New York Times Calculates ROI on LEAF and Volt

By · April 05, 2012

Calculator and Coins

From the first day that hybrid gas-electric cars arrived on US streets, journalists have tried to calculate the “premium” for electric-drive vehicles by comparing them with supposedly similar pure gas vehicles. Invariably, the conclusion is that a hybrid or electric car doesn’t pencil out.

After record sales of hybrids and EVs in March, The New York Times revisits the subject today—and comes to the conclusion that buyers of a $28,421 Nissan LEAF will take 8.7 years to “break even” compared to $18,640 Nissan Versa. The calculation is based on $3.85 a gallon gas, but that even at $5 a gallon, it would take six years before hitting break-even.

A $31,767 Chevrolet Volt’s compared to a $19,925 Chevy Cruze Eco fared even worse. According to The New York Times, which relied on TrueCar.com to crunch the numbers, it would take 26.6 years to recoup the extra cost.

The theme of the article is that people are buying these cars simply to “feel good.” This argument—that green car buyers are self-delusional, self-righteous or experience cognitive dissonance has been aimed at the Toyota Prius hybrid for about a decade. Yet, in today’s article, the Prius compared to a Camry is shown to have a 1.8-year payback period. The payback for the TDI version of the VW Jetta, versus the gas Jetta, is even quicker at 1.1 years.

The implication is that some hybrids and diesels now make economic sense—but plug-in cars like the LEAF and Volt are now only for people who care more about the environment than making a smart economic purchase.

While the NYT article mentions resale value in passing, it doesn’t include what these plug-ins might fetch as a used vehicle after several years of ownership—a major omission if you’re trying to figure out the cost of driving at the conclusion of an ownership period.

Moreover, I wonder if owners of the Nissan LEAF feel like a comparison with the Nissan Versa is fair. Or if Volt drivers believe the car essentially offers the same driving experience as a Cruze Eco?

Comments

· · 2 years ago

This argument only makes sense if people always buy the cheapest car to suit their needs. They don't. If they did you wouldn't have BMWs and Cadillacs and Luxuses (Lexii?) etc. Nobody in their right mind treats a car as an investment with an expected payback except antique buyers.

If you want to compare affordability, try comparing the lease payments minus fuel savings for the LEAF and Versa...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just another bogus analysis. As a Volt owner I can guarantee that the Cruse while a good vehicle does not come close to the driving experience that you get with the Volt. You would get the same results comparing the Versa and Cruse to a 6 year old beater that or a bicycle.

· · 2 years ago

Did they add in the cost of regular maintenance? The Leaf has virtually zero maintenance costs outside of tires and wiper blades; and those are also part of any car. Oil changes and tuneups add ~$3,500 per 100K miles on cars like the Versa, so this would shorten the "payback" period by about 25%, I think?

Also, if one were to have a solar PV system installed on your house, and if you took advantage of the near $0 down available from several installers, you could save about half of your electricity bill and this would *include* the electricity needed to drive the Leaf. So, you pay about half of what you now pay for electricity, and drive "for free".

Neil

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Good article. Where is there a $31,000 Volt. The $7,500 is a tax credit still, i think. Meaning you still pay $39,000 up front and you get to reduce your income by $7500 on your tax return. How did the Sonata fare?

I drive a Prius and have heard the math over and over. At some point you have to enjoy what you drive. Then trade it in if you dont like it. I'll be getting another Prius this year

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

<< As a Volt owner I can guarantee that the Cruse while a good vehicle does not come close to the driving experience that you get with the Volt. >>

Volt "driving experience?" Aside from a lot of glitzy graphics, that feeling of saving the world, and electronic displays, just what does the Volt offer uin the way of "driving experience?." The Volt is not a sports car. Nor is it a luxury car. It may be to some extent better in ride quality than a Cruze, but hardly worth the extra dollars. Plus, let's see how reliable all of those fancy electronics are as the car ages and the warranty expires. You can bet that the service parts for the Volt will be a LOT more expensive than the Cruze. How is that for a driving experience?

· · 2 years ago

Here we go again Leaf versus the cheapest Nissan you can find that has a 1.6L engine and cannot pull a good hill. BULL! We already did this at work and it never pays out. But put up against a comparable vehicle then it changes quickly. I am sure the Volt is similar.
Has anyone compared ride and drive? The Leaf so smooth it is worth the extra $$$.

