New analysis suggests that the total cost of ownership of a Tesla Model 3 over three years is likely to be less than that of the very popular (and cheaper upfront) Toyota Camry.
At least, that is the case in the US, where this analysis by Ark Invest has been done, but it is likely to be a similar story in Australia, even if the final pricing for the Model 3 in Australia is still very much a matter of speculation.
According to the Ark analysis, it not just the base Standard Range Model 3 that pips the Camry at the post on total costs – even the Long Range Model 3, which at the time of printing cost $US44,500 ($A62,055 at today’s exchange rates, plus transport and local GST), comes in under the Camry.
Ark analysts base their calculations on resale figures from Kelley Blue Book (which showed the Tesla Model 3 tops the list for electric cars with 69.3% resale value ), as well as maintenance and power costs for 15,000 miles (24,000km) per year over a three-year period.
They put a cost per mile for the Long Range Model 3 at just 51 cents, well under the Camry’s 57 cents total cost of ownership (TCO) per mile, although a little above the Ford Focus’s 48 cents TCO per mile over three years.
For Toyota, whose top-selling Camry has been experiencing declining sales (an 11% drop in 2018 according to Car Sales Database), its becoming clear that the cheaper running costs of electric cars are impacting sales as buyers are increasingly taking TCO into account when purchasing new cars.
As noted by Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz, Tesla is putting a dent in sales, and not only the Camry; the Prius has also lost sales to Tesla.
It appears there is also room for further growth for the Tesla Model 3, too.
Sam Korus, who reported on the calculations for Ark Invest, notes that while a comparison of “cash price” for sales of cars in the US is traditionally used to frame potential demand for vehicles, a comparison of TCO may be more accurate.
Worth noting is the fact that car pricing – of any make or model – is not static; the frequent shift of pricing for the Model 3 in the US is already indicating a slightly higher TCO for the Long Range Model 3 against the Camry.
Neither is the Standard Range Model 3 available any more through Tesla’s online store, although they can still be bought via a visit to showrooms.
Nevertheless, based on current pricing for the more popular Model 3 Plus which costs $US39,500 ($A55,082 at today’s rates), less the current US federal government rebate of $3,750 ($A5,229), the TCO over 3 years still works out at just under 50 cents per mile (see link here for Ark’s calculations).
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.