For All Their Expense, Electric Cars Are Still The Cheapest

A criticism that we have leveled at the move from internal combustion vehicles to electric ones is that their expense can put them well beyond the range of the not-so-well-heeled motorist. Many of the electric vehicles we’ve seen thus far have been niche models marketed as luxury accessories, and thus come with a specification and list price to match. It’s interesting then to see a European report from LeasePlan looking at vehicle ownership costs which reveals that the total yearly cost of ownership (TCO) for an electric car has is now cheaper that comparable internal combustion vehicles across the whole continent in all but the fiercely competitive sub-compact segment.

TCO includes depreciation, taxes and insurance, fuel, and maintenance. Perhaps the most interesting story lies in electric cars progressing from being a high-depreciation, risky purchase to something you can sell on the second-hand market, even if they cost more up front. For example, the electric VW ID3 costs around $11,000 more than the comparable gas-powered VW Golf up front, but the higher resale price later offsets this and helps keep the TCO lower.

We’ve been following electric vehicles for a while now in the hope that an electric people’s car would surface, and have at times vented our frustration on the matter. It’s encouraging to see this particular trend as we believe it will encourage manufacturers to produce more accessible electric vehicles, especially given that we’ve just complained that driving electric seems like more of a rich man’s game.

(via Heise)

Header image: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

190 thoughts on “For All Their Expense, Electric Cars Are Still The Cheapest

        1. Right. Come live where I do – in (relatively) densely populated Germany.

          It’s 30km from where I live to where I work. That’s 30 minutes by car, or a two hour odyssey by public transportation. One way. Public transportation means four hours a day commuting

          I could try living where I work, but rent or purchase prices for homes or appartments is about three times what I pay where I now live. I’d still have to have a car, though, because it’d take an hour of bus and walking to get from anywhere in town that I could afford to live to where the office is where I work. Been there, done that. I’m not going back to living in a cramped city, paying through the nose to use inadequate public transportation.

          ————-

          Just last week, my wife and I were on vacation and tried using just public transportation where we were.

          It worked out for the first day. We managed to get in a bus with the same driver twice on the same day – both times we were the only passengers. The driver could take a few seconds to explain how to get where we needed to go, so that was fine.

          The second day, we missed the one bus to where we needed to go by a few minutes (delays on the bus from the hotel.) The next one would be in a couple of hours. There’s also a train going where we wanted to go – leaving in an hour and taking an hour to get where we wanted to go. We took a bus back to the hotel and got in the car and were where we wanted to be thirty minutes later. If we’d have waited to take the train, we wouldn’t have made it to our destination before closing time.

          Public transportation seems to work for a lot of people.

          It has never worked very well for me. It never goes where I need to go when I need to go there.

          I used to live in a city that claimed (at the time) to have one of the densest public transportation systems in Europe. I still walked every where because I could get there faster on foot. Walk in the wrong direction (away from where I want to go) to get on the bus. Wait for the (late) bus. Ride to someplace, get out, wait for the connecting bus, ride to someplace sort of close to where I need to go, walk to final destination. Travel time from door to door: an hour. I could just freaking walk there and be there in half an hour.

          Call me when public transportation works.

          1. Public transit works, once you buy into and learn the system; something that’s difficult to do when you’re a casual user or visitor. Also doesn’t work if you’re going against the “flow” it was designed for.

            I used commuter rail to get to work when my company moved from the suburbs (where I live) into the city (where parking is $30/day). It worked fine, once I figured out how to use it efficiently. And, of course, it was better once I understood when the peak hours were and adjusted my timing to avoid them.

            Still, if I were working in a distant suburb, there’s no way to get there, using public transit, from where I live; other than taking the commuter rail into the city, then taking another train back out to the other suburb. I don’t want to think about how long that would take.

            Also, for our bus and subway systems, you need to buy a fare card before riding. This discourages casual ridership, because the cards aren’t available on the street, you need to go to certain stations to buy them. That’s supposed to be changing so that you can tap a credit card, but who knows how long that will take. And while “senior” (over 65) fares are half price, you need to have a “senior ID” to get them, which is only available at certain times at a particular location. So no hope of that for a visitor.

          2. Whether public transport works for commuters depends heavily on where you are. In the UK, the major cities have good public transport, but even just outside the city public transport can become sporadic and an unworkable distance from your home or workplace.

            Head further out and you find bus services that keep office hours. i.e. they are either running a very infrequent service or do not run at all outside ‘office’ hours, meaning that even office workers cannot use the service.

            In rural areas, forget it. Some areas have a couple of busses a day and you can travel many kilometers to reach the bus route.

            This is mostly because the policy makers and civil servants live in areas that have a good public transport service and cannot understand what the problem is.

          3. [Joseph], I feel your pain. In my area of New England, public transportation is literally non existent. Add to that the fact that I live in a large apartment building with (gasp!) no provisions for electric cars, and that leaves me with my Subaru as my only viable option for getting anywhere at all for any reason at all. That’s fine with me. It’s a good car and about as environmentally friendly as they come.
            Not that I would ever want a silly electric toy car anyway…

          4. Public transportation only works in certain areas and then only if there is enough of it. I was once in New York and was going to ride the subway, I started down the stairs and got to where I could see the platform and stopped. My wife said “come on, this is our train” and I told her to just stand there and watched. there was a sea of humanity on the platform and when the train stopped people had to push their way off while others were trying to push their way on. Before the doors could close on the train people were backing into the packed cars jamming between other people. I am retired USAF and have claustrophobic PTSD from being trapped, there is NO WAY I will ever get on something like that. I went back up and flagged a taxi and paid $50 for the ride.

          5. The city where I live – Huntsville AL, USA – has a public transit system. I tried that system one day. I took the bus from my house to the closest Wal-Mart. The trip went like this:

            1. 15 minutes – Walk from my house to the bus stop.
            2. 30 minutes – Wait for the next bus.
            3. 30 minutes – Ride the bus route to the Wal-Mart stop.
            4. 45 minutes – Buy a few things.
            5. 45 minutes – Wait for the next bus.
            6. 20 minutes – Ride the bus route to my neighborhood stop.
            7. 15 minutes – Walk back home.

            That’s 200 minutes or 3-1/3 hours while the drive from my house to the local Wal-Mart is only 15 minutes.

            3-1/3 hours verses 1-1/4 hours makes the decision obvious to me!

          1. When I was a kid me and my best friend had public transportation down. We lived in different towns but the nearest small city was one bus ride away for both of us, so we would regularly take the bus into town, and get a transfer. We would hang out in town, get fast food and what not, raise some hell, and than swap transfers and go back home on them. It worked well for a couple of kids.

      1. It’s enlightening to calculate how much CO2 you produce per mile walking, and compare that with a car.
        Seriously. Do the calculation.

        Then do the same for a bicycle, compared to four people in a small car.

          1. I’ll spoil the methods for you: include CO2 production from transportation and farming for the food consumed by the walking/biking person, but ignore CO2 production from transportation and drilling/refining for the gasoline that goes into the car.

          2. >but ignore CO2 production from transportation and drilling/refining for the gasoline that goes into the car.

            That only adds about 20% more to the cost, and those same costs apply to food production because it runs on the same fossil fuels. The EROI of food production is also perfectly terrible. Pre-historic hunter-gatherers could gain 10:1 by foraging for food, a medieval peasant could achieve about 3:1, but modern fossil-fuel driven agriculture and long supply chains in developed countries have flipped that around to approximately 1:4 and it gets worse to about 1:8 when you take into account how much food (half) is simply thrown away uneaten.

            On the consuming end, your body’s mechanical and metabolic efficiency is about 25% In other words, a reasonable estimate for the systemic efficiency of a person on a bicycle “from well to wheel” is about 3%.

          1. Sounds like a good point, except that energy inputs for fertilizer and farming machinery, processing and transport is enormous, and almost exclusively fossil fuel. In the case of fertilizer production in particular, most of the world is fed by coal power, followed by natural gas.

          2. That’s not true. There is a considerable amount of non-renewable carbon invested in every bite of food you eat.

            Oil is used in fertilizer production.
            More oil is used to run the farm equipment.
            More oil is used in processing and packaging.
            More oil is used to transport, store and sell those goods.
            More oil is used to deliver that food, assuming you use some sort of transport system.
            And finally, more oil is used to dispose of all of your human waste and packaging.

        1. 1 gallon/4.54 litres of petrol, 10.9kg of CO2. 218g per mile in a 50mpg car. Put 5 people in that for 43.6g per mile per person.

          1 person who eats exclusively beef at 6g CO2 per calorie, consuming 120kcal to walk a mile produces 720g per mile.

          1 person who eats exclusively beans at 0.02g CO2 per calorie, walking the same distance produces 2.4g per mile.

          Cycling roughly halves the calories per mile. Using an EV instead of a petrol car adds more variables but my regional grid has a 39g co2 per kwh period tomorrow, the worst national figure in the same period is 181g co2 per kwh. A 4 mile per kwh EV with 5 people could manage 1.95g per mile per person or 9.05g on those rates.

          That was a nerdsnipe and a half. Please show your workings in future to save me the hassle.

          1. @abjq that’s a good point though I’m not sure I included baseline respiration in the walking and cycling numbers. As a worst case let’s say the car is doing 30mph with 5 passengers who all eat exclusively beef, that’s 83g of co2 from them over the mile. Given most cars have fewer people in them it’s probably not a large component of driving emissions.

          2. @ren imperial gallons which is why I gave litres too. Apparently a US gallon of gasoline is 8.5kg co2 but then your cars don’t get 50mpg either. I encourage you to plug in the appropriate numbers for your region.

            Working that out made me feel better about getting a basic EV next year. Not a big one, more like a heated enclosed golf buggy (citroen ami). At 8 miles per kwh it might be more co2 efficient than me, plus it keeps me dry.

          3. Good show, Gareth.

            I’ll quibble around the margins, though.

            300 g – 400 g / mile is probably about right for the car — average driving, not all highway at 55 with the air conditioner off. At least for comparing with walking. (35 mpg – 25 mpg respectively.)

            Electrics. You somehow have very clean electricity. (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=74&t=11) Around 850 g CO2 / kWh, and 0.3 kWh / mile (https://ecocostsavings.com/electric-car-kwh-per-mile-list/) = 285 g CO2 / mile electric. Which is again ballpark with the car’s economy, but a little better.

