Tesla Promotes “Limited Time” $698/Month US Model S Lease

JAN 21 2016 BY JAY COLE 63

Proving that the January sales blues hits every electric vehicle maker in the US (claiming the $7,500 EV credit on your taxes is so far away again), Tesla today is promoting a “limited time” lease offer on the entry level Model S 70 (rwd).

Tesla Model S 70D Lease Specifics

Tesla Model S 70D Lease Specifics

Says the company on the financing program:

“Tesla now makes it easier than ever to purchase or finance a Model S, as well as assist with the trade-in of your current vehicle.”

For a limited time, drive a Model S for as little as $698 per month.  

Tesla has a variety of attractive financing options available including a limited-time lease program on a Model S that starts at just $698 per month. After fuel savings, this is the equivalent of only $531 per month.

There is a slight asterisk to this number, as we found out directly on Tesla’s website – a 10,000 mile/year lease cap, and near 10% of the MSRP,  $6,393 due at signing.

Still, this lease deal today is far superior than anything you could get when Tesla first introduced the program, and about ~$55 less per month than in 2015.

The Tesla Model S (70/rwd) retails for $71,200 (including Destination & Doc Fee), and features a 230 mile range (EPA), with a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds/top speed of 140 mph.

Tesla says deliveries of new purchases will be delivered fairly quickly – March.

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63 Comments on "Tesla Promotes “Limited Time” $698/Month US Model S Lease"

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This year will be sale, when Gigafactory is ready Model S & X will get the new cells and more range.

Just a back of the envelope calculation, using the base price of $71200 and the down payment and federal tax credit being applied, $57307 remains, $698 for 36 month @ 3% {assumes good credit and no “fees” added} estimate the residual balance should be $33,307 +/-.

Haha we had the same reaction!

HaHa, that’s a great sale price for a 3 year old Tesla.

The lessor gets the $7500 credit (Tesla, in this case), not the lessee.

This is about $80/mo off of what Tesla normally advertises on their web site. I keep track of it here:


Most leases actually ADD the $7500 tax credit to the residual. This makes the residual much higher, but is how the total payments are decreased to the lessee.

For example, assuming the residual is at 55% the calculation is (71,200-6,393)*.54+7500. The balance plus interest is the total amount of payments during the lease period.

So this means if I can hold out until 2019, I can pick up a 2016 S in the $35k range? Interesting! Just basic math not including time value of money… MSRP – lease payments – fed tax credit = breakeven for tesla ($71000-(36*698+6393)-7500)

Right now a 2013 S base at about $50k is the best I can find. So it’s holding it’s value well. I expect that’s because it started with a much higher range than the lower group of EVs, and even at 3 years old, it’s still a viable option vs new.

It’s challenge will come with Model III, that should offer the same range as the 2013 S(230+) at about half the price when new.

I expect the higher volume Model III to allow for a price drop of the lower volume Model S, so the variance won’t be so great.

You’re forgetting that the mean price of a Model S isn’t 70k or 80k, it’s closer to a 100k, from what I remember Tesla saying a while back. Depreciation hits it pretty hard.

Nope. Wrong calculation. The residual is going to be PLUS the 7500 tax credit. They add it back in to lower the monthy lease payment.

Unfortunately, I could nearly buy a used Leaf for the downpayment, then for the monthly payments I could afford a Volt and some other vehicle too… So 3 vehicles or 1 Tesla?

Good point — deal still only for the top 1-5%

One Tesla, of course! 😉

You would of course have 3 times the maintenance & running costs ?

Model S maintenance (like changing wiper blades and topping fluids) is $600/year unless they changed something. You can maintain about twenty new gas cars or Volts for that money.

You’re claiming you can maintain a gasmobile for $30 per year? Seriously?

I guess you never change the oil, or the oil filter, or the air filter, or buy new tires, or… I guess your cars don’t last long.

But no, not really. Because what you post has nothing to do with what you actually do.

“You’re claiming you can maintain a gasmobile for $30 per year? Seriously? I guess you never change the oil, or the oil filter, or the air filter, or buy new tires, or… I guess your cars don’t last long.” Not to defend his point which I think it is a bit exaggeration. But he did say Volt. For a Volt, you only need to change oil about once every 2 years… (The Volt owners with almost 300K miles only changed about 6-7 times). I am still stock new on my air filter for my engine after about 3.5 years and the filter looks pretty new. So, in the last 3.5 years, I only spent about $80 so far for 2 oil changes (which I did for my own peace of minds and each time with over 80% oil life), $32 for a set of wipers and $700 for new tires. Both the wipers and tires are no different than a Model S in comparison cost. So, the $600/year is a bit much for a car. Sure, it is “reasonable” for a Mercedez S-class, but it is not for a lower priced vehicle. Lastly, this is a 36 month lease. How… Read more »

