Cost to fill

Cost to fill

So I have been trying to calculate the cost to "fill" an empty "tank". Here is my math. It seems low, help me find the error... Or spread the good word!

Power per mile: 300Wh (per FAQ)
Miles per "tank": 300 miles
Power per "tank": 90 kWh = 300 * 300 / 1000
Cost per kWh: $0.09 (in NC, varies by location)

Cost to "fill-er-up": $8.10

brianman | October 23, 2011

Volker made me curious, so I found the Roadster text:

Designed to be plugged in

The Tesla Roadster is designed to be plugged
in when not in use. This ensures that the next
time you use the vehicle, it is fully charged
and ready to go. There is no advantage to
waiting until battery level is low before
charging. Plugging in every night eliminates
the risk of damage that could be caused by
over-discharging the battery.

When plugged in, the vehicle optimizes the
lifetime of the Battery by managing its
charge level and temperature. The vehicle
wakes up every 24 hours and, if needed,
automatically initiates the charging process
to keep the Battery at an optimum charge

Mycroft | October 23, 2011

Thanks guys. That clears that up.

Zelaza | October 23, 2011

@Timo writes:

"Just in case someone takes Zelaza numbers as fact, $40k battery change is BullS*it. Real number will be closer to $4000 than $40k after 100000 or five years."


(1) VERY HIGH ESTIMATE: Currently battery can be priced at about $700/kWh. For a 95 kWh battery this comes to $66,500. No one would ever buy this so if we assume half this price the cost of the 95 kWh (300 mile) battery comes to $33,250. What the actual price may be I can't possibly tell.

(2) ESTIMATE BASED ON TESLA NUMBERS: Adding battery to extend range of Model S by 140 miles = $20,000. Therefore, 300 mile battery comes to (300/140)x$20,000 = $42857.+. This comes from Tesla's numbers, not mine.

(3) ROADSTER REPLACEMENT BATTERY COST: Another contributor in these forums noted (in another thread) that you can RESERVE a Roadster battery for $12,000. I can't confirm this nor have any other information about this. The Roadster battery capacity is (I believe) 53 kWh. Therefore, a 95 kWh battery at these costs becomes (95/53)*$12,000 = $21,509.+. I'm not sure what Reserving means, perhaps you have to pay this in advance when you buy the car, or something else. Whatever, I'm sure it would increase the $21,000+ cost just calculated.

I think that $4000 for a 95 kWh battery is a little low; by a lot.

BruceR | October 23, 2011

As usual, the truth of battery costs is somewhere in between the extreme examples people give. I have no idea how much lower prices will be 5 years from now, but I can give you an idea how much cells cost right now. I have built several Li powerd EVs and can purchase "standard" energy density cells for roughly 350USD/kWh. So my cost with absolutely no leverage and zero contracts in place would be approximately $16K for a 160 mile pack. (Given that we really don't know the exact capacity but can reason that it must be close to 50kWh.) I can only imagine how low TESLA is paying Panasonic with a four year contract for 160 million cells per year in hand. TESLA sure won't be telling anyone! ;-)

Don't forget two important points about battery cost. TESLA is in bussiness to make money and must charge us more than their cost. Obvious, but sometimes lost in these discussions.

Also, battery cost is not linear to capacity of the cell. I worked at an 18650 cell manufacturer a few years back and while all cells are created with the same care, there is a big range of outcomes. The last step before selling them is grading them by Ah. They are then sold by which bin of capacity they fall in with the highest capacity selling for an almost 50% price premium at the time. So the more capacity you want out of the same size volume, the dearer you pay.

William13 | October 23, 2011

My points are:

1) the battery degrades from three main causes.

A. Time. Est 90% capacity left at seven years.
B. Cycles. Est 80% capacity left after 500 cycles.
C. Over discharge or over charge. This degrades the battery faster.

2) a larger battery lasts longer.

