Tesla Model 3 Tops Comparison of Price Per Mile of EVs

2 weeks ago by Mark Kane 67

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

The introduction of the Tesla Model 3 in just over a month ago (see details/watch here) has set the bar higher when it comes to the lowest price per mile EV offerings in the US.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Model 3, in its Long Range version is priced at $45,000 (MSRP + destination charge), so given its estimated 310 miles of EPA-estimated range, that works out to $145/mile.

The previous leader was the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which via a 60 kWh battery is able to drive some 238 miles, and with a price tag of $37,498 achieves a stills impressive cost of $158/mile.

The base Tesla Model 3 (Standard) which enters production in a couple months rings the bell at $164/mile,  and sites third (and the last) on the list of EVs rated at under $200/mi.

As you can see in the graphic below, the price per mile results are pretty varied depending on class/type, size of battery and production scale of the offering.

The worst all-electric result falls on the BMW i3 – which will set one back a cool $536/mile in the older 22 kWh version (the newer 33 kWh version of the BMW i3 sits at ~$400/mile, 4th from the bottom when removing soon-to-be-unavailable offerings).


After applying $7,500 federal tax credit (green graph) the effective price per mile of EPA range is even lower. The relative savings is of course is bigger in cheaper models – like the  smart ED, which moves all the way from $423/mi to $294/mi.

Regardless, the first three cars on the list remain on top, in unchanged order – Model 3 LR – $121/mi, Bolt EV – $126/mi and Model 3 S – $130/mi.

The key to making long-range EVs more affordable in the near-term it would seem, is to offer battery packs between 50 and 75 kWh, in smaller/more compact gliders.

As the Tesla Model 3 is still a premium offering, we believe that there is still room for even better range results for less money Perhaps Nissan will try to fight for the top spot with its new LEAF when the specs are revealed on September 5th?

The more the merrier!

BEVs price (MSRP + DST) per mile of EPA range comparison – U.S. (August 25, 2017) – some models estimated

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67 responses to "Tesla Model 3 Tops Comparison of Price Per Mile of EVs"

  1. kbm3 says:

    This is actually a stunning result. The Tesla model 3 is the most desirable vehicle on the list with the exception of the other Tesla’s.

    To also be the cheapest per mile, is really a fantastic accomplishment.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      It would rather be the other way around, the Model 3 75 having such an energy available for its price is what makes it so attractive. It would be even more so if the 25 KWh battery extension was costing less than the present 9000$. Something like 145*25=3625$, as first expected, would be able to push the record down to 125 $/mile.

  2. SparkEV says:

    Isn’t Model 3 base MSRP $35K? Then post $7.5K subsidy would be $27.5K.

    $35K/220 = $159/mi (more than Bolt)
    $27.5K/220 = $125/mi (less than Bolt)

    But seeing how 3 will eat up the subsidy, most people will see $159/mi while Bolt will enjoy $126/mi for many more years.

    1. Viktor says:

      They probably include a destination and documents fee wish Tesla have on $1200 for Model S and Model X.(But here they calculate $1000)

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Yes, MSRP + DST…only because some OEMs like to talk MSRP only, while others include the DST.

        Have to go one way or the other to have an apples-to-apples comparison…we felt it best to have it be more of an “all-in” price (ex-odds and ends at signing, etc)

        1. Warren says:

          We paid $$36,509, plus taxes, and registration, for a white Bolt LT with DCFC, and heated seats and steering wheel. This car has cruise control, and a console with a lid as standard. My understanding is that the base Model 3 has no cruise control, no color other than black, a tray between the seats, and no heated seats, and a $1000 destination fee in addition to the $35K non-negotiable MSRP. I tried to find the official configurator to confirm this. No luck. Do you have a link?

          1. Vexar says:

            All Tesla vehicles have cruise control, some have driver assist, some have autopilot. Tesla doesn’t use the dealer model, so everyone pays the price (per country, anyway). Who enjoys haggling? This isn’t some bazaar in Istanbul.

            1. Warren says:

              I expect to be able to go to the company’s website, and find an official configurator. This isn’t some bazaar in Istanbul.

              Elon quote from June:

              “We expect that the configurator to go live towards the end of next month [July] when we deliver the first production Model 3.”

              1. Viktor says:

                Depending on then you put your reservation, you will get invited to the design studio. There is a lot of pictures on the Tesla Motor club forum from the design studio but right now only employees can go to the design studio. What is the point of getting to the design studio when you won’t get delivery for over a year and Tesla certainly will make a lot of changes before that?

