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Cost of S

I love the look of the new S model but the only way it will be in my garage is if the price is not to high.I am well aware that this is a new industry and that development cost are high but to get people into them on a mass market scale they need to be affordable at the moment they arn`t.

East Coast, Nova Scotia to be exact.

I'm just quoting off the blog for one of the first Roadster's to be delievered in BC.

Yeah, I don't know about the B.C. incentive program (if any)...the Ontario program started on July 1, 2010.

One area Canadians all need to lobby our politicians is having both Federal and Provincial EV incentive programs...from reduced or eliminated sales tax to much more advantageous write offs for business owned vehicles...Canada is embarrassingly lax in these areas.


Is there a way to share your spreadsheet comparing the cost of Tesla vs. Corolla? It will be critical for me to get a green light from my wife on a Tesla.

Many thanks.

Tao Zheng

Sorry, last question was for Dan5.

same as zhengst, the spreadsheet would be good for me too!

i'm not sure why we are comparing cars that have such a big gap in retail prices? Wouldn't it be more fair to show the wives the cost differences between the Model S and a Lexus GS450? or vs. Mercedes E class? BMW 500 series? Then again, if the overall cost ended up being same as a corolla, that would be more impressive. right? my wife is all about what i hand over to the dealer when we close the deal. I just told her, "if I like it, we'll buy another one."


Most here are comparing a BEV to another BEV, as opposed to comparing a BEV to a Hybrid or an ICE vehicle.

You are right though in so far as the comparative BEV's are not a good comparison to the S car...but then again, that's not Tesla's fault that (to borrow an ICE vehicle's mantra) "there is no substitute" lol!

I have a Lexus GS 450h...astoundingly fun vehicle to drive...doesn't come close to the Roadster's performance and I'm willing to bet that it won't match the S car's either...besides, a Hybrid costs more to run & maintain and still has an ICE...

For me, I can't justify buying a luxury car, and I'm not a fan of them either. So there's no point for me comparing to them. But if the total cost of ownership of an EV can be on the level of a "cheap" ICE, and accidently the EV is in the luxury class, then it will totally sell.

On another note, I'd like to see if the analysis model take into consideration of the accelerated depreciation factor. An S might be comparable to a Corolla in TCO for the first 10 years. But for the first 5 years, the TCO for owning an S should be higher than a Corolla because of fast depreciation in the first few years, and that the majority component of the Corolla TCO lies in gas and maintenance.

Then again, here's the issue of oil price. Which I think most people should expect to increase in the near future with the economy coming back up and the oil reserve still reducing. The utility cost is much more stable than oil price in the first place. And if you are like me and plan to build a PV system to power the EVs, then the energy cost for EV should remain pretty constant.

Then again again, higher oil price would slow down the depreciation of EV because more people would turn to EVs and a second-hand EV should keep more value than if the oil price is lower.

So yeah, I'm pretty confident that the TCO of an S is very comparable to a Corolla.

I actually think people are overdoing the depreciation rate of an EV car.

I mean, ICE car's depreciate because as the motor is used, it's more prone to breakage. The same is just not true of an EV motor. Even if you factor in the battery, you've still got a much longer time to even SHOW lessened performance like an ICE does.

I think old car is old car... if you buy a new car the worth of it in $ will drop faaast. I don't think it will matter much what type of motor you use.

The big plus of an EV sure is that electricity will be way cheaper than gas. and I doubt that that will change in the next 10 years.

Depending where you live you'll get tax reductions.

As it's a luxury car the insurance will be higher. (maybe there will be a green bonus...)

As it's a sporty car, the tyres will be bigger and more expansive

as it's a sporty car, the brakes will wear down faster

as it's a sporty luxery car the maintenance will be more expansive (Roadster is 600$ so it most likely will be cheaper, but don't think it will come down to the corolla)

So honeslty I think it will be cheaper than other luxury cars in it's class but I don't think it will outrun anything that it's half it's price.. but hey. It's only a gut feeling, prove me wrong.

You got one part wrong: the brakes. As a EV brakes are rarely even used. Regen takes care of that. Maintenance is way cheaper than equal ICE car because there are no oil changes or belts to wear down or anything like that. Probably not quite as cheap as Corolla basic maintenance / maintenance case, but in time probably lot less of those cases.

