Andy Slye put together a neat comparison: Tesla vs. Gas: the true charging cost after 75,000 miles. One of the main reasons Andy bought an EV was so he’d never have to gas up again, and since owning his Tesla Model 3, he hasn’t been to a gas station in three years. “I gave up gas stations and replaced them with charging stations,” Andy said in his video and then pointed out that charging is one of the main reasons people are hesitant to buy an EV.
He shared a survey from Auto List that showed that two out of the top 4 reasons that people don’t buy an EV have to do with charging the car. This inspired Andy to create a video sharing his experience charging his car for the past three years. Andy hopes that his video will help allay the fears of those still doubting. Andy explained that this totaled up to 75,000 miles, and he compared what he paid to what that would cost in a gas car.
“Keep in mind that the cost of electricity and gas depends on the geographic location,” he said. Andy, who is located in Kentucky, noted that these numbers reflect his area and will be different depending on where you live. However, it’s generally less expensive to charge a Tesla than it is to fill a gas tank. Here in Louisiana, I’ve even seen friends charge their batteries at a Supercharger for way, way less than you would spend filling up the gas tank.
Andy briefly talks about one of the key benefits of owning an EV, which is completely overlooked by gas car owners. You can charge your car at home while you sleep. “I never stop at all for anything ever during my normal daily driving,” he emphasized in the video.
Andy’s Total Charging Cost
His total charging cost comes from two different categories:
- Home Charging
- Travel Charging
The first cost he talked about is how much he pays to charge his car at home. Andy noted that when he charges his car at night, he can do so during the off-peak times when electricity charges are at their lowest. His Model 3 came with a mobile connector and a public charger adapter. It also came with a normal 110V outlet adapter and a NEMA 1450 adapter. There is an out-of-pocket cost to install a charger at your home, and Andy noted that it’s usually around $100. He had to pay a bit extra since his situation was unique. But once it’s set up, you can charge your car from home while you sleep even easier. [Editor’s note: I use a normal 110V outlet and it is more than enough for me. Many others do the same. However, many also feel a need for a home charging station. YMMV.]
After 75,368 miles, Andy used a total of 18,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) — this was over the course of the three years since he had his Tesla. He noted that when you fill up a gas tank, the gas stays there until you use it, but it’s not like this for a Tesla since not all of the power coming from the grid makes it into the car battery. Heat and other factors sometimes nibble at the flow of electricity going into the battery.
“The final amount of electricity that makes it into the battery is called ‘wall-to-wheels efficiency,’ and although this is very difficult to know exactly what it is, it’s based on TeslaFi, which is an app used to track Tesla charging stats for owners.” Technically, Andy’s 240 volt charger gets 94% wall-to-wheels efficiency, but he noted that you still have to consider phantom drain which is when the car loses some charge over a period of time it is sitting in a parked position while not plugged in.
Andy calculated with the Tesla stats app that his phantom drain is 0.3 miles per hour. “So, after considering phantom drain, let’s assume the walls to wheels efficiency is a nice, even 90%. That means the total kilowatt-hours to come off the power grid has been around 20,728.”
Andy’s best guess is that he averages around 2,000 miles per year for traveling on road trips. This means around 8% of his total miles are from traveling while the other 92% are from home charging. Andy’s also gotten free charging at several travel destinations. “That’s another advantage that not many gas car owners realize is that there are many destinations where you can charge your car for free when traveling.”
Andy’s Total Travel Charging Cost
Andy noted that he’s only spent $54 on Tesla Supercharging so far. That’s $54 over the course of 3 years of owning his Tesla, and remember this is just 8% of his charging. The rest was charged at home. Part of the reason he’s only spent that amount is that he’s referred several friends and family to buy a Tesla. Tesla has a referral system where you get free 1,000 Supercharging miles when you refer someone. Andy has referred 1,400 people (more than anyone else) and has 1.7 million free Supercharging miles.
Andy’s off-peak electricity rate is a little over 7 cents per kWh. This equals around $1,350 from home charging so far. Add in the $54 and you have $1,404 in total. Now, this could be different for other owners considering Andy’s unique situation with his Supercharging miles, but remember that it’s already less expensive to fully charge a Tesla at a Supercharger than to fill up a tank a gas.
“After 75,368 miles, I’ve spent a total of $1,404 on charging.”
75,000 Miles: Charging vs. Gas
For this comparison, Andy uses a popular Tesla competitor, the BMW 3 Series, from the year 2018, which averages 28 miles per gallon.
It also requires premium gasoline, costing an average of $3.47 per gallon in his county. “To drive that BMW the same amount of miles, the fuel costs would be about $9,353. That’s about $8,000 in savings,” Andy explained.
So there we have it. Andy debunked a popular myth that EV doubters often turn to as a reason for not buying an EV.