Update: This was initially a simple comparison. There are various features, trims, and assumptions that could be adjusted to change the results. I have updated some of the assumptions for this article but I will publish a much more detailed comparison in coming days/weeks. In the meantime, feel free to modify any assumptions as you wish. To do so, you can copy & paste the framework from this Google Sheet.
The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus just became available to order in Europe. This is not a €35,000 or €37,000 car — because taxes, import duties, etc. Though, at a base price of €44,500, the car is competitive — highly competitive.
Using a handful of assumptions I’ll list in a moment, I found that it would probably be very easy to save €10,000 over the course of 5 years by choosing the Tesla Model 3 instead of the BMW 320i.
That may sound shocking in itself, but it should be even more shocking to anyone who has driven both a Tesla Model 3 and a BMW 320i. Unless you are particularly attached to knobs, rumbling sounds, engine vibrations, and the BMW badge, it’s clear that the Tesla Model 3 is a superior vehicle — by far. It’s safer, quicker (5.3 seconds vs. 7.1 seconds to 60 mph, but actually feels much quicker due to instant torque), smoother, has much better infotainment tech, has much better semi-autonomous driving tech, and has more cargo space. And, if the badge is important to you, it’s a Tesla.
Who would spend €10,000+ more on a car that is much worse?
Of course, details vary from driver to driver. Some might drive 11,000 km a year, some might drive 20,000 km a year, and some might drive 3,000 km a year. This is an important metric in the equation. Additionally, some might be looking at 3 years of ownership while others might be looking at 10. Again, this is an important factor when considering potential savings. There’s also the matter of “fuel” — gas/petrol prices fluctuate greatly, and some Tesla Model 3 owners may be paying retail electricity prices from the grid while others may have essentially free excess electricity from solar panels. Let’s jump into my assumptions.
According to the simple research I’ve done, the base price of a BMW 320i in Germany is €39,950 (or €42,940 with parking & driving assist features), there’s a €2,000 EV subsidy that brings the base price of the Model 3 down to €42,500, the average price of gas (petrol) in Germany is €5.30 per gallon, the average price of electricity is €0.30 per kWh, and a decent estimate for annual miles driven is 7,000 miles (11,265 km). I have no actual idea how insurance costs of the Tesla Model 3 compare to the BMW 3 Series, but I assume they’re similar. No one knows how maintenance costs of these two vehicles will turn out, so I’m assuming they’re even despite the fact that electric vehicle should have much less maintenance and lower maintenance costs.
The biggest wild card not included at all here is deprecation, or resale value when you’re done with the car. This is, again, something we have no solid clue on. Kelley Blue Book — basically the authoritative source on this in the US — puts the Model 3 near the top of the pack overall, and certainly better than the BMW 3 Series. More recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has postulated that Model 3 cars could actually appreciate in value. Again, I’m assuming these two vehicles are even on this matter even though there’s a strong case that the Model 3 will do much better. Below are some tables with more details
|Model||Tesla Model 3||BMW 320i + Parking Assist Plus|
|Price After Incentives||€42,500||€41,940|
|Price of Gas||€5.30|
|Avg Price Of Electricity For Car||€0.30|
|Average Miles Per Year||7,000||7,000|
|Total Cost Of Car After Year…||Tesla Model 3||BMW 3 Series||… Model 3 Savings|
If you’d like, you can fiddle with various assumptions yourself in this Google Sheet.
My conclusion is simple: you have to be totally crazy, uninformed, or misinformed to buy a base BMW 3 Series instead of a base Tesla Model 3 — and the story remains the same as you climb up their trim and feature options.
Interested in buying a Tesla? Need a referral code to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging? Use ours: http://ts.la/tomasz7234 (or not).
Update: There were a couple of errors in the original analysis. First of all, the €4,000 is half from the government and half from the manufacturer, so it should only cut €2,000 off the price of the Model 3. However, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus has several features by default that you have to pay extra for on the BMW 320i (like driving assist features, €1,990). In the end, it seems the slips evened each other out.
I’ve also updated the BMW details slightly to get more specific for the 320i — since there are many 3 Series options, especially in Germany.
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