What Is the Monthly Cost of a Tesla?


It’s been nearly a full year since I purchased my Tesla Model S. In that time I’ve completely fell in love with this company, their mission, and most of all their products. I’m looking forward to receiving our Model 3 sometime next year and also adding a Powerwall 2.0 to our home. All that said, I’m clearly biased, so take the following data with a grain of salt (and or tequila).

My wife asked me recently…how much are we saving from the Tesla? Being the data geek I am, I couldn’t resist but to do some analysis on this and try to answer the question. So this is where my curiosity took me. I have also heard this question from lots of friends interested in buying a Tesla. The basic question is

“How much per month does it cost in electricity?”

In San Diego, where I live, the local electricity company offers a special EV rate so I end up paying about $0.18/kWH. I work from home so I don’t drive much, making the actual dollar savings relatively small. And I’m still investigating if there are any times when the car is pulling electricity but doesn’t necessarily need to be (eg. Vampire Mode)

So here’s how I went about answering this question and analyzing the data. Hope this helps you in your journey!

Data Sources

  1. Data from my electricity provider, SDGE
  2. Milage data from MileIQ
  3. Historical Gas prices from Gas Buddy
  4. Estimated MPG for a full-size sedan (equivalent to a model S)

The Data

My Approach

  • Determine my monthly cost for powering the Tesla
  • Calculate the approximate cost of driving in a legacy gas-powered sedan
  • Subtract the two to determine monthly savings


Additional Links

Tesla Reverse Payment Calculator
Tesla Charging Cost Estimator

Edmunds.com True Cost of Ownership

  • Bert

    You are using 460 Wh per mile on average over 7 months? That’s much

    And you have a special EV rate for your electricity at 18 cents per kWh, do you mean that is specially expensive? http://www.electricitylocal.com/states/california/san-diego/

    • Not sure where that site is getting it’s data, here is what SDGE offers though. And yeah, it’s pretty expennsive to live here, but worth it 🙂 http://www.sdge.com/clean-energy/ev-rates

      • Bert

        I see, I guess the combination of a high Wh per mile and high electricity price adds to the relatively low cost savings.. But I’m sure I will have a pretty high Wh per mile too when I drive a Tesla 🙂

        Thanks for the article

  • Christopher Kasper

    Ben, Interesting article and video. thanks for pulling it all together. Question… I also live in San Diego and have been trying to rationalize a Tesla. The sticking point is that to get the super low midnight rate, you have to pay a premium for the daytime rates. Whereas if you stayed on the ‘Standard’ plan then it doesn’t matter when you use the electricity you just pay more after going over a certain threshold of use. Do you find that you electric bill went up in the summer since you now have to pay ‘prime time’ rates to use your Air conditioner?

Free 5 Day Video Course | Tableau Quick Start

Everything you need to become dangerous :)