Tesla Model 3: Here’s The Cost Of Ownership For 1 Year: Video


What is the actual true cost of owning a Tesla Model 3 for one year?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the release of the $35,000 Tesla Model 3. Specifically, how does it compare to other competing EVs in terms of price, features, etc. There are so many variables involved, and while some of them come up in forums and in our comment section, others do not. In order to compare any car to another — at least in terms of what you get for your money — you have to look at the car’s true cost of ownership.

We don’t have the same data set for the Nissan LEAF or Chevrolet Bolt EV. In addition, this is not a Standard Model 3. Nonetheless, it’s rather interesting to take a look at what someone has spent over the course of one full year of ownership. Ben Sullins has broken it all down for us, including maintenance, charging, depreciation, insurance, and so on. Check out his video and the description below for all the details.

Video description via Teslanomics with Ben Sullins on YouTube:

ACTUAL Cost of Tesla Model 3 After 1 Year

After having my Model 3 for one year I thought it was time to share how much I’ve spent to date.

How Much I’ve Spent on my Tesla Model 3 in 1 year

  • Maintenance $0
  • Repairs $750
  • Insurance $1236
  • Loan $27,000
  • Interest $450
  • Depreciation $10,000 (16%)
  • Home Charging $312
  • Supercharging $170

Do we have any Nissan LEAF owners or Chevrolet Bolt EV owners out there that can provide the same information for one year cost of ownership? We’d love to compare numbers. Let us know in the comment section below.

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64 Comments on "Tesla Model 3: Here’s The Cost Of Ownership For 1 Year: Video"

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What kind of repairs is been made is there an warranty from the manufacture

He hit a curb. Watch the video. The analysis isn’t even legit.

It is a bit shaky. It certainly isn’t typical to include accident costs in industry standard “Cost of Ownership” numbers, like Edmund’s 5 year cost of ownership.

But if he hadn’t included the cost in his numbers, inevitably he would have gotten called out for not including it.

2018 LEAF S 9 month ownership extrapolated to 1 year & 12,000 miles:

Maintenance: $0
Repairs: $0
Insurance: $1300
Loan: $5510 ($350 down + $430/mo for 72 mo)
Interest: -$400 (0% interest less $100/qtr dividend (5.5% pa) on rebate checks)
Depreciation: -$7200 ($31,000 OTD less $23,000 Carmax price on 2018 S less $15,500 cash rebates from gov’t and PG&E)
Home Charging: $200 (~100 overnight charges ; each 8.4kWh @ $0.20)
ChargePoint: $50 (in Los Banos where there is no NCTC)

Total cost: -$540 (car is paying me still)

How didi you calculate it? But cheap car is not a fun car! In China, there are tons of low end electric cars. Tesla is a highly intelligent and comfort luxury car even it is expensive. But low end and high end are 2 different category

Sure. But, this is not a performance comparison. We’re strictly interested in the financial investment. As we turn more people on to EVs, of course we need to talk about performance. But, there are so many other aspects to consider. Cost of ownership is a huge one since many people don’t yet know if they can afford any EV. Then you have to look at interior comfort, cargo space, etc etc etc. It’s nice to be able to compare in as many ways as possible. Sadly, there are few battery-electric vehicles available on the U.S. market, and while people continue to complain about us comparing vehicles that are very “different,” there’s not that many to compare, and there are definitely very few that are “similar” in a number of ways.

It’s still a silly comp no matter how you twist it. People don’t buy Teslas to save money…at least not as main motivation. You don’t go from a Tesla to a Leaf the same way as you don’t go from a 5 series to a Corolla…but yes, all cars mentioned have 4 wheels and can take you to work…

Tesla’s not going to get me the 14.6 miles to work any faster, nor, I would argue given the excellence of Nissan’s e-Pedal, any more conveniently [no rush hour congestion here, thankfully]. 0 to 40mph the Leaf is no slouch, and that’s the sweet spot for performance, really.

Tesla is marginally safer I suppose but the chances of injury on my commute are miniscule to begin with.

Service life of a 50 or 60kWh battery will be a decade or more longer than the somewhat dodgy 40kWh battery in the Leaf but that’s $8000 to fix out of warranty and I’ll cross that bridge if & when I get to it.

If I had wider choices now (outside of boring 4-door CUVs etc), like a 50kWh Supra or 4-series BMW coupe, I would not be driving a Leaf. But I don’t, so I do.

Wow. This is exactly what we asked for. Thanks for sharing!

Ok Carmax apparently is insane.

Details on the rebates because that is more than I have ever heard of.

