Tesla Model 3 road trip cost for 1,000 miles (~1610 kms)

Breaking the cost of a 1,000 mile road trip in a Tesla Model 3 vs. Audi A4

Electric Vehicles are significantly cost-effective than the traditional gasoline cars in the short and long-term both. Let’s see how a Tesla Model 3 compact electric sedan tackles cost-effectiveness of a 1,000 mile (~1610 km) road trip in the United States.

Tesla definitely has superiority over other EV manufacturers when it comes to availability of fast charging options, especially when it comes to inter-city travel.

Recently Elon Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla is aiming to double the number of Supercharger stations by the end of 2019 — not only the number of stations will increase, Tesla is also working on the release of the next-generation Tesla Supercharger V3, Elon Musk said:

Famous YouTuber and owner of a Long-Range Tesla Model 3, Andy Sly recently embarked on a 1,000-mile road trip and calculated the amount of time and money needed for such a journey (video below).

Let’s first go through some data to break-down the cost of a 1,000 mile trip for Tesla Model 3 and then compare it with the gasoline-powered 2018 Audi A4 to calculate the difference.

Andy needed 4 Supercharging sessions on the whole trip in addition to 12 Amps free charging at home and shortly with a Destination Charger at a restaurant that also comes at no cost.

Tesla Model 3: 1,000 mile road trip Supercharging cost

#Supercharger StopSupercharging TimeMiles GainedCost
1Brentwood, TN36 mins177 miles$3.70
2Athens, AL28 mins127 miles$3.90
3Athens, AL20 mins70 miles$2.20
4Bowling Green, KY14 mins115 miles$3.08
 Averages →24.5 mins122.5 miles $3.22
 Totals → 1 hour 38 mins489 miles*$12.88

UX Note: Mobile users can tap+hold to scroll the table horizontally or rotate the device horizontal to view table properly, AMP viewers can click here to go to normal mobile version for a better data table view.

* Let’s consider we are totally depending on the Tesla Supercharger network for our trip we can roughly double the total cost to ~$26-$27, which still is an impressive number from the cost of trip point-of-view.

Now let’s quickly crack the numbers for a 1,000 mile trip for the ‘2018 Audi A4 Ultra 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (AM-S7), Turbo, Premium Gasoline’ — I selected this version intentionally as it’s the most fuel-efficient Audi A4 according to EPA and as the Model 3 trip above did a highway trip, let’s use Audi’s 37 MPG fuel consumption unit for our calculation.

Another thing to remember here is that a gasoline car cannot utilize any ‘Free’ fuel as opposed to a Tesla/EV using home and Destination Charging without any cost.

Audi A4: Fuel cost for a 1,000 mile road trip (United States)

Avg. National
Gasoline Price
Audi A4 mileageFuel Cost for 1,000 miles
$2.56137 miles per gallon (EPA)$69.2

Audi A4 is a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3 and looking at the above tables both have a huge difference in on-going fuel costs — we are saving almost $55 on a 1,000-mile trip, these savings translate to thousands of dollars over the vehicle lifespan, if we also consider oil change, air filter replacement, radiator coolant, and service costs, the difference spans even further.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below on ‘how wise it is to buy a gasoline-powered car from 2019 onwards?’

Let’s watch Andy’s 1,000-mile road trip’s cost calculations in the following video:

Iqtidar Ali
[email protected]

Iqtidar Ali reports on the latest happenings at Tesla and Electric Vehicle forefront. With over 1 decade of experience in website development, he's our IT resource as well.

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  • bill lee
    Posted at 18:43h, 28 November Reply

    wow so the tesla cost’s $25,000 more than a AWD A4. plus the average cost to insure a Tesla is $2500/year. vs around $1000/yr for the audi. all to save $50 an month in fuel cost. It will only take you about 60 ears to make up the difference!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Iqtidar Ali
      Posted at 18:50h, 28 November Reply

      Prices for the Audi A4 sedan start at $36,000, which is about average for a luxury small car. Depending on the engine and trim level, the MSRP can reach as high as $50,000 (the sticker price for an A4 Prestige with Quattro all-wheel drive).Nov 2, 2018 <- and what about polluting the world with gas emissions?

