Are Electric Cars Worth It?

Are Electric Cars Worth It?

In 2019, do you know what’s gaining momentum like a steam train?  ELECTRIC CARS. 

No matter where you are, you are bound to see an electric car driving down your street. As battery prices continue to drop year after year, prices for both new and used electric cars are becoming more affordableAt the same time, fossil powered automobiles are getting more efficient in their gasoline and diesel variants. The question at the end of the day remains…
 
Are electric cars worth it?
 
In this post, we’ve analyzed five different types of automobiles. They are: gasoline, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric. Below, we’ve broken own the key pro’s, con’s, and running costs associated with each.
 

Let's Start With ALL The Options...

gasoline cars

Vehicle Option #1: Gasoline

Gasoline automobiles are and have been, the most common type of automobile. Over time, they have become cheaper and more efficient.
 
Many of todays ordinary automobiles can get fuel efficiencies that can compete with hybrids. Take a 2018 Hyundai Elantra SE from 2018, a standard base model car that gets 40 mpg on the highway. No turbos, no battery, nothing… just an ordinary 4-cylinder automobile.
 
In January of 2019 with an average cost of 2.24 per gallon for 87 octane, it costs $31.41 to fill a 14 gallon tank. Quite affordable for most people and not something you’ll find to be expensive in the long term.
 
Let’s have a look at both the pro’s and con’s of gas powered automobiles:
 

GOOD:

  • Drive for long distances
  • Fills in less than 5 minutes
  • Cheapest option

BAD:

  • Many mechanical parts which could break
  • Emits pollusion
diesel cars

Vehicle Option #2: Diesel

Diesel is the dirtiest fuel of them all. While it may not be common in Canada and United States, you’ll likely see it in most other countries. A great portion of this world uses diesel powered automobiles due to the excellent fuel economy they can get.
 
Many popular German brands (like Volkswagen) have perfected their turbo diesel engines. Take a Volkswagen Golf TDI as an example, at around 50 mpg on the highway… it would take around $36.62 to fill a 12.5 gallon fuel tank (based on $2.93/gallon average diesel price). 
 
When you calculate the full tank of fuel with the average mpg, you could travel 625 miles. That would cost you around 0.058 cents per mile. If you drive the average 1,000 miles per month, it should cost you under $60USD.
 
Not bad at all!
 
Let’s have a look at the pro’s and con’s:
 

GOOD:

  • Drive for long distances
  • Fill-up in less than 5 minutes
  • Engines tend to be more reliable in the long term

BAD:

  • Highest polluter
hybrid cars

Vehicle Option #3: Hybrid

Hybrid automobiles are here to stay, that’s a FACT. Year after year, more manufacturers are introducing hybrid vehicles to earn carbon credits. Many do it only for credits, while others aim to provide the most efficient and environmentally friendly cars to their customers.
 
There’s a demand for that.
 
Almost 10 years ago, you could get a Toyota Prius which could get 50 mpg in the city and mid 40’s on the highway. It was the leading vehicle when it came to fuel efficiency. Since then, manufacturers like Hyundai are taking a strong stance. While hybrids cost more than both gasoline and diesel automobiles (when brand new), they become much cheaper in the used markets.
 
The average fuel capacity of most hybrid cars is 8-10 gallons. Looking at todays 87 octane prices (of $2.09/gallon), a full 10 gallon tank would cost $20.90.
 
Did you know that the most efficient hybrid of 2019 is the Hyundai Ioniq!
 
Yep… it can get 59 MPG on the highway and 57 in the city. If we were to calculate 10 gallons x 59 MPG, you’d get 590 miles on a single tank (or about 0.035 cents per mile). As you can see, hybrids are cheaper to fill, can go longer distances, and are MUCH better for the environment. We are getting closer and closer towards being emissions-free.
 
Now lets learn the main pro’s and con’s:
 

GOOD:

  • Cheap fill-up costs
  • Highly fuel efficient drivetrains
  • Usually very reliable long term

BAD:

  • Often cost more brand new
plug-in hybrid cars

Vehicle Option #4: Plug-In Hybrid

When the first main-stream plug-in hybrid hit the market, people had mixed feelings about it. Chevy introduced their Volt in 2011 with a class-leading 35 miles of EV range. This was something people could use for their commutes to work or for errands around town.
 
After the Chevrolet Volt started to sell, plug-in hybrids have been taking-off at a steady pace.
 
While quite pricey at first, years of depreciation have made many PHEV’s affordable. From the Volt, Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi, and many others. A big majority of people who own PHEV’s do more city driving than anything else.
 
