Tesla Model S Less than Audi S5?

Tesla Model S Less than Audi S5?

I have been struggling in deciding to make the plunge to the Tesla so I decided to start comparing some other cars.

I liked the Audi S5 so I priced it out. Using the same terms and interest rates the Audi would end up costing more than the Tesla after factoring in the Tax Credit and lack of gas station visits.

Can that truly be? Can a $65,000 Audi cost more per month than a $102,000 Tesla?

What am I waiting for?

mumanoff | July 5, 2013

Just finalized my order and will be selling my TTRS.

gasnomo | July 5, 2013

apples and oranges...S5 is a 2 door coupe, MS is a 4 door sedan. that said i'd be shocked if the 7500 credit made such a difference. be sure in the MS calculator you are making apples to apples (ie no biz tax deduction, etc). Also not sure what your residual is on the S5, terms, etc.

Doug H | July 5, 2013

My $85,000 Tesla is surely cheaper than a $40,000 ICE. I created a spreadsheet and compared driving a Hyundai Genesis with a 60kw Tesla. Even before the tax credits, the Genesis was more expensive.

I used the AAA average cost per mile figures published for 2012. I depreciated the vehicles the same way.

AAA considers:


The big difference is the residual value at the end of 5 years. The Tesla will be worth twice as much but cost about $300 per year less out-of-pocket as the ICE.

When you do the math, this car makes sense, tax credit or not. Of course I haven't factored in the cost in time of people coming up to you asking questions about the car. I just grin and bear it.

Link to AAA study:

teslamonkey | July 5, 2013

Worm -

I realize the two cars are different types (Coupe vs Sedan) but it was the two I was looking at.

No Business deductions were applied. Also, my state adds another $4000 in credits.

I didn't do a lease calculation so I wasn't concerned with residuals

tobi_ger | July 5, 2013

Doug H
Would you mind sharing your spreadsheet (or converted as PDF)? That would be great. I'd like to adapt it to German gas prices for comparison. Thank you.

JohnnyMac | July 5, 2013

Depending on the number of miles you drive per year, yes, I would believe it. I ran my own numbers on a similar price scenario and when I factored in orimarily my cost of gas vs my cost of electricity as well as maintenance, the Tesla won economically in the long run. Those savings can add up to help you afford a whole lotta car! Stop waiting and do it. When you realize all the benefits of ownership on top of the economics, it is a pretty compelling value proposition.

JohnnyMac | July 5, 2013

Argh. "primarily". We need an edit feature.

rdalcanto | July 5, 2013

I'm assuming you have driven both. People aren't driving their Ferraris anymore after getting used to the instant torque of the MS. I saw a new Mercedes today on the road with no license plate yet. I felt bad for the guy. He probably has no idea yet the mistake he made....

Brian H | July 5, 2013

Similar comparisons on . Its /teslanomics page asks, "Can you afford NOT to buy a Tesla?"

rochec | July 5, 2013

@teslamonkey - yes, it is true. I was actually in your exact position, I was going to buy an S5 when my lease ended on my last car, I went in to look at it and was looking at the options/pricing and had a TERRIBLE sales experience. I left very annoyed with the experience (I've owned 3 Audis previously and have always loved them) and it motivated me to re-think the MS.

When I looked at the MPG of an S5 vs the miles I drive on an avg day it was nearly $400/month in gas savings alone. With just that figure it was basically a wash and then add up the other deductions and savings and it is more than worth it.

I couldn't be happier that I made the choice to get the MS instead.

S4WRXTTCS | July 5, 2013

In my calculations the MS has always been cheaper than anything I was comparing it to largely because of the tax credits, and the no sales tax.

I didn't factor in any savings with gas because I don't drive that much, and I'm pretty sure I'll drive more because of the MS. So I'll often end up in need of a hotel room because of those damn superchargers. I know there are huge threads on the BEST blow up bed for the MS, but hopefully it won't get to that point.

If i did drive more it would almost be a no brainer to get a Tesla MS. Not even just economically speaking, but there is a certain point where a person is being ridiculous. <20mpg at 20K miles a year? Seriously? How do people even think they're that special? Just because they can afford it?

cfOH | July 5, 2013

@S4WRCTTCS How are you figuring no sales tax? In Ohio, you pay the sales tax when you go to the BMV to register a new vehicle.

David70 | July 5, 2013


Some states don't have sales tax on EVs. I don't know if S4WRCTTCS is in one of those.

ORWA | July 5, 2013

Washington state you don't pay sales tax on electric cars. Big savings.

S4WRXTTCS | July 5, 2013

@cfOH - Washington State. It's a HUGE savings when you're talking about a car around $80K-$90K

cfOH | July 5, 2013

Yeah, I bet. I'm not looking forward to my trip to our local BMV, that's for sure. :-/