true cost of owning a tesla

true cost of owning a tesla

Hello Everyone,

I am on the waiting list for the Tesla Model 3 and am reading and watching as much Tesla information that I can so I have a better idea of what to expect when i finally get the car. I have a question on the overall cost of ownership of a Tesla. I know one great aspect about owning a Tesla or any electric car is no need to go to a gas station, but i was watching a youtube review by Sahil Malik and he stated that the cost of owning a Tesla was about the same as owning a similarly priced ICE vehicle. He stated that, yes, you do save money on gas, but when you consider the cost of the annual maintenance checkup ($400, $700, $400, and then $900), the cost of tires (as Teslas go through tires more frequently due to their weight), and cost for parts as they are expensive...the total cost of ownership is a wash. Do you guys feel that this is accurate?

Thanks In Advance,


Dwdnjck@ca | 04. juli 2016


Dramsey | 04. juli 2016

The annual maintenance checkup is optional and not required to maintain the vehicle warranty. Many of us skip it or do it in alternate years.

The cost of parts is similar to that of other cars in this price range.

That said, nobody buys a Model S to save money, although in my experience I save about $400/month driving with electricity over gas.

vp09 | 06. juli 2016

Is the tire comparison fair? My 90D does weigh about twice as much or more than my last car, a 1987 Acura Integra. I drove those tires as far as 60,000 miles, but is it fair to compare a 2200 pound car to a 4800 pound car? Do high end luxury cars other than Teslas have better tire wear?

DonS | 06. juli 2016

Tires depend a lot on whether talking about 21" or 19" wheels. The 21" wheels come with soft sticky rubber that not only wears fast, but wears unevenly under the official alignment specifications. The 19" wheels are longer wearing, and the taller sidewall allows more compliance to get more even wear. Between tire cost and lifetime, figure the 21" wheels to cost about 3x per mile of the 19" wheels. To be fair, cost for the 21" wheels should be compared to sports cars rather than family sedans.

Even with the 21" wheels, per mile costs of a Tesla are less than Toyota or Chevy sedans. If you break something not covered under the Tesla warranty, think expensive like Mercedes or BMW, rather than Chevy or Toyota. Depreciation and insurance also play a role, so including these factors, a Camry is going to be cheaper than a Tesla over the years, but the Tesla is going to be cheaper than any similarly priced car.

Pkalhan | 06. juli 2016

Hi Don,

Thank you for your input, I appreciate it. The video I viewed, the poster stated that he had 19 inch wheels.

SCCRENDO | 06. juli 2016

Model S85, 92500 miles, April 2013. Tires last more than 30000 miles. Used to use Goodyear 19 inch at $130 a tire. Just switched to Michelins which are over $200 but hoping to get over 40000 miles. Annual service $600 per year. Didn't prepay. Upgraded 3G for LTE for $500. Bought the extended warranty for $2500 (now $4000). Probably a wash for me. Will see what happens after the warranty. $500-$800 gasoline bill became $150 a month electricity. Now all taken care of by solar.

jordanrichard | 07. juli 2016

Pkalhan, in 2015 I saved $2022 in gas, that more than covered the cost of a new set of tires. The more you drive, the more you save. Here is another "savings" that most people don't think about, food costs. Whenever I stop to use a supercharger, I jot down how many miles I added and then calculate how much that would have cost me in gas. So let's say one got the equivalent of $12.50 worth of gas and while charging had lunch that cost $10. You in net effect got to eat for free and "made" $2.

TSLA X1 | 07. juli 2016

Be careful how you compare things. I used to drive a BMW and in 4 years, I had $12,000 in repairs. When it worked, it was great, but that usually only lasted no more than 5 months before it needed some other fix. Switched to an SUV and still have that today, but had to replace transmission, and a multitude of other things these last few years not covered by warranty. And would not be needed to be replaced/fixed because that things are not in a Tesla. I recently got rid of a VW diesel (guess why) that ran great and cost little ($1278/year in fuel) in my first year before unloading it. I estimate that I would saved $545 in fuel cost for the equivalent amount energy for the Tesla.
So for me, I decided to upgrade my house electrical panel (which benefits my house too) and install a NEMA 14-50; the plug cost me $300 to install. My car insurance was going to be through the roof, but I got a fair price through GEICO (shameless plug). To me, the cost of insurance is a push.
I can see where some people will lead-foot it to show off how fast they can go, but that may or may not increase having to purchase tires sooner. I have a lot of tread left, so would expect to get about 40,000 miles out of them. Reasonable amount and average what I would expect from other cars. Another push.

So what is the true cost of owning a Tesla?
I guess for me the answer is 'I don't care.' I don't have buyers remorse, I love driving the car, and it is comfortable to be in.
Drive what you like, buy what you want. I didn't know how many opportunities I would have to get a car like this, so when it came up I got it.
You will hear others say the same thing - "Best decision I ever made!"

chohans | 07. juli 2016

Had my MS 85D for 1.5 years and have driven 18000Km. Including two long trips using Super Chargers.

Service costs $0.
Energy costs $200, thanks to chargers in cities and malls.
Tire wear....not much, tread seems to be almost like new. Even though I get suckered into driving fast in curvy and hilly roads.
Brake wear.....not much. Since I can anticipate stops well and hardly ever need to brake aggressively.

BozieB | 07. juli 2016

Also figure in what is the cost for your safety or life?
As stated by nearly all Tesla owners, I have no regrets, and I trust the car with my families life's.

Ross1 | 08. juli 2016

The only significant cost in car ownership is DEPRECIATION

Dwdnjck@ca | 08. juli 2016

Chances are depreciation will be less than a comparable ice age car. My Tesla has depreciated quite a bit less than my wife's Mercedes.

jordanrichard | 11. juli 2016

Depreciation means nothing if you don't sell/trade in your car. I know I think differently than most on this matter, but "value/depreciation" means nothing tangible until someone writes you a check. You can say your car is worth $80K, all day long. You can show every NADA, KBB, Edmunds value guide showing it's worth $80K. However if the highest offer you get is $70K and someone backs that up with a check, then your car is worth $70K

A cars "value" can drop $30K, but it doesn't effect the way it drives.