            People walking are different, but all end up around 200-250 kcal / hour walking, but that’s ~3 miles. So let’s go with 70-80 kcal / mile. (https://www.healthline.com/health/calories-burned-walking#calories-burned) Beef is around 3 kg CO2 / 4 oz = 9 g CO2 / cal. (https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/food/beef and https://css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet) = 625 g CO2 / mile on beef. Order of magnitude the same as yours, and 2x worse than cars.

            So all-beef-on-a-bike is comparable to both cars. If you eat a balanced diet, walking is the clear winner, by maybe an order of magnitude.

            For instance, bananas are pretty horrible for CO2 — being transported from far away. Still they come in at 80 g CO2 / 140 kcal (one banana). (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/jul/01/carbon-footprint-banana) So 40 g CO2 / mile if you’re banana-fueled on foot, and 20 g CO2 / mile if you pedal. Factor of 20, and you get there in a reasonable time? Banana-bikes FTW!

          4. >300 g – 400 g / mile is probably about right for the car

            Per EU regulations, modern cars are supposed to do less than 95 g/km (WLTP) or else the manufacturers have to pay fines for every car sold. Your estimate would be at least twice the amount.

          5. @elliot Your US grid’s better than that, 0.85 pounds not kilos so 385 grams of co2 per kwh. But jeez coal and petrol are about a kilo per kwh each. That’s gonna have to be turned off.

            The UK grid is surprisingly green. 20 years ago we were where you are now. http://www.mygridgb.co.uk/dashboard/ Regional grids can be more or less green, we have local nuclear and wind but not much solar. Lowest I’ve seen is 3% from gas/fossil fuels. Scotland can beat us with loads of wind, London is probably worst due to its population density.

          6. Damnit, Gareth, you’re right. The mixed units were really driving me bonkers. Not surprised I messed up somewhere…

            I’d go correct it, but that don’t seem fair. But yeah, that factor-of-2.2s the electric car. Good show!

            But it’s worse — I’m in Germany, where it’s ~350 g / kWh.

            Check this out, BTW: Table of German CO2/kWh by month. A lot of solar in the mix?
            https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/co2-emissions-german-power-mix-fluctuated-lot-2020-storage-needed-consultancy

        2. You are thinking that more physical exercise directly translates to requiring more food input, which is not true.
          What happens is that for many people the basal metabolic rate is tuned very high and there is plenty of room to cut from this and consume more for exercise without the need for extra food.
          This also explains why it is hard to lose weight: you have to cut down a lot of calories in input before your body runs out tuning ability for the basal metabolism and needs to dig into reserves.
          See: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0040503

  1. There’s only two spots where the total cost of ownership is lower for electric than for gasoline: That’s depreciation and fuel/electricity.

    Take a good look at the breakdown on page 12.

    Repair costs are nearly identical – 11% for electric, 10% for the others.

    The only thing really making the electric car look cheaper is the high resale value. I expect that comes about because (some) folks will buy a used electric car for the price they would have other wise paid for a new gasoline or diesel powered car.

    1. Worth remembering the repair need for an EV is much lower, almost no moving parts, and as more garage get the EV rated mechanics, spares become more available etc the repairs will become cheaper – lots of optimisation to be done for EV servicing as we haven’t been doing it on the ICE power train scale ever, but as the demand for it grows so will the effort put into making it happen.

      Right now when something does go wrong on an EV its much more expensive, but the same is true of early adopters of any tech…

      1. Except for the battery. Which can’t actually be fixed. And then *overwhelms* the total repair cost.

        Until batteries have a 300k+ warranty on them and are standardized, I can’t understand the whole “cheaper” part. A 20-year old garage-kept ICE without an engine is a perfectly reasonable vehicle. Same for an EV is practically scrap.

        Musk on Twitter recently said batteries “should” last 300k-500k miles. Cool. Warranty them for that. They’re not engines. You can’t fix them. “Typical” behavior means nothing for that.

        The entirety of the whole “cheaper” thing assumes that cars have a finite service life, which is nuts.

        1. The distance doesn’t matter for batteries, the calendar days are more important because the average driver won’t exhaust even a modest battery by driving it. 300 000 km / 150 per charge = 2000 full cycles. That’s normal out of any decent lithium chemistry.

          The sticking point is the shelf-life which doesn’t extend much past a decade, which makes the comparison moot because gasoline vehicles depreciate slowly over 15-25 years whereas EVs lose all value when you have to replace the battery.

          That’s why, when you’re looking at the market, EVs are “cheaper” for people who can afford new cars and swap every 3-5 years. The next rung down the ladder gets a hot potato they can’t get rid of because nobody in their right mind would buy a car that’s going to die and require a $10-20k repair in the next couple years.

          1. “That’s normal out of any decent lithium chemistry.”

            Exactly! So why don’t they warranty it? If I *knew* that the battery on a brand new EV would last fifteen years, it’d start to be reasonable. At that point a $15k repair ($1K capital cost per year) starts to make sense.

            “The sticking point is the shelf-life which doesn’t extend much past a decade,”

            Right, exactly, that’s the gotcha. It’s not just mileage that matters, whereas for an ICE vehicle it’s practically *all* mileage if it’s well-kept.

            Also, at this point pretending ICE vehicles even have a 15-25 year shelf life is silly. There’s no component on an ICE vehicle that even remotely comes close to a $10K repair outside of collision damage. Don’t crash the car, keep it from rusting, and an ICE vehicle is always economical to maintain.

          2. >So why don’t they warranty it?

            Because they don’t have to. It would amount to a 20-year warranty for the average driver, and the shelf-life of the battery would come first at around 150,000 miles or 10 years, of which they will only warranty 8 in order to account for individual variability.

            > There’s no component on an ICE vehicle that even remotely comes close to a $10K repair outside of collision damage.

            Not a single one, but all the rubber seals and belts etc. have a shelf-life. Particulate filters, catalytic converters as well, and those can be really really expensive. Most parts aren’t expensive, but the labor cost to rebuild a modern engine is astronomical given how they were never built to be maintained in the first place, and you’re paying a specialist mechanic $100 an hour to do it.

          3. You always have to remember that the point of a warranty is the advertisement value, not giving any extra value to the consumer. The company will give the longest warranty that still ensures they will probably not have to pay any costs within warranty.

          4. “Most parts aren’t expensive, but the labor cost to rebuild a modern engine is astronomical given how they were never built to be maintained in the first place”

            What are you people *doing* to engines?!?!

            I haven’t driven a vehicle without a rebuilt engine for over a decade.

          5. “Because they don’t have to. It would amount to a 20-year warranty for the average driver, and the shelf-life of the battery would come first at around 150,000 miles or 10 years”

            This just translates into “actually, the whole 300k mile thing is just crap.” Which was my point. They don’t warranty the batteries for 300k miles, because for the vast majority of consumers, the batteries won’t actually last that long.

            The most hilarious article I ever read was one advertising a Tesla vehicle’s battery degradation “after 300k miles.” And it looked totally great. Except when you read the article, the first battery failed just inside the warranty period, and it was on its second battery. *facepalm*

          6. The battery refurbish and replacements should start becoming much more reasonable in both price and time as they become more common – right now any battery cell/pack is likely going straight into a brand new car (laptop/house battery/phone -etc), but supply and demand means recycling and more batteries will start to be available, its an economic goldmine for whoever really figures out how to do so quickly and efficiently…

            Also if you look at any ICE vehicle and look at how horrible it is to access common wear parts you have to change pretty often its hideously expensive in man hours to do it ‘dumb’ full reverse of the build ways, but being common failures there is a whole slew of methods for most vehicles to get at the various wear parts without having to completely dismantle everything completely to get there… The same will be true of EV, getting to the battery will become simpler as folks share the methods they figured out and replacement parts are designed differently to make them easier to refit etc..

          7. “its an economic goldmine for whoever really figures out how to do so quickly and efficiently…”

            If it could be done quickly, efficiently, and economically, the EV manufacturers would be doing it already. Why wouldn’t you just try to make a profit on the battery pack instead of an entire new vehicle?

            I just don’t think the technology for rebuilding packs is there yet, because the amount of effort the manufacturers have to go through to get them to be able to charge that fast. I’m not sure it ever will be.

            “Also if you look at any ICE vehicle and look at how horrible it is to access common wear parts”

            Then don’t buy vehicles that are designed like crap! Go talk to a mechanic and find out the vehicles that they make *bank* on because book rate’s obscene. There are plenty of them. Use those.

            You’re making generalizations that might be common (there are a *lot* of garbage cars out there) but aren’t required. Cars can be cheap to repair. I *highly* doubt batteries ever will be.

          8. Pat right now there is not really enough demand for battery packs, as most EV’s ever built are still in fine fettle, and every battery that is built is going into a brand new car because there is a huge demand for them.

            The replacement packs will be made when demand for them actually really exists, right now as the producers are putting it all into new vehicles because that is where the demand is and there isn’t a huge stockpile of worn out battery of theirs to refurbish – so far what maybe 1% of all battery EV ever sold since the resurgence of EV this century need a new pack, and the total number of EV’s isn’t all that great – its not a good stockpile of refurbish-able goods yet.

          9. >What are you people *doing* to engines?!?!

            You don’t have to do much anything. after 20-30 years all the gaskets, o-rings, plastic belts and bushings etc. become hard and brittle and leaky so at some point you pretty much have to go through the entire thing and replace all the stuff to keep going. That means taking everything to pieces and back again.

            When the car is built so that simply replacing a light bulb requires you to tear apart a quarter of the engine bay, you can already tell it’s not worth the trouble. You will reach a point where you’re spending five hours of work to replace a ten dollar part, which makes absolutely no sense because more parts will break soon after since it’s all old stuff.

            The alternative is to pay several thousands of dollars up-front for a full rebuild, but for that to make sense you’d have to be considering a full restoration of everything else. Makes no sense to fix the engine and drive train to mint condition if the rest of the car is a sun-bleached rust bucket.

        1. Some move more than others.

          Reminds me: On trains, there’s parts that are always moving backwards, as well as parts that move forward twice as fast as the train itself. It all balances out in the end, usually.

    2. I like electric vehicles in theory, but the sector is a little too new for product lifetime costs to be accurately reflected.

      A gasoline/diesel engine doesn’t need to have its battery sled replaced every N years, though of course it does need other service. I would guess that expensive-service-interval cars like this will have break points where unavoidable service is due soon and the resale value will take a nosedive. Take a look at the depreciation curve for a Maserati for BMW or an example – Teslas will be in that range somewhere too. If it could be shown that the ongoing service costs are similar to the (gas) Toyota in my driveway which has required essentially no repairs/big service in a decade/110,000 miles, the resale value would be well reflected.

