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Published on March 27th, 2009 | by Nick Chambers

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Is the Tesla Model S Really For the Rest of Us?


What does a Tesla Model S really cost to operate? Crunch the numbers and the results may be a bit surprising.

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By now we’ve all heard about the new four door, seven seater (5 adults + 2 kids), all electric eco monster from Tesla — the Model S. We’ve seen the pictures of the gorgeous beast and we’ve had our chance to let the lust settle.

But the thing that’s been bothering me, and surely many of you, is that it still feels like Tesla is making cars with a decidedly un-populist bent. Tesla has been claiming for a long time now that their business plan is to start with the high end market, make some money, learn some lessons, and subsequently release cars that the rest of us can afford — using that money and those lessons to get there.

You know what though? For a sophomore offering, the Model S is still gonna cost $50,000 to start — and that’s with the low end battery pack that can take you a scant 160 miles. Even so, Tesla claims that the Model S is a car for the rest of us after you consider the cost to operate it over its lifespan as compared to a typical $35,000 gas guzzler.

So, being the bit of a dork that I am, my immediate thought was to test Tesla’s theory myself and pop some numbers into a spreadsheet. My basic assumptions were:

  • My hypothetical average car buyer will need a loan to buy the car.
  • To get a yearly payment, I set that loan at a 5.5% interest rate for 5 years.
  • In my simplified world, after 5 years the loan payments stop and all you have left are energy costs (fuel/electricity) and service costs.
  • My hypothetical average car buyer is financing the whole price of the car.
  • Electricity costs remain constant over the life of the car and follow the current US average of 11.47 cents per kWh.
  • I’m estimating that the Model S has a 4 mile per kWh efficiency which results in about a 3 cent per mile cost given average US electricity prices.
  • Service cost for an electric vehicle will be about $50 per year over the lifespan of the vehicle. In the 10th year of ownership I’ve added a $4,000 service charge to that base level to replace the battery. Tesla claims battery replacement will cost “well under $5,000″ and that the battery pack will last 10 years (this value was changed from $500 after it came to light that the autobloggreen post from which I obtained this number had a typo).
  • Service and maintenance cost for a gas vehicle will be about $600 per year over the lifespan of the vehicle (this value was changed after reader input in the comments section).
  • My hypothetical average car buyer drives about 15,000 miles per year, half on the highway and half in town.
  • My hypothetical $35,000 gas guzzler gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

After crunching the numbers, I’ve made four graphs (below) that show the cumulative costs of owning the Model S vs. owning a hypothetical $35,000 gas guzzler. The four graphs differ based on the price of fuel: $2/gal, $3/gal, $4/gal, and $5/gal.

You can see for yourself that at $2/gallon gas it would take 15 years before the Model S made up for its initial cost. However, at $3/gallon it’s 8-9 years, at $4/gallon it’s 6-7 years, and at $5/gallon the costs are nearly identical for the first 5 years. It’s worth noting that in all cases, after you make up for the initial cost of the Model S, the savings really start to pile on.

So, the question is, how much of premium is it worth to you to reduce fossil fuel consumption and dependence on foreign oil and how long are you willing to wait for the payback?

Plus, you never know when oil prices will jump back up to $4/gallon — or go even higher. In that case, you could think of a Model S purchase as a hedge against future oil prices.



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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • G

    You did not factor in the cost of maintenance for either car. For a typical ICE you have to change the oil, transmission, differential (rear wheel drive), and brake fluids. Along with engine and cabin air filters. And tires.

    For an electric car you will need only need to change brake fluid, cabin air filter and tires. Plus the battery at the end of it’s life.

  • G

    You did not factor in the cost of maintenance for either car. For a typical ICE you have to change the oil, transmission, differential (rear wheel drive), and brake fluids. Along with engine and cabin air filters. And tires.

    For an electric car you will need only need to change brake fluid, cabin air filter and tires. Plus the battery at the end of it’s life.

  • G

    You did not factor in the cost of maintenance for either car. For a typical ICE you have to change the oil, transmission, differential (rear wheel drive), and brake fluids. Along with engine and cabin air filters. And tires.

    For an electric car you will need only need to change brake fluid, cabin air filter and tires. Plus the battery at the end of it’s life.

  • Adam

    Nice article, I have a comments though. The service cost seem quite low, they might cover maintanace but not repairs. I’ve attached a link to Edmund’s True-Cost-To-Own numbers for a comparable 3-series BMW. I’d expect the repair cost on an electric car to be much lower because there is only one moving part in the drive train.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2009/bmw/3series/101082772/cto.html

  • Adam

    Nice article, I have a comments though. The service cost seem quite low, they might cover maintanace but not repairs. I’ve attached a link to Edmund’s True-Cost-To-Own numbers for a comparable 3-series BMW. I’d expect the repair cost on an electric car to be much lower because there is only one moving part in the drive train.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2009/bmw/3series/101082772/cto.html

  • Trying ToLookAtBothSides

    Hello Nick.

    Firstly, this is a good article and this kind of comparison needs to be done. It’s very easy to jump on the electric bandwagon without looking at the data.

    I have a nearly 7 year old Mini Van that fits the general description of your comparison vehicle. It cost a little more than $35K when new (but let’s forget the difference for now) and my mileage runs in the 20-26 range.

    I must point out that servicing my gas powered minivan runs a bit more than $250 a year. Regular servicing on this vehicle runs in the range of $300 to $800 dollars a shot and this happens twice a year. If the brakes need attention (remembering that the disks seem to only last as long as the pads now-a-days) we are looking at another $500. Through the past 6 years that’s been once every 1-2 years. I am told my 90K service will be in the range of $2,500 dollars!! So, including this year as the 7th year of ownership (inc. 90K service), my yearly servicing costs come to about – $1,700. I have not included new tires (I am at the end of my 2nd set already) as the Model S will still need tires just like anything else with wheels.

    So, that’s going to add $1,450 to the yearly cost of operation, after seven years, even with $2/gal gas, the cost of the Model S breaks even with the gas guzzler. The crossover just appears quicker the more gas goes up.

    But, even with that said, it would still take seven years to financially make sense – which is still quite some time for the average car buyer.

    One last thing though – the Model S looks way cooler than my minivan ;-)

  • Trying ToLookAtBothSides

    Hello Nick.

    Firstly, this is a good article and this kind of comparison needs to be done. It’s very easy to jump on the electric bandwagon without looking at the data.

    I have a nearly 7 year old Mini Van that fits the general description of your comparison vehicle. It cost a little more than $35K when new (but let’s forget the difference for now) and my mileage runs in the 20-26 range.

    I must point out that servicing my gas powered minivan runs a bit more than $250 a year. Regular servicing on this vehicle runs in the range of $300 to $800 dollars a shot and this happens twice a year. If the brakes need attention (remembering that the disks seem to only last as long as the pads now-a-days) we are looking at another $500. Through the past 6 years that’s been once every 1-2 years. I am told my 90K service will be in the range of $2,500 dollars!! So, including this year as the 7th year of ownership (inc. 90K service), my yearly servicing costs come to about – $1,700. I have not included new tires (I am at the end of my 2nd set already) as the Model S will still need tires just like anything else with wheels.

