EV vs. ICE - True cost of ownership

EV vs. ICE - True cost of ownership

Wanted to share this with those who are thinking about an MS.

My watts/mi for the first 3,000 mi has been ~295, that means I can go ~3.4 mi/kW, and I pay $.11 per kW. A comp ICE vehicle (V6) would get ~20 mpg combined city/hwy (current gas prices are ~$4.00)... do a little math and that's ~$12,250 per year for gas compared to $585 per year for electricity. Not to put too fine a point on it... for the first 125,000 miles it would cost me ~$85,000 for gas vs. ~4,000 for electricity.

I know it's not the right car for everyone, but I think we are at the point where the market needs to stop calling this an $80,000 car. When you buy a MS you are converting the majority of the operating expense to a capitol expense. The result is a higher upfront cost, but a much lower monthly recurring fee to operate it...

Hope this is helpful (and hope my math is right)... I'm sure someone will tell me if it's not.

BTW - all those posts where people are complaining about issues with the car... I've had none of them, and the one issue I had (swirl marks from a machine buffer being used to prep the car for delivery) was resolved with the best customer service I've ever had from any company. I will say Tesla certainly appears to care about customers satisfaction above all else.

tesla.mahedy | 26 août 2013

This is really great. I can't wait to take delivery in the next week of my P85.
I agree and disagree with you. As someone who can afford this car, I do wish that the configuration section offered a price that included the 7,500 dollar tax credit. The reason for this is that when I pay the price of the car, I still have to pay those 7,500 dollars and wait until my tax credit is received to recoup it. As someone who can afford the car, I am fortunate enough to know that the 7,500 dollars won't be a restriction for me. But for someone who is eager to buy the car and is pulling out all the stops to buy it, they may not be able to be 7,500 dollars in the hole waiting for tax season. For someone who is looking to afford the base Model S, they may not be able to wait to drive 50,000 miles to really achieve the gas savings you're talking about. I am a huge supporter of people trying to find ways to afford the car, but I don't think that anyone should put themselves at risk finically (nor do I think you do). If you want to send me a message privately telling me that you disagree or agree, send me a PM at TMC username:mahedy.

SamO | 26 août 2013


Your math may be wrong.

$12, 250/year of fuel is ~60,000 miles

15,000 miles/20mpg = 750 gallons x $4 = $3000/year for gas

15,000 miles/3.4mpk = 4,411kwh x $0.11 = $485/year for electricity

$2515/year saved x 10 years = $25,150 fuel savings

EDH AL | 26 août 2013

Anyone comparing the cost of ownership, Tesla Model S vs. any ICE, might also want to take into consideration maintenance/repair. According to others, Tesla’s engine has 23 moving parts while an internal combustion engine has around 6,200 parts that require service. And, of course, Tesla’s regenerative breaking system should dramatically increase the life of the car’s breaking system.

Here’s a list of things EV owners don't need to worry about, but ICE owners do in estimating their total cost of ownership: air filters, oil and oil filters, radiator coolant, radiators and related pipework, thermostats, water pumps, power steering fluid (EVs use electrical assistance), anything to do with ICE transmissions (adjustment, fluids, filters), fuel filters, fuel injectors, fuel pumps, spark plugs, spark plug wires, starter motors; alternators, serpentine belts, timing belts, mufflers, motor mounts, O2 sensors; Smog check compliance, etc.

But for me, knowing that my Model S isn't poisoning the air is reason-enough to drive a Model S!

RedShift | 26 août 2013

I have done this math before buying. I arrived at around 20k per 10 years on gas savings.

I explain it to others, telling them the real cost of the Model S, after all the gas savings, and maintenance savings, are factored in, it costs as much as a 550i.....

I get the feeling they don't believe me.

mrfixit | 26 août 2013

Here's the calculation for the price of gas over 125000 mi:

125000 mi/ (20 mi/gal)= 6250 gal
6250 gal * $4/gal = $25000

RedShift | 26 août 2013

Hey Nick, you forgot to add the replacement cost for the engine and the transmission in the equivalent ICE at 10-12 years time.