      Also the market is very skewed in its “sales” arrangements so far – the first Nissan Leaf was essentially a free car (for better or worse) in some markets because you could lease it and be more or less reimbursed by tax and other credits. The ongoing brew of tax credits, absence of surcharge (so far) to offset fuel tax income, shifting from sales to leases, long term maintenance costs etc. has yet to be completely ironed out.

      1. I’ve said to friends that I’m amazed that car manufacturers haven’t leapt on the EV train. I half expected ICE production to nearly disappear, because it’s a *godsend* to them.

        EVs give car manufacturers a car with an expiration date again.

        1. The reason is that 70-80% of people can’t actually afford to buy cars. People often have to take loans to finance even relatively new second hand vehicles, so trying to squeeze blood from a stone by exploiting the timed obsolescence of batteries would be counterproductive.

          1. But the secondhand market makes manufacturers zero dollars. They *only* make money from people buying new cars.

            Switching to EVs (with vendor battery lock-in) actually starts making them money from the resale market via battery replacement.

            My guess is the reason it didn’t happen is because that $10k-20k cost of batteries actually has very, very little profit for the manufacturer.

          2. The second hand market makes the OEM money through the first hand buyers, who can tolerate higher prices because they’re expecting the vehicle to have residual value in the second hand market. If the second hand market doesn’t exit, the first owners have to bear the full cost and THEY become unable to pay.

            OEMs also get to sell spare parts for all the used vehicles.

        2. “EVs give car manufacturers a car with an expiration date again.”

          It’s a masked-subscription concept, like every other proprietary-battery cordless implement flooding the planet.

          1. “like every other proprietary-battery cordless implement flooding the planet.”

            Ab-so-lutely. Makes you wonder how we ever got standardized alkaline battery sizes in the first place.

            Can you imagine how much waste would be cut out if battery pack overall were standardized?

          2. Not really, you can use tesla battery pack in a leaf etc – its not like its a sealed unfixable unit that is full off DRM type bollocks so you may only use official battery, its just some electronic understanding to fit part A to B so that both match well enough in specs… And when it comes time to refurbish/replace this rather long lasting battery they have no way to make you buy theirs…

            Its just a battery really, with varied degrees of integration with the vehicle – and some clever folks have used additional battery for more range, battery changes or retrofits to ICE sometimes giving effectively a second boot space as the big old lump that was a fuel tank is a great spot to put battery…

            By that argument every tool with a brushed motor that doesn’t provide access to the brushes, easy swap of whole motors/motor drivers etc is the same – they wear out, everything does and very few things have a full or even close to comprehensive spare parts list..

          3. “Not really, you can use tesla battery pack in a leaf etc – its not like its a sealed unfixable unit that is full off DRM type bollocks so you may only use official battery”

            I would seriously love to see someone try to fit a Tesla battery in a Leaf or vice versa, considering the physical form factors and communication mechanisms aren’t close.

            Alkaline batteries have a standardized form factor and voltage levels. That’s what you need in order to get proper interchangeability.

            “And when it comes time to refurbish/replace this rather long lasting battery they have no way to make you buy theirs…”

            Yes they do! The others won’t fit!

          4. >its not like its a sealed unfixable unit

            It is glued and tab-welded together, and Tesla uses cylindrical cells while Nissan uses prismatic pouches. Trying to separate the cells out of the battery to fit them into a Leaf would be an exercise in futility.

          5. Dude we are talking about the car not the battery pack inside it – almost nobody breaks open the power tool battery to swap cells, or surgically cuts open a pouch battery to extract the good cells from the bad, that whole lump is replaced!!! And replacing the battery in any of the EV’s is trivial but time consuming, there is nothing in the design to make it impossible, or even tricky.

            And the various battery packs of many different models have be gutted for refurbishment purposes, or whole packs from car x put in car y because it was available/larger capcacity and works…

        3. All cars have dates by that argument – one major component that is always going to be a big repair bill, vs all the hundreds of rather fragile parts that can go wrong with an ICE often with rather stupid repair bill costs (mostly on man hours though the parts are often stupidly priced too) – and most of those if/when it happens the whole power train is basically written off as uneconomic to repair.

          1. Last winter my 2004 Honda (ICE) developed a problem with the air intake. Known as a “shotgun repair”, because the dealer ended up replacing a lot of parts (from the cheapest to the most expensive) until the problem was fixed. The repair bill ($3k6) may have exceeded the resale value of the vehicle.
            (sigh!)

          2. “The repair bill ($3k6) may have exceeded the resale value of the vehicle.”

            That’s an economic fallacy. You didn’t buy the car to be an investment. You bought it to be a tool. Could you have replaced the *repaired* vehicle with something with equivalent usage (and expected life) for $3.6K? Probably not.

            Also, find a better mechanic.

          3. > Probably not.

            For the average car, most likely yes. Most likely you could find a newer vintage car with less wear for that money since 17 years is pretty much the average age where cars get scrapped and their value is quickly plummeting towards zero.

      2. When govt works out a way to tax electricity more, which they will have to, I wonder if people will be quite so happy about EVs? Even people who don’t use cars will pay much more for their electricity. If the UK govt get the timing right, these higher electricity prices will start just at the same time that everybody has to spend about £10-15k per house to buy electric heat-pumps that don’t really heat their houses as well as their old outlawed gas boilers did. I’d bet that most of the electricity will still be generated by burning fossil fuels, unless govt gets serious about nuclear power (fission now and hopefully fusion in the future).

    3. I’m not anti-electric car. But I am a realist.

      A frequently overlooked fact is that the cost advantage claimed for the electric vehicle’s “fuel” is true only at TODAY’s electricity prices (not to mention present administration policy that is purposefully driving up gasoline prices).

      The fact is, the more you shift transportation onto the electric grid, the higher the demand for electricity. One of the immutable laws of economics is the one concerning supply and demand–raise the demand on a fixed asset, and prices WILL rise.

      Actually, the situation is even worse than that. If you take the quantity of gasoline burned annually in the name of private transportation and translate that to its equivalent electrical energy content, what you find is that–even after correcting for the better efficiency of electric vehicles–the electric grid is at least one order of magnitude too small to support a full fleet of electric cars.

      So, the issue will not just be one of increased price due to increased demand, it will be one of crippling prices due to chronic *shortage*. In fact, I’d predict the whole idea crashing at the 10-20% adoption level. It’s simply not sustainable.

      By the way, one of the many factors that determines whether it is economical for a manufacturer to operate in the U.S. is energy costs. As electric vehicles drive up the cost of electricity for everyone, you can pretty much count on what’s left of our manufacturing jobs to go south of the border or to China (which has no problem with using carbon to produce their energy).

      On our present path, the electric car Utopia we’re being promised will turn out to be a dark and cold future where elderly people on fixed incomes will freeze to death in the winter because they couldn’t afford both food AND heat .

      1. Demand pulls prices up. High prices stimulate investments into supply. I remember the price of first couple of decades of “IBM PC compatibles”. I remember how huge were the DRAM prices. Mobile phones. Split-system ACs. I can go on and on. With inelastic demand, contrary to intuitive reasoning, in the end the price always stabilizes at commodity level. Sometimes it takes a great technological breakthrough (or uninterrupted succession of ones), but the promise of a feature for the masses gets fulfilled, if at all possible.

        1. There are 2 defects in analogizing electricity supply to DRAM supply history. One is that DRAMs were a rapidly changing technology (capacity per chip doubling every 2 years) and electricity production technology is not so much, solar/wind/radium/fusion notwithstanding. The other is that chip fabs can be built in a couple of years, but increasing the number of electricity plants by a factor of ten is probably a 20 year project.

      2. Its really not that bad, for one thing even if you get your full vision of the future (which you wont – Salec is correct increased demand leads to more efficient supply and greater competition to claim a chunk of that huge market – its a vast amount of money even a lower prices), as electric is trivial for many people to start supplying themselves, especially on the huge houses many more land rich nations like the US have – solar is cheap and effective enough over that sort of roof area to power the house and probably hundred or more miles on your EV most days – here in overcast gloomy days the pathetic number of panels that will fit on this small UK house still offset much of the house load, on a sunny day you can’t burn it fast enough no matter how hard you try – that pathetic number of panels puts outs many times the highest draw the house is actually capable off without tripping all the RCD breakers….

    4. High resale value usually means it either ages slower, which means it overall lasts longer in use, making sunken environmental costs of manufacturing it worth more while, or it has a lot of materials which are both recyclable and trending scarce (copper and aluminum?).

      1. Electric cars also have some of the aspects of a bubble or a fad, as far as resale value is concerned. Note that I am not claiming that over the long term electric cars won’t dominate: I see no viable alternative 50 years from now.

  2. One thing not taken into account in considering price is that to be able to pay it, a person has to work, live, and consume.
    There is an environmental cost to obtaining the money to buy a car.

    I wonder if anyone has done any research into that?

    1. How can you really measure that? Its such an impossibly complex web all you can do is pick elements to study, as to study the whole is just too much – even at the simplest level that question has many elements

      – what job do they do (some jobs are environmentally positive other very negative)
      – where do they get whatever products they consume (are they/their nation effectively offshoring all the dirty bad stuff)
      – how are you judging the money value – between currency exchange rate changes, taxes and shipping costs how much this new car took is hard to judge
      – do you count all the required costs to live for however long it took to earn the money for the car entirely against the car, not at all or somewhere in the middle?

  3. 2% of new car sales are electric
    25% of car sales are new cars
    75% of car sales are used cars
    Batteries only last 8 years on electric cars and cost as much if not more to replace than the used value of the electric car
    Electric cars will never saturate the market. Car ownership will start to look like cuba, where they are stuck in the sixties, cuz the EU is forcing the change over. Centeral planning never works.

    1. At least in France they are actively forcing older cars out of market by prohibiting to use them.
      Therefore unless the policies change, which is unlikely, I see no possibility to “get stuck”

      As for the TCO, I happen to own a Diesel GolfPlus since 2015 which I purchased secondhand.
      Total of expenses including the car it self (8300€) and the fuel (5254€) : 20345€
      Total “mileage” (kilometrage) : 242000km and 91000km or 15000km/year since I purchased it which is about 80% of the country average.
      Even if I normalize my total expenses to the average mileage, it would make 24431€
      Current value of this car is estimated at 4300€
      I can drive 800-1000km before refilling the tank (I try to never empty it below 10liters)

      Somehow if feels that electric cars can’t beat those figures yet.

