True Cost Of A Tesla Model 3 (After 10,000 Miles): Video

SEP 10 2018 BY MARK KANE 61

Here we examine the Tesla Model 3 in terms of the costs to buy one and to drive it 10,000 miles.

Happy Model 3 Long Range owner, Andy Slye, shared his personal summary of expenses over the first 10,402 miles (16,737 km).

The car was bought for $56,000 (incl. dest. charge) and after $3,422 for taxes and registration and deduction of the $7,500 federal tax credit, the total cost was $51,922. After including insurance over five years, the cost will be $54,422.

“These numbers are all based off my personal experience so it’s not going to be the same for everyone but at least it will give you an idea of the costs and how much a difference it is driving a Tesla compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle. I’m going to compare my Model 3 acquisition to what it would be like if I kept driving my 2007 Pontiac G6.

The total cost of my Long Range Tesla Model 3 was $56,000. I also had to pay $3,422 for taxes. I am getting the full $7,500 tax credit but my car insurance increased by $500/year so assuming I keep my Model 3 for at least 5 years that brings it to $54,422.”

There were no maintenance expenses so far.

In the case of charging, there was a need to install NEMA 14-50 outlet at home, which cost $900 (including a new cable in the garage). That brings the cost to $55,322.

“However we also have to calculate the cost of installing a home charging outlet. This cost heavily depends on your particular location and how difficult the install is. My NEMA 14-50 outlet cost $900 for a professional electrician to install, which is on the expensive side because my box was the furthest possible distance from my garage so they had to run cable underground which increased the price.

That brings it to a grand total of $55,322 upfront cost for my First Production Long Range Tesla Model 3, assuming I keep it for at least 5 years.”

In the case of electricity costs, in total it was $206.94 over the distance of 10,402 miles.

  • $20.29 on four Supercharging sessions
  • $186.65 of estimated electricity costs at home

It could be less if you use free charging points from time to time.

“How much does it cost to charge & drive a Model 3 compared to buying gas? My Model 3 is at 10,400 lifetime miles and it’s averaging 233 Wh/mile. So far I’ve only spent $20.29 on four Supercharging sessions, and that resulted in approximately 700 miles of range which means the other 9,700 miles traveled were from charging at home in my garage. To find out how much it’s cost to travel those 9700 miles we need to calculate my electricity rate along with the Model 3’s charging efficiency. My off-peak electricity rate when I charge my car at home is $0.06882 per kWh.

However, 100% of the electricity doesn’t make it into the car’s battery when charging at home. This is true for all electric cars. Edmund’s is doing a long-term test drive of the Model 3 and they’re measuring the average wall-to-wheels efficiency. So far from their tests they’ve seen an 83.3% charging efficiency (meaning only about 83% of the electricity makes it from the charging cable into the car battery). And if we also account for the amount of battery that depletes as the Model 3 is just sitting somewhere not plugged in (I’ll make a guesstimate and say 3% is a fair assumption for vampire drain), that brings us to 80% total charging efficiency.

So 9,700 miles at an average of 233 Wh/mile with an electricity rate of $0.06882 per kWh with an 80% charging efficiency equals $186.65. And if we add the $20.29 I’ve spent on Supercharging that comes to a grand total of $206.94 spent to travel 10,400 miles in my Model 3.”

The old 2007 Pontiac G6 is rated at 21 MPG, which in Andy’s area would result in $1,371.81 in costs over the same distance of 10,402 miles at $2.77 per gallon.

The difference on fuel is over $1,200 alone, not taking into account the required time for stops at gas stations.

“If you compare that to my 6-cylinder automatic transmission 2007 Pontiac G6 which averages 21 miles per gallon and using the current average cost of gas in my area which is $2.77 per gallon, the total cost to travel 10,400 miles would be $1,371.81. That means I’ve saved almost $1,200 over 10,400 miles or maybe it’s better to say that’s $1,200 I’ve stopped having to give to gas stations since getting my Model 3. And I’m not driving a car that puts out any emissions which feels great.”

