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Published on April 25th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan

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Tesla Model 3 vs. Honda Accord — 7 Scenarios

April 25th, 2019 by  


Update: See our new & improved Tesla Model 3 versus Honda Accord comparisons to look at cases where the buyer finances/gets a loan for the purchase.

Reporting on the Tesla Model 3 is weird. It’s a car that can smoke a BMW M3 on the track yet is cost competitive — or even cheaper than — a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord (seriously).

It almost doesn’t make sense to the brain. How can a car that is so much better than a Camry or Accord cost less over a few years? How can a car that is objectively better than a BMW 3 Series cost less than a normal, non-premium sedan?

That said, my previous cost comparisons of the Tesla Model 3 to the Camry, Accord, Altima, etc., have been pretty simple. I pulled Edmunds data for the non-Tesla models and put in some basic assumptions for the Model 3. After publishing some of these comparisons, seeing the feedback, and reading other total cost of ownership (TCO) articles, I figured it would be useful for people if I did some more nuanced comparisons. That’s what we’ve got here, kicking off with 7 comparisons of the Tesla Model 3 versus the Honda Accord.

One thing I wanted to start taking into consideration more was resale value. Resale value is probably the most influential factor in a cost comparison, but it’s also a tough factor to forecast. Luckily, I no longer have to base such an important assumption on my own thoughts. Kelley Blue Book, long the #1 resource for this matter in the US, has published 5 year resale value estimates for the Tesla Model 3 and the Honda Accord.

I also wanted to do 10 year comparisons, but the resale values of these cars after 10 years is a total wild card. I expect the Model 3 will hold up much better (for several reasons), but I don’t have any very objective evidence of that and also don’t have a crystal ball. Model 3 operational savings should also add up more and more over time, but, again, the Model 3 hasn’t been in the world long enough to prove that. So, while I decided to not do 10 year ownership comparisons, I believe the Model 3 will look even better under such a timeframe in all scenarios.

For this analysis, I compared the Model 3 Standard Range Plus (SR+) to four versions of the Honda Accord. For three of those versions, I did low-mileage and high-mileage comparisons (10,000 miles/year and 17,000 miles/year, respectively). For the last comparison, with the Honda Accord Sport 2.0T 10-Speed Automatic, I simply decided to use the US average (13,500 miles/year).

In all scenarios, standard assumptions were a $2.50 average price of gas, a $0.10 average price of electricity for charging, a 4.24 miles/kWh efficiency for the Model 3, use of the $3,750 US federal tax credit for the Model 3, no maintenance costs (which most likely benefits the Accord), and as noted above, Kelley Blue Book estimates for 60-month resale values. For the Model 3, the default black paint and black interior were chosen. Changing colors will add $1,000 or more — but any such changes probably just equal out Model 3 maintenance cost benefits. In any case, you are free to grab my sheet for these calculations and change assumptions as you see fit — everyone’s life is unique.

The bottom-line result is that the Model 3 is cheaper in every scenario, and much cheaper in several scenarios, despite being a much safer, quicker, more tech-advanced, more prestigious car.

It’s truly shocking. The Tesla Model 3 is beyond competitive with one of the USA’s and world’s top selling cars, the iconic Honda Accord.

Update: The tables below do not show correctly on mobile. If you want to view them, you have to do so on the desktop/laptop version of the site.

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid E-CVT

10,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $17,693
Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid E-CVT = $22,687

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid E-CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $31,720
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $12,117.04
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $19,602.96
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $19,602.96
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 10,000 10,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 48
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 208.33
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 2,358.49 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $235.85 $520.83
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $17,693 $22,687

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid E-CVT

17,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $18,518
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $24,510

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord EX-L Hybrid E-CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $31,720
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $12,117.04
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $19,602.96
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $19,602.96
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 17,000 17,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 48
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 354.17
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 4,009.43 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $400.94 $885.42
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $18,518 $24,510

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT

10,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $17,693
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $21,142

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $29,220
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $11,162.04
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $18,057.96
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $18,057.96
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average miles Per Year 10,000 10,000
Maintenance Costs Per mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 48
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 208.33
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/(4.24) 2,358.49 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $235.85 $520.83
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $17,693 $21,142

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT

17,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $18,518
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $23,514

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $29,220
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $11,162.04
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $18,057.96
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $18,057.96
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 17,000 17,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 48
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 354.17
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 4,009.43 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $400.94 $885.42
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $18,518 $22,965

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord Sport CVT

10,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $17,693
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $20,691

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord Sport CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $26,180
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $10,000.76
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $16,179.24
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $16,179.24
Price of Gas $2.50 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 10,000 10,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 31
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 322.58
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 2,358.49 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $235.85 $806.45
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $17,693 $20,691

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord Sport CVT

17,000 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $18,518
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $23,514

Model Tesla Model 3 Honda Accord Sport CVT
Purchase Price $39,500 $26,180
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $10,000.76
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $16,179.24
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $16,179.24
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 17,000 17,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 31
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 548.39
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 4,009.43 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $400.94 $1,370.97
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $18,518 $23,514

Tesla Model 3 SR+ vs. Honda Accord Sport 2.0T 10-Speed Automatic

13,500 Miles/Year, 5 Years

Tesla Model 3 SR+ = $18,105
Honda Accord EX Hybrid E-CVT = $23,150

Model Tesla Model 3
Honda Accord Sport 2.0T 10-Speed Automatic
Purchase Price $39,500 $26,180
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,236.50 $10,000.76
Cash Cost after Resale $20,263.50 $16,179.24
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale $16,513.50 $16,179.24
Price of Gas $0 $2.50
Average Price of Electricity for Car $0.10 $0
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0 $0
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0 $0
Miles/kWh or MPG 4.24 26
Average Gallons of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 0 519.23
Average kWh of Electricity Per Year for Car (Miles/4.24) 3,183.96 0
Average Cost of Fuel Per Year $318.40 $1,298.08
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $18,105 $23,150

Looking at these comparisons, which would you choose?

Interested in buying a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Need a referral code to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging? Use ours: http://ts.la/tomasz7234 (or not).

 
 





 

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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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