Have questions about Buying a Tesla? From fires to how to drive one, here are the answers

Texas made Model Y at the Tesla 2021 Shareholder’s meeting. credit: the author

When it comes to asking questions about buying a Tesla, word-of-mouth is the best!  Here are the most common questions I get asked, from fires to how to drive a Tesla:

  • I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that. 
  • How do you charge a Tesla, do you plug it into a regular outlet?
  • How long does it take to charge?
  • How far does it go on a single charge? 
  • How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?
  • Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?
  • I heard they are too expensive, aren’t they? 
  • How do you drive one?

I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that

The media used to exaggerate any report of a Tesla on fire in order to generate more revenue (clicks). It was never about Teslas being more fire-prone than combustion engine cars. The number of fires in a gasoline car is vastly higher.

“Now that the big automotive advertisers are making EVs, you will see far fewer articles about EVs catching on fire.

It is not surprising that internal combustion engine cars have a tendency to combust externally too.” Elon Musk

Credit Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p. 90

Tesla 2021 Impact Report states how low the risk is for a fire to occur in a Tesla,

Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.

From 2012 – 2021, there has been approximately 5 Tesla vehicle fires for every billion miles traveled.

By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Department of Transportation show that in the U.S. there are 53 vehicle fires for every billion miles travelled.

How do you charge a Tesla, can you plug into a regular outlet? 

Tesla Home Charging. credit, Tesla

This is a great question and I love it when people ask me this.  My answer is that you’ll likely want to plug your Tesla into an outlet that’s the same as your dryer outlet, and a regular wall outlet (110V) can work, especially if your daily commute is not very long.  Many owners install a Tesla Wall Connector in their garage.  Tesla recommends the Wall Connector on their website,

“Tesla Wall Connector is an efficient and convenient home charging solution that lets you plug your vehicle in overnight and start your day charged.” 

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

I plug the Tesla in at home at night so that its all charged up by morning. If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles.

How far does it go on a single charge? 

The most popular Tesla,  Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. Almost everyone asks me about traveling, so I wrote about that in my article “Tesla Summer Travel Trip.” Tesla provides an automatic navigation route that works very well. Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, and you can travel anywhere in the USA. There are over 35,000 Tesla Superchargers in the world today and more are being built every day.

How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?

The quick answer is that our bill raised from anywhere to $30 – $50 a month.  Of course, this will vary due to daily miles driven.  Tesla has a Charging Calculator and in the above example, a Model 3 driving 49 miles a day would cost $1.69 a day to charge on a wall connector.

Tesla’s Online Charging Calculator

Tesla says,

“The most convenient place to charge your Tesla is at home, overnight. Plug in when you get home and let your car charge while you sleep. You no longer need to take trips to the pump with a gas-powered vehicle, and you can utilize low overnight utility pricing during off-peak hours, saving both time and money.” Tesla

Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?

Tesla Destination Charging, Apartments & Condos may install these. credit, Tesla

Yes. Many apartment complexes, workplaces and even schools have or are planning to install chargers.

Tesla’s website is encouraging,

“Increasingly, condos and apartment buildings are required by law to allow EV charging. Installing charging makes business sense, and the case will only get stronger as more people buy electric vehicles. 

Additionally, incentives may be available to you or your building property manager to alleviate cost, at the federal, state, county, municipal and utility levels.”

Tesla’s website is helpful, saying,

We offer the following templates to help get these conversations started with your building manager or HOA:

I heard they are very expensive, aren’t they? 

As of today, the Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800).

I wrote about the vast savings in buying a Tesla in my article, Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?

Model Y pricing from August 27, 2022

How do you drive one?

Model Y at Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

This is a great question!  I have driven so many cars both stick shift and automatic, there is no easier car to simply drive than a Tesla.  You will enjoy that the car is always on.  You get in, there’s nothing to start, the car is silently on and ready to go.  It has the basic brake pedal and accelerator pedal, which I still call the gas pedal by mistake. 

Two things make the Tesla feel very roadworthy, that’s the fact it has a low center of gravity as the heavy battery power pack forms the base of the car.  And the other is the fact the drive train is all electric and there’s no transmission.  This leads to better safety and also a heightened experience when driving.  The car is a total pleasure to drive, it’s like happiness on wheels. 

You can schedule a test drive at a service center or rent a Tesla.  Hertz rents out Teslas and they have a good webpage “What’s it like to drive a Tesla?” They say,

“Driving a Tesla is an exhilarating experience. While the basic driving principles remain the same as in a gas-powered car, the available torque, technology and braking methods are driving features which distinguish Tesla and other EVs. Learn more about how to operate your Tesla before you get behind the wheel of this sleek vehicle.”

Hertz has a dedicated EV Customer Support Team that is there to answer any questions. The best experience is to test drive one after watching the videos on how to drive one.