Did you ever ask WHY an old car isn't worth as much Chris? 95% of the time it's because "it'll need more maintenance/parts".

Luxury cars aren't more to insure, although sports cars can be depending on the car.

Are you kidding me? Tires more expensive? *shakes head*
You get what you pay for, and you don't NEED high grade tires, they're just good to have if you're after performance. If not, Walmart has tires in the sizes listed.

As Timo said, EV cars dont' wear out their brakes because they don't need to use them as much as a ICE does. I drive a standard right now, and I am still on my first set of brakes because I gear down to avoid brake wear.

Oh, that $600? That's for a full year of maintenance. How often does an ICE go in? 4 to 8 times a year? $110 + minimum per visit? Doesn't seem like that much of a difference to me.

Had a look at 0-60 rating much? Model S isn't the fastest of all, but it's in the top 5 for acceleration. From a rollinig start? No ICE can touch it, and they never will be able to.

The Roadster? You need a $400,000 ICE to catch it.

The one and ONLY thing an ICE can do better than an EV is refuel. Charge your EV at night, and this becomes moot, because you're never waiting for your car to fuel; it fuels itself at night and always has a full tank when you want to go somewhere.

Hi Vawlkus,

ok the breaks I take back.

I havn't really owned a fast car yet, but most cars I saw with a similiar accelration as the model has has way bigger tires (broader) than mine. wich are probably used as the performance is wayyyy better. So it's a safety measure. So I think the recommendet tyres of the model S will be more expensive as the recommended ones for a corola...

I just checked the actual insurance cost between a prius CHF 600.-- and a BMW 305 CHF 1050.--. No matter why it's more expensive.. the cars worth or that it's sportier. The same different, if not bigger would count for the corolla (at least it's that way in Switzerland)

My Prius (6 years old) goes in every 1.5 year or so and like I stated before it was CHF 300.-- half for the work and half for materials. I don't think it's much more with a corola. As I understand the 600$ from Tesla does not contain much material. But again it's a completely other league of a car.

Don't get me wrong I completely adore Tesla and it's cars so far. And with the Model S it's kinda affordable me. And I'm sure I'll get a completely green luxury car wich will be very fun to drive. But like with my prius i'm very skeptik about really safe some money with it.

Here's a list of car's I've had so far:
Mercedez Benz Station Wagon
1990 Ford Mustang
2000 Dodge Neon
1998 Hyundai Accent
2007 VW Rabbit

I've gone from luxery to sports to mundane cars. I know the difference in gassers. Insurance was never much in the difference between the different cars.

Tires all have similar tread patterns, and they're all made of the same rubber. The only difference between them is price, brand name, customer gulability. Trust me, you may see a performance difference with performance tires under certain circumstances, but the Walmart brand will get you from point A to point B safely, otherwise those tires wouldn't be available for sale.

I have a hard time believing your Prius goes in every 1.5 years mate, the oil changes ALONE are more frequent than that. Add in fuel filters, ait filters, hydraulic lines, fuel lines, etc, etc, and you are either taking it in and not realising it, or you're really neglecting that car.

Regionally, there maybe something of a difference between where you are (Switzerland) and where I am (Canada), but some things are constant.

Tesla Roadster amongst the top vehicles in holding their value...

Check this story out from the Sept Tesla Newsletter...

"The Tesla Roadster boasts one of the highest resale values in the sports car class, according to a recent ranking by Road & Track magazine. Rivaling the Porsche 911 Carrera and the Audi S5, the Roadster is the only zero-emissions car to make the list - pretty impressive for a new entrant that also happens to be the only electric sports car for sale in the world.

"The 2010 Tesla Roadster is the sports car darling of tech-savvy early-adopters everywhere," the buff mag writes.

The Roadster's rust-proof carbon-fiber paneling and simple, low-maintenance powertrain will lock in high residual values for years. Pair this technology with a limited production run and the Roadster becomes an even smarter choice for serious collectors and commuters alike. "

Looks pretty good from where I'm

Oops! point of the previous post was if the Roadster holds it's value this well, there is no reason to think the S car won't...

yep I'm probably pretty lazy in maintancing my car. I now and then check the oil, but I never had to change it or refill it myself as it's always full and that's it. I checkt the numbers and you're right it was 14 month and 15 month between the last 2 services.