    So, that’s going to add $1,450 to the yearly cost of operation, after seven years, even with $2/gal gas, the cost of the Model S breaks even with the gas guzzler. The crossover just appears quicker the more gas goes up.

    But, even with that said, it would still take seven years to financially make sense – which is still quite some time for the average car buyer.

    One last thing though – the Model S looks way cooler than my minivan ;-)

  • Nick Chambers

    All,

    Thanks for the comments so far!

    G, I certainly did include maintenance in my costs for both cars under the “service” category.

    I realize my maintenance costs for the gas car may be a little low, but I wanted to be conservative in my estimates. In some cases, maintenance for a $35,000 gas car may be as much as 5-600 dollars a year. It gets complicated by the fact that service and maintenance for a car is going to be very low initially (almost nil) but will increase over time. However, for the purposes of this comparison imagine my hypothetical car to be one of those rare cars that has the minimum amount of service requirements — thus my $250 per year estimate.

  • Nezhac

    “So, the question is, how much of premium is it worth to you to reduce fossil fuel consumption and dependence on foreign oil?”

    I would just like to comment, okay your stats are interesting, I am all for reducing our consumption of fossil fuels, and it’s very interesting that at current electricity rates, there’s not so much difference, good article, really.

    But, imagine hypothetically if all motorists suddenly switch to electric cars, hypothetically remember. Where does all the electricity come from? There are no where near enough renewable resources (hydroelectric, wind, solar etc.) to meet that demand at this moment. One solution in the short-term is to burn oil to generate electricity. Which is the same as the initial situation, except even more oil was burnt in the production of new cars.

    My point is that electric cars can be a great way of harnessing renewable energy sources in the future, but we don’t have that many right now. Wouldn’t it be more wise to invest in reasearch and development of these new energy resources first?

  • Nezhac

    “So, the question is, how much of premium is it worth to you to reduce fossil fuel consumption and dependence on foreign oil?”

    I would just like to comment, okay your stats are interesting, I am all for reducing our consumption of fossil fuels, and it’s very interesting that at current electricity rates, there’s not so much difference, good article, really.

    But, imagine hypothetically if all motorists suddenly switch to electric cars, hypothetically remember. Where does all the electricity come from? There are no where near enough renewable resources (hydroelectric, wind, solar etc.) to meet that demand at this moment. One solution in the short-term is to burn oil to generate electricity. Which is the same as the initial situation, except even more oil was burnt in the production of new cars.

    My point is that electric cars can be a great way of harnessing renewable energy sources in the future, but we don’t have that many right now. Wouldn’t it be more wise to invest in reasearch and development of these new energy resources first?

  • Nezhac

    “So, the question is, how much of premium is it worth to you to reduce fossil fuel consumption and dependence on foreign oil?”

    I would just like to comment, okay your stats are interesting, I am all for reducing our consumption of fossil fuels, and it’s very interesting that at current electricity rates, there’s not so much difference, good article, really.

    But, imagine hypothetically if all motorists suddenly switch to electric cars, hypothetically remember. Where does all the electricity come from? There are no where near enough renewable resources (hydroelectric, wind, solar etc.) to meet that demand at this moment. One solution in the short-term is to burn oil to generate electricity. Which is the same as the initial situation, except even more oil was burnt in the production of new cars.

    My point is that electric cars can be a great way of harnessing renewable energy sources in the future, but we don’t have that many right now. Wouldn’t it be more wise to invest in reasearch and development of these new energy resources first?

  • Nick Chambers

    Nezhac,

    Thanks for the compliments and very good question…

    It is true that, given our current sources of electricity, we would still be using fossil fuels (mostly coal; 70% by some estimates) to generate most of the electricity that would run our electric cars. However, it is worth pointing out several things that make the switch to electric cars worthwhile even if we never moved away from “dirty” sources of electricity:

    1) It is much easier to regulate and control pollution from single large point sources (powerplants) than it is to control it from a couple hundred million cars.

    2) When new technology becomes available that can either reduce the pollution from power plants (i.e better pollution control devices) or nearly eliminate it altogether (i.e. a wholesale switch to wind or solar), it is much easier to implement those new technologies for a handful of powerplants than it is for a couple hundred million cars.

    3) Distribution of electrical energy is hugely more efficient than distribution of liquid fuel energy, therefore, even if fossil fuels are powering our cars through power plants, the amount of fossil fuel used per mile of car traveled is way less.

    4) The conversion of electrical energy into movement in an electric car is roughly 80% efficient. The conversion of fossil fuel energy to movement in a gas powered car is roughly 30% efficient. This means much less wasted energy in an electric car.

    5) Electric cars have a fraction of the amount of moving parts and, hence, lubrication requirements of gas powered cars, which means less petroleum products used for lubrication as well.

  • AB

    The other problem is that the average person doesn’t drive a $35,000 vehicle, at least not here in the Midwest. Knock about $10,000 off your gas-guzzler and rerun the numbers and then you will see how the masses will do!

  • AB

    The other problem is that the average person doesn’t drive a $35,000 vehicle, at least not here in the Midwest. Knock about $10,000 off your gas-guzzler and rerun the numbers and then you will see how the masses will do!

  • Nick Chambers

    AB,

    It may be that the average sale price of a car in the US is lower than $35,000 (not sure how much lower though, Edmunds estimated the average US new car sale price in 2006 was $27,800). However, trying to match the features of the Tesla Model S to other gas cars, $35,000 is about right. And, I don’t think anybody would argue that the $35K range is certainly within the reach of an average middle class American… it may not be what most people decide they can afford, but certainly with a little budget stretching, and depending on their priorities, if they really wanted a $35K car they could do it.

    Edmunds link:

    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/45310/article.html

  • http://register.bg.com Ivaylo Ivanov

    If you still have the spreadsheets saved somewhere can you please calculate a 10 year lease and 4$ a gallon(which is the price here in Europe now – March 27th 2009). You will probably be surprised what turns out.

    Another suggestion is to calculate one of US scenarios you wrote here but for double the miles per year.There are people that drive alot.

    Another suggestion. Ask a taxi driver how much miles he drives per day, and annually. And make a calculation for taxi driver :)

    This gives me a great Idea. It will be nice to have it on a site as real time calculator :)

  • http://register.bg.com Ivaylo Ivanov

    If you still have the spreadsheets saved somewhere can you please calculate a 10 year lease and 4$ a gallon(which is the price here in Europe now – March 27th 2009). You will probably be surprised what turns out.

    Another suggestion is to calculate one of US scenarios you wrote here but for double the miles per year.There are people that drive alot.

    Another suggestion. Ask a taxi driver how much miles he drives per day, and annually. And make a calculation for taxi driver :)

    This gives me a great Idea. It will be nice to have it on a site as real time calculator :)

  • Mr. Sinister

    The first time I looked at the specs on AutoBlogGreen, I also saw the $500 battery replacement figure, which seemed pretty remarkable to me. I think this may have been a typo, however, because when I looked at the specs again later on it had been changed to $5000. Might be good to clarify and factor that into the equation. Thanks for the article.

    Thanks for the good eyes Mr. Sinister, I’ve made the changes in the text and graphs.