CONCLUSION

  • Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.
  • Tesla Wall Connector installed at your house is the easiest way to charge every night
  • If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles
  • Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. With over 35,000 Superchargers in the world, you can travel anywhere
  • Expect your electric bill to go up anywhere from $30 – $50 a month. Tesla’s Charging Calculator will customize this figure to your needs 
  • Apartment Living: Many condos and apartments have EV charging or are planning installation
  • As of today, Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800) Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, worth every penny   
  • There is no easier car to drive than a Tesla. Many cities have Tesla stores where you can test drive one https://www.tesla.com/drive

My Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, it’s pure happiness to drive it, and it just gets better with the over-the-air software updates.

Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

Like this article? You can read more like this

Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less? If you absolutely have to own a vehicle, then there is no better choice right now than a Tesla. I base this statement on the low cost of Tesla insurance, the ease of charging the battery, and zero maintenance.

American Innovation: Tesla owners share their favorite features I share the enthusiasm of Tesla owners by telling their unique stories, as well as putting a spotlight on some of their favorite features in their Tesla! Hope you’ll relax and enjoy these positive vibes!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 28, 2022.

Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?

Black Tesla Model 3 by Zack @BLKMDL3 [used with permission]

Every car looks promising when it is sitting on the dealer’s lot. It’s nice and clean, begging you to hop in and take a drive.

Getting started in life as a young person can seem like a vicious cycle when a car is involved.  There’s a circle of making payments and sinking money into insurance payments, not to mention the nightmare that happens when your car needs repairs. Since gasoline prices are spiking, combustion engine cars cost a lot to operate.  On the other hand, electric cars are becoming more common because they cost little to operate.

If you absolutely have to own a vehicle, then there is no better choice right now than a Tesla.  I’ll argue this statement in this blog today based on the low cost of Tesla insurance, the ease of charging the battery, and zero maintenance. 

Tesla Insurance is low cost

Tesla Insurance, which is based on real-time driving behavior, is available in Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas [Virginia and Oregon soon]. Real-time driving behavior means that the monthly rate you pay for insurance will drop lower if you drive safer, and will increase if you drive less safe. Tesla will help you drive safer, through their app and your usage of the vehicle’s autopilot software that comes with every car.

California has a different kind of Tesla Insurance, and it is not based on real-time driving [but this may change, each state has complicated laws].

Tesla insurance usually costs less than $100 a month, with the likely probability that it will decrease in price. Or, it could increase based on your driving habits.  

I am unsure what you expect to pay monthly, but I was paying about $250 a month before I got Tesla Insurance.  I thought I had a good rate until I experienced the kindness of Tesla.  

Old fashioned style insurance companies cannot compete with the low price of Tesla Insurance.  The antiquated way is to charge you more based on your age instead of your ability to drive carefully.

Charging a Tesla is low cost

Your Tesla, if you decide to get one, costs much less to charge than what you would pay to fill a combustion engine’s tank up with petrol.  

I am not going to give specific overall dollar amount averages in my argument. Instead, I will explain what I pay. Since I charge at home, I do see a small increase in my electric bill.  I set the charge time to when electricity rates are low.  I don’t notice more than a $25 increase in my monthly bill since I got the Tesla.  Supercharging my Tesla away from home costs anywhere from $15 – $20 for a full charge.

Maintaining a Tesla is also low cost

My Tesla has an electric motor that requires no maintenance.  There’s a saying among Tesla owners, that annual maintenance costs are about $7 [cost of windshield wiper fluid].  Conversely, people pay a lot to maintain a combustion engine as there are so many moving parts, valves, and coolant needs.

My own view is that when you need to get your first car, there really is no better car to buy than a Tesla. Here is a brief comparison of Tesla versus combustion engine car:

TESLACOMBUSTION
insurance costs much less in some statesinsurance based on your age, costs are high
avoid the gas pumpsubject to high gas prices
no maintenancescheduled maintenance and constant repairs
A comparison of the costs of owning a Tesla versus a combustion engine car.

Overall, owning a Tesla is less expensive than owning a combustion car. This issue is important because your vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make so it needs to be one of the best you can get.  

Why I wrote this article and who I wrote it for

A few nights ago, I signed up for Tesla insurance.  I was really happy with the significant rate reduction Tesla gave me.  My teenage kid was also happy.  She explained to me that her friends are just starting out with jobs and their first cars.  She told me they have constant car expenses like insurance [big one], gasoline, and huge maintenance bills [one car needed a whole new engine].  She asked me to consider blogging in a “style that might help her friends believe they could afford a Tesla.” 

Interested in what people think about Tesla Autonomy? You can check that out here.

Red Tesla Model 3 by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Main header photo of Black Tesla Model 3 by Zack @BLKMDL3 [used with permission].

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Gail Alfar, Edited by Sarah Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. March 19, 2022