3) the cost of batteries is decreasing while the capacity is increasing. The 300 mile pack should last over 15 years and 200,000 miles before dropping to a 160 mile pack equivalent.

4) the cost of the batteries is well below $20,000. This is the retail up charge for the entire pack, not it's "cost.". The used battery has a significant residual value.

5) people do not buy BMWs and Audis due to cost considerations, the Honda Fit would be cheap transportation choice. No one is buying the Tesla to save money.

6) the battery is not a cost to fill, but rather a capital cost. I would suggest that at 200,000 miles most ICE cars will need major engine repairs or will no longer be used for other reasons.

7) I plan to get a Sig (if I can afford it) and keep it for the rest of my life. The aluminum and electric motor should make the Tesla last far longer than other cars.

Mycroft | October 23, 2011

Looking into my Krystal ball, I think $20k would be a reasonable price for a 300 mile pack 10 years from now.

I'm thinking my pack will be down to 75% by then and that will more than meet my needs. I should be good for 20 years unless I can't renew the warranty and something bad happens.

BruceR | October 23, 2011

Bringing this back to fill up cost.
My planned purchase is a 230 mile version.
I pay 7 cents in the winter in an all electric house in ohio and 12 cents in the summer. I never plan to drain the battery completely because that is when you damage cells, but if I had to the cost would be:
Winter = $.07 * 300/1000 * 230 = $4.83
Summer = $.12 * 300/1000 * 230 = $8.28

Vawlkus | October 24, 2011

Ultimately, this all boils down to CHOICE.

I _choose_ to go BEV over ICE.

Someone else _chooses_ to go ICE over BEV.

All else is sophistory.

jbunn | October 24, 2011

CD players used to be 1,000 buck. Now 20. Ten years ago your boss would laugh if you asked for an lcd. You can get a 25 inch one for 200 bucks. My phone has vastly more power than the mainframes I learned on 25 years ago. Technology marches on, and renewable energy keeps getting cheaper. And gas keeps going up.

Ten years from now when I swap batteries it might well be for a 600 mile pack for 15 k. I'd say get out the graph paper, and consider the effects of technology adoption and mass production.

And gas will keep going up I suspect....

David70 | October 24, 2011

"And gas will keep going up I suspect...."
unless we drive it down by not using it anymore.
Of course, that will take many years.

David M. | October 25, 2011

"And gas will keep going up I suspect."
I agree completely.

Last weekend, I was at a Nissan dealership talking with their Leaf salesman. I asked him "Suppose I roll into a Nissan dealership with a Tesla Model S, and ask to use the Level 2 charging station to refuel? (Assuming we have a J1772 adapter)". He said "No problem. All PEVs are welcome to recharge - for free".

Awesome. So, for at least some time to come, there will be many random opportunities for "free fuel" in public locations.

Q. Who's giving out free gasoline these days?? Gas stations won't even give you a free Slurpee after spending $65 to fill up.

Mycroft | October 25, 2011

David, your point is valid that there are currently free places to top off your charge. However, in the specific case, that was one salesman at one dealership. Nissan dealerships wouldn't be something I could count on in far flung districts.

Robert.Boston | October 25, 2011

Let's do a little math:

Suppose you drive 15,000 miles per year in a luxury car that gets 20 mpg (mixed driving). You're buying 750 gallons of gas per year. If the differential between gasoline and electricity is $3/gallon equivalent (i.e., electricity costs 25% of gas, at today's prices, and that differential holds constant dollar terms), then you're spending an extra $2,250/year on fuel.

Suppose you set up a little trust fund to pay for this gasoline habit of yours. Interest rates are low; 30-year Treasuries yield 3% currently. So, you'll have to put $75,000 in your trust fund today to buy your gasoline continuously through the future.

This same trust fund will also fund $20,000 on a new battery every 8 years (or that much money towards purchase of a replacement vehicle).

You will, however, enjoy the savings from the lower maintenance costs on your Model S compared to the complexities of an ICE car.

