Tesla Model 3 SR+ 4-Year Cost of Ownership Update

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I’ve spent more money on maintenance of my 2019 Tesla Model 3 SR+ (Standard Range Plus), so it’s time for another cost of ownership update.

Also, before I get into the latest expense, I should note that I decided to pass on the Tesla extended warranty option. I wrote about it a couple of times and considered the extensive feedback from some readers, eventually deciding to take the risk and assume I’ll spend less in the next couple of years on extra maintenance/repairs than I would have paying for the warranty. That probably means I’ll actually spend more. We’ll see!

My latest maintenance expense was windshield wiper blades. Shockingly, this is the first time I’ve replaced them in over 4 years of vehicle ownership. (Granted, I should have done so months ago, but such is life.) They cost me $23.

My total maintenance and service costs in my last update was up to $1,991.58. That makes the new total $2,014.58 after 4 years and 1½ months of ownership.

If you add my down payment of $9,450.03 to that and also add in 4 years and one month of payments to the bank that financed my car, you get a 4-year (and one month) ownership cost of $42,868.22. In another 11 months, we’d be at about $50,000. Though, I know I need new tires soon, need a new air filter, and will likely have some extra service costs come up.

That doesn’t really mean the 5-year cost of ownership will be a bit above $50,000 anyway, though, because the car will still be worth something, and I’ll still have another year of car payments. According to Tesla, it’s worth about $20,000. So, that would put the cost a bit above $37,000 after subtracting remaining payments, or we could say $7,400 a year. But I’m not really satisfied with Tesla’s estimated trade-in value and am keeping the Model 3. Some have advised trying to sell it on the private market to get a higher resale value, but I imagine it can’t be too much higher than Tesla’s estimate and I know that selling that way also adds to the taxes I’d have to pay on the sale. In any case, I always expected to keep it for a long time.

Keeping it for 10 years instead of 5 or 6, the $46,144.08 in car payments plus the $9,450.03 down payment will come to $55,594.11, or $5,559.41 per year. Maintenance and service is currently at $503.65 a year for me. We can’t assume that remains the same for 10 years (including out of warranty), but if it did, that would bring the 10-year cost to $60,630.61, and the yearly cost to $6,063. Again, though, that assumes the car has a value of $0 after 10 years. I assume the value will be much higher, and actually closer to the current trade-in value than the original cost. We bought a 2015 BMW i3 REx 5 years ago for $16,000. It’s worth basically the same amount today on the used car market. That’s with an original range rating of 71 miles and a small gas tank.

So, we’ll see, but one thing is for sure — I expect the Model 3 resale value in 2029 to be good enough that the 10-year cost of ownership is well below $60,000. For now, though, I’ll just continue tracking service & maintenance costs.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. 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], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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