“Also I’ve saved so much time from not having to stop at gas stations during my normal weekly driving. It takes me 5 seconds to plug in my Model 3 in my garage. When I drove a gas car I had to get gas at least once or twice per week, and each stop took around 5 minutes. So over the course of a year that’s a huge amount of time saved from not having to stop at gas stations.

We could also get into the money saved from oil changes and maintenance but that’s another story. So far I’ve paid absolutely $0 in maintenance for my Model 3 so hopefully that continues. It’s been a fantastic car after 10,000 miles and it’s still just as much fun as the day I got it. I hope you enjoyed this detailed look into how much owning and driving a Tesla Model 3 actually costs.”

Categories: Tesla, Videos


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61 Comments on "True Cost Of A Tesla Model 3 (After 10,000 Miles): Video"

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Comparing to a similar priced BMW? The Model 3 is probably better.

Here is how $7000 fender dent looks on Tesla Model 3:×497.jpg

I guess it fanboys will be ready to iXplain immediately that it is really cheap /s

That’s what insurance is for. You and 3-4 others here do everything you can to make Tesla fans dislike their cars. Honestly, I think you actually cause the opposite effect. You see, it’s pretty simply- folks don’t like being constantly told that their stuff sucks. It gets tired and old, especially when you never really mix in any constructive input on non-Tesla topics.

Just something to chew on, have a great day.

If you are young and don’t know what insurance is for, you will learn it when you will see insurance quotes for the next insurance period 😉

The problem with any cult members is that they don’t want anything constructive, just praise, worship and hate non-believers. Nothing personal, but can’t help really.

The “cult” here is the few serial Tesla bashers who obsessively carpet-bomb most of the discussion threads about any article which is even remotely positive about Tesla, which is now the world leader in making and selling EVs.

Tesla has secured its financial future, at least for the short- and medium-term, with the runaway success of the Model 3. Tesla has won; you serial Tesla bashers have permanently lost.

Time to get over it, and move on with your life.

The argument against folks like myself is to simply throw down a label. That’s all you have. It’s tired and worn out. And it’s all you have when you have no answer for a compellingly accurate statement. Anyone here who takes the time to read what I share will likely know that I drive a Volt and am no cult worshipping “fanboy.” I’ve owned 3 EV’s by 3 different manufacturers, and am looking at a 4th. Save your stupid labels for those who simply sling labels and argue for arguing’s sake- which is absolutely you. And simply stating, “nothing personal” while using labels on that same person defines condescension and hypocrisy. As far as insurance is concerned, it’s required to be carried by every US citizen driver on every type of street legal vehicle. Teslas, and other vehicles in their price range, are typically purchased by folks who can afford the insurance. Younger folks don’t typically buy expensive vehicles like Teslas. Those youngsters savvy enough to raise the cabbage to afford a Tesla likely have a good grasp on cost of ownershipt. And ALL vehicles cost a lot to repair, the Model 3 hasn’t cornered this market. And insurance carriers… Read more »

I don’t understand your point about insurance. Most states require proof of insurance in order to drive, and if you don’t have any, you either 1) pay a sizeable penalty, or 2) are required to take on a state insurance plan (which is usually not good for the money).

Seriously? You will pay a lot more if you start filling claims. Auto insurance is sold by for-profit companies in the US, and they are free to charge you whatever they need to break even and make profit. As claims are recorded, you will not get good rate from different company either. Once they have enough statistically significant data for particular car model or driver group, they will adjust rates for whole group in addition.

State Farm used to have policy to drop auto insurance at all for drivers after second claim. Others may not drop, but as a rule of thumb you will pay back what you claim sooner or later.

“You will pay a lot more if you start filling claims.”
I filled 5 claims in the last 10 years with mine and my rate did not go up….i will let you snooze on that see if you can guess why….

Answer: filled claims against my policy but other driver was at fault. If you are a bad driver you will pay for it…why is it so hard to understand?

And by the way, how you do you consider a random dent picture on a Model 3, unrelated to the topic of this article, to be considered “constructive?”

