How EVs Don’t Save Money

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Electric vehicles are being sold, in part, on how much they’ll save people in terms of maintenance costs.

This is a con on par with a “case” being synonymous with sickness.

EVs are not no or even low-maintenance relative to non-electric cars. They are different maintenance.

And they’re not cheaper to maintain.

Instead of oil and filter changes, you change the battery pack. Which do you suppose will end up costing you more over the life of the vehicle?

The latter italicized for reasons that will shortly become clear.

An oil/filter change generally costs about $50 ($10 for a filter, $5 per quart of oil times 5-6 quarts plus the labor, if you pay someone else to do it). Most non-electric cars need their oil and filter changed about once every 6,000 miles or so – about twice a year given the average 10,000-12,000 miles most people drive each year.

That works out to about $100 annually; over the course of ten years, you’d spend about $1,000 for oil and filter changes in this example vs. nothing for oil and filter changes, if you owned an EV.

But if you own an EV, it is probable you’ll have to replace the battery before ten years go by – because EV batteries don’t last that long in regular service before the regular discharge/recharge process reduces and then kills their capacity to retain charge, at which point the EV becomes as useful as a non-electric car with a bad engine.

And EV batteries cost a lot more than ten years’ worth of oil and filters.

For example, the cost to replace the low-output version (30 kilowatt) version of the Nissan Leaf’s battery ranges from $3,500-$4,500 and the cost to swap out the higher-performing versions (62 kilowatt) runs closer to $8k.

That pays for a lot of oil and filters.

And you’ll be paying sooner. Hence the italics, above.

Reread that part about the EV’s battery pack not lasting the life of the EV – as opposed to the typical service life of the entire non-EV, which is generally 12-15 years before anything more than routine maintenance such as oil and filter changes is necessary.

There is another expense associated with the comparatively short life of the EV battery. It is the reduction in value of the EV with a tired battery. An eight-year-old used non-electric car is still valuable because it still has lots of life left. An eight year-old EV with an eight-year-old battery has much less life left unless you replace the getting-tired battery. This cost is reflected in the cratered resale value of old EVs.

On top of the expense of the new EV battery and the cost of reduced resale value, there is the expense of other maintenance items that will need to be performed.

For example, cooling system service. Most EVs have these even though they haven’t got engines. But their batteries need to be kept not-too-hot (else fire) and also not too-cold (else brick) and the system that serves that purposes needs maintaining, too.

How about brakes – pads and such – as well as tires and suspension parts? They are more or less the same as any other car’s – and also wear out over time and need to be replaced or serviced at some point.

It’s true the EV’s brake pads last longer because the EV uses the resistance of the electric motor to aid in deceleration. But what you paid for that motor – and those batteries – is a great deal more than what the non-EV owner pays for brake pads, even if he buys them twice as often. A set for the typical car costs about $100 plus labor (call it another $200) and new pads usually last 30,000-50,000 miles depending on how you drive. Assume new brakes every three years – which is much more often than most people need them.

That’s about another $1,000 over ten years – plus the $1,000 for the oil and filters. We’re still not halfway to the cost of replacing a low-cost EV battery before ten years.

And don’t forget the cost of the EV itself.

Which costs one average twice what a non-electric equivalent car costs. You could buy a new Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt for around $35k or you could buy a non-electric Toyota Corolla or small crossover SUV for about $20k and have $15k left over for oil and filter changes, brake pads and so on.

But wait! You’ll never spend a cent on gas!

Absolutely true. But electricity isn’t free – and it’s going to cost more when Uncle Joe applies the taxes currently not-applied to electricity, which isn’t even a political thing so much as an unavoidable thing as roads don’t get built and maintained for free, either – and it’s motor fuels taxes that pay for those things. Expect the equivalent, at least of the current rough average of 50 cents per gallon to be applied to kilowatts and volts, plus a probable additional tax to pay for the new generating capacity that will be needed to offset the cost of building out the additional generating capacity EVs will require, beyond the generating capacity of the grid as it exists now.

Which is not enough to power the things it already powers plus millions of electric cars.

You may also have to pay for upgrades to your home’s electrical panel, if you want to get back on the road in less than the 8-12 hours it takes to trickle-charge an EV on 120V household outlets. This alone could cost you more than you ever paid for oil and filter changes.

So, while it’s true the EV “saves money” on oil changes and such, it isn’t going to save you money.

It’s another case of people bee-lieving in a con as a consequence of being too lazy to question it.

. . . .

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  1. A bit off topic, but I have noticed locally (near Chicago) that E-85 isn’t offered in many gas stations anymore. Anyone else notice that lately?

  2. Or buy a Tesla and don’t worry about the battery pack. Because the glue holding the body together will give out long before the battery dies.

    • I have wondered about the extensive use of glue and its longevity. In particular, I understand the the Lotus Evora’s body and chassis is all glued together. I would imagine that this car will literally fall apart after 20 years.

  3. Eric,

    FWIW, my uncle is looking to get a used Leaf. While doing his research, he said that companies and shops are springing up to recondition battery packs and sell new ones for considerably less than the dealers do. Anyway, batteries, as EVs proliferate, will drop in price as economy of scale and good old competition do their thing.

