Recently yet another article was posted that compares the price of charging an EV compared to an equivalent gasoline or diesel vehicle.
But, is it true or has the author mined the depths for the highest quality manure? Well, from the smell wafting upon the wind, it seems the truth isn’t to be found here.
Certainly many EV owners would dispute the premise that charging is more expensive than purchasing gasoline. But, do we have proof? Well, perhaps all I can do is present my own experience. Before getting a Bolt EUV I had a 2019 Equinox. The two are somewhat comparable in terms of capacity but the Equinox is a little larger. My Bolt EUV is a 2022 and the 2022 Equinox is rated at 28 MPG combined city/highway. If we give it a few more MPG because the EUV is a little smaller we could round that up to 30 MPG. So, how much gasoline does it take to go 100 miles like they used in the article? It takes 3.33 gallons. Right now gasoline is about $3.79 in Michigan. So, the cost would be 3.33 * 3.79 = $12.62. The Bolt EUV averages about 3.8 miles per Kilowatt/Hour. So 100 / 3.8 = 26.32kwh used. Charging isn’t quite 100% efficient so let’s round that up to 28kwh to charge it back up after 100 miles.
Electricity is 14.5 cents per kwh at night for me and and average of about 18 cents when not charging late at night. So, let’s go for broke and use the higher 18 cents per kwh. 28 * 0.18 = $5.04 to charge the Bolt. The gasoline is 2.5 times more expensive. But, the article claims that charging isn’t such a good deal. What gives? Well, the people who generated the data were sneaky weasels, that’s what. They add in the price of the charger and the extra money you might pay with your vehicle registration. Now, this is somewhat fair, quite a few states (like Michigan where I’m from) do charge extra for EVs. Michigan is on the high end at $135 per year. I cannot express my absolute joy about this fact. I wait with bated breath for my registration to come due. But, I also drove about 13,500 miles last year. So, my registration surcharge adds about $1 for every 100 miles. This still makes EV charging $6.04 as compared to $12.62 for gasoline. But, what about the charger? Well, I bought a $700 charger (well, they are really EVSEs not chargers. The charger is in the car but I digress…) and the local power company gave me $500 back. So, I paid $200 for the charger. I also installed it myself and paid something like $60 for permits. Total out of pocket was still only around $300 to $350. And, I only have to do this once. You don’t really have ongoing maintenance on an EVSE. It’s supposed to just work for years on end. Let’s say it lasts me at least 5 years. So, about $70 per year and $0.51 over 100 miles for me. Now we’re up to $6.55 for 100 miles with my Bolt. This is still only about half the cost of gasoline. And, the authors of the study seem to have forgotten that I will not be getting oil changes either. The equinox needs an oil change around every 10k miles and such an oil change is around $100. So, in 100 miles of driving the Equinox costs $1 extra for oil changes. That brings the gap even larger again.
In truth, it is possible to add little gotcha fees on either side. But, the reality is that charging at your home is EXTREMELY cheap compared to gasoline. This doesn’t really change whether you’re driving a truck or a small car. Any way you go, at home charging is cost effective. In my case, I can pay around 14-18 cents per kwh. Some people have 8c rates, some have 30c rates. Even at 30c it is still cheaper to charge than buy gasoline. Best of all, electricity does not hinge on the demands of oil sheiks half a world away.
Now, public charging is potentially a different story. Some fast chargers will charge about $0.48 per kwh. That makes 100 miles 28 * 0.48 = $13.44. If I take this plus my registration fees (but not adding my charger because I’m not using it in this case) we get $14.44 for level 3 fast charging. The equinox would still need an oil change so taking the $12.62 + $1 for oil we get $13.62 for the Equinox. Is the Equinox cheaper in this case? Yes, yes it is. But, I’ve fast charged only about 10 times total in 15 months and that includes a 1400 mile trip around the midwest. It is no exaggeration to say that 95% or greater of my charging is done at home or at my parents’ business. Best of all, I’m so bright that they call me Sun and they don’t charge me for the use of the chargers on the building. The best kind of charging is the kind that someone else is paying for.
I find it very unfortunate that articles like the one I linked to exist. It seems their only point is to try to discourage adoption of electric vehicles by scaring people with very slimy figures. However, maybe it’s not all bad. People don’t commission
lies studies like this unless they fear the competition. After all, if you’re at the top of your game there’s no need to worry yourself about anyone else. You’re the best! But, if the competition is heating up you need to nip it in the bud before it becomes a troublesome thorn bush. So, maybe it’s good that we’re starting to be a thorn in the side of the oil industry.