By on February 22, 2019

Tesla Model S

It’s nice to love the car you own. Feeling that passion and excitement each and every time you slip behind the wheel; experiencing the sheer exhilaration of squeezing every last drop of performance from your magnificent new steed. As a Cruze owner, I know these sensations all too well.

Sometimes, being your car’s biggest fan means becoming a de facto spokesperson for the brand, and with that role comes the need to position your vehicle’s builder above all others. With that in mind, we ask whether you can point out anything wrong with the following Tesla review.

A piece published in Forbes describes 50,000 miles spent in a 2016 Tesla Model S 70D — a vehicle the author very much enjoys driving. That much is made abundantly clear. Hey, an 85-mile round trip to work will make anyone feel like they’ve married their car. We don’t condemn the liking of one’s car.

Author Greg Autry is a fan of looking at total cost of ownership. There’s no oil changes or internal combustion engine repair with a Tesla, of course, and Tesla has the annoying habit of advertising its vehicles with a price that reflects “gas savings.” Because you’re going to drive past every pump you see, why not knock that estimated sum off the advertised retail price? It looks good.

But let’s go back to May of 2016, when Autry was shopping for EVs after putting his Chevrolet Volt out to pasture.

“In shopping for my first electric, I had tested the Ford Fusion EV and found the acceleration so poor that pulling into LA traffic would have been scary. The sales person said ‘electric cars just don’t go fast.'” Autry writes. “No wonder Tesla ate their electric lunch.”

There’s a problem in this statement, as Ford never offered an all-electric Fusion. Does Autry mean a Ford Focus Electric? Possibly, but the Focus Electric didn’t gain a range that could even get Autry from his Yorba Linda, California home to his L.A. workplace and back on a single charge until the 2017 model year, and that model may not have been on sale in the early part of that year. And even then, the jump in range was only from 76 to 100 miles. Maybe he has a charging station at work?

However, if Autry is speaking of the Fusion Energi plug-in, then yes, he’d be limited in range, but acceleration wouldn’t be a problem. The 2016 Ford Fusion Energy accelerates from 0-60 in 7.9 seconds. Not poky, by any means. The 2016 Ford Focus Electric does the run in 9.9 seconds, which isn’t entirely off the scale of acceptability.

The author got this piece off to a good start by misidentifying a rival car he seriously considered, but found lacking. It was so unmemorable, he forgot the model but remembered the dangerously slow acceleration.

What follows in the review, if you can call it that, is a breakdown of how the author believes his $95,000 car ($85,000 after tax credits) cost him “almost nothing.” Interspersed between bouts of cheerleading and the various industry predictions spouted by most Tesla disciples are further calculations. Yes, there’ll be gas savings. Knock those off the purchase price. Oil changes, too. As the author expects his vehicle to last twice as long as an internal combustion car, and during that ultra-long lifespan, there may be other costs.

Or maybe not!

“The Tesla drivetrain has less than a dozen moving parts. Combined with its all-aluminum construction it will last a very long time and could easily travel to 1 million miles with only battery swaps,” Autry asserts. “Some folks have wrongly predicted those swaps will be expensive. With production scaling and new technologies for accessing and recycling critical minerals like lithium and cobalt the cost of Li-ion batteries actually falls year after year. (See chart from Union of Concerned Scientists). The replacement of my batteries at 150,000 + miles will be way cheaper than the engine rebuild and tranny swap an ICE car would need and the demand will drive technology and scientific research forward.”

The author calculates that gas and maintenance savings, plus the estimated retained value of the vehicle (based on a 2018 report) at 150k miles, knocks the cost of ownership down to just over $52k.

“Keeping the Tesla twice as long also means I won’t buy another car, saving me 50% off the purchase price or $47.5k,” he writes. “That’s about what I’d pay for another car after taxes and all. So, my Tesla will cost just $5,060 if driven for 150,000 miles!”

There you have it.

Care to offer up a rebuttal to these enthusiastic calculations?

[Image: Tesla]

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83 Comments on “QOTD: Can You Find Fault in These Calculations?...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    The scary thing is we live in an economy so perverted by government intervention that people who can’t do math can afford $95K cars.