    • Especially since they will get a “tax credit”, aka subsidy, from the armed robbers at the IRS. So much for “competition”. Even if the price of a reconditioned battery was half what new ones are, they would STILL cost more than non-EVs to operate. The expansion of the power grid needed alone will add more to the cost than even the battery will. I don’t think that cost has been even partially recognized in the cost vs value equation. At least if the same amount of mobility is maintained. Which of course is most definitely NOT part of the program. To even suggest that there is “free market competition” involved is disingenuous. The state will be fully involved, since there is no incentive for any private entity to double the size of the power grid.

    • Hi Mark,

      Sure- but consider the absurdity. Buy a not-very-old used car that already needs the functional and economic equivalent of a new engine… and will need one again, after not very long.

      No one would countenance this if we were talking about other cars.

    • MM, those ‘reconditioned’ batteries from what I hear, tend to only last a year or two, and often have substantially poorer performance than their new counterparts. How does one ‘recondition’ a battery without remanufacturing it? They just replace the ‘deadest’ cells- leaving many of the original old cells which are not yet completely spent in place. IOW: They are batteries essentially being propped up to last a bit longer.

  4. Next time any of you come across an EV cultist that talks about how ICE cars are death of the planet and all other useless arguments they make…tell them to put their money where there mouth is. Bet them 50k and tell them get in there EV…you’ll give them a 24 hour head start, starting from NY and head to Los Angeles. See if they take you up on it.

  5. Cost of electricity will be the least of our worries if he Bidenites get their way.
    Creepy Joe wants to:
    1. Ban hydraulic fracking
    2. Prohibit drilling for gas and oil on U.S. public lands.
    3. Revoke the permit for the Keystone pipeline.
    1A. Hydraulic fracturing has transformed the U.S from an oil & gas importer to a net exporter of LNG.
    2A. The U.S government owns substantial parts of the western U.S., mostly National Forest land.
    3A. Canada is a friendly neighbor.
    Is anyone else here old enough to remember the Arab oil embargo during the 1970s? I am.
    If you like gas lines and fuel rationing , you’ll love Creepy Joe.

    But, it is not only motor fuel which is at stake.
    Modern agriculture depends on the Haber process:
    to produce low cost nitrogen fertilizer.
    The Haber process involves high heat and pressure, which must be produced by burning fuel, typically hydrocarbon fuel. It also requires hydrogen, which these days is typically made from hydrocarbons.
    Bottom line: No hydrocarbons, no Haber process. No Haber process, no cheap synthetic nitrate fertilizer, and much less food production per acre (or hectare).
    Bottom line: No diesel fuel, no ag equipment operates. No plowing, planting, tilling, or harvesting.
    Less food produced => more humans starve, including, quite likely, those of us in the U.S.
    Nothing to haul to market, so trucks, and truckers, sit idle.

    Lyndon Johnson declared “War on Poverty.”
    Creepy Joe has just declared “War on Humanity.”

  6. Eric,
    Slightly off-topic, but I have a curiosity…
    Are there federal (SAAAAAFETYYY?) laws against a car seating 4 people in a linear way, as to decrease aerodynamic drag?

  7. Hybrids continue to represent the best bang for the buck, whether traditional (non-plugin) or PHEVs (limited range)…PHEVs have such smaller batteries than “pure” EVs that replacement is economically feasible.

  8. It takes me about 23 hours to drive from Guadalajara (Jalisco) Mexico to Las Vegas Nevada and that’s sometimes traveling at 100MPH+ in Mexico. There is no way any electric car can do that – actually, no fucking way.

  9. Also, EVs are far more destructive on the environment than ICE. Not only that…we are led to believe that oil is finite…it is not…its abiotic, proven extensively first by of all people…Russian scientists.

    For EVs, rare earths ARE truly finite, controlled by China to boot, and you have to terraform large swaths of earth to get at them. Where are the environmentalists? Oh that’s right…none dare challenge the CCP.

  10. Meanwhile, dowdy old General Motors has busted out to a record high, as its CEO Mary California goes all-in on EV Fever. Stock chart:

    GM could be viewed as slipstreaming the Tesla fishes-and-loaves miracle, while offering a seemingly safer bet for silver-hairs leery of the erratic management of Tesla by Elon Musk, who’s definitely a flight risk if he blasts off for Mars and doesn’t come back.

    What all the purblind punters are missing is that 2021 and 2022 are unlikely to be great years for auto sales. Trillion-dollar ‘stimmy check’ programs, plus eviction and student loan moratoria, show that the economy is a lot worse than they are letting on.

    I say that GM stock gets chopped in half sometime in the next couple of years. It’s just a crappy old smokestack company with weak products and a CEO who thinks abject pandering to politicians (many of whom don’t even drive) will ensure the company’s longevity. Dream on!

    • I agree, Jim –

      Even leaving aside the other problems, maintaining four full-line divisions (Chevy, GMC, Buick, Cadillac) when you have a total market share of about 17 percent is insane.

