ICE equivalent of the Model S

ICE equivalent of the Model S

What would you say is the ICE equivalent of the Model S, standard version with the 85 kWh battery?

I live in Sweden and I intend to let my company own the Model S and let me drive it. When I do so I have to pay tax for my right to use the car for personal driving. Here in Sweden, every car is assigned a taxation value that's used to calculate how much tax you have to pay. The taxation value depends on the price of the car. To promote the use of electrical cars in Sweden, the law says that if you're using an electrical car you should first find out a comparable ICE car and use the price of that car instead when calculating the taxation value.

So, what car would that be? This should be a car that looks and functions just like the Model S, except for the EV drive. It should be a sedan of equal size, standard and have the same amount of options. I suppose that the power of the engine should be similar as well, but not necessarily the acceleration.

For most other EV cars it's probably a lot easier to find a similar ICE car since the car manufacturer usually has an ICE version that's exactly the same, but since Tesla don't make any ICE cars the Model S has to be compared to an ICE car from another manufacturer.

mbcaffe | February 6, 2013

I suggest BMW 535i, Jaguar XF, Audi A7, Mercedes CLS 550

bredell | February 6, 2013

mbcaffe: Those seem to be luxury cars which I don't think can compare to the Model S, lots of people have been complaining about the interior of the TMS not being the same standard as "other luxury cars". Also, many of those cars seem to come standard with options that you can't even get on the TMS.

akelley | February 6, 2013

Porsche Panamera Turbo, BMW M5, various Mercedes AMG. Depends on if you value straight line speed, handing or the package. On pure performance the Panamera Turbo wins, but it is both ugly and a bit clinical. Mercedes AMGs are probably the most similar in concept and execution: fast in a straight line, worse on the track than a BMW M5. On a track, all of these would crush a Model S. On the road, it is much more complicated.

> I suggest BMW 535i, Jaguar XF, Audi A7, Mercedes CLS 550

Too slow. The Model S destroys them as a performance machine, but these do have some better cabin technology (blind spot alerts, auto parking, pre-collision systems, etc).

Carefree | February 6, 2013

Difficult question. I would assume that the equivalent ICE car needs to somehow come close in price to the Tesla with the 85kwh battery? If so, then mbcaffe is right on with his choice of vehicles. Of course we do not know how much these cars cost in Sweden, esp. compared to the Model S. If Sweden is like Germany then you could certainly price a BMW 535 with the bare bone interior and leave all the options out that the Tesla does not offer yet. Same with the other cars.

DouglasR | February 6, 2013


The whole point of having you list a comparable ICE car (rather than basing the tax on price) is to promote the use of electrical cars. The assumption is that you will pay much more for an electric car than you would pay for a comparable ICE car. After all, that is true of all other electric and hybrid cars that are based on similar ICE models. Thus you should choose a car that is comparable in size, power, and luxury features, and forget about performance. This is likely to be a car considerably less expensive than a Model S, maybe a Cadillac.

GeirT | February 6, 2013

I'd go for the Porsche Panamera Turbo. Size, looks, power.

Brian H | February 6, 2013

Jeez, guys, he's asking about taxation value, not track stats. Get a grip.

mbcaffe | February 6, 2013


gregv64 | February 6, 2013

I think you're going to have a hard time finding a more comparable car than the Jaguar XF or the BMW 5 series. People may complain when comparing the Model S to equivalently priced cars, but it's not like you can compare it to a Camry either. I think a base model 535i is a reasonable comparison. It will be a fair bit cheaper than an 85kWh Model S.

Getting Amped Again | February 6, 2013

Since it's for tax valuation purposes I'd go with a Ford Taurus.

hfcolvin | February 6, 2013

Ha Get Amped - my first thought was for tax purposes the MS would be comparable to a Ford Fiesta.

Superliner | February 6, 2013

Lincoln MKZ or MKS? Perhaps a Cadillac model or two. I always find it strange why no consideration is given to any domestic brands, Many of which are @ the 40kw Tesla S price point in the mid 50k range and are very competitive offerings.

The Model S covers a broad range of price points from entry level to tricked out Sig. with more range and supercharging being the only things exclusive to the 60 and 85Kw versions. To limit comparison to the 70 to 90K and up import offerings may be missing the mark.

There is also a 40Kw Model S @ $52,400 which is less than a top of the line Cadillac or Lincoln offering. Some would say they have more luxurious interiors than the Model S which I think they do.

