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Cost to fill

So I have been trying to calculate the cost to "fill" an empty "tank". Here is my math. It seems low, help me find the error... Or spread the good word!

Power per mile: 300Wh (per FAQ)
Miles per "tank": 300 miles
Power per "tank": 90 kWh = 300 * 300 / 1000
Cost per kWh: \$0.09 (in NC, varies by location)

Cost to "fill-er-up": \$8.10

My previous comment was in regards to charging costs in the Southern U.S. In the state of Texas.

BrunoSuarez;

You bring up a very important point that seems to be overlooked in this thread. Most calculations of recharging cost here seem to be based on doing the recharging at home (and at off peak rates.) This implies that the vehicle will only be used locally and well within the limited driving range. However, when sufficient charging stations are available in many locations, the cost of "fueling" may be much higher. First of all, the service station will have to charge at least two or three times the actual cost of electricity used. Secondly, since the charging takes a lot of time and the service station has many expenses (rent), the service station will probably also have to require a per minute charge fee. A fee of \$1 per minute seems high, but I can see \$0.50 per minute. Thus, charging on the road can easily come to \$30, \$40, \$50, or more dollars per fill.

Of course, I'm guessing at this and real rates and costs would be desirable to know. The current incentive that provides free recharging hides a true, and possibly high, cost.

With regard to two cars, I have a deal for you. Buy the 160 mile Model S for \$60K. Then, instead of paying an additional \$20K for the extended doubled range, for the same \$20K buy another small car like a Honda Civic, Mazda, or other. When you need to drive a long way, or your battery isn't sufficiently charged just use the small car. That second car can come in very handy.

I definitely agree. I plan on trading my car in while keeping my wife's car around for those long distances if charging becomes a concern. I'm still interested in longer range, though -- it would be very nice to be able to visit family in a luxury sedan rather than a cramped compact sedan.

To bring battery replacement costs up again-- I'm definitely concerned about that potential for a large replacement cost when the car is getting older. Trading the car in would probably see highly reduced value if the battery is losing capacity. I'd prefer to keep the car and just replace the battery anyway. I have queried Tesla about this because it is a valid issue. I'm not sure I'd label it as a fuel cost, but I suppose that's just semantics because it's certainly a concern :)

Tesla's ultimate goal with electric vehicles demands that the solve the battery replacement issue, so they should have something to say on the matter.

Zelaza, actually let me play devil's advocate and say, the opposite is true: You will be able to charge for free, precisely because it takes a lot of time. Businesses will buy your time in exchange for a free charge. What are you going to do? Stroll around the mall and purchase a new gadget, or have a meal in the restaurant.

For any business that wants to sell something, parking space is part of the calculation anyway. And since electricity is relatively cheap (and, depending on the state, particularly so for businesses), that's a cheap and easy way for businesses to draw you away from the competition. We are living in an attention economy, remember? Time to spare equals attention, and here's a way businesses can buy yours. I am sure they will.

@Zelaza, the cost of "fueling" the Model S at remote sites is a valid point. However, that would apply to relatively few people. Most of us would be charging up at home and use remote stations very, very rarely. If you regularly exceed the range of the Model S and you don't have a place at the other end to charge at low cost, then you're probably much better off sticking with an ICE or hybrid vehicle for now.

Way to go Volker, excellent point! Cracker Barrel was first, who's next?

Zelaza,

Even 50 cents a minute would be way out of line. If you have a 20 gallon tank it probably would take it 5 min. to fill. Profits at a gas station is only 2 to 3 cents a gallon. That would be 12 cents a minute. The markup on electricity would be in addition.
\$10 per hour would give more profit than the selling of the gasoline, even without marking up the electricity.

@mwu:

I'm delighted to see that someone in the Tesla community finds merit in my challenge of spending \$20K on another small car rather than a 500 pound battery.

A really interesting experiment would occur if a family (or person), after buying the 160 mile Model S, spent the extra \$20K on a Prius or other ICE augmented hybrid. Then, after about a year, we could see, under real life conditions, which car concept is preferred and why. I think that this would be a really valuable test that all automakers could benefit from.

