Tesla Model S Cost Of Ownership At 130,000 Miles


It’s pretty interesting to learn how much this Tesla Model S owner saved over a few short years.

We’ve been sharing our friend Sean Mitchell’s story with you from the beginning. To recap, he bought a used 2013 Tesla Model S with a 60 kWh battery pack. Over a few years, he racked up a ton of miles on the car. It wasn’t until after the fact that Sean learned he wasn’t properly caring for his battery, which Tesla recently replaced (and upgraded). Now, Sean shares the financial aspect of owning the Model S.

What we really appreciate about Sean’s work is that he takes his time and does his own detailed research. He doesn’t just crank out a bunch of trivial YouTube videos filled with opinion and misinformation. With the huge influx of YouTubers out there that don’t do their homework, this is a compliment to Mitchell. In addition, he admits that he’s learning himself and he’s open and welcome to the input of others.

With that being said, let’s fast forward to Mitchell’s most recent share. Would you believe it if we told you that his used Model S only cost him $14,000 to operate over about two years and 130,000 miles? In addition, it was 76 percent less expensive to fuel than an Audi A7. Nearly two-thirds of the money spent was on various tires, charging costs, and scheduled maintenance. This is clearly due to the huge amount of miles Sean accumulated in such a short time, in addition to needing seasonal tire changes to brave the Colorado elements. Sean provides a nice outline that breaks all of this down in simple terms.

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

Video Description via Sean Mitchell on YouTube:

  • Cost of Tesla over 130,000 miles (209K km)
  • Cost of Tesla over 130,000 miles About the car:
  • 2013 Model S
  • Purchased used at 16,000 miles
  • Free Supercharging included
  • Certified Pre-owned with 4 year 50,000 mile manufacture warranty
  • 8 year unlimited mile battery and motor warranty


19 photos
Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Michael's Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S, Image Credit: Tesla Tesla Model S Tesla Model S, Image Credit: Tesla Tesla Mode Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S Tesla Model S P100D Inside the Tesla Model S, Image Credit: Tesla Tesla Model S Interior, Image Credit: Tesla Inside a Tesla Model S

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68 Comments on "Tesla Model S Cost Of Ownership At 130,000 Miles"

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Why Tesla only offer 4 year 50,000 mile warranty on a EV that is supposed to be extremely reliable by nature

Seems to be in line with competition from Mercedes and BMW.
At least there is an 8-year warranty on the battery.

The battery and motor (which is what Tesla is known for) are unlimited miles and 8 years, so more than other manufacturers. The rest of the car is the same as an ICEV and these little things always break and cost money regardless of manufacturer

Why does Honda only offer 3 year 36,000 mile warranties on their reliable cars? It is all they need to offer. A 4 year 50,000 mile warranty is pretty industry standard. The batteries are much longer of course.

Toyota offers the same basic warranty as Honda, but Toyotas are so reliable and offer so much for the money, who cares? My two Camrys have been great. My current Camry is going on 50k miles and looks and feel like it’s just a year old.

Really? “Toyota’s are so reliable”.

Just today Toyota have recalled 2.4 Million PHEV’s worldwide and that’s not their only recall this year…. I think you should look at the data before relying on historic norms.

Why offer more when you’re supply constrained? This would negatively affect the financials.

If they were supply constant d they wouldn’t have to offer such expensive incentives such as free super charging for life of the car or extended warranties,. Still,pretty impressive vehicle,I see mostly S with a few X and very rare 3 at my supercharger I visit daily on my walk of my dog. I love to see the happy Teslas ,quietly slurping down the free, mostly, electricity.It is just amazing that the 3 is so rare in downtown Las Vegas,but they pay for their meal, while the others get it free,mostly.
If I just wait a year, there will be more 3’s.
In a few years, we will gave some more large utility scale ,solar PV plants so that in the 10am to 5pm time period, their juice will be less Carbon intensive.

They no longer offer free supercharging in general. Occasional offers on specific variants are to steer demand towards these variants, not an indication of a general lack of demand…

Sure it should be 25 yeas warranty, what a fool comments.

This is the warranty on a *used* car, not a new one.

It’s a lot cheaper to drive an ev, who knew.

Only a few apparently…

No mention of depreciation

Depreciation in this case can only be assessed when the vehicle is sold, or finally taken out of service.
It has just gotten a replacement battery, which will be a positve aspect towards depreciation.
That said, Model S generally has a very low rate of depreciation when compared to similar priced cars of other manufacturers, but of course the individual car is as always depending on wear and tear and potential history of fender benders, depending on the driver.

