Electric cars are the in-thing right now, with many people agreeing that they are much cheaper to run than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
But some feel EVs are very expensive to buy, making them wonder if the car pays for itself in the long run despite the cheap electric costs. In this guide, we answer the question; are electric vehicles cheaper to run?
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an EV?
The cost of charging an EV depends on the individual model, location of the charge point, and the charge point network. A public charge station can be pay per session or free. For example, early Tesla owners charge their vehicles for free on Tesla Superchargers, while those who bought their cars after 2017 pay $0.25 per KW.
A full recharge for 250 miles costs approximately $22, although costs may vary depending on the state and local electricity rates.
Charging an EV at home at a local electricity rate of $0.11KwH for 200 mile-range car with a fully depleted 66kWh battery will cost approximately $7 to reach a full charge. An EV like the Nissan Leaf will charge to full for $2.75.
Compared to the price of gas, where fuel costs $3.490 per US gallon, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The full charge on the Nissan will travel around 100 miles on a full charge, meaning it costs $0.0275 per mile.
One gallon of gas can go about 30 miles. To cover 100 miles, a gas car like the Nissan Versa will cost about $12 or $0.12 per mile.
An EV saves further by charging during off-peak hours.
Per year, we estimate it can cost $900 for a diesel car to cover 10K miles and only $200-300 for an EV to cover the same number of miles.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an EV?
Electric vehicles have fewer parts. One electric system technician says an electric motor can last forever, literally, if it’s well-maintained. The copper coils are within an aluminum housing, so the only thing that can damage an electric motor is excess heat in the bearings. If they’ll properly greased or swapped when damaged, the motor will last a very long time.
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Compare that to the bearings and gears of a gas engine, choked full of corrosive gas, and this needs maintenance regularly.
EVs also have regenerative brakes, which typically last longer than the braking system of ICE cars. The transmission on an electric vehicle is superior to that of a gas vehicle. You only need to master a set of gear ratios, so the wear caused by shifting isn’t necessary for an EV.
And while the battery of an EV will need to be replaced eventually, it won’t happen for a decent period. This also goes for comforts like AC, radio, etc. However, once you own an electric vehicle, the maintenance costs are significantly lower and are standard for all EVs assuming they are made to the same standard.
Servicing an EV can cost $100 per year compared to $200 per year for an ICE car.
Over the lifetime of an electric car, it will save you $6000 to $10000 to run the vehicle.
So, to answer the question- are electric cars cheaper to run? That’s a definite yes. From the fuel costs to the maintenance costs, you are looking at immense savings, especially if you buy an electric vehicle using state incentives, federal rebates, and other incentives that increase access to an electric car.
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.