Here’s what a realistic cost of ownership looks like for a 2023 Tesla Model Y. It’s more than just the sticker price, you have to factor in your electricity cost, maintenance cost and many other factors.
(Watch the video version of this article here: YouTube Link)
It’s hard to know exactly what the true cost of ownership is for a Tesla Model Y.
The sticker prices for these vehicles change dynamically, and there are also a handful of government & license fees that you need to consider. And beyond just the purchase price, you also need to factor in the total electricity cost of charging, as well as the maintenance cost of your Tesla vehicle, to get to a real figure.
So, to get to a true Tesla Model Y cost of ownership, I’ve constructed this quick and simple spreadsheet that calculates the most common cost line items that I could think of — that would be involved in the purchase and maintenance of a new Tesla Model Y (or any Tesla for that matter) — over a duration of 10 years of ownership.
In this article, I’ll go over all of the components of this worksheet, in full detail — to show you what a realistic cost of ownership would look like for a 2023 Tesla Model Y.
And, if you’d like to download this worksheet for free and follow along — or use this calculator to input your own factors and calculate a more personalized cost of ownership for any Tesla vehicle — then scroll down to the bottom of this article to see where you can go and download this.
1) Vehicle Cost
So let’s dive right into the spreadsheet and start at the very top, with the Vehicle Cost section.
There are 3 line items here: Base Vehicle Price, Options/Add-Ons and then the total Cash Price of Vehicle, inclusive of all of those options and add-ons.
To make it easier — I’ve already compiled a table to the right of the calculator that includes the base prices of all of the current Tesla Vehicles from Tesla.com. So when you select which vehicle you’re interested in, with this drop down here, the base vehicle price automatically populates from the data in the Vehicle Selection table.
Now, it’s important to note that the data in the Vehicle Selection table is current as of September 2023 — so if you’re reading this article at a later date than this, feel free to update the table with the most current prices you can find on Tesla’s website.
For our example today, we’re looking to purchase a Long Range Tesla Model Y.
Next, let’s also say that the only additional option we decide to add, to this base long range Model Y, is Full Self Driving at the current cost of $12,000.
That brings our total cash price of the vehicle to just over $62,400.
(Would you like to watch the video version of this spreadsheet explanation? Log onto my YouTube channel here: Daniel’s Brew)
2) Sales Tax
Next, we need to know what the sales tax rate will be of this purchase.
Sales tax differs by state and local municipality, so you’ll want to do a quick google search for this or look up the exact figures on your local state website — but for our purposes today, I’ve inputted 9.1% which is the average sales tax in my state and local area, at the moment.
In this example, the sheet calculates the sales tax that will need to be collected, at the point of purchase for this vehicle, to be just over $5,600.
Next — this is a bit uncommon, but if you have a trade-in vehicle that qualifies you for a tax credit, you can input that amount here. But be careful, this is different than a trade-in value for your vehicle which is listed out as a separate line item in the total credits section below. So unless you specifically have a tax credit for your trade-in, you can leave this line item blank.
So if we add the sales tax to the total cash price of the vehicle, our current subtotal comes out to just over $68,000.
3) Government Fees
Next, we have government agency fees.
The first 3 line items in this section are the registration, licensing and electronic filing fees — which are common in every vehicle purchase in the US. These costs may vary depending on your state — but in California, they are $316, $416 and $33 respectively.
The next 3 are less common — the tire fee, battery fee and additional other fees. If there are tire and battery fees associated with your purchase, they are usually taxes that are imposes by a government clean energy or other sustainability agency and they shouldn’t be very much at all. The other fees section would be where you can input any luxury tax or any other type of incremental fees that might be unique to your local government.
In our example, we have a combined $765 in government taxes which brings our running subtotal up to almost $69,000.
The next section outlines any credits you might receive at the point of sale.
The first line item here is for deposits. While this isn’t common anymore, if you were required to put a deposit down to reserve your particular Tesla vehicle, that amount that you’ve already paid will be deducted from your total purchase price, as a credit.
