All electric cars, especially Tesla cars, currently have a higher price than a car with gasoline or diesel engines. When looking at the costs, however, it is often overlooked that a car with an electric motor is more expensive to buy than a comparable combustion engine, but the operating costs are much lower.
As a result, an electric car performs better in the total cost calculation than a petrol or diesel in the same vehicle class. This is also known as TCO or “Total Cost of Ownership”. The following reasons show why:
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Why is an electric car cheaper?
- The electricity used to drive the engine is cheaper than petrol or diesel. Depending on the Tesla vehicle, you can even charge free of charge on the superchargers.
- In many places, electric cars are given tax breaks or are even completely exempt from traffic tax.
- An electric motor has a much simpler design and consists of much fewer parts than a combustion engine. This means it requires less maintenance. So, you have less maintenance costs.
- There are fewer fluids in electric cars that need to be replaced regularly (e.g. no motor oil).
- Some countries have electric driving Subsidies and this reduces the purchase price of an electric car.
This means that over the operating period of several years, much lower costs are incurred. Of course, it is important to not compare apples with oranges and only compare the same vehicle classes. A Tesla Model S corresponds to the vehicle category of a BMW 7 series, the Audi A7 or the Mercedes S-class. Of course these vehicles are not 100% comparable in every detail. The Tesla Model 3 is comparable to the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A3 or the Mercedes C Class.
So, what is the real car price of a Tesla?
Some examples of total cost of ownership can be found on the Internet:
Tesla Price Example 1
In a very detailed costs comparison Tesla driver Peter Posepny shows his experiences in the following PDF files (German). Energy, CO2 and costs are compared to petrol and diesel. In the folder on the OneDrive-Link there are 6 PDF reports of 6 to 14 liters consumption in comparison. The files are constantly updated.
Tesla driver Martin Spütz allowed me to publish his Tesla costs, which he collected over the years with his Tesla Model S 85. He compares them in the following table with a BMW car of the same class. For the BMW, the acquisition costs and the annual maintenance costs are estimates. (Source on Facebook).
Check out this comparison from Evannex. He compares the Model 3 against the Toyota Camry and the Audi A5.
This is a comparison between the Tesla Model 3 and a Honda Accord.
Conclusion about the “real” Tesla price of a Tesla
Finally, the press in particular is also publishing a great deal of negative information about electric driving. This effect happens with all new technologies that begin to compete with an old, established technology. Some politicians, institutions and companies (in our example the oil industry) have an interest in ensuring that as little as possible changes to the current conditions. It is therefore better not to believe everything you read in the superficially reported media, but to try to get a picture of the real facts and figures.
The parameters of these comparative calculations will certainly change again in the future. Tax incentives will disappear with a higher spread of electric cars, as they are currently only intended as subsidies. The price of petrol today includes taxes and duties that are not currently levied on electricity. This will certainly change at some point, as the state will otherwise be threatened with a loss of tax revenue if more and more people drive electric cars instead of gasoline or diesel.
On the other hand, we are still at the very beginning of battery development. Better and cheaper batteries will come. This in turn will further reduce the price of a Tesla and other electric cars. If you are old enough, you will certainly remember how much the first computers, flat screens or plasma TVs cost was in the past compared to today’s prices of these products. This is a good indication of how the price of established technology continues to fall. Cheaper and even better electric cars are therefore only a question of time and technical progress.
Nevertheless, I can only recommend every car buyer to compare exactly what the vehicles really cost in a total cost of ownership calculation. Driving an electric car is already not more expensive, even if many media (still) claim otherwise.
You’re new to Tesla? Then you will find here a short overview of Tesla vehicles.
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