Consumer’s Union: EVs cost a lot less per mile

Consumer Reports published an article on Thursday that confirms what most of us already know: EVs are cheaper to run than ICE vehicles. A lot cheaper.

 

Consumer Reports published an article on Thursday that confirms what most of us already know: EVs are cheaper to run than ICE vehicles. A lot cheaper.

The consumer watchdog conducted tests of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, and calculated operating costs based on the national average price of electricity, 11 cents per kWh. It found that the Leaf costs just 3.5 cents a mile to drive, while the slightly heavier Volt costs 3.8 cents per mile in electric mode. In gas mode, the Volt got 32 mpg, comparable to a medium-mileage gas burner such as the Toyota Corolla. The most fuel-efficient non-plug-in vehicle, the Toyota Prius hybrid, cost 8.6 cents per mile in CU’s test.

So, what’s the catch? Plug-ins cost more to buy. A lot more. A Volt goes for about $44k, and a Leaf for about $35k, while you can have a Prius for about $27k. Even that represents a premium over the most fuel-efficient legacy vehicle, the Toyota Corolla ($18k, 11.9 cents per mile). So choosing a Leaf over a Prius will cost you eight grand more up front, a sum that would probably take the average driver almost ten years to recoup. Of course, the more miles you drive, the shorter the payback period, which is why taxi companies and other fleet operators are already steadily phasing out the old technology in favor of hybrids and/or EVs.

The direction of the future seems clear, but the timing is anything but. With battery technology improving slowly, and both oil and electricity prices unpredictable, it’s anybody’s guess when a production EV will achieve the magical payback period that makes it start flying off the lots.

 

Image: Chevrolet