Next, is any amount that you would have given to the dealership as a down payment for this vehicle.
Following that, is the line item that captures any EV Incentives or Credits that your state may offer you, such as the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program that gives you $7,500 back.
Then below that, is the value of any trade-in vehicle that you are factoring into the purchase of your Tesla. If you are not sure what your current vehicle’s trade-in value is, you can simply go to the Kelly Blue Book site to get an estimate.
Lastly, if there are any additional credits not listed here that you want to include in your purchase calculation — you can enter it in, in the other credits line item.
That should give you the total sum of credits in this section and the last line will show you what the running subtotal is, after the value of the credits have been deducted.
In our particular example, the only credit I’ve applied here, is the $7,500 California EV incentive — which brings our running subtotal down to just over $61,000.
5) Other Dealer Fees
The last section in this purchase price table is the other dealer fees section.
This area just captures any order or documentation fees that are associated with the Dealer getting your vehicle ready for you.
These fees are listed on the Tesla website, so I’ve simply copied them over into their appropriate line items, in this section.
Total Point of Purchase Price
Putting all of the line items together, this brings our purchase total cost for this particular Model Y — to about $63,000.
But that’s not the end of our story — in order to calculate the true cost of ownership, we still have to factor in the price of maintaining our Tesla Model Y purchase across the lifetime of our possession.
Now, for the sake of this calculation, I’ve assumed that we would be keeping our vehicle for a duration of 10 years — so our cost of ownership figure will reflect all of the factors that go into that 10 year time span.
The first section in the Years of Ownership table is the electricity cost for charging the Tesla every night. Now, I know that we may not all be charging our Tesla vehicles every single night, but for the sake of consistency and simplicity in the model, I just assumed we’d charge it 365 days per year and that we’d charge it to 90% capacity each time, as recommended by Tesla in their app.
Average Electricity Cost
The first input in this section is your average electricity cost. Electricity consumption is measured in kWh and if you look at your utility bill, you should be able to see the rate and units of kWhs that you’re using.
My particular utility company has a 2 tier pricing system where the first 491 kWhs used is priced at 11 cents per unit and anything beyond that is charged at 12.9 cents per unit. And because I’m likely charging my Tesla at both pricing tiers, and for the sake of simplicity in this model, I’ve simply taken the average of the two rates and logged it into the average electricity cost line item.
Average Range Remaining
The next line item to fill in, is the average range remaining each night, when you plug in your Tesla Model Y.
You see, even though each morning, you’ll start off with 90% range capacity in your Model Y — your driving habits will, obviously, vary day by day. Some days, you’ll go on long trips and on other days, you may not even drive the car at all.
But in order to know how much you are charging your vehicle each night, we’ll need to approximate how many miles are left over on your car, after each day of driving.
In my particular case, on average, I expend about 52 miles of range each day — which brings me to 245 miles of capacity remaining each night, if I’ve started with 297 miles of capacity, which is 90% of my total range for the Model Y.
Once I enter that figure in — this excel model will take those numbers along with the max range and max battery capacity of the vehicle (which pulls from the Vehicle Type table on the right), and calculates the amount of kWh the Model Y needs to draw from your power grid to charge the car — in this example that computes to 11.82 kWh needed.
And together with the per kWh electricity cost we inputted in the first line item of this section, that equates to a cost of $1.42, in order to charge the Model Y to 90% each night. That works out to a yearly total of $517 — if I charge the car every single night.
Now that we have this calculated for the first year, for the sake of simplicity, I’ll just go ahead and take the same average electricity rate and average remaining range and apply it across all 10 years of ownership — even though I know that chances of these figures staying the same for the next 9 years, is highly unlikely.
One of the best things about owning a Tesla, or any all-electric vehicle, is that because of the lack of a combustion engine, the maintenance required to upkeep these vehicles, is much less than those that are gas-powered.
