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Published on June 4th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan

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Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Tesla 30–55% Cheaper Over 5 Years

June 4th, 2019 by  


Since I published comparisons of the Tesla Model 3 and Honda Accord, I’ve been planning to conduct and publish 5 year cost of ownership comparisons between the Tesla Model 3 and BMW 330i. At last, here they are!

Long notes regarding assumptions are included after the results. As before, I’ve run several comparisons in order to see how the numbers fall out under different assumptions (different lifestyles, locations, and future fuel markets).

However, whereas in the past I haven’t changed assumptions too dramatically, I’ve widened the spectrum in this case on a few key matters: miles driven, gas prices, and electricity prices. Have a look at the results.

Oh yeah, and before that, I think it’s also worth keeping in mind that the Tesla Model 3 is much quicker, is much safer, has much better tech, is much smoother, and has better handling. This is not simply the view of reviewers here at CleanTechnica. Numerous auto journalists, such as the highly respected crew at Motor Trend, have come to the same conclusions.

High Gas Price, High Electricity Price

In this scenario, I used $5/gallon for gasoline and $0.20/kWh for electricity. Remember that both prices are supposed to be an average of the 5 year period. Also remember that the $/kWh is not as simple a matter as picking a residential electricity price. Some people will have free workplace or public charging, some will have low-cost solar panels that they already paid off, some will have to pay for public charging/Supercharging, some will have low “time of use” (TOU) electricity prices. For this “high-fuel-cost” scenario, I thought the two figures above were sensible, but feel free to copy the Google Sheet yourself and input figures that you think would match your situation over 5 years.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Average Miles

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 450.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 3,375.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $675.00 $2,250.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $30,335 $50,466

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — High Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 27,000 27,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 900.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 6,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $1,350.00 $4,500.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $33,710 $61,716

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Low Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 7,000 7,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 233.33
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 1,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $350.00 $1,166.67
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $28,710 $45,049

Low Gas Price, Low Electricity Price

In this scenario, I used $2.10/gallon for gasoline and $0.07/kWh for electricity. See the notes in the section above if you skipped them. Also, as an example that the cost of electricity can go much lower, note that in 9 months of electric car ownership in Florida, I spent $0 charging — yes, $0.00. I don’t have home charging and every charging station I’ve found and used in my city (at grocery stores, the beach, the mall, parks, downtown, and elsewhere) is free to use. So, in some situations at least, you can put an EV electricity cost of $0, but I didn’t do so here, instead choosing $0.07/kWh. The lowest average gas price I can find in any state in the USA is $2.722 (in Nebraska and Maryland), but I got pretty extreme and went lower — down to $2.10 — for this scenario. Don’t ask me how you could actually have such a low average gas price over the coming 5 years.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Average Miles

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 450.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 3,375.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $236.25 $945.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $28,141 $43,941

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — High Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 27,000 27,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 900.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 6,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $472.50 $1,890.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $29,322 $48,666

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Low Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 7,000 7,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 233.33
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 1,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $122.50 $490.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $27,572 $41,666

Moderate Gas Price, Moderate Electricity Price

In this scenario, I used $3.10/gallon for gasoline and $0.13/kWh for electricity. See the notes in the sections above if you skipped them.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Average Miles

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $3.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.13
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 450.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 3,375.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $438.75 $1,395.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $29,153 $46,191

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — High Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $3.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.13
Average Miles Per Year 27,000 27,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 900.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 6,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $877.50 $2,790.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $31,347 $53,166

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Low Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $3.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.13
Average Miles Per Year 7,000 7,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 233.33
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 1,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $227.50 $723.33
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $28,097 $42,833

High Gas Price, Low Electricity Price

In this scenario, I used $5/gallon for gasoline and $0.07/kWh for electricity. See the notes in the sections above if you skipped them.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Average Miles

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 450.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 3,375.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $236.25 $2,250.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $28,141 $50,466

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — High Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 27,000 27,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 900.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 6,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $472.50 $4,500.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $29,322 $61,716

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Low Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $5.00
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.07
Average Miles Per Year 7,000 7,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 233.33
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 1,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $122.50 $1,166.67
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $27,572 $45,049

Low Gas Price, High Electricity Price

In this scenario, I used $2.10/gallon for gasoline and $0.20/kWh for electricity. See the notes in the sections above if you skipped them.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Average Miles

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 13,500 13,500
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 450.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 3,375.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $675.00 $945.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $30,335 $43,941

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — High Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 27,000 27,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 900.00
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 6,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $1,350.00 $1,890.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $33,710 $48,666

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330i — Low Mileage

Car Tesla Model 3 SR+ BMW 330i
Purchase Price $40,900.00 $40,250.00
Remote engine start, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats $2,000.00
Better audio system $875.00
Sales tax $2,863.00 $3,018.75
Destination & doc fee $1,200.00 $0.00
5 Year Resale Value (via KBB) $19,918.30 $12,937.50
Incentives -$3,750.00 $0.00
Cash Cost after Incentives & Resale Deduction & Taxes/Fees $21,294.70 $33,206.25
Interest after 5 years (assuming $5000 down and 5.5% interest rate) $5,665.02 $6,009.89
Price of Gas $2.10
Avg Price Of Electricity For Car $0.20
Average Miles Per Year 7,000 7,000
Maintenance Costs Per Mile $0.00 $0.00
Maintenance Costs Per Year $0.00 $0.00
Miles/kWh 4 30
Average Gallons Of Gas Per Year (Miles/MPG) 233.33
Average kWh Of Electricity Per Year For Car (Miles/4.24) 1,750.00
Average Cost Of Fuel Per Year $350.00 $490.00
5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $28,710 $41,666

As far as assumptions used across the board or as the basis for fuel assumptions:

Again, you can change any assumptions as you see fit by copying/duplicating this Google Sheet.

Any final thoughts?

My final thoughts are that I can’t believe anyone would look at this info, drive a Tesla Model 3 (much quicker, much smoother, better handling, much safer, much better tech, and much cheaper), and actually buy a BMW 330i — without being forced to by a local gangster.


Interested in buying a Tesla Model 3 (or Model S or Model X)? Need a referral code to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging? Use ours: http://ts.la/tomasz7234 (or use someone else’s if they helped you more). 
 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. 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, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.



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