Teslas are luxury vehicles and the car industry agrees. Having owned a 460 HP AWD Tesla Model 3 Stealth for over 3 years and put 41k miles on it with no trips to the service center and no QC or build quality (gaps or paint) issues, I’m comfortable calling this a luxury car and would be even if it had some issues in panel gaps and paint on delivery. My Jaguar xk8 had paint issues and a horrendous amount of expensive repair costs even before it reached 100k miles as did both of our BMWs (both vehicles you are warned to sell before the warranty runs out, but still considered luxury vehicles.)
And cost doesn’t equate to luxury. Just because my car was under $50k doesn’t make it not a luxury vehicle. What does is that it
1) has industry leading performance that will beat most other stock gas sports sedans in 0-60 (3.0 seconds) and a lot in top speed (162 mph)…and there are two Tesla models way more powerful than mine,
2) has a dual amp, 15 speaker, 1 subwoofer sound system custom designed for the car by sound engineers that came from Bang & Olufsen and other top companies (an important point in a car with no engine noise to compete with),
3) has 5 heated seats custom designed and built by Tesla and used across their range of vehicles that are the most comfortable seats in a car that I’ve ever owned…and I typically drive 700-800 miles per day on road trips,
4) has a lot of advanced tech including
a) frequent over the air updates that add new features and enhance existing features on an almost monthly basis keeping the car future proof (ie not making you want to buy a new version of the same car every 3 years…I summarized my first two years of updates here: antiantiev.com/updates)
b) keyless entry and startup and locking as you walk away (just needs your phone nearby)
c) cabin overtemp protection (added to help prevent accidental forgotten child and pet deaths but also useful in keeping the car from becoming an oven when you park in the sun and run into the store)
d) Teslas are “connected” cars in that they not only know the status and locations of all Tesla superchargers and automatically adds them to your gps trip route and constantly monitors whether to switch to closer ones as needed, but also the ability for Tesla to diagnose problems remotely and in cases of accidents the car sends crash data and can even send video to Tesla to help them get assistance (even after a serious accident Tesla was on the phone calling the owners within minutes asking if they were ok and helping get emergency services out to them…think OnStar but with more information supplied to the remote service (for more info: AntiAntiEV.com/connected-car)
e) AI capabilities that are world class and improving constantly, from protecting you from getting in accidents in the first place via 9 cameras and many other sensors constantly monitoring car activity ahead, behind, and to your sides as well as warning you or even preventing you from wandering out of your lane (you choose the level of all this) to adaptive cruise control that slows down and speeds up depending on cars in front of you and even beside you, to lane keeping on top of that so you don’t have to do anything more than have your hands on the wheel and stay alert, to navigate on autopilot that on freeways will take you from on ramp to off-ramp switching lanes as needed with no driver intervention other than staying alert with your hand on the wheel…sounds trivial but on long 700+ mile trips it lets you arrived refreshed…what cruise control does for your legs, navigate on autopilot does for you hands, arms, and shoulders (AntiAntiEV.com/ai )
f) a screen from which you can quickly access and perform anything that a normal gas car would require a massive number of dials, buttons, levers (air flow), separate modules (radio), leds, etc (ie all things that tend to break down and wear out all over time) as well as watch movies on while in wait for spouse mode (shopping)…or when camping in the Tesla or even just to display info when the car is in dog mode…and yes the car has games, Hulu, Disney+, youtube, browser, Netflix, streaming audio including Tidal, and other features that work over wifi or the cellular connection built into every Tesla.
g) Teslas powerful voice control of pretty much anything you can do manually from the screen…from just saying “save cams” to save all camera videos after you see an accident to saying “play rock and roll girls” to immediately pull up that song to saying “navigate to 111 Main Street in Austin Texas” to have the car set up a map with all charging spots included…and even app control on your smartphone for controlling functions in the car like saying “open frunk” to open the front trunk or “cool it” as you are leaving a store to have the car at 70 degrees by the time you get in it in the hot florida sun.
h) the car has a suspension system that Sandy Munro likened to having been tuned by an F1 Prince I think his term was…they actually based the design and tuning on information used in space travel that pick frequencies NASA found produce the least discomfort on the human body for long spells of sitting (look for suspension and brakes and tires link here: AntiAntiEV.com/justfacts )
i) Excellent LED headlights with a switch to using Matrix LED headlights now that the US gov has caught up with technology
j) car beeps when you stoplight light turns green...even if you are far back in line
k) smart turn signals turn off when you complete a lane change unless turning into a turn lane...less manually turning them off
l) and there is a lot more advanced tech discussed here: AntiAntiEV.com/advanced-tech
5) has convenience of at home charging which is a favorite luxury all in itself…believe me you won’t miss going to gas stations and will appreciate having a car always full and ready to drive
6) is safer to drive than any gas car and most other EVs. The amount expended on Teslas design to make them the safest cars ever tested is pretty impressive. From massive compression and tearaway zones which improve survivability of the passengers to improving the timing and response of airbags based on analysis of real accident data, to now using cameras so that seatbelts can pretighten by sight as well as by feel in an accident (cameras can make that decision before the accident actually happens), to using a glass roof for extra crush strength and reduction in side impact compression, to brakes that dry themselves during wet conditions so you always have a good brake available if needed in an emergency, and the list goes on (see AntiAntiEV.com/safety ),
7) is more reliable long term than any gas car…less moving parts by a long shot to wear out, and less components overall to breakdown…after driving a Jaguar and BMWs you will appreciate any car less likely to drop into limp mode at the drop of a hat or simply strand you along side the road (AntiAntiEV.com/reliability ),
8 ) is a blast to drive, both in the city and in the mountains…it isn’t a car you buy just because it is green or will save you money in the long run (or immediately if you buy it instead of another luxury car)…you buy it because you like it. A lot.
9) and mobile service that will drive out and do repairs of components or even tire rotations and repairs right in your driveway. Don’t recall bmw or Jaguar ever doing that…maybe Rolls Royce?
Taken one by one these features do exist in cars sold now that you wouldn’t consider luxury cars. But taken together in one car and for the most part standard features is what makes it a luxury car. That has always been true even before Tesla came on the scene. People insisting that a car can’t be considered a luxury car because it isn’t expensive enough or maybe doesn’t have leather seats? BS. That is a wealthy person trope propagated by, well, the wealthy.
It is also important to understand that a luxury car doesnt have to cost an arm and a leg to maintain...as this chart shows:
And it is also important to understand WHY all those luxury cars are often so expensive to maintain...primary reason is simply quantities of each model sold. When you sell a million of a specific model every year and dont have dealerships, then you aren't surviving on the service department income and instead get your profits just from the car sale itself..so economies of scale become very important to Tesla and not necessarily to a luxury car manufacturer that will only ship 1/20th the numbers of a specific model car before revising it to tempt owners to trade up.