The Real Cost of Electric Vehicles

Recently, Jay Leno mentioned that a Tesla Model S has very low maintenance costs. This got me thinking (dangerous, I know) and I did some research.

My research on Electric Vehicles (EVs) made me realize that in five years, most vehicles sold will be EVs and inside of ten years, only wealthy collectors will be able to maintain gas vehicles. I expect to trade my current ride for an EV in two to three years. Here are some figures that illustrate my reasoning.

Keep in mind some costs will be approximately equal such as tires, brake pads, brake rotors, windshield wipers, etc. I’m only comparing things that are distinct between Teslas and conventional gas engine vehicles. The numbers below have been researched from several sources.

Tesla Battery life is estimated at 300k to 500k miles
Current cost $10k [Future cost $6k]
Cost to charge $15 per 300 miles for Model S
Cost to charge $11.50 per 300 miles for Model Y
Total charge cost over 300k miles Model S = $15,000
Total charge cost over 300k miles Model Y = $11,500
Total cost to run Tesla Model S = $ $25,000
Total cost to run Tesla Model y = $ $12,500

Conventional gas engine vehicle
Synthetic oil changes every 10k miles = $1500
Replace plugs and plug wires every 50k miles = $1800
Replace serpentine belts and/or timing chain every 100k miles = $900
Replace 12v Battery every 60k = $1000
Total service = $5200
Gas at 25mph and 14 gal tank = 350
Gas fill tank = $35
Gas 857 tanks of gas at $2.50 per gal = $29,925
Total cost to run modern car for 300k miles = $35,195

Tesla Model Y MSRP $42k
Tesla Model S MSRP $70k
Average gas auto MSRP $30k to $60k

Here’s a list of a few of the current EV companies with notes on each:

Tesla (five models)
The largest seller of EVs.

Lucid Motors (high performance luxury sedan)
Lucid Motors strikes SPAC deal to go public with $24 billion valuation. Lucid Motors reached an agreement to become a publicly traded company through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Churchill Capital IV Corp., in the largest deal yet between a blank-check company and an electric vehicle startup.

Lordstown Motors (commercial pickup)
Lordstown Motors is located in Lordstown, Ohio, and is based in the former Lordstown Assembly which previously belonged to General Motors. General Motors has invested $75 million USD in Lordstown Motors.

Rivian (pickup truck and SUV)
Rivian is backed by Amazon, Cox Automotive and Ford.
A $2.65 billion funding round last month put the company’s valuation at $27.6 billion. Daimler AG (parent company of Mercedes) owns Thomas Built Buses, Inc. The Board of Education in Maryland’s Montgomery County voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to approve a 16-year, $169 million contract to lease 326 buses, part of a plan that could result in the county replacing its entire 1,422-bus fleet over the next two decades.

Arrival (city buses and inner-city delivery vans)
Arrival claims that their electric vehicles are the first EVs that cost the same as petrol and diesel equivalents. Arrival calls this approach “Generation 2.0”. The company has created an electric vehicle platform which can be scaled to make many variants in multiple vehicle categories. It was announced that Arrival had raised $118 million from US funds manager BlackRock Inc in October 2020, adding to previous investment from Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co and sister company Kia Motors Corp of $111 million.

Canoo (min-van and delivery vehicle)

Fisker (sport-SUV)

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “The Real Cost of Electric Vehicles

  1. You forgot to mention that EV’s are more fun to drive and brakes have much less wear because of regenerative breaking.

  2. Where does the electricity come from ? Should never be from a house with traditional e source! ( Gas , coal) All parkinglots( Publix, walmart , stripmalls with bookshops, sportshops, staples..) should have solarcells as rain/ sunshade, with plug -ins on the posts…slide creditcard, go shopping.
    ( I live in an apartment complex, so I would not be able to charge here.)
    Could a regular car get converted to EV ? Or combination ? Could the dealerships get behind that?

    1. Eventually solar cells will become a standard roof covering. As for now, many new WaWas and other gas-n-go stores have Tesla Supercharger stations. I’ve also seen a couple of restaurants who have installed charging stations. These translate as another good revenue stream for just about any business where customers will remain for fifteen minutes or more. Eventually, apartment owners will realize the money they can make on charging stations. Also, any apartment complex that doesn’t provide a charging station will find tenants leaving.
      It is possible to convert an older car to EV but not cost-effective. There are several companies that specialize in such conversions. It is usually only done as part of a restomod frame-up restoration at a cost of $80k or more.
      Most old-school dealerships hate EVs for two reasons. One, is that they have to install a whole new set of expensive diagnostic equipment as well as train the employees. And two, is that since EVs take so very little maintenance as conventional vehicles, it cuts the revenue from their service bays by up to 80%.

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