          2. stimpy says:

            Some standard features on Model 3:
            -Basic cruise control
            -Heated front seats
            -Navigation with charger locations
            -Supercharging ability

            1. WadeTyhon says:

              Wait heated front seats are included on the standard 35k model 3? Do you have a link? I had read specifically that it does not include heated seats.

              If true, that almost completely removes our frustration at having to pay $5k for heated seats. We could live with cloth over premium seats… and we do not want a glass roof in the Texas summer.

              1. kbm3 says:

                Heated front seats are standard. Heated rear seats are part of the premium package.

        2. SparkEV says:

          “All-in” price is problematic, because some states have sales tax and others don’t. That can add almost 10% to the price, far more than $1K for destination fee. This is why adding or removing from MSRP is problematic. Just stick to MSRP.

          Maybe the dealers will realize how awful their $/mi ratio sounds and adjust the MSRP closer to what the car will sell instead of trying to dupe some poor sap to pay more.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            adding or removing from MSRP is problematic.
            SparkEV said:

            “Just stick to MSRP.”

            Right. If we all stick to comparing MSRP, as all the professional car reviewers do, then we’ll have as close to a level playing field as possible. Once we start picking and choosing which added fees, taxes, incentives, and whatnot to include or exclude, then it’s no longer an objective comparison. Picking and choosing which additions and subtractions to take, and which to ignore, makes it a subjective comparison, rather than an objective one.

    2. SparkEV says:

      I see that “destination charge” is included for Tesla 3 LR. But if that’s that case, all dealer fees should be included for other cars. This makes it very difficult to compare. Just stick to MSRP.

      1. menorman says:

        To say nothing of all the dealers who discount that sometimes approaches 20% off. And along the same vein, no one is paying MSRP for a Leaf anymore either.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          For the Leaf2 they will….at least for a short time after the intro.

      2. R.S says:

        Have you ever bought a car over MSRP from a dealer? Actually you could say that we need to look at discounted prices, but with options and all, this would go too far. It’s probably impossible to get a fair discount value on the base car w/o any options, since those usually don’t get sold very much.

        But including destination charge makes sense. It’s not hard to find out and if varies from car to car. I don’t really get why car makers are even allowed to do that, since it’s obviously part of the MSRP. It’s even legally required that everyone pays the same destination charge, no matter where the person picks up the car.

        So no, the Model 3 isn’t a $35k car, nor is the Bolt a $36,620 car.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          There are people on here that bought Bolts at msrp so yes, it happens….but not often and usually after the market into of the model.

        2. SparkEV says:

          When you include all the haggling, it becomes impossible to compare. What do you use, the lowest haggled price that someone got? Then SparkEV would be $12K pre-subsidy = $146/mi, $4.5K post subsidy = $55/mi. That’s not meaningful.

          I guess one way to gauge is TrueCar price, but that fluctuates with time, and the ratio must be constantly updated.

          Best is to stick with MSRP with nothing else tacked on or removed. Tesla 3 wins that game at least for the next few months. But even after, non-subsidy ratio is better than all post-subsidy ratio except for Bolt.

          1. Mark.ca says:

            If I remember correctly TrueCar also fluctuates depending on regional market.

            1. Nix says:

              Yes, prices can change even by going to the next zip-code away. Truecar is a paid sales referral site, who gets paid by dealerships to push customers to their lots.

              They used to operate completely independently of dealerships, until they ran into anti-bird dogging laws and restructured to now effectively act as an advertising arm of dealerships.

          2. R.S says:

            Yea, that’s what I said. Haggling and regional prices, as well as discounts fluctuations over time, doesn’t really work for a comparison like this.

            But destination charge does. Most people call the Bolt a $37,500 car, but actually it’s MSRP is $36,620, but it comes with a $880 destination charge. The Model 3 is usually called a 35k car, but it comes with a 1k destination charge.

            Sure you could also say the Bolt costs $152 per kWh and the Model 3 SR costs $159 per kWh, but why? Especially with the Model 3 it’s provably not true, because you HAVE to pay the destination charge.

            Now since destination charge is known for every car and it isn’t effected by where you live, or how good you can haggle, or how the car maker or dealer feels that day, why not take 36k and 37.5k and compare those two as closely as possible.

      3. Nix says:

        SparkEV said:

        “I see that “destination charge” is included for Tesla 3 LR. But if that’s that case, all dealer fees should be included for other cars. This makes it very difficult to compare. Just stick to MSRP.”

        Actually, Tesla’s charge bundles both Destination and Doc fees, while every other car maker just states Delivery fees at the factory level. Doc and additional fees are indeed charged by the dealerships separately, and can be from zero dollars to $900 dollars (plus any additional dealer markup and junk add-on’s they manage to jam into a deal).