I have spent zero on my Volt in 2 years

Of course in reality it costs less than $30 for new cars that you are going to lease. E.g. BMW or Toyota don’t charge for oil changes in the first 2-4 years. Annual maintenance afterwards is these $30 dollars here until you reach higher mileage, that includes synthetic oil and oil filter and tire rotation. Engine air filter costs few dollars by mail order and typically you don’t need to change it each year, and it takes 3 minutes, not worth driving to dealer for it. What else, tires? Yes you will need to change tires for Model S more frequently and it will cost you a fortune of extra money, especially with 21′ rims. I don’t know what exactly is reason of it, bad suspension design, or heavy weight, or special kind of factory tires, or something else, but it is common complaint among owners. Not so likely you will need new tires or brake pads before 36,000 miles lease expires on a regular mass-market car. Sure you can always find some greedy dealer that will charge you an arm & leg just for looking at your car. You can always go elsewhere unless it is Tesla and you… Read more »


Been in for a smog check lately, approximately $40.00 ? Have you replaced a $200.00 catalytic converter sensor (one of two)? I just did and, i went and had a Nissan Leaf delivered. Game over, now check this!

Smog isn’t required for a new car in California. Not until it is 4 years old.

This is a 36 month lease comparison.

Also, I have never changed a Catalytic converters in my life (most of my cars have over 200K miles before I change them. I admit that I don’t have snow/rusting problem in where I live).

O2 sensors do break on ICE cars, usually around 100K to 150K miles. They are generally less than $100 in parts to replace.

It covers a bit more than just toping of fluids, but its also only recommended, not mandatory. Its not required to maintain warranty coverage.

It isn’t required now on your own car with standard warranty. But it is required for extended warranty, and I guess it would be required for lease too. Even if buying, I wouldn’t want to be one of the first guys paying out of warranty $15,000 drivetrain replacement rate to Tesla with no chance of being able to go elsewhere.

Tesla or 3 other cars? This is sort of a no-brainer.

Say you want to impress some hottie in the parking lot with your Nissan Leaf. So you pull up and say, “Hi baby, you want a ride? I also have a Volt and a Civic!”

If you pull up in the Model-S you won’t have to say anything. She will just get in the car.

At least, that’s how I imagine it. 😉

The S may be one of the greatest cars ever, but it is also an expensive car. These lease numbers prove it.

A “girl” who can see Russia from her house and sings “drill baby, drill!” unlikely to ride in an electric. Sorry also, she doesn’t want YOU to drill (ahem).

Are you picking up hookers?

Since you can only drive one car at a time, why not drive the best car ever made by man?


I lease a 70D.

I wonder if you could option the car up a bit and still get a good price. I still want my wife driving one at some point. I really want a lightly optioned 60 with about 20k miles for her. She doesn’t need AP and doesn’t care about AWD.

Remember in all these discussions, leases are great for professionals that own their own business. Paid pretax at typical 50% total tax burden – federal+state+double FICA, this is only $350 a month. For “the best car ever made by man”

Really, used LEAF’s are sub-$10k there? 2012-13 models go for about $23k here.

Not a big fan of the “look only x$/month but you need to pay a big chunk up front”
Just take the down payment divide it by 36, add it to the monthly and see what the real monthly costs is.

That’s true mathematically.
But, that’s not the reason for the down payment.
It’s “risk aversion”, so that you have skin in the game and don’t trash the car.

It’s also indicates a lack of knowledge by the leasee. Rule #1 of leasing is don’t put ANY money down. That money is not covered by insurance!


Softening demand for the Model S makes sense. Partly seasonal, partly because the Model 3 reveal is near.

It is more like $880/month after adding initial payment. Plus some options unless you want to feel like in econobox. It makes quite decent mortgage payment for many, somehow I doubt it is going to change the world :/

You mean Luxury car proces AS Luxury car wont be dominating mass market any time soon? I’m shocked. How do You know? 😉

On the other hand it already dominate mind share. Every plugin is compared to Tesla…

So it already changed world. Job done. The end.

Now, what is still to be done is Gigafactory and mass production of batteries. That is still not settled matter.

This lease makes me think that Tesla expects to have surplus Model S cars. But I also know there is a huge backlog for Model X.

There must be a reason why they discount Model S, rather than adjusting the production to make more X and less S.

Presumably the reason Tesla is ramping up production of the Model X slowly is the same reason they ramped it up slowly for the Model S: An effort to maintain effective quality control.

There is some evidence, most notably from high-profile Consumer Reports reviews, that Tesla has not been able to control quality as tightly as they would like. Ramping up production faster would make that situation worse.

Yes, that makes sense.

I read somewhere they had 40K orders for Model X so one assumes they will ramp up production to start fulfilling those orders as quick as possible, at the same time any inventory for the model S could be sold at a discount (not exactly colossal at $880 a month equiv zero down).

