Teslanomics Tesla Model 3 Survey Results In From Over 100,000 … Video

Tesla Model 3


Ben Sullins of Teslanomics took the time to analyze over 100,000 responses to his Tesla Model 3 configuration survey and the results are in.

People jumped on Sullins’ opportunity to share their Model 3 configurations. Users selected car color, wheels, Premium Upgrades, and Autopilot. Somewhat shockingly, Ben’s data revealed that the average monthly Model 3 budget will ring in around a whopping $900. So much for an affordable electric car right? There’s more to consider though … read on.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

As we previously reported, Sullins’ Model 3 monthly cost calculator also factors in range based on driving style, charging costs, and insurance.

For this reason, the actual monthly loan payment will not be $900, so don’t be mislead by the larger-than-expected figure. This also doesn’t mean that nobody plans to configure a less expensive Model 3, they’ll just have to wait a long time to get it.

Nonetheless, Ben’s estimator is a really great tool to know exactly how much it might cost you each month to own a Model 3, with all things considered.

The survey dug up some pretty interesting/surprising information:

  • 75 percent chose a 60-month loan, 10 percent chose 72 months
  • Half chose black as the paint color
  • 60 percent chose aero wheels
  • 60 percent chose the Premium Package
  • 50 percent opted out of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving
  • 49 percent plan to choose the Long Range model
  • When determining the loan payment, a $5,000 down payment was used (so $900 is actually low if you plan on putting less down)

Video Description via Teslanomics by Ben Sullins on YouTube:

I analyzed data over 100,000 responses to what options people say they’ll choose for their Model 3 and the average price is going to be around 900 per month….probably more than you thought right?

A couple weeks ago I launched my Model 3 Cost calculator (https://teslanomics.co/model3cost2) to help you calculate your real monthly cost of owning a Model 3.

In the calculator, you can select all the options you want, add in the taxes, fees, insurance cost, and even driving habits to get a detailed estimate of your Model 3 monthly cost. In the first two weeks over 100K times people submitted their choices. Being the data geek I am, I logged all of that so we can go through it and see what people decided.

When it comes to color almost 50% of you chose black, which is the free option so I’m not sure if you’re just cheap or if you actually like it? Rounding out the top 3 you have Midnight Silver Metallic and Deep Blue Metallic

For the wheels over 60% of you chose Aero! ARGGHHH! I’m guessing that’s because you saw the video of how they’re actually hubcaps. It turns out you can remove them to a decent looking wheel underneath.

Almost 60% of you said you want to upgrade to the premium package which adds $5,000 to the cost but also should get your car delivered sooner.

When it comes to the battery it looks like the Standard option with 220mi is the winner here which I can’t agree with. I understand 9K is a lot for the upgrade, but as someone with a Model S that gets just 200mi on a charge I can attest that I wish I had went bigger.

As for autopilot I was shocked that nearly 50% of you don’t want even the convenience features. For me, this was surpassing because honestly if you’re okay without this, you might be able to find a used Model S for cheaper.

75% of you listed 60 months or 5 years as your loan term which makes sense, with just over 10% of you choosing 72mo or 6 years which is lower than expected.

For driving both Europe and the US reported an average daily commute of 40mi. In the future, I’m going to add an option to list that in Kilometers to make it more accurate.

Adding all of those choices up plus an average interest rate of 4.5%, tax of 8.25%, down payment of $5,000 (incl. $1K deposit) you’re looking at a monthly cost of just under $900.

That breaks down to 736 in the payment, about 35 in charging and 120 of insurance.

I still need to add a couple of missing options like AWD and the Performance package which we know are coming, but we don’t have official pricing from Tesla yet.

Of course, once we get official word on those I’ll update the calculator so to make sure you get notified once that happens – go to teslanomics.co/join and get on our email list.

Source: Teslarati, Teslanomics

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53 Comments on "Teslanomics Tesla Model 3 Survey Results In From Over 100,000 … Video"

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736 a month car bye, I’m not paying for that. Let’s see if the leaf have a better lease or buy option

400k reservations sounds fine but when time comes to pony up the dough and people see what it will actually cost many will back down. It’s not $35k for a smaller model S. When people add every feature they want+range the cost will be far higher than people expected.
So Tesla wanting to sell 500k model 3’s per year, it’s not going to happen. And now the competition is stiffening up with most big car manufacturers launching long range EVs in the same price bracket in a year or two.