The scope of the discussion is too narrow IMHO. Elon just might be looking at those customers as well maybe? Just sayin'

L8MDL | February 6, 2013

Buick Regal for tax purposes only...

dborn | February 6, 2013

When I asked my local agent what to compare the S to in size and generally, his reply was the Panamera. This was before I went to Fremont to see the car in Oct '11.
Next you should look at the Swedish price of the Panamera and the S and that should be sufficient for tax purposes.

Carefree | February 6, 2013

This is Sweden, we are talking about:-) No Buicks, no Ford Taurus and no Lincolns either. It has to be a European Model.

Superliner | February 6, 2013

Awww C'mon guys .. Open your borders We can provide the cars lol!!

L8MDL | February 6, 2013

I had forgotten that GM Europe was closed after the Saab story (pun intended)...

Superliner | February 6, 2013

He did say for tax purposes All those mentioned domestic brands surely would help your tax position lol!!

DTsea | February 6, 2013

OK, then, 1992 Fiat Uno - for tax purposes.

Getting Amped Again | February 6, 2013

We are collectively being smarta55es because we're *wait'n* when we want to be *drive'n*.

ThomasN | February 6, 2013

Audi S7

rd2 | February 6, 2013

This is a silly thread. Basically, none of us can agree on which ICE cars compare with the Model S. Why is that? Because there is no ICE 'equivalent' for the Model S. Tesla has basically created its own vehicle category.

What ICE car outraces an M5, yet seats 7? (answer: none)

What ICE car has more storage than most SUVs, and can travel from SF to LA for free? (answer: none)

What ICE car has this much advanced digital and networked technology, with amazing functionality (easy answer: none), but yet doesn't have automatic folding mirrors and park distance control? (same answer: none)

What comparable ICE sells you a $100k vehicle, but when you pick it up, it doesn't have three of the options you paid for (rear facing seats, parcel shelf, carbon fiber) in stock??? And they will call you back to have them installed at a time TBD??? (again: none)

What ICE car, after 5 years of use, will have actually SAVED you over ten thousand dollars in gas? (and in my case, $20k: none)

What comparable ICE is being built by a startup company? (none).

And that is my point. Tesla Motors, for all of the ingenuity, astounding quality, and excellence they have achieved, is still just a startup company that will take a few years to mature into the first successful new American car company in over 100 years. They are not ready to offer every single feature and luxury that other companies with hundreds of years of combined experience and a massive product line will offer. But I would bet that they will match or exceed those companies in those regards in just a few years.

Until they do, you have to accept the Model S for what it is: the most incredible driving experience on the road today, one that will continue to improve, and one that is deliberately unlike any ICE car in existence. Tesla built this car so that you will never look at ICE cars the same way again.

I would recommend that you stop trying to pigeon-hole the Model S with other ICE's. The shoe simply doesn't fit.

rd2 | February 6, 2013

And for your tax purposes, bredell, I would estimate the number of years you plan to drive it, then the total amount you will save on gas purchases, and subtract that from the purchase price. Choose an ICE that is that price and do a valuation on that.

Otherwise, I suspect if you try to find a "sedan of equal size, standard and have the same amount of options. I suppose that the power of the engine should be similar as well, but not necessarily the acceleration" you may be looking for a long time...

Tylyoung | February 6, 2013

Hey Doc!!!

What happened to the ??????

The flux capacitor is amped..

Dude!...... This is a Tesla S.....

Suspension on high.... wheels retract...


Where we are going.........

We don't need Roads!

YYYYa... it's kinda like that!!!!

akelley | February 6, 2013

> Jeez, guys, he's asking about taxation value, not track stats. Get a grip.

My bad. On that point, I think a BMW 535 or a Panamara S (non-turbo) would both work as sensible comparisons. The 535 is much cheaper, so for tax purposes...

Timo | February 6, 2013

Compare the driving costs and get the ICE that matches that as closely as possible.

What's the most economic ICE car? Google gives me Fiat 500C TwinAir.

For taxation purposes I would go with that.

bredell | February 7, 2013

Thank for all the comments. Perhaps I should have explained the problem a bit more.

Since an EV car usually costs a lot more than an ICE car, the tax authorities says that when I calculate the taxation value I should subtract the cost that the EV drive has added to the car. This is done by finding a ICE car that can be considered "comparable" to the EV. They don't say anything about what features to compare, but the car should be similar in size, standard and have the same features. Of course, I would be happy to find a comparable ICE car that's as cheap as possible but I have to explain to the authorities why I have chosen this particular car and why I considered it as being comparable to the Tesla Model S.

