Tesla targets EVs for business with lease expansion

Tesla is aiming to push the Model S into businesses, announcing lease plans for companies wanting an EV in their parking lot, though as with the car firm's previous financing deals there's some juggling to be done with the numbers. The headline figure Tesla has gone with is $408 a month, however that takes into account not only business tax benefits, but an estimated fuel saving, without which the recurring fee would be much higher.

In fact, without those two factors included, the actual monthly payment is $1,012 per month for an entry-level Model S 60 with its 208 mile range and 302 HP. If you want the higher-performance, longer-lasting Model S 85, it'll cost you $1,199 per month, while the top-spec P85 variant is a hefty $1,451 per month.

On the cheapest Model S, Tesla estimates $366 per month of business tax benefits; that's assuming a 40-percent effective tax rate, with 70-percent business use.

As for gasoline savings, they're calculated at $261 per month, figuring 15,000 miles at most a year. Tesla is comparing the Model S to a traditional-powered car good for 20 mpg, using premium gas at $4.90 per gallon, versus $0.11 per kilowatt hour for charging up the EV.

State-by-state zero-emission vehicle incentives help offset the upfront fee, though you'll still be paying a chunk of a $5,000 downpayment.

As with all leases, then, there's some calculating to be done to see if you're actually getting a good deal, and Tesla's headline figures aren't necessarily illustrative of what you'll actually be paying. That came back to haunt the car company last year, when it was criticized for allegedly misleading with personal finance options and forced to change its approach as a result.

This time around, Tesla has trimmed its leasing agreement to three pages, and signing it is done through an electronic version shown on the Model S' own dashboard touchscreen. Gimmicky, perhaps, but eye-catching all the same.

Meanwhile, Tesla is working on its Model X SUV and a more affordable sedan for release over the next couple of years, with a new Gigafactory planned to produce high-capacity batteries among other things.