That’s a great point. Price creep is a real thing. I looked at a Bolt a couple weeks ago, initially planning on starting with the LT, figured I could get into one in the mid $30’s (at most). After seeing the beyond cheap seats in the LT, the Premier became my target. And then the roll-ups happened. By the time I was done, I was looking at low $40’s. After putting $15k down, I was still looking at a payment around $450 per month. Oh, and the sneaky little surprise of the crazy registration cost in Nevada based on MSRP. For a $42k car it’s $700 for the first 2 years! That’s an additional $60 per month on top of the payment. Once you factor the additional expense of insuring a brand new car, the math didn’t add up.. Then I realized, for less than the ENTIRE down payment for the Bolt I could pay cash for a low mileage 2014 Premium Volt. At the end of the day, EV owners are folks who are used to being patient and good stewards of their households and pocketbooks. We gotta ask ourselves, are we trying to replace the word “want” with… Read more »

IMO I don’t want any new vehicle, I need an EV to reduce my emissions on a daily basis because I care about leaving my offspring a cleaner planet.

Amen brother. A big part of that problem is the fact that Americans don’t use products to the end of their product life anymore. I believe there’s a Volt right now that just rolled over 400k miles with just the slightest reduction in battery storage capacity. And the car STILL has plenty of usable life left.

Granted, I’m aware that if everyone drove their EV in this fashion, the production of these cars would be (potentially) way less. But maybe not, considering how untapped the EV market still is.

Think about this sobering fact: over HALF of Americans have less than $1000 saved at this very moment:


Guess how much the new iPhone costs? Answer- $1000

That’s right over half of Americans don’t have $1000 cash because they are busy spending and getting fat-diabetic on junk food and sugary drinks LOL and of that 50% that do have $1k saved 3% are busy buying and hoarding guns&ammo LOL

“Then I realized, for less than the ENTIRE down payment for the Bolt I could pay cash for a low mileage 2014 Premium Volt.”

That’s where I am at. I have been saving for the Mod3 for the last couple of years. At a point where I can go buy a decent used Volt. I keep telling myself that the Volt isn’t going to drive me around. So I keep saving, but after seeing the prices it’s for a ‘used’ Mod3.
I also think/hope that once they get into mass production, and start getting some real competition, they will lower the price on the extras. We’ll see.

Good call. At least you’re really weighing out ‘want’ and ‘need’ to spend that kinda cash to simply be driven around. Especially when you consider the instant unrecoverable depreciation loss to add self-driving features into your vehicle.

I’ve driven myself around my entire life, it will be some time before I ‘need’ to have a car drive me around.

Real smart. Adding a lot of options makes a model three expensive, therefore I will get a Nissan leaf that doesn’t even offer these options.

I just ran the cost calculator for my own case, and an unoptioned Model 3 loan payment was just US $469.33.

So, not so bad if you don’t option it up.

What were the terms of the loan? Because $27.5k at 2% is $482 per month. But that price would be without including tax and fees…

You’re still looking at $500 per month- for one car.

Actually, I am looking at an estimated US $631.93 per month after insurance and charging — the loan payment runs US $469.33.

I didn’t change any options on tax figures, or the loan itself — 60 months at 4.5% — but I figured a rather large payment down, US $13500. For me, that is likely to be a bit low; I already have US $1000 for the reservation, will need to pay an additional amount to confirm the order (US $2500?), and I already have a chunk saved specifically for the down payment.

As I said, I ran numbers on my own specific case. Other folks will make different choices.

That makes sense, I figured your estimate had to include a decent down payment. And that was the dilemma I was in- is the simple driving satisfaction worth $500 per month, for 6 years? Maybe if I was driving something with a Tesla badge, but not a Bolt.

Even considering a Tesla, earlier retirement is pretty compelling…

Sounds like he’s surprised people made decisions that save them money. And his surprise about Autopilot and Full Self-Driving forgets they can be bought and activated later, and the latter most likely won’t be up and running for a few more years anyway.

In other words, seems like a lot of folks who put down a deposit can afford a $35,000-$40,000 car, but can’t necessarily afford a $45,000-$50,000 car. No reason to hate on them just because they’re budget-limited.

You’ve described my dilemma.

I had a 12 Leaf, which instilled true range anxiety + climate anxiety in me. I know any Tesla has a better engineered battery than that, but I also know that the resale value of a short-range Model 3 will pale beside that of a long-range Model 3.