    • Robert Moore
      Posted at 02:53h, 29 November Reply

      but its american designed & manufactured in USA, well California so you know that’s expensive, go drive one and check the rush 🙂 pretty cool ride for sure, try out the EAP and TACC on your local highways and other roads!

    • Robert Moore
      Posted at 03:02h, 29 November Reply

      faster 0-60 by a second or more . .

    • Michael Ireland
      Posted at 23:22h, 06 December Reply

      I’m not sure where you are getting your insurance cost from – my Model 3 Dual Motor (non-performance version) costs me _exactly_ the same as my 2004 Volvo XC70 with comprehensive coverage, coming in at a cool $1200 *Canadian dollars* per year.

      This article is comparing a *single long distance road trip*, and most people don’t do this more than a dozen times per year. I drive my Model 3 back and forth to work where I plug it in FOR FREE into a 110V socket (which most people use for their block heaters). At home, I also plug it into a regular 110V socket which costs me $0.10 or less per kWh (each kWh gets me roughly 6km, taking into account some losses for heat or A/C).

      Last month, my wife and I road-tripped for just under 450km, and parked over night at the hotel we were staying at for the weekend, which has a free-to-use destination charger. The trip there cost me nothing. Then, for the weekend we traveled around the city using some of the other destination chargers around town, so again, zero fuel cost. Then, we went home starting with a full battery. When we arrived, we went out for dinner at a restaurant near our home that also has a destination charger. We would have eaten there even if we had driven in a gasoline vehicle. The meal took just over an hour, and recovered about 100km of range. I plugged it in when we got home and started my next day commute to work with a full battery.

      Total electrical cost for the trip (basically, just the recovery of about 350km of range using my home electricity) = $5.50 Canadian dollars. Total kilometres put on the car = 450×2 plus about 100km driving around the city = 1050 km.

      Also remember oil change for an Audi A4 = $50CAD every 7000km. Tesla = $0. Yeah.

      • Iqtidar Ali
        Posted at 02:31h, 07 December Reply

        Thanks Michael for your in-depth analysis!

  • Robert Moore
    Posted at 20:55h, 28 November Reply

    why so many stops?

    • Iqtidar Ali
      Posted at 04:48h, 29 November Reply

      Maybe he stopped for coffee and lunch and he charged the vehicle in the mean time.

      • Robert Moore
        Posted at 15:44h, 29 November Reply

        weak bladder no doubt

    • Michael Ireland
      Posted at 23:31h, 06 December Reply

      Haha, I get this question from time to time when I tell people about some of my road trips in my Model 3. First off, I get around 500km of range under ideal conditions, so we aren’t *required* to stop any more often than that, BUT I’ve found that my philosophy on how I road-trip has changed a bit. I’ve always actually liked stopping for a break to be totally honest, but now I have a convenient excuse. The total stop time is a little bit more than what it would be in a gasoline vehicle, but not by a whole lot. Again, this is partly because of our roadtrip habits more than anything.

      Anyhooo … so yeah, when you tap your destination into the Tesla’s nav system, it automatically takes into account how much juice you have onboard and routes you through known chargers. The Tesla battery pack _prefers_ to stay between 20-80% to maintain hardware integrity (deep cycling LiIon is detrimental to the chemistry). So the nav system tells you (with surprising accuracy) how much time you’re gonna need for charging along the way. Generally speaking, it will get you to stop every couple of hours for a 20-30 minute break. Long enough to pick up a snack or take a leak, or whatever.

      Along the route, you _can_ choose to push the mileage farther if you are so inclined. So, for example, you could push the distance to a farther charger, and/or stop for longer to charge more. I find, though, that given the choice to drive a whole 500ish km in one go, or to break it up and top up a little juice half-way, I’d rather do the stop.

      Also, don’t forget that once you reach a destination (like a hotel), often they have a charger onsite which you can use for free. So you’ll start the next day with a “full tank”.

      • Iqtidar Ali
        Posted at 20:00h, 09 December Reply


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