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Are we Really Really Saving Money owning a Tesla?

Atari2600

Active Member
Oct 4, 2017
1,025
834
Cincinnati
Here's a chart I made for a handout during our local Drive Electric event.View attachment 453924
Wow this chart is easy for me. Fits my 93 octane price and 25 MPG average of my last car. My electric rate is pretty much exactly half what’s in your chart so double the saving and I drove 18,000 miles this year. I guess I should include the cost of the three yearly full synthetic oil changes as well.
 

Alvarex

Member
Sep 9, 2019
9
5
PNW
I've owned a Model 3 for less than a week. I've already spent multitudes more money on it than I would a cheap efficient car (previously owned a Toyota Yaris [40MPG the way I drive]).

It's about enjoying one of the cheapest luxury cars on the market while also making a statement about EVs vs ICE. Plus everyone I've given a test ride with have absolutely loved the feel of the car.

I think saying you save money with a Tesla is a lie. But the cost of ownership is, so far for me, worth it.

(have to fix some things with support next week so opinion subject to change)
 

dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
4,475
6,367
Knoxville, Tennessee
Hello,

I have had my Model-3 past one year and enjoying every single time I sit in it (at times I just try to "find" reasons just so I can drive it).

But, every time I plug it to charge, this question comes in to my mind, in the long run "Are we REALLY REALLY SAVING MONEY owning a Tesla??"

Because, between Sentry mode, cabin temperature maintenance... and other miles-sapping activities that we might just not be aware of, my Model-3 tends to lose around 3-5 miles per 24 hours... give or take a couple of miles... WHETHER I DRIVE MY CAR OR NOT. That's serious loss of miles/charge, just with the car sitting out there in my garage.

What are your (unbiased) thoughts?

No you aren't saving money compared to the cheapest option. If you wanted that you'd be driving a used Nissan Leaf.

You are gaining a ton of value over that used Leaf however so I don't think you are necessarily wasting money and in fact I thank you for spending it on a Tesla. The way I see it you make the world a better place buying a Tesla and give used car buyers a chance to get your car some day down the road.

Maybe I join you by buying a new Tesla, maybe I join you by buying someones used Tesla. Either way I plan to buy something better than a Leaf because I figure it'll be worth the improved looks and comfort. I know that it won't save me a single penny vs driving a cheaper EV but I'll still end up going that way...
 

SeanM

Member
Oct 2, 2018
159
36
Fairfax, VA
Hello,

I have had my Model-3 past one year and enjoying every single time I sit in it (at times I just try to "find" reasons just so I can drive it).

But, every time I plug it to charge, this question comes in to my mind, in the long run "Are we REALLY REALLY SAVING MONEY owning a Tesla??"

Because, between Sentry mode, cabin temperature maintenance... and other miles-sapping activities that we might just not be aware of, my Model-3 tends to lose around 3-5 miles per 24 hours... give or take a couple of miles... WHETHER I DRIVE MY CAR OR NOT. That's serious loss of miles/charge, just with the car sitting out there in my garage.

What are your (unbiased) thoughts?


Also, don't forget the lost miles... even if you take a very bare minimum loss of 3 miles/day (it definitely will be more), it's over 1000 miles lost per year.... this is straight 'money' down the drains.
 

ffhuang

Member
Jun 15, 2019
59
36
Philadelphia
I honestly don’t think we save much driving Tesla. It’s too early to tell what problems we would get in the model 3. Everyone thinks just because we have less maintenance, it would mean we save more money. They don’t factor in that everyone overcharges to fix a Tesla. Seen multiple model s with ridiculous amount of problems and to be fair, some were early models. At the end of the day, I plan to drive this car that I enjoy very much not for the savings but because it makes a smile in my face and trade it in before those problems start. Will most likely be another Tesla too.
 

NoMoGas

Supporting Member
Hello,

I have had my Model-3 past one year and enjoying every single time I sit in it (at times I just try to "find" reasons just so I can drive it).

