Teslas have become increasingly popular vehicles in the United Kingdom over the past few years – in 2021, record Tesla sales in the UK boosted the brand to over 10% of the auto market for the first time ever.
However, they’ve also earned a reputation for being some of the most expensive consumer vehicles around today.
Tesla cars are so expensive in the UK primarily because of the shipping and import costs, their relative limited availability compared to other vehicles, and the elite technology used to build them.
But that hasn’t stopped drivers across the UK from lining up to buy them. Tesla’s popularity continues to grow, and all signs point to the car continuing to stay on the pricier side of vehicle options for years to come.
Table of Contents
- Why are Teslas so popular?
- How much do Tesla cars cost in the UK?
- How much is the average Tesla in the US.?
- Where are Tesla cars made?
- Are UK Tesla models the same as in the United States?
- When did Teslas first become available in the UK?
- How are Teslas sold in the UK?
- Where are Tesla charging stations in the UK?
- Are Teslas expensive in other countries?
- Will Tesla costs in the UK go down?
- Are there any tax incentives for UK Teslas?
In order to understand why Tesla cars are so expensive, it’s important to recognize how and why they’ve become so popular over the past several years.
The central focus of Tesla’s marketing is that the vehicles are electric, therefore saving the driver from years of gasoline expenses and also helping to reduce their personal carbon footprint.
Tesla is widely considered one of the most successful independent car manufacturers to date.
In a 2021 article examining the automaker’s rising popularity with consumers, Forbes also noted the unique, recognizable design of Teslas as well as the brand’s more personalized customer service model.
Teslas have also been featured in numerous hit TV shows, including Silicon Valley, The Simpsons, Shameless, and Rick and Morty.
Tesla prices vary around the world, and costs also fluctuate depending on the specific model chosen.
In the UK, however, the current starting price for the Tesla base model is listed at £44,490 (around $60,202 in USD, for comparison).
Additional features on any model also play a great role in the price. A next-tier set of tires or even a non-base exterior paint tint can set the customer back another £2,000 (or more).
Likewise, if a customer chooses to have their own custom Tesla built (which is an option everywhere Teslas are sold) the price can be upwards of £100,000 more expensive than the base design.
Is the UK Tesla really that expensive compared to the United States? While prices vary overseas as well, UK Teslas still tend to clock in at higher rates.
In the US, the Tesla lineup generally ranges between $43,990 and $129,990.
Teslas tend to be more affordable in the US than in other countries because the shipping distance is not as great, and there are no tariffs or international customs fees to deal with.
One of the main reasons Teslas are so expensive in the UK is because they have to be imported.
Tesla currently has 16 production facilities in operation, almost all of which are in the United States (primarily in California).
The closest production facility to the United Kingdom is in Germany, which is 1,036 km or 644 mi away.
That said, the only Tesla factory that even makes right-hand driving Teslas is the Giga Shanghai location in China (nearly 8,000 km or 4970 mi away.
Furthermore, each global facility only produces a specific range of products, which at many is just general Tesla manufacturing equipment that is shipped elsewhere for use.
In Germany, for example, only the factory in Berlin actually produces a full Tesla car, the Tesla model Y.
In the future, the import distance a Tesla has to travel to the UK may depend on the type of car ordered.
If a UK dealership or individual customer orders a model Y, it may have the shortest shipping journey because it could come from Germany.
Any other Tesla models will have to travel a greater distance and may therefore come with a bigger price tag.
The same four Tesla models are available in both the United Kingdom and the United States: the Model S, Model 3, and most recently, the Model X.
However, UK Teslas are modified to have the driver’s seat on the right-hand side of the vehicle rather than the left.
Because this modification requires a different manufacturing setup, additional costs for even the base UK models apply.
Tesla’s first vehicle, the Roadster, was first released in 2008 in North America and in very limited quantities in the UK.
It wasn’t until 2014 that the Tesla Model S touched down in the UK as the first battery-powered electric luxury vehicle to ever be offered in the country.
Tesla has 26 stores around the UK where customers can come in and view (and purchase) models in person.
However, Tesla also sells its vehicles online for direct shipping to the buyer. Online options tend to be more expensive because of the shipping, as well as the fact that add-on options are easier to select through this buying method.
While one of the main draws of Teslas is their non-dependency on gasoline, a hidden cost factor is the need to install a charging station at home or be able to access one publicly.
Known as “Supercharges,” public Tesla charging stations are typically located at shopping centers and certain petrol stations in the UK.
As of the start of 2022, there are 780 Superchargers set up across 87 locations throughout the UK, with higher concentrations in urban areas.
The full list of Superchargers and their exact addresses can be found on Tesla’s website.
Even though an increasing amount of charging stations are becoming available across the UK, there are still costs involved that prospective buyers should consider.
Though still cheaper than a traditional fuel fill-up, the average cost for a full recharge at a public Tesla charging station is £28.00.
Depending on how often the car is driven, a Tesla will need to be recharged every two to four days.
As of 2022, Tesla has stories and galleries in 40 different nations around the world, though consumers in additional countries may also be able to file custom orders.
Though exact costs depend on shipping expenses and various international fees (like tariffs), Teslas are considered expensive vehicles at the baseline across the board.
While UK Tesla customers pay more than North American customers across the board (encompassing the US, Canada, and Mexico), they still pay less than many other nations.
For example, Singapore drivers have to pay the most to own a Tesla, at an average cost of US$276,146.35 for a Model S in 2021.
As with all products, it’s likely that Tesla costs will go down if inventory increases and demand slows down.
As of 2022, however, there is little sign of that happening anytime soon. The automaker increased its prices across the board in early March 2022, upping the cheapest model by $3,000 (£2,297.65) in just a matter of weeks.
CEO Elon Musk cited this price increase as a result of increasing manufacturing costs stemming from supply chain disruptions brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Tesla also raised its prices multiple times during 2021, 2020, and late 2019.
Tesla recently received approval for a new assembly plant in Germany, intended to help ease manufacturing costs for models ordered in Europe.
One thing that can help make the price tag of a Tesla more manageable for consumers is the prospect of electric vehicle tax incentives.
While specific tax breaks can vary by region or city, there is no national program that helps subsidize a Tesla.
There is the UK Electric Car grant that could formerly be used for Teslas, but stricter parameters over the years now limit it to vehicles starting at £35,000 or lower.
There’s also the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), a national grant that can cover up to 75 percent (or up to £350) of an electric vehicle charging station for qualifying property owners.