Zalaza, you would need to account for the insurance, storage, and maintenance costs associated with a spare car like that.

I think Toyota really missed an opportunity. If the plug-in Prius had a 50 or 100 mile range instead of the pathetic 14 miles, they'd be eating the lunches of a lot of manufacturers this year.

Volker.Berlin:

I like devil's advocates. I do that a lot myself and occasionally get into trouble. If you haven't noticed, I'm practicing a little of that in this thread by trying to challenge those uncritical of any of Tesla's ideas.

The idea of providing free services while parked is quite old. In crowded urban areas with paid parking, restaurants and high end retailers will validate parking stubs. But to do this with a powerful and dangerous charging station is a whole other ball game. In malls, where the parking is free, the charging stations would have to be super industrial grade and much more expensive than the 2K unit sold by Tesla for home use. The charged parking spots would have to be supervised to prevent regular cars from parking there and the stations would have to be inspected frequently to make sure that they haven't been damaged by drunk or. Then the question is how many stations? If there is an Apple store in the mall you better have a lot of slots because that clientele is more likely to have EVs than shoppers at other stores. I don't think that the small retailers at a mall would, or could, stand the added fees they would be required to pay. On the other hand, not many people go to malls that are 50 or 80 miles from home and would require that they recharge their batteries. But who knows how the future would resolve these issues? I'm really only interested in the next five or ten years when a lot of these necessary services will have to come on line.

Basically what I'm saying is that opportunities for free recharging would be very rare and the exception and that the cost of recharging a car at a non-subsidized station could be expensive.

Interestingly enough, there is an old concept that is perfect for recharging EVs. Drive Ins. As I recall, they have a big screen and a large parking area with parking spots and sturdy metal posts that housed the audio speakers for the movie. Revive this entertainment concept and use it to recharge EVs during a movie and at a very small additional charge. Actually, just joking and playing the devil's advocate.

Free charging is a likely option in many places for a myriad of reasons. Yes, the feet in the store element, but also the perception of affluence around EV's. Those are the customers you want to have in your business, and as early adopters, are more likely to be trendsetters.

Just my 2cents.

Hehe, Sonic -- drive up, order, eat, and charge at the same time.

@Zelaza,
Showing my age. I guess the Lexus has Electronic Fuel Injection instead of a carburetor. I got carried away with all the junk that an ICE vehicle needs. Won't matter after next year, when my Model S is delivered, since I won't have either one to worry about. And I won't be wasting my time and money hanging around the service bay of a dealership when I could be taking care of business elsewhere.

I'm sure that @mwu will agree that anyone considering a Model S purchase, is probably not also in the market for a Honda Civic. There are about two occasions each year when I need to travel more than 250 miles in one day. If I only owned one car and it was a Model S, I would just rent a full sized "land yacht" for my (2) longer road trips and ride down the highway in comfort.

Don't get me wrong, over the years, I've owned many compact cars. It's not about the money. I'd just rather stop giving "oil money" to countries that dislike the USA. And if I can help bring jobs back to the USA, while driving a very nice car, that's icing on the cake. Nothing against the Honda Civic, but no thanks.

@Zelaza,
Showing my age. I guess the Lexus has Electronic Fuel Injection instead of a carburetor. I got carried away with all the junk that an ICE vehicle needs. Won't matter after next year, when my Model S is delivered, since I won't have either one to worry about. And I won't be wasting my time and money hanging around the service bay of a dealership when I could be taking care of business elsewhere.

I'm sure that @mwu will agree that anyone considering a Model S purchase, is probably not also in the market for a Honda Civic. There are about two occasions each year when I need to travel more than 250 miles in one day. If I only owned one car and it was a Model S, I would just rent a full sized "land yacht" for my (2) longer road trips and ride down the highway in comfort.

Don't get me wrong, over the years, I've owned many compact cars. It's not about the money. I'd just rather stop giving "oil money" to countries that dislike the USA. And if I can help bring jobs back to the USA, while driving a very nice car, that's icing on the cake. Nothing against the Honda Civic, but no thanks.

