Why Electric Vehicles May Have the Edge When It Comes to Cost of Ownership and Operation

By Jonathan Spira on 8 November 2017
  • Share

2017 BMW i3 with Range Extender

While electric vehicles still look expensive, when compared to more traditional petrol-powered vehicles, their prices have come down in recent years. But that’s only half the story: their total cost of ownership is significantly lower as is the cost to power the vehicle.

More affordable EVs have come onto the market including the 220-mile (354-kilometer) range Tesla Model 3 (the MSRP is $35,000 although the average sale price is expected to be in the range of $50,000) and the 238-mile (383-kilometer) range Chevrolet Volt, which starts at $37,495. Entry-level EVs include the 124-mile (200-kilometer) range Hyundai Ioniq at $22,000 after tax credits and the 107-mile (172-kilometer) range Nissan Leaf which starts at $30,000.

The only major expense electric-vehicle buyers may see is a home charging unit if there isn’t one nearby already. A ChargePoint home charger is available at retailers such as Amazon for just over $400 and installation should cost about $250. Some electric utilities will give customers significant rebates for buying and installing a Level 2 charger, capable of supplying up to 70 miles (113 kilometers) of range per hour.

Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle.

Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle.

Depending on how long the EV owner keeps the vehicle, battery replacement may come up and replacement can cost thousands of dollars. The Nissan Leaf comes with a 96-month/100,000-mile warranty for its lithium-ion battery and the BMW i3 carries a similar warranty.

Meanwhile, the traditional expenses associated with owning a car – new spark plugs, transmission repairs, and head gaskets, as well as timing and fan belts – simply aren’t a part of the EV ownership experience. The same holds true for oil and transmission fluid changes. An often overlooked factor is that electric cars, with their dynamic braking, save wear on brake pads and associated items.

Some car maintenance is still required but fortunately it’s the less expensive items such as windshield wipers and tire rotation.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Cost of Powering an Electric Vehicle

Pages: 1 2