Hidden costs of owning a Tesla Model 3

Hidden costs of owning a Tesla Model 3

To say a Model 3 was an upgrade for our home is an understatement of epic portions.
My wife and I purchased our first car together as a new 2007 Honda Fit (Jr.) and we were still driving her when we purchased our Model 3 (Sparky).

Pure Joy:
As you all know the Model 3 is just pure joy. It is everything that a car should always have been. We purchased Sparky in August 2018 and it is still just bliss to drive. That joy is where the hidden cost of this adventure begins.

It starts small:
We are never going back. Let's make a solid charging location for ourselves with room to allow friends traveling far to charge at our place too.
In goes a 100amp circuit to support Tesla wall charger with room to daisy chain a second charger for a future Tesla. (~$2000 for charger and major 100amp install)
Keep in mind that for our own use a NEMA 50amp plug would have been just fine. But we want an "environment" for our home that supports long distance EV friends.

Honda Fit needs to go:
There was 3-5 years of carbon emissions consumed in the manufacture of the 2007 Honda Fit, so it still has value. We gifted (Jr.) to my Sister's family and did ~$200 detailing before we turned over the title to them.

A pattern begins to emerge:
Step out of Sparky and start seeing the home we are living in. Should we move or do we love where we are? We love where we are. Let's get the house fixed. Hardie Plank lap siding turns up some rot, lead paint removal, new windows and the odd door, which we were not surprised and ready for but still took ~$100K by the time it was completed.

Outside starts to move inside:
The barely functional and just plan wet and nasty tube to window air coolers need to go. Daikan mini-splits and some electrical upgrades ~$15K

Now that the outside house is sound, a series of patchwork window coverings are replaced by nice blinds throughout the house. ~$12K

It would be nice to watch a movie in bed together. Modest wall mounted screen with an Apple TV and soundbar. ~$800

Pattern is clear:
We have always lived within our means and saving two and half years, with a then paid off house, allowed the purchase of the model 3 completely. Our caution to others: Be aware of the hidden costs of Model 3 joy. You may very well determine that the rest of your life really needs to measure up to that experience and stop putting off those things you should have been doing for years.

It is not over...

gballant4570 | 13. Juli 2019

Perhaps THAT is the explanation for what is going on around garage, new blacktop, new landscaping....why didn't I make the connection before,,,,,

lunde | 13. Juli 2019


Magic 8 Ball | 13. Juli 2019

Hardie plank is fiber cement, how does it rot?

ADinM3 | 13. Juli 2019

@M8B, Not sure if it's the same as OP, but a neighbor down the street has the fiber cement boards and by 12-15 years are actually deteriorating quite badly, mostly towards ends of boards. Not sure I would quite call it rot, but end effect is the same. I was actually very surprised myself as I assumed it should last forever. Not sure if the issue is pervasive with all cement fiber board, but I would definitely research it hard before ever using it at this point.

Magic 8 Ball | 14. Juli 2019

@ADinM3 Does your neighbor have Hardie Plank brand fiber boards? There are look a likes not made from fiber cement but from other composite that looks same.

We have hardie plank (with the embedded color, never needs paint) and they look brand new going on about 10 years.

us | 14. Juli 2019

@Magic 8 Ball. We replaced the cedar shingles with Hardie and that turned up the rot and and lead paint fixes that were needed. Far as I know the Hardie should be our last siding. Got really good contractor that knows how to do it right. To be fair the cedar shingles lasted 35 years so it is not in any way their fault.
Really more of a finally doing those things you should have done 10 years ago and the chain continues.

mcmack15 | 14. Juli 2019

us, I think we have you beat. I was going to post a similar thread when we were done, but I will join yours. My wife had her name on the list for the 3 since the first week or so. I tried talking her into looking at one of the other models instead of waiting. I even convinced her to go to a Tesla dealership (that is what we called them before we knew better) to test drive one. My error---for which I am very what happens?

* I end up buying a model S after the test drive------so my wife's 3 cost us an extra $75K or so before she even takes delivery.

Then the miscellaneous few thousand to get the home charger, which required us to update our electrical panel from fuses to circuit breakers; move the electrical panel so it wasn't directly over the water line coming into the house (town inspectors insisted on this crazy step-----panel was moved about 8 inches away from the wall so it wasn't directly over the water pipe); digging a trench to bury the electrical line from the front of the house where the electrical panel is located, to the detached garage.

* Then my wife decides we need an addition. Well what is an addition if, at the same time, you can't get rid of your old one car garage and replace it with a new, two car, detached garage for the two Teslas? I didn't ask for a cost breakdown, so I don't know the cost of the garage for this post, it will be 24' x 28', and insulated. So $50 a square foot would be around $33K; and $75 a square foot would be around $50K.

