Looking for a new car that encompasses the aspects of performance, reliability, affordability, and efficiency?
In 2018, the United States average new car price was $37,577 (Kelly Blue Book). In June of the same year, a report based on the national average stated that a Toyota Camry would cost $1,165 on gasoline alone per year (Time). This figure does not include oil changes, engine inspections, and other internal combustion engine-related drawbacks. Even in the simplest gasoline/diesel-powered cars, hundreds of moving parts are present. If only there was another option that held none of these drawbacks...
To a reader who has never considered an electric car, many ideas that will come to mind regarding them are myths.
Myth #1: Electric cars are slow.
Reality #1: A typical electric car like the Hyundai Kona Electric Crossover has a 30-50mph time of 2.4 seconds. For comparison, most $100,000 supercars go from 30-50 in around 2 and a half seconds. In other words, most EVs will feel very quick for everyday driving, and merging into traffic will be a breeze. The second quickest production car in the world is the 2016 Tesla Model S P100D (a five-seat full-size luxury sedan) with a 0-60mph time of 2.3 seconds. Let it be said that the Tesla Model X Performance (a seven-seater SUV) can haul a zero to sixty time of 2.6 seconds. Since electric motors can produce such immense instantaneous power, many automakers are experimenting with performance EVs like the Porsche Taycan and the Lotus Evija.
Myth #2: Electric cars can only travel a few dozen miles on a single charge.
Reality #2: This statement is true... for late 1890’s electric cars but not for modern-day electrics. The 2012 Tesla Model S can travel over 265 miles on a single charge. Yes, that’s an 8-year-old car now. The new Tesla Model S Plaid, arriving next year, is set to attain over 500 miles, which is more than most gasoline/diesel-powered cars. Additionally, many mid-range electric cars (priced around $30,000) will attain anywhere from 150 to 260 miles on a full charge.
Myth #3: Electric cars take a few days to charge and are costly on your electricity bill.
Reality #3: This is misleading. While it takes a typical electric car around one hour to charge from a typical day of driving in the US (32 miles) on a 240V home charger, it will take around a day to charge on a standard 120V power outlet. Most homeowners already have a 240V outlet (dryer outlet) installed in their garage. If one is not installed, the operation will cost between $200-$600 to install a 240V outlet. Having that said, if a charger is installed by December 31, 2020, the homeowner can receive a tax credit of up to 30% of the installation cost (US extends tax credits for EV chargers). Home charging costs around $0.13 per kWh to charge in the US. For all intents and purposes, say your daily commute is the typical 32 miles round trip. Your cost to recharge will be roughly $1 versus $3 for a typical gasoline-powered vehicle per commute. While $2 per day may not seem like a lot at first, take a year of driving, and you will save hundreds or even thousands depending on your vehicle and commute.
kWh used x energy fee per kWh = cost to charge 6.4kWh used x $0.13 per kWh = $0.83
To calculate the charging costs, find your vehicle’s mileage per kWh. Let’s use the Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus, which uses one kWh of energy every five miles. If your commute is 32 miles round trip, you will divide 32 miles by 5 miles per kWh. The answer would be 6.4kWh of energy per commute. Now, multiply your location’s electricity rate ($0.13 avg. in the US) by the energy used (6.4kWh). Each commute will cost you only $0.83 round trip.
One could also note that if you own a Tesla, you will have access to their specialized charging network, also known as Supercharging. Superchargers can replenish 75 miles in 5 minutes, 150 miles in 10 minutes. Moreover, Tesla specifically placed the 6,500 US Superchargers near dining, shopping, and lodging for your convenience. This figure does not include the 2,500 “Destination Chargers” located mainly at hotels and resorts. In case you were wondering, all modern EVs use the same charger (Type I Charger) except for Tesla, which utilizes their version. Tesla provides an adapter with all its models, which allows the car to get juice on Type I chargers.
Myth #4: EVs require more maintenance than their gasoline/diesel counterparts.
Reality #4: Electric cars require very little maintenance because there are under two dozen moving parts in the motor compared to the hundreds of moving parts in an internal combustion engine. Additionally, there are no oil changes needed as there is no oil in the motor to change! Also, every new electric car for sale now in the US has at least an eight-year / 100,000-mile battery warranty. The battery warranties will be retroactive for used purchases too. Some automakers include warranties that are more comprehensive than others. Hyundai offers the IONIQ EV and KONA EV with a ten-year / 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, including both the permanent magnet motor and the battery. Tesla provides an eight-year / 150,000-mile powertrain warranty on the Model S and X.
