EV owners and enthusiasts will constantly repeat a myth by explaining that "EVs are cheaper to operate and maintain than a gasoline-powered car."
Are they right, or are they perpetuating a myth by ignoring a major cost item (or several)?
Let's compare what it would take to run an EV and an ICEV to 500,000 miles. After all, we're constantly told that "EVs last forever"... right?
To calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO), we're going to include vehicle purchase price, fuel system usage and maintenance, tires, motive powertrain maintenance, and fuel.
- For the EV's "fuel", we'll calculate using the national average electricity cost, which is 12¢/kWh as of the time of writing this.
- For the ICEV's fuel, we'll calculate using the national average cost of 87 octane gasoline, which as of the time of writing this is $4.59 (Let's Go Brandon!) (We understand that we live in Clown World™ right now... so we'll also calculate using the long-term, 5-year historical gasoline price trend of $2.50 per gallon... to give you an idea of what life will be like when the illegitimate usurper is ousted from the office he obviously stole.)
- The national average for driving is 14,300 miles per year.
For the EV, let's take the absolute cheapest model sold by Tesla - a 2022 Tesla Model 3 rear-wheel drive only model. It'll come in refrigerator white, with black interior, basic wheels, and NO SELF-DRIVING MODE.
Let's add up the numbers on the EV:
- Purchase Price: $46,990 (without tax, title, or license expenses)
- The number of sets of tires you'll need to travel 500,000 miles is 25 sets, and since the Tesla tires are custom-built one-off designs, they run $600 per set... for a total of $15,000 in tires.
- At 500,000 miles, the Model 3 will be on its FIFTH battery pack, which costs $16,000 each. The first one comes with the car, so you'll only be buying FOUR of them at $16,000 each... for a total of $64,000 in battery packs.
- The Model 3 consumes around 200 watt-hours per mile, so multiplying that figure by 500,000 miles gives 100,000,000 watt-hours, or 100,000 kilowatt-hours. Multiply by electricity cost and you get a total of $12,000 in "fuel".
What does that total?
That's 27.60¢ per mile.
Now for the ICEV we're going to choose one of the most popular cars sold of all time: the Toyota Camry. For the 2022 model year, the Camry gets a MINIMUM of 30 miles per gallon, so we'll use that.
Let's add up the numbers on the ICEV:
- Purchase price: $26,000 (also without TTL)
- For tires, you can get a $400 set of tires with an 80,000-mile warranty on them. So you'll need 7 sets of tires... for a total of $2,800 in tires.
- 500,000 miles divided by 30 MPG means you need to buy 16,667 gallons of gasoline. At the current national average of $4.59, that's a total of $76,500 in gasoline costs.
The figure at $2.50 per gallon is $41,667.
- We'll even throw in TWO full replacement transmissions at $5,000 each, for a total of $10,000 in powertrain maintenance costs.
What does that total?
That's 23¢ per mile.
For $2.50 per gallon gas, that's $80,467 for a per-mile cost of just 16.1¢ per mile.
To match the TCO of the EV, the ICEV would have to either get 12.60 MPG at $2.50 per gallon, or have averaged $5.96 per gallon for gasoline at 30 MPG.
However, if you get the Tesla Model 3 in a color you actually want, with the nice white interior, nice wheels, and the self-driving party trick, and you'd be spending $63,490 for the vehicle purchase price... bringing your per-mile operating cost 3.3¢ higher, for a total of 30.90¢ per mile... which is 34.35% more than the Camry at $4.59 per gallon, or 91.93% more than the Camry at $2.50 per gallon.
According to the website CarEdge, the Camry would actually cost a total of $8,167.83 to maintain for 500,000-miles. Additionally, the real-world mileage reported by tens of thousands of recorded fill-ups on the website Fuelly have the Camry getting about 35 MPG. Real-world electricity costs using Tesla Superchargers run between $7.80 and $15.60 for 300 miles of range, making the total for 500,000 miles somewhere between $13,000 and $26,000.
Re-running the numbers for the Camry using these more realistic numbers, and the total comes out to $26,000 for the vehicle plus just $8,167.83 for ALL maintenance, plus 14,286 gallons of gasoline — in Joe Biden's gasoline-hating mega-inflation Marxist agenda hellscape gas pricing model — $65,571.43... for a total of $99,739.26, or 19.95¢ per mile. Drop the fuel price out of clown world and back to reasonable economic policy pricing of $2.50 per gallon, and the fuel component drops to $35,714.29... for a total of $69,882.12, or 13.98¢ per mile, which is just 53% of the operating cost of the EV! Against the real-world, worst-case-scenario pricing for the Tesla Model 3 and the Camry is just over 41% of the operating cost of the EV!
To match the TCO of the EV using real-world data, the ICE vehicle would have to either get 9.31 MPG at $2.50 per gallon, or have averaged $9.40 per gallon at 35 MPG.
|Vehicle||Tesla Model 3||Toyota Camry|
|Scenario||Base Model||Fully Optioned||Base Model|
|Vehicle Purchase Price||$46,990||$63,490||$26,000|
||200 Wh/mi||200 Wh/mi||30 MPG||35 MPG|
|Fuel Cost||12¢ / kWh||14¢ / kWh||12¢ / kWh||28¢ / kWh||$4.59||$2.50||$4.59||$2.50|
|TOTAL COST of OWNERSHIP||$137,990||$138,990||$154,490||$168,490||$115,300||$80,467||$99,739||$69,882|
|Scenario||Fully Optioned||Base Model|
|Vehicle Purchase Price||$63,490||$26,000|
||200 Wh/mi||35 MPG|
|TOTAL COST of OWNERSHIP||$168,490||$69,882|