· · 2 years ago

This brought up a side issue I've been meaning to ask around about: how are people allocating their EVSE in their personal budgets? As a home owner I think it's entirely valid to consider the EVSE (and any additional electrical upgrades) as putting equity into my house, similar to investing in solar panels or on-demand water heating. That said I don't incorporate those numbers into any ROI on my Leaf. I'd be curious to know what others think about this and if the original article included the cost of EVSE in the calculation.

As a side note: I think a good first order calculation for total cost (i.e. ROI) is to use Edmunds.com True Cost to Own Calculator. I priced out a 2011 Nissan Versa against a Leaf and simply adjusted the "fuel" row for each based on my actual driving needs, as well as added the $2,500 CA rebate. It matches up pretty well to the massive spreadsheet I did when I contemplated a new car: the Leaf beats out the Versa, just barely, for total cost to own over the 5 year time frame!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

These writers miss the important point. EV and Plugins have a Very Smooth Drive with their motor. So Leaf is far superior to Versa and so is Volt to Cruze.

Ideally we should compare Leaf, Volt & Prius PIP with Benz - C Series, BMW - 3 Series and Audi - A4. Now do the calc and you will get the ROI in less than 3 years.

The media first compared
Prius - Gen 1 with Echo (sub-compact) of those days
Prius - Gen 2 with Corolla.
Despite all their bad-mouthing, Prius has rocketed while the Echo (Sedan / Coupe combo) has gone
and even Corolla has gone behind Prius in March-2012 sales.

Day will come when Leaf will also overtake Versa in sales, but Nissan also should rollback the 2K price increase to boost the sales. We can look at Renault Zoe in Europe. Its priced @ 20K before subsidy and 15K after subsidy. If it sells well, similar vehicle may come to US as well.

· · 2 years ago

The cheapest Versa, like this one:

http://www.nissanusa.com/versa-sedan/?next=Versa_Gateway.Versa_Sedan.Ver...

Starting at $10,990. Yeah, that's going to be kind of ridiculously impossible even a Civic. Wow, that sucker's even got air conditioning. hehe, Jeeze. I could've bought like two of those for what I paid for my Civic. I think I'm going to be sick. hehe

· Francois B. (not verified) · 2 years ago

They don't take into account the lower maintenance fees (brakes last longer, oil change every 2 years) lower insurance cost (my insurance has a eco-friendly price), lower energy cost. Here in Quebec, the gas is at $5.80 per gallon right now, and electricity is dirt cheap at $0.0776 per kWh 24/24. It makes it 10 to 11 times cheaper per mille on electricity than on fuel.

Over the lifespan of each car, take a ICE vehicule at 25MPG, that will do 200 000 milles,
that makes it 8000 gallons, at $4.00 per gallon that's $32000. at $5.00 per gallon, that's $40000 - the MSRP of a Volt! at $6.00 it's $48000.

The Volt will do the same distance at a much much much lower cost.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I can't find anywhere in the NYT article a mention of the cost of electricity (kwh) to charge a plug-in EV??? How can fuel cost be mentioned repeatedly and electricity cost be totally neglected?

It would kill their argument, that's why!!

Some electrical utilities (Georgia Power) offer Super Off-Peak for as little as 1.25 CENTS per kwh. http://bit.ly/I0cf55 Lets see the NYT calculate EV purchase cost pay-back when the energy to run the car is 0.25¢/mile!!

· Thomas F. (not verified) · 2 years ago

The article is just as ridiculous as the articles that questioned the economic benefit of the Prius when it debuted in 2000, or even more so since the Volt is actually more of a luxury car as opposed to the Prius econobox.

It's like comparing a Lexus IS to the Toyota Camry just because they share the same platform.

If the NY Times wants to make an economic argument, why not point out how many Volts and Leafs the government could buy outright for the $50-75 billion it spends annually just to support the PEACETIME military infrastructure required to secure access to oil in the Middle East (let alone the $100+ billion/year for the last decade that we have been spending on actual wars in addition to that).

· · 2 years ago

"Where is there a $31,000 Volt. The $7,500 is a tax credit still, i think. Meaning you still pay $39,000 up front and you get to reduce your income by $7500 on your tax return."