RedShift | 26 août 2013

Nick, watch what you are saying. Listing imaginary cars and trolling got you banished last time. :-)

BTW, the battery does not go dead after 10 years, it's still drivable for 80% of its capacity, expected. Data is extrapolated from Roadster owners experience with their battery.

RedShift | 26 août 2013

It's a fact that Roadster owners don't see appreciable battery loss after several years and tens of thousand miles. Volkerize "roadster owners and battery", you will find a really nice graph there.

Your fact to counter that are just words, no backing data, agreed?

Please, Nick, I am sure you are trying very hard not to get flagged this time around, but you have to make a better effort.

NKYTA | 26 août 2013

@ RedShift
Flag NNT and move on, with no response. He adds nothing. The original TMF troll.

RedShift | 26 août 2013


I know! I was kinda missing NNT, so... ok, flagged.

evanstumpges | 26 août 2013

The onboard Wh/mile readout measures battery Wh not electrical outlet Wh. These will be different due to charger and battery efficiency losses. To truly know the cost of electricity per mile driven, you'd need to monitor the energy input to your home charger or assume some level of battery/charging loss.

S4WRXTTCS | 26 août 2013

Haha, Math gone bonkers.

61,250 miles a year? That's just crazy talk

125,000 miles in a Toyota is just breaking it in. With proper maintenance modern cars can drive crazy number of miles (with some exceptions of course).

The replacement battery for the Tesla S85 is $12K, and you'll put that in sometime after you've reached 8years/125,000 miles (although it can probably go a lot further). From my understanding when you want to replace it is entirely up to the loss you're willing to handle.

Most likely people won't be replacing a 60KW for a 60KW in 8 years time. Instead it will be like a 60KW for a 120KW. Or a 60KW for a 60KW that weighs half the weight.

Or the new Tesla MS/E/X will be too much to resist. Or maybe everything will be flooded and we'll have to switch to hovercrafts designed by experts at Top Gear.

I think it's really tough to speculate savings over time because there are so many things to factor in.

patrick.meier | 26 août 2013

...sorry, had to flag NNT's reply, too. It's annoying.

cmaso | 29 août 2013

@SamoSam - my math "MAY" be wrong??? thank you for being nice. But I am not sure I agree that it's the same as buying a 550i. See below and tell me what you think...

@S4WRXTTCS - agree "math gone bonkers" and tough to speculate savings... but that was back of the envelope to make the point that this isn't an "$80k" car.

To attempt one more time, here goes...

When I was “on the fence” I took the approach of estimating the total cost of ownership for the MS and then trying to determine what ICE vehicles fall into the same TCO range. Here is how I did that…
Fuel Savings:
For fuel savings, I looked at a 7 year timeframe (I drive ~18,000 per year or 900 gal of gas @ 20 mpg, which gets me close to the 125k mile range). I then applied a 7.73% compounded growth rate to the price of gas (7.73% is the CAGR for gas over the past 10 years from ) .
Gas Cals:
Yr 1 = $4.00*900=$3,600.00
Yr 2 = $4.31*900=$3,878.28
Yr 3 = $4.64*900=$4,178.07
Yr 4 = $5.00*900=$4,501.04
Yr 5 = $5.39*900=$4,848.97
Yr 6 = $5.80*900=$5,223.79
Yr 7 = $6.25*900=$5,627.59
Total Gas = $31,857.73

EV Cals: (used 18,000 mi/yr @ 300 w/mi = 5,400 kW/yr; used same 7.73% CAGR b/c couldn’t find any better info on electricity prices over the past 10-yr)
Yr 1 = $0.11*5,400 kW/yr=$594
Yr 2 = $0.12*5,400 kW/yr =$639
Yr 3 = $0.13*5,400 kW/yr =$689
Yr 4 = $0.14*5,400 kW/yr =$742
Yr 5 = $0.15*5,400 kW/yr =$800
Yr 6 = $0.16*5,400 kW/yr =$861
Yr 7 = $0.17*5,400 kW/yr =$928
Total Elec = $5,256.53


$80,000 (60 KW w/ a few options and 4-yr of service)
$5,256 - Total Elec

$7,500 (Fed Tax Credit)
$8,000 (VA State Tax Credit; VA is 10% of the price used to calculate the Fed Tax Credit)

