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Do EVs Make Good Cents or Sense?

December 28, 2012

decision%20good%20idea%20bad-%20deaDavid Herron of Torque News stated in his article “60 kWh Tesla Model S rated at 208 mile electric driving range by EPA:”   “The 85 kilowatt-hour Model S, $77,400 for 265 miles range, or $292/mile of range. The 60 kilowatt-hour Model S, $67,400 for 208 miles range, is $324/mile of range. The other electric cars cost a lot more per mile of driving range. [1]

Taking this comparison to the next logical step, a cost analysis of EVs and gasoline powered passenger vehicles was conducted to determine their comparative Life Cycle Cost. This analysis included 30 vehicles (2013) ranging from a Mini Cooper to a Ferrari F12. Vehicles represented high-end and low end models from a sampling of manufacturers.

Only Teslar’s Model S all electric vehicle was considered in this study. Results may look somewhat different with other manufacturer’s lower end all electrics cars.

Items evaluated included:
• Engine Power (HP or kWh),
• EPA’s MPG Combined Fuel Economy Rating or kWh /100 mile rating
• Fuel Capacity (gallons).
• MSRP less delivery, tax, title and license
• Range (= Combined EPA rating x Fuel Capacity)
• Cost per Mile ( = MSRP / Range)
• Cost of Gasoline over 60,000 miles [ = (60,000 / MPG) x cost of gasoline]
Cost of Electricity over 60,000 [ = (60,000 /100) x (kWh/100 miles x cost of electricity)]
• Total Cost (= MSRP + Cost of Fuel)
• Cost Difference from Telsa S 60 kWh (= Total Cost – Total Cost of Telsa S).

Data for each vehicle was obtained from the EPA and manufacturers’ technical specifications. The cost of gasoline ($3.257 per gallon) was obtained from the EIA – U.S. National Average for Regular Grade, 12/24/2012. The cost of electricity ($0.1187 per kWh) was obtained from the EIA – Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Residential Customers; rolling 12 Months Ending in October for 2012.

The analysis did not include costs for tax, title, license, routine service, unscheduled maintenance and towing cost for discharged batteries or running out of gasoline.  The fact that electricity is primarily generated by fossil fuels was not taken into account in this study.

It is suggested to view the entire spread sheet (.xls) at:

The summary is as follows; from largest to smallest cost savings or cost differential from Tesla S 60 kWh at 60,000 miles:

Cars cost per mile Table Only

In closing, the data speaks for itself. From a pure cost basis only Teslar S with either 60kWh or 85kWh versions make little financial sense. Critically acclaimed cars such as Audi A6 and Q7, Cadillac CTS, BMW even the base Corvette are better deals.

The problem is society’s need to get off fossil fuels. With high cost EVs that show little or no cost savings, it’s difficult to motivate consumers to purchase EVs – even if it benefits all of us in the long run.

References: [1]

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 2, 2013 2:16 AM

    Hah, I enjoyed the post, and especially the “Good Idea Bad Idea”. I quite enjoyed Animaniacs.

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