If this is your first time considering an electric vehicle (EV), there sure seems like a lot of things to learn. The truth is there is a bit of a learning curve, but the good news is you have a great community to help you get up to speed.
How much daily range do you need? All current Teslas have 267+ miles and while the EPA rating is not perfect, its actually pretty reasonable guide. For most folks, 267 miles is plenty of range to commute to work, take the kids to school and run errands. The thing to remember is that if you plug your car in every night you start of the next day with a “full tank”.
Do you have a place to charge? You will need a place to charge. If you are a homeowner, this tends to not be an issue. However, if you rent or live in a condo, you should do your homework and check with your landlord or condo association about getting a charger installed. For more info about charging at home, check out this post.
As noted earlier, there is a bit of a learning curve, but in short time it will be second nature. So, what’s different?
What About Other Costs?
As you try and figure out if an EV fits in your budget, there are a couple of other costs you should work into your calculations.
Fuel (electricity) is likely your biggest cost. Visit the website for you electric utility and find what programs they have for EV owners. Typically, the programs are designed to incentivize you to charge your car during off-peak hours and can significantly lower your cost to charge your car. To get an idea of fuel costs, use this formula:
rate X 0.350 X miles X 1.1
My utility charges me $0.06/kWh to charge during off-peak hours and I drive about 2,200 miles per month, my monthly fuel costs are:
$0.06 X 0.350 X 2,200 X 1.1 = $50.82
Your actual cost will vary based on your driving efficiency, but this calculation should give you a good idea what your fuel costs will be. To put cost into perspective, I am driving 2,200 miles for less the the cost of a tank of gas for either of our two prior cars.
A Tesla has a couple of dozen moving parts compared to the hundreds of moving parts in the typical internal combustion car. As a result, the maintenance is a lot simpler–no oil changes, new brake pads, etc. Maintenance costs basically come down to the annual service (which are found under Support on the Tesla website) and tires. Annual maintenance is not required to maintain warranty coverage, but is recommended.
For owners new to performance cars, the cost of tires can be a bit of a shock, even for owners on non-performance models. The reason comes down to three factors:
As Elon has said, “Tesla does not make slow cars”, and the cars are engineered to go fast and look fast. However, there some things you can do to lower tire costs:
Please note, picking tires is all about trade-offs. There is no perfect tire, you end up balancing cost, traction/handling, noise and ride comfort amongst other things.
The battery pack itself is covered with a 8 year warranty and currently, no owners are outside of that window. There are a number of cars that are well over the 100,000 mile mark and Plug-In America has been running a longitudinal survey and the long-term data is promising. Personally, I am over 100,000 miles on my 2013 P86 and have ~6% battery degradation.
The best advice is to shop around a bit. Reports from the owner community indicate that there is a wide variance on insurance costs.