Have you really been calculating your cars cost correctly?

Have you really been calculating your cars cost correctly?

So I know for alot of people like myself, this will be the most expensive car they have ever owned. I also see a lot of people basing thier ownership on a $35,000 price tag and I'm wondering if everyone is doing REAL COST on thier new cars base price?

Base cost 35,000
Tax at 8% 2,800
Delivery fee 1,200(based off model S current cost)
1.99% interest 700 (honestly few will qualify for this low of a rate)

So THE BASE is gonna be about 40k before down payments and based off A+ credit for a 2% interest rate so if someone puts no money down that's about a $579 a month car payment based on 72 months

I only put this because I see sooooo many post from people quoting thier budget seemingly ignoring tax and delivery fees and also forget cost like the wall Charger or electrician to install that will possibly be another $1000-1500.

So technically to own a base model model three with no options and a wall charger is realistically about 41k.

Have you been correctly doing your budget?

dave.m.mcdonough | 27. Oktober 2016

Of course there will be tax and all that. But for comparison to other cars you gotta keep it apples-apples.

leskchan | 27. Oktober 2016

You forgot:

1. Increase in insurance
2. Decrease in fuel costs
3. Decrease in repair costs.
4. Decrease in annual depreciation.

Basically first you have to decide how long you are going to keep the car and annual miles as to a complete ownership picture.

dave.m.mcdonough | 27. Oktober 2016

Also, I plan on getting AWD. I really don't see the point in getting too far into these details until we can see what the options actually cost.
Until then I'm just salting away money..

Calibrotha2000 | 27. Oktober 2016

Yeah all good points I just want certain folks to take into account all cost so when the finance department tells them $600 a month they aren't saying "but wait don't I get $7500 off and my math said it was only going to be 28,000.

I'm telling you ITS GOING TO HAPPEN! I see soooo many young folks saying "hopefully I get a good job by then" and I'm like I have a good job and that's still gonna be a lot of money so I just hope everyone is as wise as some and are really doing the math

Tarla's Driver | 27. Oktober 2016

Yeah, I laugh at the press talking about how Autopilot with self-driving will add $8K to the price of the Model 3. There is no pricing information for options yet. There's no reason to assume that just because they charge a given amount for the Model S, that the same price will apply for the Model 3.

Also, don't forget to take into account the federal and state tax incentives. That's likely to be $10K for me (much of which will go to options).

Calibrotha2000 | 27. Oktober 2016

Yeah insurance will be at least $120 a month based on comperable cars and rates I've seen. Could def be less but even in that that's close to a $700 car payment-lol

Hope everyone is saving saving saving OR getting a sugar daddy/mamma

Calibrotha2000 | 27. Oktober 2016

Yeah insurance will be at least $120 a month based on comperable cars and rates I've seen. Could def be less but even in that that's close to a $700 car payment-lol

Hope everyone is saving saving saving OR getting a sugar daddy/mamma

Calibrotha2000 | 27. Oktober 2016

Don't forget the tax credit only comes the tax year AFTER. You purchase so your bank loan is based on what your car cost so that potential 10k won't be avail till the following year and to decrease your payment you will have to refinance ASAP

tigardspaz | 27. Oktober 2016

Are people really getting 72 month loans? That's six years. Dave Ramsey said that if you can't afford to pay cash for your car, then you can't afford your car.

Calibrotha2000 | 27. Oktober 2016

@gregcropper that's the only way some people will be able to afford it. I know people as we speak spending $450 a month on cars like a 2013 Toyota Camry with 71,000 miles because they got a 11% interest rate paying no money down on 19k.

SoFlaModel3 | 27. Oktober 2016

@gregcropper -- at 1.99% interest, I am happier financing the car and using my cash to make more money at a higher rate of return than 1.99%. I'll go for a 60 months loan myself though.

@Calibrotha2000 - don't forget you can adjust tax withholdings on your paycheck to get the $7,500 faster. The only ramification is if you don't get the car in the year you expected you have definitely underpaid your taxes by a great deal.

To the original poster... all cars have tax, deliver, and destination fees. I know ignorance is high, but surely anyone who has bought a car before realizes this and knows the car isn't actually $35,000.

As I saw someone else say if you're going to get into calculating it though, then really calculate it.

-Take into account electricity costs in your area vs. gas costs
-Take into account the federal tax credit ($7,500, even though it's a lump sum, spread it over 60 months in your math to figure what your reduction is on that 5 year auto loan -- $125) ($3,750 would be $62.50)

I don't think anyone knows insurance yet. It's hard to compare the Model S as it starts at $30k more than the Model 3. The Model 3 as a safe and relatively affordable vehicle could be cheaper to insure or comparable to your current car. You can't know this yet...

