We’ve had the first Tesla Model S in our Tesla Shuttle fleet for 3 months now. We’ve put 17,000 kilometers (~10,500 miles) on it. One of several reasons the business idea originally made sense to us was that we’d have almost no operational costs for the car itself. Most of the charging stations in our home city are free and Tesla’s Superchargers* are of course free (for vehicles up to a certain production date).

After a few months with the car, we already have a jaw-dropping series of figures to share. First of all, after 17,000 kilometers, we’ve spent an eye-popping ~$10 to charge the car at public charging stations. The car mostly lives in my parking space, which unfortunately doesn’t include a charging port. As much as that lack of home charging does cut down on the normal convenience of EV life, it also provides a charging bill of nearly $0/year.

I’ve only spent approximately $10 to charge in a couple of garage parking lots that have hourly rates — basically just parking rates. However, a couple of my business partners have had the car at their homes some of the time as well, which has made our charging bill soar, resulting in approximately $60 of additional cost for the electricity they used.

Anyhow, $70 for 17,000 kilometers of travel is pretty sweet. Anyone who has ever looked at the price of gasoline can tell you that. But what would the cost of that driving have been with a “normal” car? As I’m typing this, I’m just as curious as you are, since I haven’t done the math yet.

First of all, we have to know what car we’re comparing the Model S to. My first thought was the Fiat 500, but … that car’s not as popular globally. 😉 More seriously, the BMW 5 Series or 7 Series is probably the best choice, or a comparable Mercedes. The fuel economy of these models seems to range from 16 MPG to 27 MPG for 2017 model year vehicles. Going with 21 MPG, that’s 500 gallons of gasoline across 10,500 miles.

The average price of gasoline in Poland over the past few months seems to be approximately 4.40 Polish złoty per liter, or $4.64/gallon.

As always, total cost of ownership (TCO) depends on many variables that can change quite a lot from person to person or business to business. Obviously, we are driving the car much more than the average person drives theirs, gasoline costs are much higher than in the US, and we are lucky to benefit from primarily free charging. Nonetheless, I think this is a fun scenario to demonstrate one of the advantages of electric vehicles — no gas!


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