A few months ago Tesla released a route planner to assist prospective owners determine which vehicle would best meet their needs. Having played around with the planner using various vehicle types it seemed the Model S and X vehicles have a distinct cost advantage over the Model 3 for long trips. According to the trip planner the model 3 costs almost as much as a gas vehicle to drive. Saving just $26 on a round trip to the beach, while the Model S saves $142.
While Model S and X do enjoy free supercharging and Model 3 owners pay per use I suspected the planner was slanting the results to encourage prospective buyers to purchase a Model S or X.
So instead of planning a long trip, I planned my daily commute. The planner does calculate your monthly gas savings for the commute and correctly identifies that supercharging is unecessary. For all three vehicle types the monthly savings should be pretty close. But it isn’t. For a Model S 100D vehicle it calculates my monthly commuter savings to be $214 per month. This is close to the $180 per month savings I record for my LEAF. For the Model 3 the estimated monthly commuter savings is reduced to just $39/month. This is clearly wrong, the cost of electricity at my home is constant. The Model 3 should enjoy even bigger savings, its a smaller more efficient car than the Model S. Interestingly it does not matter which S or X vehicle you choose, the savings are identical $214/month. I would expect the S to be slightly more efficient than the X. This planner does a poor job of calculating savings based on vehicle type.
The Tesla trip planner should only be used to give an idea of how many SC stops you need to make for your long trips. The gas savings calculations are biased and flawed. Ignore them.