The cost of buying and owning the Tesla Model 3 is now less than an entry-level Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid following its third price reduction in less than 12 months.
On Saturday Tesla dropped the price of the Model 3 to just $59,990 before on-roads, meaning that it now costs $64,648 on-road in NSW, compared to the Camry Ascent hybrid – Toyota’s cheapest hybrid Camry – which is $34,623 driveaway.
After calculating running costs and resale value, we’ve discovered that a driver who bought the Model 3 would be $26,563 out of pocket compared to $30,330 for the Camry.
These are thought-provoking numbers, particularly as we’ve reported that so far in 2021 Tesla has shipped more Model 3s to Australia than Toyota has Camrys.
And the Model 3 will cost even less for NSW drivers in September. It’s already eligible for a $3,000 rebate in Victoria although this will be offset by a road user tax. But in NSW, the $3,000 rebate plus a stamp duty waiver will equal $5,175 less out of pocket.
Other states such as the ACT, Tasmania and Queensland also offer various cost-reducing incentives for drivers to go electric.
The sums, which we’ve calculated assuming the EV driver is a member of a motorists association, who always charges at Chargefox and hence gets a 20% discount for 32 cents per kilowatt-hour, show that after owning then selling a Tesla Model 3 for five years the total cost of ownership is less than that for the hybrid.
This is largely because the resale values on Tesla Model 3s are much higher than that of the Toyotas; a study released in 2020 suggested that they lose just 5.5% of their value per year, and can thus resell for about 80% of their value after 5 years.
On the other hand, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will sell for just 60% of its original value according to Car Edge.
The assumptions we’ve used to calculate the total cost of ownership for both vehicles are:
- 5 years ownership
- 15,000kms a year driving
- $1.50 per litre fuel
- 4l/100km Camry fuel consumption
- 15kWh/100km Model 3 energy consumption
We have to thank Anthony Agius for insurance cost estimations, and the inspiration to delve deeper into the cost of ownership. You can read his sums here, and we note that neither his nor our sums include tyre costs.
And this is how the numbers work out:
|Tesla Model 3||
Toyota Camry Hybrid
|Cost to own||$26,563||$30,330|
Of course, there’s a lot of wiggle room on various sums, such as how much your insurance company will charge you to insure a Tesla compared to the Toyota.
But also good to consider is that while fuel prices will fluctuate (and will continue to rise over time), you can easily further lower your Tesla ownership costs by charging off solar if you have it, or utilising free chargers such as those installed by states and motorists associations.
The only way is up, as they say.
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.