Study compares the costs of charging electric vehicles to gasoline – and the results have been surprising

The study has four main conclusions:

– There are four additional costs for powering electric vehicles beyond electricity: the cost of a home charger, commercial recharging, electric vehicle tax and deadhead miles.

“Right now, electric vehicles cost more energy than gasoline to power an internal combustion car that achieves reasonable gas mileage.

—Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.

“Finding reliable public chargers is very time consuming. Even then, a charger may take 30 minutes to go from 20% to 80% charge.

This is the first in a series of reports that the Anderson Economic Group will publish. He started the project – an independent report – over six months ago.

Anderson has worked with the auto industry for 20 years and given the industry’s transition to electric vehicles, the group decided to conduct studies to assess the likelihood of consumers adopting cars.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are banking on such a change. Both are investing tens of billions of dollars to go all-electric over the next two decades. GM has promised to double its revenues in large part thanks to the new electric vehicles.

“Part of the strength of the analysis is that we show the real costs that electric vehicle drivers face,” Anderson said. “You usually have to go with a commercial charger, and the rates for commercial chargers are two, three, or four times higher than the rates for residential chargers. “

Then there’s the time to shop around to find a commercial charger, time Anderson calls “dead miles.” Even charging at home on a level 1 or level 2 charger is time consuming and expensive.


Gas prices started at $ 2.99 Friday at Marathon Gas on South Yellow Springs Street in Springfield. Hasan Karim / Staff

Gas prices started at $ 2.99 Friday at Marathon Gas on South Yellow Springs Street in Springfield.  Hasan Karim / Staff

Gas prices started at $ 2.99 Friday at Marathon Gas on South Yellow Springs Street in Springfield. Hasan Karim / Staff

The study found that the average cost to install a Level 1 charger is $ 600. The installation of a level 2 costs $ 1,600 because it requires the hiring of an electrician. An L1 charger uses a 110 volt power supply and can take 20 hours or more to charge, while an L2 charger uses 240 volts and can charge in a matter of hours.

“I have a photo of my house in charge for 90 hours! Ninety hours and the car still isn’t charged, ”Anderson said. “Ford charges $ 800 for an L2 charger. But they go straight there if you put it in the wall at 110 volts, it might take 93 hours to charge. Many people are surprised by the time it takes to charge a vehicle.

Actual cost to top up

Anderson’s report considers four costs beyond the cost of residential electricity when calculating the cost of driving an electric vehicle:

—Cost of residential charger

—Cost of commercial electricity

—An annual tax on electric vehicles, which in Michigan ranges from $ 135 to $ 235 depending on the vehicle model. This is to compensate for the non-payment of the gasoline tax

– Dead miles to access a fast charger

Considering all of this, the conclusion is that electric vehicles cost more to fuel than gasoline cars with reasonable gas mileage, Anderson said.

A mid-priced internal combustion car that gets 33 miles per gallon would cost $ 8.58 in overall costs to drive 100 miles at $ 2.81 per gallon, according to the study. But a mid-priced electric vehicle, such as a Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or a Tesla Model 3, would cost $ 12.95 to drive 100 miles in terms of costs that include recharging the vehicle using primarily a commercial charger.

To exploreREVIEW: Volkswagen Taos vs. Chevrolet Trailblazer

On an annual basis, assuming mid-priced cars go 12,000 miles, it would cost $ 1,030 to drive an internal combustion car and $ 1,554 to drive an EV.

For luxury cars that travel 26 miles per gallon and use premium gasoline at $ 3.25 per gallon, the cost to drive an internal combustion car for 100 miles is $ 12.60. The cost to drive a luxury electric vehicle, such as a Taycan, Tesla Model S or X, or Jaguar I-Pace, is $ 15.52 to drive 100 miles. This mainly uses commercial chargers.

“It’s apples for apples and includes additional taxes on electric vehicles, commercial and home charging, and permission to drive to a gas station, which for most Americans is very short. compared to driving to a commercial charger for an electric vehicle owner, ”Anderson mentioned.

The study differs from some reports which show that it is cheaper to drive an EV than a conventional car. For example, a 2018 study by the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan found that the average cost of operating an electric vehicle in the United States was $ 485 per year, compared to $ 1,117 for an electric vehicle. gasoline. Anderson said most studies only include the cost of residential electricity and ignore the other four costs in this study.

Nonetheless, he noted that there are environmental benefits of owning an EV, and the costs could come down if more reliable commercial charging centers are built. Electric cars also require less expensive maintenance than gasoline vehicles.

“Our research is consistent with what President Biden and the Detroit Three have said, that a bottleneck for a number of consumers is the lack of infrastructure,” Anderson said. “My own experience with an electric vehicle is that the biggest challenge is recharging it so that it’s something you can use on a daily basis. “

Beyond Scope Anxiety

Charging costs vary much more for electric vehicles than gasoline prices, 100% or more from month to month or week to week, Anderson said.

“Even if you drive to the most expensive gas station, your variable price won’t be that high,” he said.

Commercial loader rates in Michigan range from 31 cents per kilowatt to 66 cents per kilowatt. The price for Michigan residents is 17 cents per kilowatt.

“This is going to be a big surprise for a lot of drivers,” Anderson said, adding that many commercial chargers will also require the EV driver to register and sometimes pay a $ 20 fee, but this could be refunded with the recharge. .

Also, never plan to have a 100% charge on your electric vehicle, he said.

“It’s very difficult to charge it up to 100%,” Anderson said. “Chargers slow down and manufacturers warn you not to, because the battery system is subjected to additional load when your vehicle is over 90% charged. “

This means that if the vehicle advertises 240 miles of range on a full charge, a driver will actually get considerably less with, say, an 80% charge, he said. That means a trip to the north might require a few stops at charging stations that can deliver an 80% charge in 30 minutes.

For new electric vehicle drivers, these costs, time constraints, and other considerations are often a surprise, Anderson said.

“Unlike their reliable gasoline cars which have a range of 300 or 400 miles that can be filled at a number of gas stations around our country, you have to think about the chargers available and plan for them,” Anderson said. “It’s more than range anxiety, it’s a burden to constantly monitor the state of charge.”

The Anderson report lists about two dozen sources in its research, which draws on consumer experiences and costs to drivers that go beyond government data on fuel economy and electricity prices. Anderson said he measured the time it takes to refuel gasoline-powered cars and electric vehicles with a stopwatch, recording customer experiences on charger reliability, charging time and costs. He used consumer reports from actual EV drivers, including those posted on Taycan and Tesla driver forums, Reddit, and apps serving EV drivers such as PlugShare and ChargePoint.

About Frances R. Smith

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