@Zelaza,
Showing my age. I guess the Lexus has Electronic Fuel Injection instead of a carburetor. I got carried away with all the junk that an ICE vehicle needs. Won't matter after next year, when my Model S is delivered, since I won't have either one to worry about. And I won't be wasting my time and money hanging around the service bay of a dealership when I could be taking care of business elsewhere.

I'm sure that @mwu will agree that anyone considering a Model S purchase, is probably not also in the market for a Honda Civic. There are about two occasions each year when I need to travel more than 250 miles in one day. If I only owned one car and it was a Model S, I would just rent a full sized "land yacht" for my (2) longer road trips and ride down the highway in comfort.

Don't get me wrong, over the years, I've owned many compact cars. It's not about the money. I'd just rather stop giving "oil money" to countries that dislike the USA. And if I can help bring jobs back to the USA, while driving a very nice car, that's icing on the cake. Nothing against the Honda Civic, but no thanks.

Sorry - the screen timed out. Clicked 3 times. Sometimes this site is really slow.

@Zelaza, No problem. I play devils advocate all the time.

@Mycroft, Agree. Toyota did miss an opportunity with the plug-in Prius. They just wanted to check the box "plug-in". However, Toyota is very, very smart. They are betting on all the horses. Prius is still "King of the Hybrids", 2012 RAV4 EV using Tesla 100mi battery, and the insurance bet is Millions in Tesla stock. Very smart.

@Bruno, Congrats on the Texas Tesla Store. 10 minutes away is awesome. Welcome to the family.

Heck with renting a car, I have friends that would beg me to swap cars with them for my long trip. :D

Wow, this is an active board!

I am struck by many of the replies to my original post that dive into cost/mi, battery depreciation etc. As a newcomer, it seems to me that the details (and terminology) sometime obscure the big picture.

The model S is a competitively priced premium performance car. Its performance and capacity (people and storage) are best-in-class. It's range is roughly comparable. It offers a trade-off on fueling: you can do it at home at your convenience. No more stopping at inconvenient moments at strange places to pump a smelly fluid into your car. But, importantly, it is not yet well suited for trips farther than 125 miles away (or 250 with power at the other end - like a weekend home).

From a cost perspective: Day to day it will cost you subatntially less. It can be refueled for \$10. Maintenance costs should be lower because there are dramatically fewer moving parts. Residual value may be higher or lower in 7 years relative to its peers. (Lower because the batteries may be depleted, higher because many of those moving parts in a traditional car will be nearing end of life.)

So, if you can afford a 5 or 7 series BMW, and don't require it's use for trips longer than a couple of hours, it is worth serious consideration. Never mind what's under the hood!

I have to laugh at you North Americans and your complaints on pricing. I am Signature #9 in Australia. Our cars are approx double the price of the same vehicle in USA - the roadster here is \$210000 and our dollar is 1 for 1 with the USA. Our gas is \$1.45 a LITRE. There are 3.79 litres to the US gallon. my electricity prices on smart metering are peak periods 40.6c per kWh. "shoulder rate is 16c and off peak is 9.6c. Off peak runs between 10 pm and 7 am. peak runs between 2 pm and 8 pm. The other times are classified "shoulder". So, we pay \$5.50 for gas per gallon!!
By the way, our electric prices will be going up around 15% in the next year, and they already went up 15% last year! Our problem is a Labour government - for you Canadians. We have the worst government since Federation - 103 years ago!!!
The modelS will sell here for about \$120000 for the signature!!! And that is with what few government concessions there may or may not be.

The major attraction of the Tesla is the fact that i can stop supporting the terrorist religion since those mobs seem to have most of the oil. Also, i would rather support manufacturing in a civilised country that is friendly and supports some of the political causes i believe in.
I can always install solar panels and tell the electric company what they can do - i already have panels installed. I just need to extend them to supply an additional 10kw a day.

Somewhat related--does the battery performance over time have anything to do with mileage driven? Will a 7 or 8 year old model S have the same battery capacity remaining if it is driven 10,000 miles per year or 25,000 miles per year?

The more mileage put on the car, the shorter will be the number of years to reach 80% or whatever capacity. It's tied to the number of recharge cycles.