Zelaza | October 25, 2011


Ten years ago AA batteries cost me 50 cents a piece and today they are closer to $1. Ten years ago decent car battery was $100, today $150. Twenty years ago you could get a pretty good car for $15K to 20K, today it's closer to $50K (in some cases $60K and $80K.) As you can see, some prices go down, some prices go up. Although connected by the flow of electrons, the electrical power industry and the electronics industries are completely different beasts with completely different gestation periods. One deals in watts, kilowatts, and megawatts, and the other in bits, bytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and more. Moore's law for semiconductor devices has a time constant of one or two years while, if there were such a thing for power systems, its time constant would probably be in decades. Don't get me wrong, there have been great, if not spectacular, improvements in battery technology, but not remotely on the scale of electronics and information processing. In short, anticipating advances in battery and motor technology based on the model of electronics and information may be disappointing.

Ten years from now when you have, hopefully, owned your Model S for seven or eight years, you may not want to swap batteries. By then, if Tesla is as innovative and revolutionary as you believe, the Model SdotX may be so much more advanced that you may not be able to resist it and, instead, plop down $100K+ for the new one. What to do, what to do ;-)

Incidentally, I notice that Robrt.Boston's calculations, in a nearby post, seem to pretty much agree with my assertion that "fueling" costs, over an extended time, are comparable between a Model S and an ICE based vehicle. However, I don't necessarily accept some of his assumptions; I may address that separately.

David M. | October 25, 2011

The Nissan salesman I chatted with also indicated that in a couple of years, the Leaf will ship with an improved battery capable of a 160mi - 170 mi range. Price point will still be in the $30K to $40K range (before any tax incentives).

Meanwhile, over at the "SeekingOil", I mean "" website, the only technology advancements being discussed for ICE cars are "potential use of stop/start" to improve fuel economy by several mpg max.

FACT - Nobody will ever give me free gasoline.
FACT - I will never again be able to fill my gas tank for $12 or less. Not even close.

Spin the life-cycle numbers any way you like. At the end of the day 3 facts remain:
1. With a PEV I begin everyday with full range. Not possible with ICE.
2. PEV recharging from empty ($0 min - $12 max).
3. ICE refueling from empty ($45 min - $85 max).
4. The longer YOU hang around this site, the more likely YOU will buy a PEV. Yes, even you Zelaza.

David M. | October 25, 2011

Ok, that would be 4 facts :-)

Zelaza | October 25, 2011

There is a point about "fueling" cost in my model that I've forgotten to mention in earlier notes. While it is my contention that long term "fueling" costs between the Model S (including necessary replacement of batteries) and a conventional ICE are comparable, there is a significant difference. The price of gas goes, overwhelmingly, to the oil companies while the electrical fueling costs, as I consider them, go primarily to Tesla Motors and its suppliers. I consider that a good thing (Tesla getting most of the money rather than big oil.)

Timo | October 25, 2011

@zelaza, battery tech is now advancing faster than ever before. You see "steady" 8% drop in price every year, and current price is about $300/kWh. 90kWh = $27k -> $25k -> $23148 -> $21433 -> $19846 -> $18376 rounded $18k. That already is closer to 4000 than 40000, and that doesn't count any real advances that are around the corner. If DBM Kolibri battery is not an hoax this might already be order of magnitude too high.

Tesla is selling their Model S battery packs a bit high price. I bet there are big margins in those "upgrades", considering that actual batteries don't cost anywhere near that much.

Mycroft | October 25, 2011

Zelaza, compared to the Porsche Panamera, (unless Tesla falls on their face in the fit & finish department), the Model S is a bargain. Compared to the Audi A7, it's still a pretty good deal.

Compared to a Subaru station wagon, I'll admit it's a lot of fricking money and it's tough to justify it with fuel and maintenance savings alone.

That said, I think gas prices have nowhere to go but up, faster and faster. Our only long-term energy solution, IMHO, is solar. Solar cell technology is getting better and the price is only coming down in direct contrast to petrol prices. It won't be long before the lines intersect.

