Electric Cars – Are the Savings Real?
The government website Energy.gov contends that it costs about 3 times less to drive an electric vehicle. An eGallon costs $1.22 versus $3.56 for a gallon of gas.
I’m not convinced. I’d rather drive a hybrid car rather than an electric car. Here is why.
Embedded in the computation for eGallon are assumptions that do not hold true for me. It assumes a low cost of retail electricity, 12.3 cents/kWh versus my actual cost of about 19 cents/kWh. It also assumes that a comparable gasoline car drives 28.2 miles per gallon. Now, according to the government data (http://www.fueleconomy.gov), a comparable hybrid car drives about 44 miles per gallon. Adjusting for these two assumptions, an eGallon will cost $2.94 versus $3.80 for me in Massachusetts.
Since buying an electric car will cost me $10,000 to 15,000 more than a hybrid car, I will need to drive 115 to 170 thousand miles before I’ll recoup my cost. That is without factoring the cost of fitting a high speed car charger in my garage. Plus, I will have to deal with range anxiety, the absence of charging stations on longer drives, and the degradation in battery performance after two years.
The hybrid technology offers a sensible and practical path forward for every class of vehicle, small cars as well as heavier vehicles. I expect the electric vehicle technology will pass when the initial enthusiasm (stoked by government subsidies) ebbs, and it will make way for a far more rational choice of hybrid technology.