The "reduce your income" method is a "deduction". A tax credit is way better than a deduction ... provided you owe a lot in taxes at the end of the year, of course. For instance, suppose you earn $100k and pay $20k in Fed tax, with a marginal tax rate of 28%. If you can deduct $10k, your "apparent income" shrinks to $90k and your tax bill shrinks $2800 (from $20000 to $17200). If you get a tax credit of "only" $7.5k, though, your apparent income remains $100k but your tax bill shrinks $7500 (from $20000 to $12500).

Way, way better.

(But note: if it's not a "refundable" tax credit, and your actual tax bill at the end of the year is just $1000, it merely wipes out your tax bill, you never "see" the "missing" $6500. Tax credits only do you any good if you pay big tax bills.)

· George Parrott (not verified) · 2 years ago

Yes, another questionable "analysis."

We HAVE owned BMW, Audi, Lexus, and Acura, as well as Honda, Toyota ( 2004 and 2006 Prius and 2007 Camry Hybrid), etc., and our current family cars are the 2011 Leaf AND Volt.

The Volt drives and feels more like an Aiudi or BMW and the interior electronics, gps, DVD player, Bose sound system are more comparable to a Lexus level experience. The Leaf IS much more plebeian, but it still has the linear power and smooth acceleration that would NEVER be felt in a Versa and the gps (not anywhere as good as the one in the Volt) is standard.

Our California house IS fully solar panel equipped, both PV and hot water, so we have ZERO actual monthly electric bill for the house and for charging both cars. Yes, we went to EVs foe environmental reasons primarily, but if we were not driving such EVs , we would be in Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes, so what is the "comparable car" for us? It sure is NOT a Cruze or a Versa!

· Anonymous who bought a Leaf without ever seeing ir (not verified) · 2 years ago

why not calculate the payback time as the time it takes the car to payback itself compared to walking...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

When we bought our Highlander Hybrid gas was $2.60 a gallon we looked at the hybrid premium as gas price insurance. No matter how high the price of gas goes we are getting 30 MPG city from a 4800 lb. vehicle that seats 7 when needed and has room to haul our stuff. I have no interest in resale value. I drive my cars for as long as they run. I am very happy with my purchase.

· · 2 years ago

Anonymous: Hehe, you can't beat walking. If you walk to the store to buy a 20oz soda, you've probably paid for the soda just walking there. Plus you get brisk acceleration and a true sense of speed using wind-to-face technology. hehe ;)

· · 2 years ago

LOL

Will gas be $3.85 / gal? That's a low-ball figure if there ever was one. GL finding gas that cheap in 2 years. Also who'd compare a Versa and a Leaf??? I'd only consider a Prius Gen III for a gas car which is a difference of about 4-6k after Fed and State rebates.

As for ROI what about those with solar? I'm powering both my house and my car with solar (with some overhead). My ROI, using the silly $3.85 / gal figure, compared for my Gen II Prius, puts my ROI at almost 6 years. At the better price of $5 / gal it turns to about 4.

Then again it's not about ROI, it's about being as responsible to the planet as I can manage with my life.

· · 2 years ago

Even with the NYT questionable comparison to the Versa, throw in another $5400-$6000 tax credit in my state and the payback period gets a lot shorter. But even though the Versa and LEAF are about the same size and configuration the driving experience is completely different.

Some of these TCO analyses overlook the obvious: if you really want to save money on a car just buy a used beater and drive it until it dies. Gas and maintenance won't come close to the cost of a new car IME.

And what about the "fun factor"? The LEAF is way more fun to drive than any ICE car I've ever owned. That has some value to me. People buy less useful toys, do they not?