There are no oil changes to perform, no oil filters to replace, no fuel injectors that need cleaning, no timing belts that need to be replaced — and because Tesla motors utilize regenerative braking, which leverages the vehicle’s electric motor to create resistance and slow down the vehicle, your Model Y’s brake pads are likely to last twice as long, than that of an equivalent gas-powered vehicle.
But while maintenance is lighter in a Tesla vehicle, it’s not non-existent. So in this next section of the excel model, I’ve listed out the 5 most common maintenance items that Tesla owners face and their approximate costs.
But one thing to note, because the frequency of these maintenance items hinges upon the driving patterns of the individual, for the purposes of this example, I’ve used my driving habits as a proxy for what the average Tesla driver would require. Later on, when you guys personalize this excel model — feel free to adjust the maintenance figures to suit your driving behaviors.
All cars need their tires rotated and Tesla recommends rotating them every 6,200 miles. In my neighborhood, a local car service center quoted me $60 for a tire rotation — and given my driving habits, I’d likely need to do this about 2 times a year, which would come out to about $120 of cost.
On average Tesla tires last about 25,000–45,000 miles, so given my driving style, I’ll likely need a full set of new tires every other year. A local tire shop in my area quoted my $1,200 for the full swap, but of course, your costs will vary based on your location, shop of choice and the type of tires you wish to purchase.
This is a very minor cost, hardly worth mentioning, but I typically replace my windshield wipers every 3 years. For me, this would be about a $35 hit to my wallet, each time.
Cabin Air Filter
Tesla recommends replacing your cabin air filter every 2 years. A typical Tesla Model Y cabin air filter will cost about $45.
And lastly, as amazing as regenerative braking is, at some point you will have to replace the brake pads that come on your Tesla vehicle. Now, this is one that is heavily dependent on driving behavior, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear standard on how long brake pads typically last on a Tesla, but anecdotally, I’ve heard that you can go your first 4 years of driving without needing a brake pad replacement.
However, once you do need this service, it’s said that this is one of the more pricier maintenance costs — ranging from $1,800-$2,500 to replace the pads and rotors on each wheel.
For the sake of this excel model, I’ve inputted $2,000 of cost every 4 years — for this line item.
Total Maintenance Cost
This brings us to a total of $11,530 dollars of maintenance, over the course of a 10 year ownership period.
So if we combine the total vehicle cost (point of purchase), the 10 year aggregate maintenance cost and the total anticipated yearly charging cost for our Model Y — the grand total cost of ownership across a 10 year lifespan of the Tesla Model Y, comes in at almost $80,000.
Now, keep in mind that this excel model is designed to give you a general ballpark figure of the total cost of ownership of your Tesla vehicle — and there is no way for this spreadsheet to account for every different nuance and detail that might go into your own specific ownership experience.
But if you’re looking for something that will give you a detailed estimate — to help you in your purchase decision for a new Tesla vehicle, then this excel model should be more than sufficient to help in that aspect.
And as promised, if you’d like to download this excel spreadsheet for free and configure it to your personal details — simple click on this link: danielsbrew.com/tesla-true-cost-calculator.
Lastly, if you found this article helpful, and are looking to purchase any new Tesla vehicle, feel free to use my referral code when you make your transaction online — to receive a small discount or bonus on your Tesla purchase.
(As of September 2023, I believe you get a $500 discount and 3 free months of FSD, if you purchase with a referral code. But these terms are subject to change at Tesla’s discretion so please check on the Tesla website for the most current details.)
Hope you guys found this post informative — and it helps you to make the right purchase decision for your next vehicle.
- 5 Realistic Side Hustles That Earn Up To $1,000 Per Month
- How I Turned My Tesla Model Y Into a Remote Office
**** Disclaimer *****
The content here is strictly the opinion of Daniel’s Brew and is for entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered professional financial, investment, or career advice. Investing and career decisions are personal choices that each individual must make for themselves in accordance with their situation and long term plans. Daniel’s Brew will not be held liable for any outcome as a result of anyone following the opinions provided in this content.