Disclaimer: I’m not a financial adviser. What I’m discussing here is merely why I gave up my Supercharging. Please consult with your financial adviser before making any financial decisions.

So a couple months back, Tesla essentially made a deal with folks that purchased the Performance Upgrade Package: You can get $5,000 refund back, but you have to give up the free Supercharging. As someone that doesn’t charge at home much, I kept the free Supercharging close to my chest.

Every time I talk to folks about whether to keep it or take the refund, I always got conflicting answers. Some of the reasons why I should keep it included peace of mind, while others just said that I couldn’t reach the $5,000 worth of Supercharging.

The whole time I was thinking with my heart, clenching to this like it’s the ring from Lord of the Rings. My precious. I needed advice from someone not close to this. I went to two of my great friends, asked them their opinions. In not so many words, they both asked, how long would it take for you to get $5,000 worth of Supercharging? Essentially, they told me: do the math! I specifically had TeslaFi to analyze my data. The whole time I was thinking with my heart, I wasn’t using my brain. So I dove right in. I needed empirical evidence!

I’ve owned my car for over 4 months. During that time, I’ve charged 15 times at the Supercharger. I also charge at work, where I do most of my charging. So I figured out the cost of what I would have paid in if the rate was the Supercharger rates as of January 19th. The reason why I included my work was to figure out my rate if I charged strictly at the Superchargers.

SourcekWh
Added
Price (4 months)
($0.26/kWh)
Year Avg
Supercharger425.73$105.92$317.76
Work842.99$219.18$657.54
Total1268.72$325.10$975.30

If I were to keep my habits the same, it would take me 15 years to recoup that cost! If I didn’t charge at work, it would take a little over 5 years to recoup the cost. I know my Model 3 would probably last that long, and I do plan on keeping it as long as I can, but technology moves pretty quickly. In 15 years, my Model 3 would be an antique. 15 years ago, iPhones and Androids didn’t exist. I don’t even know what the future holds for us. We might not even be driving!

So with that said, I went ahead and I asked for the refund. Very next day, Tesla announced they are increasing the price of the Supercharger. I have impeccable timing. New charging rates are variable, depending on the area while before it depended on the state you lived it. The highest I’ve seen it was $0.37/kWh. So I decided to redo my math based on this price.

SourcekWh
Added
Price (4 months)
($0.37/kWh)
Year Avg
Supercharger1268.72$469.06$1,407.18

With the new rates, it would take over 10 years for me to recoup that value. If I didn’t charge at work, I’m looking at 3.5 years. Seeing that I will continue to charge at work, I still think that I did the right choice. What if I work somewhere else that doesn’t have a charger? Well, I’m lucky enough that I do have a 110V at home to plug into. My rate is about $0.19/kWh.

SourcekWh
Added
Price (4 months)
($0.19/kWh)
Year Avg
Home1268.72$241.06$723.18

At this rate, I’m looking about 7 years before I break even. I’m still looking good. So now that I have a check heading my way, what do I plan to do with it? I plan on investing the money. It’ll probably be a mix of high-risk and low-risk options, including stocks.

The two low-risk options I want to highlight are CDs and money market. With the rates currently going up, you can potentially put it in a low term option and keep rolling it over. For our example, I’m going to choose a 5-year option. A money market account is considered liquid, you typically need more money to open one, but you benefit from a higher rate.

BankTypeRateValue after 5 years
Capital One 360CD3.10%$5,824.56
ChaseMoney Market2.1%$5,547.52

If you look at both options, I’ve gained over $500. Just by taking the cash and sitting on it that gains interest, I’ve added an additional year or two before I break even. But since I’ll mix it with stocks, I can make this value worth more than that. With that said, I still believe I made the right choice in taking the money. My situation might be different from yours; whether you go that route or not is entirely dependent on your situation. You’ll need to run the numbers and decide what is best for you.


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