My 2013 Leaf. Repairs – $0. Charging 60,000 miles /3.5 = 17,000 KWH. Probably 2,000 were free (one work place has free charging). Average kwh price – $.06 (was $.05 for 5 of 6 years – TOU rate – yes that includes delivery). $900
4 tires – $700. Interest – $0.

Paid $32000 (roughly, by memory, with sales tax). $7500 TC. No state/utility.

Current value $6k? Closest car with similar mileage is $7500 at dealer.

Insurance $800 a year. $4800

Total $24,900 – 6 years; 60,000 miles

Skipped property taxes and state EV annual fee. $2300 or so. (4 years of $130 EV annual fee) + about $300 a year property tax (declines yearly)

What is a property tax on a car? Do you have to pay a yearly fee based on the value of the car or something? What state is that in?

Yes. It is an annual tax paid to your town of residence, and it varies widely depending upon the value of your car AND the township. One example state is Rhode Island.

Yes in Virginia we have to pay property taxes on our cars. Every year based on the current retail value. Property taxes on my 2016 Volt are about $300 a year. In Virginia BEV owners pay something like $61 a year in “Road user Taxes”.

$500 PG&E, San Joaquin Valley Air District $3000, $4500 California low-income rebate (teacher income here), $7500 Fed


Driving range – how many miles on a charge?

Does that change how much it costs?

Enough to get to the coast comfortably (with a recharge in Chowchilla, Santa Nella, or Watsonville) if I keep it under 65.

Not enough to get to LA, not until there are more chargers over the pass.

The occasional trip to LA is planned weeks in advance so the $150 car rental for that is no biggie.

Rather put the 500 miles on their car, innit

The HUGE factor for him is rebate for the central valley that was huge. I saw those, I can’t believe everyone didn’t jump on those!

I tell my coworkers, they aren’t listening, alas

Glad to see Ben still at $0 for maintenance, and I’m curious what the $750 in repairs represents. After 4.5 months and 19k miles I’m still at zero for R&M. Of course I’ve spent far more on charging than Ben, but I’ve also been able to enjoy driving my 3 a lot more! 😁

What have you done for your repair?

He scraped against a short wall that cost him $750 to fix.

depreciation is neither here nor there if you keep the car, but a real factor to consider is the lost interest income from all cash applied to paying the car off.

If the Tesla dude was making more money (risk-adjusted after-tax rate) in the market than his loan % he shoulda just kept the payments going.

Everything major I bought last year — car, phone, 55″ TV, new Z390M PC from newegg — is on 0% terms, LOL.

Looking at depreciation for the Model 3, I found a 2019 RWD LR for $53k when I can configure the same car on the Tesla site for $46k.

A second one is at $52k when I can build the same car for $46k.

And a AWD LR for $53,500 when I can build one for $51.500

So I am not sure where he is getting the $10k depreciation when so many are over pricing the car since they are in high demand. But all a person has to do is build out the car on the Tesla site, and get a new one for less.

I think you may have stumbled across a problem of trying to calculate depreciation based upon ASKING price, and not on SALE price.

People and car dealerships quite often list an asking price that is much higher than the final sale price. But only asking prices are public knowledge, and sale prices are only known by the sellers/buyers.

Those sound like asking prices that have no relationship to what the cars will sell for in the end.

How can you figure an operation cost when you’re not discussing total kw/h per miles driven and your billed electricity cost per kw/h?

Without giving accurate per mile, usage numbers at the charger wall connection, this cost analysis becomes just a waste of everyone’s time.

Also in this analysis, his solar investment is offsetting a significant amount of the electrical cost of operation and therefore making this total BS.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way knocking the energy production, conservation, and storage decisions he has made along the way that have greatly benefited his operation costs on the car. Not every tesla owner or perspective buyer has a solar array to reduce their cost of operation.

You made the point I was thinking about his solar panels and home charging outlet. He cannot state that his fueling costs are representative without considering the cost of the solar panels and specialized outlet. Just because they are a sunk cost to him does not mean they would be so for the majority of Model 3 drivers.

That 3 depreciated way more than $10K. It at least depreciated $7K if you live in CA because the second owner can’t get the incentives. On top of that since Tesla lowered the price effectively $3K when you factor in the price drop and tax credit phase out difference. The stated $10,200 only accounts for this and doesn’t include he fact that it is a used car. Add another $5-10K on top of that.

Well, it also doesn’t seem to account for the incentives that he received either. So it is a bit of a wash.

If you knock off another 10K for incentives on the resale price, you have to knock off $10 for incentives off of what was paid.

What you’ve uncovered is that incentives tend to pass through to second buyers, and don’t actually contribute to the core depreciation rate for the initial buyer.

