Print 11 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Jun 12 at 5:42 PM

New web tool called eGallon hopes to spur interest in electric vehicles

The majority of car buyers around the country are staying away from electric vehicles. Many shoppers like the idea of not having to purchase gasoline and reducing pollution, but all modern electric vehicles have significant issues that are too major for the vast majority of shoppers to overcome. The main problems with the electric vehicles currently on the market include cost, short driving ranges, and long charging times among others.

Many areas in the United States also have little or no electric vehicle-charging infrastructure. The annual Electric Drive Transportation Association annual conference was held in Detroit this week and automakers used the conference to talk up their effort to improve charging times. During the conference, the U.S. Department of Energy also launched a new interactive tool on the internet to help illustrate cost savings between gas and electric vehicles.

The tool is called eGallon and makes it easier for consumers to compare the costs of driving each type vehicle. The web tool currently says that costs owners of electric vehicles pay about $1.14 in electricity to drive as far as 1 gallon of gasoline, which costs approximately $3.84 a gallon.

“Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle. The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs, and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle. It also shows the low and steady price of fueling with electricity,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Not only can electric vehicles save consumers on fuel and reduce our dependence on oil, they also represent an opportunity for America to lead in a growing, global manufacturing industry.”

GM and BMW also announced during the conference that they have reached the milestone on the path to adopting a new automotive industry standard for DC fast charging. The two companies are working on a joint venture for fast charging systems that will work for both the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle. The system is being tested and could charge electric vehicles up to 80% of total capacity in only 20 min.

Source: Detroit News

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Issues with price
By othercents on 6/12/2013 9:34:11 AM , Rating: 2
but all modern electric vehicles have significant issues that are too major for the vast majority of shoppers to overcome.


RE: Issues with price
By Mint on 6/12/2013 10:04:16 AM , Rating: 2
Price is mostly solved now with the Spark and price reductions of the Leaf. $200/mo + $30/mo in electricity is cheaper than lease+gas for any comparable gas car. If you don't lease, then financing comparisons gives you similar results when including fuel cost.

The big thing is range. This DC fast charger GM and BMW are collaborating on looks promising. 80% in 20min is pretty good for the days where 80 miles from overnight charging isn't enough.

RE: Issues with price
By bitterman0 on 6/12/2013 3:04:24 PM , Rating: 3
Are you sure financing EV vs "comparable" gas car is similar? Just checked on

2013 Nissan LEAF S 4dr Hatchback $28,106 ("Net CarsDirect Price" for SoCal ZIP Code)

2013 Honda Fit Base w/5-spd Manual 4dr Front-wheel Drive Hatchback $15,863 ("CarsDirect Price" for SoCal ZIP Code)

Assuming 0% interest (for simplicity, there's no such offer available for either of the vehicles, and in the end it all depends on the buyer's credit score and ability to haggle with the dealership), the cost difference (without sales tax) runs to $12,243. With CA sales tax the difference is a bit more: $13,345 .

Honda Fit's combined fuel economy is 29 MPG ( Assuming the car is driven 50 miles on week days (e.g. commuter use case), the average monthly travel will be about 1083 miles (52 weeks * 5 days * 50 miles / 12 months). Which will consume approximately 37 US gallons of 87 unleaded gasoline. Gas prices vary wildly across the country, so I'll take one of the worst at the time or writing - LA - $3.99; so the monthly gasoline bill is approximately $149.

Assuming that Nissan LEAF will require $30/month to cover the same usage pattern (I'll take your word for it, for I have no idea), the monthly difference in expenses on "fuel" will be $119.

Let's see... $13,345 / $119 is approximately 112 months or 9.3 years .

That does not strike me like a "similar" financing option at all. LEAF seems like a quite a bit larger upfront investment before it breaks even.

RE: Issues with price
By karimtemple on 6/12/2013 3:20:36 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent work.

RE: Issues with price
By foxalopex on 6/12/2013 5:03:53 PM , Rating: 3
Being a Volt owner this sounds about right. It takes a long time to break even with an EV. That said thou, if you talk to an EV owner, it's nice not having to make the trips to the gas station or changing oil.

EVs are much nicer and easier to drive as well. They typically don't have a clunky transmission system and they normally have a lot of low end torque making the car glide as smooth as glass. This alone wins the heart of many EV drivers.

As for the environment, an EV is definitely better even when run by coal powered electrical plants. It makes our cities quieter and reduces the amount of local air pollution. The last fact alone would likely save hundreds of lives over time. It's something that I've noticed quite clearly as an EV owner. You don't smell exhaust anymore from your own car but everyone else seems to have have exhaust too. As cars age, some folks can't maintain the gas engine properly and they seem to get worse.

But I have to admit in many ways that last point will be ignored by many. Spending a little more to protect the local environment isn't something a lot of folks consider. Spending less to have everyone suffer the same fate or worse seems to be more akin to what we do.

RE: Issues with price
By Mint on 6/12/2013 5:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt has a much bigger price premium than cheaper EVs, but that should come down in the future.

The C-Max Energi has a much smaller price premium over the C-Max SEL ($5000 w/o credit, $1250 with). It has smaller electric range, but still should save $50/mo. That's 2 years payback with credit.

RE: Issues with price
By Mint on 6/12/2013 5:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot about the tax credit. Put aside the politics for now and just accept that from the consumer's perspective he gets that money and it factors into what he pays for the car.

Take out a 1%, 85-month, $28,106 loan, and it's $350/mo. Make a one-time $7500 payment towards the loan in a year, and it's paid off by July 2018 instead (5 years).

For the Fit, a 1%, 5 year, $15,863 loan works out to $271/mo.

Add in fuel costs, and you've got $380/mo for the Leaf and $420/mo for the Fit.

On top of that, with the Fit, auto costs $800 more (auto is on 93%+ of new cars), it'll wear brakes much faster (EVs have regenerative braking), need oil changes, will cost a lot more to run after they're paid off, etc.

(FYI, I used the bankrate loan calculator)

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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