Before I totally get slandered on the internet about how you cannot refuel a Tesla, let me point something out. Gasoline is liquid energy, batteries have a different type of energy that is simply, stored electrons. Both systems need to have a "refueling" process of some kind.
When it comes to owning a Tesla, many owners love the cars. They love that they are very easy to maintain, they can charge them at home, and of course, they are rocket ships.
The real question here is, what are the actual costs associated with charging a Tesla? To find this out, I went to see a friend of mine who owns a power company. Chris, the solar guy, who owns Solgen Power, recently purchased a Tesla model 3 and was happy to share with me some interesting information regarding electric vehicle charging. Here is what I found out.
What A Kilowatt Hour Costs In Dollars
I drive a second generation Toyota Prius. It has 250,000 miles and still gets about 44 miles per gallon. Not awful for a car that is 12 years old and has been beat pretty much it's entire life. Right now it costs me about $25 to $35 dollars to fill it up. Fuel right now is about $2.75 a gallon for Top Tier fuel.
According to Chris, for a Tesla getting supercharged you would be looking at paying 27 cents a kilowatt hour, which is the equivalent to $3.00 a gallon for gasoline. He also told me that to be competitive in charging, 22 cents per kilowatt hour is where a charging station would make it more affordable.
So, depending on what you are getting charged per kilowatt hour at your house, you could actually be spending more money to "fill up" your Tesla than you realize.
Cost Of Ownership Tesla Vs Prius
The best comparison in for this segment would have to be the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime. The Prius Prime is the most advanced and technologically savvy Prius that is available. It is a plug in hybrid, and while yes, many people benefit from the short range of electric driving, that comfort of knowing you can fill up just about anywhere, is peace of mind that still make Prius a great contender against the Tesla.
As far as cost of ownership is concerned, a Tesla and Prius are two separate animals. It is obvious that a Tesla will have far fewer requirements for maintenance than a vehicle with gasoline. Tesla does have maintenance procedures though just like a Prius would. Tesla cars still need the tires changed/rotated, brakes changed, washer fluid refilled, etc. You will find some similar things between the cars if you really look into it. The issue with finding any maintenance for a Tesla, is that it is not public, and if it is Tesla wants to keep that information in the service centers as much as possible.
Prius, still has to do oil changes, which is one of the biggest things people that own a Tesla say they love, even if they are not aware of the other maintenance items that are required on the vehicle. Prius has coolant, so does the 3, and they are both high mileage and long date intervals. Usually about 10 years or 150,000 miles.
As far as a dollars comparison, I do not have that data. I will have to do some research and look at cost of ownership on varying levels for similar maintenance items. Hopefully I can get some information from Tesla to do that.
If you want to really get into the nuts and bolts of this topic, you could compare costs on all level. What it costs to manufacture the tires, battery packs, seats, carpets, glass, and all things in between. There are skeptics out there that say it costs more to own and operate an electric vehicle. Great, I love to learn please send me your findings.
Overall, I would love to have a Tesla, mainly because for the price, the performance aspect would allow me to destroy most cars on the road today. Including some really built muscle cars.
If you could solar charge your Tesla for less than it costs you to fuel and own a Prius, I would for sure do it. So, if you are an owner of a solar company, that was probably a smart move for you.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about Tesla Model 3 vs Toyota Prius. Check out my other story Why the first generation Prius is better than either generation Nissan Leaf.
See you in the next story where I am discussing why the Toyota Prius AWD-e is the best one yet and why car enthusiasts and average car guys loathe the Toyota Prius. Also read my latest story where I discussing one study that shows you should only use top tier gasoline in your Toyota Prius.
Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.