And hey finally... you get $1,000 off the price of the car because well that's money you sent so long ago as a deposit :)

Red Sage ca us | 27. Oktober 2016

Calibrotha2000: The Destination Fee will likely only be around $1,000. That is comparable to similarly priced vehicles from direct competitors like AUDI A4, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS, etc. I'm pretty sure that anyone who actually draws up a budget will be including incidental expenses in their calculations.

Linemanap | 27. Oktober 2016

Hows this for math : fuel savings 2000$ a year, no more oil changes ,fuel filters ,air filters tranny flush, spark plugs Lets call it 300$ a year x 10 years =23000$ in savings - fed tax credit 7500 colorado rebate 5000= 35500$ tesla is basically paying me to own this car

EaglesPDX | 27. Oktober 2016

@Tarla's Driver " There's no reason to assume that just because they charge a given amount for the Model S, that the same price will apply for the Model 3."

Actually there would be every reason to assume the options for the T3 would be the same as those for the "budget" TS60 which Tesla has put out there to lure T3 buyers who are put off by the two year delivery. In many cases, the same options are MORE money on lower priced cars. For example, the Eyesight system (AP equivalent) on the Subaru is $2,395 on $18K Impreza but $$1,395 on the $22 Legacy.

So for budgeting, using the current option prices for Tesla's current "budget car" is likely a good estimate for the same options on the new "budget car".

I think the original poster's point is well taken, the T3 is going to be an expensive luxury car because the base model with RWD, no AP, low range requires $18,000 in options to get the safety and utility needed,

So using the op's numbers and starting at $53,000 plus the $2,800 sales tax, $1,200 delivery people are running into a $57K car. Even if they are in the lucky first 200,000 who get some portion of the Federal Tax credit, it's still an $50K car. When you run typical budget numbers that your total car costs should be no more than 20% of your monthly after tax take home pay, you end up with needing a roughly $70K income, you are pushing the top 20% income in the US.

Which is OK. Tesla is working there way down the income tiers but the T3 is going to require an top 25% income.

Look on the bright side, Americans way overspend for cars so I'm sure a lot of people who can't afford it will stretch to buy it.

Edgarbal | 27. Oktober 2016

I agree 100% with calibrotha2000, and pisses me off, when I see people agreeing and getting excited about paying high prices for options . when Tesla see those reactions, it encourage them keep pushing more and more expensive options , when they should make a lot of them standard, $41,000 is a lot of money , maybe not for some of you.

tstolz | 27. Oktober 2016

I'd ball-park the real cost as equivalent to a $25,000 Camry. Like others have said, fuel is 1/4 the cost if you can fill up at home, depreciation is lower, you don't have maintenance costs, and you won't have as much in repairs as there are simply fewer things to break!

Also, I didn't see my insurance move a bit .. and I haven't spent a nickel on my MS ... now at 90,000 km. Personally, I think people are way undervaluing Teslas in the used marketplace .. they should last twice as long as an ICE age car. Nab one while you can .. once word gets out to the masses the wait list will only grow!

EaglesPDX | 27. Oktober 2016

@tstolz "I'd ball-park the real cost as equivalent to a $25,000 Camry."

$25,000 plus gas, oil, filters for five years ($10,000) would be $35,000 so the $41,000 is still $6,000 more so difference is still up there. More like a Toyota Avalon.

Bighorn | 27. Oktober 2016

Hold up,now--what's this sales tax thingy?

EaglesPDX | 27. Oktober 2016

@Bighorn "Hold up,now--what's this sales tax thingy?"

It's that thar thingy that 46 US states charge and 97% of all Tesla customers pay. HeeHaw.

Red Sage ca us | 27. Oktober 2016

Bighorn: Something that certain States eliminate in favor of hidden fees of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, along with real estate taxes.

jamilworm | 27. Oktober 2016

@tstolz, keep in mind the OP is talking about the set of potential customers for whom "this will be the most expensive car they have ever owned". I am one of those people too. I fully expect my insurance to increase as I change from a 3 year old Honda Fit probably worth less than $10,000 to a brand new $40,000 car. You said your insurance didn't change, but I wonder what was your old vehicle?

I have never bought a new car before. Before I started following these forums I had never heard of a delivery fee and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I am certain that I can afford the car, but I haven't done a cost analysis yet, but if I were going to I would be sure to research all of the costs thoroughly. However I agree with the OP that many people are probably over-reaching.