    I had a friend that drove an early Volt. I drove it on a depleted battery once. It was glacially slow running on just engine, reminding me of my 240D. If this guy was commuting 85 each day to and from work, he was no stranger to range-extender mode. Why did he need to make up a Ford to lie about? Tesla drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Toyota drivers are bad drivers. Tesla drivers are stupid people. Although, my boss drives Tesla and he’s hardly a stupid guy. In his defense he has Panamera, R8 and host of other expensive black cars. Yep, all black.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I’ve never heard of the Panamera defense. Those things are suppository-shaped abominations. Do you become a bad driver the day you buy a Toyota, or do you just reveal yourself that day? Asking for a friend.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Nahh, you just tend to run around making an @$$ of yourself, with your smug sense of self-satisfaction that you’re smarter than everyone else who doesnt “get” that no vehicles aside from Toyotas should exist.

          Tell your friend that becoming an obnoxious, rude and generally annoying person seems par for the course, and he should watch out for the warning signs. Such signs include making up facts about competing vehicles and citing some vague experience which means nothing as concrete proof.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Does this mean you don’t see the suppository in the Panamera? You think I made it up? It’s a good thing vehicles other than Toyotas exist, as otherwise none of the vehicles I own would exist. What have you correctly figured out?

          • 0 avatar
            FerrariLaFerrariFace

            What car do you drive, so we can make gross and prejudicial generalizations about your personality and driving ability?

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …What have you correctly figured out?…

            That every time you can, you blame the government for everything. Want to find a forum that is loaded with guys who have your same attitude and made a lot of money in blue collar businesses? Go to a forum dedicated to 460 HP sportscars and hit the PRC section. There you will find nirvana – a whole section of folks who feel like you do. Your welcome.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          It starts with bad driver. A good driver wouldn’t pick Toyota because its boring

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            What do you consider exciting then?

            Personally I value comfort in my cars, the comfier I am the better I drive.

          • 0 avatar
            thegamper

            There was a time not long ago that I would have generally agreed with that statement. But if you take a look at Toyota’s current lineup…it still has things that aren’t shaped like crossovers. Some of the traditional beige yawn has been replaced with … an attempt at interesting and sporty? The designs aren’t all exactly beautiful, but they aren’t really all that boring. To be completely honest, as the rest of automobiledom goes full trucktard, Toyota starts looking better and better.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “A good driver wouldn’t pick Toyota because its boring”

            All depends on what one considers boring. It also depends upon what you want to do with the car. I’m sure pushing the limits of a Camry on a hairpin winding country road by definition would not be boring.
            I was on a very narrow switchback filled drivers road twice the past year with my pickup. (High Way 99 aka Duffy lake Road). I passed a couple of Porches and assorted other “sports cars” this spring and then this fall I embarrassed a dude in an AMG Mercedes.

            None of those dudes were in boring cars but if you get passed by a dude in a pickup on a driver’s road then perhaps you are better served behind the wheel of a Prius.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I’d drive a Panamera. It really isn’t any worse than other modern designs and the few times I’ve been in one it felt nice on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Toyotas are fairly common cars, as such you have a higher percentage of dealing with bad drivers, I wouldnt assume that they’re all bad though. I used to assume all Nissan drivers wreckless, but thats been proven wrong.

        At Ferrari:
        Slavuta is was a Mazda advocate, I dunno what he drives atm, he used to speak highly of old Proteges.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I’ve seen the dragstrip acceleration testing videos for the Gen 2 Volt and there is no difference in 0-60 times in electric mode vs hybrid mode. The car does 0-60 in the 7-8 second range either way. A 1980 240D automatic does it in about 18 seconds—more than double the time. So there are a few possibilities here:

      1. You’re lying.

      2. Your perceptions were off that day, perhaps colored by your prejudices.

      3. Your friend used up all the battery range and THEN put the car in Mountain Mode, which reduces maximum acceleration if necessary to maintain a 6 mile cushion in the battery no matter what. I don’t think the the car will actually let you do that, but I’m searching for a charitable explanation.

      4. Your friend’s Volt was defective in some way.

      Occam’s Razor says it’s probably #1.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I own a Volt and my dad had a 240D. I’m not sure there has ever been a slower accelerating car than that Mercedes. Certainly not a Volt, no matter what mode it’s in.

