Aside from the driving range question, one of the most often inquires every time we drive our BMW i3 is in regards to the cost of ownership. By-passers, friends and family often ask how much does it cost to charge your car, and that answer is never simple. There are a large number of variables that need to be taken into consideration: time of day, public or private station, electricity cost in your area, solar panels, and much more.

A more honest approach to this question would be to look at the cost of ownership of an electric car versus a conventionally-powered vehicle. And DailyFinance has just done that. According to the publication, “If you’re the typical driver who puts 15,000 to 20,000 miles on your car a year, it wouldn’t be uncommon to spend $150 a month or more at the gas pump.”


So what if you drive the same distance in an electric car? Assuming a national average of $2.79 a gallon of gas and an average cost of electricity of 12.64 cents a kwh, the costs to travel 265 miles in a Tesla Model S is $10.74 with a 4.05 cost per mile. The BMW 3 Series’ owners would have to spend $23.10 for the same distance or $8.72 cents. A Ford Fusion Hybrid is a bit more economical with $16.80 and 6.34 cost per mile.

To drive all these three cars for 20,000 miles translates into $810.56 for the Tesla, $1,734.40 for the 3 Series and $1,267.92 for the Fusion Hybrid. BMW 3 Series starts at $32,950 while the Fusion Hybrid sells for $25,990. The basic Tesla Model S starts at $75,000.

MeasureTesla Model SBMW 3-SeriesFord Fusion Hybrid
Range/mpg265 miles32 mpg city44 mpg city
Cost to travel 265 miles$10.74$23.10$16.80
Cost per mile4.05 cents8.72 cents6.34 cents
Fuel Cost to Drive 20,000 Miles$810.56$1,743.40$1,267.92

But the electric car market is evolving and in the next few years, we will see a Tesla Model 3 in the $30k range, a Chevy Bolt at around $38,000 and a Ford Focus Electric at $29,000. All these cars will not only be cheaper to drive per mile, but also easier on your pocket at the initial purchase.