This is usually very easy to do. Volvo makes a car called "Volvo V70 T4", they also make a flexifuel version called "Volvo V70 T4F". These two cars are exactly the same apart from the flexifuel engine that can run on other fuels. But since Tesla themselves don't make ICE cars this gets more tricky.

I think that the comparable car should be an american car since they are similar in size. The performance of the engine should be taken into consideration, but only the power of the engine (360 hp), and it should not be the most important factor.

For the Tesla Roadster, the tax authorities consider a Lotus car as being comparable since the Roadster was built on a Lotus chassis. This reduces the tax for the Roadster from SEK 164.200 to SEK 51,100 a year, a reduction by more than 2/3.

So, if we take a Tesla Model S and replace the engine with an old fashioned ICE engine, then what car would this be?

Or is there any way we could find out how much the cost of the EV drive adds to the car? If the swedish tax authorities think that the Roadster is comparable to a Lotus, then the price difference between the Roadster and the Lotus must be the added cost of the EV drive in the Roadster. Could this added cost be considered the same in the Model S? The Roadster and the Model S are both made by the same company and uses the same technology, therefore the added cost of the EV driver should be the same?

nickjhowe | February 7, 2013

BMW M5? 540i? Merc E63 AMG?

archibaldcrane | February 7, 2013

I think the Audi S7 is going to be the most comparable to a Model S Performance. It's $79,695 in America to the MSP's $94,900 base price. They're the same shape basically, and the S7 at least gets into the ballpark performance-wise.

If performance is less of an issue, then look at the Audi A7, which starts at $60,995 in the USA.

I really don't know what type of American car you're going to find that is particularly "comparable".

Your point about features is valid, but remember most of those things are "options" - not standard. The base-model A7 doesn't come with power folding mirrors, heated seats, blind spot assist, lane departure warning, top-end stereo system, and neither does the base Model S Performance, and I think that makes it a fairly comparable vehicle size/trim-wise.

archibaldcrane | February 7, 2013

Erm, wait, I guess the MSP does come with heated seats standard, but otherwise yeah.

gregv64 | February 7, 2013

I don't think you can compare the roadster, which was a speciality car made in limited production. The costs of producing it from the Lotus base were much higher.

There just isn't going to be a close match. I still stand by the BMW 535 as being reasonably comparable in engine power, size and level of luxury. Choose the options that most closely match the options in the Model S. The model S definitely compares to a mid-range luxury car.

gregv64 | February 7, 2013

Actually, I do agree the Audi A7 is probably a closer match, because the BMW is definitely a bit smaller.

Timo | February 7, 2013

I would go with Audi A7 too, even that it doesn't really compare to Model S. If you do want really comparable car then maybe 2013 Audi RS7 is the closest car to match Model S, but it is probably more expensive than Model S is, not less (price not yet available). For storage space to match you need a station wagon or small van to compare.

There just isn't any ICE car that matches Model S. Like someone already said, it is in its own class alone.

Brian H | February 8, 2013

He wants a match to the cheapest American car possible. You're not helping.

djp | February 8, 2013

There is no comparable ICE - that's the point

Brian H | February 8, 2013

Yeah, yeah. So you get as close as you can considering NON-DRIVETRAIN features, and go with that. Chevy Impala.

jkirkebo | February 8, 2013

I'd go with the Volvo S80.

gregv64 | February 8, 2013

Does the Chevy Impala have 19" wheels and air suspension (the 2014 Impala has 19" wheels as an option, but they haven't announced pricing yet)? If he can get away with it, fine, but I doubt it. The Model S is clearly competing with other "Premium" cars, so I don't imagine they will let him use a car from an entirely different segment. The Cadillac CTS maybe, but it's definitely smaller than the S.

Anyway, we've offered our suggestions, he needs to see what they will accept.

brianw31 | February 10, 2013

The base model Audi A7 3.0 TFSI has faster acceleration (0-60 in 5.2sec vs MS 5.6sec)than 85kwh non-performance Tesla Model S but lower hp (310 vs MS 362) and the same torque (325 lb-ft). Much better fit and finish even on the base model A7, so it's a good compromise.

brianw31 | February 10, 2013

Sorry, 0-60 in 5.4s per Audi. Lower was published in a review.

RanjitC | February 10, 2013

I would compare it to a locally made car as it would be cheaper due to no import taxes.