    -Nick Chambers

  • Mr. Sinister

    The first time I looked at the specs on AutoBlogGreen, I also saw the $500 battery replacement figure, which seemed pretty remarkable to me. I think this may have been a typo, however, because when I looked at the specs again later on it had been changed to $5000. Might be good to clarify and factor that into the equation. Thanks for the article.

    Thanks for the good eyes Mr. Sinister, I’ve made the changes in the text and graphs.

    -Nick Chambers

  • Adam

    A few more additonal notes to the above.

    6) The Tesla is a WAY COOL car.. very nice inside and out, the cool factor accounts for something, just ask Apple.

    5) The intangibles of running an electric car, namely the environ impacts have a value associated to them beyond the $ amounts assigned to the care and maintenance of the car itself.

    4) I agree, the actual maintenance cost of a gas car is much higher per year, unless of course you have a nice total care maintenance package from a luxury (or even non-luxury brand)

    3) As often commonly misquoted and understood, the Telsa and for that matter any other 100% electric car has more than “ONE” moving part on it, unless of course you don’t want it to roll! The axles, wheels, wheel bearings and all the associated parts for the suspension and steering and pedals etc etc etc.. They do wear out and need replacing occasionally. Tires, brakes (unless you have regen braking and can greatly reduce the break wear). But yes, the engine on a gas car is associated for a major portion of the cost of maintaining a car.

    2) Chances are, you WON’T be using this car for any serious long distance traveling. I can fuel up my car and go from LA to San Fran on one tank, the Tesla would require a few multi-hour pit stops and an electrical outlet (if your average gas station will let you plug into their power even). IF there were a network of good 240V service outlets on the major highway routes, then maybe you can reduce those stops to 30 minute “breaks”. So scaling the higher mileage to faster cost savings really gets harder to do the more miles you pour on per year. A salesperson that travels about 100 miles a day might be able to cut it with a car range of 160-200 a charge, but not someone driving all over the state of California on a regular basis, and that is what you would need for someone to put say 50,000 miles a year on a car.

    And the #1 gotcha! quoting Nezhac “But, imagine hypothetically if all motorists suddenly switch to electric cars, hypothetically remember. ”

    1) If all motorists were to suddenly switch to electric cars.. Well that WOULD be something, and I realy don’t think that would be a problem. Because well you would put about 10,000 gas stations out of business which would greatly lower the power grid usage. Also, you would be charging these cars at night at home during off peak power usage, not during the heat of the summer when everyone is running their A/C full tilt. AND the biggest payback calculator difficulty would be, the massive decrease in the gasoline/oil usage would drive down the price of gas to probably 50cents/gal (not including taxes) which would really make the justification for paying the higher price for the car pretty difficult.

    But as we all know, there is a balance, gas ISN’T going to go to 50cents/gal in our lifetime, and you are future proofing your car against the whims of OPEC and the Big Oil companies. Image always having transportation even if there is no gas/oil available! A few solar panels on your roof keeps you always mobile. :-)

  • Adam

    A few more additonal notes to the above.

    6) The Tesla is a WAY COOL car.. very nice inside and out, the cool factor accounts for something, just ask Apple.

    5) The intangibles of running an electric car, namely the environ impacts have a value associated to them beyond the $ amounts assigned to the care and maintenance of the car itself.

    4) I agree, the actual maintenance cost of a gas car is much higher per year, unless of course you have a nice total care maintenance package from a luxury (or even non-luxury brand)

    3) As often commonly misquoted and understood, the Telsa and for that matter any other 100% electric car has more than “ONE” moving part on it, unless of course you don’t want it to roll! The axles, wheels, wheel bearings and all the associated parts for the suspension and steering and pedals etc etc etc.. They do wear out and need replacing occasionally. Tires, brakes (unless you have regen braking and can greatly reduce the break wear). But yes, the engine on a gas car is associated for a major portion of the cost of maintaining a car.

    2) Chances are, you WON’T be using this car for any serious long distance traveling. I can fuel up my car and go from LA to San Fran on one tank, the Tesla would require a few multi-hour pit stops and an electrical outlet (if your average gas station will let you plug into their power even). IF there were a network of good 240V service outlets on the major highway routes, then maybe you can reduce those stops to 30 minute “breaks”. So scaling the higher mileage to faster cost savings really gets harder to do the more miles you pour on per year. A salesperson that travels about 100 miles a day might be able to cut it with a car range of 160-200 a charge, but not someone driving all over the state of California on a regular basis, and that is what you would need for someone to put say 50,000 miles a year on a car.

    And the #1 gotcha! quoting Nezhac “But, imagine hypothetically if all motorists suddenly switch to electric cars, hypothetically remember. ”

    1) If all motorists were to suddenly switch to electric cars.. Well that WOULD be something, and I realy don’t think that would be a problem. Because well you would put about 10,000 gas stations out of business which would greatly lower the power grid usage. Also, you would be charging these cars at night at home during off peak power usage, not during the heat of the summer when everyone is running their A/C full tilt. AND the biggest payback calculator difficulty would be, the massive decrease in the gasoline/oil usage would drive down the price of gas to probably 50cents/gal (not including taxes) which would really make the justification for paying the higher price for the car pretty difficult.

    But as we all know, there is a balance, gas ISN’T going to go to 50cents/gal in our lifetime, and you are future proofing your car against the whims of OPEC and the Big Oil companies. Image always having transportation even if there is no gas/oil available! A few solar panels on your roof keeps you always mobile. :-)

  • CNCMike

    Actually to get a gas powered car that performs like the Tesla S you will probably spend close to $50,000 to start with and if you do all the scheduled maintenance on a new car as I have done for the past 4 years even the $600 a year estimate is a little low.

  • CNCMike

    Actually to get a gas powered car that performs like the Tesla S you will probably spend close to $50,000 to start with and if you do all the scheduled maintenance on a new car as I have done for the past 4 years even the $600 a year estimate is a little low.

  • Nick Chambers

    CNCMike,

    You know, you’re probably right about the comparable car costs (especially when you factor in the ultra cool 17 inch touchscreen uber-console on the Model S). But Tesla’s claim that the Model S is a car for the rest of us is what’s under the microscope… and given my calculations it seems that Tesla may really have a leg to stand on there.

    Also, I changed the calculations to factor the service costs for the gas car at $600 per year. Even though this may still be a little low, I think it gives a better comparison.

    Thanks!

  • Joker

    I enjoyed this article immensely. However, I believe a more realistic scenario would be to consider the Tesla against a hybrid, say, the new Prius. Most people looking to go this way will choose not between a gas guzzler and the Tesla, but rather between a hybrid and a Tesla.

    Just my two cents and keep up the good work.

  • Joker

    I enjoyed this article immensely. However, I believe a more realistic scenario would be to consider the Tesla against a hybrid, say, the new Prius. Most people looking to go this way will choose not between a gas guzzler and the Tesla, but rather between a hybrid and a Tesla.

    Just my two cents and keep up the good work.

  • ChuckL

    With Obama’s promised taxes on carbon, and any other source of energy that you can think of, and his promotion of “Value Added Taxes, or whatever other name you wish to use for taxes hidden from the end user, who is the only one who pays the tax,which is used to generate electricity and the increased costs of other fuels, how do you justify using only the current U. S. average cost for electricity?

