I have been doing some research on the cost of ownership of an electric vehicle. I thought I would share some of my findings to anyone who is
For the TLDR crowd, there are quite a few hidden costs, non-obvious future issues, and the decent tax rebates and incentives are expiring literally
after less than a year of the first availability. After the success of the EV1 (and it being literally crushed out of existence, but that's another
story), why is it now so relatively difficult to produce and own a cheap electric car?
The lease on my car is running out in December, so I have been considering whether to keep my car (pay off that remaining value), or sell it (myself,
not dealer rip-off trade in) and get another new car, or even a used car.
I have been considering getting an all-electric car for some time now. Since I currently have a Nissan, I get lots of spam snail-mail from them about
new car models, including the Nissan Leaf which is an all electric vehicle.
I have been seeing lots of ads lately for the Nissan leaf. In almost all of the ads and promotions, they mention that the high price of the vehicle
(over 30k) is offset by various federal and state tax credits,rebates, and other incentives. Here is an example of the credits, rebates, and
incentives available for Arizona:
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit An income tax credit equal to 50% of the cost of electric vehicle recharging equipment capped at
$2,000 for individuals and $50,000 for businesses.
: Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit
: An income tax credit equal to 50% of the cost of electric vehicle recharging equipment capped at $2,000 for individuals and
$50,000 for businesses.
: www.nissanusa.com... www.afdc.energy.gov...
: New Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicles
: An income tax credit of zero to $7,500 for the purchase of a new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle.
: www.nissanusa.com... www.afdc.energy.gov...
: Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Income Tax Credit
: Income tax credit of zero to $75 per each installation to be claimed by individuals and businesses.
: Reduced Annual License Tax For Electric Vehicles
: License fee reduced to a minimum of $5 per year to be claimed buy purchasers/owners of EV's.
: Electric Vehicle Single Occupancy HOV Lane Use
: Unlimited use of HOV lanes by vehicles with Clean Fuel license plate
: Electric Vehicle Parking Preference
: Ability to park in carpool spaces without penalty to benefit drivers of EV's.
So their sales pitch is, "Buy an electric car, it's zero emissions, cheap to maintain, cheap to fuel, and with all the tax credits it costs way less
than the 30k base price". What they do NOT make obvious is:
* The biggest federal tax credit offer expires on 12/31/2011, and will also be ended when and if 200,000 units are sold.
* The other federal tax credit offer expires on 12/31/2010.
* You will have to pay an additional $99.00 fee to have a certified technician come to your home to assess and determine if and where a charging
station can be installed.
* You will have to get a dedicated 220/240v 40A circuit installed to charge the Leaf. You cannot use your dryer circuit, or install the circuit
yourself. It must be a brand new, dedicated circuit, installed and certified by an electrician approved by Nissan. Expect this install to cost around
$700.00. You will also have to pay around $50.00 for the electrical permit.
* You will also have to purchase the home charging unit and cables that will connect to the dedicated circuit, expect this to cost around $750.00
* You will have to pay for a certified installation of the charging station. Expect this to cost around $1400.00. There is no apparent way to make the
installation cheaper, regardless of any pre-existing circuit you may already have. Even if you already have a 240v circuit only inches away from
where the charge station will be located, they will still charge you the full installation price
, this has been confirmed by many people who have
already gotten quotes and the work done!
* the total cost for the charging circuit and hardware will cost around $2,500.00
. Hopefully you will get the $2,000.00 tax credit at the end
of the year which will help offset it.
* The electricity to fully charge the leaf will cost about $3.00 which gets you ~100 miles (for comparison gas to fill my Nissan Altima costs about
$30 and gets me over 400 miles)
* The battery pack supposedly lasts 5-10 years. No obvious details on how the efficiency or capacity of the pack will degrade during that time (if it
totally stops working in 5 years, what shape will it be in after 2.5 years???)
* Even using the 240v charger, it will take around 8 hours to recharge the Leaf.
* There are planned "quick charge" stations which output 480v DC and can recharge the Leaf to 80% of its capacity in 30 minutes.
* While you can plug the Leaf into a normal 110v outlet, this is considered only a "trickle charge" to keep the battery topped off. Don't expect to
recharge your car while you are at work, it will take over 16 hours to recharge to 80% via 110v!
* There are not yet any of the 480vDC quick-charge stations in Arizona. I know of at least one that is planned for the Phoenix area, but construction
has not begun yet.
* No obvious details on the price of getting the battery pack replaced after 5 years, or sooner if it degrades to the point of not being useful