Electric Cars Likely Won't Save You Money

rgMekanic

[H]ard|News
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
6,341
While electric cars have a lot of benefits, cost probably isn't one of them. In an article on Phys, they go into the math of buying and owning a Nissan Leaf vs. a Honda Civic, and the results really aren't that shocking. While the Leaf costs almost half as much as the Civic in fuel, and slightly less in maintenance costs, once you factor initial cost, depreciation, and eventual battery replacement, not even tax credits or rebates can save them.

Not all that surprising for someone who has done the math. Batteries are expensive, charging stations installed at your home are expensive, and the upfront cost of the cars are expensive. While I think there will be a shift eventually from powering cars with recycled dinosaurs, I don't believe that battery powered electric is the future.

"We are still a car culture, and some of our personal identity is tied up in our cars," said David Friedman, director of cars for Consumers Union, the policy division of Consumer Reports.
 

RPGWiZaRD

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
1,217
I didn't really have to do the maths to figure this one out. At some point it'll probably start to make sense owning an electric car if you're into it for the economy reasons but the time isn't yet.
 

Rahh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
1,607
I too am interested in Hybrid cars and how they come out in all of this. Personally I would never go all electric in my lifetime but I would consider a hybrid.
 

YARDofSTUF

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Messages
1,469
I could see an electric car in my future, but I also have solar panels so the charging wouldn't cost a thing. And depreciation doesn't really matter, after 10 years a normal car is worth next to nothing anyway.
 

Rahh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
1,607
You'd lose the charging and charger costs, gain fuel costs and more maintenance, still have the battery dilemma and up-front costs.
But hybrids aren't all that more expensive like pure electric cars. Honda / Toyota Prius all for around 20K hybrids.
 

Kardonxt

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
3,609
How about Hybrid? Does that fall under electric with costs? I would imagine it would calculate differently.. ?

It depends on the type of hybrid. A Prius is probably in between both as it doesnt use a charging station but uses more fuel than electric and will eventually still need a battery.

Something like a Volt that can plug in to charge or run off gasoline is probably closer to the cost of electric as you will likely be plugging it in to charge frequently or your just paid a premium for an electric car to not use it as an electric car.
 

matt167

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,125
I met a guy yesterday ( put tires on his car at the shop ) who paid $400 for a very, very good condition early model Prius. He said had it had a battery issue with some broken connections and basically fixed the car for free. His dad had just bought a 2005 with same issue for $500. If you are the type of person that just needs wheels THAT is the kind of car that is ideal.. And no I don't own or will ever own a Prius.

I bought an Imported 1992 Suzuki Carry Kei truck straight from an import dealer. If you've never seen them, just look them up. They are very small. 10.5' long and about 53" wide. 660cc gasoline engine with 4x4 and a 5spd pulls down 39 MPG but 55-60 MPH is all it has and remain stable. It's not a comfy ride on the highway..
 

Gasaraki_

Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
617
No one buys electric cars to save money. To save money, you probably should buy a hybrid, not a full electric car. People buy electric cars so they don't have to burn gas with reduces our CO2 emission and NOx and SOx, etc.
 

Gasaraki_

Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
617
You'd lose the charging and charger costs, gain fuel costs and more maintenance, still have the battery dilemma and up-front costs.

Not true. You don't have charger costs, lower fuel costs, equal to less maintenance, and the battery lasts the life of the car. The only increase is upfront costs and that's not that much anymore.
 

cjcox

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
2,375
Consider a Civic Hybrid (no longer made) though. It uses the concept of a small electric motor assist to help the car during the most expensive operations (starting and accelerating). The battery is a small sub-$1000 battery. I still drive my 2006 Civic Hybrid, gets 40+ mpg no matter how you drive it. Sure, it's only a PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle), only because the whole engine shuts off when car is a stop (e.g. stop sign/light)... but still, it's "smart green". I have gone through a battery replace on it. Mainly because Honda has no answer for the car... nothing to buy today.

I will be looking at the 2019 Insight.... otherwise, I have to step up to the Accord Hybrid (which means an increase in cost).

Why not something other than a Honda? Been disappointed too many times.
 

otherweeb

Gawd
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
860
" I don't believe that battery powered electric is the future."

I disagree. As batteries continue to increase in capacity and density they will become more viable.

Anyone remember the Makita 6010D 9 volt cordless drill/driver with NiCad batteries? Compare that to what you currently can find on store shelves.
 