No, as a long-time anti-Tesla poster who thinks fool cell cars are the future, zzzz is just trying to distract and deflect away from the fact that EVs have by far the lowest running costs of any new vehicle.
Throw in a modest solar POV system and you go from low fuel costs to ridiculously low fuel costs.

That was all for paint labor matching paint. To me, it sounds a bit like the shop taking advantage of insurance, but is also the downside of high quality paint job.

Maybe that price markup for paint isn’t unreasonable? Given it is better paint job?

Perhaps I’m showing my ignorance, but I can’t see how any auto body shop could justify charging thousands of dollars for repainting such a small area. Looks very much like price gouging to me.

They have an estimate with a breakdown it was all for paint matching and paint materials. They were showing dozens of hours (this is my thought about the shop taking advantage of the insurance).

Yes, when you get specific posters with hysterically inaccurate posts, some would say FAKE NEWS, and never see the positive, you know UN_BALANCED analysis, it’s hard to take them seriously.

At least no one calls it a “Toy for the Rich” anymore.
I suppose it will take 5 years or so, when Tesla is dominating in all categories, before critics will at least tailor their comments to be more in line with reality.
I think it’s good in a way since many reasonable, thinking, people will jump in and establish a refutation to their comment(s).
ATM there is a concerted effort, somewhat helped by Musk, to drive down Tesla’s stock price, articles in the media are fully 10 to 1 against. New short-sellers are coming out every day with negative articles and predictions about the downfall of Tesla.

$350 worth of parts and $6650 worth of padded “Tesla Tax” on the labor. Factory body shops cannot come soon enough.

We are not guilty if the owner is damned useless and doesn’t know how to park, dude.

Your Jaguar I-PACE or Mercedes EQC will have a similar charge too if you went to the wrong body shop.

Was at a body shop recently.
A Tesla Model 3 came in with a near exact dent on the front driver’s side too (not mine).
The shop guy thought it was going to be like a Model S with aluminum. When he took a deeper look, it came up to less than $1000.

I had a $2000 dent via an insurance repair shop.
Same dent cost $500 at another shop when I didn’t go through insurance.
Am I going to scream that GM cars cost $2000 to repair little dents?

You are kidding. All car repairs are expensive. A few months ago I did a minor dent on my neighbor’s car, it made no difference to the car – you barely could see it was there but he insisted on having it repaired – the repair cost was still $2500.

Good thing I pay car insurance. And my rates did not go up.

You’re a smart enough guy to know that there is no answer to your question regarding resale value of the Model 3. One may speculate that resale should be quite high, as Model S and X have held their values quite well, but that’s still speculation.

Gosh electricity rates are so cheap in US !!!

Get your own solar and they’re cheaper still.

In Ontario (where a bunch of Model 3s were delivered this summer), the cheapest rate (overnight) is about 11.8c/KWh (some variable cost and some fixed cost so an exact number is dependent on your usage).
I have a solar array (installed this year for an off-grid cabin) and did a lot of research. I could not find anyone that could conceivably get to less than 13.5c/KWh and that was with 20yr amortization of the equipment and no repair costs for a self-consumption system.
And a friend with a Model 3 added about 180miles range at a supercharger for $12.86 (180/$12.86= 14miles/$ which is quite a bit more expensive than the 700/$20.29=34miles/dollar that Andy experienced)

So still cheaper than gas (and clearly much cleaner), but as the saying goes, your mileage (cost) will vary.

No, you got that wrong. Off peak the power is only 6.5 cent per kWh see: and yes I too bought solar panels to use off-the-grid and that power will be free for the rest of my life. I got the solar panels in Florida before Trump and bought 2.5 kW of cells for only $480 and drove them up in my truck.

Since I was drove down to the states to go on a cruise the cost of the truck (less than flying both ways) does not even could in the costs.

Is this all in Canadian cents/dollars or US?

