#Electric Vehicles (EVs) have increased in their share of the road over the last decade. Their increasing popularity makes sense in cities where there is a growing infrastructure, and efforts are in place to reduce emissions. I jumped on their trend at the end of 2021 and bought one myself, and have found there to be pluses and minuses when compared to their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. Driving one takes an entirely different mindset, but with that, has brought on a new era of car culture. I’m not here to sell you on the idea of buying an EV. Rather I am here to showcase this new car culture niche, and the brand that has led the charge: #Tesla — as it pertains to Hot Wheels collecting.
Hot Wheels have always been about custom car culture as the models are often interpretations of society trends as they pertain to that specific car model. #Blown Engines, flared fenders, dropped & raised ride heights — these are all examples of ways to impact a car’s speed, power, performance, and overall appeal. You’ll find that when you delve into custom EV car culture, there aren’t many people hacking software (yet) as the vehicles are generally fast given the advantages of electric motors. Rather, there is a growing market of aftermarket parts that reduce weight, increase aesthetics, or are built around convenience.
After owning a Tesla for a little over a year, I’ve found the most popular “mod” among owners is to simply the change the color of the car via one of the many wrap colors & finishes out there. For examples, the Model 3 currently comes in 5 factory colors, and wrapping the car is a way to stand out in the growing sea of the most popular EV on the road. After that, wheels — a popular mod among all car enthusiasts — are often swapped out. If you think about how this pertains to Hot Wheels; color & wheels (and deco) make a huge impact on how well a certain casting sells at retail. Mainline vehicles no longer have #Opening Features so not having a large internal combustion engine under the hood isn’t really detracting from the vehicle’s appeal. Its about making those five aspects that make up a standard Hot Wheels vehicle (body, base, interior, windows, and wheels) as representative of modern car culture as possible by giving every car a cool custom look — something that is still possible with EV culture. While custom Teslas haven’t really made their way into the Hot Wheels lineup yet, the brand has produce every model the company has made thus far, plus two concepts that have said to be near production: the Cybertruck and 2nd gen Roadster.
Let’s take a look at all the Hot Wheels #Teslas produced thus far (2008 to 2023) in order of their release:
Tesla Roadster (2008)
When Hot Wheels released the original #Tesla Roadster in 2008, it wasn’t a huge deal. It seemed like a far-fetched concept of a car the general public would never see. The hood — or frunk — didn’t open so we weren’t able to see what would be the engine bay void of your typical internal combustion engine. In addition to that, the car kind of looked like another Lotus due to Tesla originally contracting out engineering & styling to Lotus.
Quick Link! Find the 2008 New Models: Tesla Roadster on eBay.
Little did we know, Tesla would become a behemoth in the EV world prompting an industry-wide revolution. Hot Wheels collectors now find themselves going back and collecting the first licensed Hot Wheels EV, the #’08 Tesla Roadster. Some of its releases have become harder to find with this not originally being a sought after casting so assembling a complete casting collection may require more time than money.
The 2008 New Models release in red also carries the distinction of being the first known Hot Wheels car in space as it was adhered to the dashboard of the Elon Musk’s personal Roadster that was shot into deep space via the Falcon Heavy rocket in 2018. Prices of that Hot Wheels release skyrocketed with the news, but have since come back down to Earth over the last 5 years. By November 2018, Hot Wheels was already releasing a special commemorative edition of the car which served as a chase piece in the 2019 “A” case assortments. And, by the time the 2019 “E” case started to hit stores in January 2019, a retooled #’08 Tesla Roadster with Starman (and Hot Wheels car on dash) had been the talk of the town in the collector world. Both of these are shown above.
The #’08 Tesla Roadster also carries the distinction of being the first Tesla — and overall EV — to become a Hot Wheels Super #Treasure Hunt when it was released in 2016 as part of the #HW Green Speed series.
Quick Link! Find the 2016 Super Treasure Hunt: Tesla Roadster on eBay.