To me this is especially evident when people are saying they are worried of not getting the full ta credit because of the you would need to owe at least $7500 in taxes. According to the 2015 tax brackets you'd only need to make around $50k per year to owe $7500 in taxes. If you don't make that much then you probably can't afford the car. When I made that much money I drove a 10 year old Honda Civic that cost me $3000.

Red Sage ca us | 27. Oktober 2016

jamilworm: Waitasec... was that in like, 1988 or something? I'm sure it's been a long time since a ten-year-old Honda Civic was worth only $3,000... These days I think they have to be nearly 20 years old to cost that little. Well...? Gasoline is typically more expensive in Los Angeles than other places -- so fuel efficient cars hold their value a bit longer than other places, I guess. (smileyfacegrin)

Efontana | 28. Oktober 2016


A 3 year old Fit is a pretty good car. It has about the same interior volume as a Mercedes GLK and gets better mileage. I bought a base 2012 new as a foundation for a ride sharing commuter car and put Katzkin leather in first thing. I think the kit was about $800. It has all the weak seams for the side airbags and everything. One thing that tells me is that the incremental cost for leather for the manufacturer is less than $400. Also put on 15 lb rims and 205/55 16 tires to drop the revs. The ride and handling characteristics are great, but the status and interior sound level don't cut it. Had to get a BMW E90 to make the car inviting.

Hoping the 3 can replace the BMW. Factory leather would and good acoustics would save a little bit of work... Apple could make hay in this market if they introduced a car with 53dB concert hall background noise for non-yelling social road trips. But Apple lacks vision and Tesla does not have to, so I wonder where the Model 3 acoustics will land.

dsvick | 28. Oktober 2016

Just because it is the most expensive car someone has purchased doesn't mean that they don't know all the other things that go into the purchase. Like dave said above, it is just easier to type $35K for the base, or $35K plus this option and this option. As opposed to $35K plus this option and this option, and my local tax of $X, and the delivery fee, plus the cost of financing, minus my down-payment, subtract the trade in, and add title fees.

Sure, there are some people for whom this is their first new car buying experience and they may not know everything, but I guarantee that most of the people on here are well aware of the costs. Including documentation fees, title fees, and inspection fees that you didn't mention.

I will agree with you though that there will be a lot of people sitting in the Tesla office picking up their car saying "Why didn't you deduct the $7,500?".

donaldnoel | 28. Oktober 2016

A little bit of tax analysis for those interested. First of all the federal $7,500 is a credit not a deduction. If you get the credit you can subtract $7,500 from what you owe in taxes. One person said you would have to make $50K to owe $7,500 in taxes. Not correct. If your income was $50,000 and you are married and take the standard deduction of $12,600 then you would owe $4682.50. So you could use the credit to avoid having to pay $4,682.50 in taxes for the year that you get the credit. No carry over to the next year on the credit. In order to owe $7,500 in taxes you would have to make ~$68,800. Bottom line is that in order to figure out the actual benefit of the tax credit you need to analyze your taxes from the previous year and estimate what they would be in the current year.

One strategy I thought of in my circumstances where I am living on money I withdraw from my IRA is that when I take money out it is taxable. Typically I never owe $7,500 in taxes but if I were to substantially increase my withdrawal to the point that my tax liability was $7,500 I could take the full benefit of the $7500. Haven't run the numbers but it is possible that if I withdrew the money from my IRA to pay for my Tesla it may increase my tax liability to near $7,500 so I could buy my Tesla federal tax free. This all assumes that the tax code will not change before I get my Tesla. A big assumption!

andy.connor.e | 28. Oktober 2016

The cost of ownership over a 10 year period will make the car worth buying. The initial investment in the car is much higher than anyone would want, but where the cost reductions are, is after you've owned the vehicle for 10 years. Or more simply the cost of ownership per month in simple maintenance.

jordanrichard | 28. Oktober 2016

using donaldnoel income figure example. You have a tax liability of $4,682.50 and the $7,500 credit wipes that out. What you actually get back (refund) will be whatever Fed taxes were taken out of your pay. THAT amount is what one should be using to calculate their car's net price. So, your M≡ cost you say, $41,200 and your refund is $4,200, your next cost is $37,200. Versus saying $41,200 - $7,500 = $33,700.

andy.connor.e | 28. Oktober 2016


Realistically speaking, if you're only paying $4600 in taxes, you probably cant afford this car.

jordanrichard | 28. Oktober 2016

Ok, it was just an example of how the math works. Also, you are assuming that there aren't a lot of people that put down a large down payment to get their payments to be within their "lower" budget/salary.

The point is, each and every person's situation is different and as I think the OP is trying to convey and I agree, is that you can't just use blanket/generic numbers to establish a definitive outcome like the net purchase price of your car.

