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Everything you need to know about owning a Tesla

Are you tempted by a Tesla? If you’re thinking of going green and investing in an electric car, check out our guide to owning a Tesla

Written by Verity Hogan
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Both Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, has been virtually impossible to ignore in the last few years.

The electric car manufacturer has become known for pushing technological boundaries without sacrificing luxury, so it’s unsurprising that more and more people are looking to invest in a Tesla. 

If you’ve never owned a Tesla before, there are a few things you need to consider before taking the plunge.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about owning, running, and driving a Tesla.

Who is Tesla and what is a Tesla car?

Founded in 2003, Tesla is a clean energy manufacturer that set out to create eco-friendly electric vehicles without compromising performance. Its CEO is Elon Musk, one of the world’s most hotly debated billionaires.

Tesla now has a range of all-electric cars and has a built a solid reputation, as well as many loyal fans.

In fact, the Tesla Model 3 launched in the UK in mid-2019 and by the end of the year it was the biggest selling electric vehicle. Even more impressively, the same model became the best selling car overall by December 2020, beating its petrol and diesel rivals.

How does a Tesla car work?

Tesla cars are powered by a battery that needs to be charged. These charging outlets have been popping up in more places recently, including town centres and service stations.

Are all Tesla cars electric?

Yes, all Tesla cars are electric. The Tesla organisation made a pledge to curb emissions when it was founded.

What Tesla models are available?

In the UK, there are currently three Tesla models available:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model Y, a compact SUV, is due to launch in 2022.

How much does a Tesla car cost to buy?

Teslas come equipped with a whole host of technology that puts them at the expensive end of the market.

You can expect to pay around about £42,500* for the most basic new Tesla Model 3 while the Tesla Model X starts at £82,000*. The Tesla Model S will set you back just a little less than the Model X, starting at around £74,000*.

So new Teslas don’t come cheap. But are they cheap to run? In short: yes. And, as the popularity of Tesla cars increases, the used car market will also expand.

What are the costs of running a Tesla?

So, while the up-front cost of a new Tesla is a little eye-watering, the running costs of a Tesla will be a lot more palatable.

Teslas are charged from electric grids, which means you won’t be stung by volatile petrol prices.

Let’s take the Tesla Model S, the manufacturer’s mid-range offering in the UK.

If you charged the Tesla Model S at home, it’ll cost around £16* (based on a 17p/kWh) to fully charge the 100kWh battery and will get you approximately 380 miles.

Compare this to petrol cars, which cost an average of £70 to fill, and you can see how efficient Teslas are.

But it gets better; there are many charge points across the UK that you let your charge for free!

For many, this represents incredible savings on the running costs of their cars. Even if you were to fill your car’s tank once a month, you could save around £850 in petrol over the course of the year based on average prices.

Also, thanks to the fact it has low emissions, you won’t have any road tax to pay either.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

The time it takes to charge a Tesla depends on where you’re charging it and the charging method you’re using.

If you’re charging at home, it can take anywhere between 8 and 36 hours to fully charge a Tesla, depending on the power of the charge point. A 3-pin plug is the slowest, while a 7kW charging point is typically the fastest option.

This might sound painful but fear not – there are rapid charging points available across the UK that will charge your Tesla a lot faster.

Rapid charging points will charge your battery to 80% and take between 20 mins and 1 hour depending on the power of the charging point.

Why 80%? That’s because, given the power of these chargers, they don’t go beyond this to protect the battery.

Where can I charge a Tesla?

There are many places you can charge a Tesla. The most convenient place is at home, where many owners will simply charge their car overnight.

Many public workplaces, car parks and town centres also offer charging points for electric cars, including Teslas.

The fastest charging method is via one of Tesla’s many Supercharger stations. They have over 2,500 worldwide and offer the quickest way to electrify your car in under 30 minutes.

How long does a Tesla battery last?

Like any battery, Tesla’s loses a little bit of performance after each year of use.

The Tesla battery deterioration is minimal though and studies estimate this loss to be just 1% each year based on average use.

Tesla offer a warranty on their batteries, covering either eight years of use or 150,000 miles depending on which comes first. And Elon Musk himself claimed in 2019 that Tesla batteries are built to provide between 180,000 to 300,000* miles of driving.

Are Teslas automatic?

Yes, as with most electric cars, all Tesla models are automatic, which is always worth remembering before you buy one as not everyone enjoys the simplicity of automatic driving.

How much is insurance on a Tesla?

Teslas are expensive cars with advanced technology, so they tend to be more costly to insure.

Insurance costs do vary depending on your driving history and location but take the Tesla Model 3 as an example. Of the 50 insurance group categories (1 being the cheapest, 50 the most expensive) Tesla sits comfortably at the higher end between group 48 to 50.

So, if you opt to buy a Tesla, make sure you consider the insurance cost too.

What features come with a Tesla?

Tesla prides itself on its technology and, when it comes to cars, it certainly delivers. But keep in mind, some of these features don’t come as standard and you’ll have to cough-up extra to upgrade your spec.

Here are some of the fun features they (can) come with:


Tesla’s autopilot system allows for adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-switching assistance, and autopilot steering to avoid collisions with pedestrians. All these features make driving not just easier and more fun, but a lot safer too.

Self-driving package

You may have heard that driver-less cars are the future, but Tesla’s self-driving package doesn’t do all the hard work for you. Instead, what you will get is a car that can be summoned to where you’re stood (very handy for rainy days), move into parking spaces without you wrestling with the wheel, and automatically change lane on the motorway.

Of course, a lot of this technology is still reliant on your whereabouts. In theory, it all sounds very exciting, but tight town high streets and busy motorways can be less forgiving.

Interactive touch screen

Tesla cars keep things visually simple inside and out, which is why the dashboard in front of you displays just a large touchscreen and a few buttons for necessities such as the electric windows and hazard lights.

The touchscreen is dedicated to enhancing your driving experience, whether that be through using the map, streaming music, climate control, or tweaking steering control.

The touchscreen also features some fun hidden treats that aren’t particularly useful but are good for entertainment, such as the ability to turn the map into Mars and your car into a sleigh.

Is a Tesla worth it?

Value is purely subjective and whether a Tesla is worth it comes down to whether you have the money to spend on one, appreciate advanced technology in cars, and want an eco-friendly alternative to petrol.

Tesla pros

  • Very cheap to run
  • Fantastic technology and safety features
  • Better for the environment
  • Excellent driving performance

Tesla cons

  • More expensive to buy than many alternatives
  • Takes longer to charge a Tesla than fill a petrol car
  • Expensive to upgrade your spec
  • Technology likely to upgrade quickly, so you might want to hold-fire for a newer model

*All figures correct as of June 2021.

Verity Hogan

* The UK's largest online car finance broker by unique users to the website. Based on Similar Web data – 1,137,647 to CarFinance 247 vs. 753,819 for nearest competitor. January to June 2023.

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