I mostly just wait untill the garage tells me that it's time again. It might be a bit overdue but so far the biggest cost so far was changing the brakes and now I needed new summer and winter tyres... without those special costs the service was around the 300$

As the insurances here even differ in the different regions of switzerland I'm pretty sure it's completely different from other countries... just got the numbers from a car-insurance-compare tool on the net.

But I'm very glad that my 'pessimistic' views seem to quiet ungrounded so I even more look forward to lay my hands on the model S.

You service your car 4 to 8 times a YEAR ? Wow. My VW Touran 2.0TDI tells me when it needs an service & oil change, it usually lasts two years between each time. I drive about 9000 miles a year, so it needs service & oil change approx. every 18.000 miles.

I'd never considering buying a car that needs service more than once a year at the most.

Since part of the cost of gasoline is a so-called road tax, isn't it likely that there will eventually be some form of tax to recover this loss of revenue from PEVs?

Maybe, in a longterm view it's possible that all the tax rebates we get now will disapear and the existing taxes will be changed so all vehicles have to pay them.

But right now they just want people to buy green cars. As long as the EVs are not very common I don't think they change the taxes....

Here's my reasoning for the Corolla statement- assume car life expectancy is 200,000 miles and gas is $3/gallon and $0.10/kwhr
Take out similar maintenance (shocks, brakes, struts, tires, etc)

Model S
Base price $49000, $4700 for energy - 5000 tax rebate for NJ
Total cost = $48,700

base price $21,000 (to put on "par" with the interior of the Model S x 1.07 (NJ sales tax), gets 30 mpg ($20,000), oil changes ($2000) ($50/5000 miles), alternator $500, 100 K tune up ($1000), 200 K tune up ($1000), 6 transmission flushes ( about $600), belt replacement $1000, air filters and misc ICE engine maintenance ($300), bad O2 sensor between 100 to 200 K, $500, battery $100. = $49470

To put in perspective I added up everything for my last car, when all was said and done, for a $24,000 car, it cost me roughly $60,000 over an 8 year period

I think your analysis is interesting, and you've put in quite a bit of detail into it. However, it isn't fair to include lots of maintenance on the Corolla and none on the Model S.

The figures I've been hearing are a once a year maintenance/checkup that runs $600. If you aren't fortunate enough to live within driving distance to a Tesla store, then you also have to plan for $1/mile for the Tesla Service Rangers to come to you. For me, that would come to a $1,200/yr maintenance budget. If your 200k miles were to take 6 years, that's $7,200. If you live close enough to a Tesla store, then it's only $3,600.

The costs still are amazingly close to each other, even with factoring in a budget for miscellaneous work needing to be done to the Model S (as you did with the Corolla with O2 sensor, alternator, belts, air filter, etc...)

To me, the big story is the savings on the cost of energy. Assuming that your costs are correct on the Model S using $4,700 and the Corolla using $20,000-- that's a huge difference! Even if the rest of the costs come out as a wash (and I don't think they will-- I think the Model S will have much less maintenance work), to have a Model S be only $10k more than a base model Corolla is amazing!

That $600 is for Roadster. Nobody knows what it would be for Model S. Probably less.

I hate to burst the bubble, but no one here has factored in the cost of battery replacement, which is expected to be every 100k miles according to this website in the roadster specs. Cost to replace is at least 20k, so your looking at an extra 40k expense over 200k miles. Ouch.

Cookr1965--that 40K value is way too high:

-200K miles averages to over 33,000 miles a year. That's a lot of driving on average. In the U.S., the average driver travels approximately 12k-13 miles a year. I haven't checked the stats, but that's probably more than those in Europe (I may be wrong). My car is now over 10 years old and has 115,000 miles on it. So 200k miles would actually take over 15 years if you consider the national average.

-Over the course of 15 years & 200k miles, only one battery replacement would be required. You get it new when you buy the car, and you replace it, on average, 7 yrs or 100K miles later (assuming Tesla's stated average battery lifetime). Given that the battery replacement is around the year 2019, it's very safe to assume that battery durability (recharge cycles, temperature tolerance, etc) will be significantly higher, range will be higher (certainly easily beyond 500 mi/charge), and cost will be lower. We might see 1000 mi range batteries for the same cost as the current 300 mi battery.

-The batteries, at the end of Tesla's stated usable lifetime, still have a significant capacity for holding charge (perhaps 60%?). Therefore, the batteries are still valuable. People will want to buy a 90ish kWh battery that can still hold 60% charge (~50+ kWh). That's still worth at least several thousand dollars.

