Tesla Model 3 resale value is over five times better than industry average: study

(Photo: Andres GE)

Teslas have garnered a reputation for many things, and having a great resale value is one of them. This was recently highlighted in a study conducted by car search engine, which analyzed over 6.9 million car sales to identify which vehicles experienced the most and least depreciation in the past three years. As it turns out, the Tesla Model 3 is able to retain its value over five times better than other EVs in the market. 

As noted by iSeeCars in its recent study, a vehicle generally depreciates 39.1% after the average lease term of three years. According to iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly, three years is a popular age for used car buyers because vehicles would have taken a major depreciation hit by the three year mark, and the cars generally are equipped with a good amount of recent features. 

“Three years is a popular age for used car buyers because the cars have taken a major depreciation hit, but likely have many of the latest modern safety and technology features. Some of these bargains provide good opportunities for car shoppers as reliable vehicles that are discounted because they simply aren’t as popular in their vehicle segments,” Ly noted.

(Photo: Andres GE)

Electric vehicles usually depreciate faster than their internal combustion counterparts, with the study stating that the average depreciation of EVs over a three year lease period is about 52.9%. That’s almost 1.4 times greater than the average for all cars in the market. This, according to Ly, is partly because most EVs in the market today were bought with the $7,500 tax credit, and electric car technology moves at a rapid pace.

“Categorically, electric vehicles depreciate more than the average vehicle because resale values take into account the $7,500 federal tax credit and other state and local credits that were applied to these vehicles when they were bought new. Because the technology of EVs changes at a rapid pace, obsolescence also plays a role in their dramatic depreciation as well as consumer range anxiety and lack of public charging infrastructure,” the CEO explained. 

This is particularly true for two of the most popular EVs from legacy automakers, the BMW i3 and the Nissan LEAF. According to the recent study, the BMW i3 depreciates 60.4% over a three year period, while the Nissan LEAF depreciates 60.2%. This trend, however, is completely broken by Tesla, whose Model S, Model X, and Model 3 depreciates far lower than the EV industry average. The Model S, for example, depreciates 36.3% over a three-year period, while the Model X depreciates 33.9%. 


What is rather remarkable is that the Tesla Model 3, the electric car maker’s most affordable vehicle in its lineup today, retains its value even more than its more expensive siblings. According to’s data, the Model 3 only loses 10.2% of its value over a three year period. This means that the Model 3’s depreciation is over five times less than the EV industry’s average, and over three times less than the overall auto market’s average. Part of this, according to the study, is due to the Model 3’s bang for your buck nature. 

“The Tesla Model 3 is still very much in high demand since it started production in 2017. Even though it doesn’t present a bargain compared to its new car price, it offers consumers a more affordable option for owning a Tesla,” the study noted. 

There are other factors that are at play that help Teslas retain their value. Unlike other EVs on the market, Teslas receive frequent over the air software updates that give vehicles new features, and at times even better performance, over time. This allows even older Teslas to be comparable to their newly produced counterparts. Unfortunately for legacy automakers, over the air software updates are one thing that is proving to be quite difficult to crack. 

Tesla Model 3 resale value is over five times better than industry average: study
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