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The total cost of ownership for a 2018 Tesla Model 3 after 70,000 miles and five years

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    Nov 11, 2023 at 9:46am ET

    The main hurdle to mass electric vehicle adoption at the moment is the higher costs of EVs compared to their internal combustion engine-powered equivalents.

    Electric cars are typically more expensive to buy, and they also bring higher additional costs such as larger insurance premiums, more pronounced depreciation, and the installation of at-home charging equipment – for customers who want that (and they should).

    It's always a good idea for people to know the total cost of ownership of an EV over a longer time period so that they can do the math and see if they can afford it – and if it can save them money over their ICE car in the long run.

    That's exactly what YouTuber Kim Java is highlighting in one of her recent videos by breaking down the total cost of ownership of her 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range over five years and more than 70,000 miles.

    The biggest cost was obviously the purchase price, in this case $54,000. That was before Tesla started slashing prices like crazy; you can now buy a Model 3 RWD from just over $40,000, making for a much better business case. Kim qualified for the U.S. EV federal tax credit of $7,500, so the actual price she paid for her Model 3 was $46,500.

    Now, the second biggest cost for her Tesla Model 3 was insurance at over $6,200, which is pretty substantial compared to the maintenance costs of $2,400 and repairs cost of $214 – the only repair in five years consisted of replacing one lower control arm.

    More stories on total cost of ownership for EVs

    As for fuel costs, they were only $2,300 over five years since the car was almost always charged at home, at an average cost of roughly $0.11-$0.14 per kilowatt-hour. Kim also had to pay $820 for the EV tag fee, which brought the grand total to $58,500 over five years for the most hassle-free car she has ever owned.

    Obviously, the costs of ownership vary from one person to another as they depend on various factors such as electricity prices in different parts of the country, the driving style that can influence maintenance costs, the owner's insurance score, the number of accidents a car gets involved in, luck, and much more.

    That said, the Tesla Model 3 is hard to beat nowadays when it comes to the total cost of ownership, proving to be a more sensible choice compared to a Toyota Camry or a BMW 330i, as the video explains.

    Let's not forget that you can now buy a Tesla Model 3 RWD for $14,000 less than Kim paid for her Model 3 Long Range, so the five-year total cost of ownership can drop accordingly.


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