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An attempt at a spreadsheet to compare Model 3 vs. A4 operating costs

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by LBusDoor90, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. LBusDoor90

    LBusDoor90 Member

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    I'm new here so I hope I practice forum posting protocol OK. My apologies in advance if I do something dumb.

    In an attempt to justify my current insanity over the Model 3 to my family and friends that are completely ignorant of all things EV-related, I thought I would create a spreadsheet to calculate the lower operating costs for a Model 3 over an Audi A4, the midsize luxury car I have heard most often mentioned as the 3's target.

    Check out the snapshot of my preliminary sheet and tell me what you think. All underlined blue values are those I will need to keep editing (as relevant info becomes available, tech evolves and markets change) while those in black get calculated by formulas in the sheet. Please critique it by making me aware of crucial omissions or needed deletions or editions as you find them.

    Notes:
    • Considering the RWD 70 kWh battery Model S comes in at 3.43 miles per kWh (range divided by battery kWh capacity), I'm starting off with 4.00 miles per kWh for the 3 with its lesser weight and expected advances in battery technology. I have seen some expect more like 4.50 miles per kWh.
    • I intentionally had a no upfront cost, leased Solar City system installed (didn't have the cash needed to buy outright) that has the largest possible output the law permits based on our average usage with the eventual purchase of a Model 3 or S in mind. Although our savings aren't all that great now, I estimate that when I start using the excess power currently output by our system (to get full retail value those excess kWhs instead of a measly rebate of its wholesale value after paying retail like I do now), it will start to pay off. I calculate an avg. kWh rate of 15 cents per over the next 10 years from our solar system and with good diligence in hunting down a good 3rd party supplier each year for my grid juice (since my electric company in NJ is run by utter thieves that charge as much as 24-25 cents per kWh), I'm going with an avg. grid kWh rate of 20 cents per.
    • With a new heater and AC installed last week, the 2300 excess kWhs is a somewhat informed, mathematical, educated guess based on the increased efficiency of each in terms of their usage of kWhs but it likely is the number on this sheet with the greatest margin of error.
    • Everything I have read about the A4 (or the BMW 3 series) suggests they need premium or at least mid grade gasoline. The cost of that will of course yo yo over the next 10 years.
    • Let me know if you think my very crude estimates for oil change and tune-up costs for the ICE car are bogus or about right, too.
    Thanks in advance for your input. If you'd like a copy of the sheet to adapt to your situation, I suppose I could put the actual Excel file up here in a reply. Model3vsA4cost.PNG
     
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    I suggest deducting gasoline taxes from the price per gallon. At some point I think states either have an EV fee or shift to cost per mile.
     
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  3. CaptainKirk

    CaptainKirk Member

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    #3 CaptainKirk, Apr 5, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    It will be easier to justify the purchase once we are closer to production. Once the option packages and performance metrics are available in the design studio, you can make a head to head comparison of how much an equivalent priced entry level car of any marque would stack up. For example, we know the base car will likely have navigation through the main screen. To get that in an IS series Lexus today, you have to buy an expensive tech package. Total cost of ownership is important, but so is value for money.
     
  4. Socom

    Socom Member

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    Premium is only $2.10 in NJ? :O it's ~$2.50 here! And I only predict that they will continue to rise so the Mustang might have to stay parked more often than not :/
     
  5. diamond.g

    diamond.g Member

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    The A4 should only require 'tune ups' every 10k miles (which is annoying cause they want the first service at 5000 miles even though it really isn't needed). I can't seem to find reliable service metrics, but based on my Golf TDI getting serviced by the dealer can run from 250-800 bucks depending on what they are doing.
     
  6. brantse

    brantse Member

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    Although you're on the right track, I would offer a few cautions.
    • 4 miles/kWh is unrealistic, especially when considering operation in cold weather, vampire loss, and the fact that charging is really about 90% efficient
    • Maintenance for 10 years is probably going to cost more than $0. Most people put lots of miles on their MS's and are through their bumper-to-bumper warranty in less than 3 years.
     
  7. JoeDesmo

    JoeDesmo New Member

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    You are accounting for the A4 maintenance but not the M3? Also, Modern gassers only need one oil change/year or 15K miles. (example - my jag XF is every 16K mi/ year).
    Also, some comparable new car brands (Jaguar, BMW, etc.) provide free maintenance for the duration of the warranty!!
    i.e. not accounting for the $600/year maintenance cost recommended by TM (for MS, MX at least so far). Even if you skip the yearly, and only service every other year, it would be $300/year at least.
    If you were to follow TM maintenance schedule, your M3 comes close to the A4, and probably higher than BMW 328, Jaguar XE already.................................
     
  8. Socom

    Socom Member

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    I wouldn't let oil be in a car for 15k miles, even if it is standard. My 2015 mustang gt is supposed to be changed every 5-7500 but I will still change it every 2-3k or once a year, whatever happens first. It can't hurt to change it more frequently, and the peace of mind / cheap cost is worth it.
     
  9. rv1458

    rv1458 Member

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    I'd limit your analysis to whichever has the shortest warranty period because both are probably going to be fairly expensive to own out of warranty.

