The new Tesla Model 3 is now being delivered to Australia’s electric car enthusiasts.
The new Tesla Model 3 is now being delivered to Australia’s electric car enthusiasts.

Are new Teslas worth the charge?

Tesla's new Model 3 electric car rolls into driveways across Australia this month and is set to spark fresh debate about the value for money of these innovative vehicles.

At around half the price of other Tesla cars, the Model 3 is the US brand's cheaper option - but still pricey at about $70,000 on the road.

New Teslas are ordered online rather than advertised through car dealers, and while the company does not share sales data for Australia, many local fans have signed up.

Among them is Simon Claringbold, who bought his first Telsa two years ago and is awaiting delivery of his second.

"It's really nice not having to go to petrol stations, it's nice not getting gouged at Christmas and Easter, and it's nice to be able to have solar panels on your roof and generate your energy for transport," he said.

Mr Claringbold said it was difficult to compare cost benefits because Tesla cars were so different to what motorists were used to.

"A Tesla car has only got 18 moving parts in the transmission and engine, and they're engineered to last one million miles," he said.

"For me the running cost is virtually zero. Ninety-five per cent of the charging I do is at home - I leave the car plugged in and every morning it is full and ready to go 400km."

Simon Claringbold and wife Heather and their Tesla Model S. Picture: Ray Strange.
Simon Claringbold and wife Heather and their Tesla Model S. Picture: Ray Strange.

SolarQuotes CEO Finn Peacock estimated people would pay between $12 and $29 to charge a Tesla, depending on electricity prices and battery type.

"Of course, if you have solar at home you can charge it for a lot less," he said.

A solar energy-charged Tesla could cost just 0.4c per kilometre to run, compared with up to 5c for grid-powered cars and 6.3c for a Toyota Corolla, Mr Peacock said.

"Tesla vehicles are still fairly expensive, but the new Nissan Leaf is $55,000," he said.

"I think it really comes down to how much you would expect to spend on a car - and how much extra you will pay for an electric vehicle."

Mr Peacock said cost savings mostly came from fuel and maintenance.

"An electric vehicle will hardly wear the brakes, as they are regenerative - no friction - and there is no engine," he said.

"Some insurers can charge a fortune for insurance. I've seen Tesla Model 3 insurance quotes range from $1,500 to $4,500."

A spokeswoman for comparison website Finder.com.au said buying the most powerful Teslas could "push your vehicle a lot closer to supercar territory, driving insurance premiums right up".

"Have a qualified electrician install upgraded power points in your garage before you get the car," she said.

"Typical wall outlets can charge the car but may be frustratingly slow."

@keanemoney



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