy to collect money from the rest of the tax payers and drop her real price to $40k. She may even later comment about “oh woe is me, my car dropped in value to $40k overnight (hehe), I am bearing quite a burden here”. Now Joe comes along and picks up the $35k car when they finally trickle out and only gets $1,875 to fleece the public with. So his car is $33,125. But Jane had… Read more »