Don’t buy a Tesla! You heard me right, DO NOT buy a Tesla! Yes, this buyer beware message is coming from the guy who lives and breathes all things Tesla. But all kidding aside, the message of this week’s episode is not to advise against purchasing my favorite electric vehicle but to take into consideration the full cost of ownership. We’ll be looking at the cost of a Tesla, how it compares to other luxury vehicles, overall value and other costs of Tesla ownership.
The first step is looking at the cost of a Tesla. Using the Telsa.com Affordability Calculator, you can determine which model best fits your budget. It takes into consideration your monthly vehicle budget, down payment amount, trade-in value, where you purchase as well as whether you want to lease, pay cash or take out a loan. From there, it spits out which Tesla model may be right for you.
If you’re past the “can I afford a Tesla?” question, and you know you’re in the market for a luxury vehicle, look to U.S. News. It offers a comprehensive comparison tool that allows to view specific vehicle makes and models in detail, side-by-side while offering pro and con analyses for each one. Learn more via the link below.
Beyond looking at luxury vehicle options side-by-side, I wanted to dive deeper into the data to understand the true cost of ownership. Utilizing Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book, I compared the Mercedes Benz S-Class, Porshce Panamera and Tesla Model S 75 D. The S-Class ownership costs exceeds those of the Tesla Model S by over half, while the cost to own the Panamera sits in-between the two vehicles. These projections are over five years of vehicle ownership. Looking at where and when these expenses are incurred, the Tesla Model S ownership costs spike in year three. However, overall, the Model S provides the most bang for your buck.
Going back to Edmunds.com, you can get a full true cost of ownership snapshot for both the Porche Panamera and Mercedes Benz S-Class. This include depreciation, financing, repairs and maintenance, etc. Note, this does change over time, so the numbers will vary depending on when you look.
Once I looked at each vehicle individually, I wanted to see how they stacked up side-by-side. Over a 5-year period, I charted out the costs of depreciation, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs, tax credits as well as taxes and fees. You can explore these numbers via the link below. For financing, insurance as well as tax and fees, the numbers are subjective, varying from person to person. When it comes to fuel costs, on the other hand, the Tesla Model S crushes both vehicles as an EV. The maintenance and repair categories are other areas where Tesla takes the cake, as it comes with a vehicle maintenance package and everything else is covered under its warranty. The Tesla is also the only category where owners are eligible for a tax credit. You can learn more about the electric vehicle tax credit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWHgBUmoxzE
To calculate the true cost of ownership for the Tesla Model S, I took the deprecation data from an Auto List study, the relative deprecation percentage and the vehicle purchase price – which I calculated from the new inventory on Tesla.com. Again, overall prices will vary. However, my calculations went on averages, my location and assumptions based on the Tesla maintenance plan.
This is the data I used to come up with the true cost of ownership for the Tesla Model S. While it’s not perfect, and costs may vary, overall the Tesla Model S offers tremendous value. In fact, when compared its closest competitor, the Porsche Panamera, the Model S costs $10,000 – $60,000 less.
So, if you’re comparing these vehicles, consider this data. Or, if you don’t take my word for it, go take a test drive. And, if you do, let me know via the comments below.
Check out the Tesla.com Affordability Calculator: https://www.tesla.com/support/affordability-calculator
As mentioned, I also used U.S. News: https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/compare?trims=13121-386836_12925-380450_13141-377119 and Edmonds.com to compile a lot of my data
You can also view my calculations: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JhAP79vE9ymu6MURCctNuHMTS6XdKtWxHAkKdidZzds/edit#gid=0
Dive into the Auto List study I mentioned: http://insideevs.com/tesla-model-s-depreciates-only-28-in-first-50000-miles/
A BIG thank you to Wunder Capital for supporting the show. Wunder Capital helps people like you and me invest as little as $1,000 in solar projects. Check them out at wundercapital.com/teslanomics
Music provided by: Epidemic Sound
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