buying a tesla in canada
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Guide to Buying a Tesla in Canada: 7 Things to Consider

So, you’ve decided to hop onto the Tesla adventure? We hear you. There’s something exciting about Elon Musk’s electric cars. Owning an EV is an entirely different experience than a gasoline car but owning a Tesla will bring you into an entirely different world.

Here’s everything you need to know before buying a brand-new Tesla. 

If you happen to be shopping for a Tesla now, view all our used Tesla cars and SUVs here.

Know the Tesla models

Tesla currently sells four models. It’s important to understand what they are and what category they’re in before you make your move, as each model aims at fulfilling very specific needs. 

Expect two Tesla price brackets

Tesla’s lineup is essentially split up into two price brackets. At the bottom of the price hierarchy lie the company’s more affordable Model 3 compact sedan and the Model Y compact SUV. 

At the top of its lineup, you’ll find more expensive luxury models like the Model S midsize sedan (here’s our review of the $170,000 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid), and the Model X midsize SUV. 

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid | Photo: Tesla 

The table below sums it up well for you to better understand.

Tesla Model

Category

Starting Price

Max Price (Before Options)

Model 3

Compact sedan

$59,990

$76,990

Model Y

Compact SUV

$76,990

$85,290

Model S

Midsize sedan

$121,990

$169,990

Model X

Midsize SUV

$132,990

$168,490

Now that you know what to expect in terms of size and pricing for each Tesla model, assess your needs and budget. This will allow you to choose the Tesla that best suits you. 

Understand the Tesla incentives

As a Canadian citizen, you are entitled to incentives when buying a brand-new electric vehicle like a Tesla. And depending on where you live in Canada, these incentives will change. 

Government EV rebates

Wherever you live, the federal government will give you a $5,000 rebate on the purchase of an EV, but only if the vehicle’s MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) is under $45,000. This means that options can be added onto the price and won’t affect the rebate, but as long as it doesn’t go over $55,000. The vehicle itself must have less than six passengers.

If we base ourselves on the table above, no Tesla model is eligible for the federal EV rebate. However, each province offers their own set of additional incentives, which could help you save on your new Tesla. These rebates are applied on the vehicle’s final price, including taxes. Here’s what each province offers.

Province

EV Rebate

Price Cap

British Columbia

$3,000

$55,000

Alberta

None

-

Sask.

None

-

Manitoba

None

-

Yukon

$5,000

$55,000

Northwest Territories

$5,000

$55,000

Ontario

None

-

Québec

$8,000

$60,000

New Brunswick

$5,000

$55,000

Nova Scotia

$3,000

$60,000

Prince Edward Island

$5,000

$55,000

Newf & Labrador

$2,500

$55,000

Install a Tesla home charger

Yes, it’s true, Tesla has one heck of an established charger network called the Supercharger. But the most effective way to always leave your home with a full charge is with a home charger. EV buyers typically buy these when they buy their car, and it’s no different for a Tesla. 

There are several chargers to choose from, with different charging speeds. Some provinces even offer incentives on their purchase and installation. Here’s more on Tesla’s home charging options, including installation and costs.

Our advice is to contact a home charger installation specialist for more details. They’ll cook you up a price according to your needs and your house’s electrical setup. But make sure to shop around, because prices will vary from one place to the next.

Below, a table from our story on Charging a Tesla: How Much Will It Cost & How Long Will It Take?

Tesla Model

Charging Speed

Model 3 Rear-wheel Drive

170 kW

Model 3 Long Range AWD / Performance

250 kW

Model Y Long Range AWD / Performance

250 kW

Model S / Plaid

250 kW

Model X / Plaid

250 kW

Tesla has no dealers (sort of)

Tesla’s sales model is very different from other carmakers. There are no dealerships per se, but rather Tesla stores that give you information on the vehicle, let you test drive it and assist you in your purchase. 

Photo: Tesla 

All purchases are done online via the Tesla website. You can pay cash, choose a lease, or organize a car loan with Tesla or your own bank. There’s no haggling or hidden dealer fees. And all Tesla vehicles are sold at the same price across the country. You can then choose to have the car delivered to your home, to your job, or directly at a Tesla store. 

Ask about Tesla’s incentives before buying

Some stores may offer to do all the provincial incentive stuff for you but reports from Tesla owners tell us not all stores do it. It’s also important to specify that the federal rebate can only be claimed by a dealership, or in Tesla’s case, a store. Ask questions to your local Tesla rep about their incentive application policy before buying. 

Servicing will be different

While some Tesla stores have a service department, most of Tesla’s servicing is done online via the Tesla app. We feel it’s important we give you a heads up about this since it’s a very different way to operate than most carmakers. With a Tesla, you don’t bring your car to your local dealer where they service it for you.

Photo: Tesla 

Tesla servicing assessed ahead of time

Tesla requires you to first fill in a servicing claim. The carmaker then contacts you and determines how your issue can be fixed. The good news is that Tesla offers a “Ranger” service. This means someone comes to your home and fixes minor issues. Larger mechanical repairs will require a trip to a Tesla service shop or a more in-depth intervention from Tesla itself. So no, Canadian Tire can’t help you out when you own a Tesla.

Inspect your car upon delivery

When your car is delivered, ask the Tesla representative that you want to observe the vehicle before accepting delivery. Several new Tesla owners have experienced poor build quality, uneven panel gaps and downright bad paint. 

Take a close look at all the gaps, especially around the doors, trunk, and frunk. Test their operation. Make sure everything closes properly and that those gaps are tight and even. Then make sure your car has all the options you asked for. If you notice something fishy, tell your Tesla representative that you refuse delivery of your vehicle.

Get your Tesla winter ready

Photo: Tesla 

Some Tesla vehicles – especially the Model 3 and Model Y – have been plagued with bad paint quality which makes them vulnerable to Canadian winters. Some Tesla owners discovered nasty surprises after the first winter of driving their cars, with quickly shedding paint and damaged rocker panels. Not cool. 

If you plan on purchasing a Model 3 or Y in Canada, we recommend first getting your vehicle wrapped with a protective film. This should ensure optimal protection against road debris and road salt. A thorough rust-proof treatment is also highly recommended, and we’d go as far as suggesting a good set of mud guards to protect your Tesla's wheel wells. 

One last thing: the Tesla Model 3 has a rear bumper design flaw in which it collects a ton of dirt and road salt over time in the car’s rear underbelly. Make sure to have that rear bumper properly cleaned in the Spring to avoid unwanted damage to the car’s rear suspension components. Tesla’s winter driving tips include tire advice and cold weather charging pointers. 

Are you buying a used Tesla? Shop our current inventory of certified, used Tesla vehicles here.

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