· Jose - CA (not verified) · 2 years ago

This is another bogus/fooled analysis. My wife and I tested the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt before we made our decision. We ruled out the Prius-plug in due the small range (15 miles) and we own a Prius 2007 with 150K miles. We considered the Camry Hybrid as well. We opted for the Volt for two reasons, my wife failed in love with the driving and I did with my wallet. Here is a simple analysis (forget Mr. Berman, Edmunds, Consumer Reports; depreciation, insurance, maintenance, etc). The break-even-point should be measured using the miles driven associated with the cost of gas vs. electricity, plain and simple. In Northern CA the cost of gas is $ 4.25/gallon and the PG&E off-peak KWh is 4 cents and mid-peak 9 cents, assuming most of the recharge happens during the night, so the KWh is about 5 cents. Here is the math; Volt = $31K, comparable gas = $ 19K, difference = - $ 12K. For the Volt 1KWh = 3.75 miles (I measured). Let’s pick 100,000 miles as a benchmark. Pure Gas (100,000/30 mpg X $ 4.25 = $ 14,166). Pure Electricity (100,000/3.75 KWh x 0.05 = $ 1,333), so $ 14,166 - $ 1,333 = $ 12,833. The break-even-point between the Volt and Cruse is not 26 years, it is around 100K miles assuming the figures above, similarity, the break-even-point between the LEAF and Versa will be much shorter than 100K miles driven, but on the Volt I got a piece of mind (in longer trips I can use the gas) and my wife's good taste.

· Larry, Richmond VA (not verified) · 2 years ago

Discounts rates on power aren't that big a factor simply because the electricity is such a small portion of the cost per mile, about 2-3 cents vs. 30 cents a mile to amortize a $30,000 vehicle over 100,000 miles. Actually, a bigger factor is insurance, which is higher for the electrics simply because they cost so much more to replace. I have a pretty clean driving record, but they quoted me ~$800 a year to insure a new Leaf. Still, a major shortcoming of the article is that the assumptions used were hardly explained at all. If they want to consider only the return for the initial owner, a lot will depend on resale value, which at this point is anybody's guess. What's most disturbing is the negative "what's wrong with these people?" tone of the article. And when was the last time you saw an article comparing 5-year costs of owning a mega-SUV vs an economy sedan? I've never seen one.

· · 2 years ago

"And when was the last time you saw an article comparing 5-year costs of owning a mega-SUV vs an economy sedan?"

Indeed ... compare a (new) $40k Ford Expedition (Edmunds says MSRP is 46290 but "TMV" is 43637; I've configured it the way people out here buy them) to a (used) 2010 Camry with under 35k miles for roughly $18k. Not only do you save $22k up front, the Camry gets about 25/35 mpg (city/hwy) vs 14/20 for the Ford. The Camry is cheaper to fuel and insure too. Even if you have to rent a 4WD vehicle for vacations three times a year, the payback time on the Expedition is ... never. The Camry starts cheaper and stays cheaper, forever. Where's the ROI?

· Neal (not verified) · 2 years ago

My wife and I have had Audi, BMW and Mercedes in the last 10 years and we prefer to drive the Leaf today.
Comparison to a Versa doesn't make sense, when you select the Leaf over a $30-40,000 vehicle.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I believe you should analyze the meaning of economics before deeming a decision "economically smart." Upon doing so you will realize that there is a difference between finance and economics and that what designates a good decision also differs. In the decision of whether to buy an electric car, externalities exist and these positive social benefits should be taken into account so that the actual value is higher. Inversely, fossil fuel powered cars have negative social externalities that lower their value.

· Ken Paulman (not verified) · 2 years ago

The Times' 26-year payback figure is pretty questionable. Here's why: http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2012/04/05/is-the-chevy-volts-payback-p...

· Simon (not verified) · 2 years ago

The midwest article is good at debunking the NYT one. Brad's article on EV stats http://www.plugincars.com/data-electric-car-driving-patterns-ev-project-... is even more useful. Skim down to the table on the Volt and we have all we need. Forget separating the gas and electric costs - combine them. Sorry, I've converted this to metric units, but you'll get the drift:

----------- overall mpg ---- overall Wh/mile
In miles------ 131------------------ 271
Efficiency --1.8 lt/100km -------16.90 kWh/100km
fuel cost---- €1.87/lt ----------- €0.20/kWh -- (I saw €1.87/lt for 95 octane this morning!)
Cost 100k---€5385 -------------- €5406 = €10,792 when driving 160,000km/100,000miles

Same figures for a car doing 6lts/100km gas only = €17,952.
If I drop gas price to half this (that's around $4.50 per US gallon) and electricity to 5¢ (mentioned above) then the saving over 100,000 miles is about $7,000.

Now if you have your own PV, then you effectively zero out the electricity cost (it can even make you money, whatever). And gas prices here are way above that in the US - over $9 per US gallon. And still the fuel costs would save "only" €12,500 ($16,460) over 160,000km (100,000miles).

