While Electric Car technology is in its infancy, I thought it would be helpful to break down what it's like to own an EV when compared to a tradition gasoline vehicle. Given that gas engines have more or less stayed the same for the last hundred years (yes I'm aware that many improvements have been made in that time, but generally speaking it works the same), it is imperative to get as much information about a new technology as possible in order for you to make the choice that works best for you.
Electric Cars: Currently, there are only ~30 purely electric vehicle models to choose from, with many manufacturers offering hybrid gasoline/electric options as well. In fact, most automotive manufacturers have stated that they will put more of an emphasis on electric vehicles and/or entirely shift to the EV space. Just this summer Volvo recently announced that they are going to phase out manufacturing combustion engine vehicles, by 2019. BMW, Jaguar/Land Rover, Lincoln, and Volkswagen have followed suit with announcements of expanding their EV Fleet or outright replacing their entire lineups with EV. This all comes on the heels of the recent announcement that China (the worlds largest car market) is seriously considering banning all gas-powered vehicles. So while the selection today isn't huge it soon will be.
- The current EV market only makes up about 1% of all vehicles currently on the road, it is still a very young, but aggressively growing market. Sales of Electric Vehicles rose about 37% from 2015 to 2016, with strong MoM growth. It's estimated that 1.1 million electric cars will be sold this year and the total world market will eclipse more than 3.1 million electric cars will be on the road. If vehicle sales are any indication, consumers believe in this technology and its longevity in the marketplace. Strong sales are putting automakers in a position to give consumers more of a choice of electric vehicles
Gas Vehicles: With an almost 100-year head start, there are many more options for traditional gasoline vehicles. Each company has multiple options to choose from, with many different styles, colors, and types. Gas vehicles seem to be reaching the tipping point where many auto manufacturers are pivoting towards electric cars.
Electric Cars: With purely EV technology still being new, there are only a handful vehicles that have a range comparable to those of a gas vehicle (although if you see above much more are coming). Given that most people drive about 30 miles a day, just about every electric car has the range necessary to make it a viable option for ownership. Even if you own an electric car and plan a road trip, it is possible with public charging options throughout the country, it just takes a bit more planning ahead of time.
Gas Vehicles: Most vehicles have a range of 250-300 miles before needing to refill (roughly the same as a Tesla Model S), meaning that most people will only fill up their tanks once a week or so. This makes ownership very convenient, without having to give too much thought to everyday commuting or road trips, since gas stations are relatively accessible.
Electric Cars: As discussed in the previous section, most people do not travel great distances in their vehicles in their day to day lives. We recommend that people charge their vehicle daily (because why not when you have an easily accessible charging station at home), so their charge time is only ~1.5/day. As the technology has become more and more prevalent, charging is becoming more plentiful in most urban areas thanks to companies like EverCharge, as well as far more affordable.
Gas Vehicles: Since you are at the mercy of wildly fluctuating gas prices, what it costs to fill up your tank this month, may not be the same as what it would cost next month. Additionally, you need to add a trip to the gas station into your daily schedule in order to accommodate your vehicle.
Electric Cars: Over the course of their lifetime, electric vehicles are far less expensive to maintain than their internal combustion counterparts, since electric vehicles don't have many of the components that need replacing/maintenance. For example, oil/ fluid changes, transmission work, muffler work, etc. There are, however, a few components that will need to be maintained in either vehicle, brakes/tires, for example, which should be relatively inexpensive over the total life of the vehicle.
- Tesloop recently published that they had a Tesla that hit over 300,0000 miles. During that time, they only had about $11,000 in routine maintenance. When they compared that to a traditional vehicle, the savings are significant.
Gas Vehicles: This is the largest variance between an electric vehicle and a traditional vehicle. Given all of the potential issues that could arise with a traditional vehicle, the cost of maintenance could be extremely high. In the previous example with Tesloop, they estimated that a high-end vehicle (think BMW or Mercedes) would have cost between $75,000 and $85,000 over the same 300,000 miles. In fact, With the fact of maintenance being so high in a traditional vehicle, it makes EV ownership a no-brainer.
The shift away from gas vehicles towards electric cars is happening. All over the world, more and more countries are pledging to pivot entirely towards electric car production and ownership. It is truly thrilling to watch this unfold in front of all of us as we are on the edge of the next great industrial revolution. Electric cars are here to stay and are only going to become more efficient and cost-effective versus their combustible counterparts.