Drive a Tesla Model S for Free?
The clear advantage that Electric Vehicles have over legacy cars is that of reduced operating costs. There are no oil changes, no smog checks, and certainly no heavy fluids, which are the lifeblood of an internal combustion engine. One California EV owner recently claimed to have driven a Tesla Model S for free, for 18 months, because of zero maintenance expenses.
We’ve touted the benefits of electric vehicle ownership over legacy vehicles numerous times, particularly our blog post on how the Ford Taurus and Tesla Model S cost the same over an ownership period of 10 years – so as you can imagine – this story was of great interest to us.
According to Green Car Reports, the car in question was purchased in September 2013 for a post-incentive price of $86,000. The car now has 53,000 miles, and the owner believes it is valued at $77,000, only $9,000 worth of depreciation for a car that will be two years old, six months from now. In addition, the car’s loan includes interest at 2 percent APR, for an estimated $2,400 charge during the window of ownership.
According to the owner, that’s were the expenses stop. His home parking garage is equipped with free charging, while Tesla’s Supercharger stations offer free charging for Tesla owners/leased vehicles. He had no maintenance done on the car outside of the free factory tire rotations that occur every five to ten thousand miles or so. The owner claims he would have spent $9,300 on fuel and $2,200 on maintenance driving a legacy vehicle during the same distance over the same period of time (assuming 20 mpg @ $3.50 per gallon).
Green Car Reports notes that “those estimated savings add up to $11,400–equally the amount paid in interest and lost through depreciation. Hence: a “free” stretch of car ownership.” Obviously this Tesla owner manipulated the data to fit his conclusion, which is a common practice so we can’t fault him for that. The key takeaway here is that EVs offer ownership savings that legacy vehicles will never be able to match.