        But thanks for showing how full of $hit he is with actual numbers. It’s amazing how many people come on this website and talk out of their butt.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        You guys need help. I wrote that I drove an early Volt. Base curb weight of the car I drove was 3,781 lbs. Engine horsepower was 83. On board were two people, a big yellow lab, and my friend’s luggage. Call it 4,200+ lbs total. When the battery is depleted, all the energy has to come from that 1.4 liter 83 hp engine. It might be a little bit quicker than a 240D that weighs 500 lbs less and has 75% of the power, but not relative to cars of today. It was sure closer to 240D performance than it was to anything else I’ve driven in the past decade.

        Maybe in stop and go traffic, hybrid mode puts enough regen on the battery to accelerate normally, but that is not what I experienced with a car that had just been driven from L.A. to San Diego. Maybe you should accept that there is an explanation number 5. You’re not smart enough to judge the veracity of what I wrote.

        • 0 avatar
          KenC

          You’re right, those guys were talking Gen2, and you were talking Gen1. Having said that, the engine HP was never 83. Here’s the Edmunds review for the 2012 Gen1 Volt:

          “The front-wheel-drive 2012 Volt is primarily powered by an electric motor rated at 149 horsepower (111 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet of torque. This motor draws power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge is 70 percent depleted. At that point, the Volt’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine, which requires premium fuel, comes to life as a replacement power source for the electric motor. Under certain higher-speed conditions, the four-cylinder can also help power the wheels directly.

          In Edmunds performance testing, the Volt went from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds in electric mode and 9 seconds flat with the engine generator. Both are reasonably quick times for the traditional hybrid segment.”

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The 1st generation Volt engine makes 83 hp. That is all. It doesn’t matter how many hp the electric motor makes when all of its power is being generated by the 83 hp gasoline engine in real time(when the battery is depleted). What you’re talking about is a fantasy of suspended physics. If an electric motor could generate 149 hp while connected to a generator powered by an 83 hp engine continuously, you’d make perpetual motion machines obsolete. Good luck!

  • avatar
    forward_look

    If I had wanted to spend $85,000 on a car I’d certainly justify it by assuming nothing on it ever breaks, wears out or rusts, and I get 0% interest.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      His last ICE car must have been a 1971 Vega, if he thinks you need a new engine and transmission at 150K miles. Unless you are very unlucky, you get close to twice that.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    https://i.chzbgr.com/full/1225486080/hB01C0A79/

    lol, wut?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Hi on marijuana, this LA socialist says what?

    His electricity will cost him 7K. Tires 3K. Brakes 1.5K. And insurance on those is ~3K per year. So, if 150K amounts to 15 years, he will pay $45K insurance alone. + car itself, + battery. This dude is sick

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      There’s something about those Californian university campuses…

      So this clown is supposed to be an economics professor?

    • 0 avatar
      Nigel Shiftright

      I’d bet a year’s worth of “Tesla gas savings” that Mr. Autry also thinks the “green New Deal” will generate millions of good paying jobs and raise the living standards of every American family.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        “…also thinks the “green New Deal” will generate millions of good paying jobs and raise the living standards…”

        Unlike all the good jobs created in the booming coal mining industry and for building that “big, beautiful wall.”

        • 0 avatar
          Nigel Shiftright

          Don’t assume that because I’m not a member of Tribe Blue, I must be a member of Tribe Red.

          If we get cheap, abundant reliable energy all over the world – with natural gas, hydro, and the latest generation of nukes – the jobs will come and the living standards will rise.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      Man, how bad is your credit?

      I’m in the market, and got a quote on a model S p90 about a month ago, Standard full comp policy, $250 deductible, standard 300/500/300 coverage, for around $715/year. Pay your bills on time man.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Electric Car Advocacy, especially for Teslas, is essentially a Religion. There is no arguing, no amount of rational or objective evidence can change minds of The Faithful. What do I care? Let them believe whatever they want.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is amazing. He double counts his savings. I’m dizzy. He’s employed as an expert.

  • avatar
    glennmercer

    Okay, I gotta bone to pick with every one of these TCO analyses, whether it is a Tesla or a Toyota or a Tonka. Specifically, on the piece of the equation where we plug in “how many miles the car will last.” The focus here is, rightly, mostly on the powertrain bits: when the engine will throw a rod or the battery pack melt down or whatever. But does anyone really want to own a car whose INTERIOR has been through a million miles? Heck, after 250,000 miles of butts wearing seats out, spills staining stuff, odd bodily odors infiltrating the headliner, trim bits loosening up and squeaking — I mean, REALLY? (I know, the True Believers will say “You can replace the interior!” Okay, if so, where do you go to do that and how much does it cost?”) Okay, I’ll go back to shooing the damn kids off my porch.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    His numbers are all wrong. But math errors aren’t confined to EV drivers; engineers, politicians, and marketing people are all guilty.