    Either use only current costs or use inflation costs for all fuels and don’t forget the promised hidden taxes.

  • ChuckL

    With Obama’s promised taxes on carbon, and any other source of energy that you can think of, and his promotion of “Value Added Taxes, or whatever other name you wish to use for taxes hidden from the end user, who is the only one who pays the tax,which is used to generate electricity and the increased costs of other fuels, how do you justify using only the current U. S. average cost for electricity?

    Either use only current costs or use inflation costs for all fuels and don’t forget the promised hidden taxes.

  • jason

    It’s entirely arbitrary that you picked $35k as the price of the alternative car. The BMW 5 series is $45-60k.

    The lexus GS is 45k-53k. Audi A6 is also 45-60k.

    It’s still a premium brand, and to be meaningful, the analysis should be on an apples to apples basis.

    Start with two cars with the same sticker price, and you come out with a different answer. Alternatively, you could calculate the annual cost of fuel consumptions (12k miles / 20 mpg * 2.50 per gallon = $1500). So $1500 is your upper bound. And then subtract out the cost of electricity (12k miles / 4 miles/kWh * 11 cents = $330). Subtract one from the other and you get an annual savings of $1170.

    Financing adds nothing to the analysis.

  • jason

    It’s entirely arbitrary that you picked $35k as the price of the alternative car. The BMW 5 series is $45-60k.

    The lexus GS is 45k-53k. Audi A6 is also 45-60k.

    It’s still a premium brand, and to be meaningful, the analysis should be on an apples to apples basis.

    Start with two cars with the same sticker price, and you come out with a different answer. Alternatively, you could calculate the annual cost of fuel consumptions (12k miles / 20 mpg * 2.50 per gallon = $1500). So $1500 is your upper bound. And then subtract out the cost of electricity (12k miles / 4 miles/kWh * 11 cents = $330). Subtract one from the other and you get an annual savings of $1170.

    Financing adds nothing to the analysis.

  • Patrick

    I believe the author excluded the most critical justification of his analysis – whether the $35k “gas guzzler” is a reasonable comp for the Tesla. From the pictures i’ve seen this compares more to a 5 series BMW than a 35k car.

    I’m no car expert so I’d love to see the author’s justification of the comp since it’s clearly the most critical assumption of them all.

  • Patrick

    I believe the author excluded the most critical justification of his analysis – whether the $35k “gas guzzler” is a reasonable comp for the Tesla. From the pictures i’ve seen this compares more to a 5 series BMW than a 35k car.

    I’m no car expert so I’d love to see the author’s justification of the comp since it’s clearly the most critical assumption of them all.

  • Nick Chambers

    Jason and Patrick,

    As I’ve mentioned in the other comments, the 35K comparison is not so much to compare the car to another similarly equipped vehicle, but to calculate if the Model S really is a car for the “rest of us” as Tesla claims it is (and as the title of my post should clue you in). A $50,000 Beemer is not a car for the rest of us. A 35K Buick is. In fact, I didn’t come up with the 35K claim myself. This was a comparison that Tesla made and I’m trying to verify.

    Also, the loan is in there because that’s how 80% of the “rest of us” buy cars in reality – so it is meaningful.

    Although it’s true that with the Tesla S you will find features that you would normally only find in 45-50K gas cars such as upper end BMWs, but the claim isn’t that it is a good value compared to a BMW, the claim is that it is a good value even when compared to a 35K Buick.

  • CNCMike

    Just for fun? I totaled up what I have spent on a 2004 Mazda 6 Sport Wagon that I bought new in March 2005 and was quite surprised. It stickered for $26,675 and with rebates $22,675. When new I averaged 20 to 23 MPG and since July 2007 when I started driving conservatively I have averaged 27.025 MPG. Here are my real world numbers from March 2005 to March 2009.

    GAS – $7202.36

    MAINT AND REPAIRS – $2881.56

    DOWN PAYMENT – $2700.00

    TOTAL PAYMENTS – $16,759.20(@8%)

    TOTAL – $29,543.12

    Averaging the gas and maint for the next 2 years based on the last 4 plus the 2 more years payments(yeah I know but at the time I had to go 6 years) puts me at $42,964.68.

    If it was and electric car, taking away the gas and maint and repairs for 6 years brings that down to $27,838.80 plus the cost of electricity and any maintenance electric cars may need. I wanted an electric car before and now I REALLY want one.

  • CNCMike

    Just for fun? I totaled up what I have spent on a 2004 Mazda 6 Sport Wagon that I bought new in March 2005 and was quite surprised. It stickered for $26,675 and with rebates $22,675. When new I averaged 20 to 23 MPG and since July 2007 when I started driving conservatively I have averaged 27.025 MPG. Here are my real world numbers from March 2005 to March 2009.

    GAS – $7202.36

    MAINT AND REPAIRS – $2881.56

    DOWN PAYMENT – $2700.00

    TOTAL PAYMENTS – $16,759.20(@8%)

    TOTAL – $29,543.12

    Averaging the gas and maint for the next 2 years based on the last 4 plus the 2 more years payments(yeah I know but at the time I had to go 6 years) puts me at $42,964.68.

    If it was and electric car, taking away the gas and maint and repairs for 6 years brings that down to $27,838.80 plus the cost of electricity and any maintenance electric cars may need. I wanted an electric car before and now I REALLY want one.

  • Mark

    You have to compare the financing apples to apples. Not one with a loan and one with cash. Financing shouldn’t be part of the equation. Just compare cash deals.

  • Mark

    You have to compare the financing apples to apples. Not one with a loan and one with cash. Financing shouldn’t be part of the equation. Just compare cash deals.

  • Steve

    I plan on having solor panels when I build my new house. I’d like to see those #’s and payback with $0 per kWh.

  • Steve

    I plan on having solor panels when I build my new house. I’d like to see those #’s and payback with $0 per kWh.

  • Nick

    Great and insightful article. I think the comparison of the model S to a $35,000 car though is unjust. Although certainly we would like to see Tesla become as mainstream as possible one day, they’re still focusing on the higher end market, even with this car. I think a more accurate comparison would be a BMW 5 series ($45,000) given the performance and amenities offered with the model S. If possible I’d like to see the comparison graphs for that.

    Thanks,

    Nick

  • Nick

    Great and insightful article. I think the comparison of the model S to a $35,000 car though is unjust. Although certainly we would like to see Tesla become as mainstream as possible one day, they’re still focusing on the higher end market, even with this car. I think a more accurate comparison would be a BMW 5 series ($45,000) given the performance and amenities offered with the model S. If possible I’d like to see the comparison graphs for that.