Robert.Boston | October 25, 2011

@Mycroft: I think our best long-term energy solution is a combination of ocean wave, solar, and land-based wind, linked to storage. "Ocean waves?" you may ask. Yes -- the energy density of moving water is vastly higher than that of moving air or sunbeams. Higher density leads to lower costs.

The storage piece in the middle is critical, though, and there's no reason that EVs shouldn't be part of the solution.

Robert.Boston | October 25, 2011

Zelaza correctly points out that my cost estimates are highly dependent on the assumptions. Let me demonstrate:

Suppose that you look over only a 40-year period (which doesn't really change the basics). Now instead of assuming constant (real) prices, suppose that (real) prices grow by:

Gasoline 5%/year (depleting resource)
Electricity 3%/year (increased capital intensity for renewables)
Batteries 0%/year (technology improves)

Under these assumptions, the NPV of the net gasoline costs (at 3%) is $144,597, compared to the NPV of the battery costs of $51,988. Thus, there's a savings of $92,609 on the EV route -- again, without considering any other costs/savings of ownership.

Your mileage may vary....

Robert.Boston | October 25, 2011

Or put a different way, you'll spend $173,724 on gas, $29,126 on electricity, and $51,988 on batteries (all NPVs).

Timo | October 25, 2011

@Mycroft, Robert, you forget geothermal. That's still in infancy state for deep crust applications, but is in use in places where heat source is closer to surface. That's also a source that is practically unlimited and does not depend on weather or time of day at all. For many places that is way better than solar or wind, and you can't harness all the rivers for hydro. Ocean waves need Ocean nearby (or long distance distribution network).

Leofingal | October 25, 2011

@Zelaza - you seem to breeze by some key facts in your battery price discussion. You mention that 10 years ago you could buy a AA battery for $0.50 and today for $1.50, but that is ignoring the relative capacity of those AA batteries.

I think a look into cellphone battery prices over the past 10 years would be much more accurate, though I don't think you will find a single LiIon battery 10 years back...

I still think I will beat everyone on battery prices as I plan to buy a 160 mile pack now, then in 5-10 years buy someone else's used 300 mile pack for peanuts with something close to a 230 mile remaining capacity. In the case that new battery prices are cheap enough, I might consider a longer range option.

Zelaza | October 25, 2011


Thanks for your calculations. While I'm apprehensive about the utility of considering a forty year period, I'll use your numbers to try to analyze a hybrid drive, which I think is necessary for a majority of vehicles during a 10 to 15 year transition period from gas to mostly electric vehicles. While I hope the transition period is less than your forty year period, I'll use your 40 year numbers.

The basic transition plan is a hybrid vehicle with a suitable ICE and smaller battery; specifically, a battery half the current size in your calculation. To provide for the weight of the ICE and generator we have the 500 lbs freed by dumping half the battery. To pay for the ICE arrangement (estimate at $10,000) we have about $20,000 from half the cost of the battery of the BEV; thus, actually, an expected saving of $10,000 in initial cost. With this arrangement, the 40 year operating cost using your numbers is as follows:
First assume that the ICE is used for only 10% of the mileage (to give unlimited range and recharge batteries) with the electric drive train used the remaining 90% of the mileage.
1) Using the ICE 10% of the time gives total a gas cost of 0.1x$173,724 = $17,372
2) Using the electric drive 90% of the time gives electric cost of 0.9x$29,126 = $26,213
3) Since the battery is only half the previous size, its expense is 0.5x$51,988 = $25,994
4) The expected 40 year operating cost of the hybrid is then:


This compares very favorably with your BEV 40 year cost estimate of:

$81,114 (= $29,126 + $51,988)

Another point I won't elaborate on here (for the pure BEV) is the total time required to recharge a battery whose recharging cost for electricity is $29, 126. This recharging time is a little over 13,000 hours = 542 days = 1.48 years.

