Real Life Cost of a Tesla Model 3

It’s been a bit more than 2 weeks since I got my Model 3 as a result of my impulse-buying, so as an end user I think I’m qualified to do some cost analysis and projection based on the first 1000km I’ve done with the car.

Disclaimer: The following analysis is based on my calculation with my personal data. “Your mileage may vary”. Also this is only concerning money, all those driving experience and zero emission bluff are safely ignored here.

The major saving for driving a Tesla is from the running cost, ie. ‘fuel’ cost. Though the Model 3 Long Range claims a nice 657KM range for a fully charged battery, when I do school runs with AC set to a comfortable 20 degree, the estimated range is about 540KM, which translates to roughly 15kwh/100km.

If I replaced an EV with a Tesla, the saving won’t be great. Fortunately the one got replaced is a 3.0L Diesel SUV which has an average 8.3L/100km fuel economy( and I believe that’s a pretty good one among 3.0L SUVs).

Then the saving per 100km depends on the electricity and diesel fuel prices. There isn’t any way to get around the diesel price, ie. I always fill my tank at nearby petrol station. I just grab the “Don’t pay above” price from RACV‘s data and it’s 132.8c today. The Diesel SUV costs me AUD 11.02 per 100KM.

For electricity however, there are ways to save money: midnight electricity is usually cheap, and it can go even cheaper if charging with solar power during the day. So here’s a table for cost saving grouped by different source of electricity.

The other import saving comes from the 0 maintenance of a Tesla car. Like I stated in my previous click-bait style post, A Tesla car doesn’t need to see a mechanic. For my diesel SUV, there is a major maintenance every 20,000km and a minor one between the major ones and we usually do more than 20,000km a year. Also there were cost to replace parts such as coolant or catalytic converter so for the sake of simplicity I’ll put AUD 1500/year as an average cost and the real figure could be easily bigger.

Some common cost both ICE and EV cars have are ignored, such as rego, insurance, AC filter and tyre, etc. costs.

Electricity SourceRateSaving/100kmSaving/yr(25,000km)Combined Saving
Home/Grid off peak17cAUD 8.47AUD 2,118AUD 3,618
Home/Solar power10.2cAUD 9.49AUD 2,373AUD 3,873
Super charger42cAUD 4.72AUD 1,180AUD 2,680
25,000km/yr is much higher than average but we have decided to do school runs with a car thanks to covid

On the other hand, a Tesla costs a premium and my Model 3 Long Range figure is almost AUD 90,000. My SUV can be sold for at least AUD 20,000, so it’s an AUD 70,000 expense out of my pocket. Depending on finance options, below is a list of overall saving(combined saving – loss to interest)

Finance OptionRateLossOverall Estimated Saving
Cash + 1 year Term1%AUD 700AUD 1,980 ~ 3,173
Cash + Offset2.2%AUD 1,540AUD 1,180 ~ 2,373
Car Finance2%AUD 1,400AUD 1,280 ~ 2,473
Thanks to the super low interest rate, having a term deposit is the worst thing to do.

Of course there’s a possibility that someone bought 35 BTC with AUD 70k a few years ago, and that definitely is the best investment. But other than that, buying a Tesla this year actually saves me a few thousand dollars a year.

EDIT: Another faction is depreciation of the car’s value, here’s some simple research I did with Obviously all cars depreciate and it’s best to not own one if possible 😀 but looks like Tesla depreciate slower based on samples from the past 5 years.

ModelDepreciation/yrPrice When NewLoss/yr
Tesla Model S 75D 2016~7%AUD 158kAUD 11,840
BMW 4 435i F33 2016~11%AUD 128kAUD 14,840
Cash~1.68%AUD 90kAUD 1,518
The depreciation rate was calculated roughly based on 2016 car price when new and used car price found in Cash depreciation rate is the average inflation rate of 2016 – 2020


Never Buy a Tesla

I just got my Tesla Model 3 delivered last week and I’ve added a few hundreds of KMs to its odometer. Frankly it’s largely a disappointment and I’ll state my reasons here.

First, it doesn’t have a ‘start engine’ or ‘ignition’ button at all! More to that, it doesn’t have an engine either, only electric motors. So I sit on my driver seat and shift the gear to ‘D’ with the right lever, and stepped on the acceleration pedal and it just went forward quietly. Also during acceleration there’s no delay, the instant torque is true, and there’s no gaps between gears normally with an auto-transmission car. Quite strange.

And when I said ‘quietly’ it’s really quiet, like awfully quiet. Imagine going through a parking place, the pedestrian in front of my car won’t notice given good hearing ability. I might need to roll down my window and yell ‘Excuse me’ out loud. This won’t be a problem with a normal car at all, not to mention the cars with mufflers removed.

All the buttons and dials on a car’s dash are replaced by a big tablet mounted at the center. This proved to be hard to use during driving because I need to look at the screen to see where to touch. As an alternative there are voice commands like “take me to work”, but who would talk to his car?