    Thanks,

    Nick

  • Bryan

    Great article! My only complaint would be that argument of price difference. I think that people usually tend to consistantly stay within their price range from vehicle to vehicle. So someone who can afford a $35k car might not so easily jump to a $50k car regardless of some gas savings. They would probably be more reluctant to purchase the Volt or something comparable. I’d like to see a comparison among cars in its price range. I drive a 08′ BMW 335 coupe with a $48k sticker price. I’d surely consider a Tesla S. Only difference would be that I only drive about 7,000 miles a year. My wife has a 06′ BMW X5 4.4i sport that had a sticker price of $64,000. I’m curious to see what the savings would be there as well. In my opinion, I think the Tesla S is absolutely gorgeous! Keep up the good work :)

  • Bryan

    Great article! My only complaint would be that argument of price difference. I think that people usually tend to consistantly stay within their price range from vehicle to vehicle. So someone who can afford a $35k car might not so easily jump to a $50k car regardless of some gas savings. They would probably be more reluctant to purchase the Volt or something comparable. I’d like to see a comparison among cars in its price range. I drive a 08′ BMW 335 coupe with a $48k sticker price. I’d surely consider a Tesla S. Only difference would be that I only drive about 7,000 miles a year. My wife has a 06′ BMW X5 4.4i sport that had a sticker price of $64,000. I’m curious to see what the savings would be there as well. In my opinion, I think the Tesla S is absolutely gorgeous! Keep up the good work :)

  • jerry

    The part no one seems to mention is, its the winter , I get stuck in a traffic jam, battery charge goes down in cold weather, it takes me 7 hours to get home going 10 miles an hour on a snowy highway, the heater and defroster in the car is full blast (need heat or I freeze) will an electric car make it home, or is it only good for the sumer and spring.

    Oh and in the summer how does the AC drain the battery, have yet to see that either.

  • jerry

    The part no one seems to mention is, its the winter , I get stuck in a traffic jam, battery charge goes down in cold weather, it takes me 7 hours to get home going 10 miles an hour on a snowy highway, the heater and defroster in the car is full blast (need heat or I freeze) will an electric car make it home, or is it only good for the sumer and spring.

    Oh and in the summer how does the AC drain the battery, have yet to see that either.

  • Ron

    The simple truth of the matter is that currently Americans in general want what they want and that is the freedom that Hybrid vehicles bring to the table. Easy of long distance fill it up, go a long time. Fix it up when we have to vehicles. Nick has stated this in not so many words. It is going to be sometime before we are able to use non pollutant renewable fuel resources, to fuel our vehicles and our economy. The hybrid for the near future is a viable alternative to reduce our current need for fossil fuels. It is all about what you want and need. Not about what is going to be. But what it is right now. We only have today. Tomorrow is no guarantee. We are in a long fight. So lets pace ourselves and do what’s right for right now.

    Nick as you probably know all to well statistics can be manipulated to support either side of an opinion. So I hope you’ll do like the rest of us should and use your conscious to point you in the direction that is right for you. Right now.

  • Ron

    The simple truth of the matter is that currently Americans in general want what they want and that is the freedom that Hybrid vehicles bring to the table. Easy of long distance fill it up, go a long time. Fix it up when we have to vehicles. Nick has stated this in not so many words. It is going to be sometime before we are able to use non pollutant renewable fuel resources, to fuel our vehicles and our economy. The hybrid for the near future is a viable alternative to reduce our current need for fossil fuels. It is all about what you want and need. Not about what is going to be. But what it is right now. We only have today. Tomorrow is no guarantee. We are in a long fight. So lets pace ourselves and do what’s right for right now.

    Nick as you probably know all to well statistics can be manipulated to support either side of an opinion. So I hope you’ll do like the rest of us should and use your conscious to point you in the direction that is right for you. Right now.

  • Ron

    I have one last comment. Has anyone of you noticed that to own a Tesla S you will all have to fork out $5000.00 up front and wait over 2 years to receive your car. Can the average American afford it. Can he or she wait that long. Will Tesla still be able to offer the vehicle at that price. Will it really do what they say it will. Will they be around still.

    I don’t know if I can WILL myself to take all those risks.

    Read there web sight. Click on there buy tab. Then pick your country. Choose the Model S. Under Availability:(0n the right hand side of the page)

    Deliveries to begin in 2012

    Refundable Reservation $5,000

    And will your at it. Check out the foot note next to the price of $49,900 indicated by an *’s.

    It says: The anticipated base price of the Model S is $57,400. Price includes $7,500 US federal tax credit.

    All Tesla vehicles qualify for the full $7,500 US federal tax credit on battery-powered cars.

    Tesla’s also qualify for state incentives, sales tax waivers and rebates.

    How many changes in the next 3 years is our countries Tax Credits going to go through before you can apply it to your Model S.

    If you take the example of Tax Credits that Toyota customers were receiving for there vehicles; That they are all out of credits for now. Apply that to your equation and watch the possibility of you cost of ownership rise.

    Again, no guarantee only wishful thinking.

    What do you think?

  • Ron

    I have one last comment. Has anyone of you noticed that to own a Tesla S you will all have to fork out $5000.00 up front and wait over 2 years to receive your car. Can the average American afford it. Can he or she wait that long. Will Tesla still be able to offer the vehicle at that price. Will it really do what they say it will. Will they be around still.

    I don’t know if I can WILL myself to take all those risks.

    Read there web sight. Click on there buy tab. Then pick your country. Choose the Model S. Under Availability:(0n the right hand side of the page)

    Deliveries to begin in 2012

    Refundable Reservation $5,000

    And will your at it. Check out the foot note next to the price of $49,900 indicated by an *’s.

    It says: The anticipated base price of the Model S is $57,400. Price includes $7,500 US federal tax credit.

    All Tesla vehicles qualify for the full $7,500 US federal tax credit on battery-powered cars.

    Tesla’s also qualify for state incentives, sales tax waivers and rebates.

    How many changes in the next 3 years is our countries Tax Credits going to go through before you can apply it to your Model S.

    If you take the example of Tax Credits that Toyota customers were receiving for there vehicles; That they are all out of credits for now. Apply that to your equation and watch the possibility of you cost of ownership rise.

    Again, no guarantee only wishful thinking.

    What do you think?

  • http://www.matthewb.id.au Matthew Bulat

    The big variable is the price of gas in the future which is out of local control. Remember oil going to $150 per barrel? Electricity can come from many sources but can be supplied locally. Consider running a electric car calculator with a Think City, Mitsubishi iMiev and Smart ForTwo electric. The running costs of electric are much better. Most city travel could be done by electric. Electrics do not use engine power when waiting in traffic unlike gas engines. Charging at home on off peak power gives even greater savings. I have a Electric Car Calculator on my website to compare your car versus various electrics.

  • http://www.matthewb.id.au Matthew Bulat

    The big variable is the price of gas in the future which is out of local control. Remember oil going to $150 per barrel? Electricity can come from many sources but can be supplied locally. Consider running a electric car calculator with a Think City, Mitsubishi iMiev and Smart ForTwo electric. The running costs of electric are much better. Most city travel could be done by electric. Electrics do not use engine power when waiting in traffic unlike gas engines. Charging at home on off peak power gives even greater savings. I have a Electric Car Calculator on my website to compare your car versus various electrics.

  • Frans

    Why not also include some graphs for the typical European reader? In my country, fuel prices are sky high compared to the US. I have a sneaking suspicion some Tesla executive used that very same set of charts to justify why to bring out the S series in Europe from day 1.

    Better still, publish your spreadsheet. So we can all use it to convince our partner.

