The Tesla Model Y will become the best-selling electric vehicle (EV) in Australia in 2022.
With fuel prices soaring, interest in electric cars, in particular, the Tesla Model 3, is at an all-time high. With Australia's love affair with SUVs, and strong order numbers so there, there is a strong likelihood the Model Y will eclipse the Model 3 as Tesla's best-selling EV.
So how much does it really cost to own a Tesla Model Y? Sceptics say EVs are is still too expensive, whereas owners rave about how the running costs are "next to nothing".
Tesla Model Y Buying Price
The Model Y comes in two variants that are distinguished by different drivetrain and battery pack configurations.
The base model, known simply as the Model Y or the rear-wheel drive (RWD) version, like the Model 3, will most likely be the popular variant; and will be the subject of this guide.
👉 VIew the full pricing and features of both Tesla Model Y variants here.
At the time of this guide, the 2023 Tesla Model Y starts from $72,300 to $96,700 before on-road costs (previously $68,900 to $93,900 when the order books first opened on 10 July 2022).
Tesla Model Y Price After Incentives
We note these are estimates only. We have checked them against the official Tesla calculator and they come within a few hundred dollars. We recommend you go to the Tesla configurator for exact pricing.
Tesla Model Y Running Costs
Like any car (electric or not) the following items will form the majority of the Model Y's running costs.
🔧 Service and maintenance
✅ Insurance and registration
The fuel (electricity) costs for the Model Y will vary depending on how much you drive and what you pay for the energy.
Below, we've outlined indicative energy rates for common electricity sources, ranging from home charging to public charging via the Tesla Supercharger network.
Comparing these rates to an equivalent petrol vehicle for the same distance covered, you'll be saving anywhere between 41 per cent to 85 per cent in 'fuel' costs.Tesla Model Y Home Charging Guide 🏠🔌
2. Service and maintenance
According to Tesla, the Model Y does not require "traditional oil changes, fuel filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks".
Unlike other manufacturers (both electric and petrol), Tesla vehicles does not have fixed or scheduled servicing intervals. It does however provide a recommended maintenance schedule for several items that should be checked or replaced periodically:
These costs equate to $225 per year, compared to $1567 per year for the average petrol vehicle.
Electric cars are still in the early stages of adoption in Australia and as a result, obtaining insurance may not be so straightforward.
The insurance for a Tesla Model Y is likely to be more expensive than an equivalent petrol vehicle.
Given that the Model Y is yet to hit Australian roads, we are yet to have visibility of the insurance premiums.
Based on the range we've seen for the Model 3 we expect average prices to be between $1200 and $1650 per year (based on a 10% upwards adjustment).
Actual premiums depend on a range of factors that are beyond the scope of this guide, such as how much you use your car, personal driving history, where you park it at home and at work, and more.
Ownership Costs Compared to a Petrol Vehicle
We understand that a car purchase is both a financial and emotional decision.
How much one prioritises over the other depends on the individual. As we cannot quantify the emotional side, we've done our best here to quantify the financial considerations of owning a Model Y in the long run.
Below we've crunched the numbers and benchmarked the Model Y RWD against two petrol vehicles – a top-spec Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid and BMW X3 SUV.
Tesla Model Y Cost of Ownership Bottom Line
Compared to the BMW X3, both the upfront and running costs of the Model 3 are lower. Over five years of ownership you could save more than $21,000.
Compared to the RAV4 Hybrid, the Model 3 costs $18,540 more to buy, but its running costs are $1485 lower per year. It will take ~14 years to recover the extra cost of the Model Y from savings accrued from lower running costs.
This analysis does not factor in the impact of depreciation, which is likely to favour the Model Y in the short-term, based on current Model 3 re-sale values.
As per the above comparisons, purchasing a Tesla Model Y, may or may not be a sound 'financial' decision.
A study of EV owners commissioned by Griffith University found the most relevant considerations for buying EVs were reducing CO2 emissions and charging convenience – but not financial.
Despite its substantially lower running costs, the Tesla Model Y is still not within reach of the average Australian.
The ‘affordable’ segment of the EV market will be filled by EVs like the MG ZS EV and the BYD Atto 3, which are both priced in the mid $40K mark and present a compelling overall package for the money.
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