      • When you consider that Chevy by itself held more of a market share than ALL of GM today, you really wonder how much longer can this nonsense go on?

        Once they stop making the pickups and SUV’s that are the only profit center left, what do they have? They ain’t got nothing!

        In Cuba they drive the leftover hulks of 1950’s cars that they have stuck little diesel engines into them. Is a version of this our future too?

    • In a sane world, that would make perfect sense, Jim- but we no longer live in a sane world as witnessed by the fact that Tesla- a company which in it’s BEST year LOST $890M is still one of the highest valued stocks……

  11. Soon it won’t matter. EVs or ICE Cars will be banned in Amerika. Only self driving taxis will exist and be run under one of the oligarchs corporations to suck us dry. Uncle Joe will make us ride bikes like they do across Asia. Heck…the way things will be run soon, a bicycle will be a luxury! They’ll want to tax that too I am sure! From each according to his/her/ ability, to each according to his/her needs!

    Pedal Komrades…pedal!!! We love Uncle Joe and Kween Kamala and what they peddle!

  12. A work colleague has a Bolt. Before covid sent us all to work from home, it was fun to ask him each week, “How’s your coal powered car doing? Still like it?”

  13. IC cars have alternators, batteries, hoses, and belts that will all require maintenance and/or replacement in a ten year period. More if your mileage is higher. If you drive a Japanese or German car, even a non-luxury brand, the cost of repairs is stunningly high. Even a battery replacement is typically going to cost you more than $200 (look it up). In 10 years you will need 1-3 of those, depending upon where you live, etc.

    Can you go 130,000 on the same coolant? A flush ain’t cheap.

    When you add all of the maintenance for the IC systems that an EC doesn’t have, you are looking at:
    Cooling, Starting, Charging, Tune-Up, Belts, Hoses, annual emission tests, etc.

    I won’t buy an EC because of the limitations and I don’t like the current state of battery technology… but that’s changing. Once I can get a car that gives me good range, a battery that’s less likely to burn like the sun, and can be charged in 10 or 15 minutes? I’m in.

    Fewer parts, overall, and fewer mechanically moving parts = more reliability and the foundation for lower operating costs. Plus, as we see time and again, power isn’t an issue. Electric motors propel cruise ships, race cars, etc. Nuclear submarines, in some cases. There is plenty of power there, if you include it.

    Dr. F. Porsche started with electric cars. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me – when it’s ready.

    • Hi Mr.P,

      It’s unusual for a modern car to need a new starter or alternator before 100,000-plus miles; it’s common for these parts to last the life of the car (15-plus years). Tune ups are extremely occasional; once every ten years/100,000 miles. Belts – usually serpentine so just one, easily replaced – last 50,000 miles or longer. Same with hoses.

      You’re right that starter batteries need to be replaced – but the cost is trivial compared with the cost of an EV battery.

      EV long-haul reliability is also questionable – not because of the motor (which is simple) but because of the elaborate electronics which control the drivetrain, especially the battery charging system.

    • “I won’t buy an EC because of the limitations and I don’t like the current state of battery technology… but that’s changing. Once I can get a car that gives me good range, a battery that’s less likely to burn like the sun, and can be charged in 10 or 15 minutes? I’m in.”

      I have been hearing almost exactly the same thing for 15+ years. Tomorrow, tomorrow, it’s only a day away…….

      • Hi Anon,

        I’ll raise you! I’ve been a working car journalist for 30 years and way back in the mid-’90s I heard the same promises… I test drove the EV1/Impact when it was new; also the Ford Ecostar (sodium “hot” battery – lotsa fun!). Not much has changed since those days. EVs are still much too expensive for them to be economical alternatives to non-electric cars and they still are beset by functional gimps that no one would tolerate in any other car.

        Imagine trying to sell a $35,000 Corolla that could maybe travel 200 miles before you needed to wait at least half an hour at a “fast” charger to recover 80 percent of that 200 miles of range…

    • Mr. Proton,

      While it is true there is no engine oil to worry about in an EV there are still fluids, even coolant and gear oil (see video below on the Tesla 3 …sorry about it being Youtube Eric)! And he also points out how you’ll go through tires and brakes faster due to all the power being sent to them. This “less maintenance” trope with regards to EV’s needs to stop because it’s not really anything substantial. Hell, it could end up being more depending on how one drives because sets of tires are certainly more expensive than starters, alternators, hoses, and belts. Besides, Eric already touched on how long those items typically last.

      And if you’re paying more than $200 for a starter battery, well, you’re getting ripped off. And a decent starter battery should last 4-6 years even in cold, northern climes like where I’m located (I just replaced mine this fall and it was 6+ years old).

