Buying a used Tesla just got easier

Tesla's pre-owned plan
Tesla's pre-owned plan   

Tesla Motors' Model S, the highly rated luxury electric vehicle, is now available pre-owned on Tesla's website.

The option to buy used car cars online, which launched in late April, makes it easier to get your hands on the rare older model without scouring sellers far and wide.

Tesla's launch of a certified pre-owned car program comes at a time when a rising number of its vehicles are expected to enter the used market, said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. The first Model S leases started three years ago, and even those that purchased a Model S will likely consider trading it in for a Model X when that vehicle goes on sale later this year, he said.

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Online listings for used Model S vehicles are available for 11 areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Florida, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The 2012, 2013 and 2014 models listed online range in price from $60,000 to $105,000.

That's far from cheap. New models range from $75,000 to $105,000 cash, before fees or promotions, according to the website. Tesla's communications director, Khobi Brooklyn, declined to comment on how many sales the new program has seen, but said the program "showcases" the cars' value.

Despite the price tag, Tesla's foray into online listings for used vehicles does make it easier for people to access the relatively rare car. From the Model S launch in June 2012 to the end of 2014, Tesla delivered 57,000 Model S cars, according to the company's 10-K filing. For reference, GM dealers delivered nearly 58,000 Silverados in December 2014 alone, according to GM's website.

A Tesla Model S charging.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images
A Tesla Model S charging.

This new program is one of many moves by the Fremont, California-based company to drive more sales by appealing to its core customers' desire upgrade their cars. For instance, the company announced in March a guarantee to its European customers that the Model S would have a high resale value. The Model S battery also has an unconditional warranty off the lot, though that warranty dwindles to a four-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty for used cars.

While the idea of used Tesla cars is sparking discussion online, the new offerings have been overshadowed by other Tesla news. Last week, CEO Elon Musk announced a home battery pack and quarterly earnings were announced Wednesday afternoon.

Brauer said he expects the resale value of used Model S to remain high.

"Getting ahead of this influx of used Model S vehicles and supporting the secondary market with a certified sales program is a smart move on Tesla's part," Brauer said. "Demand for new Teslas has outstripped supply."