I have had my used leaf for 6 months.
Cost of repair and maintenance:$0
Home charging: $16/month.
Fast charging: $0.
Insurance:$550/6 months.
Interest: $0 (paid in full $11334)
Depreciation: $0 (carguru shows similar ad prices as my purchase price)

You must be young since you are paying $500+ for a $11k car.

Yeah, that’s close to hazard rates, for such a cheap car.
Well, at least the rates aren’t based on the car, must be the driver.

Beauty of buying a few years old used cars!! Nice.

This guy is really a spammer though. I won’t click on his videos.

How are you going to get his referral number if you don’t click on his videos??


The total give here is about as useful as throwing a dart at a dart board. Okay, so I guess he has a $750 deductible on his insurance, so when he hit the curb and had to get his car fixed, it cost him that much. But that doesn’t exactly help Joe Average figure out how much owning and driving a Model 3 for a year would cost, now does it?

There are lots of things that will vary widely from one region or one driver to another; cost of electricity, cost of insurance, how far it’s driven in a year.

And as discussed above, the $10,000 depreciation per year isn’t exactly realistic.

Depreciation is what kills EV’s. I have owned 4 Leafs, After 8 years they are basically worth nothing. What is also missing in the analysis is miles driven. The Leaf will never be driven as much as a Model 3 so the real number you need to look at is cost per mile after taking into account all costs.

It’s hard for them to be worth much when you could get them for under $15k as new after all credits.

Which is why used EVs are a bargain!

I think your reasoning from the specific to the general is flawed. The Leaf is well known for having inferior batteries, and a poor TMS.
Just look back 5 years at the Leaf stories here, and see all the comments.
Don’t try and put every car that’s an ev in the same basket as the Leaf, which, in regard to batteries is a basket case.

Primarily the 2011 and 2012 models. Substantial numbers of those had batteries replaced under warranty. Mine did and I expect will live a long life for the $7k I paid 3 years ago.

not to mention extremely limited range

How many miles a year vs charge cost?

Maintenance – Tesla requires (?) annual inspection, which can be paid for upfront with a 3 or 4 year plan, anyone know the cost of that, did Ben include a plan in his purchase cost, or has he missed the inspection.
Have always wondered what the inspection costs are for Teslas.

I think it works out to around $1000 a year or so.

So he should include that cost also? thanks.
$1,000 a year is high even for a gas car.
Think the Bolt really is zero as no visits are needed until 100,000 miles. Though tire rotation could be included.

@Boltup- what is this “inspection” cost you are referring to??

“Maintenance Plans
Advanced payment of annual service inspections via a Maintenance Plan is the most economical means of maintaining your vehicle. Model S and Model X Maintenance Plans may be purchased by logging into your Tesla Account or by visiting a local Tesla Service Center.

3-Year Maintenance Plan
Term: 3 years or 37,500 miles, whichever occurs first. Includes 3 inspections total, one every 12 months or 12,500 miles, whichever occurs first.

*The 3-Year Maintenance Plan can only be purchased for a new vehicle.

4-Year Maintenance Plan
Term: 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Includes 4 inspections total, one every 12 months or 12,500 miles, whichever occurs first.”

Those maintenance plans are only for the Model S and X. There are no plans for the Model 3. Here are the costs for the two major services at 2 years and 4 years:

2 Years / 25k miles Service is $425:
Brake fluid
Cabin air filter
A/C desiccant bag
Wiper blade replacement
Multipoint inspection

4 Years / 50k miles Service is $675:
above items plus Battery coolant

Tire rotations every 6250 miles (free at some tire centers)

If you click on the annual service inspections link at the top of that page, you will find this:

If I choose not to service my Tesla car, will this void my warranty?
It is highly recommended that you service your Model S or Model X every 12 months or every 12,500 miles, and your Model 3 every 24 months or 25,000 miles. If you do not follow this recommendation, your New Vehicle Limited Warranty or Used Vehicle Limited Warranty will not be affected.

Kenneth Bokor (EV Revolution Show - YouTube)
I can share some of my Leaf info. You can figure out depreciation. Since I purchased the car and plan to keep it for 8 years or at least for the battery warranty period, depreciation is meaningless for me. Cost of purchase financing and insurance are meaningless as it would be similar for a comparable ICEV car. In fact my Insurance was slightly cheaper than my last car and I will have paid off my car long before the financing end date. I was fortunate to be able to take advantage at my purchase time, of the Ontario EV Incentives, which were $14,000 CAD. So my out the door price (including all fees and taxes) on my 2018 Leaf SL with a couple of extra dealer installed options was $35,500 CAD. My operating costs/stats from May 14, 2018 to March 1, 2019 is as follows: – Total Mileage: 19,039 KMS – Total Net Energy Used for this distance, includes all DCFCing (net = all gross charging – recouperation/regen energy): 3,298 kWh – Total Costs for all charging (home and DCFC, home based on rate of 0.125 cents per kW – which is a bit high): $547.35 CAD – Average Economy… Read more »

Thanks Ken!

