Even Tesla Motors hasn't totally figured out the details of the just-announced Model S "lease" program. Yesterday, when the financial product was first revealed, the small print on the company's online calculator described a 66-month loan and a tiered monthly payment structure, depending on which model you chose: $1,199 a month for the 85-kWh Model S, $1,421 for the 85-kWh Performance model and $1,051 for the 60-kWh version. Today, all three of these prices have been increased slightly, to $1,252 (85-kWh), $1,483 (Performance) and $1,097 (60-kWh). Tesla spokesperson Shanna Hendriks told AutoblogGreen, "We made a small change to the site overnight – changing the 66-month term to a 63-month term. We were incorrect with putting 66 months initially. I believe this is the reason for the discrepancy."
So, yeah, there's some confusion out there. Since the announcement, the Internet has been abuzz with critics taking Tesla to task for CEO Elon Musk's insistence that the "true cost of ownership" can be driven below $500 a month. It can, using Telsa's calculator, if you live in a world where you're always getting paid $100/hour and therefore your 15 minute gas station stop is valued at $25. And you fill up four times a month. With premium gas. In a car that gets terrible fuel economy. We found that making these assumptions were the best way to get our "effective monthly cost" down to $500 or less. Oh, and claiming your Model S for business purposes helped tremendously. You can see why Tesla's stock went down 7.3 percent since the "lease" news came out.
Today, all three of these prices have been increased slightly.
Nonetheless, Musk is confident that his numbers are right – he told Automotive News that "Even if you don't count the time savings, you can own the car for net cash out of pocket for $500 a month, no marketing gimmicks. Some people wanted to call bull---t on us because we had certain default [calculations] set up on the site, and we have fixed them" and also "I just want to make sure people really do appreciate that $500 is a real number and not some sort of marketing fiction" – and is promising more announcements throughout all of April. Next week, we'll learn something about servicing and the week after that will be one about Supercharging and after that, Musk said, "there will be a mystery announcement. Then we'll shut up and hopefully people won't be sick of us." It all depends on what those announcements will be.