After huge cuts, Tesla raises Model Y price… but not by much

Tesla has increased prices on new Model Ys, in a slight reversal after drastic cuts just two weeks ago.

The changes went live on Tesla’s website tonight, and only seem to affect the Model Y, Tesla’s most popular vehicle. However, in contrast to the massive price cuts of up to $13K, the Model Y has been bumped in price by just $500.

This brings it to a base price of $53,490, as opposed to $52,990 prior to this bump. The Model 3, X, and S all maintain the same post-cut prices as before.

The recent price cuts came after weeks of signals from Tesla that demand might not have been keeping up supply, with Tesla offering discounts and incentives in various regions as inventory started to pile up. Tesla had hiked prices significantly over the course of 2021-2022 as EV demand far outstripped supply, and had little trouble selling out of vehicles until the end of the year.

We here at Electrek noted that the result of these massive cuts could lead to an EV price war, which Tesla seems poised to do well in. Though this will cut into Tesla’s high margins, its margins are higher than other companies in the space, which gives it leeway to cut prices when supply gets to the point that it can keep up with demand.

And in the weeks since that price drop, Tesla has seen “unprecedented demand” on these vehicles. Not only was the Model Y price dropped by $13K, but this also put it into range to qualify for the US EV tax credit, meaning a $20K price drop for many customers, as long as they take delivery before March when tax credits are expected to change once again.

Notably, today’s price bump does again make a difference for EV tax credit eligibility. At the previous base MSRP of $52,990, up to $2,000 in options could be added before the 5-seat Model Y reached the government’s $55,000 MSRP limit to be eligible for tax credits. This meant that buyers could choose any paint color (which cost up to $2,000) or could choose the $2,000 20-inch wheels and just skate in under the limit.

Now, adding the most-expensive red multi-coat paint color or the 20-inch wheel option take the MSRP above $55,000, which means Model Ys with those options will not qualify. At this point, the only options a 5-seat Model Y can choose to still qualify for tax credits are silver, blue, or black paint or a tow hitch (though the hitch can be added after purchase, which we’d recommend if you’re getting any other options).

Tesla also made another change tonight – it now quotes the actual MSRP of the vehicle upfront, instead of including “potential savings” from gas and incentives:

Tesla has gone back and forth on this over the years. The previous method has been criticized for being potentially misleading, quoting a price far lower than a customer would pay. But Tesla, somewhat correctly, argues that it’s a more realistic comparison in terms of lifecycle vehicle costs. Tesla does offer a calculator so you can figure out your own gas savings based on annual vehicle miles, electricity rate, and gasoline costs, but would previously include average estimates of those upfront, while now they’re behind a “learn more” link:

Electrek’s Take

We’ve received a lot of angry emails recently from Model Y buyers about the price cut, feeling aggrieved that they purchased a vehicle that they could have gotten for cheaper had they just waited a little longer.

But, such is the case with purchases – sometimes the price changes, and sometimes you don’t get the best price. C’est la vie.

That said, this price change was sudden and massive, so the complaints are more reasonable this time around. Usually pricing doesn’t change so much so quickly, and usually those price changes aren’t done by a company that has repeatedly stated that “the price is the price” and that it wants to buck the dealership model and stick with transparent, predictable pricing.

Price bumps like these are a little more reasonable, as a 1% difference in price of a vehicle isn’t going to break most people’s bank. But it still violates Tesla’s “we don’t want to jerk prices around like a dealership” model, given that this happened just under two weeks after a huge price cut. There was one point long ago where it was easy to keep up with Tesla pricing, but that hasn’t been the case for a while now.

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