But, every time I plug it to charge, this question comes in to my mind, in the long run "Are we REALLY REALLY SAVING MONEY owning a Tesla??"

Because, between Sentry mode, cabin temperature maintenance... and other miles-sapping activities that we might just not be aware of, my Model-3 tends to lose around 3-5 miles per 24 hours... give or take a couple of miles... WHETHER I DRIVE MY CAR OR NOT. That's serious loss of miles/charge, just with the car sitting out there in my garage.

What are your (unbiased) thoughts?

Compared to a gas car of similar cost? ABSOLUTELY. It's not even close.

Let's take a car getting 35MPH. You "lose" 3 miles per day, That's a gallon every 10 days. You'd lose more then that on startup and idling at stop signs and lights.. Now lets add that you're getting over 123MPGe and don't get me started on less medical costs should you have an accident when compared to another car.. any car.

Like I said, when comparing apples to apples, it's not even close.
 

chewyc

Member
Jul 29, 2019
79
71
Los Angeles, CA
You're helping the environment, so that's a plus if you care about that sort-of-thing. You emit 0 emissions with your car. I feel super proud to have solar on my roof, and soon have a zero emissions car...

A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This assumes the average gasoline vehicle on the road today has a fuel economy of about 22.0 miles per gallon and drives around 11,500 miles per year. Every gallon of gasoline burned creates about 8,887 grams of CO2
 

CapnOMatic

Member
Jun 2, 2018
185
83
Gaithersburg, MD
Hello,

I have had my Model-3 past one year and enjoying every single time I sit in it (at times I just try to "find" reasons just so I can drive it).

But, every time I plug it to charge, this question comes in to my mind, in the long run "Are we REALLY REALLY SAVING MONEY owning a Tesla??"

Because, between Sentry mode, cabin temperature maintenance... and other miles-sapping activities that we might just not be aware of, my Model-3 tends to lose around 3-5 miles per 24 hours... give or take a couple of miles... WHETHER I DRIVE MY CAR OR NOT. That's serious loss of miles/charge, just with the car sitting out there in my garage.

What are your (unbiased) thoughts?

I too have had my model 3 since June of last year and I really didn't buy my model 3 because I thought it would be cheaper. I bought it mainly because I wanted a Tesla, they have a built in supercharging network, I liked the car and the technology, more power, faster and the benefits of being all electric versus a gas car. I feel it's the best car I've ever owned and also the most expensive for me, I felt more strongly about supporting Tesla electric car development but not just that alone. I really felt that Tesla as a car manufacturer is the type of car manufacturer that I wish that all others would be more like. Tesla is more forward looking and innovative in ways that all other car manufacturers just simply are not and I wanted to support them in their mission above all others. If Tesla did not exist I would not be spending 55k on a car like a BMW, Audi etc...

Take Chevy as a classic example, they came out with the Bolt and started their manufacturing just before Tesla's model 3. Of all the designs for body style and look they have at their disposal they chose to create something that looked more like a squished Prius like car. They could have easily chosen to slap the Camaro body on to a skate board model and there's a good chance that it would have sold a lot better than the Bolt. Secondly, all other vehicle manufacturers, just like Chevy, have these dealerships all over the place if they all chose to install 10 vehicle charging stations at each location, they would have an "instant" charging network to provide charging support. Sure, they are not ALL along the highway, but many of them are and can be seen from highways and are for there for advertising reasons. So why haven't they done this yet??

This is why I support Tesla. :)
 

LennyC23

Member
Aug 20, 2019
7
0
Edmonton
I have yet to pickup my tesla, but based on my math I will save $300 a month on fuel costs, maybe more. The major reason for this is electricity rates are low where I live at 5.9c per kwh. I drive between 30-35K Km per year. I put premium fuel in the BMW and I have a multitude of options for free charging where I work and on my work road trips. Also maintenance should be much cheaper as well.

