Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Much Does An Electric Vehicle ACTUALLY Cost to Maintain?

The Jetsons is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of electric vehicles, not necessarily a floating utopia equipped with flying cars, but it’s definitely a wave of the future.  With countless manufacturers rolling our production vehicles and prototypes, it’s not difficult to get lost in the shuffle.  We’ve heard the conversation around electric vehicles: they’re quiet, cheap to maintain, and environmentally friendly.  Lets delve a bit deeper and get the actual price of maintaining one.

According to Edmunds: to figure out the cost of fueling an EV, start with the electric car's energy consumption rate, which is expressed as kWh per 100 miles (kWh/100m). This figure will be listed on the EPA's upcoming EV fuel economy label (the 2011 Leaf's preliminary label is shown here, complete with an erroneous 12-cent per kWh figure in the cost estimate that Nissan says it is correcting). The next figure is your home electric rate, assuming that's the primary charging site. Multiply the kWh/100m figure by the electric rate to get the cost per 100 miles. For instance, the Leaf's kWh/100m figure is 34. If electricity is 11 cents per kWh — the national average — it would cost $3.74 to go 100 miles.

Utility companies, and the time and level of use set the electricity cost.  You pay more for kWh at peak hours, making a lot of electric commuters pay more than the national average of 11 cents per kWh.  How do real individuals save on their electric vehicles? 

Tom and Cathy Saxon have two electric vehicles.  They installed separate electric meters for their EVs (electric vehicles) in July 2009 and have been tracking them since then.  The Saxton's Tesla is consuming at a rate of 30.8 kWh/100m (bettering its official EPA rating); the RAV4 is averaging about 35 kWh/100m.  They pay an average of 11.25 cents per kWh.  In other words, they drive about 30 miles on a dollar’s worth of electricity, it would be much more expensive to drive with gas.  Results do vary, depending on a couple factors like when and where you’re charging, but the true cost of filling up is a tad more complicated than expected.

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