Myth #5: Electric cars cost more money than traditional vehicles.
Reality #5: While this is partially true for very early electrics, most current “mid-range” electric cars can are available for around $30,000 brand new along with a tax credit up to $7,500. An example is the 2020 Chevy Bolt. The Bolt has a starting price of $36,620. However, with the increased competition from the $37,990 Tesla Model 3, Bolts can be purchased for around $25,000 after dealer discounts. While the looks are not the focal point of the vehicle, the technology is. This car has 259 miles of range, 200hp, zero to sixty in just over six seconds, and vehicle preconditioning via mobile phone.
Another example is the 2014-2017 BMW i3. While it may look somewhat “quirky,” it truly is an unbeatable deal. The i3 can easily be purchased second-hand under $15,000. Having the average used car price being $20,200 (Road Loans, Q1 2019), used examples of the i3 are over $5,000 under the national average. The 2014 i3 travels around 70-100 miles electric only with an optional gasoline generator equating to 150 total miles (180+ if coded). Some features of the i3 include adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist (optional), parking sensors (standard), 0-60 in just over six seconds, a lightweight carbon fiber chassis as well as a posh and eco-friendly interior. As a bonus, the driver will receive the remainder of the basic and eight-year / 100,000-mile battery warranty.
Myth #6: Electric cars are worse for the environment than traditional vehicles.
Reality #6: Short Answer: Efficient electric cars have been proven to be better for the environment (CO₂ emissions) than average gasoline or diesel-powered cars in every region of the United States.
Detailed Answer: Efficiency is different from emissions output. Let’s take the most popular EV, for example, the Tesla Model 3 (Standard Plus trim). This vehicle has an efficiency rating of 141 mpge combined (city and highway). While the car itself has zero emissions, the energy must come from somewhere. The Union of Concerned Scientists conducted a study in February of 2020 stating the emissions of average and high-efficiency electric cars from the energy source. For comparison, let’s use the most popular fuel sipper: the Toyota Prius, which delivers 52mpg combined. 52mpg equates to an emission rating of 105g/km CO₂.
The study revealed that any high-efficiency EV (Chevy Bolt, BMW i3, Hyundai Kona EV) in the United States result in an average CO₂ equivalent output rating of 99mpg. 99mpg corresponds to an emission rating of 55g/km CO₂. In a different lense, the worst states see around 100g/km CO₂ (equivalent to a ~50mpg gasoline car). Others like Upstate New York will result in emission ratings accumulating to a staggering 18g/km CO₂ (equal to >300mpg or 12 times less carbon output than the average gasoline car). Comparing these figures to the nationwide average of 25mpg or 218g/km CO₂, one can see the environmental benefits of the masses going electric. Furthermore, 28% - 40% of EV drivers (Clean Technica) have home solar panels, which result in zero emissions from the source at which the energy is generated. In essence, this means 0g/km CO₂, which is a 100% reduction of CO₂ from any gasoline or diesel vehicle.
In summary, electric cars provide many benefits at a reasonable cost for the associated technology. One reason people do not pursue electric vehicles is the fallacious news that many assume to be correct. The comments against EVs are about as shallow and baseless as one could expect: “EVs can’t go far,” “EVs are slow,” “EVs are way too expensive.” The group of combatants against the slanderous attacks is the EV community. The largest proponent of EVs is the community itself rather than the mainstream automotive manufacturers. The support is so strong that Tesla does not advertise at all. Toyota’s sales and marketing chief, Jack Hollis, even said, “when you look at it, the demand for electric is less than it is on hybrid.” To his presumed disappointment, the Tesla Model 3 outsold the Toyota Prius Prime Hybrid by six and half times in 2019. The most fuel-efficient hybrid gasoline vehicles attain around 50 mpg while sacrificing performance, style, and in some cases, reliability. With EVs, you can get the performance, style, and reliability, all for a much lower ecological footprint.
*This figure regards mid-grade gasoline and was updated for the spring 2020 gasoline price drop. The majority of drivers use mid-grade which makes this a fair comparison.
Homepage image courtesy: BMW Group
Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists