Cost Of Ownership
All-Electric Vehicles (AEVs) have a fraction of the moving parts of gasoline vehicles and are very reliable. That means no oil changes, no spark plugs, catalytic converters or other emissions equipment. They also use fixed gears instead of transmissions which further reduces maintenance. As a result they only need to be serviced once or twice a year to check vehicle systems and rotate the tires.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have internal combustion engines but still require less maintenance than typical gasoline cars since the engines are used less often and regenerative braking systems save wear and tear on the brakes.
Below are several resources to help calculate estimates of cost savings with electric car ownership and potential long term issues associated with vehicle batteries.
Go Further with an Electric Car
The calculator tool below estimates how switching to an EV could save on fuel costs by estimating how far you can go for the same price as a gallon of gasoline. The default values reflect current average Vermont electric and gasoline prices from the US Energy Information Administration. These are customizable to better reflect your costs and vehicle efficiency. Your electric utility may offer special off-peak rates for EV charging to help lower your costs even further!
Gasoline Vehicle: 24 miles
Electric Vehicle: miles
Going electric will give you more miles for the same price as a gallon of gasoline.
Estimated annual savings
The annual cost comparison shown below is based on the above cost and efficiency information combined with estimated annual vehicle use of 12,000 miles per year.
Gasoline Vehicle: $ a year
Electric Vehicle: $ a year
Estimated savings after driving an EV for one year
EV savings over 5 years
Here’s an estimate of how much it would cost to own an EV or gas vehicle over five years with the details you’ve provided. You can save big when you switch to an EV!
Gasoline Vehicle: $ over 5 years
Electric Vehicle: $ over 5 years
Estimated savings after driving an EV for five years
EV Operating Cost History
The chart below compares the average monthly cost of driving electric versus gasoline prices over the past 6 years. On average, driving an EV is the equivalent of about $1.50 per gallon of gasoline. EV costs are also much more stable since the state regulates electric utility rates. Adding up the potential savings over the past five years, an average Vermont driver could have saved about $2,000 with an EV, or even more if they are able to access an off-peak EV charging rate offered by several Vermont utilities.
Use the U.S. DOE Alternative Fuel Data Center’s Vehicle Cost Calculator to compare the total cost of ownership for EVs and other types of vehicles:
The U.S. DOE also has a special calculator for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs):
FuelEconomy.Gov PHEV Calculator
The U.C. Davis EV Explorer also offers a handy calculator to consider your commute costs for electric and gasoline vehicle options:
How much will I save with an EV?
In addition to savings on fuel noted above, electric cars also have lower maintenance and repair costs. A Consumer Reports study estimated electric vehicles could cut typical maintenance costs in half when compared to gasoline powered vehicles, with an average savings over the life of an electric vehicle of $4,600. Higher mileage drivers and fleets may see greater savings - for example New York City is experiencing an 80% reduction in maintenance costs with all-electric vehicles in their fleet to-date.
One reason for this is the regenerative braking systems used in electric cars. These allow for energy to be recovered and stored back in the battery as the vehicle slows down - a boon to efficiency and this also reduces wear and tear on the mechanical braking systems. Some electric cars even offer "one pedal" driving modes that start regenerative braking as you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal - great for when you're stuck in traffic.
Want more information? The Edmunds True Cost to Own calculator may also be helpful if you're looking to figure out how much owning a specific electric car model might cost.
Think of your time as money
You can save a considerable amount of time when you no longer need to drop your gas guzzler off at the shop for regular maintenance. Gas powered vehicles require about 25 more maintenance events in their lifetime.
Replacing your EV battery system
If you intend to keep your car for longer than 8- to 10 years (after your manufacturer warranty expires), there may be an additional cost to owning an EV: replacing your vehicle’s battery system. Currently the estimated cost of replacing an EV battery pack can range from $5,000-$10,000 or more. This would likely be the largest maintenance expense an EV owner will incur. Here’s the good news:
You might pay much less than that:
Battery prices are expected to drop considerably in years to come as EVs become more mainstream. As producers of lithium ion batteries invest in improving technology and manufacturing processes to compete in growing markets for EV components, many industry analysts are predicting prices to drop substantially over the next decade.
You might be able to reuse your battery:
In some cases a marked drop in EV range can be caused by a small number of individual cells within the EV battery pack. Automakers and independent companies are developing new businesses to refurbish/remanufacture these cells at much lower cost than a full replacement.
You might be able to sell your old battery:
EV batteries will still have substantial energy storage capacity beyond their useful life in vehicles—and markets are emerging for their use in stationary energy storage. For example, respected international business consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently published an article on second life applications for EV batteries to support different aspects of electric grid operations.
See our incentives page for details on EV incentives currently available to Vermonters.
Financing or leasing an electric vehicle
Financing an EV purchase
Most electric vehicle automakers have options available for financing and leasing through their dealerships. In addition, you can obtain an auto loan from credit unions, banks and other sources if you would like to handle financing separate from your dealership transaction.
VSECU, a statewide credit union in Vermont, offers a special financing program for electric vehicles. The Green Vehicle Loan offers lower rates and extended terms to help make financing electric, alternative fuel or high fuel economy vehicles easy. Learn more about the Green Vehicle Loan at VSECU.
Lease through a dealer
There are excellent lease options for many electric vehicle models and currently about 60% of Vermont electric car owners choose to lease. A two or three year lease can help you take advantage of the latest developments as they are available while also reducing concerns about resale value and long term battery performance. An added bonus is the federal tax credit usually gets immediately passed through the lease agreement instead of your annual income tax filing. Our blog has additional considerations of leasing versus purchasing and dealers and automaker websites can provide more information on leasing options and pricing.
Have a Question?
Drive Electric can help you with any cost or ownership questions you might have. Get in touch!