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Published on September 2nd, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla Model S Charging Cost After 17,000 km = $70

September 2nd, 2017 by  

We’ve had the first Tesla Model S in our Tesla Shuttle fleet for 3 months now. We’ve put 17,000 kilometers (~10,500 miles) on it. One of several reasons the business idea originally made sense to us was that we’d have almost no operational costs for the car itself. Most of the charging stations in our home city are free and Tesla’s Superchargers* are of course free (for vehicles up to a certain production date).

After a few months with the car, we already have a jaw-dropping series of figures to share. First of all, after 17,000 kilometers, we’ve spent an eye-popping ~$10 to charge the car at public charging stations. The car mostly lives in my parking space, which unfortunately doesn’t include a charging port. As much as that lack of home charging does cut down on the normal convenience of EV life, it also provides a charging bill of nearly $0/year.

I’ve only spent approximately $10 to charge in a couple of garage parking lots that have hourly rates — basically just parking rates. However, a couple of my business partners have had the car at their homes some of the time as well, which has made our charging bill soar, resulting in approximately $60 of additional cost for the electricity they used.

Anyhow, $70 for 17,000 kilometers of travel is pretty sweet. Anyone who has ever looked at the price of gasoline can tell you that. But what would the cost of that driving have been with a “normal” car? As I’m typing this, I’m just as curious as you are, since I haven’t done the math yet.

First of all, we have to know what car we’re comparing the Model S to. My first thought was the Fiat 500, but … that car’s not as popular globally. 😉 More seriously, the BMW 5 Series or 7 Series is probably the best choice, or a comparable Mercedes. The fuel economy of these models seems to range from 16 MPG to 27 MPG for 2017 model year vehicles. Going with 21 MPG, that’s 500 gallons of gasoline across 10,500 miles.

The average price of gasoline in Poland over the past few months seems to be approximately 4.40 Polish złoty per liter, or $4.64/gallon.

Finishing up with some simple math, that’s $2,320 in estimated fuel costs compared to a “similar” BMW or Mercedes model instead of a Tesla Model S 85D. So, that means we “saved” $2,250.

If you extrapolate and project that our annual distance traveled and charging costs will be 4 times those of our first 3 months, that means an annual savings of $9,000.

We also have no oil changes, but we won’t even get into that.

As always, total cost of ownership (TCO) depends on many variables that can change quite a lot from person to person or business to business. Obviously, we are driving the car much more than the average person drives theirs, gasoline costs are much higher than in the US, and we are lucky to benefit from primarily free charging. Nonetheless, I think this is a fun scenario to demonstrate one of the advantages of electric vehicles — no gas!

Let’s not chat about the other vehicle costs here — a Tesla Model S isn’t cheap! But hey, how do you price fun, a livable climate, clean air, and those wonderful Tesla Easter eggs?

All images by Tesla Shuttle

*We typically just Supercharge in the middle of long-distance trips. For better or worse, the locations of Superchargers in our region are basically just useful for intercity travel … as planned. 😀



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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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