Some may balk at the higher price of electric vehicles, especially when you consider that there may be thousands of dollars separating even sister vehicles with electric and conventional powertrains.
In the long term, however, electric vehicles require less maintenance and zero fuel, which makes them cheaper to operate and own. How much cheaper is it to own an electric vehicle? According to a recent study done by Electric Power Research Institute [EPRI], it depends a lot on where you live and what your driving habits are. For example, according to EPRI’s calculations comparing the Chevy Volt with average hybrid and conventional vehicles, the five-year total cost to own [TCO] for all three was $44,483±$300.
That may not sound like much of a difference when the Chevy Volt was just marginally cheaper than the average conventional or hybrid electric vehicle, but again, depends a whole lot on driver habits. EPRI calculated the averages based on 83% driving days less than 40mi and another series 53% less than 40mi, assuming drivers would charge at home only, and even included the costs for renting a backup car for long trips. By applying some real-world statistics, including Nissan Leaf owners utilizing public charging stations and avoiding rental cars, the TCO of the Nissan Leaf drops by as much as $14,000.
Of course, fluctuating gas prices have a significant impact on the TCO savings of the average electric vehicle. EPRI estimates that a $1.00 increase in fuel prices makes an electric vehicle about $1,000 cheaper to own. Still, the lesson is clear, you can’t drive an electric vehicle like a conventional vehicle, but if you are responsible, you can stand to save big when it comes to your bottom line. Honestly, who couldn’t do with an extra $2,800 on the books at the end of the year?