    2. Plug-in EVs were 23% of the new car market in the UK last month: https://insideevs.com/news/546198/uk-plugin-car-sales-october2021/

      Admittedly that number has been rising astronomically so it’s easy to have out-of-date figures.

      8 years might have been a lowball estimate for the first lithium ion EVs that came out. It’s nowhere near the mark for modern ones.

      Whatever “centeral planning” is, just making up numbers doesn’t help prove it one way or the other.

      1. There is a tradeoff between shelf-life and power/energy density. You can get lithium-titanate to last for 20 years but it has half the range and double the price tag. The problem is price and mass (range/kg/$), so all modern EVs are optimized with a shorter shelf-life – as short as they think they can get away with.

        Generally this falls within the 8 – 12 years bracket. It makes no rational sense for them to build better batteries since it would up the price and then compete with their own products through the second hand market. Of course they won’t build one that breaks just out of the typical 8 year warranty, but it won’t be very far behind.

        1. This is why I’ve said elsewhere that full hybrids are really the sweet spot, and really should be pushed far more. You don’t need a large battery, so you can go with one that’s got a much longer shelf-life and battery replacement costs are reasonable anyway, close to the engine-replacement level. And full hybrids can be converted to PHEVs easily if batteries ever become practical economically.

          The vertical integration problem with auto manufacturers is totally real, though. If we really want to talk about large-scale EV rollout, you’ve got to break that issue. Standardize battery interfaces, dimensions, interconnects, etc.

        2. There is also no point putting battery in cars that will last 50 years when the average age of a car on the road in Europe is something like 10-15 years – all the old ones are crashed, broken beyond economical repair, just not fit for modern use thanks to changing safety/pollution standards, larger running costs etc…

          Can you keep a car from the 40’s through to the 90’s running now, with a machinist or the right vehicle with a vibrant spares market probably, but most of them are not running anymore for good reason… (though the late 80’s – 90’s is a bit of a sweet spot where most things are mechanically simple enough to be easy to repair and not full of ‘complex’ electronics).

  4. The thing not accounted for is battery life. I have a car that is 18 years old and going strong. Lithium ion batteries only last 8 to 10 years. If you want to replace an electric cars battery pack it can easily exceed the cost of a new car.

    1. It’s simply not true that lithium ion batteries “only last 8 to 10 years.” They degrade as they are charged and discharged, gradually losing the ability to store charge. Recent EVs lose about 20% of their range after doing 300,000 miles; your average petrol or diesel engine might last that long, but won’t have anything like its original power output or fuel efficiency (or not without very large maintenance costs).

        1. exactly – the last engine I needed rebuilt was in excess of 40 years old. Current vehicles are 10 to 20years old and the only maintenence is consumables like tyres and brakes and a periodic oil change – I’ve personally not experienced this claimed claimed unreliability of ICE vehicles – the biggest issues have been electronic/electrical related. Which an EV is certainly not going to be excempt from.

          I’m not against EVs but the arguments for them just don’t seem to add up.

      1. Lithium-ion does have a shelf-life, which is greatly affected by the state of charge and temperature. They haven’t built a battery to date that wouldn’t self-degrade, although you can slow it down considerably if you freeze the battery.

      2. “but won’t have anything like its original power output or fuel efficiency (or not without very large maintenance costs).”

        Where do people get this notion that ICE lose much of their power over time? Sure they’ll drop some horses with bad maintenance, but usually giving them fresh oil, filters, plugs and wires and they’re back up close to factory spec. It’s REALLY hard to abuse an engine to the point it’s under powered or too expensive to repair. Not doing ANY maintenance might do it, but that’s about it.

  5. While I may one day purchase an electric car I think we are being VERY shortsighted in what we think this will do. Petroleum is an amazing container of useable and stable energy for transportation. Over the last 100 + years the internal combustion engine has come a very long way. We overlook what should be a path to a less carbon pollution because many believe in one thing or the other. Hybrids are the best of both worlds. Get the infrastructure in place to support a non-carbon emitting rapid electrical charging grid for electric cars, make sure the technology can also charge a plug-in Hybrid, and you’re getting somewhere. But we should PHASE IN the electric car push. Until the infrastructure is in place, you’re creating more carbon pollution.

    Someone mentioned earlier that it’s early in the game for many to purchase an electric vehicle. Agreed. That’s one of the reasons I won’t go beyond hybrid for the foreseeable future.

    Until we switch our power generation to reliable renewable or non-polluting sources, electric cars don’t do anything for the environment except make the driver feel good about themselves. With the inefficiencies of power transport the amount of carbon used by electric vehicles IF we did a full scale substitution with all internal combustion engines would be much worse for the environment. Once we get more nuclear and renewables in the stream, that becomes less of an issue.

    I am one of millions who enjoy taking a vacation in an RV. I have a 35′ long 24,000 lb vehicle that does not work on batteries to drive from place to place. Petroleum is the only option for these and long haul trucks and busses. Maybe one day energy density and technology will allow them to be replaced by an electric version, but not anytime soon.

    So, we need to carefully proceed. Maybe figure out how to use carbon capture and reform atmospheric carbon dioxide into a renewable petroleum fuel, maybe into plastics for industry. We should look to decrease the carbon footprint AND atmospheric capture and reformation to help us into a future where what type of energy we use is irrelevant.

    Owning an efficient car is no shame. Owning an electric car is your privilege. Owning a hybrid is a good way to help. But to use tactics of “only electric cars will save us” and “petroleum is BAD!” doesn’t solve the issue. We should strive for cleaner methods because it’s the right thing to do, not use it as a battleground. We should show that we can have a positive effect on the climate…not because we worry about “who or what is responsible” but because WE CAN! I don’t know where planetary climate control is on the Kardashev scale, maybe 1.25, but I would consider the ability to control climate intentionally as a mark of a great civilization. Very advanced. We should try to get there as soon as we can without wrecking the planet in the process.

    Oh, and I look at the graphene battery as what will be the game changer in this market. Not a fan of large scale lithium battery use. Until you can recycle those batteries EFFICIENTLY and SAFELY (for the workers and environment) I don’t look forward to having megatons of Lithium batteries to dispose of properly.

    1. No matter how your grid is powered an EV is much much much greener than burning fuel onboard – mobile ICE engines are woefully inefficient (most on the road are something like 20%) where your large turbine power station is actually rather impressive and much better at cleaning its exhaust (or at least it can be), the refining and fuel transport is likewise worse than shipping electric around…

      There are many heavy goods vehicles that are fully electric now, as well as heavy industrial vehicles – and trials of railway style pantograph on motorways to power them directly from the grid so they can go further with ease.

      The push to go electric now and somewhat vilify petrol is an easy one to sell the public on, as for most an EV is going to be much much cheaper for them to use and let them live an unchanged lifestyle. Its overly simplistic, but such messages always are, because they have to be for everyone to be able to understand the key point – you go burying the key point that we MUST move away from using fossil fuels in confusing ways many people won’t understand it well enough so just ignore it, or pick the one sentence that lets them justify doing whatever it is they have always done.

      Really we need to massively reduce personal transportation, and all the long distance shipping of goods you could have got locally (probably with better quality and price if you stop keeping sweatshops, unsustainable farming practices and shipping so viable to turn profit for those involved.) Along with a great many other changes, but if you go and thrust life in 2018 (pre pandemic so everything is rosy enough) on 1990 mindset folk they will hate much of it because its so different, but the slower process of change most folks that lived through the period wouldn’t choose to go back – same thing here there are some clear changes that we need to make, some of them seem rather drastic as its such a big change, but a few years of working towards it and it won’t…

      Also nobody is saying anywhere I’ve seen that petrol is going anywhere for a long time – new pure ICE cars for instance being banned for sale at the earliest anywhere in the world I’m aware of in next decade… That is nearly a whole decade away!!

      I would also argue your RV could be electric or hybrid quite easily and benifitically – sounds like the thing is large enough a solar covering would make a meaningful contribution to its range, the larger battery would be good for it in use, the electric motor would move it around with rather more gusto and if you went hybrid you can run your combustible fuel engine at its peak of efficiency so get more, probably lots more with its huge size and mass miles per gallon. Something that size could easily carry a battery range I would have thought would exceed your daily driving limits with ease anyway… So while the charging infrastructure might not be in place well enough yet to make your particular journey quite as convenient on pure electric it should be rather possible to do the trip not too inconvenienced as it stands.

      1. First, if we did full scale adoption of electric cars our electric infrastructure couldn’t handle it at the present time. And the inefficiencies with long range electric distribution make it a bigger problem. Until the grid is upgraded and power generation is localized to cut back on the inefficiency, the electric car owner isn’t driving the “Carbon free transport” they think they are.

        An RV or Truck requires far more power than electric can provide in the energy density that makes travel of any distance sensible. Solar covering the roof of my RV might power the electronics on board and charge my batteries. But provide enough power to move the vehicle?

        Even solar panels on spacecraft are providing only HUNDREDS of watts to the instruments. Not KW!

        If you solve the energy density issue, and make it safe to handle and transport, you will have solved the problem. Unless I’m going to tie into the unlikely infrastructure of a trolley line on a major highway, my RV would go maybe 100 miles on a full charge, and then stop. Then require HOURS to recharge even at a rapid station.

        Now a hybrid RV, that’s possible. Maybe Diesel driven with bio-diesel and running full electric to the drivetrain. That I can see working.

        Unless by some miracle the battery weight goes way down, but again, you need to solve the density issue.

        In my RV the weight of the engine and transmission is about 900 lbs. At full tank I am adding 480 lbs to that. So round it to 1350 lbs. That moves the remaining 22,000 lbs at highway speeds and I am able to range to about 550 miles before I refuel. (I’m taking my tow behind prius out of the equation).

        A Tesla S battery pack weighs 1200 lbs! That’s for a car that has a curb weight of 4600 lbs. That’s 1/4 of the weight for just energy storage! Then add the motors at about 90 pounds each. So to move the Tesla you’ve got just under the same engine and energy storage weight that you have in my RV! To move a car that is 1/5 my RV’s weight down the road for 400 miles.

        So if I take the 1/4 weight ratio and put it to my RV, that’s 5,000 pounds in batteries alone. Then the electric motors would need to be much bigger to move the RV, so let’s say 5x on that. 450 lbs or so. 5,450 lbs for engine and energy storage. Range undetermined, but I have to give up fit and finish in the RV to accommodate the battery weight. I need to keep those batteries from overheating, so that’s even more room I lose.

        Yes, short haul delivery trucks run on electric. But they don’t weigh as much.

