..Are the future;… Are they?
More and more I see electric vehicles on the road. People pay large sums of money to be part of the electric craze.
In fact, if you were in for an electric car, Ford was selling off their Fusion car lineup, both the Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, and Fusion Energi (all electric), for all about the same price of about a $23k base price.
But if I was on the market for a new car, would I have gone for the Energi?
Well, putting aside that Ford USA isn’t really known to build MPG friendly cars, if they were just engineered correctly, their Fusion with 34 highway MPG, and Hybrid with 41 highway MPG, could easily get 40MPG for the fusion, and 55MPG for the hybrid. All their gas mileage losses are in gearing the car too low (high highway RPMs, that suffers MPG).
Anyway, looking at the numbers of pure electric vehicles, we can also deduct that owning an electric car, is not really done for financial reasons.
Ford Fiesta (Gasoline) VS Chevrolet Bolt (electric) price comparison
Most budget electric cars still go for at least $10k surplus charge over their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts.
This $10k can buy a lot of gasoline!
Let’s for this example compare 2 similar hatchbacks:
– The Ford Fiesta ST has a 4 cylinder 1.6 liter turbo engine, with 200HP/202LB FT of Torque, an average of 33MPG, and a range of about 400 miles per tank (12+Gal), 2700LBS; and goes for $20k
– The Chevy Bolt has a 60kWh battery, ~200HP/266LB ft of torque, 180-200 miles effective range per charge and a weight of 3560LBS, and goes for $36.6k
Total price difference after sales tax:
The average sales tax on cars is about 5.75%, according to this site which brings the price difference between both cars at about $17.555. That is if you would walk in the dealership and paid cash. Any loan will more than likely show much higher differences.
While the Fiesta ST has a lower Torque than the Bolt, and is from a different manufacturer, both cars still are pretty comparable.
Total annual energy price, and break even point:
At an average of 200 miles a week, or just over 10k miles a year, the Fiesta ST fuels up one <$35 tank every 2 weeks, costing about $900 a year on fuel.
At an average of 200 miles a week, the Bolt needs charging once a week. At 60kWh + 15% of charging efficiency losses, and 11ct per kWh, the charging costs users about $7.6 per week on electricity, or $395 annually. That would be roughly traveling just under half the price of gasoline.
But would traveling at half the price, add up or break even?
The $17.555 purchase price difference, at an average price of today’s $2.87/gal, would turn out to be just over 6115 Gallons of fuel, which at 33MPG would get you the first 20k miles on gasoline for free, before breaking even with just the purchase price!
Or, just looking at the price difference between both (without adding loan interest charges), to cover the $17.555 on electricity, you’d have to drive the electric car for almost 35 years, or well past it’s lifetime, before it breaks even!
I hardly could believe it either, but see the table below:
Some people may say, that electric cars don’t require any maintenance.
That’s not really true. Most of the maintenance of a regular car under 100k miles is done on an electric car as well.
– Rotating and changing tires (usually twice),
– brake pads (twice for gasoline cars, once for electric cars),
– windshield washer fluid, and wiper blades
– Replacing cabin air filters (3-4x)
– Occasional items that break down.
Additional costs Gasoline car:
– Oil changes (about 13 of them) $500
– Belt changes $500
– Coolant flush $50
– Engine air filter change $20
– Replace brake Rotors $500
– Replace transmission fluid (twice) $100
– Spark plugs replacement $100
Total additional costs gasoline: $1770 (or less if you combine jobs)
Additional costs Electric:
First is insurance. Insurance for electric cars on average still are about 20% more expensive than gasoline cars, according to this site.
This means an average price difference of about $300-350 a year electric vehicles need to pay more, or $3000-3500 + hours every 10 years!
Second is battery. While most companies give manufacturer warranty of 4-5 years, and a 40-45k mile warranty, they do mention that the battery can retain up to 66% within that time frame, not to be considered for replacement.
Estimates are that batteries of EVs depending on the driving condition and environment, need to be replaced every ~10 years or less. Hybrids every ~6 years or less.
The battery replacement cost of hybrids are close to $9k, while the replacement cost for the Bolt is close to $16k.
There are some grey market battery companies that might sell you refurbished batteries for about 1/3rd of the price; but it’s still a hefty fee to pay.
Total additional costs electric: $20k
Considering maintenance cost at new price, an electric car would never get out of the cost vs a gasoline car. But even if a refurbished battery pack is purchased, and installed by a small mechanic, it’s still going to cost about +$9k!
From an economic point of view, electric only, doesn’t make any sense!
“But”, you may say, “Gasoline is going to become more expensive as time goes on?”
“True!” I’d reply.
However, in the near foreseeable future, it appears that gasoline prices aren’t going to rise as much as Lithium prices will.
How about hybrid cars?
Most hybrid cars are offering sluggish performance, and are in a totally different category. The only car I could find, that’s similar, would be the Ford C-Max.
The C-max is basically a hybrid Fiesta. It’s a little more sluggish than the other two, but at 3640 LBS, 188HP/177LB Ft of torque, 45MPG avg 13.5 Gal, 600 miles range, and a 1.4kWh battery, at $24k.
With those specs, this car at best would be using about $660 on gasoline each year; and a $4230 surcharge, it would take about 6.5 years to pay that money back on gasoline and electric combined.
Hybrid cars however, suffer from higher maintenance costs. Though the battery costs $3.5k (about a third of the Energi EV), the maintenance of hybrids are maintenance of gasoline and electric cars combined. Tire wear is also a lot more.
Depending on the car, a hybrid car may or may not pay off within the 10 year window.
Hybrid cars also aren’t tuned for performance, but economy. This means that the electric motor isn’t assisting the engine. it’s merely replacing it at times of the drive.
If the electric motor would assist the engine, HP numbers would have been much higher.
Also, if Hybrids would have had an ICE in front, and an electric motor in the rear, they very easily could have been made into 3 or 4 wheel drive; which aids with acceleration.
Most electric motors on hybrid cars are connected to the drive shaft of the engine, to the front wheels only.
However hybrids are probably still closer to the future.
Electric drones are quick in response. Much quicker than for instance gasoline counterparts. However gasoline drones have longer range (same is so with cars).
The best of technology will be, when the gasoline part is used for driving the vehicle, and the electric motors are there to assist, or brake only.
Give the ICE more HP.
For a drone, having one large main propellor propelling the drone, and only 4 smaller (instead of 6 larger) electric propellers do the steering and additional speed adjustments of the gasoline engine; could give it range AND response!
I personally believe that gasoline engines are great for traveling longer distances, and electric engines are great for short, quick trips. The combination of the 2 technologies makes most sense.