It’s the S man, the depreciation is much better than the luxury gassers. On their website they sell 4 year old cars for 50-60% of original price! Go to a BMW or Benz and you get 30-40% left. Not to mention that in many cases there are incentives to be deducted from the depreciation amount.
Why are people so dense at math?

I dunno 😧😦🙁☹️😲🤑😕

Audi A7 it’s more luxury, best competitor is the Audi A6 – that in the latest model is still pretty more luxury than the Tesla.
It’s not accurate to use the acquisition price as a match between EVs and ICEs. Per example a $35k Nissan leaf is like a $25k ICE car.
Electric cars cost more upfront and that must be taken into account.
Also Sean used to supercharge the car daily (at least from what I could understand), that it’s maybe 30 minutes a day – that time even if not always completely a waste (lunch time, making phone calls, …) must still have a cost and making the Tesla average speed very low.

I’m a big fan of EVs but we should be fair.

A7 is similar in size to the Model S (and a bit cheaper). More buttons, more vibration and more noise of the drivetrain does not equal more luxury in my opinion, so a comparison of Model S to A7 seems fair to me, they both play in the class of large luxury sedan in the US, albeit Model S has a higher marketshare.
But as it is about fuel cost as per the article, the A6 (which is way cheaper than the A7) uses similar amouts of fuel in daily driving as the A7, so the savings statement remains correct.

Luxury is not just about the interior.
Yes Audi interior is more luxurious, that is indisputable.
And Tesla lack of noise and vibration is more luxurious. Smooth acceleration is more luxurious. Ability to keep the AC on when parked and return to a cool car is more luxurious.

It’s not as one sided as you describe.

Search for “Sounds Levels Compared – Tesla Model 3, Model X, Honda Civic”
Model 3 was a just a bit less noise than a Honda Civic that is 3 times cheaper.
I doubt the model S gets even close of the silent and ride quality of the Audi A6 at speed… And have in mind that Tesla is priced like a model A8… but there are important gains in fuel, so I’m not going to make the same mistake of compared based on the same price – let’s do it with the Audi A6.

You contradict yourself.
Now you claim that the Model S is priced like an A8 and that is why it should be compared to an A6?
Noise is not just wind at superfast highway speed but also noise pollution when cruising through a silent neighborhood at night. In an EV, you can hear wind and tire noises at high speed. In ICE, the engine drowns that out.

I’m not contradicting myself.
What I’m saying is that indeed the model S is priced like the A8 that is undoubtedly a lot more car.
But to be fair with the Tesla that costs a lot less in fuel/recharge, I say that the A6 is a better comparison.
This site, the video by Sean in this case are cherry picking a lot of times. It’s not fair to select an ICE of the same price for comparing costs and use a Honda Civic to compare per example interior noise (like this site did for the model 3 – that costs roughly 3 times more).

I’ll say it again, EVs cost more upfront and what is to be seen is if that fuel saving make up for that difference.

A post found on TMC forum:

Am I the only one or does everyone experience wind noise in their Model S. My wife always asks me if I have a window open when on the highway. Not sure if its the sunroof or just the poor design of not using door frames but my car is definitely not quiet like my wife’s MB…

No noise here. Slightly better than my previous f11

Jean-Baptiste Labelle

The A7 is the coupé version of the A6. They have IDENTICAL interior and powertrain.
I am coming from an Audi A6, and I do not find the interior of my Tesla less “luxurious”. It does not have 48 buttons though… 😂

A Ferrari is 10 times more expensive than the cars you mentioned, and if you haven’t been in one they are not luxurious.

Nothing you mentioned makes his comparison unfair… Of course EVs are more costly up front; and they certainly have some disadvantages (along with various advantages) — but none of this affects the cost of use. The point of a comparison like this is to show that with higher mileage at least, the lower cost of use can easily offset the higher upfront cost.

$14,000 over two years and 130,000 miles seems a lot more than I’d expect actually. But I guess I’ve never owned a “Luxury” car, and the service costs are significantly higher than a mainstream brand?

So when you have never owned a luxury car, why do you demand to compare Model S to Audi A6?
And why is everyone guessing around here? Servicing luxury cars is quite expensive, especially the German brands once they get older than five years.

I didn’t demand anything. The A6 and Model S comparison was part of the article was it not?