* And heck, if you are putting on a new addition and building a new garage, you might as well replace your current roof and go solar. Final quote for the solar isn't in yet as he wants to get precise measurements when the framing is complete, but we are talking about $25K before credits.

Meanwhile, the foundations are in, and the back fill will be completed tomorrow. And we love our Teslas!

Magic 8 Ball | 14. Juli 2019

@us Thanks, Hardie was a very smart choice. Basically fireproof, maintenance free, and nice look.

Do not forget to tally the hidden savings and how much you are paying forward when you go BEV.


Tyerc | 14. Juli 2019

Hardie Plank on our second home in an area where water was running down the edge of a dormer, shows signs of the HP swelling. The water problem has been fixed but the HP swelling will need to be addressed.

jjgunn | 14. Juli 2019

Plus I had to buy floor mats, a 128 GB USB, 12v USB-C plug, Opti-Coat Pro Plus, Carbon Fiber chrome delete & black Tesla tire stem caps.


sanglee24 | 14. Juli 2019

Does a $30k solar system count?:) Damn you, Tesla!!

mcmack15 | 14. Juli 2019

Good point jjgunn, I forgot we put Xpel on each car, but now that seems cheap compared to the construction budget----which had over runs before we even broke ground because of new zoning rules approved just weeks before we started.

Magic 8 Ball | 14. Juli 2019

Yes, a solar system counts +1000.

mcmack15 | 14. Juli 2019

Should Elon be required reimburse us because we weren't informed about these additional costs? If so, I wish I got the X (with six seats) instead of the S.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 14. Juli 2019

us: Typically, the 'hidden cost', as related by Tesla NaySayers, is that once you buy a Tesla (or any other electric car), you have to buy another car. Thing is, among married owners, what they have said in response is that sure. But you end up buying another Tesla when His, becomes Ours, then morphs into Hers. Generally this realization comes about when he hears her bragging to Friends or Family members, "Look! HE got ME a Tesla!" Happy Wife, happy life. No regrets either way.

The various home improvements are certainly not 'hidden'. The very slightest bit of investigation uncovers the likelihood of that happenstance. Cleaning out the garage. Painting. Refinishing the floor. Installing charger equipment. Eventually buying fully electric lawn equipment. Getting rid of all ICE vehicles, with a reprieve given to the hauling truck or van, at least until the Tesla Pickup arrives on the market, installation of solar panels, possibly with battery storage, and an accompanying redux of all home electrical systems. ;-)

Kary993 | 14. Juli 2019

yes extra circuits for charging, Tesla house batteries and solar panels....definitely beyond the cost of the $75K car! somewhere around $50k more in the end.

BuffaloBillsFan | 14. Juli 2019

Shit! Now I absolutely need a solar roof just to keep up with the Joneses! Plus two firewalls! Fuck me! Another $75,000. I am going to sue Elon just as soon as install one (next year I hope).

Magic 8 Ball | 14. Juli 2019

Solar smugness is awesome!

lilbean | 14. Juli 2019

I had to clean the garage and buy a leaf blower!

Tesla2018 | 14. Juli 2019

I put up a poster of a Tesla Roadster in my garage in 2007. I dont even remember what I paid for it. It replaced the Britney Spears concert tour poster that I hung up to piss off my neighbors wife who made him get rid of it.

Shesmyne2 | 14. Juli 2019

Way back in 2012 before our S arrived;
Painted the garage. Added industrial wrap to all ducts. Painted the floor. New washer/dryer. New shelving.
Got the Nema14-50 installed.
After arrival;
CQuartz full coat. Carbon fiber accents. Window tint. Personalized plates.
2018 M3 arrives-
Tame in comparison. She got PPF on front/sides/mirrors. CQuartz all around. Carbon fiber accents. Personalized plates.
And the garage floor needs repainting...

Still Grinning ;-)

moabchick | 14. Juli 2019

I hear ya! First we discovered we could not tolerate sharing ONE Tesla so we had to buy a second. We stole the 50am stove/range circuit in our panel to set up charging in the garage. We figured no big deal since we have a gas stove. BUT - NOW....I need an induction stove because gas is evil! Which means extra expense to make the panel support the induction stove! Hidden costs I tell ya!

jjgunn | 14. Juli 2019

lilbean | July 14, 2019
I had to clean the garage and buy a leaf blower!
Electric I hope!!

ReD eXiLe ms us | 14. Juli 2019

And such are the 'hidden costs', all gladly and happily paid in full. ;-)

vmulla | 14. Juli 2019

The biggest hidden cost for me is the time I spend on this forum.
I've never been as engaged with anything as this.