Bighorn | 28. Oktober 2016

So Donald Trump can't afford a Tesla?

Calibrotha2000 | 28. Oktober 2016

The funniest part is that we all know there are a lot of people who are reading silently taking notes because there has been a lot of good info posted that some people are probably writing down because they were not aware.

What I do appreciate about Tesla at least in articles is hat they aren't pitching the car to cost $27,500. That's what every other EV seems to do is advertise the car at the price minus the federal tax credit already. Go look at some of the current info on the BOLT and you will see $30,000 plastered all over the place. It's great to share all this info because when I bought my last car and the car before I was soooooo misinformed about everything except interest rates and ended up paying $495 a month for a brand new Nissan Altima base model. $495 in 2004 would be like a $600 car note in today's market. It only work d out because that's still my daiky driver 12 years later but this post is for people like me back when I was 26

dsvick | 28. Oktober 2016

@Bighorn - "So Donald Trump can't afford a Tesla?"

Great, now I've spit coffee all over my keyboard and monitor......

jordanrichard | 28. Oktober 2016

Calibrotha2000, exactly. Tesla cites pre-tax incentive prices because anything else is a bonus via your state and/or Fed government.

andy.connor.e | 28. Oktober 2016


You win. I quit

SamO | 28. Oktober 2016


You win the internet today until the SolaRoof announcement.

EaglesPDX | 28. Oktober 2016

@Calibrotha2000 "What I do appreciate about Tesla at least in articles is hat they aren't pitching the car to cost $27,500."

You might not appreciate the fact that Tesla leads off at the top with car cost less the $7,500 tax credit. At the bottom Tesla shows the price less the credits.

" Go look at some of the current info on the BOLT and you will see $30,000 plastered all over the place. "

Bolt leads off with price before the $7,500 tax credit. Interesting that you bias lead to getting it exactly backwards.

Rocky_H | 28. Oktober 2016

@EaglesPDX, You just aren't interested in the truth, are you?

He was talking about the Model 3 and specifically how it is talked about "in articles".

You brought up the Model S and the configuration websites--off topic on two counts. That is called a red herring.

In referring to "in articles", he was referring to how the two companies have been publicly talking about the cars for the past couple of years to media outlets. Constantly, Chevy would say the Bolt was $30,000 and Tesla would say the Model 3 was $35,000. Those prices were quoted constantly, side by side, with no qualifiers, so that many articles kept saying that the Bolt sticker price was cheaper. I know you saw the articles and are just pretending you didn't.

Tesla is being upfront in listing the Model S and Model 3 differently. The Model S is still well within the count of qualifying for the tax credit, so it's reasonable to state that for the Model S. For the Model 3, they knew that most of them would not qualify for the full tax credit, so they have been way out ahead of it, not giving people false price expectations to always state the full price in all of their public statements during the past couple of years.

So Chevy finally started to be upfront and list the full price for the Bolt now? Give them a cookie.

EaglesPDX | 28. Oktober 2016

@Rocky_H " Chevy would say the Bolt was $30,000 and Tesla would say the Model 3 was $35,000."

Tesla ALWAYS did the pricing online showing the post Federal Tax credit price FIRST. Totally fair to do as it was a given for Tesla and still will be for Teslas into 2017.

As for "Chevy said something in the past", all we see right now is that Chevy shows the full list price of $38K and does not show ANY Federal credit discounted price on the Chevy Bolt pages at Chevy, like Tesla would be playing fair in leading with post Federal Credit price as all Volt and Bolt owners through 2017 are pretty much guaranteed of getting it.

The double standard that some Teslerati apply to Tesla vs. other EV's is amusing but not factual.

akgolf | 28. Oktober 2016

Someone needs to lay off the meds.

dave.m.mcdonough | 28. Oktober 2016

"gas savings" calculation is such a circle jerk. Can we just ban it??

We're talking about a car that has no parallel (aside from it's more expensive brothers), it's not a decision factor for anyone on this board. The only other car you guys are (maybe) comparing is the Bolt, also electric. But it's FWD so let's not even go there.

And on topic of monthly payment, why even bring it up? The monthly payment is what it is. No matter what it will be different than your current situation.
Comparing to what another car may be costing you is irrelevant.
If you buy a $400 something for $200 because it's 50% off, you didn't save $200. You spent $200.

Linemanap | 29. Oktober 2016

@dave.m very true but im looking at a twenty year Cost of ownership savings. So I'll be paying a large amount of money up front for 5 years but that money will come back to my in savings over the next twenty years. The fact that I need a new vehicle makes the m3 the best option for me
But if it was all about saving money then maybe the best thing to do is get a $1500 honda beater but I m going to be putting my kids in this car.

jamilworm | 29. Oktober 2016

@donaldnoel "If your income was $50,000 and you are married and take the standard deduction of $12,600 then you would owe $4682.50."