I think they just want to keep things ticking over until Model III reveal when they can then start taking orders for that ?

This was my line of thinking …

I assume that Tesla has a limited number of battery cells, hence every model S they lease out is using a pack that could have gone to one of the 40000 folks eager to pay full price for a model X.

But clearly there are additional factors to consider in this matter …

At the end of last year, Tesla offered its customers in China a deal, a reduced price on a Model S with a trade-in of a gasmobile. The new offer highlighted in this article is the second indication that Tesla is reaching the limit of demand for the Model S.

Thus far, Tesla has been masterful at managing demand to keep up with production. I think we’re seeing signs that Tesla is reaching, or has reached, its limit on that. Or at least, they appear to have reached the limit of how much they can increase demand without paying for mass advertising.

Tesla really needs to ramp up production of the Model X, and soon! Or else they need to start taking out paid ads in magazines, on the radio, and on the Internet. (Television ads are too expensive, and are a poor return from a cost/benefit viewpoint.)

This doesn’t seem like a very aggressive discount at all, but yeah, maybe the first signs of Tesla being able to get ahead of demand.

As they continue to ramp up production of Model S they will be able to offer much more generous discounts in the future if needed.

Agree that the ramp of Model X is huge for them. I think it will dominate the luxury sport SUV market straight-away as soon as they can supply enough.

Well, Jay Cole in the article above was right to mention “January sales blues”. January and February have, by far, the lowest car sales of any months of the year. That’s true not only in the USA and Canada, but I think also in Europe and other Northern hemisphere Temperate and Frigid Zone countries; all regions where it gets rather cold and rainy or snowy in the winter. (Presumably there is a similar low point in sales during July-August in Southern hemisphere Temperate Zone countries.)

So if you want to look at it that way, it’s only a temporary dropoff in demand, for January-February only. But that same situation will occur every year.

Traditional automakers use dealers as a shock absorber – they can keep factories humming along and build up a bit of inventory during the slow months. That doesn’t stop them from lease deals and putting cash on the hood to move the metal of course.

Without dealers, Tesla has to operate much more in real time with their incentives and sales.

Perhaps now we will see some actual, traditional marketing and advertising…

2019 looks like some good lease return deals are in the mix. Might have to pay off the Leaf a few years early and trade in for an off lease model S 70D. At $30k for a 30K mi. Tesla, it will be an easy pill to swallow to take the 50% + depreciation on my (by then) 70 mile range Leaf. Can’t wait for 200+ mile range and supercharge highway access. Thanks Elon!

Still too expense for me. I’m waiting for the Bolt or next gen Leaf.

Wonder what the residual is? I assume they raised it to make these more attractive. Porsche and BMW do this on occasion. It also means no one will will buy out their lease at the end of the term and the finance company (Tesla or ?) will be receiving a lot of cars off-lease that have a lower real world value. It might also mean you can negotiate your lease buy-out to a lower amount if the market conditions are right.

It’ll cost you $33779 to drive the car 30K miles for 36 months in CA. More than a $1 per mile. Considering the CPO cars have depreciated at about $1/per mile…

– $698 x 36 = $25128 Base monthly
– $698 x 0.9 = $64 x 36 = $2300 (9% Tax in CA)
– $6393 – Drive off
Total = ~ $33821/36 = $939 per month

The gas figures data seems a bit dated?
“$531/mo after gas savings” compared to $698/mo pre-savings.

That’s $167/mo ($2004/year) in gas to travel 10,000 miles … some 20¢/mile
In a 25 MPG that’s ~$5/gal, $4/gal for 20 MPG, or $2/gal for 10 MPG vehicle.

Got to love the savings … gas math! 😉

Tesla always did get generous with their savings calculators. But, it is also possible that they are assuming that the average price of gas over the 3-year lease would be about $4/gal. At the moment, it seems unlikely, since there is no way to tell how long this economic oil war will continue between OPEC and non-OPEC shale oil and tar sands sources.

Good point.

Of course, Tesla would only like to show “favorable” math.


There is more to the cost/mile in a gas car (gas, oil, filter, air filter). If you get reimbursed for mileage from your employer, it is definitely more then .20.

I don’t know why Tesla likes to continue this myth that electric cars are somehow economical. Their selling a 70,000$ luxury sedan with options and trim level upgrades that are as much as 10k. No one who buys a 100k luxury car thinks a lot about whether gasoline is 2$ a gallon or 4$ a gallon. I would highly recommend they drop the “gas calculator” nonsense because their numbers are a complete sham and makes them look dishonest and they need to focus on why this is a better car that’s more fun to drive than say a 5-series, 7-series, A7, Porsche, etc.

No lease number is ever accurate

disregard $698

I recommend never making a downpayment on a lease, include the downpayment in the monthly payments. I had a lease and made a downpayment, and when an accident occurred that totaled the car the insurance company would only pay for the car, and I was out my downpayment.