Is an EV cheaper than a ICE vehicle?

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We've had discussions regarding EV vs ICE, and when looking at the price of gas in the USA, it seems like EV are a win. Except that analysis leaves out vehicle cost, which is a critical component of the comparison, and one that is easy to identify. Other factors such as standard maintenance (oil, tires, batteries, etc.) are variable and can be left out of the comparison.

In 2015 I compared a Toyota Camry ICE vs Camry Hybrid, and Toyota Prius ICE vs Prius Hybrid, and figured the basic cost operate for each model (doesn't include oil changes, tires, etc). The hybrids at that time cost more, and for the Prius the two models evened out at the 5 year mark, meaning after 5 years of operation, the cost of the ICE vehicle + fuel reached the cost of the Hybrid. For the Camry, it took 7 years for the cost to even out ... and since the battery had a 7 year warranty, I purchased the ICE.

So I made a comparison of the Tesla Model 3 Long-Range (most popular model according to Edmunds) vs. the Camry XLE. According to Edmunds, and not taking into consideration taxes and other fees:

Tesla 3 long-range: $59,190
Toyota Camry XLE: $31,620
Difference: $27,570

Pre-COVID I commuted 20,000 miles/year and achieved an average of 33.5 MPG (mostly highway). That's roughly 600 gallons of fuel per year and at $4 USD that's an annual cost of $2,400. At this cost it will take 11.5 years of driving for the cost of buying/operating the Camry to equal the Tesla. For my current driving habits (<5,000 miles/year), it will take 46 years to even out. And this does not include the cost of charging the Tesla, nor the installation of charging HW.

The Tesla is a high priced car, so I did the same with a Kia Niro EV, which Edmund prices at $41,285. This comparison is more equitable -- commuting 20K miles/year, it will take 4+ years to even out. However, my current driving situation (<5,000 miles/year) it will take 16 years to even out.

If gas prices drop back to last year's prices, those times will double.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm like Craig, every now and then I do the math. Even though we keep cars until they die, the longest we have managed to keep a car for regular use is 17 years. The 1991 Dakota is only fit for the 4 mile round trip to the dump and that is risky.

With the cost of our Corolla and the MPG of the Corolla, we can't win with EV.
 
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I’ll need a new car in a year or two. If there’s an EV available for under $40K with 400 miles of range and towing capability I would buy it. I figure a decent ICE car or SUV will be about the same price.
Check prices. The ones I saw that were under $40K USD were small and I doubt they can tow much. Things might change by the time you need one, but I'm doubtful.
 
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I'm like Craig, every now and then I do the math. Even though we keep cars until they die, the longest we have managed to keep a car for regular use is 17 years.
We keep vehicles about 10 years. When they start nickeling and diming us with repairs, and/or we lose confidence in their day-to-day reliability, we replace them.

We had a 2000 Odyssey, and in early 2010 the transmission blew. Honda cut us a deal, they'd provide a rebuilt transmission and we'd pay the labor. I checked, and a certain year range of Odyssey had transmission problems around 150K miles, and I figured Honda was trying to avoid a lawsuit. We took the deal as an eventual lawsuit would take years and pay peanuts. Vehicles with a bad tranny are pretty much worthless, so paying half was good enough.

6+ months later that transmission blew, but was fully covered under warranty. We saw the handwriting on the wall and immediately traded the vehicle in. The Sienna we replaced it with lasted almost 10 years when a deer committed suicide on it. Oddly enough, we had been discussing replacing it the following summer, but Ms. Deer made the decision for us. Even odder, the insurance company paid top dollar, and we got more than we would have for a private sale. Note -- I do NOT recommend using our method to get a better price for a vehicle -- seeing a deer 1.5' away when it suicides on your vehicle at 75 MPH is nothing I'd voluntarily choose. ;)
 

sour_grapes

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Other factors such as standard maintenance (oil, tires, batteries, etc.) are variable and can be left out of the comparison.

If you want to do an honest comparison of cost of ownership, you will have to rethink this line.

I tend to agree that EVs are the economic winner at this point in time, but the comparison is not trivial.

EDIT: I tend to agree that EVs are NOT the economic winner at this point in time, but the comparison is not trivial.
 
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If you want to do an honest comparison of cost of ownership, you will have to rethink this line.
The variables are variable. General maintenance for EV is supposedly half the cost of ICE, although several sources state EV go through tires faster. Is there sufficient data regarding battery lifespan?

Trying to account for everything may not be realistic at this point, and I'm not willing to devote the time necessary to try.
 

sour_grapes

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Please note the edit in post #7. Mea culpa.

I am also not willing to devote the time to do a thorough analysis. But I am noting that such an analysis is not simply purchase cost and fuel cost.
 
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Being lazy, I tried searching on "average cost of vehicle maintenance USA" ... and there's little resembling a consistent answer, although a few presented a value "per mile driven", which makes sense.

I got this table from AAA, and the annual cost includes the cost of the vehicle. I was comparing Electric to Medium Sedan in my thinking, and the difference here is about $300 USD.

However, a lot of detail is left out of this study, so I'm leery of taking it at face value. I suspect that if Tesla and other > $50K MSRP vehicles are left out, the numbers will be different.