There have been previous important transition periods and one that comes to mind is the transition in shipping from sail to steam starting in the 1840s or 1850s (not sure, and unwilling right now to look it up.) At first ships applied paddle wheels timidly but kept their sails and relied on them most of the time. As the more efficient screw propellor was developed there was more reliance on steam than sail but still no one would risk a ship or cargo on steam alone. The big problem was running out of coal and numerous coaling stations on foreign shore were established; some requiring war. I believe that as late as the 1920s, some steam ships were still being built with masts for sails. Ironically, now some very large high-tech ships are being built with masts and self deploying sail like structures to save fuel.

jbunn | October 25, 2011

Another thing to consider is that China and India are getting ready to come on line in the next decade, and their energy needs are going to be massive. Oil is open market, and even if every car in the US went to alternate fuel, the price of gas will continue to rise. Switching demand away from oil domesticaly won't affect long term oil prices. I'm guessing 10 years from now gas will be closer to 8 bucks than 4 bucks. But that's just a guess.

cerjor | October 25, 2011

Although the cost of filling the S will be less than filling a gas tank, I have no thought that I will save money OR energy by buying a Tesla. I don't drive enough to have the cheaper fill ups (and other savings that have been mentioned) pay for the added capital cost. There are a lot less expensive cars available.

And for saving energy, it takes a lot of energy to build the car. I have read a car requires as much energy to build as it uses in its life. If you want to save the planet's available energy, keep your present car or buy a used one.

But I want something unique with a big WOW factor. You cannot put a price on that.

mwu | October 26, 2011

Something I have been thinking about for a while is the supply line of gasoline. Let's say that electric vehicles become prevalent and that gas consumption drops drastically. Demand dropped big time, but it is still required for things like lawn mowers, trimmers, etc. I know electric versions of those exist and have for a while (I even have both examples in electric), but the point remains that it will take us longer to eliminate gas usage than to drastically reduce it.

Back to the point, if gas usage is low but still required, people will still be buying it. It will still require a vast country-wide supply chain and all of the costs involved with maintaining that supply chain at a lower volume (truckers to haul gas to stations, tankers to bring gas to the country, etc). I have a feeling that the reduction in cost for the supply chain will not equal the reduction in revenue for those involved and prices will rise despite demand decreasing.

I am not a business person or in finance / economy so I don't know if my logic holds up, but I don't think gas prices will maintain their level if gas usage decreases, and I fully expect that decrease in use to happen.

Robert.Boston | October 26, 2011

@mwu: The end-state of your utopian vision of all-EV cars is actually pretty easy to deal with: gasoline becomes a specialty product, not unlike propane today. You'll buy it in gallon containers at hardware stores, marine supply shops, and sporting goods stores.

It's the transition that becomes nightmarish for the ICE hangers-on. If only, say, 20% of the cars run on gasoline, how many gas stations will there be? They'll start suffering from range anxiety.

Timo | October 26, 2011

@cerjor, building a car doesn't use nowhere close as much energy than driving it in its lifetime. Maybe 1% of entire energy cost and I think even that is overestimate. At least for ICE cars, for BEV difference is smaller (around 10% efficiency vs. 60% efficiency whole chain considered).

Volker.Berlin | October 26, 2011

As always, I ask for references... Can any of you, Timo, cerjor, cite your sources? It's an interesting topic, and actually I think I read something somewhere as well, but hearsay is a doubtful basis for discussion.

Volker.Berlin | October 26, 2011

Last weekend, I was at a Nissan dealership talking with their Leaf salesman. I asked him "Suppose I roll into a Nissan dealership with a Tesla Model S, and ask to use the Level 2 charging station to refuel? (Assuming we have a J1772 adapter)". He said "No problem. All PEVs are welcome to recharge - for free".

Awesome. So, for at least some time to come, there will be many random opportunities for "free fuel" in public locations. (David M.)

