Tesla have been selling cars in the UK for a few years now and there is a steadily growing used car market, at the last count there were over a 400 cars available and we list them all on our search facility here. Please just remember to use our referral code if buying a qualifying car. It's easy to think that a car made in 2014 would be very similar to a car made today, this is not the case as they have made many alterations over the years, some for the better, but also some for the worse.
This relatively short guide picks out some of the key features you need to be aware of when looking at used cars.
There are in essence four different types of sellers you may buy a used Tesla from. A private buyer, a non Tesla garage, at auction and from Tesla. Each has its advantages and disadvantages
The advantage is you can meet the owner, have a chat, see whether they're the type of person who looked after the car etc. The price should also be fairly competitive. The downside is that there is no warranty other than any existing on the car. The magic numbers are 50k miles and 4 years; if the car exceeds either of those, or is getting close to, be wary. The Tesla warranty can be extended, terms and conditions apply, and is nealy £1000 per year. Part ex and finance will not be available either.
The additional benefits over buying privately are the ability to part ex and there has to be a degree of warranty included. The downside is few dealers actually really know how to look after the cars. They buy at auction and have inflated expectations on price. Also be VERY wary about descriptions, we track all the adverts and many are factually incorrect, stating incorrect performance figures for the cars, options that don't exist, say the cars include unlimited super charging which is very rare on cars with a 2017 plate and onwards as its not transferable, warranty information thats quoted in time and ignores the mileage and so on. We would suggest a non Tesla dealer should be treated very much like a private seller in terms of price expectations with only a few specialist Tesla dealers.
Tesla have a lot of used stock, they have the ability to turn on features to increase value and they take cars in as part exchange as many owners upgrade. They also extend the warranty, but not the drive train and battery which is already a generous 8 years and unlimited miles, although this is worth confirming as some very early cars had mileage limits. You do pay more for the car because of this. If the car is nearing the 50k mark or 4 years then this will be worth up to £3k and of course peace of mind, on a relatively new car then the premium is virtually nil. For cars over the 50k mark, they'll extend for up to 2 years and/or 100k total miles, but above 100k miles it's very difficult to get any warranty.
Tesla are however not without their problems. You will almost never be able to see the car before ordering, and even for inventory cars it can take up to 4 weeks from when you order the car to taking delivery. Tesla also offer rock bottom part ex valuations, even on Teslas, prices that are similar to We Buy Any Car type places. They also refuse to budge on price. They have, on the plus side for buyers, started to reduce their prices considerably. If you are thinking of buying, don't bother using the Tesla web site as they only show a small and limited range of cars they have. Search engines like ours list nearly 500 Teslas for sale against Tesla who only list 40-60 typically. If you like a Tesla on our search engine, we provide a link to the Tesla web site for the car, we also include Autotrader, Pistonheads and ebay so you can see comparable prices.
Cars below 2 years and 25k miles it's safe to buy from anywhere so long as you check the basics like any car purchase, although Tesla tend to be as competitive as most. Cheapest is otherwise the best. Above that point it's worth thinking about the warranty needs as we don't recommend owning a car out of warranty unless you know it's history and therefore it's reliability record.
In addition to the table below, its worth reading the site in general regardng range, charging, options, alloys etc.
One of the earliest cars you can buy in MS form. These cars have a single rear motor, the 85 battery pack that's good for a few hundred miles and the early examples came without autopilot. Prices aren't dropping and more recent 75 and 75D are getting close on price with very little downside. Its hard to justify buying a car without the AP hardware as they are only a little more expensive for a more later car.
This is the first performance version although the performance is still not on a par with the current 100D let alone the P cars due to it being rear wheel drive only. Almost iconic with some owners and prices to match, hard to justify at the current price point.
This is the faster version and quote a handful as its rear wheel drive only. Many of these cars came with a performance (ie firmer) suspension. Possibly a classic but we don't feel they're worth much of a premium over an 85 and a model 75D is quicker.
Tesla have done a wide range of other battery versions although they are relatively few and far between on the used market, the main difference between these and the 85 is slightly shorter range and typically slightly slower. Facelift cars are relative bargains. Facelift MS and all MX cars are also usually upgradeable to a 75 as they are software limited versions of the battery.
Any Tesla that has a D at the end of the model number is a dual motor car. This has the advantage of making it 4 wheel drive which gives better performance plus through the magic of science, also enables slightly better range for a like for like battery. There are some good value 85D and 90D cars now coming through.
These are the performance cars that have been sold since 2015. They differ from the non P cars in only one regard: they have a larger rear motor. This gives them a greater shove off the line, but the performance gap soon tails off and above 30 mph, the performance is near identical to the non P equivalent due to the cars being limited by the battery. They still command a fair premium over the non P cars and usually have many options fitted. They also have one small downside, the range is slightly lower than the non P cars. There area some good value cars appearing.
Tesla introduced Ludicrous at the end of 2015 on the P90D and as a retrofit to the P85D. Essentially this is a new fuse on the battery that allows more power to be delivered. This overcame the previous restriction and as a result these cars are quicker across the range.
Its still the top of the range car in S or X and with performance that can make you feel light headed. Prices are drifting down but are still well into 6 figures and with a facelift P90DL under 80K, we'd save the 30k and get one of those instead.
Tesla face lifted the Model S during 2016 and the change is notable from the front. There were a few other changes that came with it, painted sills, new headlights, a biograde hepa filter (if premium pack was also selected) and other largely cosmetic stuff. Whether its worth holding out for the face lift car is personal choice, it looks fresher and is more in keeping with the Model X and model 3.
We've covered Autopilot elsewhere on these pages but its worth briefly covering the history. The earliest cars came without AP hardware. It was then introduced around late 14/early 15 and originally part of the Techpack plus. It can be easily spotted by a small rectangular window in the lower grill at the front on pre facelift cars. The AP software was released in late 2015 and has had various tweaks since. AP2 hardware was launched in late 2016 and is easily distinguishable by the different side indicators. The software for AP2 is a completely new and has taken some time to catch up with the AP software. Its worth understanding that having the hardware does not mean the features are enabled. On AP hardware this costs circa £2500 and on AP2 it costs over £5000 for essentially the same capabilities if its not turned on.