One of the benefits of electric vehicles is the low cost of ownership. However, it is helpful to compare how much it costs to purchase and maintain an electric vehicle and an internal combustion engine car. Keep reading this article to find out.
Note that it is impossible to get a universal comparison as many factors depend on where you live. However, we can get a general idea of how electric vehicle ownership compares with ICEs when it comes to costs.
Another point is whatever cost benefits electric vehicles have over ICEs are is in addition to the environmental gain of zero pollution.
We will start from the cost of purchase.
Electric cars indeed have a higher cost of acquisition. On average, electric vehicles cost $19,000 more than ICE cars. However, your mileage may vary based on the electric model you settle for.
It is also important to note the difference gets lower every year. Bloomberg NEF even predicts electric vehicles will cost the same as ICEs by 2027. This is connected to how battery prices, the highest in an electric car’s bill of materials, have been dropping steadily.
Depending on the model you buy and where you live, incentives can help defray part of the cost of purchasing an electric car. For incentives, the federal government tax credit can net you back up to $7,500. State incentives can also help you pay less.
Sticker prices, however, do not tell the whole story as you continue to spend money on any car. This brings us to the cost of refueling.
Is charging cheaper than buying gas?
Here, again, the outcome depends on your location. However, since electricity is generally cheaper than gas, you are more likely to pay less for charging your electric car than your neighbor pays to pump gas into his tank.
Let’s bring that closer to you. Using an average gas cost of $2.44 for regular and $3.11 for premium, Car & Driver calculated you would spend $4,478 to drive the Cooper Mini for 45,000 miles, which will cover the total distance driven by an average driver in three years.
To get the cost of charging a Cooper Mini Electric to cover the same distance in California, Car & Driver used an Electrify America public charging scenario which charges $0.22/min (every public charging network is mandated to switch to per-kW billing by 2023). The automobile website also factored in home charging at the national average rate of $0.1282/kW.
Note there could be wild variations in the cost of electricity. For example, Louisiana residents pay one-third of what Hawaiians pay for electricity.
Car & Driver arrived at $1,939 to keep the Cooper Mini Electric on the road for 45,000 miles. This tips the scale in favor of electric vehicles.
This is before factoring in cost-saving methods like charging during off-peak periods, signing up for EV-focused tariffs, installing your solar panels, etc.
EV drivers also get opportunities to charge for free in public or at their place of work, something ICE drivers can only dream of.
Cars require maintenance, whether they are electric or not. How do the costs of maintenance for electric vehicles and ICEs compare?
ICE cars break down more often than electric vehicles, and this is because the former have fewer moving parts that wear out or break down.
However, that is not all, as electric vehicles do not need routine maintenance like changing the oil.
All this means fewer trips to your local auto repair shop and less bill for you.
Car & Driver used AAA’s 2019 Your Driving Costs analyzer to quantify this. Your Driving Costs is a tool that will estimate your maintenance costs based on your car model.
The Cooper Mini would cost $0.0853 per mile in maintenance, while the Cooper Mini Electric would cost $0.066 per mile.
It is impossible to obtain a perfect comparison between the costs of maintaining electric vehicles and ICE vehicles. However, this article has shown you will spend less owning an electric car. You pay less for charging and maintenance and take advantage of incentives.
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