  14. This is like trying to argue with my bathroom sink. Facts are facts people. New Bolts are $23k all day long. Eric, to your argument, whether or not a person understands what saving money means is irrelevant. Consumer studies have proven that the average length a person keeps a bought-brand-new car is 6 years. On the EV in question, the battery is still warrantied at that point. That means zero cost for battery replacement for the average person. And to your comment about the Versa, you yourself quoted the $20k new car price so let’s keep consistent rather than changing the numbers to defend your argument. On that note, have you driven a $15k Versa or a $20k Corolla? A $23k Bolt is so much more car for just a little more. There’s a reason it won MT Car of the Year in 2017. And BTW I don’t own one, I have nothing to prove or defend, but the BS train here is cultish.

    That aside, I get what you are saying from a finance perspective. I keep cars a long time, the last one I bought new I kept 14 years. I get the money thing. And I agree with much of what you are saying. But you can’t take your narrow viewpoint and apply it as fact to the general population without looking like a cult leader.

    • Jeff,

      You keep saying Bolts “cost $23k all day long.” The sticker says $35,266 – so either GM is dumping them at a massive loss (a commentary on the marketability of these things) or you are counting federal/state subsidies. Imagine getting a new $15k sticker Versa for $6k… “all day long.”

      My article was about saving money – not about how long the average innumerate keeps a car.

      • Whether or not they are dumping them a loss or not, the facts are as I stated. Bottom line, you can get a brand new EV with a 100,000 mile warranty on the battery for the same price as a Corolla. In the average 6 years of ownership you’ll spend less maintaining it. Resale 6 years later is about the same on EVs as gas cars, again, do your research. So starting cost is comparable, resale is comparable, but cost to own in the average 6 years that the average “innumerate” keeps a car is LESS.

        I’m out of here. I don’t know anything about your site, a friend share the article and I decided to comment. You can find just as many articles that say the opposite of what you’ve said here today. The only difference is those articles are based on facts instead of opinions.

        Life lesson Eric, maybe if you didn’t regard others as an “innumerate”, “obnoxious”, “virtue signalers”, or the “affluent elite” because they disagree with you, you’d be able to see more clearly outside of your own very limited and narrow little paradigm of life. I suggest getting out more, drink a beer, have wonderful lovemaking with your spouse, eat a really good steak, go camping, travel the world, things might open up beyond this keyhole you are looking through.


        • **” Resale 6 years later is about the same on EVs as gas cars,”**

          Jeff, that is simply not true when you compare actual cars of similar class and quality. And even if it were, your metrics only work if one happens to be in that mystical statistical wasteland who keeps a car for 6 years (How “green” is that? Both of my ICE vehicles are 20 years old, and doing just fine).

          $23K for a Leaf, that can go 80 miles before needing a charge, and which will be worth $1500 in 6-8 yeasrs. You could buy a Toyota Corolla for a good deal less than that $23K which can go as far as you want it to, ’cause it can be refueled in less than 5 minutes at any gas station….and it will be worth $7-$10K at 6-8 years old. What’s more, for the cost of the Leaf, you could move up to a better car and buy a Camry, and retain similar benefits. On a practical and economic basis, the EV makes so sense; offers no benefits. You pay more, you get less. You lose on every metric.
          We wouldn’t even care, except for the fact that it’s not just YOU who loses- but rather WE also lose, because of the fact that EVs are subsidized with purchase subsidies and credits; carbon credits; their manufacture is subsidized at the federal and state level; the solar and wind generated electricity which needs to exist to maintain any illusion of greenness must be subsidized…… The erection of an electrical infrastructure to charge these cars is/will be paid for by taxpayers….. -so not only is your EV a financial boondoggle for you (Which wouldn’t bother me if it were only you bearing the cost) but it is also a financial boondoggle for those of us who don’t want an EV- and THAT is the problem against which we rail.

          • Nunz, my nearly 50-year-old Matador is more functional than a brand new Bolt. If looking at new cars, the cheapest and meanest Mitsubishi Mirage or Nissan Versa is more convenient and functional than the most expensive Tesla. (A Leaf of course is just an electric Versa for twice the price!) That guy is so full of shit it is pouring out of his ears.

              • Eric, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it in the past, but yes – I only wish it had the 401 though! Those old 401-equipped LAPD Matadors were really something. 🙂 Mine does have AMC’s 360 V8 which is pretty tame in comparison but has has a lot of untapped potential if one wanted to kick it up a few notches.

            • Oooo! Jason! A Matador! Extra points just for it’s uniqueness and rarity!

              As for guys like Jeff- they just don’t think; They “believe”.

              Take me, for example: I’ve never paid more than $4500 for a personal vehicle- and usualy way WAY less (Like the ’78 LeSaber I had in the mid 90’s that I paid a whopping $125 for).

              I’ll typically keep one of these vehicles for 10 years or more…and they rarely need any repairs (and are cheap and easy to fix when they do)- and when it’s time for ’em to go…I always end up at least getting my $4500 or whatever back, which pays for my next one- and someone else gets a functional vehicle they can use. This is extremely “green” as most of these vehicles end up having a functional life 25-30 years, thus requiring fewer new vehicles to be built, and meaning that my economic activity can be much lower than that of many, since I’m not constantly paying for new vehicles, which lose depreciate like an ice cream cone on a Las Vegas sidewalk.
              THAT is sustainable transportation (In the true sense of the word- not in the UN-commie-speak [non]sense). Yet, the SJW’s would scream if they saw me driving my V-10 Excursion…but in actuality, if they were truly interested in the “greenness” they always moan about, they should praise people such as you and I, and scream at the EV drivers who drive disposable vehicles, with batteries which require large-scale mining of the limited-resource rare earth materials necessary to make their batteries, and which create much toxic pollution when they are discarded, and also require that more new ones be built more frequently than is the case with ICE vewhicles, and which deprive the world of the option of cheap durable used vehicles.

              • Hey thanks, Nunz, I’ve had it for so long I don’t even thing of it as anything special. Definitely not a show car, it’s just a driver with rust in the fenders and bad paint. Fortunately spraying with oil every season has kept the floors and body structure intact.

                Obviously it is not possible to keep every car going for five decades, but I see plenty of people driving around in vehicles that are 20-25 years old. Good luck finding a 20-year-old electric car that still works. There are other issues aside from the battery pack dying. For example, what happens when old weather seals start leaking and moisture starts getting into the internals? Bzzzzzt…

                • Ah, Jason, them’s the best kind!- Drivers, instead of show-queens! I’d never want to have Jay Leno’s garage….I’d rather just have some neat old cars that I could drive and enjoy, and not have to worry too much about…and maybe some old hulks in the field to look at and play amongst.

                  And speaking of EVs; I’d be most worried about the electronics over time. Electronics do not age well…’specially outdoors! Heck, Tesla’s already having trouble with so many of their touch screens! Of course, the newer ICE vehicles are having similar problems, as they’ve become laden with all of ther electronic crapola. Guy I know can’t find a computer- new or used- for an ’05 Heep…err…Jeep Liberty! (And it’s just the common gas one; imagine if it were the rarer POS diesel!)

          • Hiya Nunz,
            My ‘01 Corolla still runs like the proverbial Swiss watch. If only I can keep the rust at bay up here where they put more salt on the road than there is snow I hope to keep it running until I’m too decrepit to drive.

        • I’m always puzzled how people get all butt hurt when they have a disagreement. The fact that this discussion and disagreement are occurring is proof that there’s nothing cultish going on here. EP has made an argument regarding EVs and you’ve disagreed with him. It’s all good and we’re all better off considering these points. Sheesh, lighten up a bit.

      • Eric, this guy is just another obnoxious, entitled poltroon duckspeaking garbage out of his piehole. Typical electric car fanboi. He sanctimoniously drones on about what “most people” do and how a Bolt “only” costs $23K “all day long”. As if all a car has to do is last out the six years that “most people” will keep it for. What a pantload.

        Even if we assume his Bolt pricing is true (doubtful), he completely ignores the huge mass of people who don’t have even $23K burning a hole in their pocket for a new car. Many, many people can only afford a couple of grand for a vehicle and may have to take out a loan even for that. An 8 year or 100K mile warranty on an electric car battery is utterly meaningless to people who buy 15-year-old cars with 150K-200K or more on the clock. By the time an electric car becomes truly affordable on the used market the battery will be dead, dead, dead and the car headed for scrap. (His attempt to equate an electric car’s battery replacement with the battery used for the starter on a gasoline powered car is both laughable and contemptible.) Presumably as far as this guy is concerned proles who can’t afford to buy an electric car can take the bus. What a dirtbag.

        • Thanks for the back up, Jason!

          And in re the Mirage: I test drove a new one last year; it’s actually a pretty decent little car and for $14k sticker it is a great little car. All the truly needful options (e.g., AC, power windows and a decent stereo) plus 50 MPG capability. No electric car can touch it if the criteria are economy and practicality.

          • Eric, the beauty is: Even a lowly Mitsubishit is quite capable of lasting 10 years….even 15 if it’s cared for reasonably and not used for racking-up high miles. And it will be much more functional and convenient than a Leaf or similar toy- and the more so as both vehicles age; and will still be going when the Leaf craps out when it is 8 years old….and it cost a whole lot less. Even if one had to put a few grand into the Mitsu, in maintenance and repairs over it’s lifetime, they still come out way ahead of the Leaf in every respect.

        • Hi Jason,
          This guy’s math skills are off as well. Using his figures of $23k and replacing it every six years works out to $2k per year (forever) just for payments. On top of that he’ll have to pay for full boat insurance since the lender will require it (also forever), not to mention excise tax or whatever his state extorts based on the value of the vehicle. My only costs for my 20 year old car are the minimum excise tax and required liability insurance, quite a lot of cash saved over the years.

          • Hi Mike,

            I once “did the math” regarding my cost to own my ’02 Nissan pickup. It is as close to free transportation as I have been able to get. Purchased for $7,500 more than ten years ago; still worth about $3,500 because it’s well cared for and runs and looks great. So the truck itself has cost me about $4,000 over ten years. So about $35/month.

            I spend about $50 a month on gas (two tanks).

            A set of tires every 3-4 years for about $400.

            I just did a tune-up at 140k (distributor cap/rotor, wires, plugs; an Idle Air Control Motor and some throttle body cleaner) Parts – about $100 and my labor.

            My insurance costs are about as low it’s possible to get without not having any. About $300 annually. I pay about $75 in property taxes.

            The cost to “cover” a new $35,000 EV and the tax applied would amount to more by themselves than what I have paid monthly to own my truck, as such.

    • “Consumer studies have proven that the average length a person keeps a bought-brand-new car is 6 years. On the EV in question, the battery is still warrantied at that point.”

      And does the used market just ignores the time bomb battery? That has to be factored in the resale value, so not zero cost.

      • Hi Anon,

        Yup. At six years old, the EV’s battery is about a third to two-thirds used up. It is equivalent to buying a gas engined car with an engine that would be that worn out, that soon – which no one would tolerate. The occasional lemon aside, new IC car engines are hardly broken after six years and most still have another decade of useful life in them. The EV cannot match this longevity, exacerbated by the much higher buy-in cost. The only meaningful “savings” is on gas – and that is negated by the expense of everything else.

    • I love how he just glosses over the fact that they’re selling them at a loss, as if that is completely insignificant. Not to mention what it signifies.

  15. Interesting
    I have a 4 cylinder Subaru and a Tesla. We bought the Tesla because it seemed like a major tech. upgrade. My wife replaced her 10 year old Cadillac CTS with the Model 3. We are boomers, not left-wing and watch our dollars. The capital cost of the Tesla is far above a Civic or Camry, but the maintenance cost is dramatically lower.
    In the last two years, I’ve added air to the tires and wiper fluid. That’s all. The cost of electricity (California has high rates) runs somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 the cost of gas. You’re right, once a high percentage of cars become electric the government with slam on a fee to the registration.

    Lastly, drive one and see if you don’t think that they are more fun than a gas powered econobox.

    • Hi Anon,

      During the first two years from new, the only maintenance item that you normally have with any new IC car would be engine oil/filter and wiper blades. Unless you drive really hard – and really far – the tires/brakes should be fine for considerably longer. But at 8-10 years from new, your EV will be needing a new battery pack and that is going to cost thousands; the equivalent of a new engine in a non-electric car only much sooner (it is unusual for a modern car to need a new engine before it is 15-plus years old).

      As far as “fun” – well, that’s subjective. I find EVs to be stultifying, even if quick. And having to organize your trips around range/recharge isn’t my idea of fun!

      • Hi Eric. I bought my wife a 2020 model 3 in September of 2020 and certainly didn’t do it to save the world. We could have bought a gasoline auto for a lot less money. It’s just that the Tesla fits my wife’s lifestyle. The Tesla is absolutely phenomenal and she absolutely loves it. We got the self driving upgrade and that alone is reason to buy it. She typically drive 20-30 miles a day and charges it maybe once or twice a week in our garage. But her particular car has a 300+ mile range. Electric vehicles aren’t for everybody but in our case it works.

        • Hi LSI,

          I don’t dispute that Teslas (and other EVs) have their draws. But being “economical” isn’t among them. My chief gripe with EVs isn’t with EVs, per se. It is with they way they’re being forced onto the market, part of which effort includes a media campaign of not-telling with regard to the EV’s not-so-great “math.”

          • As I said, EVs are not for everybody. I personally don’t want one for myself, I’m a Toyota Tacoma fan, but for everyday driving for some people they make sense. I would want to make a 1000 mile trip in my wife’s Tesla although with the Tesla network of super chargers it wouldn’t be terrible. As I said, we did’t buy it to save the world or to save money.

        • All that technology for 20-30 miles a day? Daaaarn….I’ve known several people over the years who have done as much on bicycles……

          • Hi Nunz,

            I’ve been watching a lot of Dave Ramsey lately and sound financial decisions (and math) are not something that most people in this country are good with. I’ve certainly made my fair share of stupid financial decisions, but holy cow, some of the stories his caller’s have just tell you the sad state of affairs of a lot of people in this country.

            Now if LSI is in a good financial position and can afford it? Good on ya, knock yourself out with that purchase and enjoy it. But as with all new cars, EV or ICE, “good financial decision” doesn’t compute. But Eric is right with regards to an EV not being more economical than an ICE with regards to the long haul and is right to call out the doublespeak.

            • Amen, c_dub!

              It kills me- 20 year-olds working in factories for $10/hr. driving $65K new trucks….. Douche-canoe relatives of mine who don’t have a pot to pee in throw lavish parties for every little thing; people who make literally ten times what I make can’t come up with a few grand in cash unless they take out a loan! Then everyone complains about being poor, because they live so far beyond their means and are so deeply in debt. Everyone AND their kids walking around with $1000 phones and paying more for monthly service than the car payment on their perpetually-traded new car…..and no one has anything to show for it, ’cause it’s all depreciating crap or stuff that had no value to begin with…. (Why did you get me started?!) 😀

    • Most fun I have ever had was in a MK1 Golf ‘econobox’. A car you actually had to drive.

      If ‘ludicrous’ acceleration is your desired metric, buy a big bore bike.

      The Golf was fun because it was light, nimble and UNDERPOWERED. Thrashing it at the limits was fun and satisfying because it was you making it happen, not some $9/hr Indian coder when you push the GO button. May as well play Forza if that satisfies you.

      Teslas and EVs in general are like watching porn. Real cars are like having actual sex.

    • Under the right set of circumstances (such as having a large garage with a 220v line), I believe an electric vehicle might make sense as a second or third car. I think there are few, if any, scenarios in which it makes sense to buy one as an “only” car.

      Personally, I can’t afford one, don’t want one, and have no way to charge one.

      • Hi Publius,

        An case can certainly be made on economical and practical grounds for a simple “city” EV capable of going say 30 miles and back on a charge that costs less than $10,000 – the problem is such a car would be limited to “city” service and not “ludicrously” fast or sexy.

  16. [Sigh]

    **” the battery is warrantied 8 years or 100,000 miles”**
    Yeeesssss? That is what Eric said- The car which you pay nearly double for (Double the cost of it’s ICE counterpart) “expires” before the damned thing is even 10 years old- whereas it’s cheaper ICE counterpart will still have a lot of life left. (And this isn’t even taking into account that the performance of the EV- i.e. it’s range on a charge, will be diminishing over time, long before that 8 year/100K mile period period is reached).

    **”– most people will not keep the cars that long so battery replacement is a non-issue”**

    Non-issue? Maybe if you print your own money or work for Uncle Joe. The rest of us tend to sell our vehicles when we’re done with them. Compare the price of a used 8 year-old EV to a used ICE car of similar size and quality. So you pay MORE for the EV up front…but it is worth substantially less when you sell it than it’s ICE counterpart, which cost maybe half of what the EV cost when it was new…but at 8 years old is still retains 35-40% of it’s value….while the EV may not retain 10% of it’s value, because it is at end-of-life. Tl;dr: You lose many thousands.

    And this isn’t even taking into account the astronomical cost of repairs- especially to electronics- when something goes wrong with the EV after it’s out-of-warranty- if you can even find anyone who can work on the damned thing. Nor does it take into account that the manufucturers only support the car’s software for a limited time- so, like a Microsoft operating system on a computer, once the corp stops supporting your software, you’re on borrowed time- and the next time something goes wrong….DUHHH-duh-duh-duh DUHhhh! [<–Music. Not making fun of your specialness]

  17. Good points, but misinformed….take the Chevy Bolt for example, the everyman EV:

    – the battery is warrantied 8 years or 100,000 miles
    – most people will not keep the cars that long so battery replacement is a non-issue
    – the car brand new is actually cheaper than the $35,xxx you quote; Chevy is offering brand new Bolts with 0% APR for $23,xxx all day long, there are hundreds of them for sale since everyone wants a Tesla instead…just look at eBay or the classifieds…

    So, this argument is pretty faulty because you can get a new EV (Bolt in this case) for the cost of a normal gas car (if not cheaper) and you’ll never need to worry about the battery as long as you dump the car by 2028.

    • Jeff,

      Anyone who buys a $35k car and “dumps” it for a new $35k car after eight years is someone who does not understand what saving money means.

      PS: A new Nissan Versa stickers for about $15k. So even if we use your $23k figure, the EV is still a massive money loser.

      • Ok, so you sell the car before the battery needs replacement. Who wants to buy a car that only has a year or two before they need to replace the battery? Hence supply and demand… the price you sell the car for will be really low. So the resale value actually reflects a big portion of the cost to replace the battery.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Here’s another way to look at this. One can buy a brand-new small sedan like a Nissan Versa for about $15k – that’s sticker, without the grotesque subsidy given to the “buyer” of the EV. The Versa can reasonably be expected to run reliably, without needing a major repair, for 15-20 years. Whether you want to keep a car 15-20 years is immaterial; the point here is that it is economically because functionally feasible to do so. Not so much the EV, which after ten years will have depreciated so much that replacing its $4k-plus battery is simply not worth doing. This is why one can buy five-year-old Leafs for a third what they cost new.

      And: Even at the end of 15-plus years, the Versa is likely to still be running and viable as someone else’s car – and so worth around $2k or so as a beater.

      Do that math.

      There is no economic case to be made for owning an EV. Of course, that is true for many other specialty/niche vehicles. But the difference is the EV is subsidized by people who don’t want to be parties to the purchase and then people are subjected to obnoxious virtue signaling about how “cool” and “green” their EV is.

      • See my other generalized comment above, just posted a second ago. Beyond that, I get what you are saying. Consider this Eric Peters, maybe your obvious spite for EV owners is influencing your logic and reasoning. Maybe not all EV owners think they are “cool” and “green”. Maybe they are just normal people that don’t have a passion for cars and don’t care like you and I do so they just buy an appliance, plug in, never visit the gas station…an automotive appliance for the masses. That’s not me. I drove a friends new Model Y a few weeks ago and I was like “meh, this is boring”. I restored and sold four gasoline cars last year for fun. I love the way the car sounds and feels when you shift from 3rd to 2nd and floor it. I like the sunroof open and the smell of gas fumes as I cruise along. As I type this my hands are all cut up from removing the exhaust manifold and cleaning the EGR on my old Honda project. I’ve never owned an EV. But if I went and bought one right now for whatever reason it’s sad that I’d automatically be lumped in to your group of “obnoxious virtue signalers” when really I might be the kind of guy you’d enjoy a beer with on the back porch.