Good to know but it seems like you cannot necessarily count on all Nissan dealers being equally friendly: (first few paragraphs)

Robert.Boston | October 26, 2011

I can't vouch for this source's accuracy, but a reply on Google Answers quoted a broken link to as saying:

Automobiles affect the environment in many ways. Impacts begin when a
vehicle is manufactured (including the production of all the parts and
materials that go into the car) and end with its scrappage in a
junkyard (which can recycle many parts but also involves the disposal
of many wastes). Over the life of an average motor vehicle, however,
much of the environmental damage occurs during driving and is greatly
associated with fuel consumption. Over the dozen or so years of a
vehicle's life, nearly 90 percent of lifecycle ("cradle to grave")
greenhouse gas production for a typical automobile is due to fuel

Timo | October 26, 2011

I have a flu and frankly am too tired to dig up any sources right now. It's tedious task considering that you need to discard a lot of bad information that is pure propaganda (at both directions). D*mn politics.

Timo | October 26, 2011

Dig up something anyway:

Looks like 5-8% of energy is for manufacturing based on that. Something like that. Could be that "lifetime" is longer in other calculations, and it definitely will be long for BEV:s.

Volker.Berlin | October 26, 2011

It's tedious task considering that you need to discard a lot of bad information that is pure propaganda (at both directions). D*mn politics. (Timo)

That's precisely the reason why I keep asking for sources... :-) Thank you both for making the effort, and Timo, get well soon!

Leofingal | October 26, 2011

Thanks Timo, that answer was pretty in depth. We should make more Aluminum intensive vehicles apparently.

Achilz | October 26, 2011

There are some thoughtful comments in this chain. I think it is clear, and has been for some time, if you're out to save money, then buying a Tesla probably isn't going to get you there. But of course, neither is buying a BMW, Mercedes or Audi. People don't buy $60,000 cars to save money.

The old "electric doesn't save money" arguments are a but tired aren't they? I had a hybrid Lexus and loved the fact that I could drive 500+ miles on a tank of gas. To me, that was an option worth paying extra for. If you're asking whether the extra cost of the electric motors was "worth it" then why not ask whether the leather seats were "worth" the extra cost or the premium sound system upgrade was "worth" the cost. These are not things that have a true value, the value is in the fact that I was willing to pay more to have the features I wanted, which in that case included a very high mileage, low emission, quiet engine. Ultimately, I dumped the Lexus because I couldn't drive a dorky sissy car anymore and I went back to a BMW. And guess what? The mileage sucks, the NAV system is a joke, the iDrive is an abomination, but I still like the BMW better. In the luxury car market we pay up for the features and emotional appeal that we want. It's not about penny pinching.

That said, when comparing the Tesla to an ICE vehicle, let's make it a fair comparison. How much extra does it cost to make a BMW 5 series do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds? What's the maintenance cost on such a highly tuned engine? How much time would one spend at the gas station filling up the tank? And what's the cost of making that ICE silent and emission free? Priceless.

Larry Chanin | October 26, 2011


"There are some thoughtful comments in this chain. I think it is clear, and has been for some time, if you're out to save money, then buying a Tesla probably isn't going to get you there. But of course, neither is buying a BMW, Mercedes or Audi. People don't buy $60,000 cars to save money."

I think you've hit the nail on the head. But please don't be too hard on us, these discussions around "economics" help us rationalize an expensive emotional driven purchase. ;-)


cerjor | October 28, 2011

I stand corrected. Thanks Volker-Berlin. Following Timo's suggestion of references I tried to find the one I had believed in. Couldn't find it but found that the manufacturing energy to be much less than that consumed in driving. Here's some quotes from the search.

"The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Lab has developed a scientific model to analyze the energy input involved in automotive manufacture. This is known as the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation model (GREET). It breaks down manufacture into component parts and traces the base materials to their source and extraction.