        It simply isn’t possible to compare prices down to the last dollar between Tesla and any other car maker. There are only 3 options, all of which have their own problems:

        1) Compare MSRP only, no delivery or doc fees. This rewards car makers who charge large delivery and doc fees that artificially make MSRP lower than real-world prices.

        2) Compare MSRP+Destination (like here). This rewards car makers who shift off dealer charges and Doc fees from their price, artificially making the price lower than real-world prices. It penalizes Tesla for bundling the Delivery and Doc fees into a single fee that is typically lower than Delivery+Doc/Dealer fees.

        3) Compare MSRP+Delivery+Doc/dealer fees. This total up all the fees, but it is literally impossible to calculate. Because dealer Doc and other fees are so slippery to nail down that it is impossible to put a number on it.

        __________________________________

        At some point it just isn’t worth it to try to stack-rank these cars over a few dollars per mile, and just recognize there are 5 tiers of prices:

        Tier 1: Bolt and Model 3 (both versions)
        Tier 2: FFE and IONIC
        Tier 3: Model S non-performance and 30 kW Leaf
        Tier 4: Model X non-performance, Kia Soul, and e-Golf
        Tier 5: Everything else. If you are looking at one of these, price per mile range likely isn’t a consideration in the purchase. And that’s fine too for some buyers. Still better than ICE.

        With a few exceptions, these tiers apply to both pre-incentive and post-incentive numbers.

        1. SparkEV says:

          I like your tier approach, but inevitably, guys will want to compare how short their thingy is. Then we’re right back to MSRP vs MSRP + stuff. Best is to just stick with MSRP.

  3. Viktor says:

    What I can see on BMW website you can’t order i3 with 22 kWh battery anymore.

  4. F150 Brian says:

    When can someone buy a Model 3 with 310 miles range for $45,000?

    I thought we had seen on this site that the lowest price at the moment was $49,000.

    1. Viktor says:

      I believe that I read that they will start produce Model 3 without the premium package in October or November.

    2. Nick says:

      Since it comes with premium package standard?

      1. Mark C says:

        No, the cars have it now, because all first production cars were long range battery and Premium Upgrade Package. Then you could choose only from a modest variety of colors, and there were two tire/wheel choices.

        If you didn’t want these, or couldn’t afford them, you could not get a really early production car. Of course, there were other requirements to be met to get a really early production car. I’ll let you Google that info.

    3. OK, so – $49,000 / 310 Miles EPA = $158.0645 Per Mile of EPA Rated Range.

      1. F150 Brian says:

        Exactly.

        They should not publish numbers for vehicles you cannot buy without putting a note about it.

        Where is the 2018 Nissan Leaf – that may beat the 220 mile Model 3 to market.

        1. Nix says:

          99 percent of people can’t buy any Tesla Model 3 at any price right now, because they are either wait-listed or haven’t even gotten a reservation yet.

          This is the same as when first 1% of Bolt buyers bought the first Bolts in the early months of Bolt roll-out. Some even facing prices ABOVE the MSRP at some dealers. Or having to pay another thousand dollars for delivery to a distant state.

          What can be bought in the first early roll out months when supply is limited is really meaningless over the long term.

        2. Asak says:

          I’d agree, except we don’t have final figures on the Leaf yet. Once they are available it absolutely should be listed.

  5. georgeS says:

    Reh price of Model 3.
    Dah.

    Where else are you going to buy a car with 310 miles range that charges at 170 miles in 30 minutes.

    I don’t know if anyone has noticed but that is P100D charging speeds AND almost 100D range.

    PLUS I can get the last of the 7500$ Fed tax break.

    Geesh but now I have to spend MORE money. I just bot my used S 1 year ago for 50k$.

    I’ve been watching used CPO’s and if you want auto pilot (which I do). You are looking at 70K used.

    What’s a little boy to do??

  6. Mil says:

    Just for LOLs, I worked out where my 2nd hand Nissan Leaf 30kWh sits and it would take the 4th spot 😀

  7. Texas FFE says:

    Another list the FFE is at the top of and still FFE sales are constrained. Why is it so hard for people to see value in the FFE? Is Ford marketing really so bad that they can’t promote these lists and increase sales?

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I don’t think it is that consumers cannot see the value. They just don’t know it exists. And Ford doesn’t intend to increase production right now.

      Look at a similar vehicle… The Spark EV was sold in only 3 states. And a handfull of international markets. And it regularly sold 3x as many units as the Focus EV sells. Even though you can technically order a Focus Electric from any state.

