Comparing EV Ownership Costs

Consumer Reports compared regular cars versus EVs and different car models. EVs have far lower maintenance and operating costs than other cars. Tesla’s have longer range and less maintenance than other EVs. Tesla have higher resale value.

The Tesla Model 3 outsold the Toyota Camry in Australia for the first half of 2021.

The Model Y is top selling imported car in South Korea.

SOURCES – consumer Reports
Written By Brian Wang,

16 thoughts on “Comparing EV Ownership Costs”

  1. The European direct injection engines have reverted back to early 1960s level durability, according to what I hear.

    People with the last decade or so DI engines from BMW or Mercedes are finding they need major work on them every 100 000 km, which is something that was obsoleted by 1970, but seems to have returned.

    Partly because DI engines no longer rinse the intake manifolds with the fuel, partly because they use very poor sealing piston rings (reduced friction, improved economy, but increased oil vapour blow by and fuel dilution of the oil) and some other things like torque to yield aluminium bolts, and no longer using locating pins or keys instead relying on precision robot assembly.

    The overall result is that you need to take the engines apart to clean them after 10 years or so, but taking them apart is a huge job requiring lots of replacement parts and lots of special tools, so it requires a specialty shop and costs so much that it's barely worth it on a 10 year old car, and a throw-away issue for the next time around.

    Enthusiasts with highly desirable cars either pay for it, or do it themselves. But standard shopping trolleys are being junked when they look just fine.

  2. The Corolla isn't too bad. The hybrid version is a real sipper, 53 mpg highway, 52 city. It has a 1.8 liter engine, the only CVT I would own, and the promise of Toyota quality, and durability.
    The CX-5 isn't too bad for a crossover. If Mazda would put their skyactiv-X engine in it, fuel economy would likely be best in class, certainly for a non hybrid.

  3. Yeah, rebuilding engines, and body work are beyond me. Too many specialized tools to buy, and skills to learn. Luckily, modern engines, particularly Honda engines, unless they suffer the dread oil dilution, last a long, long time. I don't know a work around for body work! Maybe immigration enforcement? Illegal aliens are notoriously bad drivers.

  4. I'm sure that Biden's actions to impede fuel production, and transportation, and the democrat congress, republican neocons, and Biden's unprecedented deficit spending will result in much higher prices for all fuels. These governmental actions will also raise the price of a kWh of electricity, and most other goods, and services. States are also moving to tax BEVs to make up for the motor fuels taxes their owners do not pay, despite the fact electricity is already taxed.

    At this time shows US gasoline price averaging $3.16, including tax on 8/23/21. It has increased in price 51%(1.07$/gallon since Biden's crooked election). Anticipation of what his administration would likely do raised fuel prices before he made his first inflationary bad decision. Like they say, the wisdom of markets.

  5. Battery pack materials can be recycled (and 'refurbished' batteries will have lower environmental costs than nowadays initial battery packs on identical construction and material usage), that's difficult with today's carbon dioxide emitting fuels (and methane leakages with exploration on oil/natural gas).
    Me wondering why there is low interest combining best of both concepts with regenerative braking and also integrating improved filters for lubrication liquid?
    48 volts starter-generator combinations could improve situation for a Civic even more (with photovoltaic solar array) and low upgrade cost (for increased life time for a high mileage ic engine to extend with lower burdening)?
    What to expect from a 7-16kW starter-generator and 2times 25-50pounds battery on mileage?
    What's the invest You would be willing or able to add for environmental health support?

  6. Very much so. If it doesn't involve the engine coming out or major panel beating then it's easier and faster to do work myself, as well as cheaper.

  7. You need insurance to cover your own car where you live?

    In the places I've been, you need to cover other people's injuries. And you could get sued if you have a crash and don't have enough to cover their property. But your own car is up to you. Nobody else cares if your lamborghini gets totalled and you don't have insurance.

  8. Same here. I've wanted a bev since I was in high school in the 1970s, and realized how superior electric motors were to internal combustion engines. However, the cost of operation of a vehicle varies wildly with the owner's skill level. Some will claim they do not have the time, but it is quicker to change your own oil, than to take it somewhere to have it done. Many other maintenance tasks are the same way.

