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Model 3 TCO Considerations

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by scaesare, Aug 2, 2017.

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  1. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    Some significant discussion about "what you get" for the Model 3's $35K base price. Comparisons to the BMW 330i seem to be common, as that car is a reasonably close match for price/weight/size, etc...

    I encourage folks who may be considering the Model 3 to be a financial stretch to consider TCO, This was a consideration for the S as well, but with the significantly less expensive price, the overall impact of TCO considerations as a percentage is greater.

    Assumptions (BMW 330i):
    - Combined MPG: 27 (fueleconomy.gov)
    - Annual Maintenance: $300 (yourmechanic.com)

    Assumptions (Model 3):
    - Energy Consumption: 237 WH/mi (Teslamotorsclub.com)
    - Charger efficiency: 92% (Tesla Specs)
    - Annual Maintenance: $60 (SWAG)
    Note: Assumptions exclude costs common to both cars (tire replacements, wiper fluid, etc...)


    To start, I'll use my own situation, which I suspect is not typical:
    - Monthly Mileage: 2,000
    - Energy cost: $0.11/KWh
    - Gasoline cost: $2.89/gal

    For those numbers, fuel for the BMW will cost me (2000mi / 27mpg) * $2.89 = $214.07 per month. Maintenance is $25/mo for a total of $239.07 per month for me to operate.

    The Model 3 energy will cost me (2000mi * .237wh) / .92eff * $0.11kwh = $56.67 per month. Maintenance is $5/mo, for a total of $61.67 per month.

    That's a $177.40 per month savings. That's 1/3rd of the car payment if you finance $30K for 60 moths @ 2%. (I assume a $5K down/trade-in is reasonable for buying a car of this class). That's makes the the $35K Model 3 TCO the equivalent of only purchasing a $25K car before any rebates or incentives.


    Now admittedly I drive a lot. So if we use more average paramters:
    - Monthly Mileage: 1,250 (the equivalent of common 15K/miles year lease allowance)
    - Energy cost: $0.12/KWh (national average)
    - Gasoline cost: $2.85/gal (AAA National Average)

    The BMW will cost me (1250mi / 27mpg) * $2.85 = $131.94 per month. Maintenance is $25/mo for a total of $156.94 per month for me to operate.

    The Model 3 energy will cost me (1250mi * .237wh) / .92eff * $0.12kwh = $38.64 per month. Maintenance is $5/mo, for a total of $43.64 per month.

    That's a difference of $113.30. In that case you save about 22% of the monthly cost. It's the equivalent of buying a $28.5K car before incentives.


    Now obviously, YMMV in terms of energy cost, gas prices, driving amounts, etc... but I encourage folks who are concerned about the base price, or having to add options in order to "equal" the feature set of another car to consider the bigger picture. The Model 3 may be significantly less expensive than people think to own.
     
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  2. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    What are you using to guesstimate the Model 3 maintenance costs? Also, doesn't BMW include maintenance for the first 3 years with the price of the car, or have they discontinued that?
     
  3. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    I posted links for both.

    The SWAG for the Model 3 is based on my ownership of my S, and the assumption that the simpler & cheaper Model 3 will require less.
     
  4. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    OK, so why doesn't that website account for the fact that maintenance is included for 3 years 36k miles on a BMW?

    As far as Model 3 yearly costs are you following the recommended maintenance plans for your S to guess the 3 costs? The first S maintenance is the drive unit flush plus the normal inspections. That is $475 on the S and I don't know any independent mechanics that can do the drive unit flush right now.
     
  5. Reciprocity

    Reciprocity Active Member

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    Gas price seems low as BMW typically require premium gas. I believe they do have basic maintenance included for 3 years. You still pay for wear and tear items like tires, brakes and wiper blades, but oil changes are included in the price of the car. I would guess the gas price would be a bit over $3 if you consider premium fuel.

    Edit: I see you did use Premium gas prices so ignore that part.

    The only thing I would consider in addition is the residual value. You could also include Solar for at least some of the fuel costs. It gets more dramatic if you project over 10 years and include residual values vs lower end cars because by default a high end car is going to have a higher residual value so the gap is narrower when you consider the value of the vehicle after what ever time period you are looking at. Also maintenance magnifies over longer periods of time for every ICEv vs EV. Timing belts, brakes, plugs, belts, ignition systems, o2 sensors and on and on and on and on and on.......... and on and on and on.................. and on and on.
     
  6. chronopc

    chronopc Member

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    Any guesses on how insurance costs will compare between the two vehicles? I really wished that Tesla would offer their own insurance that takes into account how having AP reduces the likelihood of getting into an accident.
     

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