    Unless you’re running a business, it’s hard to justify buying a new car based on cost savings.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Silly Forbes. The author forgot to factor in the funeral savings as a result of never dying in a hideous gas pump explosion, plus the Powerball winnings he’ll get by hanging around convenience stores while his Tesla is recharging. All told, Tesla ownership will save him at least $758.2 million.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Yes, the whole, “I bought a $80K Tesla to save money” is pretty funny.

    I know people who actually need to save money, like my middle-aged babysitter. She drives a 15 year old Jeep.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I love this guy’s logic. Can’t wait to tell my wife I made us $30K by paying to reupholster my car instead of replacing it with a new one.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    He definitely frames the savings math in a weird way and makes some large assumptions. You can’t just cherry pick savings and subtract that from the purchase price. The battery replacement thing and 2x vehicle life could very well be true, but are not rooted in reality.

    How many people do you know that 1) buy brand new cars and 2) keep them 150k? Of those people, how many keep their cars ANOTHER 150k after that?

    The standard TCO model adds up insurance, depreciation, taxes, financing, fuel, maintenance and repairs over a given period. Edmunds 5 year TCO for a 2016 Model S 70D shows a 5 year TCO just south of $59k. The TCO of a 2016 BMW 535i xDrive is $67k.

    The mental gymnastics people do to justify a $90k luxury car.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      No kidding. People who spend $80K to have the latest greatest toy aren’t going to be content to keep a car for 20 years. I don’t hate Tesla, and I think he’s right that replacing a battery in 10 years will be cheaper than motor/tranny rebuild, but I doubt that peripherals (window regulators, suspension bits, electronics), will be any better than Range Rover or GM quality. And those bits get expensive over a couple decades.

    • 0 avatar
      KenC

      Doesn’t look like Edmunds TCO took out any tax credits, even though their footnotes say they do. It doesn’t show in the line items.

      Financing is $6700, when I ran the info in carloancalculator and got $3800.

      They say Fuel is $6415, when I calculate it at $3250. They assume 15k miles for 5 yrs, or 75k miles, at Tesla’s 3miles/kWh, comes out to 25,000kWh. The nat avg is 13c/kWh, so $3250. Should even be less since 10% of miles should be supercharger miles, which are free for the 2016 Model S.

      They say insurance is about $1600 a year. Fine, I just paid $1200 to Liberty Mutual for my $60k Model 3. The Model S was a $65k car in 2016, a little more, but in the same ballpark.

      Maintenance is $5400. That’ll pay for alot of tires I suppose. And another $4800 for non-warranty repairs. Uhm, okay.

      Altogether, I think they forgot the $7500 tax credit, financing and fuel were double what they should be, And insurance seems high. Adjusting just for those takes $15.5k off their TCO number of $58k.

      • 0 avatar
        LeMansteve

        Edmunds TCO is not precise to everyone’s situation but it’s a good starting point for COMPARISON. Any personal downward adjustments you make to one model would apply to competing models as well.

        Personally, I never finance as much as they assume the average buyer does. I wind that number down and make adjustments for fuel and insurance as you did.

        Maintenance and repairs – I can only assume Edmunds has a reasonable source for that information. By selecting a 2016 model, I think Edmunds assumes you are buying a 3 year old car, and not giving you TCO of a brand new 2016.

        IIRC, the $7,500 tax credit expired last year.

        • 0 avatar
          KenC

          Good points, whatever finance savings you get should be applicable to other vehicles too; but the fuel costs struck me as odd, since you’d think they’d use the national avg for electricity. What other rate could they use?

          Actually, the TCO calculation is from a new 2016, not a used one. So, the tax credit should have applied, back in 2016.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Fifty-five years ago, when Mercedes was at its zenith of reputation as being a forever car, people would justify buying a 220SE over a Chevy II using the exact same fuzzy logic. Sure, you paid three times as much for the Merc, but since it didn’t fall apart and you only occasionally had to make repairs, it was cheaper over 20 years. And hey, you weren’t driving some crapbox as the savings piled up – you were driving a Ma-Chine. Four Nova equivalents would have rusted out in the meantime. The landscape was dotted with early to mid ’60s Mercedes in 1980 as a result. Not.

