The Real cost of EV ownership?
In an era when a full tank of gas can cost up to $80, but charging an electric car costs less than $5 (According to PlugNDrive.ca, many Level 2 public charging stations are free-to-use. For those that are pay-per-use, the average cost is $1.00/Hour or $2.50/charge.), buying an electric vehicle may seem like an obvious choice. But the economics of EVs are complicated, and you need to know a lot of unknown factors before you can stand up to the oil companies.
Buying a new EV
To drive an electric vehicle, you have to buy one, which is often expensive. A typical EV vehicle that can replace your conventional car will cost you at least $15,000-$20,000 more. It will take you several years to break even, assuming you are not buying anything extraordinarily expensive, live in a place with cheap electricity, and always charge it at home. That’s a lot of “ifs” to make buying a new electric vehicle economically viable. And even with all these “ifs”, you will be driving the car for 3 to 7 years (depending on how much you drive) before you start seeing any actual savings.
EV Prices vs ICE & Hybrid
The 2018 Tesla Model 3 ignited the electric car market, but a new Tesla Model 3 starts at $60,000, $13,000 more than a few years ago. The average transaction price is closer to $80,000. And you can get a BMW 3 Series $10,000 cheaper and a Toyota Camry Hybrid at half the price of a Tesla Model 3.
There’s no doubt that a purely electric car will save you a lot more energy than the Camry hybrid, but the initial purchase price of an EV and potentially higher insurance and repair costs can mitigate its profitability. On the other hand, conventional cars have a litany of maintenance costs that EVs do not incur, such as fluid changes and more frequent brake maintenance.
Many people buy an EV to save the environment and money, a noble motivation that pays off in fuel savings and environmental dividends. It’s beyond the scope of this article, but think about the overall environmental return on investment and ask yourself if there is a more efficient way to deploy the net funds you would spend on an electric car: Installing rooftop solar panels or building a top-notch Zoom room to avoid most business air travel are a few examples that can be considered with the help of a good carbon footprint calculator. Additionally, we’re still trying to understand the environmental impact of the disposal of EV batteries. That being said, several EVs in the market are worth buying, but purely for the sake of driving pleasure and to experience it’s advanced mechanics and tech features. However, if you are looking to save, EVs are probably not the best bet.