Even if I considered a used Model S, I find myself ignoring the 60 kWH version because of its relatively short range.

My Model 3 configuration came out pretty high, and it’s hard for me to justify such a monthly payment.

I suspect a lot of reservation holders will eventually cancel (vs my previous opinion), simply because the cost is getting out of hand.

And another point: Tesla is proving to be an exciting, but unstable company. I’m becoming very reluctant to spend upwards of $50k+ on a car that is currently being hand-built by a company I’m not sure can support it easily once I have it. I’m concerned about the unfinished quality of the car (to date), and the poor ergonomics (single screen, no gauge cluster) is bothersome.

Or continue driving your Volt and wait 5 years and invest that $736 per month at a conservative 6% return. 5 years from now you’ll have just over $50 grand you can pay cash on a gently used loaded CPO Model 3 with ALL the whistles and bells. Oh, and likely have $5-10 grand left over. Oh, and while driving your new Model 3 you can continue saving $736 per month for retirement. All done by simply waiting a short 5 years.

Heck, a decent Model 3 won’t even become available for most until the end of 2018 so how long are we really talking about waiting?

You’re welcome.

This works even better if you’ve got some huge SUV, sell it, and lease a Leaf, and then put that money in the bank and enjoy the fuel savings from the Leaf, and then buy a Tesla in 3 years.

Now you’re talking! And considering the number one selling vehicle in America is the F-150, the savings become profound.

I was originally brought into the EV fold because I sharpened my pencil. The cost savings provided by long-term ownership (this is important) of EV’s is rarely talked about on this site, but in my opinion, it’s one of the most powerful tools in winning over the ICE masses.

To put it bluntly: except for recently added solar and my home, my Leaf and Volt are the only material purchases in my life that have ever worked to return money back in my pocket. They sit in the garage, quietly waiting to help my family, not take away. They never really ask for anything, and the only time they get my attention, it’s to tell me, “Here’s some money Dad.”

So, if one waits a year (end of 2018), until the Model 3 fulfills all of its existing preorders, then the “decent Model 3” will be available to any and all.

There will be some decent alternative choices to the 200 mile+ / under $50k Tesla Model 3 in early 2019. Once Nissan gets their 200 mile 2019 Leaf (60kWh), and the other ICE legacy OEMs put out their 200 mile catch up EVs, the Tesla Model 3 technology lead will not be as profound with its premium price/range/charging infrastructure advantage.

There is no evidence that Nissan will have an EPA-rated 200+ mile ranged Leaf in 2019; the much-touted Leaf 2 introduced just a month ago does have a better range than the original leaf, but I believe it is still below 170 miles of range. And I have to wait and see how well the new Nissan battery pack holds up over time; they have a miserable record on the original Leaf. Here is hoping. BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo, & etc — I will believe it when I see it; so far all we have is concept cars and promises. If they do materialize, they will have a very hard time competing against a full-production Model 3 for at least three reasons. 1st} The supply chain for the Model 3 is already built, including the hard-to-supply batteries. Until battery supply expands, other manufacturers will be battery constrained on their production & that will drive up their costs. 2nd} At 5k units per week the Model 3 is designed to deliver a gross margin in excess of 20% to Tesla; if they meet their production goals, then they will be able to cut the price of the base model 3 substantially.… Read more »

I couldn’t agree more J.L.,

Tesla has about a decade lead on the laggard OEMs in the compelling BEV space and is having great success in executing their mission of disruption and driving sustainable transport.

Forever people have been saying that 200 miles is enough for something like 90% of the people. Now this guy is proclaiming shock at 220 miles being enough for most? Remember too that with the battery comes tax and insurance (likely) for a pricier car.

Indeed, it does seem that EV advocates keep demanding more and more range from their PEVs.

But actually that’s a good thing, at least so long as the average PEV range is less than 300 miles, which is the minimum range for gasmobiles. (That is, in general, gasmobiles are built to have a tank big enough to give them at least 300 miles of range.)

Let’s keep in mind that those who currently own PEVs are very much the early adopters, and early adopters are willing to put up with difficulties and inconveniences which the average person wouldn’t put up with.

Increasing the average range of PEVs will increase the market potential for the cars.

Actually no, the real shock was the sticker price for the added 25 KWh of battery, 9000 $.
That means 360 $/KWh when Tesla say that they are bellow 145 $/KWh. No one was expecting to see a 148 % margin taken on such a fundament improvement as the battery.
It was even not expected that the overall 25% margin would also be taken on the battery extension, but even 25% would have give a price 4531 $ not 9000 $.
When you add taxes and VAT upon that the battery extension price just skyrocket far above most people’s expected budget for, so only the ones that really need it still take it.

