Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been one of the most consistently surprising companies of 2013, more than quadrupling in value since the start of the year, and putting the electric car in the popular mind for the first time. The company’s customer base has largely remained a mystery, leading to questions about who exactly is buying the car. A new survey from CNBC finally gives investors an insight into that enigma.


According to the survey, rich young men are the predominant buyers of the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S, with more than 80% of buyers being male, and over 75% having incomes of more than $100,000 a year. The results of the research line up with research into the markets for luxury sedans, and for other electric cars.

Tesla for the young and wealthy

Luxury cars like the Model S are, unsurprisingly, aimed at customers with higher incomes. Just 5.7% of Model S buyers had incomes of less than $50,000 per year, while 17.2% had incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000. 77.3% of buyers of the electric car earned more than $100,000 a year.

Close to a third, 33.1%, of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S buyers were in the 18-44 year age category, while just over half, 50.6%, were aged between 45 and 64. Just 16.2% of buyers were more than 65 years old.

Other electric cars saw similar, if not completely in line, results, with12.9% of Chevy Volt buyers and 13% of Nissan Leaf buyers earning less than $50,000 a year. 37.9% of Chevy Volt buyers and 46.3% of Nissan Leaf buyers were in the 18-44 age category.

Men dominate Tesla purchases

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) customers are men for the most part, according to the survey. Male buyers accounted for 83.9% of purchases according to the research, leaving few cars for female Tesla lovers. The Model S appears to be male-dominated, and is significantly more male-dominated than other electric models.

Chevy Volt buyers were 75.9% male according to the research, while 71.2% of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201) Leaf models were bought by men. The Tesla Model S is clearly a car for young rich men right now, though it’s early days yet. Analysts will be watching registration and other sales data closely to see who is buying the car, and what cars they’re not buying as a result.

The CNBC survey was conducted in association with Edmunds.com, and used vehicle registration data and online search data from June 2012 to June 2013 in order to ascertain the composition of the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) audience.