Cost of ownership

I am curious to the expected numbers on the Tesla Model S on repairs?(what owners expect)

1 How long do owners expect the motor to last? Tesla told me 30-40 yrs which seems reasonable. (what electric motor ever wears out?)
2 Brake life? How long do you expect the pads and rotors to last with regenerative braking.
3 What do owners expect out of the battery and any guess what you think you will pay to replace it.

How will repairs stack up to and ICE car? What will be more costly on the electric? I am doing the numbers on the Tesla vs. a VW Passat TDI. I want the heart side of me knowing what the expected difference to be.

I bought the 8 year service plan at 475.00 per year. Summer/Winter wheel changes are included in that.
I have no worries about the battery needing replaced or degrading quickly, Tesla seems to have that covered.
The electric motor will outlast me (at age 55)

I will be very surprised when my brake pads need to be replaced-- they are rarely used. I will go through tires more quickly, other than that I see an ICE as being far more expensive to maintain & repair (short & long run).

I tried as best I could to calculate the ICE specific maintenance costs (oil/filter change, spark plugs, etc... but not things like tires) on my old car to the Model S, and for me savings is about 50%. My Prius was around $1000 per year in that kind of maintenance, and the Tesla is $475 I assume, although I have not yet signed up for a service plan.

Totally unfair to compare Model S to a Passat.

You need to compare it with a BMW 750 which is more similar in size, performance and comfort.

Comparing model s to Passat is like comparing rolls Royce to Mini Cooper to evaluate if RWD or FWD is more economical

6500 miles, total fuel cost about $140.00

Sorry I am not trying to get into which is better debate more of cost of ownership. I owned a 124 Mercedes and it was crazy well built and the cheapest car to own I ever had. I don't think everyone here is thinking Model S should only be compared to a 7 series. I bet many MS owners were not even thinking high luxury car.

Is everyone thinking very low cost of maintainence?

When you factor in the cost of gas, you need to add at least $3500/year to the cost of the ICE; mine is closer to $5,000, and I drive a Civic. When you look at it that way, my $20K Civic isn't nearly as cheap after 7-8 years of ownership as I originally thought it would be, and that's just the gas.

Now, add oil changes, tune ups, brakes (I've done them once in the last couple years), etc. the "high" cost of the Tesla starts to be comparable to an Accord, or even cheaper, if you keep the car for 7-8 years. Keep it longer and the Tesla starts being in Civic territory. Yes, a sporty loaded Civic maybe, but a Civic nonetheless.

Yes, the payments are higher than a VW, but when you start talking total cost, it's likely the same or lower.

"Now, add oil changes, tune ups, brakes (I've done them once in the last couple years), etc. the "high" cost of the Tesla starts to be comparable to an Accord, or even cheaper, if you keep the car for 7-8 years. Keep it longer and the Tesla starts being in Civic territory. Yes, a sporty loaded Civic maybe, but a Civic nonetheless.

Yes, the payments are higher than a VW, but when you start talking total cost, it's likely the same or lower."

That is exactly how I did the math. Once you get past the 'purchase price' and compare true cost of ownership year over year, its easy to see. I would rather put my money all into the car and none into consumables like gas/oil changes. My insurance also went down from my Rover.

Time Of Use rates in San Diego save me about $200/ month in spite of extra energy used to charge my S. That is enough to pay for service,washes for the car and pedicures for me.

check out for lots more calcs along those lines. He asks, "Can you afford NOT to buy a Tesla Model S?"

motor is commercial grade proven to last over 2 million miles.

how long will it take for you to drive that many miles? 136 years if you drive 40 miles a day!!!

I am happy to see that I wasn't the only (soon-to-be-new) Tesla owner that made his decision largely through economics (but, let's be fair, the quality of time spent is a pretty darn good motivator if not responsible for tangible value).

I drive in the 35,000 to 40,000 mile range for my commute and family trips. The gas savings (net of electricity cost) amounts to an annuity of between $4,500 and $6,000 (I currently drive a Rogue SL/AWD which gets 29-30 MPG highway, which are most of my miles). At a planned return of 6% (I am fairly conservative with regard to my retirement yield), the savings creates a 10-year asset with a present value of between $33,000 ($33M) and $44M, If we use $90M as the basis (I chose an 85 with a few of the few options - pre-Aug13 price increase) and incorporate the $7.5M credit, I am looking at a vehicle with a present value cost of between $38M and $50M.

I see the difference for maintenance between $300 and $1,000 per year (aside from my first car, I generally spend $800 to $1,300 per year on maintenance for ICE, really not limited to any car type), we get an additional present value asset of between $4K and $10K, bringing the right now price down to between $34M and $40M.

Since no other electric cars meet my daily range needs (I could have saved $7M on the 60 [I was willing to pay for the $3M in options], but want the unlimited mileage on the 8 year warranty), I compared to keeping my current car (with growing maintenance costs) or selecting a mid-range "squishy" car (which have slightly lower MPG but the creature comforts rock). IN both cases, the Tesla Model S provided a better economic choice.