This is where a good Tesla lease would come in, and since you’re only. buying 3 years of use, the payments would be lower, and you could option up the bigger battery. But, the leases don’t typically come out till six months later.

I confirgure an model S and the lease was more the buy option.

What the hell is wrong with you, man? You really know nothing about finances? You are obviously not American since you are not familiar with these terms but you keep talking about them which make you look like a fool.

Actually I’m from northeast Ohio boy. Sorry that Tesla is not afforable. I wish it was

Mark, perhaps you don’t realize just how hostile and condescending your remarks come across here. Do yourself a favor, and tone it down… a lot.

“An ignorant person is one who doesn’t know what you have just found out.” — Will Rogers

I do realize, they are intended to be that way.

LOL!! I feel your frustration.

At a certain point in a Lord of the Flies environment, that’s all that is left.

What is surprising and stupid here is the 49% that choose the extended range. The only explanation is that some have too much money and simply don’t care about what they spend on the car. Considering how well the Tesla charging network covers the US i can not find an excuse to pay the extra $9k for the 90 miles.

Well I think a lot of upper income people want to get a loaded Model 3 as it delivers 90 plus% of what a much more expensive Model S does.

My plan is to probably get the smaller battery version and maybe later upgrade the pack if that becomes a reasonable option sometime in the future.

I think there’s another explanation here. You can get the extended range now and get the full fed credit which gets the option price down to $1500 or wait and risk getting only half of the credit or less with the base model 3. Looking at things from that perspectives makes taking this option a bit less stupid.

What Mark said. The math is pretty between choosing a 310 range with full credit vs. even half credit for a 220 range version.

And it isn’t just range that is increased. It is faster charging, faster acceleration, a bigger onboard charger, etc.

With better resale value, you will probably keep most of the cost of the upgraded battery anyways. Although not having AWD might negate some of that resale advantage over the long term.

Mark.ca said:

“What is surprising and stupid here is the 49% that choose the extended range.”

If there’s anything that’s “surprising and stupid” here, Mark, it’s EV advocates who don’t seem to understand the many advantages of having a bigger battery pack:

1. Longer range before you have to stop and recharge

2. Faster charging speeds when you do have to stop en-route

3. Greater flexibility in using the vehicle, as opposed to using a gasmobile instead

4. Longer battery life

5. Higher resale value

Those people you’re calling “stupid” clearly understand something you do not.

Push, a bigger battery is wonderful but still wieght a ton after the charge is low, driving a big battery around is efficient

If smaller lighter batteries were better, we would all be driving iMiev’s.

In reality, Tesla made their 310 mile big battery Model 3 into a 126 MPGe economical leader, with acceleration that crushes all other BEV’s (excluding other Tesla’s). So the weight issue clearly isn’t holding it back.

There are some more extra advantages like better aging and most of all a clear improvement in return range when you need to go somewhere but don’t have a supercharging possibility and need to come back home on the same day or even immediately if it is to bring something or drop of a person somewhere. Return range going from 110 miles to 155 miles is a very big advantage that many overlook. The area covered by a 155 miles return range is 100% larger, not 50% larger, as the battery energy ratio would falsely suggest.
A good return range is a fundamental data that make it much easier for a single car family to go ev since it finally allow ditching the otherwise needed reserve gas car or need for a hybrid drive system.

Anyone who is thinking about taking out a 6 year loan to buy an asset that will depreciate faster than a melting ice-cube over the life the loan has rocks in their head.

That type of loan is quite common with more expensive cars and trucks. With the current low interest rates it can make sense. Some manufacturers have 0% interest loans so don’t be so jumpy.

Depreciation is hard to predict but…

Are you really expecting >50% depreciation in 3 years?

There is going to be a pretty nice floor on used longer range EV prices. Especially if gas prices climb or government incentives like HOV or congestion charges continue or increase.

Nearly free fuel helps the used market more than the new one.

I don’t know after 3 years but due to the long waiting list it is likely that the Model 3 will rather experience an appreciation just after sale than depreciation.
That is especially the case for the early reservation vehicles.
So that initial appreciation will first have to be nixed before any depreciation set in.
Since the Model 3 is full electric and particularly with the bigger battery the longevity will be very good and at least way more than 6 years. Keeping it 15 years would certainly be possible with some good care.

