EV Chapter 2 – one year anniversary

One year ago, I wrote EV Chapter 1 and rejoiced in the excitement on our Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Tesla Model S. Now one year later, I think it is a good time to dig in to some of the details. In one year, we have driven the Tesla 17,243 miles. This included mostly in town typical commuting, a few trips to the cabin, as well as a trip to Omaha last year for the Elite 8 NCAA basketball tournament and a trip to Chicago for a lacrosse tournament. We consumed 6,092 kWh of electricity which cost us $408.16, putting driving the Tesla at a cost of just under 2.37 cents per mile. To drive that same number of miles in our 2006 Prius would have cost us over $1100 in fuel and in our 2007 Highlander Hybrid it would have cost us over $2200 in fuel.

The other key differentiator for me that warrants moving to electric vehicles is the reduction in emissions. Despite some of our electricity providers (Dakota Electric) portfolio including Natural Gas and Coal, our Tesla still results in the emission of 1/3 of the CO2 that the Highlander does and about ½ of what the Prius does. The other factor to take in to account here is that the electrical grid is going to continue to get cleaner with more and more renewables coming online, based on the simple fact that they are now cheaper than traditional fossil fuels. On a related note, kudos to Xcel Energy for continuing to shift to clean energy and driving towards their goal of being 100% carbon free by 2050. For a large company that supplies the majority of the electricity to 8 states, that is an awesome commitment.

In terms of maintenance costs, thus far we have not paid anything for maintenance on our Tesla in part because being a CPO it came with a bumper to bumper warranty. We have had it in a few times for minor things but our only real investments have been in winter tires with an set of rims and all weather floor mats. As a gift I received a floor jack and a torque wrench and do tire rotations / changes myself.

One year ago I stated, ‘it is still a stretch to justify purchasing most electric vehicles based on cost alone, but things are definitely trending quickly in that direction’ and that remains true and is continuing to shift very positively. For a daily commuter car that you do not need to drive across the country with, it would be easy to make and win a financial argument for buying an EV over a car with an Internal Combustion Engine. Those examples would be a Nissan Leaf and many others that are already released and pending release. Buying a Tesla, it remains a little bit more challenging to justify based on price alone but it currently remains the only EV with a robust SuperCharger network that allows you to drive the car anywhere without compromising on charging time. When thinking about your next vehicle, another thing to consider is the used EV market which continues to grow with compelling options. If you are planning on making a vehicle purchase anytime in the future and want to learn more about the options, please reach out. Being an advocate and helping evangelize EV’s is a strong passion of mine and in the picture above, that is our car on the right at a local farmers market.  It is 100% clear that EV’s are the future as they will win on their own economically.

Lastly, the other part worth mentioning is that I really like driving the car. It handles nicely and has a variety of features that make driving the car truly enjoyable. Some examples are the large touchscreen with an internet connection, streaming music and navigation, heated seats, and the ability to pre-warm or cool the car from the mobile app. The over the air updates that come to the car are impressive as well, I am not aware of other cars that gain features and functionality at no additional cost after the owner takes delivery.

EV chapter 1

Today is an exciting day as we just added a ‘new to us’ electric vehicle to our family. With teenage kids who have their own busy schedules, it became more and more desirable to add a 3rd vehicle to simplify transportation. I think adding the vehicle might actually decrease the total miles we drive as a family, an adding an electric vehicle will reduce our overall emissions and fuel spend.

There was much deliberation and debate on what vehicle to get and when to execute. The Tesla Model 3 we pre-ordered was slotted to arrive late summer of 2018 which seemed too far away when thinking about the kids having summer jobs and such. We weighed leasing and buying traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and every flavor of hybrid and electric. In fact, several months ago I would have guessed that it would be a used Nissan Leaf and that I would title this blog entry “turning over an old leaf”. After much deliberation and debate, we ended up purchasing a certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Tesla Model S. One of the core decisions in going with Tesla was the mitigation of range anxiety; being able to do 99% of charging at home while maintaining the freedom to take longer trips leveraging the supercharger network. We chose CPO because of the added comfort of a fresh warranty and similar. It is a decent time to be in the market for a used Tesla as there a lot of private sale options and the market has a lot of low mileage lease returns as well. Make no mistake, they hold their value well and it is a financial commitment, but it is one I am glad we were able to prioritize. It is important to me to vote with our dollars and live our values and this is another positive step in that direction. If you find yourself in the market for a vehicle in the future and want to talk it through, I am very willing to share my experiences and opinions.

I think it is still a stretch to justify purchasing most electric vehicles based on cost alone, but things are definitely trending quickly in that direction. I am looking forward to no oil changes or worrying about the various other parts of an ICE vehicle which typically wear down or require maintenance. Electricity prices are far less volatile than oil prices and our overnight electricity rate for the car is almost half the cost per kWh of our normal rate. I anticipate our electrical bill going up about $60 per month based on my preliminary estimate of miles we will drive the Tesla. At current fuel costs and the reduced electricity rate for overnight charging, for every 100 miles we drive the Tesla we will save over $6 in fuel costs compared to our other vehicles.

Our electric cooperative also participates in the Revolt program which allocates wind power renewable energy credits on our behalf. Energy comes from all kinds of sources here in MN (wind, natural gas, coal, etc.) so there is no way to say the electrons that go in to my car actually came from a wind farm, but this program dedicates wind energy on our behalf and more importantly (in my opinion), sends a clear message of what is important to me as a consumer, and steers my provider towards leveraging more renewables.

Thank you to all of the family and friends who helped make this a reality, especially my wife Andrea who as our family’s chief financial officer was able to make this happen. I think she would agree that the picture at the top should say ‘Zero Emissions, Some Compromises (kitchen remodel, new carpet, family vacations, etc.)’. Below is an actual picture featuring our 2014 Tesla model S flanked by our 2006 Toyota Prius which has over 200k miles on it.

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