  • Frans

    Why not also include some graphs for the typical European reader? In my country, fuel prices are sky high compared to the US. I have a sneaking suspicion some Tesla executive used that very same set of charts to justify why to bring out the S series in Europe from day 1.

    Better still, publish your spreadsheet. So we can all use it to convince our partner.

  • Tom in Glendale

    Tesla is not marketing the S to compete with $35K vehicles. The S is their second of three models, with the third (under development) to be in the mid-30s and aimed at families. So you are not comparing like vehicles or markets and your analysis makes no sense at this point. Do the same analysis (the methodology seems sound!) in a couple or three years with the “low end” Tesla and it will make much more sense. And it’ll be accurate, fair, and a better guide to whether Tesla is indeed going to be competitive. By the way, their strategy has always been to start with a roadster just to show that electric cars don’t have to be weak, dowdy vehicles. They made their point. Next, they wanted a high-end sedan line, which they have with an S. It might be interesting to compare the S with other cars (BMW, Lexus, etc.) in the $57-$70 range and see which comes out ahead.

  • Tom in Glendale

    Tesla is not marketing the S to compete with $35K vehicles. The S is their second of three models, with the third (under development) to be in the mid-30s and aimed at families. So you are not comparing like vehicles or markets and your analysis makes no sense at this point. Do the same analysis (the methodology seems sound!) in a couple or three years with the “low end” Tesla and it will make much more sense. And it’ll be accurate, fair, and a better guide to whether Tesla is indeed going to be competitive. By the way, their strategy has always been to start with a roadster just to show that electric cars don’t have to be weak, dowdy vehicles. They made their point. Next, they wanted a high-end sedan line, which they have with an S. It might be interesting to compare the S with other cars (BMW, Lexus, etc.) in the $57-$70 range and see which comes out ahead.

  • Ron

    I don’t now if anyone has noticed but the size and scale of the prototype models are not consistent with there claim of a occupancy of 5 adults and two children. that is unless the tire size is about 39 inches. I broke the vehicle down to scale from all the data from Tesla Motors and from internet pictures and the vehicle is about the size of 3 Series BMW. We all know you cant fit 7 people in a 3 Series. If you look at tire size in relation to width and length of door to door and a little passed the back door you will see that it doesn’t add up. The more research I do on The Model S the more I am beginning to think we have another Madolf on our hands here. What’s the deal. I wouldn’t buy one tell I could see it for real life.

    If You have seen one in real life please explain how the passenger occupancy claims are real.

  • Ron

    I don’t now if anyone has noticed but the size and scale of the prototype models are not consistent with there claim of a occupancy of 5 adults and two children. that is unless the tire size is about 39 inches. I broke the vehicle down to scale from all the data from Tesla Motors and from internet pictures and the vehicle is about the size of 3 Series BMW. We all know you cant fit 7 people in a 3 Series. If you look at tire size in relation to width and length of door to door and a little passed the back door you will see that it doesn’t add up. The more research I do on The Model S the more I am beginning to think we have another Madolf on our hands here. What’s the deal. I wouldn’t buy one tell I could see it for real life.

    If You have seen one in real life please explain how the passenger occupancy claims are real.

  • Chapin

    My thought is: GM should declare bancrupcy; decrease pention and bond costs; use the money from the stimulus package to buy tesla; use the money from the factory upgrade bill to retool their factories to mass produce teslas and build a variety of models(mini van, crossover vehicle, compact sedan) on the existing chasis. Mass production of the vehicle will lower these costs and move GM into the future, leap frogging Japan.

  • Chapin

    My thought is: GM should declare bancrupcy; decrease pention and bond costs; use the money from the stimulus package to buy tesla; use the money from the factory upgrade bill to retool their factories to mass produce teslas and build a variety of models(mini van, crossover vehicle, compact sedan) on the existing chasis. Mass production of the vehicle will lower these costs and move GM into the future, leap frogging Japan.

  • Tuyen

    Ron, you better stop with your common sense analysis. You’re going to scare the hippies.

    Of course the production model isn’t going to seat 7 people. Anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that already, and your mathematical analysis of the car’s proportions and dimensions proves it too. But the “electric cars are the future” crowd don’t want to hear reality. They seem to be so deluded at the moment that they honestly believe that they will have electric cars in production at an affordable price sometime soon. Again, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that this is just a pipe dream.

    If you want to know what electric “cars” are good for, go to a golf course and observe them in action. Those are about the only kinds of electric vehicles that most people will ever want and/or be able to afford.

    The only way that electric cars would EVER be feasible, is if they came with their own nuclear fusion power plant built into the engine compartment to constantly generate the electricity required, and to ensure that a mother driving home with her two kids in the back during a major snowstorm in February won’t get stranded and killed because her battery gave out even though her drive wasn’t more than 15 miles total distance.

    And we all know that self-powered cars with their own miniature fusion reactor won’t be coming for at least another 100 years, and by that time, the whole idea of “car travel” will more than likely be an antiquated concept at best.

    To those who truly believe that you’ll be driving an affordable, reliable, safe electric car powered by solar panels, you guys really need to get out of your tree huts and go take a few courses in electrical and mechanical engineering to bring yourselves back into the real world.

    I hate the oil companies as much as anyone, and I have no desire to continually fuel up my tank for $100 every week, but guess what — I’m a realist, and I’m smart enough to know that electric cars are not going to replace gas-powered vehicles. The only technology which will do that is hydrogen-powered cars, and those will still be expensive and will still require many years before we have hydrogen fueling stations all over the country (and all over the world), but at least you know that your hydrogen car won’t leave you stranded on the road because your battery lost its charge.

    Bottom line: electric cars will never be mainstream. The sooner everybody accepts it, the better off we’ll all be. It’s completely ridiculous how much time and effort is being wasted in trying to produce an “affordable” electric car to replace a gas-powered car. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE.

  • Tuyen

    Ron, you better stop with your common sense analysis. You’re going to scare the hippies.

    Of course the production model isn’t going to seat 7 people. Anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that already, and your mathematical analysis of the car’s proportions and dimensions proves it too. But the “electric cars are the future” crowd don’t want to hear reality. They seem to be so deluded at the moment that they honestly believe that they will have electric cars in production at an affordable price sometime soon. Again, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that this is just a pipe dream.

    If you want to know what electric “cars” are good for, go to a golf course and observe them in action. Those are about the only kinds of electric vehicles that most people will ever want and/or be able to afford.

    The only way that electric cars would EVER be feasible, is if they came with their own nuclear fusion power plant built into the engine compartment to constantly generate the electricity required, and to ensure that a mother driving home with her two kids in the back during a major snowstorm in February won’t get stranded and killed because her battery gave out even though her drive wasn’t more than 15 miles total distance.

    And we all know that self-powered cars with their own miniature fusion reactor won’t be coming for at least another 100 years, and by that time, the whole idea of “car travel” will more than likely be an antiquated concept at best.

    To those who truly believe that you’ll be driving an affordable, reliable, safe electric car powered by solar panels, you guys really need to get out of your tree huts and go take a few courses in electrical and mechanical engineering to bring yourselves back into the real world.

