Image credit: Tesla model 3
For all the work Tesla did to make electric vehicles a practical option, many consumers were put off by the luxury price tags associated with their Model S and Model X cars. Fortunately, the company did have a long-term vision of an affordable EV, which culminated in the release of the Model 3. Today, thousands of people have taken delivery of their Model 3s and we now have a clear view of how much a Model 3 really costs when compared to other gas and electric vehicles on the market.
What is the MSRP of the Tesla Model 3?
The advertised MSRP of the Tesla Model 3 starts at a comfortable $35,000. This puts it well in line with many of today's most popular family sedans. It is also about half the price of the smallest Model S version. Of course, it's important to note that just like any car, the $35,000 starting point is not necessarily representative of what owners are actually paying.
The first round of Model 3 deliveries were those that featured the long-range battery pack and the upgraded tech package. That brought the price tag up to nearly $50,000 for those early orders. As production has ramped up, Tesla has begun building more of the custom vehicles featuring a wider range of options and selections. According to those reports, the average price for a moderately fitted Model 3 is about $42,000 give or take. This is an important detail to keep in mind if you are thinking of making a reservation for a Model 3 because you will definitely want the long-range battery, even if you don't want some of the extra tech gadgets.
If you were to go all-in on a Model 3 and add the autonomous driving features, as well as other extras, you could conceivably hit the $60,000 mark, although at that price point you could just opt for an older Model S.
Does it Cost More to Charge a Tesla Model 3 than to Fill a Regular Car with Gasoline?
The most pressing question about the Model 3 is whether or not it is actually cheaper to charge up than it is to fill a regular car with gas. The good news is that it has proven to be less expensive in almost every case. First of all, with at-home charging, you can plug your car in overnight and wake up to a full charge every morning. Not only is this convenient, but depending on energy prices in your area, it typically only increases your monthly power bill by $30-50 depending on how much driving you do. That's $30-50 for the entire month of driving, compared to $150-200/month in gas costs for a similar sized gas vehicle. If you have solar panels installed, that $30-50 could even be eliminated.
In his article on Solar-Estimate.org, Chris Meehan looked in detail at how much it costs to charge electric cars in different states around America. He found that it costs only between $5 to $12 to charge most electric cars available on the market.
One thing that is different about the Model 3 is that Supercharging is no longer free. However, Tesla has worked out a simple system for charging customers fairly on the Supercharger network, which averages out to about $0.20 per kWh, or per minute depending on local electricity provider laws. In many areas, the charging fee is significantly lower than $0.20/kWh.
Altogether, many calculations come out between $4-8 to add 175 miles to your car. Even in a generous 30 mpg gas vehicle with gas sitting above $2.50/gallon, you would expect to pay $15 for that same amount of range, and this really only applies when you are traveling away from home.
What is the Monthly Cost of a Model 3?
Your total monthly cost will vary depending on several factors. First, the total cost of the car after all of your customizations will affect your monthly payments. Secondly, your insurance may be slightly higher for a Model 3, but usually not much. Finally, the cost of charging at home and on the road will add to your total cost. However, the money you are saving each month on gas can largely offset or even save you money.
What is the Yearly Cost of a Model 3?
When it comes to the annual cost of ownership, some studies are comparing the Model 3 to other cars like the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry. One study finds that cost of ownership of the Model 3 is approximately 13% higher than a Camry, but with significant benefits that the Camry does not have to offer. In addition, customers who seek alternative energy options like solar panels can further lower their ownership costs.
What are the Maintenance Costs of a Model 3?
Like so much else in the world of Tesla, they have gone above and beyond to provide transparency when it comes to maintenance. As an owner, all you have to do is open the digital manual and it will give you a year-by-year breakdown of services and costs for each year you own the vehicle. It is done in a 4-year cycle where the first year is about $200, then $400, then $600, then $800, and finally on the fifth year you start the cycle over again. It's that simple. No oil changes or other pesky maintenance required. The only thing you will need to account for is tires.
Image credit: Tesla model 3
Does Tesla Lose Money on Manufacturing the Model 3?
There is a ton of debate online over whether Tesla is losing money on the manufacturing of the Model 3. The truth is that they have lost money in the early production ramp up due to missed deadlines and failure to deliver on some of the vehicles that were already supposed to be out the door. However, as their production reaches their goal numbers, the cost of production should level out and become more sustainable.
Will the Tesla Model 3 become cheaper in the future?
Whether or not the Model 3 becomes cheaper in the future, or perhaps Tesla even releases a new budget model electric car is debatable and may depend on how the other large car manufacturers price their future electric vehicles.
There is no doubt that to date all of the major car manufacturers have priced their electric cars at a premium. However, we at SolarReviews believe that this will change and that by 2021 electric cars will be considered a core part of each manufacturers range. This volume should see pricing fall materially.
However, even in the face of this we do not think the Model 3 will become cheaper. Tesla sees itself as a premium brand, and its achievements to date warrant that, History has shown that there is room for premium brands in the auto market and Tesla brand has the cache to attract that premium.