    The Tesla and EV drivers of today get a subsidy for buying the thing in some (most?) jurisdictions, and then fuel it with highway-tax-free electricity. So somewhere in the early bliss of driving the Tesla a zillion miles, when state and federal authorities finally wake up and attach a GPS or something to track EV usage/mileage and send a monthly bill for your use of the public highways, your head will explode! How dare they tax ME for going green! The way I see it, the EV driver is currently a parasite on society at large.

    In my jurisdiction of Nova Scotia there are zero subsidies for purchase. Result – only about a dozen Teslas owned by very wealthy people for the novelty and I’ve seen a couple of Leafs but Nissan doesn’t stock them or anything so radical as that. The EV population has soared by 10% or so recently – there is a Jaguar I-Pace. It’s driven by the billionaire owner of the 14 dealer group he runs.

    • 0 avatar
      comeaujo

      Most of the EV owners I know in Nova Scotia would gladly pay their fair share of road taxes once the province figures out how to do it. Also there are currently close to 250 plug-in vehicles in our province and the number grows every month.

      As for the article in question I agree it’s garbage. We did not buy an EV (2013 Tesla) to “save” money we bought one because they are amazing cars. We are not wealthy by any stretch but the total cost of ownership will be less than a comparably priced luxury sedan in the long run and that will get better every year until the savings are obvious without clever accounting.

      The transition to electric vehicles is inevitable. They aren’t for everyone yet but they will be much faster than most anticipate.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I agree with your first paragraph. I’ve nursed plenty of old cars past their expiration dates. Unless you really enjoy wrenching or paying for your mechanic’s boat, the thrill is gone pretty quick.

      As for the rest, keep in mind some states charge extra registration fees for EVs to make up for lost gas taxes. Honestly you could make a stronger case that ICE drivers are parasites, since their tailpipes are spreading negative externalities like asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease to other people, none of which they’re paying for. Yes, there’s a “long tailpipe” to a powerstation for an EV, but the net pollution emissions per mile are much lower. That goes for C02 emissions as well, though I generally avoid talking about those to avoid triggering TTAC’s ostrich brigade.

      FWIW, our family drives every possible combination of powertrain and body style. I love ’em all in their own way, from the ass-hauling electric runabout to the burbling gas SUV. Anyone who tells you he’s a car guy except for particular types of car…is not a car guy.

    • 0 avatar
      KenC

      More likely than not, the EV charging infrastructure in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is not very good, so that’s holding back sales. I only got a Model 3 this year in Maine, because they finally put some superchargers in that allow me to get to Boston, and Montreal and Quebec. Looking northeast towards New Brunswick and Nova Scotia/PEI, it’s pretty barren. A supercharger in Fredericton and Amherst, but nothing near Halifax. If you’re going up to Cape Breton, you have to find destination chargers and/or 3rd party charging networks. Not really ideal. Makes owning a Tesla, highly impractical until there’s better ultrafast charging infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        comeaujo

        I can’t speak for the early adopters from 2013/2014 but owning a Tesla in Halifax for about the last couple of years has been no problem at all and we are a single car family. All we needed was a CHAdeMo adapter. Both NB and NS now have a very decent network of Level 3 DCFC but those really only came online in the last couple of years. Before that? WOW I don’t know how people used their EV’s other than for daily commuting. There are now enough Superchargers to connect us to Quebec and Maine and I think we’ll see the rest come online this year. Soon I won’t even need the CHAdeMo adapter I’m sure.

        • 0 avatar
          KenC

          Yeah, the situation seems to be improving fast. Of course, if you live in Halifax, you have your home charging, and you only need fast charging to get away. For those of us who are away from Nova Scotia, we’d have to find destination charging when we get there! Can we come to your house?

          • 0 avatar
            comeaujo

            You are correct that is exactly what this region is still lacking – more level 2 charging where travelers sleep. Lots of level 3 to get you here but then you’re left hanging. It surprises me more haven’t taken advantage of Tesla’s Destination Charging program I believe they’ll still give businesses the HPWC for free.