People have a strong desire to spend ZERO on gasoline, even if they do short distance drives. PHEV’s give them the opportunity to charge at home and do their basic tasks without burning a drop of fuel. For the times when you need to drive long distances, there’s a gasoline engine that will take you there.
 
Let’s have a look at the pro’s and con’s associated with PHEV’s:
 

GOOD:

  • Most give you enough EV range to never burn a drop of fuel
  • Good fuel economy when battery depleted

BAD:

  • Can be pricey at first
  • Most only do level 2 charging an can take hours to charge to 100%
Model S P100D

Vehicle Option #5: Electric

Let’s take a look at what we had 10 years ago, there were few EV’s to choose from. Tesla and Nissan paved a way towards luxurious and affordable EV ownership.
 
In 2011, the Nissan Leaf was an expensive proposition that many people could not justify. Now in 2019, that same Nissan Leaf has gone from costing near $40K to under $10K.
 
The magic of depreciation.
 
In the last 8-9 years, hundreds of thousands of EV’s sold in both USA and Canada (not to mention Europe). Popularity has grown to such an extent that, most places have at least a couple EV’s roaming around.
 
The argument of affordability and driving range is becoming more invalid each year. A lot more people can afford one today than back in 2011. Also the average driving range of an EV is over 100 miles per charge, with some going well over 200.
 
Like with anything, there’s pro’s and con’s. Let’s find out what they are for electric cars:
 

GOOD:

  • No pollution
  • Save money in fuel expenses
  • Some are very fast
  • Easy to drive

BAD:

  • Upfront costs are highest
  • Range anxiety 
2018 Hyundai Elantra SE
2018 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel LT
2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue
2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Base
2018 Chevy Bolt EV LT

Doing the Math

What i’ve done below is pick five different automobiles in each category (gas, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric). Each vehicle is the best representation for each category. I picked BASE models and have applied government and state tax credits where necessary.

Have a look:

  • #1 is 2018 Hyundai Elantra SE (MSRP: $20,950, mpg City 32, Highway 40, Combined 36) 
  • #2 is 2018 Chevy Cruze Diesel (MSRP: $25,620, mpg City 31, Highway 48, Combined 39) 
  • #3 is 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid (MSRP: $22,200, mpg City 57, Highway 59, Combined 58) 
  • #4 is 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (MSRP: $33,400, mpg City 44, Highway 40, Combined 42, Electric Range 47 miles) 
  • #5 is 2018 Chevy Bolt EV (MSRP: $36,620, Electric Range 238 miles, Battery Size 60kWh) 

Fuel Costs Compared

monthly ownership cost of all types of vehicles

Financing Compared

As you read the list below, the cost per month is an estimate only. Things such as sales tax, interest rates, down payments and purchase prices can vary significantly. 

These figures are calculated without a down payment. 

buying cost on a monthly basis

What Now?

There many reasons why one could justify getting an electric vehicle. Whether it’s cost savings, eco-friendliness or keeping up with the latest trends, it needs to make sense for YOU.
 
If by now you are a bit confused, i’ve broken down two different examples. Number one being cost savings and number two being eco friendliness. Each one has all vehicle categories mentioned above, ranking from #1 being the best to #5 being the worst.
 
*Both monthly financing and fuel costs are combined.

Cost Saving Perspective:

  • Number one from a pure cost saving aspect is going to be the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid. You’d be spending around $475.71/month for 60 months (until vehicle is payed off).
  • A close second is the 2018 Hyundai Elantra SE. It will have a monthly cost of around $478.43 for 60 months (until vehicle is payed off).
  • Number three is the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. Monthly cost associated with owning that car for 60 months is $587.85.
  • Next up as number four is the 2018 Chevy Cruze Diesel. It came out to be around $587.85/month for 60 months.
  • Last in this list would be the Chevy Bolt EV which equalled out to $604.25/month for 60 months.

Eco-Friendly Perspective:

  • Number one is as you’d expect, the electric car.
  • A close second would be any kind of plug-in hybrid vehicle (ideally with range of 20+ miles per charge).
  • Number three is a hybrid vehicle that consumes less than 10 gallons of fuel per fill-up. 
  • Next up in number four is a standard gasoline vehicle.
  • Last in this list would be any kind of diesel vehicle.

In Closing

Thanks for making it this far!
 
We went through each category and identified their pro’s and con’s. Then we took each model and calculated the cost of ownership. And finally, you saw each ranked from #1 to #5 for cost savings and eco-friendliness.
 
If you ENJOYED reading it, please consider sharing this post with your friends. Also, if you have any feedback or questions, leave a comment. 

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