      The Focus is a bigger more practical car and is not significantly more expensive than the Spark EV was. And the ICE Focus is far more popular than the ICE Spark. The Focus Electric should be selling way more than the Spark EV did.

      The only thing holding the car back is Ford. They would rather sell a green buyer a hybrid or an energi. Here in Dallas, I have seen exactly 1 FFE in the past few years whereas I have seen dozens of Fusion and C-Max energis.

    2. Mark.ca says:

      For crying out loud, dude! How many times you were told that it’s fricking Ford themselves that are to blame?
      Last year i go out on labor day to buy one and guess what?! No car available on 100 mile radius. All dealers got back to me a week later saying they have some crappy model that gets 20 electric miles if I’m interested…no thanks. I’m in Los Angeles area! How is this possible?! As far as I’m concerned, Ford can go f themselves!

    3. SparkEV says:

      Biggest problem with FFE sales (or lack there of) is Ford, not the consumers. As I’ve often mentioned, the new FFE is hell of a deal, but try finding out from the dealer if it even exists. And I’m talking about CA where tons of EV are sold.

      There’s something seriously wrong with Ford when they can’t move such bargain of a car FFE, especially in absence of IoniqEV (sold out).

    4. speculawyer says:

      It’s too bad they can’t pack in more batteries in that thing. That’s a problem with ICE conversions. The FFE loses trunk space as is.

      It’s one of the better compliance cars right now considering that does have SAE-CCS unlike the Fiat 500e, B-class, LEAF(which does have Chademo), etc.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        “FFE loses trunk space as is.”

        That trunk space is very important for the 12″ Sundown Subwoofers and the 500W amp.
        😛

    5. Will says:

      I have been seeing FFE ads with vloggers on YouTube and twitter

    6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Texas FFE asked:

      “Why is it so hard for people to see value in the FFE?”

      At one time, it was widely reported that Ford would make a unit of the Ford Focus Electric only in response to a customer ordering one. Perhaps that’s no longer the case, but what certainly hasn’t changed is that Ford isn’t interested in promoting the vehicle, nor in making them in large quantities.

      The FFE perfectly fits the definition of “compliance car”.

      The future of the automobile is not to be found in compliance cars.

  8. CCIE says:

    Two issues I see with the Bolt/M3 comparison:

    1. The average sale price out-the-door for a Bolt is less than MSRP. Tesla doesn’t discount.

    2. GM is very conservative with their EV Range ratings. Tesla’s numbers are closer to the truth.

    So, the Bolt likely has an equal or lower cost per kwh, compared to the M3.

    1. kbm3 says:

      If you start doing out-the-door price, I’m not sure Bolt would win. It might be Leaf or some other heavily discounted car.

      1. CCIE says:

        Agreed.

        Also, I meant to say “cost per mile” “not cost per kwh.”

        1. Mark.ca says:

          It’s definitely the Leaf now but only for maybe a couple more months.

      2. SparkEV says:

        Out the door price, FFE will probably win _IF_ you can get Ford to admit they have FFE. IoniqEV might be bit better, but they are sold out. Unlike base Leaf, FFE comes with DCFC standard.

        1. Asak says:

          You can find deals on other EVs like the e-Golf. I managed to get an e-Golf lease for $5000 for 36 months, after all rebates and taxes, with a $10,000 residual. Even if you add back in $10,000 in rebates (while not subtracting tax on the lease portion) that’s only back up to $25,000.

  9. speculawyer says:

    On pure miles/$ basis, the long range one is cheapest. But that is kind of a weird metric that favors the longest range models.

    But I’d say the base Model with 220 miles is the best overall value.

  10. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    MSRP for legacy auto sales is all FAKE!

  11. Mikael says:

    Until you can actually buy a Model 3 for less than $50k the Bolt is still the leader.

    It will probably happen within a few months, but until then anything but the Model 3 actually on sale should not be part of the chart.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Yes, and considering that BOLT ev’s are now being discounted, whereas a Model 3 is List Price, it doesn’t take much of a ‘deal’ for the BOLT ev to ‘beat’ the supposed winner here. I don’t understand why the article doesn’t take that into consideration.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Before sales tax, I got admittedly a ‘lousy’ deal’ on my BOLT ev, seeing as it was the very first sale in Western NY on 2/28/17.

        I paid about $36,000 before sales tax. Admittedly too high a price these days since the BOlt ev dealers are leasing around here for $25 less than a VOLT.

        But Epa 238 (as I’ve mentioned multiple times, a few weeks ago I went on a normal trip and got 279 miles on a single charge after I missed /couldn’t find BOTH charging station locations) would be $121.26, and that is with a LOUSY deal.