Canadian Dollars.

all CDN except for Andy’s supercharger (so his miles/$CDN would be about 25)

earl colby pottinger,
You got that wrong. Read an actual bill from Ontario.
The base charge is 6.5c
Then you add delivery charges, Regulatory charges and tax and you get to about 11.8.
That’s the true cost.

And for Solar, my build was about $5500 in parts, not including installation which I did myself. The panels only cost $993.

You have to do accurate accounting to get a true assessment of cost.

Depends on where you are, they are incredibly expensive in some areas of the US (wholesale is around 3 cents / kWh and retail prices are around 6 to 50 cents/kWh). More interesting is probably the cost to drive 100 km with electricity vs gas in the country of interest. Places with high electricity prices often have high gas/diesel prices as well.

yes but ve high gas/diesel prices are due to fuel exercise to pay for road/infrastructure, Taxes will catch EV too

Nice to know, not that people buy Tesla’s for accounting reasons.

The i3 has a similar result. Five to six of your 36 lease payments will be paid for in fuel savings.
If you buy an i3, over 300,000 miles the car is at a 50% discount.

The more you drive your Tesla the more “free” it becomes.

According to our 18 month old juicebox EVSE – we have used 7,322 kwh between our i3s resulting in a (according to their calculator) $2,489.48 in savings…if you factor in the cost of the juicebox (we got a refurb unit for $450) – its still $2K in savings in only 18 months…

I consider an EVSE a necessary cost of part of your housing infrastructure. I.e., I don’t look at how much outlets cost me or how much the breakers in my service panel cost (a new house these probably run $500 for all the Arc Fault Interrupters).

i’d say the $7500 rebate and Tesla not offering leasing are definitely accounting reasons.

A little over $200 to go 10k miles.
The demise of ICE is not greatly exaggerated.

$1200 savings for 10K miles isn’t much given how expensive current model 3 is ..
Not to mention that limited range means limited utilization for long trips ..

Hey ostrich get your head out of the dirt and check out the supercharger network..

The Model 3 has nearly unlimited range with the SC network, and rapid recharging times such that trips of 800 miles or more likely won’t take much longer on Model 3 vs a gas car. The Model 3 Long Range RWD is the best Tesla by a long shot for long distance travel. Use a site like EV Trip planner (making sure to select the Model 3 Long Range) and see how much time it would add for your trip. For my 800 mile trip it might add 30 minutes given my usual stops (total charging time of around 2 hours and that is with a speed factor of 1.1, typical driving speeds not EV save range speeds).

This was really interesting to read. I’d love to hear another update at the 20,000 mile mark, 50,000 mile mark, etc.

Does anyone know if there’s an online calculator to determine the break-even point of owning an EV or PHEV? I’ve been tempted to put together something myself, but I’ve been too lazy/busy lately.

The problem with the “break-even” analysis, is what do you use for your baseline. If you want to buy a car that performs like a Tesla, many times you have to spend more than what the Tesla costs. You can’t compare a Model 3 to a Corolla. So what car do you pick, and why?

Ideally you’d be able to enter any vehicle as the existing baseline – like the one you currently own. Right now, my current car is a Honda Civic. At what point does it make sense to switch to an EV, solely from an economic perspective? I suspect that’s what most people are curious about. I don’t think there’s too many people “upgrading” from Lamborghinis and Ferraris to Teslas, despite the somewhat similar performance. The real big swing of the S-curve in EV adoption is going to be people replacing their already existing cars – the most common being the Corolla, Civic, Focus, etc.

Interestingly, the Honda Accord and the Honda Civic are among the top 5 trade-ins on the Model 3 (see link below). But I doubt anyone would seriously claim that the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) per year is lower for the Model 3, which was aimed at competing on price with the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series, considerably above the Accord/Civic price range!

“At what point does it make sense to switch to an EV, solely from an economic perspective?”
So you would have to compare buying a new Honda Civic vs. a new Tesla Model 3, and also do the total lifetime cost analysis. (went through this discussion a lot in the early days of the Volt). There is also a non-monetary advantage of EVs, like the better driving experience, no more gas stations, etc. Do you put a dollar figure on that, or just leave it off the table?
You can click “Personalize” and enter gas cost, electricity rate, miles per year.
You would need to add/subtract lease cost or depreciation, insurance, road/registration taxes or incentives by yourself though.