The common variant of the 2016 HW Green Speed release was enamel red with #Trapezoid 5-Spoke Wheels. It received the same rear deco (sans the TH) as the Super #Treasure Hunt which had #Real Riders 5-Spoke Wheels and a spectraflame dark red paint. The only other #Tesla to get the Super Treasure Hunt treatment was the Model S in 2019.
Tesla Model S (2015)
It took a full seven years for our next licensed EV to debut in Hot Wheels form. The Tesla Model S became more mainstream than the original Tesla Roadster as it turned heads on the streets being one of the first mass-produced EVs — and certainly a lot better looking than Nissan’s Leaf. At this point in time, the Model S still had a faux front grille as I’m sure Tesla was being cautious with its design being “too different”. About a year or so later, Tesla would delete this faux feature as acceptance of its cars became more mainstream.
Quick Link! Find releases of the Hot Wheels Tesla Model S on eBay.
Now, the Model S — especially the Plaid — is known as an outrageously fast car specifically for its straight-line speed. We have yet to see Hot Wheels release an updated version of the #Tesla Model S which was last released in 2019 as part of #Hot Wheels iD Series 1.
Tesla Model X (2017)
The Tesla Model X is the mid-size crossover SUV that certainly grabs your attention in parking lots with its gull-wing doors. The Hot Wheels model unfortunately doesn’t have that feature due to it being a basic-level casting and the casting itself may be on the verge of disappearing. There hasn’t been a release of it since 2018 after being released in consecutive years as part of the 2017 and 2018 Hot Wheels mainline.
Quick Link! Find releases of the Hot Wheels Tesla Model X on eBay.
Only 2 releases (in 2 colorways each) of the #Tesla Model X are out there and the initial release in white now demands the most interest in the secondary market.
Tesla Model 3 (2019)
Much like the Hot Wheels Tesla Model X, the #Tesla Model 3 had two releases (in 2 colorways each) in the 2019 and 2020 mainline. Since then, the Tesla Model 3 has become the best selling EV of all-time in the real world. The first Hot Wheels release of the car in white has seen the largest rise in value due to it being the most popular color for 1:1 owners due to the fact that it is the base-level (no upcharge) color. Real world colors of dark red, blue, and dark gray followed.
Quick Link! Find releases of the Hot Wheels Tesla Model 3 on eBay.
In 2022, Hot Wheels released the metalflake black variant as part of the Themed Assortment collectors referred to as: “Luxury Sedans”. This release covers all 5 of the colors Tesla offers the Model 3 in despite the Hot Wheels black Tesla coming in metalflake versus the 1:1 coming in Solid Black. This release did offer the growing cult of 1:1 owners the final color to obsess over. As a Model 3 owner, I belong to a few social media groups for the car, and have seen the reaction. The downside of this release was that Luxury Sedans was a #Walmart Exclusive, and is not as easy to find for your casual Model 3 owner. I’ve secured a few extras of these to hand out to kids (and adults) who are infatuated with my car since I have the black with 10-Spokes. That infatuation has since waned however as you now see Tesla Model 3s driving around everywhere! Hopefully that means we will continue to see the most popular EV of all-time in the mainline once again, and maybe even in premium.
Tesla Cybertruck (2021)
When the Tesla Cybertruck was unveiled in November 2019, its design — and Elon Musk shattering its “indestructible window” — nearly broke the internet. The reaction varied from those saying the truck was an abomination due to its geometric shape and rather simplistic design to those who applauded Tesla for “thinking outside the box” and delivering a design that was different than everything else you see on the road. As time moves on, it feels like the unveiling of the concept was more of a publicity stunt than anything as many wonder if the Cybertruck will ever go into production.
