Many electric car fans advocate switching over from petrol or diesel, citing the high cost of fuel and relatively low cost of electricity.
This may be true for certain vehicles, but hybrid petrol cars are often inexpensive to run.
According to a comparison written by Anton Wahlman and published by SeekingAlpha, Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicle is actually more expensive to drive than a new hybrid sedan.
This is discounting the price difference between the two vehicles – the Toyota is significantly cheaper than the Tesla.
Tesla vs Toyota
The comparison looked at the fuel efficiency of one of the best-selling petrol-fueled sedans in the United States – The Toyota Camry LE hybrid – with the Tesla Model 3.
A new Tesla Model 3 is priced at $41,190, while a Toyota Camry LE costs only $29,385. These prices are sourced from the manufacturers’ websites and include delivery fees.
This means the Toyota Camry LE hybrid is $11,805 cheaper than the Tesla.
The latter would not be able to make up this cost through fuel savings, as it is actually more expensive to drive than its petrol-fueled competitor.
Using Tesla’s Supercharger rate of $0.28 per kWh and the Model 3’s 26kWh capacity drain per 100 miles travelled, Wahlman found that the Tesla Model 3 costs $0.07 to drive one mile.
He also calculated the fuel economy of the Toyota Camry LE hybrid using the current United States fuel price. He found that the Camry LE hybrid only costs $0.05 per mile – cheaper than the Tesla Model 3.
This means that Tesla Model 3 owners would never be able to earn back the initial extra cost of their vehicle, and they would continue paying more to run their cars than Camry drivers.
Even if electricity were free, Wahlman noted, it would take 20 years to make up for the extra initial cost of the Model 3 compared to the Toyota.
Tesla scaling up
Despite the fact that electric cars are, in at least some cases, not cheaper to drive than petrol-fueled vehicles, there are many Tesla fans around the world who would pay a premium for their Model 3.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is attempting to scale up the company’s production of these electric sedans by assembling vehicles in China, where electric vehicle sales are expected to fall for the third year in a row.
Analysts said that Tesla hopes to start delivering vehicles in more countries around the world before other brands launch their competing electric cars.
“It’s an attempt to conquer the market,” LMC Automotive analyst Zhang Yan told Bloomberg.
Others are worried that while demand for Tesla’s Model 3 may be very high outside of the United States and Europe, many people may simply not be able to afford the vehicle.