This is great but a comparison against a 2018 or 2019 BMW 330i, Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C300 at around $40k is more appropriate than a 2007 Pontiac. The Tesla Model 3 would probably come up more expensive at 10,000 or even 20,000 miles, but Tesla is absolutely correct in pricing their cars in a luxury market segment at this point in their growth.

Based on the numbers given, $186.65/($0.06882/kWh) = 2712kWh. 2712kWh/(233Wh/mile) = 11640 miles. 9700miles/11640 miles = 83.3% charging efficiency, matching Edmund’s number perfectly. The vampire drain is negligible.

If you are out of warranty, you get into trouble. Even TB said, that repairs and service out of warranty are a real problem and he is not the only one. Costs over lifetime in years and miles is, what we need to compare.

That’s probably going to continue to be the case so long as Tesla is growing its production rapidly, year-on-year. When that growth slows down, then hopefully the capacity of service shops and parts distribution will catch up. When it comes to the shortage in service shops and parts, Tesla is a victim of its own success!

You’re in trouble with any car once you are out of warranty – and particularly with ICE vehicles. By the time you get to 100k miles, you’ve probably replaced the fuel and/or water pumps, belts, about a dozen air filters, at least 4 sets of brake pads, probably had the rotors turned at least once… by the time you get to 150k miles, you’re looking at a set of spark plugs, worn engine components reducing efficiency, and depending on the manufacturer, a transmission. By 200k miles, you’re burning oil. A Tesla won’t have any of those problems (brake pads, eventually, but not as frequent as an ICE car, particularly one that performs as well as a Tesla). It is possible that the coolant motor might need to be replaced (too few are old enough for any statistical significance), but that’s about it. As far as the battery pack goes, the warranty is up to 125k miles, or in some cases, unlimited miles in 8yrs. With the better cells and cooling in the Model 3, the degradation should be better than the current S & X, so I would not be surprised if it would take 150k-200k miles before a pack… Read more »

You are way overstating maintenance for an ICE or maybe had a shop over charging you.

My van drove 80k miles with maybe 6 oil changes, 1 air filter change, 1 set of brake pads, and that is it. Ran perfect.

Family has plenty vehicles go 200k+ miles and never really needed any major repairs and just general maintenance, like 5k mile oil changes, 30k spark plugs (copper, needed replacing more often), 60k brakes, 90k timing belts. Maybe Transmission and Coolant in that time (EVs might need those as well). That was for older cars that needed more maintenance too. Yes, EVs need less maintenance, and that is an advantage, but some way overstate exactly how much.

Meanwhile I have 150K kilometers and had to change the brake lines because something had damaged them and it leaked oil on my driveway. The rotors and brake-pads, oil and twice a year in Canada you need(should) to change the coolant. I did the air filter twice myself. The weird one was a sensor in the fuel tank that caused the gauge in the dash board to stick to a value even as I used gas.

And once in Florida when I went down in the middle of summer (NEVER AGAIN) the battery and recharging of the air conditioner.

Electricity ranges from 23 cents to 37 cents per kw in my area.

Go solar then….

This is why it is critical to get the costs of EVs down. Over $50K is still a very expensive niche price and the economics will never justify it.

Get down into the $35K to $40K range and it become more economically advantageous.

You don’t buy a Tesla to primarily save money. If that’s the premise of this post than it’s a miss from the get go. You can’t expect a premium sedan to have a similar TCO as a prius. The savings are just a nice bonus.

The $7500 only counts if you have $7500 after all other tax credits deductions.

You buy a $50k+ car and don’t have $7500 in fed liability? Not gonna happen.

10,000 miles is nothing. Let’s see a cost of ownership after 100,000 or even 200,000 miles

I found your video informative and glad to hear you are happy with your choice! Maybe Musk will hire you as his evangelist like Apple did Guy Kawasaki! Best of luck!