      • 0 avatar
        comeaujo

        I can’t speak for the early adopters from 2013/2014 but owning a Tesla in Halifax for about the last couple of years has been no problem at all and we are a single car family. All we needed was a CHAdeMo adapter. Both NB and NS now have a very decent network of Level 3 DCFC but those really only came online in the last couple of years. Before that? WOW I don’t know how people used their EV’s other than for daily commuting. There are now enough Superchargers to connect us to Quebec and Maine and I think we’ll see the rest come online this year. Soon I won’t even need the CHAdeMo adapter I’m sure.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    “Because you’re going to drive past every pump you see, why not knock that estimated sum off the advertised retail price? It looks good.”

    Because the electricity you put in it typically isn’t free. With gas running around 1.90 per gallon, on fuel cost alone, my Fiesta ST was cheaper than my sons Leaf last month. Miles driven was close but given the cost per kwh currently it really doesnt save me any money on fuel.

    Now my F150 needs plugs and both it and the Fiesta need oil changes and that stuff isn’t free either. Still the cost is waaaaay closer than I had hoped. Still it is a good car for him, size wise and certainly there are other benefits (pollution, and it is a good sized car for him and as a straight up economy car, the electric drivetrain is great) BUT unless gas gets more expensive the savings are not that great, at least in my experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Additionally, I don’t know what a replacement battery runs on a Tesla or how often you need one. I do know that my Leaf at 45k had lost 2 bars of capacity. Not a big deal for its purpose, and I know it is one of the worse wearing batteries but its little (compared to a Tesla) battery is 8500 bucks to replace at the dealer. I would be shocked if the Tesla is cheaper. Also I replaced the 1FZ-FE in my old Land Cruiser with a fresh from Tokyo Factory replacement short block and a new head and had the Transmission rebuilt along with the front diff for less than 8500 bucks. That was by far the most expensive engine swap I have done (lots of “may as well” in there).

      Also the author seems to assume that the car will never need anything as the miles rack up. It will need less, to be sure, but Teslas still have suspensions that will wear and need attention. Brakes may wear slower, but they still wear. And will those fancy electronics hold up over the 2-300k miles he is talking about? Yes, upkeep will be LESS than an ICE car (though many ICE drivetrains will go well over 200k without issue…the above Land Cruiser was 250k), but Less isn’t Free.

      But maybe I screwed up in buying a 5000 dollar electric. Perhaps had I spent that extra 90k I’d see the real savings.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Useful comments Art – thank you. One thing that I wonder about are EV brakes – I know that rotors (disk) often get rusty in areas where the salt roads, especially if the rotors are not heavily used regularly. This is often a cause of inspection fail in places where cars must pass periodic safety/emission inspections. So how do EVs do with rotor rust when most of the braking is done with regenerative systems that don’t utilize the “regular” brake systems? And if you must replace the rotors, you typically also replace the pads whether they need it or not, so do EVs really saving any money on brakes in salty places?

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          SR65, whether electric or hybrid, the brakes get used. In the case of a hybrid that has regen only with the front wheels, the rears always engage, even if the rate of deceleration is modest enough for the motor/generator to slow the car. This is why it is not uncommon (it occurred in my Altima) for the rear brakes to need replacement before the front. This is to maintain vehicle stability. Even those with 4 wheel drive, there are enough times when the standard brakes have to engage because you need to stop quickly. Lastly, I forget which car, there are only standard brakes – the regen occurs by simply lifting off the accelerator. You can modulate your speed by throttle position. Not nearly as much fun as changing the direction with accelerator though…

          In dreadful NYC to suburb commuting, I replaced the rears at 48K and the fronts at 55K. Not really that much longer a life than most get from an ICE only car. On my personal cars (all ICE only) I usually get 30K from the fronts. Then again, I like enthusiastic pedal inputs…

        • 0 avatar
          KenC

          Had a Chevy Volt for 3 years in Maine. Lots of salting on the roads here. No rust ever. The rotors are treated with something to prevent rust. And, if you use mostly regeneration, you barely stress the friction braking. You couldn’t even tell I had ever used the friction brakes on my rotors.
          Of course if you have rust on your rotors, the Volt has blended brakes and a few hard emergency stops will take care of it. The Tesla does not have blended brakes so stomping on the brakes will clear off any surface rust.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If your Fiesta St cost less to operate than a Leaf (for the same miles driven), then you must be paying 2 to 3 times what I do for electricity. And here in western PA (home of the nation’s highest gas taxes) a gallon costs about $2.55 right now.

