How much does a Tesla cost to buy and run compared to other cars?

Published on 25 Apr, 2018 by Andrew Sendy

5 minutes read

Categories: Electric vehicles, Tesla, Solar panels, Solar power

Tesla Model S 2018

Image source: Tesla

By now you've probably heard a thing or two about Tesla. Against all odds, they have managed to launch a desirable, mainstream line of electric vehicles where traditional car manufacturers failed for years. You've also probably heard about the cost-saving benefits of these vehicles, and how they will change your life. So how much does it really cost to own a Tesla in 2018?

How many Tesla models are there?

Strictly speaking, there are currently four consumer model vehicles made by Tesla. This includes their first- and second-generation Roadster, the sporty Model S, the Model X crossover, and the latest compact sedan, the Model 3. Each of these models is designed to cover a specific niche of the automotive industry and make electric vehicles accessible to drivers of all kinds.

How much does a Tesla car cost?

As of this year, Tesla's became a whole lot more affordable for most people. Prior to the release of the Model 3, Tesla's vehicles ranged in price from about $70,000 up to $150,000 or more for the most over-the-top supersport cars.

Today, you can pick up a base level Model 3 for right around $35,000, putting it on par with many new sedans and lower tier sports cars in today's market. The pricing of each model can also be broken down by the battery size you choose, which we will detail further as we get into each individual model's cost.

In addition, we are starting to see more and more used Tesla's becoming available, making it possible to upgrade to a higher tier vehicle at an affordable price, especially since many of these vehicles are coming out of three-year leases with only one previous owner.

What does it cost to charge a Tesla?

If you were an early adopter of the Tesla Model S or Roadster, you received the benefit of free supercharging at all of Tesla's network chargers. However, eligibility for free supercharging is tied to the vehicle itself, not the driver. This means that all pre-2016 model vehicles are eligible for free supercharging, even if you bought the car used after that date.

For everyone else, the cost of charging can vary depending on your local electricity rates and the amount that you drive. For the average driver traveling approximately 12,000 miles per year in a like-type internal combustion car, the cost of gas is estimated between $1000-1200 per year. Meanwhile, the cost of electricity and charging for that same number of miles is estimated around $480 for the year but will vary depending on the utility company you buy your power from and whether you use solar power and energy storage to charge your car or utility power.

Save on charging your Tesla by installing solar panels


How much does it cost to drive each mile with an electric car?

Chris Meehan from SolarReviews delved into the cost per mile of driving an electric car in his recent article. He found that although the cost varied depending on the state and the price of power in each state that using the national average residential power price of 12.7 cents per kWh that for a Model 3with a range of 220 miles from the base option 50 kWh battery pack then you get 4.4 miles per kWh.

This is 2.88 cents per mile to run an electric car. The average fuel efficiency for an ICE American car in 2018 is 24.7 miles per gallon and given an average price at the pump of $2.55 per gallon then the average fuel cost to drive a mile in an ICE car in the US in 2018 is 10.3 cents per mile meaning it costs 3.5 times more to run a gas powered car than an electric car.

With a home charger installed, most homeowners will see only a small bump in their monthly power bill overall. This number can be reduced even further with the help of solar panels. You can estimate the costs and benefits of installing solar panels for your home using a free online solar panel calculator.

How much is a Tesla per month?

The monthly cost of a Tesla largely depends on which model you are purchasing or leasing, which custom features you add, and which battery pack you select. Since each vehicle is 100% unique to the person ordering it, prices can vary widely from one car to the next. We will break down what to expect with each model next.

How much does it cost for a Tesla Model S?

The Model S is currently Tesla's number one vehicle on the road. It was their first fully consumer-ready product, and as a result, you can find the Model S in seven different battery configurations thanks to Tesla's ongoing development of battery technology since its launch. The smallest battery is the 60 which started out at just $68,000 with no frills. That is roughly $800/monthon Tesla's three-year lease program. Currently, the most advanced long-range version of the Model S is the P100D. This starts at an impressive $134,000, or about $1,900/month on a three-year lease. In addition, you can expect to fork over an extra $5,000 for automated driving, plus any other special features you want. Basically, you can expect to pay an average of $1,650/month in lease fees plus about $5,500 down to get into a new Model S.

How much does it cost for a Tesla Model X?

The Model X is Tesla's incredible crossover SUV. Given its newness and size, there are fewer battery options available. This also simplifies the math a little bit. A basic 75D starts at $85,500 while the highest tier P100D is $135,500. That's roughly the same as the Model S version of the P100D. You can expect to pay about $1,850/month for a three-year lease, plus about $6,000 down.

How much does it cost for a Tesla Model 3?

Early reports on the Model 3 state that its base price is right around $35,000, but most consumers are bumping that price up to around $42,000 with all of their personalized features. With this in mind, you can expect to pay between $800-1,200/month on a three-year lease with a down payment of $1,000-2,000.

How can I save on Tesla Costs?

The best way to save on Tesla costs is to search their used inventory. Their selection is growing as more people trade up into newer models.

If you want to save on the cost of charging, solar panels may eliminate almost all of your charging expenses.

What electric incentives and tax breaks are available?

Now that Tesla has sold their first 200,000 cars, many of the federal level tax incentives are being phased out. However, most states offer significant tax breaks and incentives for bringing electric vehicles into your state and you can take advantage of solar incentives to offset costs. Tesla keeps a running list of vehicle incentives on their website to assist consumers considering a purchase.

Is owning a Tesla worth it?

Owning a Tesla can definitely be worthwhile if you have been searching for an environmentally friendly option that will also save you money along the way. With the right equipment in your home, you can see huge savings year-round. Plus, you'll have the benefit of driving one of the fastest, safest cars ever built.



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Author: Andrew Sendy

As chairman of Solar Investments Inc and chairman of the largest solar panel installation company in South Australia, Andy is passionate about solar power. With his unique working background he writes on the residential solar industry in America from a unique perspective.