Volker mentioned earlier that the 300 mile battery pack would be 85-90 kwh. Lets assume 100 kwh to fill it. Power is 6.5 cents per kwh. \$6.50 For 300 miles. My current car fills for about \$65.00 for 330 miles, just for comparison.

@Zelaza: Heres a question for you then: how many gas cars can you fuel up without being there?
An electric car doesn't need you there to keep an eye on it while it charges, so you can start it up, walk away and do other things. A gas car doesn't have that luxury. It gets even better with the home charging aspect since no gas car can do that unless you have a gas pump in your garage. Just having "a full tank" every day without needing to detour is a major bonus IMHO.

Given your Devil's Advocate position, there's one point I'm surprised you HAVEN'T made yet: what happens when the power goes out? Generators aren't really powerful enough to give an electric car the jolt it needs to recharge, and until power is restored you have to shepard what range you have, since your not going to be able to get a full tank until power comes back up. I'm still working on ideas for solutions, but I don't have anything that'd do the job, outside of a solar array with a storage battery attached to it, which is not a trivial cost.

Oh please ! Gas stations are closed when the power is out as well. With a Model S you can stay in the comfort of your own home while you wait for the power to return.

This site is for Future Tesla owners. For us to share information to decide, WHICH TESLA, model to purchase. If you have decided to buy or stick with an ICE respectfully I suggest you spend your time on their websites not this one.

Until you can keep your ICE refueled in your own garage and let the car idle in the same garage with the windows & doors closed (and not suffocate) you won't be able to convince us not to buy our Teslas.

Signature 482

Has any one considered the cost of importing oil and the cost of exporting America? Electricity is produced locally and the money stays here vs. Importing oil and the money goes elsewhere. The value of those dollars recirculating are phenomenal.

Another indisputable excellent point !

Signature 482

@jbunn:
After buying a car for \$80,000 or even \$60,000, it seems silly to argue over whether recharging it costs \$6.50, or \$10, or even \$20. What isn’t silly is that to “refill” the 300 mile Model S takes around 4 hours. I realize that most people expect to recharge at home and overnight, so it doesn’t matter, the fact remains that if you have to recharge at another time it takes a very long time. But even more, and the reason I entered this thread on this forum is my belief that if you opt for the (almost) doubled range option and pay \$20,000, you have already pre-paid \$60 (from the \$20,000) for, and before, that \$6.50, or \$10, or \$20 refill. The only reason you pay the additional \$20K is so that you have 500 lbs of electrical storage space for a period of 100,000 miles in order to hold the extra electrical energy. To me that’s an up front fee of 20 cents per mile for the right, privilege, and ability to buy cheap electricity and store it in the Model S. Of course most participants at this site disagree with my characterization, but I feel that it is justified and correct. If you're buying the Model S to save on gas money, you're in for a surprise.

Also, 6.5 cents per kWh seems a little low. Does it include a distribution charge (typically more than the generation charge due partly to those 100kV, 200kV, and 600kV transmission lines, which aren’t cheap.)

There are a lot of intangibles here. Does anyone who buys a Roadster expect to save so much fuel money over its life that it's smarter than buying a \$20000 ICE car? If that's not comparable, then we have too many dimensions to analyze: luxury, fun, green-ness, etc.

I think you want to forget all that for a bit, and just ask what the cost, per mile, is for buying the 300 pack vs. the 160? In that regard, you divide the cost of the battery pack over its life time (until whenever you replace it) by the total miles used.

That's not a difference of "gas money." Otherwise all those other dimensions have to come into play. That's just a difference in the cost of ownership between one Model S and another, 160 vs. 300.

If you want to estimate how much per mile the larger pack is costing you, go ahead. If I normally drive 30 miles per day, then the extra cost of the 300 pack seems silly.

What does it buy me? It buys me the ability to go 30 miles, then decide to go another 100 miles without consternation. It's not a "cost per mile" feature, it's knowing you have range to spare. It's more comparable to the guy who buys a car with a bigger engine just so he knows he can accelerate onto the highway with speed if he needs to. But that guy has to pay for the bigger power up front and every mile using more gas.