- May 4, 2015
- Reaction score
I must respectfully disagree with your assumptions and findings.Here are a few items from a guy who just retired from teaching in the Sustainability/Renewable Energy area.
1. Electric isn't truly "green" unless two things happen: first, the power that charges it comes from a green source, not coal fired, not nat gas, and second, that the power and resources used to make the car are green (same issue).
2. It takes energy to make an energy-efficient vehicle. There's a term for it, called "embodied energy." If you replace an ICE car with an electric, you may be greener, but only after you make up for all the energy it took to make the vehicle.
3. The problem of how long until charge is called "Range Anxiety." It's much better. With ranges exceeding 300 miles today, most electric cars pass the "everyday use" test. What they aren't as good for is extended trips.
4. Many have, and others will, have a multiple-vehicle family with an electric vehicle for everyday things, and an ICE car for longer trips. About the longest trip I make is maybe 300 miles round-trip, which is in the range of many electric cars.
5. As ranges of EVs have increased, "range anxiety" is being supplanted by "charge anxiety." If one doesn't have a convenient access to charging while on the road, and charging that is relatively fast, then it's also an issue.
And here's the biggest issue of all, IMO:
As a class assignment, I had my students figure out the gasoline-price break-even point, i.e., how high would gas prices have to rise for the monthly cost to break even.
You have to make some assumptions to do this. I told them 12000 miles annually, the price of the EV (Chevy Bolt at the time) was about $35k, the price of a comparable ICE car similar to a Ford Focus was $20,000. We assumed a 6-year loan with something like $3k down on each.
I figured something like an average of 30mpg on the Focus (I own one, that's why I used it), and factored in the electricity charging costs of the EV. I added a couple oil changes a year for the Focus. My insurance agent insisted the annual costs to insure both where the same, but I don't really believe that. A totaled $35k car should cost more to insure than a $20k car, but we used equal insurance anyway.
Guess how high gas prices would have to rise for the montly cost to break even? You will not believe it.
$9.32 per gallon.
Yeah. About impossible to believe, but do the math. People think they're saving a ton of money with these things, but they never are. There are also end-of-life costs such as whether the battery needs replacement after 7 years, and so on.
Now, you cannot do these kinds of problems without making some assumptions; you can fill in your own as you like. But the numbers we used were not outlandish, and making some changes here or there wouldn't change the results all that much.
In the end, would I buy one? Yeah. Maybe. Possibly. If the price comes down.
1) The grid isn't either all green or all fossil fuel but instead a mix. Currently the US is powered by:
62.7% fossil fuels, 19.7% nuclear and 17.5% renewable energy. Even if an EV only achieved comparable mileage to an ICE, right out of the gate you would be producing 37.2% less carbon than a gas or diesel vehicle. Now add the fact that EV's are, at the minimum, 2 times more efficient at turning an equivalent amount of mined energy into road miles you can quickly see that electric cars are much more environmentally friendly then combustion engine powered vehicles, even plugged into the dirtiest of grids.
2) You are using old data to make your point here as these days the amount of energy to make an ICE car is right about on par with EV vehicles. What you fail to factor in is the extra amount of carbon and other noxious gasses that ICE will spew out during it's lifetime that the EV will not which has a huge cost to society. Also consider that with electric the power generation is done out side of cities and is not coming from the tailpipe ahead of you on the road. Did anyone happen to catch the pictures taken recently of major metropolitan areas during the last covid shutdown where you could see the skyline in blue and not orange smog haze? Again even if EV's were only equally efficient to ICE cars, what value is not having to suck on that tail pipe in front of you?
3) I have zero range anxiety. I can go 270 miles in a charge and fill up at 150kw+ and be on my way in about the time it takes to get a coffee and use the restroom. The newer models have much bigger batteries and even faster charging (250kw) making this whole range/charge anxiety a thing of the past.
4) I think your assumptions were based on old technology and you also forgot to factor in maintenance which is a huge chunk of the cost of owning an ICE car. The web is littered with sites comparing ICE costs to EV. Here is is a comprehensive study out of Canada comparing the total costs of ICE and EV for your students to check their work against. By the way the EV's compared in this study are older and not terribly efficient ones either.
The average 10 year savings from EV ownership is $26,900 Canadian. Not an insignificant amount thats for sure. Add to that the long term costs of damaging the environment, EV's are a no brainer.
And lastly, owning and EV gives you a choice in where your power comes from. Adding solar is the absolute cheapest way to drive with the huge benefit of being positive you are not sending a penny directly or indirectly to the Middle east, Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola or any number of places where your petrodollar might find it's way back to hurt you.