        I’d buy a diesel electric hybrid RV in my size class without issue. If it had biodiesel capability, that’s a bonus. We should be looking to manufacture bio diesel and deploying engines that can burn it to get larger vehicles the energy they need to do what the public needs and wants. Full electric is applicable to passenger vehicles, not larger heavier systems. Not yet.

        1. While mass of the vehicle has an effect, as does its aerodynamics the weight of it vs its energy needs to maintain a speed are not linearly tied to either. And the performance profiles of the battery and EV motors means that Tesla’s power train would probably make your RV feel more nimble than its current ICE motor…

          More weight certainly takes more energy to get up to speed but once cruising speed is achieved the potentially weight influenced rolling resistances add almost nothing to the power needed to maintain that speed. And with the scale of the RV I assume you must be talking about for it to be so heavy, that should equate to a surface area sufficient that solar on its roof can offset a meaningful amount of its cruising energy needs – to maintain x speed doesn’t need more than as a ballpark guess for something so aerodynamically poor at road speeds 1Kw, which on a good day is easily possible on a much smaller surface area, and on the more average days with RV scale you are likely to get a few hundred watt – still enough to offset maybe half the cruising speed energy cost (and on those rare good days at noon its probably charging the battery and pushing you along – but this is all rather napkin maths without more data to fill in the blanks with).

          Also as it stands right now at least in most places the grid is completely capable of handling EV if everyone had them just fine, but with slower charging for much of the day, as there are hours and hours of nearly zero load (compared to the peak) on much of the grid. I agree the infrastructure should be improved, so EV can be as convenient as possible, with lots of really fast chargers available etc, but quite frankly that is something its easier to build than it is to build EV fast enough to really show up the problem.

          And frankly that the USA is so far behind in greening its grid with the strength of its economy is quite baffling to me, but it still better carbon wise than burning that fuel on board, transmission of electric is more efficient than trucking fuel around, electric power trains vastly more efficient than ICE, and the ICE engine is even more woeful in efficiency and exhaust gas clean up to a big power station. But the folks that buy into EV often also buy into home solar and wind power – so their EV often will be entirely carbon free to run once their home system pays back its carbon creation cost (which doesn’t take all that long)…

  6. Just how much do public charging points cost? What then is the cost / mile?

    My 2012 diesel gets between 3.0-3.2 l /100km (90 UK MPG) on my daily commute (no traffic to interfere with those numbers :). I saw not too long ago somebody driving the length of the UK in an electric car. What they ended up paying was way more than it would have cost me to do a similar distance…

    1. You just don’t do that though! Leaving aside people who regularly travel long distances, for whom an electric car is not a great option, the vast majority of journeys are short enough that you only need to charge at home and overnight when electricity is at its cheapest. I’ve had a Nissan Leaf for four years and driven over 70,000 miles in it and I’ve probably only used fast chargers 50 times – and that’s with a real world range of about 80 miles

    2. Comparing a journey in a diesel versus an electric in the UK using public charging points is not entirely fair. The charging infrastructure is very underdeveloped and lacking in any real competition to bring costs down.

      You could equally compare the cost of running the diesel against UK intercity rail fares or domestic flights.

      By 2030, the norm will be to lease the vehicle and it’s battey pack from transportation service providers under a similar contract to that of mobile phones.

      1. “By 2030, the norm will be to lease the vehicle and it’s battey pack from transportation service providers under a similar contract to that of mobile phones.”

        Considering how *ludicrously* overpriced mobile phones were through postpaid carriers for many years, this is probably a good analogy.

      1. Not extreme hypermiling, just my daily commute, looking ahead avoiding breaking unnecessarily. I could do even better if I didn’t live up a pesky hill where you can’t go up practically more than 30 km/h and similarly down again so losing a fair portion of the gravitational potential energy earned by going up the hill. The NEDC for the car (2012 Volvo V40 D2) is 3.2 extra-urban so I’m getting essentially what the car is supposed to do. No cheating needed, else my driving route is the NEDC hence I’m constantly in cheat mode.

        If I reduced my own body weight to what perhaps would be more recommended I’d make the car an extra 20-25 kg lighter, who knows what I could achieve then :)

    3. From what I’ve heard from folks that do miles in their EV (in the UK) most charge points are not that expensive, working out cheaper than a ICE vehicle for the same journey even with the pricier ‘fast’ charge – there are really really costly ones out there, for the super fast charge you up to near full in a tea break time scale though. And of course if you count the hundreds or thousands of miles you will do every year from your cheaper home electric rather than just compare the cost of a tank of fuel vs what that one ‘tank’ cost for the range it gave when you did choose to use the fastest expensive charger its an even better deal – at least for those that can charge at home/work cheaply, if you have to rely on the public charge points for all your charging it doesn’t work out quite so well.

      Still unless your travels are such you MUST do lots and lots of miles beyond the range of the EV you can afford, and you must do them with as little stationary time for a fill up as possible (and there are going to be many people for whom that is true) an EV is a good choice.

    4. It depends, some chargers are really expensive (69p/kwh in some places) so maybe let’s go the other way. You’re paying £6.80 to go 90 miles at the moment. At 3 miles per kwh you need 30kwh, or 4 mpkwh it’s 22.5. For a charger to equal diesel it needs to cost 22.6p per kwh for the 3 mile or 30.2p for the 4 mile. I suspect motorway service station chargers will be close to that price so if that’s the only way you charge it’s not cheaper than diesel. Charge at home for 5p/kwh though and that’s a major saving, like paying 33p per litre of diesel.

      1. Thanks for the figures, I wasn’t just trying to troll :) It did genuinely shock me when I saw the prices on this show whatever it was.

        My last car was LPG converted and had around 180 mile range on a tank (but still had a full range with petrol if needed), so I’m used to planning ahead on long journeys (across Europe) for where to fill up on LPG and not at an overpriced motorway service station.

        I’m in Sweden where the electric is around 20p / kWh (diesel about £1.60/l), and they have introduced recently a monthly surcharge based on the hour in the month you used the most energy (for private houses, flats seem to be exempt… I should throw an extension cable out my flat window and offer cheap charging ;), so woe betide you fast charge your car and start cooking tea when you get home.

      2. Wait till the goverment starts taxing electric for road tax. In UK we currently pay almosy 58p per litre in tax. That will have to be added to EV soon. That is why they keep talking about a per mile tax.

  7. The opening page notes that this one calculates cost for buying a vehicle new and owning it for four years, putting 30,000 km on it per year. Buying something secondhand that’s depreciated a lot of its original value is still considerably cheaper.

      1. That “cost per month” includes depreciation. That’s the difference between the purchase price and the resale price divided by the time of ownership.

        If you buy a stupidly expensive car then sell it off after a few years, then you will take a considerable apparent “loss” on paper.

        If you buy a reasonably priced car and drive it for a decade or more, then that “cost per month” goes way down.

        1. “That’s the difference between the purchase price and the resale price divided by the time of ownership.”

          Yeah. In normal speak, we call it “losing money.” If I spend $40K on a car and sell it for $10K, I don’t take a loss on paper. I take a loss.

          “If you buy a reasonably priced car and drive it for a decade or more, then that “cost per month” goes way down.”

          Which is why the EV comparison is crap, because you’re not amortizing the repair cost of the battery, which is gigantic.

          1. Pat- your tone here is unnecessarily condescending here:

            > Yeah. In normal speak, we call it “losing money.”

            You’re actually in agreement with the parent poster on most aspects of this issue. No need to hyperfocus and inflate the division. Tone it down a bit and your ability to persuade will increase.

          2. I don’t agree. It’s a real difference.

            With ICE cars treating depreciation as if it’s a paper loss is fine, because there’s no heavy pressure to actually sell the vehicle. It’s not like the car *actually* loses any real value. It’s like real estate depreciation in some sense – it’s not like you’re actually going to demolish the building after a few years.

            EVs do actually lose value, because the battery’s got a real lifespan. You no longer have the option to drive the car for 20+ years to make the purchase price reasonable. There’s no way to drive the “cost per month” down on EVs.

          3. Pat that is just a daft extension of the truth – its not “loosing money” at all, its a choice you made as to how nice, comfortable, stylish, fuel efficient you wish your travelling around to be – you buy an ancient heap and keep it running with lots of maintenance and extra fuel costs because its a heap its still probably worth what you paid for it by the time you sell it, bugger all, but it cost you a fortune to keep it going that well, it ate more fuel, and was probably rather less comfortable.

            Or the other extreme if you keep changing car every few years from the newest shiniest model to the next it probably cost you nothing in maintenance, much less in fuel but the value of the not quite new thing is vastly dropped, as too many folk are like you and don’t want last years model – entirely your and the folks of the same minds choice to put such a premium on new and shiny and the cost that has, but you didn’t loose anything, you made the choice that buying that new much more expensive one over reconditioning your old on or a second hand model because you put value on the new one.

            (and personally I’m on the heap of junk end of the scale, as affording anything better isn’t feasible)

            Its also rather too early to tell what the repair/replacement costs on the battery for the current generation will be – there is no economy of scale here yet, no vast market of broken up for parts crash damaged for the really budget end repair and too few folks are qualified to work on them, so the ones that are can charge more for their time than your regular grease monkey. But as the demand goes up so will the supply and competition so the prices will go down, a battery big enough for an EV is never going to be cheap, but then nor is that replacement ICE engine, gearbox, etc its all got a great deal of time and energy invested in its creation and refurbishment…

          4. “its a choice you made as to how nice, comfortable, stylish, fuel efficient you wish your travelling around to be”

            Oh, thanks so much for explaining it! And here the problem was that I thought I couldn’t afford it!

            I seriously have no idea why you think maintaining vehicles is expensive.

          5. Maintaining a vehicle is expensive, as it keeping it legal on the roads, paying for all the servicing, MOT, congestion charges, fuel etc – all true for any vehicle, but some are more expensive than others, and the older and less efficient it is the more likely it is to have mechanical failures, the more it costs on fuel and the more likely it is to pay high rates of tax in other ways too..

            I can’t afford a new vehicle either, doesn’t mean I’m so bitter about it that I can’t see the benefits of the new vehicle – if I could afford the EV upfront right now it would work out so much cheaper to run I’d actually be able to use it more, same is true of a modern efficient European/Japanese ICE too, and being a new car of any sort tends to have a very long initial gap between purchase and the first mandatory service MOT type stuff rather than being a cost every year.