And yes, that’s what I said – mainstream to me is Honda/VW/Toyota, not the “luxury” brands like BMW and MB, who I’m reticent to buy because I can’t justify the servicing costs – same for me with Tesla, as the article confirms.

I’d expect an EV to cost a lot less than $14k for that mileage, especially when most of the electricity is free, but then a Tesla costs a lot to service.

Obviously different cars have different maintenance histories, so to some extent “Your mileage may vary” on the maintenance cost.

But overall, the consensus from many discussions on the Tesla Motors Club forum seems to be that maintenance on Tesla’s cars averages significantly less than maintenance on most — but not all — similarly priced luxury models of gasmobiles.

Those who are trading in their Beemer or Benzo on a Tesla car, may find a pleasant surprise in lower maintenance cost. Those who are trading in a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Accord… probably not. Of course we keep seeing reports from Tesla owners saying things like “I’ve had my car for two years and haven’t spent a dime on maintenance”, but I think it’s safe to say such reports are outliers.

Sure, BEVs have a simpler powertrain which is less prone to breakdown. But other than the powertrain, all those luxury gadgets and geegaws on Tesla cars are just as expensive, and just as prone to malfunction or breakage, as gadgets and geegaws on luxury gasmobiles.

Let’s see whether the Model 3 with its simplifications will turn out more reliable 🙂

Tires are atrociously expensive as you go to larger, lower profile tires. From the screen cap picture, it looks like the guy has the 21″ rims … you can save a very significant amount of maintenance expense by choosing the 19″ rims for your Tesla.

You know – the 21’s aren’t that bad. OE on Tirerack is $250 vs $215 for the 19s. The treadwear is worse at 340 vs 500 so it adds up.
I put my 19s at 2.5 cents a mile. 21’s are probably 4 cents a mile. So large percentage increase but for 100,000 miles it is an extra $1500

Large percentage increase, as you say, and a significant percentage of the costs for that 100,000 miles. And then you can expect that extra cost to go up even more if you do any one of a number of things that will cause premature tire wear or failure.

Aggressive driving will reduce the tire life dramatically. 21″ rims are far more prone to getting damaged by curbs or pot-holes, which if you hit one hard enough you may need to replace both the rim and the tire. Failure to rotate the tires (if even possible on a given car, it’s not on the Performance models) can cause uneven wear and early replacement.

I live in the mountains where there are constant curves in the road, and I’ve never come close to getting the expected wear out of a tire that the manufacturer promises. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Not surprised to see that the cost to run the car was way lower. On top of all of the advantages that EVs have, he also had free super charging for life.

The comparison would be more useful for someone who has to pay for super charging.

I would suggest that the ‘free’ supercharging is part of the higher initial price.

Tesla initially charged $2000 for unlimited Supercharger access, but later said that was standard and included in the price of the car.

“Would you believe it if we told you that his used Model S only cost him $14,000 to operate over about two years and 130,000 miles? ”

That is still lot. Way cheaper than typical luxury car, but compared with a much lower price vehicle, it is a lot more.

I am only bringing this up because some Tesla fans have been arguing that Model S can be so cheap that its TCO is on par with ICE vehicles that cost $20K to $30K less upfront. Well, this just shows that isn’t really the case. It is cheaper than comparable ICE vehicles…

130,000 miles is $13,000 in fuel costs alone for an efficient ICE car (30MPG, $3/Gal). That’s not counting tires, oil, maintenance.

Jean-Baptiste Labelle

In Europe, 200 000km is roughly 22000€ of diesel or 26000$.
14000$ with maintenance and tyre included is just dirty cheap!!!

What about oil changes, replacement exhaust bits?

Who has to repair their exhaust at 130,000 miles and two years? Some may, but you’re pretty unlucky if you do. Exhausts are more age dependent (rust) than mileage.

11 Oil changes at <100 each, so around $1000

When you live in France, maybe … Not all Europe has your shitty gas prices

Great point, LS. I confirmed the math for anyone to lazy to check. 🙂

People who pay that much for a sports sedan don’t give a damn about operating costs. Unlike them, I’m not willing to waste that much money on a car. That’s one reason why my last two cars have been Camrys. Another reason is top notch reliability.

I’d be willing to buy an EV for a premium from a major manufacturer (preferably Toyota or Honda), but only when solid-state arrives and recharging times are drastically reduced.