Wolf-R1

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
2,005
" I don't believe that battery powered electric is the future."

I disagree. As batteries continue to increase in capacity and density they will become more viable.

Anyone remember the Makita 6010D 9 volt cordless drill/driver with NiCad batteries? Compare that to what you currently can find on store shelves.

Agreed. Aside from the fact that internal combustion engines are horribly inefficient at some point oil will again be considered scarce well before it actually becomes scarce. One can say the same thing about the chemisty of Lithium ion batteries but I'd wager that by the time those metals are scarce on Earth we will be a well established, space fairing species that will at least have easy access to those metals floating around in space (asteroids).
 

Rahh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
1,607
Consider a Civic Hybrid (no longer made) though. It uses the concept of a small electric motor assist to help the car during the most expensive operations (starting and accelerating). The battery is a small sub-$1000 battery. I still drive my 2006 Civic Hybrid, gets 40+ mpg no matter how you drive it. Sure, it's only a PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle), only because the whole engine shuts off when car is a stop (e.g. stop sign/light)... but still, it's "smart green". I have gone through a battery replace on it. Mainly because Honda has no answer for the car... nothing to buy today.

I will be looking at the 2019 Insight.... otherwise, I have to step up to the Accord Hybrid (which means an increase in cost).

Why not something other than a Honda? Been disappointed too many times.
every prius owner i talk to loves their cars.
 

Garrick

n00b
Joined
May 2, 2017
Messages
38
" I don't believe that battery powered electric is the future."

I disagree. As batteries continue to increase in capacity and density they will become more viable.

Anyone remember the Makita 6010D 9 volt cordless drill/driver with NiCad batteries? Compare that to what you currently can find on store shelves.

You will probably have to wait 10 years or so to determine what will be the future of car power units. When there is still competing technology it is always hard to predict exactly what will win out. Often it is not the best. VHS vs Betamax for example. The worst won. Until other competing technology wiped it out. Assuming the Government does not screw it up by pushing a particular technology. Diesel powered cars for example.
 

kllrnohj

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 1, 2003
Messages
6,845
charging stations installed at your home are expensive

The car comes with a charger it doesn't cost anything to do this. It only costs if you want to add a 240v charger to charge quicker but a slow charge at home isn't much of an issue. Just plug it in every night when you get home and wake up with a full tank every day.

But around here the main government kickback isn't in the form of dollars, it's in the form of a carpool sticker. Free use of the carpool lane for several years and it only costs a couple thousand? Deal!
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
You'd lose the charging and charger costs, gain fuel costs and more maintenance, still have the battery dilemma and up-front costs.

Except the batteries tend to last longer in a Hybrid (due to less usage), and a replacement battery is about 1/10 the cost.

As far as maintenance, it's generally less than a full ICE (at least with the Toyota Hybrids). Brakes tend to last 100,000 miles or more, and the transmission is a lot simpler/more reliable than the 6 & 7 speed transmissions on many newer cars.

Main problem is if you do have a problem, a hybrid tends to be more expensive to fix.

You need to look at the cost differences, how much you drive, and what type of driving your do.

If you mainly drive open highway and 50+ mph, then a hybrid won't save you much and your break even period will be long.
If you drive stop & go rush hour traffic, or mainly surface streets and spend a lot of time sitting at lights, then a hybrid will have a much shorter payback period.
I get about twice the mileage with my Camry hybrid compared to my old Camry 4 cyl because my commute is all rush hour city street. It cut my fuel costs in half.
Even with twice the mileage, my payback period for the extra $3,000 the hybrid cost is about 9 years at $3/gallon and about 6 years at $4/gallon due to my short commute.

If you have a real short commute, a hybrid won't help much, since it take 2-3 miles to warm up before you start seeing the increase in mileage.
 

Garrick

n00b
Joined
May 2, 2017
Messages
38
every prius owner i talk to loves their cars.

This is something you have purchased in spite of the economics. You are not going to say "I am a sucker". This is not to say they are a bad or even stupid buy. Just that very few people will admit to making a mistake on something like this.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
When there is still competing technology it is always hard to predict exactly what will win out. Often it is not the best. VHS vs Betamax for example. The worst won.

People always say this, but I disagree because the definition of what product is best or worse depends on the person buying the product.

Beta had high licensing fees which made the product more expensive. It also had shorter tapes limiting recoding time.
A lower price & a longer recording time where more important to most people than the slightly better picture quality.

