Lease vs Buy - Cost Calculator

Hi All,

My current lease is up in August and I’m doing some research to figure out if I should buy or lease.

As the new EV tax credit is likely to be reintroduced, I am looking at a Tesla Model 3. In my finance scenario I would use $6,500 as down payment ($1,500 from CA and $5,500 from Federal).

The attached chart compares the cost of ownership over 72 months between Tesla Model 3 and a basic Mini Countryman around $30,500. Although the payments on the Tesla are higher, I would end up saving money in the long run. FYI - Resale value has not been computed in the chart, neither the potential loss if I end up in an accident.

I will be using my next car for business around 30% of the time.

Would leasing $30-$35K German cars over the next 72 months (2 leases of 36 months each) make sense once you factor in cost of maintenance, gas, no equity, etc…

My goal is to make the best possible financial decision with the least amount of financial loss.

Tesla Cost Calculator

Thank you!

The general consensus is that you do not want to own a BMW/Mini after the warranty expires.

The best possible financial decision would be to buy a Toyota.


What does the attached “analysis” (which is total nonsense and appears to have been created by someone who believes that Tesla should have a 97 trillion dollar market cap) have to do with anything? The question is whether you are buying or leasing a Model 3, is it not?

I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking with your German car thing. Neither Teslas nor German cars are generally “the best possible financial decision” unless we’re talking about a $200/mo 3 series from 2018.


There’s no equity in cars or any kind of gain(unless you’re talking about collector cars). In the end they all have a cost. Whatever the scenario is, the Tesla will probably not be the best bang for your buck. With the way the market is, I’m not sure what the best bang for your buck is, but it’s not Tesla

Hey Chrishs2000,

Thanks for your input! Can you please clarify what parts of this chart do not make sense and what makes you think that this chart represents a belief that Tesla should have a 97 trillion dollar market cap?

Even though these numbers are from manufacturers, I am merely asking for insight to adjust them so they are a true representation of reality.

All I’m asking is: over a 72-month period, does it make more sense to finance a Tesla with a $6,500 DP or lease a comparable ICE car?

Can you let me know how that chart means anything to you and what you gleaned from it? The inputs appear to be cherry picked/inaccurate, many variables are missing, the assumptions are bs - it appears to be the typical stuff that many Tesla owners post to convince themselves that they’re “saving money” when they’re not.

What is a “comparable ICE car”? A Civic, or a BMW 5 series?

What about a Bolt?

Ultimately it’s on you to do the math and make the decision. Everyone will have a different opinion. For example to me it makes more sense to buy a new Civic LX and a clean S2000, and in 6 years you’d have probably made money in total :laughing:

Probably the first step for you is to figure out what the cost of a Tesla Model 3 over 72 months would actually be.

I am genuinely trying to learn here. What input have been cherry picked? Cost of gas? Cost of electricity? Sale price of the car? Sales Tax? APR? MPG? Cost of oil change?

You said a lot of variables are missing. Can you please list which ones?

I’m comparing any $35K ICE to a $37K Tesla Model 3 (base model). I’m not sure a $21K Honda LX can be a good comp.

Delete that chart from your mind and make your own from scratch.

:man_shrugging: i think a Civic is a pretty good Model3 comp but that’s my opinion, yours is likely to be different. That’s why you need to do your own DD. Ultimately we can’t make the decision for you and nobody can do the math for you on a Tesla versus mystery mobile.

Nah… The body panels on the civics usually fit.


At best my electricity costs would be 60% higher than what’s shown in the spreadsheet.

During a hot summer when I’d have to run the AC a lot in order to prevent certain death, I’d be looking at 150% higher.

I didn’t really look at the rest of the spreadsheet.


From my SDG&E bill:

At this moment I realize maybe PA isn’t that bad…


I guess to be fair, gasoline is also a lot more expensive in CA.

I’ve been shipping my M550 to Honolulu and back when it’s time to fill up.

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3 things to note here:

  1. Your cost assumptions are just that…assumptions. There is no guarantee this Tesla you are scoping out is going to be as cheap as you think, nor the Mini as expensive as you think either. What you plug into your analysis today can be totally irrelevant tomorrow. What if gas prices drop and electricity prices skyrocket? If you decide to do solar power, are you factoring your break-even costs in for the upfront costs to install? What are you basing your 300/mo maintenance on? Who is doing that maintenance…a dealership or independent? If you’re talking about leasing 2 cars in comparison to owning a Telsa, there’s no way in hell you’ll have 300/mo in maintenance costs anyways. How many oil changes are you planning at 240/yr, and what is the cost of those? That seems awfully high for maybe 3 oil changes throughout a year, and BMW will cover the cost in the first 3 years/36k as well, so that cost is off. On a Tesla, you still have brake pads, rotors, brake fluid, battery coolant and suspension components that will all need service outside of warranty at some point. They may not need done at the same interval an ICE car would, but they’ll need service and these aren’t going to be “free.” Have you taken these eventual costs into consideration? Did you factor in insurance cost differences between the 2? All I see is “Monthly insurance.” I hope you’re not just assuming a Mini Countryman and a model 3 will cost the same to insure, as anything named Tesla isn’t known for cheap insurance.

  2. How do you know a Tesla will keep the same value 2 years from now it has today, once additional options are in the market? Just because it has a Tesla emblem on the hood doesn’t mean resale values 2 years from now are going to be the same as they are today.

  3. What do you consider a comparable car to a Tesla would be? Personally, I don’t buy into the “A Tesla is a premium luxury vehicle” that Tesla will have you believe, especially on a model 3. Materials and fit-and-finish are average, to mediocre at best, and don’t exude a “luxury” feel. Just having battery propulsion doesn’t really mean “premium” in my book. Then again, I wouldn’t consider a Mini luxurious either, nor this or a BMW 3 series as competition. A Honda civic…sure.

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not sure I agree with that… I have a 12 year old E90 that so far had only 2 “major repairs” outside of warranty… one was a water pump and I forget other… each was about $ 1500…aside from that… just normal stuff… so I think if you take care of the car, do the required maintenance and all that the car will not necessarily be a money pit outside of the warranty… thats my two cents.!

teslas are so ugly with no character lines… ugly cars… would never buy one in a million years, I would rather take the bus! I dont want to be in a car that it seems everyone else has one… and they are ugly as pie

If you want to buy a Tesla go for it. IMO, you can’t really compare a $35k German car (MB A class, BMW 2 series, Audi A3) to a Model 3.

A mini is not a German car, fyi (although they are part of the BMW family).

Full disclosure: I am not a big fan of Tesla given their known quality issues.

Great…thanks for the update?

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In SCE territory this 20c figure actually a little high
it’s 16-17 at night

Of course, that requires you to change your electricity from the normal plan to the ev specific ToU plan, that drops your charging cost, but jacks your standard electrical rates way higher, so don’t forget to include the offset costs.

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Not really
Here’s the normal plan

1c cheaper on the weekdays and 2c cheaper on the weekends.
Compare to what that Tesla is going to draw, the EV rate is better than the normal rate.

Now I have the older Grandfathered rates which are better but you can’t get those now.