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 carsales.com.au. 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 carsales.com.au. 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!

一时冲动,入手特斯拉二代电墙(PowerWall 2)

阴雨天,电墙二代艰难的在下午充电

特斯拉(Tesla)电墙二代(PowerWall2)已经上市一段时间了。我早就想装一个,因为家里太阳能发电系统已经用了很多年,省钱效果显著,但早晚高峰时段依旧要依赖电网,而家用电池系统可以弥补太阳能系统的这个缺点,用自家发的电供应早晚高峰家用。

但是获得老婆的赞同票相当不容易。

  • 首先当然是钱!在猫本电墙2 + 备电网关 + 材料 + 人工要14k,这是我比较多家供应商后找到的最好价格。这不是个小数目。
  • 虽然我用电磁炉取代了煤气炉,但是按照自家的用电规律,指望电墙在十年内把自己身价省出来是不现实的
  • 自家所处位置电网还算稳定,一年停电一次两次而已,所以应付断电这个借口也很勉强

关键时刻还得感谢土澳总理,他不停的说,只有火电(烧煤/油/天然气)才能保证家里的灯能点亮。老婆对此很是反感,投资太阳能发电后家里从电网取电量下降了60%左右,再努力一下99%能源自己并不是很遥远的。而像我们一样在屋顶安装太阳能PV板的家庭已经很普遍,只是安装家用电池的还少。况且,感谢COVID这一年没花什么钱在旅游上,于是老婆同意了这笔花销!

然而,貌似和我们有一样想法的家庭还真不少,这是2020年11月的事情。我交了定金后被告知还要等至少二个月才能轮到安装。然后,在漫长的等待中,突然我接到电话说附近有一家取消了安装,所以那个名额可以转给我,幸福来的很突然,我也懒得去想为啥有人会取消安装。

电墙二代未开箱的样子

安装日那天电工天刚亮就来了,午饭前完成安装。

防晒很重要

由于安装位置会晒到下午的太阳,我用木材和遮阳布给电墙做了个罩子,感觉土洋结合的很好。电墙是不怕淋雨的,但高温肯定会折寿的。几周以后再看看我家用电报告,轻松拿到榜首

几点心得:

  • 电墙二代充满后有13.5度电可用,一般保留10%应急后有12度电
  • 所以除了连日阴雨,一般家庭基本可以自给自足的
  • 虽然瞬间最大功率有7KW,但持续最大功率5KW,所以家里总功率避免超过5KW
  • 如果白天因为阴雨充电不足,只要“熬”过晚高峰,即使用电网的电也是相对便宜的
  • 保证电墙联网,否则特斯拉会缩短质保期

🙂

Ethereum(Crypto) Mining with Nvidia 3070(Ampere) on Ubuntu 20.04 with Renewable Energy

Snagged a pair of RTX 3070 cards. With only 2 cards this is more like an experiment than an investment.

I’ve done Crypto mining before and since the price is now almost all time high I’ll do that again, but only with my solar energy. Mining with dirty coal power isn’t ethical any more as the climate change has accelerated in the past few years.

To start ETH mining here are some prerequisites:

  • Energy efficient video cards, in this case I got RTX 3070. 3060TI is also a good choice but it was sold out already
  • A desktop computer where you can attach multiple video cards to PCI express slots. But I’m not focusing hardware installation here, ie. not showing how to install the card and connect cables, etc.
  • My OS is Ubuntu 20.04 so I choose t-rex miner which has better support for Nvidia Ampere architecture. The releases can be found here

Here are the steps with which I set up t-rex miner on my Ubuntu 20.04 desktop:

# as root user
sudo -i
# install nvidia 460 driver for Ubuntu
apt install nvidia-driver-460
# install t-rex to /opt/t-rex
mkdir /opt/t-rex
wget https://github.com/trexminer/T-Rex/releases/download/0.19.9/t-rex-0.19.9-linux-cuda11.1.tar.gz
tar -zxvf t-rex-0.19.9-linux-cuda11.1.tar.gz -C /opt/t-rex
# change ownership for security reasons
chown -R nobody:nogroup /opt/t-rex

Now in directory /opt/t-rex there are many shell script(.sh) files. I was using ethermine.org so I had a look at ETH-ethermine.sh, it has:

#!/bin/sh
./t-rex -a ethash -o stratum+tcp://eu1.ethermine.org:4444 -u <ETH wallet address> -p x -w <worker name>

Since I’m proudly an experienced Linux user, I choose to create a systemd service out of that shell script:

# cat /etc/systemd/system/ethminer.service 
[Unit]
Description=Ethereum Miner

[Service]
Type=simple
User=nobody
ExecStart=/opt/t-rex/t-rex -a ethash -o stratum+tcp://us2.ethermine.org:4444 -u <my ETH wallet address> -p "" -w <my worker name, can be hostname>

Restart=on-failure

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

I choose us2 node as it’s geologically close to me. The user is set to nobody so it won’t cause harm to my system if it wants to. Then the service can be enabled and started with systemctl command:

# reload systemd as a new service is added
# following commands run as root user
systemctl daemon-reload
# enable the service so it starts automatically
systemctl enable ethminer
# start the service
systemctl start ethminer
# check status
systemctl status -l ethminer
# watch the logs
journalctl -f |grep t-rex
Jan 24 13:55:30 hostname t-rex[6621]: 20210124 13:55:30 Mining at us2.ethermine.org:4444, diff: 4.00 G
...

According to other miners online, the TDP of 3070 is better set as 50%(130W), because it can run hotter with higher wattage but won’t make it compute faster. Here’s how I use a cronjob to set TDP to 130W except when I’m playing a game(assuming I’ll stop the miner when playing some game on it).

EDIT: 115W is good enough.

# still as root user, as only root can use nvidia-smi command
# crontab -l
*/10 * * * * /bin/ps -C t-rex && /usr/bin/nvidia-smi -i 0 -pl 115 2>&1 >>/var/log/nvidia.log

This can be verified in t-rex ‘s logs

journalctl -f |grep t-rex
Jan 24 13:55:30 hostname t-rex[6621]: 20210124 13:55:30 GPU #0: Gigabyte RTX 3070 - 52.07 MH/s, [T:53C, P:129W, F:60%, E:404kH/W], 1370/1370 R:0%
# it's running at 129W and temperature is 53 degree and fan speed cruising at 60%

Regarding mining solely with solar energy, there can be 3 approaches:

  • Switch electricity supplier to the renewable-friendly ones such as Ember, so you can use solar energy generated by community and enjoy the low wholesale price and mine crypto when the sun shines. This requires the API access supplier so you know when the energy is from renewables and cheap
  • Install and use your own solar energy to mine crypto when the sun shines. This requires API access from your inverter so know when to start mining with enough solar energy.
  • Install solar and battery so it’s guaranteed to mine with your own solar energy until the battery runs flat of course

I’m going with the last option 🙂