When did the spouse enter the picture? When I threw out the $50,000 number I was talking about a single person. If you make $50k and are supporting a spouse then you DEFINITELY can't afford this car.

tstolz | 29. Oktober 2016

Cost to own depends on how much you drive and how often you flip your vehicle ... but I'll maintain for many this car will prove to be as cheap as a $25,000 Camry.

Fuel, maintenance, and lower repairs will exceed $10,000 over the vehicles life, plus the biggest cost, depreciation, will be way lower than an ICE age car (provided you don't sell it too early) since EVs last way longer. If 'normal' lifetime depreciation on a Camry is $20,000 ... and your M ☰ lasts 50% longer ... you saved an additional $10,000!

Re insurance - yes I am comparing to cars of equivalent value so I'll concede that would be a bit higher.

The other thing people are forgetting is that Tesla's are a big step up over ICE age cars .. so we are not comparing apples to apples here in the least! M ☰ will not be the cheapest car you can own ... that would likely be a Yaris or something lame like that ... no ... your M ☰ will be awesome and you will wonder why the decision seemed hard when you were making it. Buyers remorse is not in the vocabulary of a Tesla owner.

jamilworm | 29. Oktober 2016

@tstolz you are completely right about all that stuff. I don't think the OP was trying to indicate that the Model 3 will not be a good value. He was just saying that since the Model 3 is so awesome, it has drawn in a lot of potential buyers that other cars in this price range do not. And there are people for whom this will be their first new car buy, and some of those people are probably not doing their due diligence in figuring out the actual cost.

However I guess the same thing probably happens when people decide to buy their first ICE car too. But he also mentioned the cost of installing a charger which is probably something a lot of people are overlooking.

newdanbutler | 29. Oktober 2016

I'm glad someone pointed out that the tax subsidy won't be at time of purchase; I knew that, but my wife and I we're considering the options we'd choose based upon that option and that fed into our present budgeting. We'll need to reconsider the budget, since the final bill won't be partially met by the subsidy.

We decided to not go with a wall charger, until we see if 110 will meet out needs. By our simple math, averaging less than 30 miles a day and with most of the time charging (18+ hours daily) at home, there really is no need for the added expense of the wall charger plus installation by electrician. We'll be better off to make that purchase/installation, too, once the M3 comes off our budget (paying cash).

tigardspaz | 29. Oktober 2016

After last night's presentation, I'm even more excited. The powerwall 2 has double the capacity of the original powerwall, and while it is a little more than the original price, it also comes with an inverter. Basically you're getting $11,000 worth of equipment for $5500.

If Tesla is able to get the same economy of scale from the 21-70 cells in the Model 3, then it will get over 400 miles of range.

Calibrotha2000 | 29. Oktober 2016

@Rocky_H THANK YOU for commenting EXACTLY what my point was about advertised price to the TINDERBOT Eagle. Such a reach to compare the tesla configuration page to adds and articles about price. He/she/shim reaches soooooooo much to make a point

It's like being on a Yankee Fan forum and being that ONE PERSON always talking bout the

EaglesPDX | 29. Oktober 2016

@Calibrotha2000 "It's like being on a Yankee Fan forum and being that ONE PERSON always talking bout the CUBS."

Does make you wonder why so many people bring up other EV's. I'll respond to them but it's the hard core Teslerati who bring up the other EV's in regard to the T3.

To your topic, that a T3, even a base T3 would be a financial reach for all but top 25% income earners based on standard budgeting, that is correct.

gopinathpcg | 29. Oktober 2016

I just booked a Tesla 3. It says delivery estimate is second half of 2018.
Does anyone think it could be earlier if there are many cancellations between now and when deliveries begin late 2017?
Many of those who booked may not know that the total price on road (including the $8K for self driving software) could be over $50K. I doubt if all the 373K who booked are aware of this.

Calibrotha2000 | 29. Oktober 2016

@Eagle everyone's issue with your info is its all selective.

When people ask you direct questions you deflect to picking out a point in thier statement to comment on and ignore direct questions proving to me you have to be a BOT.

Members: hey Eagle what time is it where you are?
Eagle: @Member the AWD Version of a tesla is useless
Member: hey Eagle do you like pepperoni pizza?
Eagle: @member the base model T3 will be $75,000 forsafetyfeatures cause I said so
Member: hey Eagle why don't you address anything I ask you direct that doesn't support your agenda
Eagle: ______________

That's how BOTS work