      As for replacement batteries, the Tesla battery degrades so little that I’m not sure anyone has actually needed to replace one.

      Leaf batteries are just the opposite because they must be deep cycled to get any range out of them, and their chemistry is not as good as Tesla’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        @SCE, I agree…but I ran the Math based on per KWH. It is a bit least than my initial calculation, but not much. I had initially based that on the difference in electric bills pre vs post Leaf, so it wasn’t perfect. Turns out my gaming rig wasn’t sleeping right either so that likely padded the power bill a bit (those 2 1080 TI’s and ryzen 7 drink the juice). But based on purely mileage driven, it is very close, again on fuel cost only. Had I gotten the 1.0 vs the ST I have no doubt it would be less, but the Leaf would probably be more fun to drive.

        I am a fan of the Leaf. It is the perfect car for the role I got it for. I like how electrics drive too. If I were getting a luxury car it is hard to imagine a more fitting drivetrain. Buy them for those reasons. Buy them because you want to save the planet. But if you are convincing yourself you are going to save a ton of money, you just aren’t without something dramatic happening with respect to fuel prices which despite wails to the contrary, have historically been quite stable (and low).

        As to the brakes, you still use the pad and rotor…the Regen typically won’t stop you. Also, as the car being compared here is a manual I am not certain the leafs brakes will significantly outlasts the Fiesta’s. I tend to slow down with the transmission. I think the whole brake torque vectoring thing uses a good amount of brake though based on the non scientific brake dust on my wheels test though. Still again the ol 1.0 eb fiesta would again fare better here as that is an ST only feature.

        An all electric fleet would give me back the occasional Saturday (yesterday was 3 oil changes, tire rotations, and plugs for the F150 (shot at 60k…40k before Ford says they need replacing…something to keep in mind should you own an ecoboost but at least they were easy in rwd configuration). Also some random work on my friend’s 98 Maxima. Still, I see Saturdays with friends, wrenches, beer, and Van Halen as a feature, not a burden.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Also, as an aside…for all the wailing and moaning about how cars have gotten so impossible to work on…that Maxima was BY FAR the biggest PITA of the 4 cars that we were wrenching on. I love it (it’s a manual in great shape…everything still works), but you can’t even see any of the accessories or belts in it. That 3.0 is 11 pounds of motor in a 10 pound sack of an engine bay though. Still fun to keep a 90s ride on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Regen can’t stop you only slow you to a point, however the other drag would eventually stop you, assuming the vehicle doesn’t have creep built in to simulate a traditional ICE vehicle equipped with an AT.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Art: I like your version of Saturdays, too.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @Art: Have you tried the regen in “B” mode? If your selector has a D/B position instead of just D, you just shift into D twice and B should be displayed instead if D. B is the more aggressive regen mode.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I have not. Mine is a 2013. AFAIK, you pull the shifter back once and you are in “eco” mode (has eco displayed nedt to the D) which is slower (at least it feels it due to the pedal calibration…I believe WOT is still WOT) and has a more aggressive regen. Pulling back again puts it in normal mode which honestly feels like David Hasselhoff hitting the turbo boost button on KITT. I will double check the manual.

            Again, I really like how it drives though and I could completely see living with a 200+ mile range electric. It is likely my next toy car will be something more akin to a caged, LS swapped third gen Camaro though, but I have over a year on the Fiesta’s lease remaining and my tastes, outside of the truck, are fickle. But again, I’d be fine with the Leaf as a transportation appliance…it drives nice.

  • avatar
    mcs

    For some real world Tesla costs, check out Tesloop. They have a number of high mileage Teslas and have posted the numbers. The highest mileage is a Model S with 440k and there are some others in the 300k range.

    https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2019/2/6/tesloops-high-mileage-teslas

    • 0 avatar
      salguod

      They are reporting 15 cents per mile over 400K for electricity, maintenance and repairs. That’s no insurance, as far as I can tell and not amortizing the purchase price. It’s also had 2 battery replacements and a drive motor replacement, all on Tesla’s dime.

      I keep pretty good records via the aCar app and over the 27K and 17 months that I’ve owned my 2015 Accord Hybrid it says that it’s cost me 5.5 cents per mile in running costs. Yes, it’ll go up as it ages, but I can’t image it getting to 15 cents.

