Calculating cost benefits to electric cars is tricky

CODA Says Electric Car Benefits A Good Deal To Many

CODA’s Aaron Cohen, Senior Director of Marketing at CODA Automotive says determining cost/benefit analysis is trickier than with a traditional gasoline car but achievable nonetheless.

Rates, Projected Savings. Aaron says that by driving 75,000 miles over a five-year period and using the current average gasoline price of $4.67 per gallon here in California, don’t smirk, your price hike will come too, if you calculate electricity at around $0.12 per kWh, then CODA’s total cost of ownership is $1,374 cheaper than a compact gasoline car like a Honda Civic EX and $3,110 cheaper than a hybrid like a Toyota Prius.

CODA feels confident it has taken the most reasonable, holistic approach by factoring in all of the key TCO elements and uses the Edmunds True Cost to Own calculator. Of course, not everyone drives 75,000 miles in five years with an average 125 mile range but for many, this is feasible.

By including depreciation, fees & taxes, incentives, financing, insurance, maintenance, repairs, charger purchase & installation, and fuel costs, most current analysis omit was costs of depreciation. It’s a critical factor for any consumer’s buying a car and the real problem comes with predicting gas prices rise, and comparing it to how much an EV drivers would save in the future. Another point not often made is that of fuel efficient cars’ value on the used market appreciates as gasoline price rises. This explains why used hybrid prices have remained comparatively high.

It’s All About Added Convenience. Another benefit that rarely makes it in the calculation is added convenience. It’s not easy to calculate the true cost of plugging in at home, not wait in line for a gasoline pump or look for the cheapest gasoline available. How much are people willing to pay to not be stuck in traffic? Not only would many pay for toll roads but EVs have access to carpool lane access in California. It’s hard to quantify the time saved, the increase productivity and added quality of life this brings.

Free Parking, Home Charging. Free preferred parking, as with the Los Angeles airport, means a real savings of $30 a day. Add to this 96% EV owners conveniently charge at home overnight, never to stop at a gas station, calculating the time and energy saved is difficult.

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EVs Are Fun To Drive. Now for the fun part, EVs are fun to drive. Can we put a price on how a car can make commuting enjoyable and efficient? In other words, is there a way to bring into the equation that feeling of not using petroleum, not stopping at a gas station, knowing your energy bills fuel your local economy? The famous EV grin that is given by the instant torque and acceleration, energy-regenerative braking, and enviable passing speed is something EV drivers understand well but is hard to tabulate. It would be interesting to put on a price on being stuck in traffic, the amount of frustration, breathing tailpipe emissions and just missing out on productivity at the office or quality of life home.

Energy Security To The U.S. Transportation. Aaron argues that EVs are good for our country. The Achilles heel in our energy and transportation policy is that everything relies precariously on a single fuel source, petroleum. To make it worse, much of it comes from foreign sources. Putting all our eggs in a single basket is a recipe for disaster. Not only does this present a tremendous security and economic risk, but also we are tributary to stock volatility, overseas price manipulations and more. On the contrary, EVs use stable home made electricity, with the added value of being 100% produced domestically including, renewable energies.

2 To 3 Cars In Households. CODA argues that present-day American households and driving patterns means 34% have one vehicle, 58% have two or more vehicles. In a recent University of Texas study, the GPS data collected a year’s worth of driving data from 255 Seattle households. The data showed an electric vehicle with 100 miles of range meets the needs of 50% of one-vehicle households and 80% of multiple-vehicle households. This included charging once a day and relying on another vehicle or public transportation just 4 days a year.

Calculating the total cost of ownership is not an easy exercise but is a critical factor for drivers considering a plug-in. There are many personal and collective benefits added on top of price and range. In this case, I feel CODA has struck a great balance between a car with sufficient space and cargo, range, performance and ease of use, considering the amount of technology it packs.