The cost of driving a Tesla 85D after one year

It’s been one year since I took delivery of my Tesla 85D and nine months since I published a post about the costs of driving it.  I figured this was a good time to update my numbers because it’s been a full year and I’ve driven not only in the heat of Summer, but the cold of Winter.  This should provide a more accurate picture of the real costs of driving a Tesla year round.

Also, notice that I’m talking about the cost of driving my Tesla.  I’m not talking about the savings which include savings due to the fact that you don’t need oil changes, you won’t need new brakes as often, no tune-ups required, no antifreeze,  no transmission, no exhaust, etc.  Long term you’ll also be saving on maintenance to because there’s so few moving parts.  But I can’t calculate the savings of maintenance I didn’t use so I’m going to just talk about cost.  If you have an internal combustion engine (ICE) then you are probably already aware of the additional cost often incurred by driving one.

Before I get to the cost, I have to comment on the experience (just briefly though).  Even after one year, it’s still a pleasure to drive.  I still enjoy driving it long distances, trying out new Superchargers, and avoiding gas stations along the route.  It’s still easily the best car I’ve owned, and I can’t imagine ever purchasing another internal combustion engine vehicle.  Ok, back to the cost….

After one year of driving I’ve traveled 33,334 miles and used 11,462.7 kWh.

After one year I traveled 33,334 miles and used 11,462.7 kWh.

How does this energy usage compare to a household?  In 2014, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,932 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 911 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual consumption at 15,497 kWh per residential customer, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,077 kWh per residential customer.Oct 21, 2015.  (Statistics courtesy Energy Information Administration)  

On average I pay about $0.12 per kWh so a quick multiplication gives us a total cost of $1,375.52 for the electricity used to propel me 33,334 miles.  According to the AAA Gas Prices site, the average gallon of gas in Wisconsin is currently $2.193.  This means that I could have purchased an equivalent of 627.23 gallons of gas.  With these numbers we can figure out what type of gas mileage I’d need in order to drive 33,334 miles on only 627.23 gallons.  The answer….<fake drum roll> ….. (33,334 / 627.23) 53.14 mpg.

That sounds like a pretty good number and it appears like it’s nearly impossible to find an ICE that gets near that.   According to Edmunds, the 2016 Ford Fiesta SE gets 43 mpg on the highway using a turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.0-liter engine….sounds quick.  The 2016 Scion iA gets 42 mpg highway with a 0-60 of forever.  As good as that sounds, it’s not accurate.  Though 53.14 mpg is good, the real number for me is actually higher.

Consider the fact that Superchargers are free and I’ve used them whenever I travel long distances.  Unfortunately I didn’t track my Supercharger usage so I don’t know exactly how many of my 11,462.7 kWh were free.  But even assuming 10% of them were free, my new equivalent mileage would be nearly 60 mpg.

Do you live in California where the average price per gallon is $2.633?   Do you charge your car using solar?  Obviously your cost will vary depending on a number of variables.  However, as you can see, the cost of driving is low and once you add all the maintenance that you’re avoiding, it’s even better.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.


Interested in ordering a Tesla and saving $1,000?  Use this link to order!


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