            And then there is the benefits of user experience, comfort, and the peace of mind nothing is remotely likely to go wrong with it for years – all of which I can see putting a significant value on – if I could actually afford to spend that much.

    1. Ah but at what fuel, tax, etc extra cost? Or do you not do any miles and live somewhere that all cars have identical insurance, taxes etc…

      If you had spent that $2k worth of repair on a slightly better, more economical motor you might well be much better off overall now.

      (With my mileage – which is basically zero road tax and insurance would be the only relevant differences really, but folks that actually travel much even 1 extra mile in the gallon will add up to quite a bit in money)

  8. New York City, 1900. It took just 13 years to transition from predominantly horse drawn vehicles, to automobiles (gasoline, steam and electric), according to the paper by Tony Seba on disruptive technologies.

    Over the last 120 years, there are numerous examples of well established technologies being superceded by improved technology. For example the reciprocating aircraft engine replaced by the jet, the vacuum tube replaced by the transistor, and the typewriter replaced by the laptop.

    It is true, that the European Union has a fairly aggressive program to eliminate the sale of IC engined cars by 2030, but it is only through legislation, and convincing auto-manufacturers that the future is electric that these changes will be brought about.

    There is already a significant 2nd hand market for electric vehicles. A year ago I bought a 2014 model Nissan LEAF, to replace one of our vehicles. Our other vehicle is a diesel, and my partner and I drive whichever vehicle is most suited to the journey.

    The LEAF was just £6000 and only 40,000 miles.

    By the time we reach 2030, there will be almost 2 decades of electric vehicles in the car population, and IC engined vehicles will have lost almost all of their resale value.

    Big Oil will just have to find something else to do.

    1. A 2014 model LEAF is creeping towards the EOL for the battery.

      The shelf-life estimates I’ve seen give about 0.2-0.3% loss per month at room temperature, which means a 10 year -old battery has lost a quarter to a third of its capacity. Usually cars spend most of their time at colder temperatures, but high charge voltages and temperatures do a lot of damage in a very short time, so one hot day in the summer may be worth three weeks in the dead of winter.

      The loss by age is additive and cumulative with the loss by driving, so an aged battery will suffer fewer charge cycles and a well-used battery will age faster, which means there is an accelerating loss of capacity beginning on or around year 10.

      This is why older EVs lose value quickly.

      1. Honestly, one of the things that makes this comparison worse is that right now the used EV market is a little propped up by salvage repairers. Replacing a Leaf battery from Nissan’s completely insane, but there are places that will quote you as low as ~$3000-ish to replace it for the smallest battery. Because they’re salvaging them. But the problem is that that’s not a sustainable market – those people are doing it at scales of ~hundreds of cars, not thousands, and it’s obviously not scaleable.

        1. So are you saying that when there are many more electric cars on the road, that suddenly a smaller proportion of people will write them off in a crash?

          To me, it seems totally scalable.

          1. “So are you saying that when there are many more electric cars on the road, that suddenly a smaller proportion of people will write them off in a crash?”

            Yes? Wealthy people can afford to take losses far easier.

          2. It’s a market that exists now because most of the cars are less than 10 years old, so there are enough crash vehicles to supply the demand for the very few cars that need replacement batteries so far.

            In a couple years when many more EVs reach battery shelf-life age, the demand for cheap salvaged batteries will explode and there simply won’t be enough supply out of broken vehicles.

          3. Yup. It’s just not a sustainable market. The vast majority of cars don’t crash early in their life cycle.

            It’s not that it’s impossible to have a low cost battery replacement: a 24 kWh battery *should* be rebuildable at $3000-4000 based on cell prices, for instance – at $3500 it’s a 45% markup. If the battery production was divorced from the actual car manufacturer, it’d be pretty trivial. But the vertical integration just makes that impossible.

            But something makes me skeptical of the bulk cell price (~$100/kWh at cell level) reported, because EV manufacturers *really should* be in the ‘battery replacement’ market too, and if you’re really at $100/kWh, pack/module replacement costs are priced at 10x markups. Which totally doesn’t make sense.

          4. Pat an EV battery is more than just the cells (assuming the EV battery packs you are using have cells at all) so more cost than a bare bulk order of the same capacity is obviously going to be true, with the amount of active thermal management, crash protections, and cell balancing electronics much more.

            Also there will be and already are folks rebuilding or building from scratch battery for EV, as the demand goes up there will be more, right now its a niche market with all the extra cost that entails, but rather soon it won’t be – with so many new cars in the UK being full EV, and even more Hybrids in recent years its only a few years away before 3rd party compatible battery start turning up here – there is more than enough demand at least as they age or get used hard enough to start needing it, as they have for laptops, phones, – a new official battery for your premium brand might be 50K because they know enough folks will pay that to get the full service and warranties etc, but the third party ones will be much cheaper, if its anything like the last time I needed a laptop battery less than 1/5th the price for a perfectly good battery with all the right protection circuitry inside…

          5. “Pat an EV battery is more than just the cells (assuming the EV battery packs you are using have cells at all) so more cost than a bare bulk order of the same capacity”

            If you’re rebuilding a pack… the rebuild cost is just the cells.

          6. The cells might be the only new material cost in a rebuild, but you also have the recycling disposal of the old ones that might well be a cost to you, and probably other material costs in the pack too – you opened it up so you are going to change anything that might not last in the refurbished pack. But mostly what you have is manhours! Lots and lots of them no doubt and people are expensive.

          7. Man-hours. infrastructure, and supply chain costs. If you make $20 an hour, your employer must charge about $60 to make ends meet. If you work 40 hours on the battery, that’s $2400 on you, $2400 on the materials, and anything on top of that becomes your gross profit, where you have to subtract taxes, financing costs, and investments into expansion and R&D, and marketing, to keep up with the demand so other companies don’t take your spot on the market.

            And all that becomes moot when you’re a small company that can’t negotiate the same volume prices as a company like Tesla.

          8. Totaling a car after a crash is strictly a financial decision. Most insurance companies will total a car once the cost of repair reaches 70% of its market value.

            The price for recycled parts is determined by supply and demand. For example, the tail light for one particular Cadillac is about $7,000 used! And the reasons are they did not make many of this model, not many have crashed, and there are no more new taillights available for this car.

            The same is true for recycled EV batteries and will be true going into the future. The price might go up or go down depending on supply and demand.

  9. It heavily depends on how much you drive yearly and where you live.

    For 15,000km per year there isn’t big difference between gas/electric because electric cars cost so much more. At least here in Finland.

    Also a full 5 person vehicle with enough luggage space costs 50k€ as EV version. Who the earth has such amount of money to spend?

    What about the real range during winter? Charging by the road is hugely expensive. Basically you need to charge at home to be even with gasoline cars ..

    I think EV cars are a big hype or partly hype. People do not realize the whole picture..

    1. I’d suggest it also depends on a few other factors – like if you can self generate some or all of the electric you need.

      Also define ‘full 5 person’ as a friend runs a rather affordable low end fully electric BMW thing less than half the purchase price you mention, its got 5 seats and a reasonable boot for the size of car, but its not a big car by any stretch, nor is it particularly long range so it might not do what you want, but there are starting to be a more fully spectrum of EV models and price ranges. Still a new car, so way more expensive than a second hand one though…

      Here in the UK at least Charging by the road doesn’t have to be hugely expensive, its just the really really fast, nearly pretend its a ICE powered few mins fuel stop chargers that cost heaps…

      Your right though, what works in one place may not in another – seems like at least around Europe the direction of travel has been set rather hard though, so the infrastructure and pricing to run EV’s on the roadside charger in Europe is going to become cheaper – its actually a much simpler task logistically than the petrol station model, the basic infrastructure to have some charging is little more than putting an outside plug near the parking space, and even the rapid chargers are not all that bad, put in some new power cables (perhaps adding a new substation) for the area if needed and run some beefy ones to the carpark – much much simpler than maintaining a fleet of fuel tanks, trucks and all those drivers as for almost everyone reading this their national grid already exists and can handle some extra load (heaps and heaps of it over night in most places) – with ever more effective load available as time goes on, both because on the whole electronics are getting more efficient and we are all adding more power generation and interconnects to other nations to trade/share in the excess renewable spikes.

      1. define ‘reasonable boot’ (the volume of a trunk/boot is measured using a well-defined standard, at least here in the states, where it’s an integer multiple of the volume of some ‘standard parcel size’) enough trunk|boot for how much luggage? going how far? where do you put snacks? Is it a day-trip to a festival, or visiting relatives for a week at christmas?

        my own family travel (400 miles/almost 650 km) dramatically exceeds the full-charge range of most EVs on the market, as well as the range of our own vehicles (~180 miles/~290km) resulting in two fuel stops in one (very long) day’s travel. an EV with 200 mile range would easily turn that into 3 days with stopovers, meaning the total-cost-of-trip skyrockets with Equal cost-per-mile/km of gas or EV charge because now you’re taking hotel nights and putting two brutal deep discharges on the EV’s battery.

        because you can’t carry a bucket of volts.

        1. If you have the massively rapid charge on the route 400 miles is only one or two stops of an hour at most (potentially much less) on any of the EV that are not pure town car 50 miles range by design – the trip will still take a day, might even work out taking just as long, and will likely feel much shorter as an EV should be much less fatiguing.

          And you do that trip how often? If its every week you are both crazy and probably shouldn’t have a battery electric for it with the current rapid charge prices, but if its a few times a year the minor inconvenience of a longer fuel stop should be more than paid back in the cheaper domestic electric that powers 95% say of your mileage each year.

          In the UK boot space is just measured in volume total, with no accounting for how that volume is distributed, and I admit I don’t know what that EV I mentioned has, only that for a car on the smaller end more 4 door hatchback than estate car its boot was bigger than you would expect – its still however a pretty compact car so that particular model probably wouldn’t be the choice for transporting 5 adults and their stuff on a long trip, and being rather taller than average I’d not choose it at all, its a bit cramped for me.

  10. What about including the price of EV “fuel tank” that you have to change from time to time? And you are lucky if you live in a region where temperatures rarely drop below 0°C.

    OK, I understand that many US citizens don’t have a clue of how many people live in places where -30°C is a usual winter weather, but it’s a lot of them.

    PS: I droped my EV motor bike, because it is cheaper to buy a used ICE motor bike every year than replace that damned batteries because they instantly dies if you forget to charge them before few cold days. Really cold days, not that +5°C “cold” winter days you think about with your EV’s. I will began to think about EV only after somebody show me how that EV runs after a week of standing outside at -30°C.

