New Tesla Lease Program

teslaLuxury electric-car manufacturer Tesla announced the launch of its new U.S. Bank-backed lease program that practically dons a polyester suit and says, “What’s it gonna take for me to put you in a new Model S, today.” 

Not only does the lease price work out to a more than $150-a-month net savings compared with purchasing a Model S outright, but it allows lessees to return the car without penalty if they’re not satisfied.

“Leasing now comes with the Tesla happiness guarantee,” Elon Musk said in a Tesla Motors blog post. “If you don’t like our car for any reason in the first three months, you can just return it and your remaining lease obligation is waived.”

Better think first before returning that Model S if there’s a chance you might change your mind later. Sending it back will preclude you from being able to lease another Model S in the near future. On the other hand, if you wish to upgrade your options before the end of your lease, you can do so if you’re willing to pay the difference between the new and used values.

Leasing a rear-wheel-drive Model S with a 12,000-miles-a-year limit for 72 months starts at $777 a month. That gets you a 60-kilowatt-hour battery with a 208-mile range and a 380-horsepower drive motor good for a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds and a 120 mph top speed. That’s in addition to an eight-year, 125,000-mile battery and drive unit warranty. A 15,000-mile-a-year limit costs $796 a month, while upgrading to all-wheel drive costs $840 a month for a 12,000-mile limit and $860 a month for a 15,000-mile limit.

At that $777 level, taking into account a Tesla-estimated fuel-cost savings of $209, the automaker estimates a net monthly cost of $568. That’s compared with the $720 a month Tesla estimates for a loan payment on a Model S priced at $71,070 before state and federal incentives. A 10 percent down payment (about $6,500) is due at signing, again before incentives.

Two other powertrain options also are available, the 85-kwh battery with a 265-mile range, 5.4-second zero-to-60 time and 125 mph top speed, and the Performance version with a 265-mile range, 470-horse and a 4.2-second zero-to-60 time. The monthly lease price for the all-wheel-drive Performance version with a 15,000-mile limit tops out at $1,489 before estimated fuel savings.

Tesla’s new lease program also boasts simple, all-online ordering, with service-center pickup or delivery options available depending on need. Deliveries start in December, while non-performance variants with all-wheel drive will be available in February.

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