We could have the same argument about which car is better, a Ferrari or a Honda. Guess which one most people pick as a better choice for them?
 
  • Like
Reactions: WhoMe
like this

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
[For a Hybrid:] You'd lose the charging and charger costs, gain fuel costs and more maintenance, still have the battery dilemma and up-front costs.
What battery dilemma? ConsumerReports found:

Our latest survey sees 12- and 11-year-old Prius batteries (2002s and 2003s) with a replacement rate of 5 and 4 percent, respectively. Swapping out one of those at a Toyota dealer would run about $2,300 plus about four hours’ labor; figure something under $3,000 altogether. That’s a lot of money, but no more than someone might pay to replace an automatic transmission on an old car.
Prius batteries less than 7 years old had a less than 1% replacement rate. My own Priuses (11 and 2 years old) have only ever had problems with the little 12V battery.
Average cost of the battery for a Prius, looking at CR's figures, is less than $700 over 12 years, or under $60 per year, average, assuming it fails out-of-warranty. That's in the noise of total car ownership: you'll probably pay more for tires.

Of course, pure electric cars and hybrids are completely different beasts. Hybrids by their nature can be kinder to their batteries, with lower peak current draws and the ability to keep the battery in the optimal charge range (e.g. between 60% and 80%) without affecting range or gas mileage much.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
I don't really believe this. At certain points in time with the right incentives, you get this: https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/15/get-new-nissan-leaf-low-11510-incentives-kansas/
less than 12k for a electric car? I'm supposed to believe there's even a gas alternative which can compare?
Batteries are expensive, but so is maintenance on a gas engine.


So an electric car is cheaper because the government is giving you other peoples money?
Why don't we just give everyone free electric cars, then they will be really inexpensive. :confused:

Problem is the cost of electricity. If you are paying 28 cent/kwh (my price for any extra power I use at home), it's cheaper to put gas into a Prius, even at $4/gallon.

I can get overnight power for less, but I'd have to spend $6,000+ to add a 2nd meter and a charger to the house. Would take me over 12 years of savings just to break even.

If you have to pay to charge your car (because you are away from home and there's no free charging stations around), you will be paying even more. $4/gallon gas would be cheaper.
 

Kinsaras

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
3,614
I always just assumed it wasn't about saving money. It was about saving the environment.
 

Term-X

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Messages
2,412
Well, any technology in the early stages is not going to be as efficient to the point where it completely changes the game. ICE has had a long time to mature. Could there be other technologies to challenge battery electric? Sure, but until they start to become readily available to the market, we could play this game all day.
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
So an electric car is cheaper because the government is giving you other peoples money?

As opposed to gasoline engines, the fuel for which is non-renewable, and is only cheaper because oil companies externalize the environmental costs?

Anything can be turned into a political football. The question is, why?
 

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
This is something you have purchased in spite of the economics.
Like most SUVs, most pickup trucks, and so on. Car buying in the US, like cellphone buying, is only about economics if you are poor.

We bought our second Prius because we love the way the Prius hybrid/CVT system drives, smooth and quiet, and because the cars are damn reliable.
Got a 2006 Prius, and a 2016 Prius V.

But did we buy them for economics? No. I work from home, my wife doesn't work. We've been putting about 3000 miles a year on each Prius, so the higher gas mileage is unimportant. Heck, it would be cheaper to take taxis than own a second car, but WE'RE AMERICANS DAG GUM IT, and I ain't gonna sit around waiting for some dang taxi to show up late when I wanna go down tuh Fry's 'Lectronics for sumthin'.

I gotta THREE CAR GARAGE, and I'll be damned before I have less than two cars in it!
[P.S. Sold the F250 turbo-diesel to get the new Prius because the the truck didn't fit in the garage. True.]
 

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
As opposed to gasoline engines, the fuel for which is non-renewable, and is only cheaper because oil companies externalize the environment costs?
This is the cool thing about gasoline, as opposed to ethanol or methanol: some day, we'll run out of gasoline, but not any day soon.
Suits me. I live in Arizona. We like it hot, and climate change is supposed to make AZ cooler anyway.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
This is something you have purchased in spite of the economics. You are not going to say "I am a sucker". This is not to say they are a bad or even stupid buy. Just that very few people will admit to making a mistake on something like this.

I love my Camry hybrid. 35+ mpg around town, and 45 mpg on longer trips. 17 gallon gas tank means 650+ mile range.
Means that I just fill it up on my monthly Costco run, saving me even more due to the cheaper gas at Costco.

