The “Tesla Stretch” — Proving Car Buyers Will Pay More For A Tesla Model 3

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Originally published on EVANNEX.

The Tesla Model 3 is turning out to be an electric car that’s seducing car buyers across multiple market segments. According to a CleanTechnica report, “45% of current electric car drivers plan to buy a Tesla next.” Okay, that’s understandable. Non-Tesla EV drivers might be interested in a Tesla. That said, it’s extraordinary how many gas-powered car owners, from vastly different auto segments, are transitioning to Teslas.

Tesla Model 3 (Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica)

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Bloomberg reports, “When Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk first revealed the Model 3 at a late-night party in March 2016, the vehicle was expected to compete in the premium sedan market against the likes of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes. Instead, owners of mass market cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Prius are opening their wallets for the sedan, signaling that the vehicle is pushing Tesla beyond its luxury niche and more into the mainstream.” Buyers are also coming from the BMW 3 Series, and surely other luxury cars, but luxury car sales are not down much and Tesla appears to be pulling much more from lower classes.

“For Earl Banning, getting behind the wheel of a Tesla meant spending more than he ever had on a car. The 43-year-old Air Force neuropsychologist from Dayton, Ohio, ponied up $54,000 for a Model 3, figuring he would save on gas and keep the car for a long time. It was almost double what he had previously paid for a fully loaded Honda Accord,” reports Bloomberg.

The most common cars traded in for a Model 3 according to Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. See this chart by Bloomberg on Tesla Killers.

Banning says, “I call it the Tesla Stretch — everyone I’ve met who owns a Model 3 is willing to spend more to get into a Model 3.” For example, a former Nissan Altima owner, 36-year-old Eric Snapat, spent nearly $60,000 on his new Tesla. And 26-year-old Robert Preston actually charges $155 a day to rent out his Tesla on Turo to help pay for his new Model 3. “Every weekend I have someone renting it,” Preston said.

“Tesla recently said that more than half the trade-ins for the Model 3 were from vehicles priced below $35,000. And there are signs that the sedan’s popularity is adding [some] pressure on rival carmakers. … In October, sales of cars such as the Accord and Prius continued to slip as deliveries of the Model 3 ramped up,” according to Bloomberg.

⇒ Related: Honda Accord Sales & Civic Sales Drop 80,000 In 2018

A Tesla Model 3 charging in Florida. (Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica)

“Tesla has captured lightning in a bottle,” said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at researcher Edmunds. “It’s hard to even benchmark the Model 3 against other cars because it’s broken the mold in so many ways.”

Tesla Model 3 = Lightning, Model Y = Thunder

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Matt Pressman

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.

Matt Pressman has 332 posts and counting. See all posts by Matt Pressman