There are a few oddities in Ben’s survey that I found interesting, but overall a very nice, very well done survey, with a massive sample size. 1) It looks like he used an average interest rate from Bankrate dot com of 4.5% (which is legit). But currently Tesla’s lending rate for the S/X is 1.49%. It will be interesting to see if Tesla will finance the Model 3 at the same 1.49%, and beat those average interest rate numbers. That would lower costs. https://www.tesla.com/support/tesla-lending 2) There wasn’t a section for trade-in allowance. Just cash down. And right now used car and truck values are super high, with the median used car and truck transaction price being $19,189. Even if you cut that down to $15000 or less for trade-in value or private party sale price, that would greatly cut down people’s payments. It isn’t clear how many people factored their trade in into the cash down category. The numbers seem well below average. https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/auto-industry/used-car-prices-reached-all-time-high-in-2016.html 3) Destination and Doc fee (the equivalent of manufacturer shipping fee, plus dealership doc fee) defaults to 1200. But the pictures of window stickers and the early on-line configurator show $1000. (Although I certainly understand why… Read more »

Remember the 3 is competing against other luxury car models. How much do the other luxury cars cost?

Reason why so many opt out of Autopilot?

It is way to expensive. 6k USD is ridiculous for a 35 k car.

Price for options should be proportional to base price, so approx. 3 k for autopilot would be OK.

It is basically software you pay for and the Model 3 will have at least twice the sales numbers of S and X combined, so the revenue for Tesla is even better, despite the lower price.

The other reason is that many people are simply not interested or even hostile to self driving systems.
If it was at 3000$ I would still not consider it because you don’t need it. Only bellow 1000$, as a possible occasional convenience tool, would it be appearing on my radar screen.

Interesting that you only list the loan option in the purchase info. Some of us actually buy the car outright rather than get burdened with a 4.5% loan and the added expense it adds to owning the car. What is the added interest costs over the time period used?

When the BMW offered a 1.6 % loan for my i3, I took it..but not at 4.5%. I’d rather self finance the 4.5% and pocket those bucks for myself.

There are several comments here on how high the monthly cost is. What, did you flunk basic math? Run the numbers for $30K Leaf, and you’ll still be paying “similar”. Run the numbers BMW 3 series and it will come out far more due to fuel cost.

Simple fact is, monthly cost to purchase will be far higher than “extra special” leases for SparkEV (eg. $49/mo). If you were expecting $50/mo to purchase a $35K car (or even $25K car), you were delusional.

I hope other reservation holders aren’t so delusional (or maybe I do so that they’ll drop out).

I didn’t flunk basic math- you’re equation involving a WAY less functional Leaf in the same expense ballpark of a Tesla is all the more reason I wouldn’t drop ANY coin on a brand-new anything that doesn’t say Tesla. And my basic flunky math doesn’t even pencil on the Tesla.

And if you paid attention to my ‘delusional’ example(s), you’d realize because of massive new vehicle depreciation mixed with time value loss on investment potential of the same amount of money, folks like me are advocating for buying a very capable used EV that can fulfill most of the driving requirements for a FRACTION of brand-new cost.

My point is simply this. If you take $35K and amortize, you will get the numbers you get from Teslanomics calculator. You don’t need fancy calculator to figure this out. People claiming now how expensive Tesla 3 is going to be are the ones who flunked basic math. Even using 0% interest, you can see that it will come close to $600/mo just for the payments.

Do the same for base Leaf: $30K/60 = $500/mo, and that’s without tax, license, interest, fuel, etc. etc.

If you dispute this, you not only flunk basic math, but also fail to utilize a calculator.

Hah! Ok, fair enough. But in my defense, I never disputed ANY of your Leaf points. In fact, the Leaf topic wasn’t even introduced into the discussion until you brought it forward. So…

My point was/is simple- is the return on investment of ANY new car (Tesla, Leaf, Bolt, etc) worth the massive financial commitment/loss for what? Autonomous driving features? The same exact operational cost savings and very similar driving experience can be had at a fraction of the price.

That’s all, no scientific calculators or abacus needed.

And for the record, I own a 2012 Leaf with 60k miles on it, and will drive it until I absolutely have to purchase another EV. Every month I make it work is another $500-600 in my pocket toward the future new one.

For the UK buyers, we just need to wait and see. Nobody knows what the GFMV will be on a Model 3.