We’re quite fond of running and publishing total cost of ownership forecasts here, whether comparing the Tesla Model 3 with the BMW 3 Series, comparing the Tesla Model Y with the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, or comparing the Volkswagen ID.3 with the Volkswagen Golf. California utility PG&E Corporation has also joined the cost of ownership fun. It has a cost of ownership calculation tool for 52 electric vehicles on the market in California (plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles).
The example on the first page is the Tesla Model 3 Long Range versus the Volkswagen Golf R.
Clicking for details on what goes into the calculations, you get the following table, indicating that the 5 year cost of ownership comparison takes into account estimates for upfront price, electricity costs over time for the Model 3, gasoline costs over time for the Golf R, maintenance costs, and insurance costs:
I presume the calculator uses California medians for miles driven, electricity costs (probably a PG&E median here), gasoline costs, and perhaps insurance costs. Estimating maintenance costs is more of an art at this point, and how they determine insurance cost estimates is unclear to me, as that’s always been a tricky business.
Going a bit further, you can select your preferred EV here, can sort by EV type (full electric versus plug-in hybrid) or vehicle class, and also modify expected miles by changing the roundtrip commute distance, among other things.
One thing missing from the PG&E model is resale value. [UPDATE: Actually, it appears the initial cost includes an estimate for resale value in the equation.] Since it’s a 5 year cost of ownership model, that doesn’t really matter if you plan to keep the car for longer — say, 10 or so years. However, resale value should be a part of any true total cost of ownership calculation, especially when you consider that the Tesla Model 3 is expected to have much better resale value than competing cars. Nonetheless, even among those who do TCO (total cost of ownership) comparisons, I think it’s very uncommon to compare estimated resale values. You can always add that in fairly easily yourself, or can just use my comparison sheet.
If you’d like to explore and toy with the various assumptions, you can do so here.
Here’s one more example from me, the Hyundai Kona EV versus a similar non-electric Hyundai Kona: