The Economic Advantages of Going All-Electric

May 5, 2021

The Economic Advantages of Going All-Electric by Erika Myers

I often hear oth­er women express their frus­tra­tion and uncer­tain­ty when look­ing for a more fuel-effi­cient, clean­er, and envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly car. They ask, “Which is bet­ter in the long run – a tra­di­tion­al hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or bat­tery elec­tric vehi­cle (BEV)?”

When it comes down to it, there are cost sav­ings for tran­si­tion­ing to ANY of these options com­pared to a tra­di­tion­al gas-only fueled engine. I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly shared about how choos­ing a plug-in hybrid is a bet­ter option than a tra­di­tion­al hybrid mod­el, 5 rea­sons to buy an EV, and why you should get off the fence about buy­ing an EV. How­ev­er, if you’re going to make the switch to a vehi­cle with an elec­tric dri­ve­train, the ful­ly elec­tric vehi­cle has eco­nom­ic advan­tages com­pared to tra­di­tion­al and plug-in hybrid mod­els. Here’s why:

EVs cost less to main­tain. First and fore­most, it’s as sim­ple as “less is more”. Why have two propul­sion sys­tems in your vehi­cle when you can have just one? Con­sumer Reports dug into the main­te­nance of EVs, PHEVs and inter­nal com­bus­tion engines (ICE) vehi­cles and found that EV and PHEV dri­vers spend half as much as ICE own­ers to main­tain and repair their vehi­cle, sav­ing an aver­age of $4,600 in repair and main­te­nance costs over its life­time. The aver­age repair and main­te­nance cost per mile from the detailed main­te­nance report is in the table below. The BEV main­te­nance costs are stag­ger­ing­ly less per mile – and this only gets cheap­er with new­er mod­els. Con­sumer Reports explains that most of the EVs used to assess the 100k to 200k range were old­er EV mod­els like the first Nis­san LEAFs. All indi­ca­tors point to the fact that EVs – espe­cial­ly new­er mod­els – will be far less expen­sive to main­tain at high­er miles and more like­ly to achieve high­er mileage.


All-elec­tric repairs are eas­i­er than plug-in and tra­di­tion­al hybrids. Here is a list of typ­i­cal main­te­nance you can expect for an EV. Com­pare that to this list for tra­di­tion­al ICE vehi­cles. PHEVs and HEVs still have an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine, thus requir­ing essen­tial­ly the same main­te­nance as ICE vehi­cles, even though the engine is used less.

The major repair of an EV is replac­ing its bat­tery pack. A bat­tery that is being used los­es capac­i­ty over time, thus reduc­ing your max­i­mum range. At some point you’ll want to replace the bat­tery pack, but you can con­tin­ue to oper­ate the vehi­cle risk-free until then. With PHEV, HEV, and ICE vehi­cles, engine and trans­mis­sion prob­lems can hap­pen sud­den­ly and are more like­ly to cause cat­a­stroph­ic dam­age or leave the com­bus­tion engine inop­er­a­ble until repaired.

EV prices – and mod­els – are more com­pet­i­tive than ever. The EV mar­ket is expand­ing rapid­ly, mean­ing that there are even more oppor­tu­ni­ties to pur­chase dif­fer­ent sized vehi­cles and even used EVs. (Here are my thoughts on buy­ing used EVs.) New­er EV mod­els now offer longer bat­tery ranges than their pre­de­ces­sors and are rapid­ly low­er­ing in price as bat­tery man­u­fac­tur­ing costs have declined near­ly 80% since 2013.

For exam­ple, here’s a com­par­i­son of Hyundai’s 2021 mod­els. With tax cred­its fac­tored in, the elec­tric and plug-in mod­els are com­pa­ra­ble – even less expen­sive – than the tra­di­tion­al hybrid models.

If you have spe­cif­ic mod­els in mind, the Depart­ment of Energy’s Vehi­cle Cost Cal­cu­la­tor is a great way to com­pare costs using your dai­ly dri­ving dis­tance. You can also see a com­pre­hen­sive list of all 2021 EVs and PHEVs here and here, respec­tive­ly.

EVs fuel costs are con­sis­tent and less expen­sive. You may have noticed over the past few months that gas prices are going up. Gaso­line prices are sub­ject to sup­ply and demand which can be affect­ed by every­thing from weath­er events to geopo­lit­i­cal events. While HEVs and PHEVs are still teth­ered to the gas pump, EVs are divorced from the gas price fluc­tu­a­tion headaches because elec­tric­i­ty prices are far more pre­dictable and sta­ble over time. Last year NREL found that, depend­ing on which state you live in, you can save up to $14,500 in fuel sav­ings over the life­time of an EV when com­pared to ICE vehicles.

That being said, there is an up-front cost of pur­chas­ing and installing a Lev­el 2 charg­er in your home if you want a quick­er charge. These esti­mates are between $1,000 – $2,900 depend­ing on your set­up and fea­tures. While these up-front equip­ment and instal­la­tion costs are sig­nif­i­cant, there are fed­er­al, state, and local dis­counts, and util­i­ty and charg­ing com­pa­nies, who can often pro­vide dis­counts, financ­ing, tax cred­its, and rebates to help.

Over­all, buy­ing an EV is not just a great deci­sion. It’s also one that will ben­e­fit your pock­et­book for years to come.

Thank you to Eri­ka Myers from EV Love for allow­ing us to repub­lish her blog post. Read the orig­i­nal here and vis­it her web­site, EV Love, for more infor­ma­tion about EVs.

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