    Might be worth comparing to your current car as well instead of an Audi, which you may not have any interest in actually owning. Let's say you have a Honda Accord, let's assume you replace your current Accord with a new Accord instead of replacing it with an Audi. Or maybe you replace with an Acura TLX, which is the essentially the luxury version of an Accord.
     
  10. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    Personally, I think it would be more beneficial to compare the Model 3 to econo-boxes. The current issue with BEVs is their higher purchase price.

    I'd say you're more likely to sway someone looking to get into a Ford Focus, than an Audi, with a cost of ownership argument.
     
  11. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    • Like x 1
  12. diamond.g

    diamond.g Member

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    Yeah, I chose to get a Golf TDI instead of the A3 TDI mostly cause vehicle cost were lower, though the cost of ownership (service) is about the same. It is kind of like looking at getting the Malibu instead of the ATS even though the service costs are similar (which I know may or may not be true).
     
  13. JoeDesmo

    JoeDesmo New Member

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    for a drivetrain with so few moving parts, and claimed simplicity of the systems, the scheduled maintenance cost is very high (~$600/yr.). For anyone who leases cars, this is ridiculous. My experience with recent luxury cars: I'm on my 3rd Jaguar XF driving approx. 15K mi/year. My average maintenance costs never even approached $600 total over any 3- to 4 year lease period (except tires) . This is also because the first year service is free. For 2016 cars, all scheduled maintenance during warranty period (4 yr./60K mi) is free of charge. So would save that $600 also.
    Is this possible with the Tesla? yes, but only if you don't follow or deffer scheduled maintenance.
    p.s., the Jags have proven to be actually very reliable also in my experience (unlike what some people may think they know). Certainly as reliable if not more so than the 3 Infiniti's I had before which were also reliable.
     
  14. ModelNforNerd

    ModelNforNerd Active Member

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    I have a 2015 A3, very similar engine to the one used in the new A4, and I only require an oil change once/year, or every 10K miles. I was hesitant to wait that long, being that I grew up in the "every 3-5K miles" era....

    but it's rare for an OEM to tell you to come in for service LESS often, so I listened. I've had the car for 26K miles now, no issues with the long time between oil changes.
     
  15. LBusDoor90

    LBusDoor90 Member

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    Thanks for all of the info and feedback, everyone. I'll take it into consideration as I continue to revise my "work in progress" spreadsheet. As noted, many of its variable values will become more accurate as M3 specs are announced and production draws nearer.

    I already read the Tesla answer to this question (by using the above "Model S annual service prices" link) but can an actual owner of one tell me in their opinion if any or all of the listed services actually justify spending $600 each year for them? As discussed by others, that seems like a ridiculously high annual charge for a car that should (in theory) require much less maintenance than an ICE car. My cynical self guesses it is just another way for Tesla to get regular, additional capital funding from its highest roller customers.
     
  16. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    Aaaaand there's the rub with Tesla. My Volt actually does have way lower maintenance costs than any full ICE vehicle I have every owned. A Tesla Model 3 SHOULD also cost next to nothing to maintain. Tires, fluids, maybe an occasional radiator fluid flush. But that is not the direction Tesla is going.

    The crazy thing is we probably won't know the service costs until well after the cars are delivering. You will note there are no Model X service pricing info even though the cars are shipping (unless that info shows in the My Tesla pages for Model X buyers which we can't see)
     
  17. Dogwhistle

    Dogwhistle Member

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    Tesla does not REQUIRE the $600/yr maintenance plan be accomplished to maintain a valid warranty. You can blow it off entirely, and are still good to go as far as Tesla is concerned. Just get new tires when the wear out. As alluded to above, the service plan is more for extra piece of mind for their well-heeled buyers of the S who are used to paying for such things for their luxury cars. Pure extra profit.
     
  18. AZ Desert Driver

    AZ Desert Driver Genesis - The Beginning - MS60D in its nest

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    There are two big items not in your tabulation: Insurance and Depreciation. What can you sell a 10 YO Audi for? What is the 10 year sale price of an M3? Does a safer car cost less to insure? What is the value to you to drive in a safer car? Operating costs are important, but a long way from ownership costs.
     
  19. ModelNforNerd

    ModelNforNerd Active Member

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    There are too many unknowns at this point.

    1. The A4 just underwent a refresh, so did their resale value go down on 10YO models? And we can't estimate 10 year-resale on ANY Tesla yet (not even the 1st Roadsters)
    2. Safer cars do cost less to insure, but in some states (like MA), the driver has as much to do with it than anything...until we get to...
    3. Which "trim level" are you getting? A Base Model will be considered "safer" than a P, since MA classifies those in a "sportier" category.


    And that's just off the top of my head. It's a noble endeavor, and definitely something we should all keep in mind down the road, but not something that can even be remotely answered right now.
     
  20. StraightDave

    StraightDave Member

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    "A range of government authorities share in the tax revenue from the gasoline consumers buy. To start, there’s the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. A variety of state and local sales and excise taxes help boost the price as well. All told, American motorists pay an average of nearly 50 cents per gallon in taxes every time they fill up."

    People have to realize the government is going to get its share whether it's from the pump or the plug. If annual fuel cost for an A4 is $1000/year, then eventually annual cost to charge an EV is going to be a $1000/year.
     

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