We continue to hear people tell us they simply can't yet afford an electric vehicle. However, people tend to look at the upfront cost of any new product – as well as the monthly payment of a lease or financing program – rather than the product's overall cost to own. As we've shared on many occasions, EVs are more affordable than people may think once all things are considered.
While the Tesla Model Y isn't cheap, neither are a majority of today's vehicles. In fact, the average price paid for a new car in the US in 2020 hit a record of $41,000. And, that's including all vehicles, not just crossovers and SUVs. We're talking about a figure that includes budget-friendly vehicles that are quite popular, like the Kia Soul, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Corolla.
If the stats included only SUVs, the average transaction price would be higher. If that number was based on premium/luxury SUVs, it would likely be more in line with the starting price of the Tesla Model Y. The Model Y starts at $54,990, though there's also a Performance version that carries a starting price of $61,990.
Analyzing a vehicle's total isn't an easy process. There are plenty of details to consider, such as fuel, maintenance, repairs, and residual value. However, the largest chunk of a new car's total ownership cost, aside from its upfront price, is gasoline. If you could stop buying gasoline entirely, especially as the price of gas is steadily rising, you could free up a nice chunk of change in your budget.
Tall Tesla Guy has owned his Tesla for one year, and he's put about 15,000 miles on it. This gives him the perfect opportunity to share the ownership costs with us. He says that he's averaged about $36 per month for total charging costs, which is $432 per year (the EPA estimates $550, so he's in the ballpark). The EPA also says the average new car costs $1,750 per year to fuel, which is over four times what this Model Y owner paid.
The EPA says the Model Y will save you $6,000 in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new car. However, it all depends on how many miles you drive and the cost of electricity in the location you're charging the car.
As far as Supercharging is concerned, Tall Tesla Guy provides a few examples. He charged the car twice from 10% to 90% and it cost him less than $7 each time. This gave him about 300 miles of range. The average new car returns 27 mpg. The current average price of gas in the US is $3.34. So, traveling 300 miles would cost about $37. If you live in California, it would cost $50.
Keep in mind, while Tesla's vehicles are no longer eligible for the $7,500 US federal EV tax credit, most competing EVs still are. So if the Model Y is out of your budget, and/or you're not interested in the Model 3, consider another EV. However, make sure to check with a tax professional regarding how the credit works.