    1. If you’re in such a harsh environment most things won’t just work after standing outside for a week, even more so something not designed specially for such a tough place…

      While an EV is more expensive upfront and fragile in a place that is so tough on equipment I agree it doesn’t make sense, but its not like its a unique problem to EV in those conditions. I don’t know of any more cold hardened EV type off the shelf options, but its certainly possible to have one, if it will make sense over the more established systems (which will likely very much depend on how you use it) or even exist any time soon however…

      1. a kickstart bike, for one. an air-start diesel for two. a gas(petrol) car that you pulled out the battery and tucked in your coat room for three. There’s a reason car [starter] batteries are rated for Cold Crank Amps first, rather than Reserve Capacity. Seriously, go watch some “Will it run?” youtube and get back to me

        1. Yeah and refitting the battery you took out to keep safe and warm isn’t just running, the effort required to get something that has been sitting in such hostile conditions going again isn’t ‘just working’ – I didn’t say things can’t be made to work again in those conditions, or that all things will find it hard, just that they won’t be a turn key event much of the time, and in many cases (like removing the battery as you mention) you needed to take special care when you parked them up, or in the prep stages before you run them again so they are in a fit state to start – which is something the original poster points out the EV could deal with if you take care of it – by remembering to charge it.

  11. I don’t think electric in its current form is the answer as a 1 for 1 petrol replacement technology for all of the reasons mentioned above and many more. But we are never going to get to a great solution until we deploy electric systems in a wide variety of real-world conditions and get data to figure out what the right answer is. We also need to build a base demand/economic system to fund the efforts. Tesla and the other efforts are important because their platforms are big rolling telemetry machines gathering invaluable real-world electric car use data which can be used to further the technology.

  12. Don’t understand the increased resale value statement. Knowing that batteries age, I am wondering what the resale value is of a vehicle that might be 10 years old. What are the economics of replacing a battery pack in a vehicle this old.

    1. It’s because they’re living in a rich man’s world. They’re calculating resale cost after 4 years of owning a new vehicle. These are people spending $10-20K per year on vehicle costs. This report says EVs are cheaper in the sense that it’s cheaper to flush a $20 bill down the toilet instead of a $100 bill.

  13. This is clearly the new PC vs Mac battle, i.e. IC vs Electric. How about short-circuiting the hyperventilation from the True Believers on both sides, and acknowledging that they both have their pluses and minuses and that they will coexist into the foreseeable future for many good reasons.

    1. I agree. However, the difference is that there is substantial push by Gov (so increased taxes to offset subsidies offered) and others to go EV. In fact Auto companies are equally on board as now they can sell you another product (EV) on top of the ICE vehicle(s) they already sold you. One has to also consider that newer/latest ICE’s last substantially longer than past models and so I could see auto makers becoming uneasy with the less times a person would need to buy another vehicle. Now with the push to buy EV… the auto makers now have another market to pursue… until the next product is pushed.

      1. I agree. EV has the additional benefit for car makers that the batteries wear out much faster than a modern ICE. I get both sides of the argument. I have my own opinions, of course, but I think it would be best if the government would just stay out of forcing one thing or another down people’s throats. For the simple reason that it’s a rare occasion where a government induced distortion of the markets ends up well. For example, driving up the cost of transportation will hit the poor the hardest.

  14. I am about to make the final payment on my Nissan LEAF. I have had it for 5 years and it was definitely the best choice for me and my family.

    With Diesel now at £1.50 per litre the ongoing cost of my car is about £0.10 per mile. The battery still has 12 bars of capacity so the risk of a big battery replacement bill is low. We have travelled from Worcestershire to Cambridge, Heathrow and to the Welsh coast with a little careful route planning.

    My only regret is that now my office is permanently closed and the fact that I have been working at home for the last 18 months my savings have not been as great as I had planned for.

    1. Meanwhile when I saw the pandemic closures coming in early 2020 I traded my luxury commuter car down for an old beater. I did this so I could save on insurance and gas by getting the cheapest, semi-reliable car I could find, knowing I’d be driving as little as possible anyway due to the lockdowns.

      I explicitly avoided EVs because the insurance on them is astronomical compared to simple ICE classics. If you don’t drive often then you’re already overpaying for insurance, so might as well make the best of it by trading for something you don’t see yourself driving often anyway.

      If commuters stop commuting then do we really need EVs?

      1. Even if you could magically make it so there were no daily commuters there would still be lots of travel, so I’d say EV are still probably required, though less so – at least if you can’t also magic up a public transport system that is cheap, efficient and good enough to do those trips…

        Would be a good thing if folks could work closer to home, but I really don’t see it happening or how it could work for a great many jobs – either you end up with lower quality work because that watercooler moment where a solution to your problem comes up in idle conversation with a college doesn’t happen, folks are more likely distracted while at home (especially those with children or needy pets) and you also have how much longer many things will take – face to face is vastly better as you can really read the tone and intent even in a rather ambiguous statement, when its all email or voice you will spend more time spelling everything out multiple different ways to be sure everyone is actually on the same page.

        And none of that is a job with real physical element – I can’t make pressed steel widgets from home, as basically nobody has an industrial metal shop at home, the company isn’t going to buy every worker one, etc. Or the fact that in many places the job doesn’t pay well enough to be able to afford to live near it, even if you have no other commitments tying you to another place…

    2. Regret not. Savings you have in mind are partial recuperation of costs you would have had, but without that costs, yes, you had no savings on spending, because you haven’t had the spending in first place. The investment you made is not lost, your car will not lose value just from being idle.

      1. “The investment you made is not lost, your car will not lose value just from being idle.”

        Yeah. It actually does. There’s nothing you can do to prevent batteries from aging, even idle, short of freezing them. It’s just chemistry.

    3. Compared to the UK the US is vast. And an electric vehicle in it’s current state is not practical for any distance driving here in the US. Last month I drove 960 miles (1545 KM) – each way – to visit family in NY State. My diesel fuel cost was about $260 USD or $0.14 a mile for the entire trip.

      I often run up to Nashville (140 Miles or 225 KM each way and while we are in Nashville we will drive another 200 miles or 322 KM around town. But that’s nothing. A drive out west is an easy 2600 miles or 4184 KM each way.

      Get charging time down to 20 minutes or less and commercial charging cost to below the per mile cost of gasoline or diesel and I’m all in. But I don’t see either happening any time soon.

  15. Imagine thinking per-mile taxation, demand-based tolling, and demand-based pricing for charging is going to come out less than what’s currently paid for ICE transportation. Imagine thinking that being herded into smart cities is going to somehow be affordable and not panopticon of surveillance. This is the white liberal, upper-middle-class mentality leading the chorus of praise for electric car adoption. “Look at meee drivng my $75K electric car! Aren’t I smart?”
    The goal isn’t you driving your electric car wherever you want. The goal is you not going anywhere at all.

    1. In Texas we get toll roads all over the place because a certain portion of the citezenry refuses to increase taxes to pay for infrastructure expansion. I have seen little discussion about the loss of fuel tax $$ due to EV popularity accounting for these road funding shortfalls.

  16. Let’s see, basic math here. Say a person has a car that gets 25 mpg and gas costs $3.00 per gallon. Then that person drives an average of 15,000 miles per year. That comes out to $1,800 per year in gas. Now, as the article says, an electric car costs on average $10,000 more than a conventional car and, just for grins, let’s say electricity is free (even though it’s not), it will take you 5.5 years to save enough on gas to break even on the extra price of an electric car. Now add to this the fact that electric cars STILL burn fossill fuels (how do you think electricity is made) and they use exceptionally environmentally UNFRIENDLY materials in their batteries and it is easy to see that all of these environmentalist are simply fooling themselves. If you REALLY wanted to protect the environment you would be pushing for hydrogen fuel cell technology, it is not perfect either but it is SIGNIFICANTLY cleaner than batteries.
    Additionally, don’t even start about government subsidies, those are an expense to and if the technology can’t support itself then it should be abandoned.

      1. Do love the low price fairy land the USA (among a few others) has always seemed to be in, remember reading a news article about some riot when fuel costs went up to something so low compared to here at the time the headline made no sense to me – why riot over fuel that is so cheap?

        Not that I entirely disagree with Melvin, Hydrogen might well be the future, though as it stands the tech just plain and simple isn’t ready for large scale deployment, has some durability issues, production cost issues and generation of Hydrogen is currently not even remotely green in general – a whole infrastructure to produce and distribute eco-friendly generated Hydrogen has to develop for it to be so, which absolutely can be done, or as it stands it is still nearly directly burning fossil fuel, with a whole cycle that isn’t even close to efficient.

        I do however disagree on the batteries, containing toxic things, or causing lots of harm in the initial extraction doesn’t make them unfriendly, it just means you have to process them correctly at their EOL, recycling what you can etc to make those risks and costs worth it and somewhat disagree with them burning fossil fuel – they might be, indirectly but still at vastly greater efficiency burning fossil fuel, but with the massive push towards renewable energy the grids of most nations are rapidly become less than half fossil fuel, and you can always have your own solar/wind setup and not be using any fossil fuel at all!!

  17. I cannot speak to other areas, but over here (Canada) the price of Gasoline is mostly (70-80%) do to Gov Taxes. My question is where is the Gov going to get the shortfall of Gasoline taxes if EV’s start to dominate and Gasoline usage declines? All of the EV analysis I have seen is based upon the assumption that Electrical costs will not see any add-on Gov Taxes like those placed on Gasoline… Govs are addicted to revenue streams and it would not be a stretch for the Govs to shift their Gas tax to EV electrical consumption tax of some sort.

  18. Until we go full nuclear, and use breeder reactors so we produce 0 nuclear waste, the argument is practically moot except for a few.

    Full disclosure, I want a Tesla, but want to be one of those few who use my own pv panels to power the thing.

    1. Who says breeder reactors don’t produce nuclear waste? I used to work in the Nuclear Industry and every reactor produces nuclear waste. I bet that even the new fission reactors will make some sort of nuclear waste, assuming they eventually become stable enough to produce useful power.

      And BTW, I’m a great believer in nuclear power.

      1. Tom, what about the Gen IV stuff that’s coming out? Molten salts that burn up waste from other reactors and generate a waste stream that only needs storage for 100 years or thereabouts, and even that is a much lower flow than current designs.

        I wish we’d revisit nuclear in the world. Technology has come a long way and nuclear needs to play a large part in our future if we want a cleaner planet. Use the waste heat to work with atmospheric carbon capture technology.

        The materials we use for nuclear will go through their half lives and provide heat no matter what, might as well figure out how to use that natural process to do some work.