New Vehicle CategoryAverage Annual Cost
Small Sedan$7,114
Hybrid$7,736
Electric$8,320
Small SUV$8,394
Medium Sedan$8,643
Minivan$10,036
Medium SUV$10,265
large Sedan$10,403
Pickup$10,839


This is an interesting exercise!
 

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In reading this thread I believe you are missing a few items, like oil changes every few months and tax incentives also some states offer rebates. I bought a 2013 Volt and have driven a little over 100,000 miles. I’ve done 4 oil changes in 9 years. How many have you done? Lifetime I’m at 157 miles to the gallon using gas, love to see any hybrid come close to that. State of Illinois gave me a 10% rebate (tax free) and the federal gave me $7500 tax write off. The standard tires on my car lasted 65,000 miles. The only other maintenance cost was for a brake job at 93,009 miles. Yes, I know some manufacturers don’t qualify for the federal tax credit but there are plenty others that still do.
 
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@chefken, according to Edmunds, the Volt is a small car that doesn't fit the comparison I made, and you drive half the miles I drove when commuting, and current models no longer qualify for the tax credit.

You're right -- I left out a few things. Among them are higher registration fees to offset loss of gas tax, cost of personal charging station installation, right-to-repair (I didn't know this was an issue for EV), higher vehicle insurance, and lower resale value (mostly due to battery degradation + rapid changes in technology). One reviewer likened EV to PCs, due to the rapid changes in technology (I didn't know this).

If you add up all your costs, you may not be achieving the savings you believe you are.

Beyond that I found out a few things during my battery research.

In the USA vendors are required to provide 100,000 mile battery warranties, which is great. However, it's apparently common for the batteries to lose as much as 20% of their max charge capacity by year 10 -- which matters to me, as my wife & I keep cars long term. Having the range drop from 200 miles to 160 miles is significant IMO.

Use of fast chargers on a frequent basis apparently degrades the batteries quicker, as quick chargers impose a heavy dose of current to achieve fast charging. It's also recommended to keep the charge level between 20% and 80% to extend battery life, which limits an already limited range.

Tesla and Hyundai guarantee batteries for life, but the fine print apparently indicates the battery will be replaced only in case of a total failure, which is rare. The Volt costs $4K USD to replace the battery, while Tesla S costs $16K.

I have no problem with EV, but my research has shown that it's not a cost effective solution for me.

EDIT: @geek, you've mentioned use of fast chargers. I suggest you do some research regarding long term usage, as if what I read is correct, your battery will degrade faster.
 
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Wait two years and I think EVs will be better and have better mileage
Based upon what I've read, that is likely correct.

That's good for new purchases, but not for re-sale value. It's like the laptop I'm typing this on -- it works great, does everything I need, but it's 7 yo and is practically worthless for re-sale. When a component fails, it's not worth fixing at this point.

I'll digress with a practical example -- my work laptop is 5 yo and fulfills my business needs. A few months ago I had to render large documents to PDF (print to PDF), and 5,000+ pages took 2.5 hours. Kick off the print and wait.

For the next iteration I transferred the files to my home desktop (built in January when my 7 yo unit failed), and the rendering took 30 seconds. I was so surprised I ran it again, and got the same result. Seriously wow.
 

winemanden

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Use your own judgement! What might be expensive to you, could seem cheap to another person. Having said that, Quality doesn't come cheap.
It seems these days that too many people follow trends. If you need advice there are millions of experts on social media.
One thing I've learned in my fairly long life is that no matter what advice I've received , good or bad, the decision was always mine. :confused::D:eek:

I don't know if it was intended as a joke but I was told as a nipper, 'If you want to buy something going cheap, get a canary'. 😀
 
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BMarNJ

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Here in NJ, electric rates are high, almost $.20/kwh, but I can still drive my EV (VW ID.4) 15000 miles for $800. With the federal tax credit, the car cost $38K and it is a nice 5 person vehicle. VW will be coming out with the ID.6 and ID.8 soon with longer ranges and 7 passenger seating to compete with the larger SUVs.
 

hounddawg

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We keep vehicles about 10 years. When they start nickeling and diming us with repairs, and/or we lose confidence in their day-to-day reliability, we replace them.

We had a 2000 Odyssey, and in early 2010 the transmission blew. Honda cut us a deal, they'd provide a rebuilt transmission and we'd pay the labor. I checked, and a certain year range of Odyssey had transmission problems around 150K miles, and I figured Honda was trying to avoid a lawsuit. We took the deal as an eventual lawsuit would take years and pay peanuts. Vehicles with a bad tranny are pretty much worthless, so paying half was good enough.

6+ months later that transmission blew, but was fully covered under warranty. We saw the handwriting on the wall and immediately traded the vehicle in. The Sienna we replaced it with lasted almost 10 years when a deer committed suicide on it. Oddly enough, we had been discussing replacing it the following summer, but Ms. Deer made the decision for us. Even odder, the insurance company paid top dollar, and we got more than we would have for a private sale. Note -- I do NOT recommend using our method to get a better price for a vehicle -- seeing a deer 1.5' away when it suicides on your vehicle at 75 MPH is nothing I'd voluntarily choose. ;)
suicide ?
the feds will be talking to you, there was no proof that deer was suicidal at all...:wy
Dawg
 
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