The Tesla Model 3 is now one of the top 10 leased vehicles in the U.S., marking the first time an EV has appeared among the top leased vehicles, according to credit report provider Experian.
In the second quarter of 2023, the Model 3 was the seventh most-leased vehicle in the U.S. The top leased vehicle was the Ford F-150 pickup truck, which is also the bestselling vehicle in the U.S.
Top 10 leased vehicles in the U.S. for Q2 2023 (via Experian)
Despite what this might suggest, Tesla leases aren't cheap—or entirely competitive with ICE shoppers who might not be thinking about all the advantages in lower fueling/charging costs. The Tesla Model 3 is also the only model on that list in which leasing costs more per month than buying. Average monthly payments for a Model 3 lease were $741, compared to $679 for a loan taken out as part of a vehicle purchase. In comparison, average monthly payments for F-150 loans were $983, while lease payments averaged $601.
Today, Tesla advertises a $380 monthly lease payment with $4,500 down for 36 months—amounting to $505 a month over the duration of the lease. But, as with purchase prices for Tesla vehicles, that's fluctuated a bit recently. Earlier in the year Model 3 leases were $399 a month. Most automakers also allow customers to buy cars at the end of a lease, but Tesla stopped doing that in April 2022.
2022 Tesla Model 3
Tesla, among other automakers selling EVs and plug-in hybrids, is tapping into the Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit with its reduced lease rates—via its own captive lender. This allows Tesla to offer customers a $7,500 discount to replace the federal EV tax credit in the case that vehicles don't qualify for it. The company is also looking to up the securitization of its leases, MarketWatch reported last week.
There are other options for getting into a Model 3 beyond buying or leasing. In some parts of the country, it's possible to subscribe to a Model 3. Or, if you're an Uber driver, you might be able to lease by the week with everything included.