    I hate the oil companies as much as anyone, and I have no desire to continually fuel up my tank for $100 every week, but guess what — I’m a realist, and I’m smart enough to know that electric cars are not going to replace gas-powered vehicles. The only technology which will do that is hydrogen-powered cars, and those will still be expensive and will still require many years before we have hydrogen fueling stations all over the country (and all over the world), but at least you know that your hydrogen car won’t leave you stranded on the road because your battery lost its charge.

    Bottom line: electric cars will never be mainstream. The sooner everybody accepts it, the better off we’ll all be. It’s completely ridiculous how much time and effort is being wasted in trying to produce an “affordable” electric car to replace a gas-powered car. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE.

    • Not True

      You are way off base, Tuyen. You clearly haven’t seen and don’t know anyone with a Tesla. The Model S does seat 7, although it is 5+2 where the 2 are children. It isn’t 7 comfortable seats, but it works for when someone is visiting in a pinch. You are also forgetting that the electric drivetrain is far less complicated than the gasoline one, so far less space is used by the engine. More space is left for the cabin. In fact, there is a trunk both in the front AND the back of the car. Finally, here in California there are already plenty of real world users of electric plug-in cars and it works great. The ONLY limitation is mileage. With the 300 mile car, it will more than adequately handle the daily commute, since you charge it every night instead of only filling up gas once in a while. It just doesn’t work well for the long road trip with no access to charging stations or household electricity along the way. The Tesla IS a real world car and it’s fully workable today.

  • Darren H

    No one seems to be taking into account the intangible benefits of the Model S. It seems to be comparable in luxury and technology to a BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Lexus GS, Infiniti M, etc. People drive those models based on personal taste, status, driving pleasure, and ego-gratification. Well-off buyers are willing to pay a lot of money for gas-guzzling cars and SUVs that have features that only benefit the individual consumer. So for a progressive consumer who values cleaner technology, the Model S provides intangible benefits that cannot be replicated by the existing offerings, and it paves the way for subsequent generations of products that could very well benefit the health of our planet. We can sit around and debate the actual net reduction in CO2, or an “apples to apples” comparison of the cost of existing ICE-powered autos versus the Model S, or we can recognize that progress is evolutionary and that the Model S represents an important step towards energy independence and cleaner air (notwithstanding the counter-arguments about coal-fired power plants; solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas and hydro energy sources can provide “cleaner” electricity). No one ever seems to complain when car makers come out with faster or more luxurious models year after year, and people line up on lease rollover to lease the bigger better deal. So I think that some of the critics of the efforts of the auto industry to build hybrids and electric cars fail to take into consideration the fact that consumerism is rampant anyway, so how can it be a bad thing that we are promoting consumption of eco-products that have less of an impact than existing products being consumed? People are going to consume no matter what. Our entire world economy is based on consumption. It would be nice to believe that people could consume less, but it usually takes something like a recession to curb consumption (as we are seeing now). When the economy fires up again, people are going to consume again. And the automakers who have invested in electric and hybrid cars will have had a chance to place their new products into the consumption cycle, except now we as a society are going to add the “value” of clean-technology to our list of reasons to consume. And that’s not such a bad thing, now is it?

  • Darren H

    No one seems to be taking into account the intangible benefits of the Model S. It seems to be comparable in luxury and technology to a BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Lexus GS, Infiniti M, etc. People drive those models based on personal taste, status, driving pleasure, and ego-gratification. Well-off buyers are willing to pay a lot of money for gas-guzzling cars and SUVs that have features that only benefit the individual consumer. So for a progressive consumer who values cleaner technology, the Model S provides intangible benefits that cannot be replicated by the existing offerings, and it paves the way for subsequent generations of products that could very well benefit the health of our planet. We can sit around and debate the actual net reduction in CO2, or an “apples to apples” comparison of the cost of existing ICE-powered autos versus the Model S, or we can recognize that progress is evolutionary and that the Model S represents an important step towards energy independence and cleaner air (notwithstanding the counter-arguments about coal-fired power plants; solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas and hydro energy sources can provide “cleaner” electricity). No one ever seems to complain when car makers come out with faster or more luxurious models year after year, and people line up on lease rollover to lease the bigger better deal. So I think that some of the critics of the efforts of the auto industry to build hybrids and electric cars fail to take into consideration the fact that consumerism is rampant anyway, so how can it be a bad thing that we are promoting consumption of eco-products that have less of an impact than existing products being consumed? People are going to consume no matter what. Our entire world economy is based on consumption. It would be nice to believe that people could consume less, but it usually takes something like a recession to curb consumption (as we are seeing now). When the economy fires up again, people are going to consume again. And the automakers who have invested in electric and hybrid cars will have had a chance to place their new products into the consumption cycle, except now we as a society are going to add the “value” of clean-technology to our list of reasons to consume. And that’s not such a bad thing, now is it?

  • http://www.travelingtoitaly.com Gabriele

    My Durango, 1998, does not take more than 11/12 miles p.g. (city) 15/16 (hwy). Where do you get those numbers? Than you change spark plugs every 3,000 miles, oil same, add some in between changes. And forget occasional break downs, common in a thermal engine because the operation temperatures etc. Without thinking of starting the engine in this (Minnesota) climate. Replace the battery every two years if you like to drive to work in the winter. If we compare the operational costs we MUST put in the equation ALL numbers not only those that can support our point of view. No more pollution. No longer depending from the middle-east moody dictators. Yes, lets go electric.

  • http://www.travelingtoitaly.com Gabriele

    My Durango, 1998, does not take more than 11/12 miles p.g. (city) 15/16 (hwy). Where do you get those numbers? Than you change spark plugs every 3,000 miles, oil same, add some in between changes. And forget occasional break downs, common in a thermal engine because the operation temperatures etc. Without thinking of starting the engine in this (Minnesota) climate. Replace the battery every two years if you like to drive to work in the winter. If we compare the operational costs we MUST put in the equation ALL numbers not only those that can support our point of view. No more pollution. No longer depending from the middle-east moody dictators. Yes, lets go electric.

  • Roger

    Can you do a price comparison for hawaii?

    It’s $2.50 a gallon for gas. I drive a 40 mpg Prius, and electricity is 20 cents a kWh.

    What’s my payback? Does it make sense to upgrade?

  • Roger

    Can you do a price comparison for hawaii?

    It’s $2.50 a gallon for gas. I drive a 40 mpg Prius, and electricity is 20 cents a kWh.

    What’s my payback? Does it make sense to upgrade?

  • vfx

    Random comments.

    The “one moving part” refers to the device that creates motion. Engine or Motor.

    The old Tesla 1.5 two speed transmission was said to have 17 moving parts. The new fixed gearbox certainly has less. Compare that count to an Automatic or Manual gearbox with pedal, clutch and stick shift.

    All of these have oil and to be replaced. EVs have cooling fluid as well.

    Electric cars use no energy sitting in traffic, they are simply off. Unlike idling ICE motors EVs actually get better mileage in stop and go than on highways.

    An Elephant in the room in the price per hour that Tesla can charge for being the only game in town.

    Of course you can get non-drivetrain bits serviced at other shops which brings up the question about the Model S bodywork. Is it Carbon fiber and more expensive to repair?

