For the time being, some electric vehicles (EVs) are more expensive to buy than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. However, that higher upfront cost is mitigated in other ways.
When it comes to fueling, maintaining and keeping your vehicle long-term, EVs perform better in every category (not to mention that they also perform better on the road).
Let’s explore five different ways EVs actually save you money.
Not every vehicle is one that the government will “pay” you to buy, but many EVs fall into this category. Of course, you still have to purchase the vehicle, but the federal government will give you a tax credit of up to $7,500 if you and the vehicle both qualify for it.
To see if you and your vehicle of choice qualify for the purchase incentive, you can visit the website of the Internal Revenue Service or the US Department of Energy to check. The dealership you are buying from will also likely have information on purchase incentives.
Many states also have rebates and incentives for EVs or EV chargers in addition to the federal government’s incentives.
Commercial EVs have their own set of purchase incentives.
Lower fuel costs
Aside from having zero tailpipe emissions, the most obvious advantage of driving an EV is the ability to fuel it without having to stop at a gas station.
Most charging of EVs happens at home and/or at work and the price for electricity is much less than that of gasoline.
In 2021, the annual average retail price of electricity in the US was approximately 11.18 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Compare that to the average price for gasoline in 2021, which was $3.01 per gallon.
Since it can be difficult to compare gallons to kilowatt hours, Car and Driver performed a study in 2022 where they directly compared the cost to drive an EV version and an ICE version of the same model of car.
They compared a Hyundai Kona to a Kona Electric, and a Mini Cooper Hardtop two-door to a Mini Electric to see how the vehicles measured up against each other head-to-head.
Over a three-year period, they compared data like purchase price, maintenance costs and fueling/charging costs.
In the fueling/charging department, the EVs were less costly to charge than the gasoline-powered vehicles were to refuel over 45,000 miles.
With an EV, you are also able to control when you charge your vehicle. Many electric companies offer cheaper rates in the evenings, overnight, and on weekends during off-peak hours when demand is lower.
Some Level 2 home EV chargers like the Blink HQ 200 even let you schedule your charging so you can take advantage of off-peak hour rates.
Fewer maintenance costs
EVs have fewer moving parts than ICE vehicles. Fewer moving parts mean less of a chance that a part will break, as it’s usually the moving parts that break first.
Compared to the hundreds of moving parts of an ICE vehicle, an EVs drivetrain only has a handful. On top of that, EVs require a lot less routine maintenance. You can say goodbye to oil changes, filter replacements, periodic tune-ups and exhaust system repairs.
The electric drivetrains that propel EVs require infrequent maintenance. Often, an EV can drive for tens of thousands of miles before needing any maintenance. You’re likely to need a tire change before you need any work done on your EV’s drivetrain.
EVs have better performance than ICE vehicles. Acceleration in an EV is basically instant, meaning it requires the vehicle to use less fuel (electricity) to get the vehicle moving quickly than an ICE vehicle.
If you’re the type of person who treats every green light as the start to an imaginary race, you will save a lot of money in an EV based on the superior performance.
Even if you’re not a “lead-footed” driver, though, you can appreciate the better performance and almost instant torque.
According to the US Department of Energy:
“EVs convert over 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 12%–30% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.”
If you love superb performance in a vehicle, you have to love that statistic.
Long-term vehicle ownership
Remember that section about moving parts?
It’s not just routine maintenance to an ICE vehicle’s hundreds of moving parts that cause costs to go up. Over time, each of those hundreds of moving parts wears down and fails, driving up the cost to maintain the vehicle the longer you own it.
Eventually, the fuel pump, the alternator, the spark plugs and a whole host of other ICE-specific parts will need to be repaired or replaced, meaning the longer you own your vehicle, the more expensive it is to maintain.
EVs don’t have any of these parts, therefore they don’t factor into the long-term costs of owning one.
A 2020 Consumer Reports study found that savings over the total lifespan of an EV can range from $6,000 all the way up to $10,000 when compared to similar ICE vehicles.
While EVs may cost a bit more to purchase (for the time being) the incentives to buy them are numerous. These range from actual government incentives to better performance, lower fueling and maintenance costs and longer lifetime value. Pair your EV with the right Level 2 home charger and you’ll get even more value for money. The future is, as we like to say, electric.