MS TCO – 7yr = $69,759

ICE TCO Comp Cals (again this is to determine the price for a Comparable ICE Vehicle):
MS TCO - $69,759

$31,857 – Fuel
$8,100 – Maintenance & Repairs (7-yr Toyota Camry XLE Sedan w/ 3.8 V6 - for S4WRXTTCS sake)

Comp ICE = $29,799

Now there are things missing:
1) MS maintenance and repars for years 5-7,
2) Residual value of MS is unknow (so challening to speculat the sale price in 7-yr)

In any event, even if you added another 20k to cover unknows, you are still only at $50k for an ICE Comp,and IMO there are no ICE vehicles for $50k that come close to the MS (unless cupholders are a deal breaker ;-)

mcptwo | 29 août 2013

Has anyone figured out what the actual cost of gasoline is? I believe the $9-10.00 per gallon in Europe is much closer to the real cost.
If the cost of war for oil (Iraq), and how many others? And the environmental impact of C02 emissions impart on global warming and rising sea levels are included, there is financial benefit to burning oil. I realize that ICE cars are not the only cause of these expenses, but they make a considerable contribution. NYC, along with many other coastal cities all around the world are currently contemplating spending billions of dollars on their waterfront areas to compensate for rising sea levels. In many cases, no matter how much is spent, there is no practical solution.
In addition to our Model S, we still have 2 ICE vehicles, so I am still contributing to the problem.
It is not about how may years an individual may be able to keep a vehicle in service, but what the long range costs to our Country/World will be over the next generation and beyond.

DTsea | 29 août 2013

@mcptwo the real cost of gas in the US is about $2/gallon. The rest is taxes. The US is now over 50% domestic for petroleum again. How to calculate externalities? Dont know.

We didnt get oil from Iraq. That was about perceived terrorism threat.

US total consumption of gasoline in 2011 was 134 billion gallons.

direct and indirect war costs were estimated at $3.7 trillion through 2011. That's 370 billion per year or about $3/gallon, if it were all for oil. (Which it isn't)

SO maybe $5 per gallon true cost. Your European prices are heavily taxed and cross subsidize diesel (which is denser hence more fundamentally expensive than gas, since it uses more petroleum) to benefit your trucking industry.

grega | 29 août 2013

I would love to see a good TCO comparison between cars. It's hard to predict on both sides. And battery technology and costs will change, gas prices are totally different in Europe and Australia etc. And these days I think for many people they don't know just how much their current car costs them either.

I think it's important to put the service charges in for the MS (post warranty). While the majority of my services are engine/oil/brake related, my father's Lexus has premium 'issues' that I don't have, and his tyre replacements are 5 times the cost of mine too.

1) calculation of the gas costs of running MS based on our own KM/year
2) calculation of the electricity costs of running an equal cost ICE on those KMs.
3) service costs for #1 and #2
4) equivalent ICE new car cost given #1/2/3
5) adjustment to ICE costs, based on calculation of the costs of running an "equivalent" cost ICE instead of an "equal" cost.

Really need to calculate this on a lease payment, so that it stops being an upfront cost and instead becomes the lease payment+gas+service per year cost. Maybe even build in the upfront (?) $12k payment for a replacement battery. (We can dream of an automated page to do the above, while allowing us to specify some of the variables. )

I like that CMASO mentions the resale value being unknown. I think the same has to be said of gas cars. I believe there will be a great shift in recognition of EVs, and when that happens the resale value of any car (prestige or cheap) that uses intricately controlled gas explosions to push them around will plummet. People will start seeing a gas car like we now see an old CRT TV or PC monitor, or a dumb phone, or an old record. They'll still be out there, but you wouldn't get much for them. Not sure when that will happen, I think it'll be quite sudden once a critical mass is reached.

jbunn | 29 août 2013

Just calculated mine last night. ~6700 miles/17.5 mpg in my previous car * $4.00 average cost of gas = $1531

So that's two of my 6 car payments recovered. My charging is really cheap. 28 bucks per month, and road trips are on the SC network. So I'm over $1300 ahead in the first 6 months of what I would have spent in my old car. Should be double that for the year. And that does not include ICE oil changes.