Also the new EV incentives in Canada are extremely good for business use of an EV vs an ICE vehicle. So am I saving money, not really as my monthly spend will go up because of the car payments, my net spend is 300 more a month on a tesla for 5 years, but i get a brand new car vs 7 year old bmw and I can capital cost allowance 55K of the value of the tesla for 2019. So tax refund season will be my best friend :) So yes i will net much further ahead because of tax purposes.

Would a prius, leaf, or another electric car been cheaper than the tesla, sure. But based on my current vehicle I will net out much further ahead and a prius or leaf just do not interest me at all. Plus I have less of a carbon footprint, and my wife thinks that is S3XY.
 

LBusDoor90

Member
Apr 5, 2016
144
178
Mantua, NJ
I know I am. Paid on the average $34 more on my electric bill each month to drive around 1300 miles instead of $100+. See my spreadsheet.
 

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SoManyM3s

Member
Apr 21, 2019
312
225
28262
I lose about 10-20 miles per day in sentry mode. I don't save any money I'm NC, especially because of the EV tax on top. I'm comparing it to a Camry. Camry also has a more comfortable ride (less bumpy). So no, we don't save any money. But you get the prestige of owning a luxury car and better acceleration.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,019
4,631
MA, NH
Compared to a gas car of similar cost? ABSOLUTELY. It's not even close.

Let's take a car getting 35MPH. You "lose" 3 miles per day, That's a gallon every 10 days. You'd lose more then that on startup and idling at stop signs and lights.. Now lets add that you're getting over 123MPGe and don't get me started on less medical costs should you have an accident when compared to another car.. any car.

Like I said, when comparing apples to apples, it's not even close.

You can’t compare MPGe to MPG. You can only compare mpg to mpg or mpge to mpge.

You can compare your own numbers based on local gas and electricity prices. For me, where I live, Model 3 is around the same cost per mile as a 30 mpg car of the same size. And no, that 30 mpg car would probably not accelerate so fast nor would I chew threw tires as fast because of it.
 

ckoval7

Mild One
Sep 19, 2018
662
600
Maryland
If you're talking about $60k BMW vs $60k Tesla, then you're absolutely saving money.
If you're talking $1k used Prius vs $60k Tesla, then no, not a chance.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,019
4,631
MA, NH
If you're talking about $60k BMW vs $60k Tesla, then you're absolutely saving money.
If you're talking $1k used Prius vs $60k Tesla, then no, not a chance.

How many running $1k Prius do you see, if they are running they are much more than $1K.

One other huge cost folks ignore.

If you replace your car every 3-5 years (as most do). Then what is the cost of ownership.

And if you did find a cheap old Prius how would that compare in cost operate a cheap old Tesla? Say a 2012 Model S with a 2012 Prius.

And if it was a brand new Tesla vs a Brand new Prius why would it be different in the long run?
 

brobinson

Member
May 23, 2018
621
639
Ohio
Here is the math I did when I hit 20k miles. Obviously its missing some of the finer details like efficiency while charging, power losse, etc, but these are the numbers based flatly on the kWh usage tracked on the main display. Even if the actual cost/usage for electricity was 20% higher, I'd still be better off. And I'm probably being generous estimating 30mpg for a 3 series or an A4 that I'd likely be driving had I not gotten the Model 3.

upload_2019-9-13_7-51-42.png


Those 5 miles that you lost equate to about 20c depending on your electric rate.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,632
22,281
Texas
First thing is that no car saves money unless you get paid by the mile or can write down the cost in some other way. Cars are an expense, so buying a car to save money is like buying all the on-sale items in the store because it saves money.
Second thing is that "saving money" implies that you are getting a sub-par experience that's only justified because it's cheaper. Electric cars (particularly Tesla) are a premium experience.
Third thing is that a Tesla can cost less to own and operate, but it depends upon how much you drive and how long you keep the car.
 
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