I used to be stupid like that then I realized that with the gas savings and the reliability of evs it’s not worth it keeping my reliable Lexuses any longer. Monthly payments to OPEC and unnecessary maintenance costs compared to free fuel of my pv and the joy of electric driving. By the time you switch (if ever) i will be $20k+ in savings compared to you driving your gassers. Thanks for playing!

So only half the price difference between his Camry and a Model S then?

Makes sense for his to keep his. 😉

Coming from a Camry, the recommended vehicle would be the entry model of Tesla, Model 3. Or one of the soon to come 60 kWh Nissan Leaf, or a Bolt.

True, but the entry model isn’t available yet, so he’s just broken even with the $20,000 depending on specific models.

I will be available way way sooner than “solid state” or any other arbitrary meaningless goalpost he sets.

I didn’t even cross my mind to compare his Camry with the S…i was referring to an equivalent like the bolt ot Leaf. Why would you compare them anyway, not the same class.

Because it’s an article about an S, and people buying Lexus would usually be looking at something more “luxury” like an S, instead of what is essentially a $20,000 Hatchback (Nissan Pulsar), a totally different class of vehicle to the Camry.

Next up, how I saved money moving from a Full sized Pickup to Chevy Cruz… Who knew the Cruz would have a cheaper TCO!?;)

Lol… I don’t know…i wanna see the math….how many zeros?

Says the serial anti-Tesla, Andy Lice.

No one is forcing you to buy an EV nor does anyone care when or if you buy one. Keep on driving your noisy piece of crap Camry -throw away your money on fuel, oil and fliter changes, and brake jobs all while destroying our environment – power down bro.

A Camry is an inherently dangerous car. There is a significantly higher chance of falling asleep or even having your heart stop spontaneously due to the absolutely dull driving experience.

Then you will be waiting quite a while Al, in the mean time a lot of us will be driving Tesla’s and other EVs around with huge smiles on our faces while you drive a….Camry.

ONLY $14,000 for two years? Man, my old Prius cost <$1000 for two years. My 2017 Bolt stands at $0 for two years of ownership.

For 130000 miles? I’m sure his S would be at 0 too if he garage it for 2 years…

My old diesel does 39mpg and would still cost me about 16700 euros or 19000 dollars just to fuel it for 130000 miles.
Tesla is really cheap to run! Just need a bank job to get the money to buy it first :))) Anyways the future is electric! Peace to you all !!!

Yeah this particular article would not apply to me, for instance… In my area, in the wintertime, the door handles would constantly break, as Confirmed by my nearby Canadian friends who are well healed enough that they trade in their Teslas every 3 years so that way the “Bumper to Bumper” warranty is always in effect.

Out of warranty, the presenting door handles are $1200 a pop to replace, so if all 4 handles always ‘present’ (S owners would have to tell me if it is possible to only make the driver door ‘present’ during wintertime to save needless problems) that is $4800 each time it Sleets.

There was some video here that showed an ‘onion skin’ thick layer of ice being no problem for the door handles, but that was as deceptive as the old SUNOCO Ads that showed an ICE car enclosed in a Block of Ice when those are HOT conditions in the wintertime where I live.

But I could believe that people in San Diego or Miami would have low total cost of ownership.

Yeah, anyone who buys an out of warrant Model S thinking they’re going to have low ownership costs is really rolling the dice, even in moderate climate.

It’s important to know how much you drove in those two years. That makes a difference.

I had a 2012 Audi 7. I sold it to get my P3D.

The A7 cost us 13k/year over 6 years. I had to replace the timing chain, cat. converters and 02 sensors. Other stuff went wrong. I got 10k for the car when I sold it. It was in mint condition, but it had 150k miles. The $13k/year factors includes the $10k I got when I sold the car.

When factoring in the savings from rebates, gas, oil changes, and moving parts that I won’t have to replace, our P3D will cost us $4700/year over 6 years. This doesn’t include that the car will still be worth something and that the batteries will most likely still be under warranty.

I’ve had an Audi TT, S4, and S6. The P3D makes all those cars, including the 2012 A7 seem like cars from a long time ago.

We couldn’t afford not to buy our P3D.

The Model 3 is quite a bit smaller though? Should compare it to an A4 I guess, which would be a bit less expensive… though probably still way more than the Model 3.

I’m Surprised at some of the repairs it needed for a Not So Old Car.ie: Front suspension (*!@#$%%$^&*((*CRAZY ! Brake Calipers?? Roof Leak…..RF Mirror .,,Door handle Lite $159..??? …But the Fuel savings are Nice ..