Saturday, October 01, 2022

No, EVs are NOT now as expensive to run as ICE cars

You read a lot of stuff from bloggers, or bad news reporters who think they have found a scoop, about how electric vehicles (EVs) are now just about as expensive to run as gas cars, if not more so. The latest such claim appeared in the Globe and Mails Report on Business this weekend.

The article specifically quotes research by British roadside assistance and insurance company RAC, which says that the research shows that charging costs in Britain have increased hugely in recent months (true), and that "the cost of driving one kilometres on battery or gasoline power is almost identical (false, see below).

What the RAC research actually shows, if you can be bothered to seek out the source and not blindly believe hacks with axes to grind, is that the recent huge increases in energy prices (and a fall in gas/petrol prices there) has indeed narrowed the gap. But the devil, as always, is in the details. The RAC's figures show that, if an EV driver exclusively uses commercial fast changers on public roads, they will now pay as much as 18p a mile, due to the recent (temporary?) huge increases in electricity and therefore charger costs. This is almost as much as the 19c price of petrol/gas per mile for someone driving a reasonably efficient gas car (rated at 40mpg).

It does also mention that, if the EV driver charges from home (and over 80% of EV charging is done from home), the cost would only be 9p per mile, even after the price increases. Also, this is all based on UK data, and the UK has a notoriously expensive power grid, certainly compared to North America, which the recent changes have only exacerbated.

This is, then, a far cry from the claim that EVs are now as expensive to run, as well as more expensive to buy, than gas cars. And if you also take into account the large savings on service and maintenance costs for an EV, the comparison is not even close. 

From my own experience, I have calculated that it costs me about C$5 to "fill up" using off-peak electricity at home. That gives me about 450 km range in winter, and nearly 550 km in summer. Try putting C$5 of gasoline in your car at a gas station, and see how far it gets you...

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