Tesla is officially in the used car business

You can buy a new Tesla Model S equipped any way you like if you’ve got the cash and you’re willing to wait several weeks for it to be built and delivered.

Or, you can skip all that and grab one used. Tesla is now selling certified preowned Model S cars on its website. It was all but certain last week the company was getting ready to find new owners for its used vehicles coming off lease. Now that it’s official, let’s take a look at how Tesla does it.

To buy a new-to-you Model S, Tesla created a nifty section on its site with a detailed inventory list:

The company requires a $US1,000 deposit when you select your car, and you have the option to pick it up yourself, or pay a fee to have it delivered.

As of this writing, there were 166 used Model S cars available directly from Tesla, nationwide. The cheapest one was $US60,500 in Cleveland. The most expensive was a loaded P85+ for $US105,250 in New York that was hardly driven (it has 231 miles on it).

Chicago, Florida and Washington D.C. had the most cars to choose from (25 each).

The used models come with a 4-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty — on par with competing certified preowned brands in this price segment. The battery pack and drive unit keep the same 8-year, unlimited-mile warranty already available on new Teslas.

Tesla DriveMatthew DeBord/Business InsiderA row of Model S cars that need a home.

The preowned program potentially opens up the high-end brand to more buyers who want to spend a bit less for a lightly used Model S. Leased cars are generally better maintained due to stricter contract terms regarding service and upkeep. And since used cars traditionally have better profit margins than new ones, Tesla would likely do well sending these vehicles home with new owners.

It’s interesting to note however, that Tesla doesn’t make it obvious that it’s selling its own used cars now. As of this writing, there were no visible links on the website; you have to manually search for the page. And even as you’re browsing the preowned section, there’s an ever-present link on the pages inviting you to “Order New.”

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