  • vfx

    Random comments.

    The “one moving part” refers to the device that creates motion. Engine or Motor.

    The old Tesla 1.5 two speed transmission was said to have 17 moving parts. The new fixed gearbox certainly has less. Compare that count to an Automatic or Manual gearbox with pedal, clutch and stick shift.

    All of these have oil and to be replaced. EVs have cooling fluid as well.

    Electric cars use no energy sitting in traffic, they are simply off. Unlike idling ICE motors EVs actually get better mileage in stop and go than on highways.

    An Elephant in the room in the price per hour that Tesla can charge for being the only game in town.

    Of course you can get non-drivetrain bits serviced at other shops which brings up the question about the Model S bodywork. Is it Carbon fiber and more expensive to repair?

  • Johannes

    Here in Denmark there’s a tax exemption for all EVs cars, taxes that usually amount to 80-120% of it’s value, think of it as a subsidy in the neighbourhood of 50%. With 300 miles you can go anywhere in denmark.

    Let me just say, the entire nation is very green-minded and Tesla would have a massive hit if they can release Model S in europe in the ballpark of 40,000 euros

  • Johannes

    Here in Denmark there’s a tax exemption for all EVs cars, taxes that usually amount to 80-120% of it’s value, think of it as a subsidy in the neighbourhood of 50%. With 300 miles you can go anywhere in denmark.

    Let me just say, the entire nation is very green-minded and Tesla would have a massive hit if they can release Model S in europe in the ballpark of 40,000 euros

  • Brian H

    Roger;

    You didn’t give enough info, but it looks like you’d save about $500/yr + maintenance/service cost difference, using Matthew’s http://www.matthewb.id.au/media/Electric_Vehicle_Calculator.html site.

    Ron and Tuyen, you dipsticks! Here’s the visible proof:

    http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1019775_video-tesla-model-s-test-drive

    Mange la Merde et Mourir!

    For your future (about 2014/5 +) energy source, check out focusfusion.org . At about ¼¢/kwh!

  • Brian H

    Roger;

    You didn’t give enough info, but it looks like you’d save about $500/yr + maintenance/service cost difference, using Matthew’s http://www.matthewb.id.au/media/Electric_Vehicle_Calculator.html site.

    Ron and Tuyen, you dipsticks! Here’s the visible proof:

    http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1019775_video-tesla-model-s-test-drive

    Mange la Merde et Mourir!

    For your future (about 2014/5 +) energy source, check out focusfusion.org . At about ¼¢/kwh!

  • Brian H

    For those kvetching about a proper comparison being the $50,000 ICE car, that’s not the point. He’s testing the TeslaMotors claim that it’s competitive with a $35,000 ICE cost-of-ownership. All the extra features and quality are bonus!

  • Brian H

    For those kvetching about a proper comparison being the $50,000 ICE car, that’s not the point. He’s testing the TeslaMotors claim that it’s competitive with a $35,000 ICE cost-of-ownership. All the extra features and quality are bonus!

  • http://gas2.org saj

    What does a Tesla Model S really cost to operate? Crunch the numbers and the results may be a bit surprising.

    hi Nick Chambers,

    would you please, email me the excel sheets that you made to compare the whole life cost comparison of electric vehicle with gasoline one. please

    i am writing a thesis and i need one.i am not good at excel, i asked several friends of mine but no one know. so please help me that..

    i dont need the figure nubmers.. i have my own cost figures, i just need the way you make comparison graph and use depreciation and cumulative cost etc.

    my graph are not coming right. thanks

    saj

    mycanal@hotmail.com

  • http://gas2.org saj

    What does a Tesla Model S really cost to operate? Crunch the numbers and the results may be a bit surprising.

    hi Nick Chambers,

    would you please, email me the excel sheets that you made to compare the whole life cost comparison of electric vehicle with gasoline one. please

    i am writing a thesis and i need one.i am not good at excel, i asked several friends of mine but no one know. so please help me that..

    i dont need the figure nubmers.. i have my own cost figures, i just need the way you make comparison graph and use depreciation and cumulative cost etc.

    my graph are not coming right. thanks

    saj

    mycanal@hotmail.com

  • ali

    Dear Nick Chamber,

    I have an urgent request.I am writing a thesis comparing commercial EV with Diesel in difference scenarios, mileage, cost of battery etc ..

    would be very very grateful to you, if you would email me your excel sheets, i do have cost figues/data, but couldnot make a nice professional excel sheet for graphs etc… i wasted a lot of time try to build my own, couldnot, so your help will be greatly appreciated.

    thanks

    saj ali

  • ali

    Dear Nick Chamber,

    I have an urgent request.I am writing a thesis comparing commercial EV with Diesel in difference scenarios, mileage, cost of battery etc ..

    would be very very grateful to you, if you would email me your excel sheets, i do have cost figues/data, but couldnot make a nice professional excel sheet for graphs etc… i wasted a lot of time try to build my own, couldnot, so your help will be greatly appreciated.

    thanks

    saj ali

  • Jimmy

    First of all, thanks for the article. I was really considering the Tesla and this is a good perspective to consider. But one of your comments really sparked me to reply to the “general masses”. PLEASE do not convince them they should be able to “afford” a $35,000 car. This is the main problem with our financial sitaution in America. The avergae family thinks they should have a new car, 3/2/2 house, and a big screen TV. While the Avg income was only $50,000. Median house = $200,000

    These Average folks should be driving a car under $10,000 to be financially responsible.

    I make way more than the average and I drive a 2003 Ford Focus I paid $8400 for 5 years ago. great dependable car. We also have a minivan that we only paid $20,000 for. Best I can tell the Tesla S is still for the rich. But I really like it.

  • Jimmy

    First of all, thanks for the article. I was really considering the Tesla and this is a good perspective to consider. But one of your comments really sparked me to reply to the “general masses”. PLEASE do not convince them they should be able to “afford” a $35,000 car. This is the main problem with our financial sitaution in America. The avergae family thinks they should have a new car, 3/2/2 house, and a big screen TV. While the Avg income was only $50,000. Median house = $200,000

    These Average folks should be driving a car under $10,000 to be financially responsible.

    I make way more than the average and I drive a 2003 Ford Focus I paid $8400 for 5 years ago. great dependable car. We also have a minivan that we only paid $20,000 for. Best I can tell the Tesla S is still for the rich. But I really like it.

  • http://Web dennis

    One problem is what if I am comparing a Mercedes E350 (about the same price) vs the tesla S. Then I win from day 1 dont I?

    • http://www.sublimeburnout.com Christopher DeMorro

      @ Dennis

      Very true, and there is certainly a market for these high priced vehicles. But as a “mass market” vehicle, $50,000 is just too high for most Americans.

  • http://Web Cajun

    I suppose I am not one of “The Rest of Us” you keep talking about. I would really love to have a Tesla, or any really well made electric car. But, I can’t afford $35,000 for a car, much less the $50k for the Tesla. I guess that’s why I will be buying a Pruis. I keep waiting for car manufacturers to come up with something electric that people like me that can only manage $22-27k for a car. So far, Toyota’s Pruis is the best ‘green’ car out there for people on a budget.

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