As the engine is replaced by motors, there’s no need for turbo, gear box, clutch, etc., so there’s no need to go to a mechanic to replace engine oil, spark plugs, air and fuel filters. Actually there’s no need to see a mechanic at all. This makes harder for me to see my mechanic friends. But maybe in 2 years I still get to see my friends at tyre shop at least.

I have to admit charging the car in the garage is very easy, just like I charge my phone at night, but with a much bigger plug. The wireless charging bays for mobile phones are a nice touch too. But again, feels like I lost the opportunities to go to petrol stations, where I can buy other nice stuff too.

And zero carbon emission? That’s just advertising right? Besides if the government doesn’t care about the environment, why should you do?

After all, I think this Tesla car is just a glorified tablet bundled with seats and wheels. However if you still insist to buy one here’s a referral link. How does this work? If you buy a Tesla with this link, you and I will each get 1500KM of super charge for free, a silver-lining of this disaster(but again, I have solar power, ie. free power, so this will be less incentivising).

Just kidding, I absolutely love this car 🙂 My mate who read my post said I don’t need to state the bloody obvious.

EDIT: My cat just expressed his disappointment too: He used to enjoy the warm hood of my previous car and it can be warm for hours after it’s parked. Now the new one is dead cold!


2020 新年快乐!!我不得不重复的说,时间过的太快了。其中的一个原因大概是我离开我舒适的环境去接受新的挑战。

2019年初我从 AFL 离职后加入了云计算顾问公司 Contino,想给自己找点挑战,结果还真是很挑战。我从来没做过顾问,因为我性格内向而且英语交流也仅仅达到及格的水平,我想一定是之前的技术经验为我赢得了这份工作。

入职后不久我就被派到一家4万多人的大企业做云迁移项目,就是将原本运行在 IBM 硬件上的业务系统搬迁到 AWS 上继续运行。这回算是体验到了 IBM 的傲慢,知道大客户要投奔 AWS 了也并不在意,但也不是很大方的提供技术上的支持就是了。在大企业里很多事情靠的不是技术而是人际关系和政治头脑,而我在这些方面基本属于幼稚园毕业。好在同事们非常有团队精神,帮我度过了最初几个月。后来我有幸参加了公司的软技能培训,收获非常大,瞬间意识到自己以前说话的方式有多么简陋。


在猫本的第一份工作期间我的一个同事 G 就是素食者。当时我们几个“正常人”总是开他的玩笑,例如:素汉堡不算汉堡。但至少我从此有了一个素食朋友。最近几年老婆将后院菜园种的有声有色,各种蔬菜直接从菜园进厨房,真正的新鲜蔬菜。我当然还是爱吃肉的,但老婆收获的蔬菜是必须吃的,所以我吃蔬菜的比例有了很大提高。令我感到意外的是,吃蔬菜的感觉还真不错。

与此同时,肉食产品的负面新闻接踵而来:禽流感,猪瘟,过度放牧,抗生素饲料等等。这些让我对吃肉的兴趣有所减弱。直到我看了 NetFlix 上的纪录片 The Game Changers ,我了解到了很多最强的人,例如运动员,铁人五项冠军等等都不吃肉:“很多人问我,你如何只吃素却像牛一样强壮?我反问,你见过牛吃肉吗?” 没错,就像“钻石恒久远 一颗永流传”一样,让人们喜欢吃肉也是市场运作的结果。


Working with a Big Corporation

So it’s been a while since I started this job in a big corporation. I always enjoy new challenges, now my wish got granted. Not in a very good way.

The things work in a quite different manner here. There are big silos and layers between teams and departments, so the challenges here are not quite technical in nature. How unexpected this is.

Still there are lots of things can be improved with technology, here’s one example. When I was migrating an old web application stack from on-premises infrastructure to AWS, the AWS landing zone has already been provisioned with a duo-VPC setup. I really really miss the days that working with Kubernetes clusters and I can just run kubectl exec -ti ... and get a terminal session quickly.

Now things look like year 2000 and I need to use SSH proxy command again, without old school static IP addresses though. Ansible dynamic inventory is quite handy in most cases but it failed due to some unknown corporate firewall rules. I still have bash, aws-cli and jq, so this is my handy bash script to connect to 1 instance of an auto scaling group, via a bastion host(they both can be rebuilt and change IP).

function get_stack_ip(){
aws ec2 describe-instances \
--fileter "Name=tag-key,Values=aws:cloudformation:stack-name" "Name=tag-value,Values=$1" \
|jq '.Reservations[] |select(.Instance[0].PrivateIpAddress != null).Instance[0].PrivateIpAddress' \
|tr -d '"'

Then it’s easy to use this function to get IPs of the bastion stack and the target stack, such as:

IP_BASTION=$(get_stack_ip bastion_stack)
IP_TARGET=$(get_stack_ip target_stack)
ssh -o ProxyCommand="ssh [email protected]_BASTION nc %h %p" [email protected]_TARGET