I sat in a Tesla car and enjoyed it!

A week or so ago, I sat in a Tesla model car and enjoyed it in a mall near me. They allowed anyone to sit in, and I enjoyed it along with our kids. These were both Tesla ‘S’ models and obviously had additional options not provided for in the list price of $75k-$80k.

Now, keep in mind that with a family of 6, we’d have to worry about having enough room to transport us around safely, so my wife and I were somewhat impressed when we found that we could fit 7 people (the last 2 cannot be very tall though), comfortably.

The cost of vehicles we sat in were $90,000 and $106,000. The vehicles that we sat in had upgrades such as leather seats, 2 extra seats in what most would use as a trunk, the quick cycle charging option, etc. Keep in mind that there was a pretty large trunk in the front of the vehicle that would fit a 2-week grocery trip for our family to Aldi.

Let’s see if it would make a valid comparison again say a brand new $35,000 vehicle.
Keep in mind that there is very little maintenance on an all electric vehicle such as the Tesla. No oil changes and no buying gas. Those costs would vary, but in my case the fuel would be $3,000/yr, and oil changes would be $150/yr to have it performed by the dealer. However, we cannot completely discount the fuel cost reduction since electricity also has an associated fee too! There were 2 options for recharging the vehicle at one’s house using either a 40 ampere or an 80 ampere circuit @ 240 volts. Obviously the 80 amp circuit cuts the recharge time down to almost ½ of the 40 amp circuit. Most states would suggest using a licensed electrician to take care of the installation of such circuits and so would I, due to the large power requirements. Since the recharging would be done in later hours to save money on your electric bill, we’ll cut the $3,000 fuel by 70%, so that it would be about $900/year – estimated of course.

At a rate of $3.50/gallon for gas and an 11 gallon tank, the fuel would cost $38.50 to refill. And if the rate for electricity were 20¢/kW, and 96kW would be necessary to charge the battery pack (since 80amps x 240 volts x 5 hours = 96,000 watts), that equates to $19.20 for the Tesla to recharge.
Okay, so how much per mile would it cost then? $38.50 / 360 miles = 14.8¢/mile, vs 7.4¢/mile for the Tesla.
You’ll notice that the fuel option without counting oil changes is double the cost per mile.

Don’t forget that anything that uses a rechargeable battery will have a limited lifespan for them. The sales people mentioned Tesla currently warrants the batteries for 8 years from the date of purchase, and believe that the batteries would work acceptably for 10 years before having to be replaced. The size of the each battery appeared to be about the size of a AA battery. The mileage for a single charge is estimated at 260 miles, which is a very good comparison to the 360 miles on a full tank of gas that I currently get. The costs of the batteries were approximately $1.70 each, and if necessary the vehicle diagnostics could be performed to determine if an entire block of 60 cells should be replaced as opposed to just a couple of batteries.

So, how many years would it take to come close to breaking even on the difference in costs? $3,150 – $900 = $2,250 / year in savings compared to a gas powered vehicle. $60,000 / $2,250 = 26.6 years. WHOA!!

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2 Responses to I sat in a Tesla car and enjoyed it!

  1. Brent says:

    I sat in a Tesla recently at a mall in San Diego and, man, was it every nice.

    What do you think about a natural gas powered vehicle? There are TONS of options in Europe but only a few models that can be purchased directly from dealerships in NY and CA.

    • I like the idea of using Natural Gas, however that seems more explosive in an accident type of situation, although I’ve never had the pleasure of having to engineer those before.
      Obviously there have been some problems with the battery packs for a few Tesla models lately but I’m sure they’ll get that ironed out really fast.

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