Perhaps I will get to be the first owner at 500,000 miles (well, perhaps not - I plan to retire before I hit that mileage - hence the 10 year analysis - if 20 years, not even a bicycle could compare to the economics).

Oh yes, did I mention the intangibles?

How could someone NOT buy a Tesla?

Should be low maintenance on traditional items like motor and brakes. However, it will likely be a long time before there are aftermarket replacement parts, meaning every piece that breaks will be sold at premium prices. The electronics in most cars today are not serviceable by the owner, and Tesla seems to be even more difficult than most, so I viewed the extended service as insurance.

make up your mind! is 1,000 K, or M?

I guess that they are both - apologies for mixing my Roman and techno numerals... :-)

@madbuns - You'll be burning plenty of rubber every year.

But then again, it should be comparable to tire usage for your ICE anyway. Unless you're going for the 21" package...

Most cars are done in by high cost maintainence so people trade. The Mercedes we had was 25 yrs old when someone hit it. The cost on the car was around $150 a month which is not bad but I did much of the work should it have gone to the dealer there is no way it could have been justified at well over $100 an hour to fix. I would guess easy $300 a month if in shop.

At anything near 400k miles a Tesla becomes interesting.

After driving the MS I would be more worried about brakes seizing than needing new ones! Re-gen is awesome.
I can truly see MANY years out of brakes.

In Canada (where I am from) we have to get emission tests every 2 yrs after 5 I think. Cost can get into hundreds if workis needed. Not needed on Tesla.

What will make the MS not feasible to keep going? (thinking years down the road) complicated electronics???

If the motor lasts 40 years which includes the transmission, muffler, rad and so much more.

What will send the MS to the scrap yard barring an accident? (assuming owners can buy new up to date batteries) rust will not happen to all aluminum, so that is out.

Why would a taxi owner NOT want an MS?

I own a 2003 Mercedes E320 and maintenance is costing me about $4,000 a year. Yikes!

Right now I am spending about $400 a month in gas, so $4,800 a year.

That means it's costing me about $9k a year to keep it on the road, and it's completely paid for.

The MS I would consider (85 range with minimal options) is about $1,100 a month, or $13,200 a year. Add $100/month for fuel costs an we get about $14,400. Trouble is that's with the 72 month payments, which I'm not comfortable with. Over three years it's $2,100 a month which of course is much more expensive than my E-Class.

As others have said, the better comparison is with a new V8 Mercedes CLS-class, where the purchase costs are nearly identical, and so the Tesla cost savings are quite impressive.



A taxi owner would not want it because they would spend too much time charging rather than making money.

And that's ignoring the fact that a guy who drives a taxi probably couldn't buy a car that costs $90k in the first place.

Is it not just a few hours? Super Chargers would solve that.

On the Volkswagen Passat TDI.
$30k price and $23k at today's price for diesel in Canada.(closing the gap)

I think Tesla is going to shock many Americans that sales are going to be overseas. Most Americans don't realize gas is cheaper than dirt in the U.S. In Canada it is 20-30% more. In most Countries calculations will be based on gas more than double U.S. price of gas.

Sorry that was for 300,000 kilometers of fuel or 186,000 miles.

With Elon having a Canadian mother and South African father and building cars in the U.S. he is a very worldly person. My guess is 80% of sales to not be in the U.S..

I was chatting to a taxi driver in Miami and he said he did about 200 miles a day, and a quick Google suggests the average in the US is closer to 180.

So an S85 should be fine even without a mid shift recharge. With twin chargers and a stop for lunch at an HPWC or 80A J1772 adapter and they'd have plenty of spare juice.

Taxis drive an average of 55,000 miles a year at 16 mpg. So fuel costs would be c.$14,000 compared to $2,000 for electricity.

Combine that with lower maintenance costs and one-pedal driving and the story looks pretty good, even for a relatively high initial purchase price.

Police and taxi services might be a legitimite use for battery swaps.

My company is using Teslas for employee shuttles. Awesome!

IMHO, one should compare to the car you would buy if your were not to buy a M-S.

I would never buy a BMW-7 (or-5, or-3 ), never a Merc., never a Porsche...
I even would never buy a 100k car, no matter what brand. 50k at the most.

And yet, Tesla did this to me. I've spend +100k; almost 3times more then I have ever spend on a car.

So, I guess -when comparing $ (or € in my case)- the TCO of my Tesla is going to be a bit more expensive.

But in life, there are some things you just cannot express in $.

How does Tesla do this to us people that would not buy a 100k car? Part of it for me is the lack of guilt. It is indulgence without guilt. A big S Class or 7 series requires obscene amounts of a finite resource that sadly involves war more often than not. If one buys an big guzzler they also do not believe in global warming or do not care?

A Tesla is somewhat guilt free indulgence or sensible indulgence. You only think about what else you could have done with the extra money you spent on the car.

If I was making any of the big Tesla competition I tell you I would be VERY nervous!

The big question is how long will they have a market????

Hey hey we moved from a 2006 VW Passat 2.0T to the Model S and the maintenance is MUCH less on the Model S. Just the timing belt and water pump service alone was ~$1,500 on the Passat.

@brian H


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