The aftermarket value for Teslas is on an all-time high, and people are jumping the queue to buy used Teslas. Many are wondering if it is worth doing so and by how much used Teslas are worth, compared to new Teslas. Does mileage matter as much with a Tesla?
Miles do not matter as much with a Tesla when compared to an ICE car. Teslas have a very good resale value and retain almost 90% of their value after about 3 years of ownership. With way fewer parts, service and maintenance costs are substantially lower when compared to ICE vehicles.
But miles still matter do some degree. Check out the rest of the article where I make comparisons with ICE and other EVs.
Why Miles Don’t Matter as Much on a Tesla as They Do on a Regular ICE Vehicle
I want to start off by saying that miles still do tell a lot about a vehicle’s condition, whether electric or not. However, the accuracy with which you can gauge a car’s state by judging its mileage is a lot higher when talking about a fuel-powered model. Here’s why.
Teslas (and other EVs) are, mechanically speaking, simpler than their ICE counterparts. In fact, according to Financial Express, they comprise roughly 60% fewer components than traditional vehicles. As a result, there’s just less to go wrong with, in general.
Therefore, I’d argue that battery condition is a much better criterion than brute mileage to use for a Tesla evaluation. Luckily, according to Inverse, Teslas can retain up to 90% of their battery capacity after 200,000 miles (321,869 km) of use.
In the following table, I’ll take you through some rough estimations of your Tesla’s battery capacity as its mileage grows. Keep in mind that these are just that, estimations, so take them with a grain of salt.
|Tesla Battery Capacity Retention|
|6500 miles (10,460 km)||98%|
|37,300 miles (60,000 km)||95%|
|74,500 miles (120,000 km)||94%|
|105,600 miles (170,000 km)||93%|
|131,000 miles (210,800 km)||92%|
|170,000 miles (273,500 km)||91%|
|200,000 miles (321,800 km)||90%|
This goes to show that the same mileage that would indicate a significant performance decrease in an ICE vehicle doesn’t hold as much weight when it comes to a Tesla.
In my opinion, the weakest link in an ICE vehicle’s powertrain is its engine. Their motors keep vibrating more with each covered mile, wearing themselves and other adjacent components out.
With EVs, you won’t ever have to worry about this type of problem, which is why their mileage really doesn’t say a lot in the grand scheme of things.
In conclusion, Teslas don’t wear out as quickly as ICE cars due to two reasons:
- They comprise fewer components in general, reducing the overall probability of a malfunction.
- They don’t feature a combustion engine, which is a weak link in a car’s powertrain, wearing itself and adjacent components out as mileage grows.
Tesla vs. Other EVs
I’ve already established the reasons why Teslas are generally more durable than most of their ICE counterparts. However, is this the case with other EV vehicles as well?
The (disappointing) answer is: that it depends. Given that the mainstream success of EV vehicles is still fairly new, there’s just not enough data and research to conclude which model or brand lasts the longest.
My take on the question is that, as with everything, you get what you pay for. While with Tesla or other higher-end brands, you’ll be able to retain impressive battery capacity even at higher mileages, cheaper options might not be as durable.
Why Miles Can Still Matter on a Tesla
Before expanding on the topic even further, I want to first clarify that the context in which the word “doesn’t matter” is used in this article can affect the validity of my claim. If you’re simply examining your car’s mileage out of curiosity and have no intention of selling it, then what I just said remains true.
However, if you’re planning to sell and are trying to determine your Tesla’s resale value, the topic becomes a bit more complicated.
Therefore, in the context of a resale situation, Tesla mileage matters, always has, and probably always will.
Moreover, even though a high mileage doesn’t matter as much on a Tesla as it does with an ICE vehicle, it can still indicate a few issues within the car’s components.
Although Teslas don’t have a combustion engine, they still feature parts that are bound to wear out with excessive use like:
- Steering components
- Shock absorbers
- Steel body parts
And at the end of the day, a top-notch-performing battery won’t really make up for the fact that your brakes don’t work as well anymore.
While it’s true that as long as you perform frequent maintenance checks, these types of problems shouldn’t be much of an issue, they should still be something to consider while evaluating your Tesla’s condition.
Check out this article where I discuss the Tesla braking system in detail, how to effectively us it, how regen braking increases longevity, and how to get the most out of your brakes.
Here’s a more in-depth YouTube video explaining how to best maintain Tesla brakes:
How Tesla Mileage Is Connected To Its Value
Teslas are renowned for their ability to retain their worth even after years of use. The Vehicle Suggest website estimates that the Model 3 might be able to keep as much as 90% of its original value after three years of ownership. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Teslas hold their value much better than other types of vehicles.
However, after reaching the ~70,000 miles (112,600 km) mark, Teslas will inevitably start to depreciate. As the mileage approaches 100,000 to 200,000 miles (161,000 to 321,800 km), it really starts to take a toll on the vehicle’s worth.
If you’re still on the original battery, you can usually expect to drive your Tesla anywhere between 300,000 to 500,000 miles (482,800 to 804,670 km). However, by this point, the resell value should be pretty much depleted.
Keep in mind that these numbers are just an estimate. We don’t see many Teslas with that sort of mileage (yet), so it’s hard to know.
Your Tesla’s longevity and resell value will depend on a wide range of variables, including your maintenance schedule, the types of roads you most often drive on, and sometimes just pure luck.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Considered High Mileage for a Tesla?
200,000 to 500,000 (321,800 to 804,670 km) miles is generally considered high mileage for a Tesla. The average annual mileage is ~14,200 miles (22,850 km), translating to 14 – 35 years of use.
How Many Miles Will a Tesla Last?
Teslas usually last 300,000 – 500,000 miles (482,800 – 804,670 km) on an unchanged battery. However, if maintained well, they can last longer. A Tesla Model S reached 932,256 miles (1,500,300 km) in 2022.
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