The most inexpensive Tesla is still not cheap. Does true cost of ownership make it even more affordable?
So, you're planning to splurge and possibly overspend to get a brand-new Tesla Model 3. The monthly payments may be a budget stretch, so it's important to know how much the Tesla is actually going to cost you to own over time. You've got to do your homework and figure out which rebates you qualify for, the cost of charging, estimated maintenance costs, insurance, etc.
It's no secret that charging an electric car is significantly cheaper than paying for gas. Of course, the level of savings depends on many factors, like when and where you're charging, which EV you drive, the weather, etc. People argue that since cars like the Model 3 are relatively expensive compared to the average car, this "fuel" savings isn't necessarily offset.
It's important to remember that the Model 3 is not "the average car." It's not really fair to compare it to a Toyota Corolla or even a Honda Accord. Rather, for many reasons, it better competes with cars like the BMW 3 Series. Regardless, as you'll learn from the video and the description, cost of ownership makes the Model 3 even more appealing no matter which ICE car you compare it to.
Check out the brief video and detailed description below. Then, share your EV cost of ownership wisdom with us in the comment section.
Video Description via Andy Slye on YouTube:
TRUE Cost of a Tesla Model 3 After 40,000 Miles!
I’ve owned a Tesla Model 3 (the best selling electric car) for 18 months so I’m going to show you exactly how much it has cost to own & drive it 40,000 miles by going over: Upfront cost, depreciation, maintenance, electricity & miscellaneous
The total cost of my Long Range Tesla Model 3 was $59,422. But I got the full $7,500 tax credit so after that it came to $51,922. I did have a very small, low-interest loan for a couple months but I quickly paid the car off because I knew I wanted to keep it long term so the little money I paid in interest brought the total to around $52,000.
One of the best advantages of owning an electric car is not buying gas anymore. In its first 40,000 miles, my Model 3 used 9,622 kWh of electricity (9,428 from home charging & 194 from Supercharging). I've spent a total of $54 at Superchargers, and my cost to charge at home overnight during off-peak hours is $0.07/kWh. However, 100% of the electricity does not always make it from the outlet to the turning of the wheels. In one of the original Tesla documents they estimated an 86% wall-to-wheels efficiency so based on that, my home charging cost $767 so that means the total electricity cost to travel 40,000 miles was $821. To put it into perspective, if I drove 40,000 miles in a similarly priced gas car (such as the BMW 3 series that gets 30 MPG) at an average gas cost of $2.50 per gallon that comes to a total of $3,333 spent on gas. That means compared to a BMW 3 Series my total estimated fuel savings over 17 months was over $2,500.
The total cost of maintenance after 40,000 miles has been $0. Not even new tires yet. I’ve had 3 minor repairs done to my car, all of which were covered for free under the warranty and each time the Tesla Mobile Ranger came to my location and fixed the issue. So far the only recommended maintenance according to the manual is tire rotations every 10,000 miles. But I have a local tire shop in my city that gives free tire rotations to Tesla owners. Some people say ”What about the cost of a new battery?” What if it never needs a new battery? Since I got my Model 3, the estimated range has actually increased by 10 miles. First my estimated range went from 310 to 325 miles as a result of a free software update. My current estimated range is 320 miles so I've only lost about 5 miles of estimated range after driving 40,000 miles. Based on this, at 400,000 miles my Model 3 could still have an estimated range of 275 miles which is more than some EVs right now that cost 3x as much as the Model 3.
Model 3 depreciation: I went on a few different sites (CarGurus, Edmunds, AutoTrader, Kelly Blue Book) and got the estimated value based on my Model 3's options and mileage. Based on these sites, it's worth about $42,000. That's an estimated $10,000 loss in value so far which is right on par with the rule of thumb that says almost any new car will lose about 20% of its value in the first year. But this is not an actual expense unless you plan to sell the car. With a Tesla the car is constantly improving via software updates that improves things such as the range & performance, not to mention the promise of Tesla’s future robo-taxi service which is designed to make money for the owner.
My insurance costs about $2,000 per year for my Model 3 + my wife’s car. But since I’m saving almost $150/month on fuel, my fuel savings basically pays for my insurance which is cool. I paid a $500 deductible to get my bumper replaced. Also 2 of my 3 speeding tickets I’ve ever gotten have come since getting my Model 3 so that’s one con about owning such a quick car. So I invested in a $200 cordless radar detector. I’ve also spent about $150 on various Model 3 accessories including floor mats, console wrap, and screen protector. I paid around $900 to get a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed which isn’t a requirement for all Tesla owners. Some can get by with a normal outlet. Another optional expense was $1,700 to get the front of my Model 3 wrapped in a paint protection film because I drive so much and plan to keep the car for a long time. I also use my Model 3 for business purposes (Uber, Lyft, YouTube videos, driving to job sites, etc) so my business mileage deductions so far have actually saved me about $4,500 in taxes. That’s pretty amazing, considering this is virtually a maintenance-free car that doesn’t require gas. That’s how much it has cost me to own and drive my Model 3 during its first 40,000 miles. It's one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!