Hot Wheels jumped right on the hype by making Tesla Cybertruck castings for the mainline, iD, and for RC (not shown). The RC version came in 1:64 and 1:10 scale and were the first to be released in 2020. By the 2021 model year, the #Tesla Cybertruck was met with great collector acclaim as the first release in the 2021 HW Green Speed series was gobbled up by collectors. That release featured black #Off-Road 6-Spoke Wheels whereas the 2022 HW Hot Trucks series release featured black #Bead-Lock Off-Road Wheels.
Quick Link! Find releases of the Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck on eBay.
A special version of the #Tesla Cybertruck was also designed (around the same time as the basic casting) for the 2021 #Hot Wheels iD line. This casting is lowered a tad allowing for the NFC chip in its base to be closer to the iD track’s surface, increasing performance in both the digital and analog worlds.
Visually, the most notable difference between the basic and iD castings of the Hot Wheels #Tesla Cybertruck is the fact that the basic has a covered truck bed whereas the iD casting has an open bed that reveals a Tesla Cyberquad.
Tesla Roadster (2022)
The Hot Wheels #Tesla Roadster was introduced a year ago now with the Car Culture / American Scene (premium) release to be the first to hit retail. Unlike the Cybertruck, the 2nd generation Roadster appears to share the same body design between its basic, premium, and iD releases.
The #Hot Wheels iD release of the #Tesla Roadster infamously came in that last assortment of the line in 2022 which was conceivably produced in small numbers. The value of this car is easily over $100 despite it being about a year old. The spectraflame red used on the car helps it shine like the gem that it is — justifying the value — as it definitely stands apart from its basic and premium counterparts in silver.
Quick Link! Find the Hot Wheels iD: Tesla Roadster on eBay.
Like the 1:1 Tesla Cybertruck, the 1:1 2nd gen Roadster was unveiled years ago and production still has not begun. The hype has fizzled a little, but should the car ever get made, it will be nice to see how these models compare to the real thing.
With basic and premium castings of the #Tesla Roadster, you have to imagine we will be seeing this casting again — and soon!
Tesla Model Y (2023)
The new kid on the block here is the Hot Wheels #Tesla Model Y. Hot Wheels producing the Model Y seemed the least likely and is it certainly the “less-edgiest” car #Tesla offers. However, with that said, former Hot Wheels designer, Lindsey Lee did one heck of a job designing this piece as the casting is the cleanest Hot Wheels Tesla to date. Pick one of these up and I have to imagine you’ll be impressed with how sharp the casting lines are, and the fit doesn’t seem to have any flaws.
The Hot Wheels #Tesla Model Y was released just this year as part of the #2023 New Models in the #HW Green Speed series. The 2nd color in dark red was released a couple weeks after in the #Target Exclusive #Red Edition series, and a 3rd color in metalflake dark gray appears to be on the horizon.
Quick Link! Find the Hot Wheels Model Y on eBay.
There you have it! This is the full lineup of Hot Wheels Teslas as it stands in 2023. Short of #Tesla unveiling another model — which I don’t see at this point — this could be it for Hot Wheels Tesla castings for a while. What I could see however, is a redux of the #Tesla Model S since the casting needs updating — a Tesla Model S Plaid, perhaps?
What I could also see is a custom Tesla. Something along the lines of the widebody Tesla Model 3 driven by drift king, Dai Yoshihara at Pikes Peak. Dai already has ties to the Hot Wheels brand, the Model 3 is one of the most popular automobiles of all-time, and custom race cars have made great Hot Wheels as the licensing generally allows them to be graphics-heavy unlike the current #Tesla castings released by Hot Wheels. If you like your cars stock, Hot Wheels Teslas should be fun to collect since they come in most of the standard manufacturer colors. If you’re more of a fan of custom culture and race cars, your time (as it pertains to Teslas), is still to come.
Great article Brad
Great article! Waiting for a premium Model 3 myself. I might have to just go ahead and throw some real riders on a mainline to tide me over.
Good call! I am waiting on a Model 3 premium as well. Hoping to see it with the RR10SP Modern wheels.
Great showcase. I am waiting for the Cybertruck Monster Truck!