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A Tesla Model 3 Price is Equal To a Gas Car: Why Buy Anything Else?

There is data showing that the price of a Tesla Model 3 is the same as a gas car - does this make it a buy?

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Tesla Model 3 Price Compared to Gas Car

The Tesla Model 3 is the first EV to be priced on par with ICE vehicle equivalents, and that is before taking into account federal or local incentives, such as tax credits.

Tesla says that the accessibility of the Model 3 and all of its vehicles is at the core of its mission. This is important to listen to whenever you think Tesla is going to do something. Affordability is at the core of their mission.

Tesla touts that the most affordable Model 3 - the RWD with LFP batteries - comes standard with superior equipment and software, such as Autopilot, over-the-air software updates, 4G connectivity, and the best infotainment in the auto market.

Here are some comparisons of the Model 3 RWD to comparable gas cars:

* Model 3 RWD: $39,900
* Audi A4: $40,300
* BMW 3 Series: $43,800
* Mercedes C-Class: $44,850

With these prices, you might wonder why someone wouldn't buy the Tesla Model 3. I think there are 3 primary reasons:

* Fear of the battery dying and being stranded without charging
* Fear that the battery will degrade too fast from usage - gas car tanks don't degrade in size
* Fear that EVs are in early adoption still and the support just isn't there

I think only the 2nd concern is really valid, and it really only happens in rare cases. My Model 3 RWD at present has lost about 3.9% of its batter and has 262 miles of range from 272 miles of range at purchase. It's been 9 months since I bought it and 7,700 miles are on it. The first year, you can expect 5% to 10% degradation before the rate slows down substantially.

Still, my battery has degraded, and it is a little annoying to see the mileage go down when I charge from time to time... I do agree it needs to be easy to swap to a new battery after you've put 100,000 miles or more and there are much better batteries available.

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What Stops People From Buying?

There are also options for the gas cars that aren't taken into account in the comparison made. Those can add up to thousands of dollars. Tesla has two add-ons:

* Enhanced Autopilot: $99 monthly/$7,500 lifetime and goes half toward FSD
* FSD: $199 monthly/$15,000 lifetime

I think because the price isn't glaringly cheaper, that the entire market is not going to move to buy the Tesla. I remember when I first drove in my Tesla. I was very nervous about the battery %, but that went away as I got comfortable with how it worked - but it took a few weeks.

Most people are going to experience that when they first buy an EV. If it happened to me, chances are it is going to happen to them. I love my Tesla, and it's amazing - far beyond any car I've ever owned, but it was a slight leap of faith to get it, and now I'm glad I did.

I hope Tesla keeps putting efforts in advertising, marketing, and educating the public about its EVs. They are amazing cars and I believe they will one day be autonomous and giving people rides without a driver.

What do you think about this comparison between a Tesla Model 3 RWD and a gas car? Do you have any apprehension about getting a Tesla?

In Related News: Tesla's 3-Part Ecosystem

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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, Tesla, Screenshot

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John Goreham    April 26, 2023 - 12:50PM

Good story highlighting how the base Model 3 compares to other conventional car options. I think the main reasons that some folks still buy other cars is that in many areas like Metro Boston, for example, powering an EV is not meaningfully less costly than powering a hybrid. And hybrids like the Elantra, almost identical in size to the Model 3, don't start at $41,630 which is the entry price of a Model 3, but about 50% less. An Elantra Hybrid starts at about $27K. The Elantra Hybrid Limited is under $32K. And it includes 3 years of included maintenance. So the value proposition and cost of ownership for those in areas with normal gas prices and expensive electricity still tips dramatically toward other options than pricey BEVs. Of course, that only applies if you are in the more than half of car-buying age Americans who don't qualify for federal EV tax incentives. Drop $7,500 off the cost of the Model 3 and the price gap narrows.