Teslas were not the first mass-produced electric vehicles. For example, the Nissan Leaf was on the road years before anyone knew what a Model S was. However, Tesla is unquestionably responsible for bringing EVs into the public eye and popularizing electric vehicles. Furthermore, association with an eccentric billionaire like Elon Musk ensures that the brand will remain in the spotlight.
Unlike many other EVs, Tesla has a large fan base. It’s not uncommon to see dozens (if not hundreds) of Tesla-related social media accounts, subreddits, and YouTube channels. The brand’s popularity has skyrocketed. That is not to say that other EV brands are in Tesla’s shadow. Ford, one of the world’s largest automakers, recently released the F-150 Lightning, which offers a glimpse into the future of practical EVs.
Tesla distinguishes itself from other EV brands in another crucial way: its vehicles do not depreciate as quickly as other electric vehicles.
The electric hype train
If you’ve ever tried to sell a laptop or smartphone, you’ve undoubtedly seen their value plummet dramatically. It’s the same with most cutting-edge technologies. EVs are no exception. Tesla, on the other hand, has largely avoided the curse. According to HotCars, the car’s desirability is driven by its army of devoted fans, which keeps prices from falling.
Take, for example, the Chevy Bolt. It’s a fantastic car and a perfectly reasonable option for someone looking for an affordable EV. Regardless, the resale value decreases the moment you leave the dealership. A Bolt’s value drops by 16% after two years of ownership (via CarEdge). That’s not very encouraging.
The Leaf is even worse. The value of the Leaf is well known to depreciate by the second. The value can fall by 19% in three years. A Nissan Leaf is great if you want to keep it forever and drive it until it breaks down or the universe dies of heat — but you won’t want to resell it. Tesla’s brand, on the other hand, avoids a similar fate. Over the course of three years, a Tesla Model 3 loses 13% of its value, while the Model S loses 16%. Though those percentages appear similar, you’ll notice that the number of years between value loss is greater for a Tesla than its competitors.