Using the GREET calculations, a 1996 Mitsubishi Montero weighing 4,290 pounds took 135,542,980 Btus of energy to make. In terms of energy usage we can say it consumed 1,850 gallons of gasoline (a gallon of gas being equivalent to 113,500 Btus.). A 2009 Honda Civic, although 300 pounds heavier, only consumed the equivalent of 715 gallons. It also has better fuel consumption on the road."

Another site referenced the same Argonne study and concluded, “Typical cars used 20 % of their total life cycle energy for production, and consumed nearly all the remaining 80 % as fuel energy.

VolkerP | October 28, 2011

cudos to zelaza and the rest (mostly) to keep this interesting discussion free of flaming and insults. Buying a car IS a highly emotional move, and we all search for rationale until we find the one serving our emotional preference (Prof. Fügener, teaches car design).

qwk | October 28, 2011

Another thing to consider is that when comparing battery costs vs. buying gasoline is that you get 10 years or 100k miles nearly free with the EV. All you have to pay for is the electricity. Not so with the ICE vehicle.

In reality you could subtract the $20-30k you will spend on gasoline from the Model S because it comes with a battery pack included, while you have to add that $20-30k cost to the ICE car.

After 100k miles you MIGHT need a new battery, but you will for sure need more gasoline and maybe extensive repairs to drive another 100k miles in the ICE.

jbunn | October 28, 2011

Achilz said...

"And what's the cost of making that ICE silent and emission free? Priceless."

I was just thinking about this the other night as I was gagging on fumes from a vintage Beatle for 10 miles after having been stuck in bumper to bumper for a half hour with a bunch of other smelly cars...

I can't wait for my Tesla, and I'll be even happier when the guy in front of me gets one too.

Volker.Berlin | October 29, 2011

I can't wait for my Tesla, and I'll be even happier when the guy in front of me gets one too. (jbunn)

I couldn't agree more.

ncn | October 29, 2011

Regarding serial hybrids vs. pure electrics, I agree that the economics probably favor serial hybrids right now.

I just want to get *completely off* of gasoline. And I don't like all the maintenance which gasoline generators require, let alone the maintenance for parallel hybrids. Nor do I like the exhaust. So, yeah, I'm paying extra to get a BEV rather than a hybrid.

On another point, I happen to know that battery technology is going to get much better within the next 10 years or so, as will the efficiency of solar panels. Don't bet against either. Arguably, in pure economics terms I ought to wait for the much better batteries to be available, but I want my electric car NOW.

What can I say? I rationalize the cost by believing that the Model S will become a collector's item. "A genuine antique, from the early days of the electric car revival, back when they used lithium ion batteries!" :-)

Leofingal | October 29, 2011

I feel almost identically to ncn. I've never bought a new car since I hate the crazy first 2 years of depreciation, and if I were making a pure rational decision I would wait 3 years and buy one used, but in this case I think it is important to push the market in the right direction.

If companies don't make money doing the right thing, they will not keep doing the right thing. It is critical that BEVs are more successful than the pundits expect. We can't afford to let the big automotive companies passive/aggressively kill the EV (again). Without the outsider influence of Tesla to prove that it can be done successfully, they (big auto) can make it fail all the while looking like they are trying to make it work.

David70 | October 29, 2011


I doubt you'd find a used one in two or three years. I think most of us that want to get a Model S intend to keep it quite a while.

I suspect it'll be at least three years before anything else comes close to meeting the specs of the Model S.

Nicu | October 30, 2011

You may not get it cheaper in 3 years. The market of used Model S will be very small and the line for a new one will be quite long. Take a look at the market of second hand RAV 4 EV. Some have sold several years later for more than the original price.

Kallisman | October 30, 2011

If they offer 3 year leasing contracts some ppl will lease a new one after 3 years, and the 3 year old cars will be sold as used. That way ppl that have te money, and are willing to pay for it, will have the updated tech, and don't need to think about the battery pack getting older. It's all included in the price of leasing.