  9. In cold climates (eg: in Calgary where I live) it is standard to have a plug by each parking spot for block heaters. Slowly charging overnight wouldn't be a problem there. However, the effect of cold on battery performance means in such places a plug in hybrid would likely be the best option.

  10. I am all for BEVs, but I'm also pragmatic. You make a lot of good points.

    BEVs will eventually get to parity with ICE, but the infrastructure to to support BEVs is not here yet.

    However, it is coming quickly. Frankly, quicker than I imagined…

  11. i think access to home chargers will be the big bottleneck. What portion of people live in multi-family buildings where such infrastructure is exceptionally costly. It will be interesting to see where this business plateaus (perhaps a chance for FCEVs to catch up??)

  12. I paid $10,400 new for my civic VX in November of 1992. It now has nearly a quarter million miles on it, and still renders 45 mpg on the highway, where most of my driving is done. Not only that, it came with a spare tire, and a jack!

    It's had 3 sets of new tires, innumerable oil changes maybe 30, four, or five batteries, three, or four spark plug replacements, a couple of new distributor rotors, a set of new spark plug wires, four or five v-belts, two timing belts, water pumps, and timing belt idler pulleys, a brake master cylinder, a radiator, one set of radiator hoses and a distributor.
    The cost of these parts, and the labor to have the timing belt, water pump, and idler pulley replaced once is estimated at $1900 over 29 years.

    Fuel usage is estimated at around 5200 US gallons. Total fuel cost @ $2.50 per US gallon $13000. From the chart above, at the rate claimed for BEVs my fuel cost was $2700 more than a bev.

    My Civic's current lifetime operating, and maintenance cost is estimated at $14,900, but that is for a quarter million miles. Likely, the lifetime estimated costs in the tables above is for much less than 250,000 miles over 29 years, it's a shame the mileage, and chronological lifetime is not listed. I suspect most bevs on the road today will need a battery pack before they are 29 years old, so I am way, way ahead.

    Beat that Elon, if you can!

  13. It's always assumed ICE car owners pay someone else to do automobile maintenance. I for one do my own, as well as most of my own repairs. I save so much money, and it's tax free. It was like having a part time job when I used to travel 50k miles per year on business, my expense account paying mileage.

    It makes a big difference if you own something like a Honda civic that is several years old. In general there will be a four, or five year stretch of civics that are more, or less identical, so there is a huge after market in parts. For instance, the radiator top hose port broke on 1992 Honda civic VX while I was changing the hose. I bought a magnificent new 3 rows of channels aluminum radiator on ebay for $50, and installed it myself in an hour. I'm ready for death valley now!

    From what I hear, having maintenance done on a Tesla, by them is several years worth of oil, filters, and tires for my Honda. One tire for a model Y costs as much as four for the Civic, and the tires on the civic last for more miles.

    Insurance on the Teslas is absurd, even on the steel body non sports cars. Perhaps because body parts are hideously expensive, take a long time to get, most body shops will not touch them, and there is not yet an aftermarket for parts. Most people wouldn't consider insurance as part of maintenance, but if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. I'd rather have my car break down in traffic, than get dragged into court for not having insurance.

  14. "The Tesla Model 3 outsold the Toyota Camry in Australia for the first half of 2021."
    BUT here is a list of TOP 5 selling cars – what do you notice? How many of these are gas guzzlers?
    1. Toyota Hilux ~45K
    2. Ford Ranger ~ 41K
    3. Toyota RAV4 ~ 39K
    4. Toyota Corolla ~ 26K
    5. Mazda CX-5 ~ 22K
    Not an EV or hybrid to be found even in the top10.

    As for lifetime costs – I need a better breakdown of depreciation, any govnt incentives & battery replacement costs before making a judgement.

    Side note: Brian it would be great to do an analysis on the consequences of electricity & gas prices if more people go to solar (esp as 6-10kW systems become affordable) – including costs of replacing the panels in 20 years (assuming get full lifetime use)

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