LOL. From the guy that uses Section 179’s federal deduction of $25,000 deduction for Model X because it weighs over 6,000 pounds.

Well done, but the results are not really relevant to most folks. Come on, living in San Diego with solar helping your power costs.

Try this in Michigan 😗

Expense for 2016 Ford Focus Electric Purchased December 7th, 2015 Maintenance in 3 years: 3 years $523.38 new Summer nonsquealing tires at 27,000 miles (I drive through a lot of roundabouts sportingly) Repairs 3 years: $90.00, remove hood dent that came from hi heel shoe! (Ring gear on differential replaced by Ford due to lack of proper coating. No charge, no rental offered, had to ride my motorcycle for 2 days.) Insurance for 3 years: $2118.48 Loan: $0 Paid cash from savings Interest: $0 Depreciation after 3 years: $20,000 Home charging for 3 years: $89.38 Honda Generator charging 1 gallon of gas: 3 years $2.98 (>15miles) Road Registration tax 3 years: $390 Maintenance: $443.38 tire cost (Sumitomo HTRZ III) + tax + shipping + installation & balance $80 = $523.38 4 new Sumitomo HTRZ III(non squealing!) tires Home charging: 12 rooftop solar panels provided 11,156 KW in 3 years. 37,323 miles driven in 3 years. Average about 3.1mile/Kw over a year. 37,323mi / 3.1mi/kw = 12,040kw used – 11,156 Solar Kw gen = 884kw – not solar generated 100kw over 3 years charged using free chargers= 784kw purchased from Duke power x at 11.4 cents a kw(includes tax & basic… Read more »

I bought a 2019 Nissan Leaf in December, although I really wanted to a Model 3, but could not justify spending an extra 20K to get one. I would be happy to track and report costs on first year of ownership.

Congratulations and excellent!

Well….with the tax-credit expiring, at least Tesla cars depreciate slower. 😉

(Gotta look at the bright side!)

I have had a 2018 LEAF SL for almost exactly a year, and here is my cost breakdown for the first year.

2018 Miles 9684
•Maintenance $0
•Repairs $0
•Warranty Repairs: NONE
•Insurance (full coverage) $440/yr.
•Annual Vehicle Registration: $415/yr.
•Lease per year: $4884
•Depreciation: N/A (lease cap cost: $31804, Residual: $17152, Rent: $14652
• Pubic Charging: $0 (3 year NoCharge2Charge Free public charging)
• Home Charging: $0 (3 year NoCharge2Charge Free public charging)
• Rebates: California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project $-2500, PGE Energy Efficiency Project: $-500 ($1000/yr)

Total costs Year 1: $4739
Cost/Mile Year 1: $0.489

Not bad, not bad at all. I’d like to see any Tesla beat that.

A lot of these “cost of ownership” compares tend to leave out registration cost. That can be significant in more expensive states.

2011 volt… 93 months of ownership 134,655.23 electric miles 103,563.28 gasoline miles 238,218.51 total miles $3,720.00 electricity ($40 per month fixed rate) $9,487.65 gasoline $13,207.65 total $0.06 per mile energy cost (what really counts) I have a 96 mile round trip for work, plus plenty of long distance vacations where I didn’t worry about charging and just burned gas. Per voltstats I get 34.76 mpg when burning gas. 267.58 oil changes (crazy low!!!) 1746.16 four sets of tires (includes regular rotation and balance) 2338.75 plugs-coils, one wheel hub (bearings), trans flush, battery temp sensor, 12v battery 2246.98 rear brakes, all four struts/shocks, radiator, 12v battery cable fried, headlamp bulbs (several) 588.11 headlamp bulbs (several), fixit tire, computer resets (low battery coolant, battery temp sensor, 12v battery going bad craziness), several sets of windshield wipers, etc $7,187.58 total maintenance or $927 per year (almost 8 years) $212 per year vehicle registration (it increased a lot couple of years ago when Michigan tacked on Electric car fees to offset lost gas tax) $1190 per year insurance (michigan has high car insurance – no fault – unlimited medical) All costs added up (including the volt $44,000 – $7,500 tax credit) – kbb.com estimate… Read more »

Hi there. I have seen videos of m1ktv0811 channel on YouTube . His name is Michael Subasic and this Canadian guy has shown all data about his nissan leaf ownership since 2011. If you contact him I am pretty sure he will be happy to share with you his data. I hope this will help.

Hi u forgot to mention
How many miles driven in one year