Conclusion: all other things being equal (and with my 2006 Prius, they are in fact better cost-wise than my 1998 Volvo TDI) over the average lifetime of the car, total cost (purchase, fuel, insurance etc.) will be about the same. And here in Europe, with higher fuel costs... the differential cost of the Volt (Opel Ampera) is way, way more than in the US - sticker price in excess of €45,000 (that's $59,000) before any rebate... how can they justify that!!!... oh, by the extra fuel we'll save. They've crunched the numbers.

· Simon (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just put the number online here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuDD1PlL0dsadGxRY0oxcG9uTWZ...

Worst case (US energy/fuel prices, no PV): you save just under $5,000 in 100,000 miles.
Best case (Italian energy prices, own PV): you save nearly $16,500 in 100,000 miles.

Bottom line - for sure this is driving the price differential.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Here's my math, if for anything to make my self feel good... I was driving a Silverado with a $500 truck payment and spending $240 a month on gas. Now I am driving a Volt for $500 car payment and spending $80 a month on electricity and $30 a month on gas. I am paying a lot less for gas and I saw my home electric bill go down last year. Probably because I am more aware about conserving electricity at home. I am saving money now, andi am happy, not to mention quiet, comfortable commute the Volt gives me!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

If you compare the TCO of the 3yr Volt lease against 10yrs of ownership with any other equal priced car and the cost is about even on a per month cost view. This is assuming paying for the ICE car in cash and getting a 25% resale return in 10 years. This also does not facor any maint cost.
Volt Lease
Monthly lease $275.00
Months 36
Total Lease Miles 36000
Down Payment $2,500.00
Cost Per Gallon of Fuel $3.50
Electricity Per Mile $0.02
Gas Per Mile $0.10
100% Electricity Cost $720.00
100% Gas Cost $3,600.00
80/20 Electricity to Gas $1,008.00
Resale 0
Total 36 Month Cost (No Gas) $13,120.00
Total 36 Month Cost 10% gas $13,408.00
Cost Per Month $364.44
$372.44

Car Cost (Cash) $39,000.00
Resale (25% after 10 years) $9,750.00
Car Cost less resale $29,250.00
Avg MPG 30
AVG Cost Per Gallon of Fuel $3.50
Years Owned 10
Miles per Year 12,000
Total Miles 120,000.00
AVG Fuel cost per mile $0.12
Total Fuel Cost for 10 years $14,000.00
Fuel Cost for 36,000 miles $4,200.00
Total Cost with Fuel $360.42
Cost 36 Months w/fuel $12,975.00
Amortized per Month w/Fuel $360.42

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Opps the Volt costs 350 per month to lease.
Volt Lease
Monthly lease $350.00
Months 36
Total Lease Miles 36000
Down Payment $2,500.00
Cost Per Gallon of Fuel $3.50
Electricity Per Mile $0.02
Gas Per Mile $0.10
100% Electricity Cost $720.00
100% Gas Cost $3,600.00
80/20 Electricity to Gas $1,008.00
Resale 0
Total 36 Month Cost (No Gas) $15,820.00
Total 36 Month Cost 10% gas $16,108.00
Cost Per Month all elec $439.44
Cost Per Month 80/20 $447.44

Point being, one would need to amoritize the cost of an ICE car over an extended period to match the TCO of the Volt over the 3yr lease period. Given the same 3yr ownership period the the resale of the ICE would be higher but the amortized cost would be crushed by the Volt's. One would also have the option of buying a less expensive car, but wihtout the cache of owning a Volt or $39,000 vehicle.

· · 1 year ago

Good site, and good posts...

My old car was an E-class. Although a good car, I would never buy a Cruze. This is my 3rd week driving my new volt to work, and it looks like I have another month or so before I need to gas it up. I think alot of the writers are missing that people like me are not really green and I don't want to make a big social statement the car I drive. I like the fact that I can drive a luxury-ish car and not have to drop $80.00 per week in fuel. I'll buy the Cadillac version in a few years once in production...

