Life

Would I Consider an Electric Vehicle? Not Soon.

DepositPhotos

For people looking to protect the environment and save on gas, an electric vehicle may sound like a great option…until you look closer.

I’m all for protecting the environment. I like the idea of not having to depend on gasoline as well, particularly with prices that are still above $3 per gallon (based on national averages.) An electric vehicle sounds like a great way to bypass any “pain at the pump” we might feel.

I have driven a hybrid vehicle in my workplace. I once had to take a business trip to Charlotte and I used one of the station’s Priuses. (Or should that be Priuii?) Other than its very quiet operation — almost too quiet at times — I had no issues with the hybrid.

Well, I take that back: I had one issue. The person who checked out the Prius to me failed to mention one key little point about its automatic transmission. There’s no traditional gear shift. There’s a little joystick that lets you select from a few different gears. But one notable landing point is missing from that little joystick: Park. I had to stop at a gas station to fill up and realized as soon as I stopped at the pump that I didn’t know how to put the car in park. Fortunately, after what felt like an embarrassingly-long time, I spotted a little black button labeled P. As I recall, the button wasn’t immediately adjacent to the joystick. But at least I didn’t have to worry about the vehicle rolling away while I filled the tank.

I like the idea of a hybrid. It seems like a nice bridge from leaving traditional gas-powered vehicles to something more environmentally friendly. I’m all for that.

The electric vehicle, though, seems to be the rage…but not for me

The electric vehicle operates on an electric charge. No gas. Well, based on the short commute I face, saving gas is attractive, but we’re not talking about a huge expenditure every month.

But the charging is a potential problem. The condo complex I live in doesn’t have a charging station. So I’d have to find a charging station near me to make that work. That takes time. The U.S. Department of Transportation says charging times can vary dramatically, depending on the equipment. The slowest charging stations can take up to 50 hours to fully charge. The kind of charging stations people might have if they install them at their own home (which isn’t an option for me), could take one to two hours or four to 10 hours, depending on the type of electric vehicle you have.

Higher-speed charging stations can get your vehicle charged up to 80% in twenty minutes to an hour. Still, that’s up to an hour that you’re sitting there waiting for a charge.

I don’t know if electric vehicle batteries work the way mobile device batteries do, but aren’t we told that if we’re going to charge, we should charge all the way, not just up to “mostly” charge to extend the battery’s life?

Do electric vehicle batteries work that way? If they do, I wouldn’t want to settle for a partial charge.

Battery replacement costs scare the hell out of me

Battery health should be at the top of mind for anyone seriously considering electric vehicles. There are horror stories online about battery replacement costs of $20,000 or more. That, generally speaking, is far from true, according to VerifyThis.

But don’t relax too much: for most electric vehicles, battery replacement costs run from $2,000 to $10,000.

Those batteries might last 10 years. But in 10 years, will you have another $10,000 in the bank ready to use to buy a new battery on a 10-year-old car?

A 2018 study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that the average cost to fuel an electric car was $485 a year, compared to $1,117 for a gas-powered vehicle.

Over 10 years, the savings would amount to $6,320. But research showed electric vehicles cost about $10,000 more than gas-powered cars. To top it off, for the most efficient charging, you’d want to install a Level 2 charger at your home (which, as I said, isn’t always an option). That could cost you up to another $2,000.

Sure, there’s a $7,500 federal tax credit when you buy an electric vehicle. But to get that full amount, you have to owe at least $7,500 in taxes. Let’s say your federal tax burden was, say $5,000. You could claim a $5,000 credit, but you’d lose that additional $2,500.

If you figure the more expensive cost of an electric vehicle and installation of a charger at your home, then compare that against gas savings for 10 years and the federal tax credit, to break even on a $10,000 battery replacement after a decade, you’d have to have a federal tax burden of nearly $6,000.

And you’re still, at that point, putting a new battery in a 10-year-old vehicle and hoping everything else in that vehicle is running like brand new.

I love the idea of an electric vehicle. But as I see it, the math just doesn’t add up, yet.

Do you own an electric vehicle? Do you feel you’re making a profit with it compared with gas prices?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

2 Comments

  • This was very interesting reading! I even read it out loud to my husband. We are so old, we’d have no business buying a hybrid car; we’d die too soon for the extra money we would pay to be worth it. We do like our Honda, which gets 36 miles to the gallon. We originally leased it in March 2020, but just this week decided to keep it.

  • I owned the very first Prius II in Connecticut.
    When I saw that Toyota was coming with a Model II I preordered it in August. In the end of December I got a call from the dealer that there was a truck load coming in and I got first pick!
    I owned a Prius ever since.
    I now own a Plug-in Prius, my second and I love it!
    I can drive to Hartford and back on electricity and when I drive to my cottage on Cape Cod (200 miles from my house.) with no range anxiety. During the winter the charge will give me around 22 miles on a charge and in the summer around 32 miles on a charge, I charge it on an ordinary 15 Amp outlet and it takes about 3 hours and I haven’t seen a change in my electric bill.
    Right now I have 73,000 miles on it and it says that my average mileage is 84 mpg! I don’t worry about the price of gas but I worry about the gas going “sour” sitting the tank for months. My last fill-up was in the beginning of December and my guess is that I will need to fill-up in March sometime when I go back up to the Cape.
    What you said is correct about charging it. My brother’s place is right at the range limit of a Tesla3 and what happens when I drive up there in the winter? Not only will it get less range because of the cold but if it is snowing… the drag of the slush on the road will cut the range and with the headlights on, the wipers on, and the heater going full blast mileage will drop. So the 3 hour drive to my brother’s place will now be a lot longer because of the stop to charge it… no thanks!
    Also I saw a test of trying to charge a Tesla at zero or below, it turns out you can’t until the battery warms up. (Search YouTube for “cold weather test of charging a tesla model 3”)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.