        1. I think nuclear power is a great solution and the new smaller reactors like the Gen IV stuff you mention is definitely moving in the right direction.

          The only issue with nuclear power is current running reactors are high pressure, high energy systems. And it takes a lot of redundant safety systems to keep that “genie in the bottle’.

          Chernobyl failed because they had no redundancy.
          Fukushima failed because an unplanned for series of events took out all of their redundant systems.
          But although Three Mile Island failed, our redundant systems kept the “genie in the bottle’. The secondary containment vessel held.

          1. Chernobyl failed because they intentionally did something extremely stupid with it – both in the planning and in the actual operation. The RMBK reactor was based on military reactors and put into production without running any prototypes – and without a containment building. They knew it was a disaster waiting to happen, but the central committee wanted it anyways because it was designed to make plutonium for bombs under the guise of civilian power generation.

            Fukushima failed because the company bribed government officials and built against their own risk analysis and the approved plans to save money. They had no redundancy in the first place because it was built to fail.

          2. Yes, Chernobyl failed because someone did something extremely stupid. But it exploded because there was no primary or secondary containment building.

            Fukushima failed because three levels of redundant safety systems were taken out by the natural disaster that also killed thousands in Japan. And any one of those system, if left intact would have prevented failure.

    1. If we start messing around with elementary gaseous (or cryogenic liquid) hydrogen on a world economy scale, we are going to lose (the leakage plus buoyancy plus solar wind) most of the amount of hydrogen Earth possesses in a few centuries, and it’ll become a dry dustball.

      1. ..but it is a circle: water to (hydrogen + oxygen) to water. You store energy (from where it is available) in water breakdown, and then you get it back remaking water. At 40 times the energy density of the said batteries.

    2. Because hydrogen is not a true fuel. It’s an intermediate step. You have to get hydrogen from somewhere and the most logical choice is water. And you use electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.

      So, you use electricity to break water apart into hydrogen and oxygen.
      And then you have to safely transport and store the hydrogen at high pressure.
      And then you have to fuel your car – again at high pressure.

      The answer is simple, eliminate all of the middle processes by charging your electric car battery.

  19. “but the higher resale price later offsets this and helps keep the TCO lower.” After 5 years of usage, sure. But the car may end up having almost no value after 10 years, unless battery price drop really really low.
    Would i buy a second hand 1 year old smartphone? sure. A 3 year old one ? Nope.

    1. But surely the person buying the car in 5 years knows that it’s only got 5 years on the clock? The numbers make it look like a) they don’t care or b) they don’t know or c) it’s not as bad as you think.

      Friend of mine’s Prius battery was still going strong last I checked with 12 years. And the singular of “data” is “anecdote”.

      1. “Friend of mine’s Prius battery was still going strong last I checked with 12 years.”

        Priuses from 12 years ago use NiMHs, not Li-Ions, are tiny and economic to replace, and take far more punishment environmentally. Plus hybrids have much shallower discharges, pushing cycle lives into the multiple thousands.

        It’s a *massive* difference.

        1. The Prius has been a modern economical success, but the Prius is not a true electric vehicle. And like every other hybrid it uses it’s battery pack to short term store and reuse energy from the braking system.

          Hybrids are more correctly called regenerative braking systems and not EVs.

    2. “Would i buy a second hand 1 year old smartphone? sure. A 3 year old one ? Nope.”

      exactly the point – this paper talks about buying a car new etc etc

      But many people – myself included – have never bought a new car in their life, and never plan to. I have three cars – 20yo, 10yo, an 8yo for myself, wife, and son, and the total cost of ownership is a fraction of what an electrical car would cost as I buy them when they are 3 to 5 years old. On the first car (currently sitting and about 250k kms) I’d be prob up to the third battery, and the other two I’d be up to the 2nd.

      If I took the purchase price, added the running cost (ie all petrol and mechanical), and assume zero resale, I still wouldn’t be up to the price of a new electric car, let alone the replacement batteries and electricity..

      The phone analogy is a good one – in the past I bought 2nd hand mobile phones, and the odd new one. The 2nd hand ones got a new battery and were great.
      With their non (or very difficult) replaceable batteries you can’t buy a 2nd hand one any more – as the battery is the planed obsolescence.. The rest of the phone is still good, but the battery makes it worthless…

      The 2nd hand electric have a natural floor price – being the cost of a replacement battery – and that assumes the previous owner gives the car away (which they may be doing). The cost of just that battery is higher than the purchase price of most of the cars I’ve owned, and I’ve driven about 1M kms….

      1. As the demand for replacement battery increases the price will decrease, how far is an open question but right now its such a niche market the cost is massively overinflated to what it will become. So your second hand EV market is likely to start booming even on older vehicles in the end and the prices will change to reflect that as time goes on.

        Also a EV battery is generally pretty easy to replace – its not all glued in impossible to open the car and get it out, its just some quantity of bolts to get access, remove and put in the replacement battery – because of its scale the battery is always going to be reasonably expensive, and need serious man hours to change compared to the swappable battery phone, but its very doable and unlike the glued together phones of today there is almost no chance of breaking anything else trying to open it up to extract the battery…

        1. Unlikely. As the demand for EVs increases, the pressure on the raw materials supply chain means that the prices won’t drop for a loooong time. The entire production chain from the lithium mine to the dealership has to scale up from a few funny cars to millions and billions of units in the coming decades, which represents a 1000x increase in production volumes.

          The mining industry alone would have to grow something like 20% every year to keep up.

          1. Though that’s assuming we have 40 years to replace the car fleet with electrics. If we intend be selling only electric vehicles by 2035 when the ICE bans hit, then we have to increase production by 64% every year starting right now, and there is no plausible way the industry can keep up.

            You can’t invest in new production volume and drop prices at the same time.

          2. You are assuming with those numbers basically no recycling of the already mined and processed lithium battery, which just won’t be the case – there are thousands of identical batteries that will all be reaching the end of the road at the same sort of time, so its suddenly easy to tool up to efficiently break them down and recycle them.. As the demand and price for the materials goes up so does the economic sense in recycling vs mining new – same reason plastics are almost never really recycled, virgin plastics are stupendously cheap to make to the point there is not any profit in the recycling.

            Also as demand goes up so does the mining industry that supports it as long as the raw resources are available to mine, and they are in many places.

            As it stands though most of the cost of a refurbish or new battery pack comes form there being none around, the material costs are not really a factor at all, its all that supplies are smaller than demand so they can ask and get higher numbers and without any mass production the refurbishment costs are much higher – when you start getting 3rd party compatable battery the way you do with everything else – including car parts you only end up paying the markup on a mass production cost, no the artisan manual labour costs of the short run niche market…

  20. I don’t understand why we can have such discussion.
    All numbers are against ev. All apart sometimes money due to government taxes.
    The only reports i see in favor of ev are money focused and ignore from where the electricity come from, the manufactoring, the waste etc etc
    It was commun to say 100 years ago that car would depollute city from all waste coming from horses… It now évident that it was much more than a mistake. We just doing the same mistake but worse…
    By the way, why people only speak about carbon speaking of pollution. Why only focus on the only 20% of the total gas emissions?

    1. Because it’s not inspiring to would-be EV buyers if you told them that we’re only making them because we don’t have a way to refill all the oil reserves that we’ve been consuming since the dawn of the automobile.

      Market research shows it’s more inspiring to get consumers to switch to EVs if you tell them it’s good for the planet, because the average car buyer at this point has likely grown up with Earth Day, Captain Planet, recycling, and other greenwashing propaganda. It doesn’t matter if it’s not objectively better for the environment, we don’t have the option to use combustion engines indefinitely.

      Really, what options do we have at this point?

    2. I would argue there is only one maybe two areas EV fail to best their ICE counterparts, the only real gains ICE has are speed of refilling and energy density of the fuel. But they are woefully inefficient in burning said fuel, despite decades of refinement to make the oil companies more money the infrastructure to create and deliver said fuel is hideously inefficient, add in that oil is a limited supply and putting so much extra carbon into the air so rapidly is turning the planet into an uninhabitable rock (and that isn’t their only negative impact, just the most pressing).

      Moving from a Horse to trains and cars was not exactly a mistake – with a Horse powered economy we would still be stuck somewhere around 1800 tech, as the ability to move people, raw materials and goods made it possible to research, develop and create the modern world – and that is not all bad. You also got rid of the many diseases spread by the relatively filthy cesspit a horse powered city is always going to be – yes ICE powered cars have their downsides to live with, but compared to living in a mound of horse shit… If anything the mistake made by humanity was lack of population control, with fewer and fewer external regulation on our numbers we needed to keep our own population under control – and in the populations of the ‘developed’ world we are seeing that happen, with lower birthrates.

      Moving from ICE to EV is not the best thing that could be done, but you will not get everyone to give up on the idea of personal transport its too convenient, and with the state of public transport and local suppliers in many areas absolutely required. So the best that can actually be achieved is shifting from full self destruction to something better, and the EV is better.

  21. Trains was never considered a way to depollute city from horses waste. Ice car was.
    I had an ev (Renault) during one year, and never been so disappointed by a technology. The end of this was when I discovered that the battery fitted was certainly one with the cobalt mined by children.
    I don’t know why i’m commenting here about ev.
    Irl, i politely décline the conversation and if the guy try to continue to speak to me, i beat him. I’m fed up to ear that 2+2=4 is not a fact but just an opinion

    1. Assuming that was aimed at my comment I never said trains were considered a way to depollute a city, though they undoubtedly do by a huge amount compared to horse powered – a single train brings in more than a few hundred, maybe even few thousand horses could… I was simply pointing out that moving on from horse drawn is largely what enabled the modern world, which is far from all bad.

      On the sources of raw materials in your products, life is unfortunately like that very often – unless you can actually buy local, from the local suppliers who source from local materials so you can know the entire supply chain you will find exploitative unacceptable to you source materials and labour in basically everything if you dig hard enough.

      All your clothes are probably involving a sweatshop in final production, and quite possibly in the initial weaving as well – and that is an easier one to track, something more complex with many other raw materials introduced indirectly via off the shelf component parts being used even the final product’s maker will have no idea how many people have been involved or where all the components they put in have really come from – they got them from the supplier, who probably got the same part from a selection of producers so they don’t know either and of course the producers of these more complex parts probably didn’t start with raw materials, but bought in the refined stuff from some other supplier… Even if its made with 100% locally recycled materials the materials that went into the product now being recycled could easily come from such a place initially…

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