Nice to be able to take a 3 to 4 day trip to Santa Barbara or San Diego and not have to bother stopping for gas.
(this coming from someone who wouldn't drive a Prius - too small, underpowered, and I hate the interior/dash)
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
This is the cool thing about gasoline, as opposed to ethanol or methanol: some day, we'll run out of gasoline, but not any day soon.

So just to be clear...if it's not YOUR problem, then who cares?
Suits me. I live in Arizona. We like it hot, and climate change is supposed to make AZ cooler anyway.

I also live in Arizona. I don't know where you are getting your information about climate change making it cooler here, but https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/...st-unlivable-by-2050-thanks-to-climate-change
 

Dekoth-E-

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
7,599
While electric cars have a lot of benefits, cost probably isn't one of them. In an article on Phys, they go into the math of buying and owning a Nissan Leaf vs. a Honda Civic, and the results really aren't that shocking. While the Leaf costs almost half as much as the Civic in fuel, and slightly less in maintenance costs, once you factor initial cost, depreciation, and eventual battery replacement, not even tax credits or rebates can save them.

Not all that surprising for someone who has done the math. Batteries are expensive, charging stations installed at your home are expensive, and the upfront cost of the cars are expensive. While I think there will be a shift eventually from powering cars with recycled dinosaurs, I don't believe that battery powered electric is the future.

"We are still a car culture, and some of our personal identity is tied up in our cars," said David Friedman, director of cars for Consumers Union, the policy division of Consumer Reports.

You know you have made a terrible decision when you buy the single worst EV on the road and it still cost's more than a civic. Honestly after everything you give up to drive a leaf..you may as well just buy a scooter at that point.
 

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
I love my Camry hybrid. ... who wouldn't drive a Prius - too small)
Note that the Prius V is a good bit bigger than the standard Prius. Sitting side-by-side in my garage, it's really obvious.
It surprised us when we saw it at the dealer.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
The car comes with a charger it doesn't cost anything to do this. It only costs if you want to add a 240v charger to charge quicker but a slow charge at home isn't much of an issue. Just plug it in every night when you get home and wake up with a full tank every day.

But around here the main government kickback isn't in the form of dollars, it's in the form of a carpool sticker. Free use of the carpool lane for several years and it only costs a couple thousand? Deal!

You are assuming people have a garage, that there is room in the garage for a car, and they have a dedicated 20 amp circuit in the garage to plug the car into.
You also assume that they will be able to charge the car enough each might only using the 120v charger.

Too many bad assumptions. Most people either live in apartments/condos with no access to the power to charge their car, or even if they have a garage, it's too full of stuff to park their car inside.
 

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
So...if ti's not YOUR problem, then who cares?
Not me, certainly. I care about my problems, I expect other people to care about theirs.

The last thing you want is me caring about your problems, friend, because if I did, I'd ruin your freakin' life trying to "solve" them for you.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
Note that the Prius V is a good bit bigger than the standard Prius. Sitting side-by-side in my garage, it's really obvious.
It surprised us when we saw it at the dealer.

I really wanted to like the Prius V, but it was too under powered and I really hate the digital dash on the Prius.
I'd rather have the standard analog gauges and the 200 HP of the Camry.
 

pcgeekesq

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
1,399
Too many bad assumptions. Most people either live in apartments/condos with no access to the power to charge their car, or even if they have a garage, it's too full of stuff to park their car inside.
Speaking of bad assumptions, where did you get that "Most people either live in apartments/condos" bit?
According to http://www.nmhc.org/Content.aspx?id=4708, out of 118 million households in the US, only 18 million are apartments: about 15%.
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
Not me, certainly. I care about my problems, I expect other people to care about theirs.

The last thing you want is me caring about your problems, friend, because if I did, I'd ruin your freakin' life trying to "solve" them for you.

Interesting worldview. Unfortunately, it completely misses the obvious: Many problems -- like the condition of the planet -- are, in fact shared. Not just by you and I. Not even just by everyone in the world. But by every future generation.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
I could see an electric car in my future, but I also have solar panels so the charging wouldn't cost a thing. And depreciation doesn't really matter, after 10 years a normal car is worth next to nothing anyway.

So your solar panels produce power at night when your car would be plugged in to charge? Amazing.

Unless your solar panel setup is way oversized (and you are currently producing more than you use), it will not be producing enough to charge a car, along with providing the power for your house.
 
Top