        So, I’m sorry, The Bolt ev is quite obviously the winner since no one will pay what I paid ongoing.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Plus my car had about $750 worth of options that I COULD have avoided since there were 2 cars available at the time – one with NO options, so that means $395 for the fancy paint I got, and around $350 for the heated seats/steering wheel. Correction: with the fed tax credit (not including sales tax) $119.75.

          So If I had bought THAT car with 0 options I definitely would have been less at $116.60, with the equivalent lousy deal.

          Seeing as almost everyone these days is getting a better deal than I did, those numbers will certainly improve on both models. Sorry, but Tesla is no where near that.

          Sure – everyone will say how great the Tesla is in comparison with the BOLT ev. Time will tell. But as far as Hard Cash goes, the Bolt ev is the current champion.

          1. Nix says:

            Now we are REALLY down the rabbit-hole when we start talking about what one person or another managed to do in a single trip.

            Do we now start rating Tesla’s on the 560 or 670 mile distance runs people have managed to make? The TM3 310 has the same EPA range rating as those cars, and somebody may end up making a 560 or 670 mile run in a TM3 310 too. Do we then rank it on top because of what on person did in one car on one trip in their car too?

            1. Bill Howland says:

              The SuperDope has Spoken!
              I figured the cost based on EPA.

              And of course Pushi has a lot of malarchy since he’s probably never bought a new car, and doesn’t understand how prices decrease rapidly after they are brand-spanking new.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Bill Howland said:

          “…BOLT ev’s are now being discounted… I don’t understand why the article doesn’t take that into consideration.”

          …and…

          “I paid about $36,000 before sales tax.”

          You just answered your own question.

          “…no one will pay what I paid ongoing.”

          Nobody? Not even the guy or gal talked into buying the extended warranty, underbody protection, and fabric protection?

          You can’t possibly know what everyone is or isn’t paying, since haggling and tacking on extra fees and unneeded “upsells” are part of the process by which stealerships separate as much money from their customers as they possibly can.

          And that’s why we should use MSRP, without any additions or subtractions, for comparison. Because that’s as close as we’re gonna get to an actual fair or objective comparison. It ain’t perfect, but it’s the best we can do.

          1. m says:

            ” which stealerships separate as much money from their customers as they possibly can”
            Reminds me of how well deregulation works in FL where some pay $1000 doc fee as opposed to $60 something that i paid last year in Cali. How are we supposed to do these calculations when there is no standard across US?

          2. Asak says:

            Not all dealerships in CA are discounting significantly. You have the ones carrying a ton of Bolts who are trying to move them, but standard Chevy dealers with only one or two are trying to pass them off at closer to MSRP. Maybe you can haggle them down. When I buy a Bolt in a year or two I’ll just go to Rydell or one of the other places actually offering a good deal pre-haggle. Of course, I also might just wait and buy a used Bolt.

          3. Bill Howland says:

            Chief, those are ADDED OPTIONS which the buyer can choose to buy, or not.

            If you want to voluntarily buy a low-priced BOLT, you can now, therefore, the BOLT is the winner.

            You of couse, can pay more – I’m of course not talking about YOU, since you’ll never buy anything. Don’t drive, and won’t purchase even a cheap used ev for a relative.

            Out of touch.

    2. Nix says:

      So you think people shouldn’t think a couple of months ahead of time on a car purchase? If I were considering buying an EV, I would think it would be more important to know what all the options are going to be in the near future than to intentionally put my head in the sand and pretend that the only option is to buy whatever dealers have on sale in their lots right now.

      Although that is exactly how dealerships want to get you to think…..

      1. Mikael says:

        I think people should think ahead but an EV site should be correct and not take future possible prices into a graph until they are actually here or at least mark them as “coming soon” or something.

  12. kent beuchert says:

    Any EV will always price less per mile lower as batteries are added, all things being equal. However, note that Tesla claims they are paying $190 per kWhr, which is roughly $47 per mile, for which you are paying $158. Another Musk option that increases the profit margin greatly.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      “However, note that Tesla claims they are paying $190 per kWhr”
      What?!
      Where did you get that? I suspect that is seriously outdated information…like 4 years ago. Post your source.

    2. Nix says:

      $190/kWh is what they were paying a while ago for Model S/X battery packs. Tesla has stated that the Model 3 batteries are 35% less expensive at the cell level, potentially as low as around $125/kWh (hard to actually know, since one number is pack level, the other number is cell level, and we don’t know what baseline the 35% is based on.)

      https://electrek.co/2017/02/18/tesla-battery-cost-gigafactory-model-3/

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