A while back we made a couple of videos documenting my experience driving the Tesla Model 3 for about a year. Turns out the Tesla not only met my expectations but exceeded them. The Model 3 is beautiful, powerful and economical, not to mention that charging it with solar power makes it one of my top three green living solutions that has helped cut my carbon footprint. Here’s my year in review.
A Year of Driving the Model 3 by the Numbers:
Total Miles Driven:
Total Energy Used:
Average Energy Usage Per Mile:
Money Saved on Gas:
$1,642-$2,363, depending on how you’d like to calculate it (more on that later)
Number of Times I Couldn’t Get Where I Wanted Because I Didn’t Have the Range:
My Top Three Favorite Features of the Tesla Model 3:
- The ability to drive around using 100% solar power by charging from my home solar array. This is accompanied by the joy of helping advance electric vehicle and energy storage technologies, which are key facets of creating a more sustainable world.
- The Tesla autopilot with convenience features. Tesla autopilot makes sitting in stop-and-go traffic more tolerable (it sits in traffic by itself!) and makes it much easier to cruise for long periods of time on the highway for those US 1 road trips from Miami to Orlando.
- Saving lots of money on gas and maintenance.
Economics of Driving a Tesla After One Year
Tesla Driving Cost
The Tesla Model 3 used 6,014 kWh this year. The average price of energy in Florida is $0.12/kWh in 2019. So the cost to charge the Tesla Model 3 at home is $721.
Meanwhile, let’s assume I am comparing the Tesla to an internal combustion engine car (ICE car) that gets 30 miles per gallon. At a $3 gallon of gas, driving the same distance (23,634 miles) would have cost $2,363. So at a minimum, I saved $1,642 driving the Tesla. Over ten years, the money saved from using grid power instead of gasoline would be about $16,000.
However, I charged the Tesla at home with my solar power, which is essentially free. So the full savings I received is $2,363 this year.
The other great thing about driving a Tesla from an economic perspective is the low maintenance of the electric vehicle.
Below is an exhaustive list of the maintenance I have performed on the Tesla this year:
- Changed the wiper fluid 3-4 times
- Patched a tire for $30
I’m coming up on the 25,000-mile mark when Tesla suggests performing the first round of general maintenance. And of course, every car needs the brake pads replaced so that will also be coming up. But with an electric car’s regenerative braking, replacing brake pads doesn’t need to be as frequent since the regenerative brakes decelerate the car when they recharge the battery.
A Note on Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety
People’s biggest fear when considering getting an electric vehicle is range anxiety. Range anxiety is the fear that your car won’t take you where you need to go before running out of battery. Put simply, I experienced zero range anxiety with the Tesla this year. I could always get where I needed to go.
Firstly, the range of the car is about 300 miles, which is a pretty good distance to cover. My longest typical commute is between Miami and Orlando, about 230 miles.
Second, Tesla’s network of superchargers and built-in navigation system makes it super easy to charge the car wherever I need to go. The car automatically finds chargers along your route and will tell you how long you need to stay at the charger to get where you need to go. And unlike pumping gas, you don’t need to attend to the car while it’s charging so you can grab a bite to eat or take a ride on the world’s tallest swing.