· SolarisDaWay (not verified) · 1 year ago

WHAT AN IDIOT!! Cars never pay back EVER. The ROI is within minutes of buying the vehicle.
Say one buys a gas car and electric and then a third that's powered by solar.
Ok so one bought a car. Subtract the cheesy 4 door car on the market , 35 k minus 9k = 25 k minus tax credit 7.5k =16k day one.
One buys gas, one plugs in and pays, one simply plugs into solar.
A full tank 15 gallons x @ $4 = $60, electric cars pays $0.15, solar car pays $0 and gets paid for extra energy.
A week goes by do the damn math idiot! 52 weeks x $60 = $3200 a year now we are down to $12 k after the first York is that so bad to pay for a great ( but not perfect vehicle for transportation?
You are going to tell me that a car like that that cost $12 k the first year is not worth it and buying a cheap 4 door that runs on gas is better? Your high dude!!
I bet you really like religion too huh, I mean if you fail science might as well turn to religion cuz there only one book you gotta read huh!
Your stupid!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

The Volt and Cruise are comparable as they are built on the same Chassis as are the Versa and Leaf. The Chevy Cruise Eco costs half of what the Volt does and gets 40MPH. It has a better resale value as well. As the most expensive part of an EV car is the battery and it is also the part that depreciates the fastest. Very similar to a laptop battery. So your driving range gets less the older the car gets and you eventually have to replace the battery which is about a third of the cost of the car. GM was offering a $350 lease because they then claimed the $7,500 tax subsidy from the US Government rather than those buying the car so they can get the MSRP down. So it is tax payer subsidized.

Also, 57% of our electricity is produced by coal in the US. If you live in the mid western states that is a much higher percentage. The largest car market in the world is China and nearly 85% of their electricity is from coal. In other emerging markets it is over 80% coal and we all breath the same air no matter where we live. So is a Volt better for the environment? If not why pay $40K for a Chevy that doesn't have the name Corvette? Most people agree which is why production on the Volt was stopped for over a month after missing last years forecast by 20% and Leaf sales were down 55% last month. What cars are the best sellers? Heavy duty pick up trucks lead the pack.

· · 1 year ago

Yeah, and the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth. Sheesh, did I just respond to a troll?

· Kirby Rosboril (not verified) · 1 year ago

I've got to that I had been a little leary with all the different hype taking place around solar. After checking out quite a few programs and purchase options my spouce and i decide to make the leap. We ended up getting solar with no money down and we immediatly started saving money the very first month is was installed. I must say that the potential benefits to solar look like they're real and I am happy that we decide to proceed with it. solar panel

· Frederic Pouyot (not verified) · 1 year ago

In response to the troll posting (anonymous), here are a few comments
- most expensive part of an EV car is the battery
> Compared to what? A fair comparison would need to compare to all the parts that an electric car does not need, like engine, transmission, tailpipe, oil filters and to evaluate the cost of not only replacing those parts, BUT also driving to the garage, wasted time.. and that over the life cycle of a battery considering its warranty period.
- Cost of electricity produced by coal:
> well, if we want to compare the true environmental cost of oil used for cars, we need to consider the environmental cost of extracting it from the middle east, or Africa, Oil Sands, the pollution related to its transport, and lets not forget the pollution of the military, the biggest consumers of oil who are used to protect or acquire by force oil reserves in places like Iraq and other oil rich countries. And let's not forget the environmental cost of making detours to the pump, idling at stops or lights with ICE cars (20 times for GHG emissions compared to driving at 40 mph). Finally, we can not do carbon sequestration from car tail pipes, but coal plants can actually be combined with solar, or help produce Algae Oil that feed on CO2. We can not do Co-generation with cars (that is, use the heat for space or process heating... beyond heating the car), but Cogeneration is possible with a coal power plant.

· Frederic Pouyot (not verified) · 1 year ago

So bottom line, as counter intuitive as it may appear, even if one drove an EV 100% from electricity produced by coal, the CO2 per mile/km is actually lower compared to the CO2 per mile/km of a comparable (shape, size, power) ICE car, and certainly contributes much more to peace in the world.