      My 2007 Prius is at 8.5 cents over 100K miles, starting at 112K. My daughter drives it now and she’s not real diligent about recording gas expenses, however. It’s likely a bit higher, but not double.

      The 2010 Outlook I owned for 3 years and 70K was only 20 cents per mile and that thing averaged 17 MPG.

  • avatar
    GM JUNK

    Check out Rich Rebuilds on Youtube. One of the best ways to understand this company.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 on Rich. He is hacking in the best way, in the face of not only “no” support, but passive resistance on the part of Tesla. We are all used to Dealer or indy repairs, parts from a million sources, real and on – line, and some level of electronic support, even if at the 10k / year professional subscription level. From these videos, you see how Tesla is like Apple at it’s worst…right to repair ? LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      That was interesting.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Trying to convince this guy that his math is wrong is like blaming gravity if I jumped out of a 20 story window and died…. willful ignorance and delusion is impervious to facts, math and rational thought.

  • avatar
    TS020

    I drive a 2008 Fiesta Econetic (diesel), 165,000 miles, only light maintenance and servicing. For 500 miles of range I pay approx. $50. Electricity in my part of the world is 42.8c/kwh (not a typo). Tesla Model S 75D gets approx. 3 miles per kwh (cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/what-is-mpge)

    Diesel:
    $50/800miles = $0.0625c per mile. My servicing cost is $200 per 6,211miles = $0.032c + $0.0625c = $0.0945c per mile cost

    Model S 75D:
    42.8c x 75kw = $32.10. $32.10/(75kwh x 3miles per kwh)= $0.142c per mile.

  • avatar
    KenC

    If you read the original article, it’s clear that the author considers PHEVs, as EVs. He wrote: “I was not an electric newbie, however. I traded in my 2014 Chevy Volt”

    In other words, when he was shopping for his first electric, and bought the Volt, he also tested the Fusion Energi. That was obviously the 2014 model year. That car had an EVNow mode, that took 15 secs to get to 60mph. So, the author wasn’t wrong, the all-EV mode in the 2014 Fusion Energi was dog slow, and dangerous for merging onto LA freeways.

    As for his TCO calculations, those are always ripe for criticism.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      The original article doesn’t present a true TCO calculation. He takes the original purchase price and subtracts the incremental savings. I suppose it’s useful if you’re comparing costs RELATIVE to another car, but glosses over the fact that the car costs $80k+ to begin with.

      You could do a similar article on the savings between a BMW i8 and an Audi R8.

      A real TCO would list out all the costs. Each year, I spend this much on fuel, maintenance, insurance, repairs, etc. Plus an estimate on depreciation.

      • 0 avatar
        KenC

        Shouldn’t be too hard to do a real TCO. The prof drove 50k in 33 months, so he’ll drive 150k in 8 yrs. Assuming the car has zero salvage value after 150k we get:

        Depreciation/tax and fees: $8500 per year
        Finance: $620 per year, taking total interest and dividing by 8yrs
        Fuel: $0 since he’s got solar, that he already amortized, and free supercharging
        Insurance: $1200, that’s my personal estimate based upon what I pay for insurance
        Maintenance: $1000, that’s Edmunds’ estimate, will buy lots of tires and wipers
        Repairs: $1000, again Edmunds’ estimate

        Altogether, $12,320 per year, or about 66cents per mile, based upon his driving. Recoup some on the end, when he sells his Model S. Typically, I figure 50 cents to $1 per mile for a luxury vehicle, so he’s at the lowish end, but still, NOT free!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Can You Find Fault in These Calculations?”

    This is the internet after all and facts need not enter into the equation.

  • avatar

    I seriously considered Tesla for my next car. I don’t have range issues, I know my day in advance, and have the driveway + electric drop for charging. I liked the actual product.

    What turned me off were the cast aluminum suspension members cracking and “droopy wheel” syndrome, along with many examples of hard to get parts and repairs. The bears, the “shorts”, on Twitter are very entertaining, but in the end, it was the company behind the product that made it a “no”. There isn’t any aftermarket, or even your local repair shop….I wasn’t ready to marry Tesla in a way you don’t marry any other car company…I toss all my cars into a grinder, support is required, and the last thing I wanted was a thirty day wait for simple repairs.


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