        • Hi Jeff,

          My spite isn’t directed toward EV owners so much as the EV mandates and subsidies. Take them away and the “market” for EVs goes away. More broadly, I loathe the way EVs are being used to force non-EVs off the road and so make driving a privilege of the affluent elite.

          • Eric, you’re misinformed again. Subsidies go away once a certain volume is sold and many EV automakers have long since passed that threshold and guess what people are still buying EVs. Affluent elite? The average cost of a new car is about double what you can get a new starter EV for.

            • Jeff,

              If you’re not counting the subsidies, and if dealers (not GM) are selling Bolts advertised at $35k-plus to start for $23k “all day” then it is clear the things can’t be sold but are being given away. Discounts of this size are the smell of death – ordinarily. But EVs linger because they are kept artificially alive by subsidies and mandates.

              A Versa (not Corolla) costs $15k to start – and can be sold at that price without losing money. Odds are good it will run without requiring any major repair for at least 10-12 years if not longer (I have an 18-year-old Nissan pick-up that still has its original clutch; I’ve never done more than routine maintenance and the engine/transmission still work as new).

              There are certainly valid reasons for buying an EV; just not economically valid ones.

            • There are layers of subsidies. The tax break to buyers that expires after a manufacturer reaches X units is but one layer. The leaf’s development got so much subsidy from government it makes Elon Musk’s company look small time and free market by comparison.

        • Jeff,
          So what’s the point of the EV then? It doesn’t “save money”- it costs more (In initial purchase; depreciation; insurance; repairs; etc.)
          It isn’t “green”- as it requires just as much energy be generated and used as any other vehicle of it’s weight and performance- It only gives the appearance of being green, as the emissions are in someone else’s backyard instead of at the driver’s tailpipe….
          They’re not more convenient- they are less convenient. Yada, yada,….
          So they have one thing going for them: They can be fast (Which means ‘less green’ just as much as if I floor the pedal on my V-10)- only the EV driver is cheered by the ignorant for being “green” while those same people would curse me- not realizing that we are both doing the very same thing…..

          So what exactly is the point, other than spending extra money to virtue-signal and to be titillated with ‘the latest technology’?

          You’re criticizing Eric, but you’re not refuting his points, nor making any real case for what you say…..

          • “You’re criticizing Eric, but you’re not refuting his points, nor making any real case for what you say…..”

            Forget it Nunz. If they don’t recognize that on their own, their is ZERO chance they will accept the assessment from others. It’s a D/K low infested world.

            This place is awesome for the wide range of displayed logical deficiencies, self delusion, crippled cognitive faculties and arrogant ignorance.

            I wish this access to this kind of data back when my scratched my dissertation into the clay tablets.

    • At some point auto manufacturers are going to need to make money on battery EVs. Real money. Real margins. GM is not making the required margins, probably losing money, selling Bolts for $23K dealership price with an 8 year warranty. There’s no way they are making the margins of even a plain white bare bones fleet pickup or even whatever they sell to the rental car companies these days let alone something that would be on dealer’s lot. It’s a simple question of what goes into a battery EV that shows me they aren’t making the necessary gross margin to stay in business on these things.

      This is why there is such a push to make ICE vehicles so much more expensive through regulation and taxation. It’s to artificially level the prices.

      As to batteries crapping out, the Leaf has extremely poor resale value because its batteries don’t hold up. The second owner is usually looking at that huge bill so nobody wants to pay much for them.

      • Just compared kbb blue book price for 2011 Toyota Corolla vs 2011 Nissan Leaf.
        both base model, both good condition, 117,000 miles, both even painted white.

        Toyota Corolla $3,236-$4,525
        Nissan Leaf $575-$1,385

        It’s even worse when you consider the Leaf was 33k new and the Corolla was 21k.

        • Hi Rich,

          Yup; and – I routinely see Corollas from the ’90s on the road, in use as daily drivers. These are 25-plus-year-old cars and they are still giving reliable service. No EV can touch that.

          • Eric,

            My brother in law is a mechanic at a honda dealership. As you are probably well aware there are times when people are not kind to their vehicles and he will on the odd occasion get a 12 to 15 yr old civic or accord, or even crv in with a blown motor but nothing else really wrong with it. 99% of the time the motor is blown by negligence and not the fault of the components. In almost every case the owner just wants to get rid of the car but not pay to have it towed away. My brother in law will give them $500 to $1000, get a used motor for a few hundred from a totaled vehicle, replace the motor himself and sell those cars for at or near book value and always make money. You could never do that with an ev. Also i’m curious as to what the environmental impact will be with scrapped or totaled ev’s in a few years with those battery packs sitting out in the elements for long periods of time.


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