It depends of who you ask. I live in Europe and I drove over 100 000 km in just three years. My usual daily km was around 100 just by visiting friends, shopping, school (at that time) and driving for fun. 100k miles I would have got in five years.

Model S 300 mile version will use different battery chemistry than the other two options. Also 300 miles means less full charge cycles, so it is possible that it survives way over 100k miles in working order. Or not. Depends of that chemistry they choose.

Also nobody knows what the battery will cost _in reality_ after ten years from now. Like I have written in other forum topics there are already 400+W/kg & 1000+W/L energy density batteries in prototype stage. That means that in ten years from now you might be facing an option to get _way_ cheaper and lot smaller pack (increasing performance), or have your range extended to double or over.


Sounds like you drive a bit more than the US average, but I agree...I'm pretty confident that by 2017 to 2019 we'll see significant improvements in battery performance and cost.

I did include the standard maintenance for both cars, but for most of the similar maintenance I said they were equal or close enough for the purposes of a comparison. For example, the Corolla is going to need brakes and rotors more often because of the Tesla regenerative breaking, but at the same time, the Tesla's tires are going to be more. In terms of replacing an HVAC system, the Tesla drop down is much less labor intensive than an ICE engine. Both will need shocks, struts, coolant flushes, brake flushes. I also considered what you get for the Tesla maintenance, technically, they are more or less cleaning out your engine compartment and giving the car a multi point inspection which is a service (the car cleaning and engine detailing is around $200 service at a Toyota Dealership) and probably another few hundred for the multi point inspection so it is comparable

As for the batteries, the projected charge capacity after 100 K miles /7 years to 10 years is 70% and 49% (assuming constant rate of degradation) after 200 K/14 to 20 years as long as you don't use the quick charge feature. For 160 mile battery that would mean 122 miles and around 80 miles respectively which is more than enough to get the average US driver from point A to point B (daily commute is around 40-some miles) therefore replacement of the battery would not be an issue. That's IF they are using the LiCoO2 type batteries. If they are using different Li batteries, some of those batteries are capable of 9000 charge/discharge cycles (about 800,000 miles for the lithium titanate)

There are some "unknown" variables which are difficult to calculate. Steering (Toyota has the electronic steering, Model S steering is unknown), Insurance, cost of repair, theft of parts, how often the new technology will fail- these are all estimated based on currently available data or making reasonable assumptions (Model S has to be charge in a garage so less insurance than comparable car) . Even the paint job is difficult to estimate since it's a relatively new method. I do know that a Toyota Corolla with around 6000 miles and road rash chips does show rust (this car will probably need a $500 quick paint job between 100 K and 200 K) which the Tesla will not have since it's aluminum. This was not included since the Tesla may need a paint job also due to the solventless paint method.

Yes, like any other car there are things that could fail or go wrong, but the good part about the Model S and any electric car in general is that they have very few moving parts, parts exposed chemicals which eat away at the parts, etc, etc. Think about it this way, there are about 10 drivetrain critical parts on the Tesla and imagine each part has a 1/100,000 chance of breaking every day, over the course of a year you have a 3% chance of something breaking/year. Picture an ICE engine, say there are 100 engine critical parts- that's a 30% chance of something breaking/year, therefore the cost to repair a normal car should be 10 times the amount to repair a model S per year. This is one of the premises of six sigma

Let's remember too that most Roadster owner's will probably go 50,000 plus miles before they need new rotors or pads. A Roadster will almost come to a stop just by taking your foot off the gas. Sooo.....No brake jobs, oil changes, belt driven A/C systems, intakes, exhausts rusting, or other explosions inside the engine trying to rip apart the engine.

THERE is no engine. Put that together with the serious "soldiers per gallon" improvement you get in an electric vehicle...and I am more than sold.

I'm totally confused : for a standard model S with an estimated price of 56k$ Tesla is asking a 6k$ deposit (roughly 10%). For the Signature version however a 40k$ deposit is required wich is 70% of the list price of the standard version. So my questions are : what is the difference between the standard S version and the Signature S version to justify such a difference ? What is the estimated price of the the Signature version ? And is it possible to order a standard version and change it to a Signature and vice versa ?

Thanks for explaining


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