However experts are warning that it takes an average of six years to break even on a purchase – and it can take up to a decade for the premium to pay off.
Customers are also taking to social media to express their regret at their EV purchase, with difficulties tracking down charging spots and unexpected costs. So how long does it really take to save money on an electric car – and is it worth the price?
When it comes to fuel, electricity is generally cheaper than gas. On July 7, the average cost of gas in the US was $3.53 a gallon.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the cost of charging an EV is equivalent to filling up a gas tank at roughly $1 per gallon.
Gas prices also tend to be more volatile than electricity prices, which have historically been more stable.
The calculator estimates that the electric car owner will save $1,404 a year charging their vehicle rather than filling up on gas.
By dividing the price premium on the EV by the estimated annual savings on fuel, it would take over eight years to break even on the purchase.
The article shares stories from EV buyers who have buyer’s remorse. I say shame on them for not doing more homework before buying their cars. I’ll say the same thing I’ve said for years… EVs can be an excellent option for some people and a terrible option for others.
EV discussions have become common with people I know. I’ll give two examples of people who have Teslas and love them. Both are high-income people where the purchase price was not much of a factor. It’s more about the experience.
The first person lives in the Bay Area. He rarely drives for more than a couple of hours a day and has a charger in his garage. He commented that he can’t remember the last time that he charged in public. When he travels, he will generally fly if it is more than a 3 or 4 hour drive. He loves his Tesla and raves about the lack of maintenance required (oil changes, etc.) The Tesla simply has fewer moving parts to maintain. He did comment that it burns through tires rather quickly, but that’s a minor inconvenience.
The other person lives in Colorado. The person is single and travels a lot. The person likes his Tesla, but is annoyed by a few of the aesthetic features like the gull wing doors and the long windshield. This person works from home and doesn’t drive much, but occasionally goes on a long trip. In a recent example, the person drove from Colorado to Tulsa to Austin and back home. The travel time took twice as long as it would have in a gasoline car because of the time needed to charge. And in one example riding through the panhandle of Texas, the car almost ran out of charge before sliding into a station. To compensate, the person slowed way down. Overall, the person was annoyed with the travel time, but as a single person without a pressing reason to get back home, the extra time of travel was just that – an annoyance.
In both circumstances, the people like their EVs and are willing to put up with the inconveniences, and, more importantly, can afford to put up with the inconveniences.
In my own case, we do not own a garage or driveway in which to charge an EV. We would have to rely on public chargers. Also, we regularly take cross-country road trips (4 to 6 times a year) where we need to make the transit in a day or two to work around my work schedule. Owning an EV would be incompatible with our lifestyle.
This is where I would like the national conversation to progress. EVs are not morally or economically superior to gasoline vehicles (GVs). They are simply a different technology designed to complete the same task of personal transportation. The choice should center around lifestyle and preference instead of being some political or ethical talisman.