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Is Buying A Tesla Worth It? Read About A User Talking After 227K Miles

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Nowadays, it is very difficult to talk about advancements in the automobile industry and not mention electrification. Green mobility has become a huge part of the automotive industry. Companies like Tesla have already established themselves as a major player in this field. At the same time, combustion vehicle giants like Volkswagen, BMW, Audi are also making giant strides in this area.

Is Buying A Tesla Worth It

Is Buying A Tesla Worth It? Read About A User Talking After 227K Miles

While many people have accepted the revolution the industry is going through, many are still skeptical about one name. That name is Tesla. Tesla may have a lot of supporters in the auto world, but they also have a lot of opposition. Many people blame the build quality of their products, and it is true that they have faced quality control issues. The quality of finish on their cars is another area where they get a lot of heat. But, in terms of service, maintenance cost, and fueling, is buying a Tesla worth it? It is much easier to judge when you read about Sean Mitchell, who has driven a Tesla for around 227K miles (365K km).

The Story of Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell is a Tesla owner since 2016, and he owns a YouTube channel as well. This channel, “All Things EV”, talks about his journey as a Tesla owner and the popularity of electric vehicles in general. He currently owns a Tesla Model S, which he bought in 2016. The car is actually a 2013 model, which he bought as a second-hand vehicle. At the time of purchase, the car had logged just 16,000 miles (25,700 km). He bought it for $53,000. In less than four years, he has managed to add 221,000 miles (340,000 km), which is quite phenomenal.

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Sean works in real estate and lives in Denver, which is why he drives around quite a bit on a daily basis. He also mentioned that he has made two long-distance trips in his Tesla over the past four years. One of these has been to Los Angeles and the other to Austin. Hence, his experience is a good one to review the condition of Teslas after significant usage.

An Overview of Sean Mitchell’s Experience

When Sean bought his Model S, it was equipped with a 60 kWh battery. Later on, it was replaced by a 75 kWh battery pack. Over the course of the four years, Sean’s expenses on his car can be divided into three (fairly equal) parts.

Tesla Model S Cost BreakdownLet’s find out the answer to the question “Is Buying A Tesla Worth It?”. Here, we can see that service and repairs of the car cost Sean the most, followed closely by maintenance. Hard figures indicate that service and repairs cost $9,709 and maintenance cost $9,192 over the four years. In comparison, charging costs for the vehicle come down to a total of $7,747, which is significantly cheaper. All this adds up to roughly $26,650 for everything. For 211,000 miles (340,000 km), that is an operational cost of around 12 cents per mile or 7 cents per km.

Tesla Fuel Costs

Sean compared the fuel costs of this Model S to a comparable combustion vehicle, the Audi A7 Quattro, and a Subaru Legacy, which he owned before the Tesla. The difference is significant. The A7 needs around $37,507 to fuel the car for 200K+ miles. The Subaru, on the other hand, needed roughly $22,380 for fuel. Compared to this, the Tesla Model S needed just $7,747, which is quite inexpensive.

Tesla Fuel Cost This $7,747 is still an estimate on the higher side, according to Sean. He calculated this total by assuming a rate of 11 cents per kWh of home-charging. However, he did receive a few instances of free Supercharger usage, which brings the cost lower. Also, consider that Sean recently moved to a new house, and now pays just 7-8 cents per kWh, and the figure goes lower still.

Tesla’s Service, Repairs, and Maintenance Cost

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In his first year, most of the minor repairs were covered under warranty or goodwill. He only paid for a broken mirror and a water ingress on the headliner, which was around $1,929 in the first year. At the end of the year 2017, Sean crossed the 50,000 mile-mark for Tesla’s warranty. This increased repair costs in further years.

In 2018, three major replacements had to be done, which were a windshield, a front suspension, and a brake caliper replacement. These amounted to a total of $3,225. 2019 saw him pay for a malfunctioning charging port and wiring corrosion. It was at this time that he changed his 12V battery. That totalled to about $1029. Finally, this year saw him replace his MCU (Media Control Unit), a front door handle, and the instrument cluster. That makes it $3,507 for 2020.

Maintenance mostly consisted of tire changes, as he went through a number of types, sizes, and brands of tires. He also went with different sets of tires for summer and winter, along with tire rotation costs.

Tesla Battery Degradation

When Sean bought the car, it was equipped with a 60 kWh battery pack. He mentions that he did not use this battery to the best of his abilities, as there was a lot of abusive usages. He mentions charging it up to 100% almost every day and also used Superchargers a lot at the time. This took a toll on the battery and the result was severe degradation. The car once displayed a remaining range of 36 miles (58 km), before suddenly coming to a halt because of an empty battery. At this time, Sean was advised by Tesla to replace his battery.

This happened around 2 years after he bought the car. At that time, he was lucky to receive an upgrade on his battery pack and got a capacity of 75 kWh. Since then, he limited the usage of Supercharging and also capped his home charging at 90% of the SoC (State of Charge). When he bought the car, it had a range of 201 miles (323 km), and when he changed it, the range had come down to 187 miles (301 km). This, after having driven around 145,000 miles (233,000 km) on that battery pack.

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Since the battery change, Sean has driven around 82,000 miles (132,000 km), and the range, which was updated to 244 miles (393 km) has come down to 228 miles (367 km). This is not exactly severe degradation.

Sean’s Opinion

So here is the answer to “Is Buying A Tesla Worth It?” according to the user, As a Tesla owner for four years now, Sean is quite impressed with the lack of stress this car has put on his wallet. The entire operational cost of the Tesla is just slightly higher than the fuel cost for the Subaru Legacy. The Audi costs almost $11,000 more for just fuel than what the Tesla does overall. Not to mention the fact that it is rare to see an Audi A7 Quattro run for 200K+ miles.

Sean says that Tesla definitely offers better deals when it comes to servicing and repairs, with constant instances of repairs being covered under goodwill. At the same time, there are many new electric vehicle manufacturers coming up, and a few of them exciting. Sean said that he will most definitely upgrade to a Tesla Model Y in the future, but not before reviewing other alternatives in the market, like Rivian.

Our Opinion

We had reported two months ago about another such customer who had logged 100K miles in just over 2 years. We mentioned maintenance costs and repairs just like we have with Sean. The conclusion is that it may be cheaper to buy a combustion vehicle upfront, but maintenance should be a big factor while considering your next vehicle. With an electric vehicle, you will spend lesser money on keeping the car in good shape, and also have less degradation of components than a combustion vehicle. And if the electric vehicle is a Tesla, the prices will only drop further.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.

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