On another note, would anyone know of good calculators or worksheets that could compare to RETScreen (see www.retscreen.net) but designed for transportations. Here are some of the features I am looking for: Calculate
- Total Cost of Ownership over life cycle
- Ability to input various cost and credits
- Work internationally with various currencies
- Can work for car fleets
- Take into account financing, tax credits, subsidies, insurance savings, residual value
- Can do sensitivity analysis on price of fuel and electricity

I would like to use that to help businesses (taxis..) or fleet owners to compare various EVs (Tesla Model S, Volt, Leaf and other models). I know that in Europe, Gas is 8 to 9 dollars per gallon (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_and_diesel_usage_and_pricing) or more and while electricity is also more, economics appear quite good for some businesses. Thanks

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

the 30 and 35 mpg allowance is too generous, I would put the average mileage for ICE vehicles closer to 25 mpg. Gas is more like $3.85 - $4.00 per gallon, and the cost per kwh ~.14 cents. What I'm not sure about is how many kwh are required to charge the batteries an equivalent amount. So far it seems that everyone is assuming that it will take 1 kwh to charge the batteries by 1kwh. Anyway, I calculate EV gets ~ .03 - .04 cents per mile vs. ~.16 - .18 cents per mile for an ICE. I was driving 70 miles round trip for my commute, 5 days a week which works out to roughly 275.00 per month. Subtract the cost of driving the equivalent in my EV and you are left with $225.00 per month of savings in gas alone. Add in some weekend driving and the amount would climb. It's pretty much paying for itself so for me, getting the Leaf was a no brainer that 'pencils' out quite nicely. As soon as a gasoline engine enters the picture though, as with the volt or prius, the numbers don't work out.

· Frederic Pouyot (not verified) · 1 year ago

Here is a very interesting study from Waterloo University in Canada about the ROI of EV Taxis in San Francisco. https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/research/tr/2011/CS-2011-20a.pdf. The data is compelling and suggest that since EVs actually provide a positive ROI in a jurisdiction with high electricity costs, then many markets should will quickly especially in places where gas prices are much higher or where urban pollution from cars is an issue. Hard to stay skeptical in good faith after reading such a study.

Something else that I do not remember other people mentioned here, and this is the same with renewable energy. We need to shift the dialog from Payback (which ignore lyfe cycle savings and other benefits) to ROI. Who actually calculates the payback of their retirement savings when placed with banks or with other financial organisations? And when we trust money with government bonds or cash, we are satisfied with yields less than 5% (which is about 20 year payback). So lets stop that obsession with possible 5 to 10 year payback.

Another thing is that if 2 cars where identical except for the fact that one could turn into an airplane, would we still compare the two cars or would we compare the flying capable car to a small airplane in terms of cost? Would one compare a smart phone price to a voice only phone because they have the same shape, weight and color or to another smart phone that has a different shape, weigh and color?

· gary (not verified) · 1 year ago

i used the fuel cost calculator to check the free truck rate
and it gave me the exact rate details.so you guys can check it..

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

My EV is helping to make my solar panels pay for themselves sooner. The lease payment is about the same as the price of fuel alone for my previous 15 mpg luxury vehicle. Insurance is the same. Fuel and maintenance is MUCH cheaper for the EV, until battery replacement, but in my mild climate the battery should last at least 8 years. The battery is recycleable. I plan to get another EV after the 3 year lease expires, since technology is improving rapidly and multiple car makers are getting into the EV niche.

So even if the economy does not change much, I will break even in 6-8 years. I get luxury car ride, roomy interior space, and super-luxury quietness. It is peppy thanks to the low-speed torque of the electric motor. The main downside is short range, but I can do 95% of the trips I made with the gas-powered car. I still have a backup gas-powered SUV for hauling around large items or going on long road trips. I could also rent a vehicle for even less money than owning and insuring a second vehicle.

Let's say that inflation starts taking off, as it must after 10 trillion dollars of new money is created. Perhaps oil prices go up due to war in the middle East, embargo, or increased demand from a few billion newly affluent people in China and India. As far as my vehicle is concerned, I have insulated myself from oil price increases and supply disruptions. The electric grid doesn't use much oil, its fuel is sourced domestically. And even that is cushioned by my solar array.

As far as the 7500 dollar tax credit being subsidy, the government uses subsidies to encourage behaviour deemed to be useful for the country as a whole. EVs use minimal oil and pollute much less than Internal combustion engines. One needs to balance that against the cost of military and wars to get the oil, plus the subsidies / tax breaks for oil companies, gasoline infrastructure, and automobile manufacturing in general.

The greenest thing you can do is convert an old car into an EV, it uses much less resources than building a whole new car. I didn't have the guts or patience to try that.

New to EVs? Start here

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