Electric Vehicles Vs Gas Powered Vehicles

Seeing as I am quite seriously considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, I decided to do some cost comparisons of electric vehicles to comparable gas powered vehicles.

The four specific vehicles I chose to compare ON PAPER (I did NOT drive any of these vehicles – this is strictly a numbers comparison) were the:

  • Mercedes GLE
  • Tesla Model X
  • Toyota Yaris 5-door
  • Nissan Leaf

As you can probably guess, I compared the Mercedes to the Tesla and the Toyota to the Leaf.

I based mileage calculations on people driving 20,000 km per year with gasoline priced at $1.35 a litre and electricity at $0.20 per kilowatt hour. The Mercedes MIGHT require a higher grade of fuel which would cost more per litre.

The Mercedes GLE has an upfront cost of $138,000 – that is the cost with all the upgrades I added to it to make it as comparable to the Tesla as possible.

The Mercedes GLE –

  • Fuel economy of 17.3l/100km means 3460 litres used per year.
  • Fuel tank capacity of 93 litres means a range of 535 kilometres – if you run the tank dry.
  • Based on $1.35 a litre for regular gasoline, it will cost $23.36 to travel 100 kilometres.
  • At $1.35 a litre that is $4671 in fuel cost per year for 20,000km of travel.

The Tesla Model X, equipped similarly to the Mercedes GLE described above has a price tag of approximately $200,000. It could be more slightly more.

The Tesla Model X – 

  • Battery capacity is rated to take you 465 kilometres – if you go to an “empty tank”.
  • Fuel economy is more difficult to ascertain but based on the figures supplied on the Tesla website which assumes a price of $0.20 per kilowatt hour, it will cost $4.20 to travel 100 kilometres.
  • Continuing with the $0.20 per kilowatt hour, that is $840 in fuel cost per year for 20,000km of travel.

For me, the extra $60,000 up front cost would probably make me lean more towards the Mercedes than the Tesla. However, many people who have driven Tesla electric vehicles say that the driving experience of the Tesla is significantly more enjoyable than any other car on the road. Still, $60,000 more up front…

So, if you are like me and more likely to be considering the purchase of a 2017 Toyota Yaris 5-door or a Nissan Leaf as a new car, here are some facts on those cars.

The Toyota Yaris – 

The approximate price of a 5-door Toyota Yaris is just under $20,000. You can drive that price up by adding some options.

  • Fuel economy of 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres means 1320 litres per year.
  • Fuel tank capacity of 44 litres means a range of 670 kilometres – again assuming you are going to run the tank dry ( not advisable).
  • Based on $1.35 a litre for regular gasoline, it will cost $8.91 to travel 100 kilometres in a Toyota Yaris.
  • At $1.35 a litre that is $1782 per year in fuel costs per year.

The Nissan Leaf SV –

The mid range electric vehicle in the Nissan Leaf series costs approximately $39,000 although you can get a base model Leaf for just under $33,000. When you deduct the $5000 BC government grant AND the Scrap-it grant of $6000 (a grant you get if you hand over your current car) the price of a $39,000 Leaf drops to approximately $28,000. Obviously, the $33,000 Leaf will drop to $22,000.

  • Battery capacity of the Leaf is rated to take you approximately 150 kilometres – that’s to a fully discharged battery – similar to a gas powered car, not advisable!
  • The cost of charging a Nissan Leaf – at this time is pretty minimal – I call these the “golden years” of owning an electric vehicle because so many of the charging stations are still free (yes – this is almost guaranteed to change in the coming years but for now, many public charging stations are still free).

One of the really important issues to get over when considering the purchase of an electric vehicle is “range anxiety”. The reality is, the vast majority of drivers travel 50 kilometres or less per day. And, if you do travel significantly more kilometres a day, well and EV probably isn’t for you!

The bottom line, if you are considering a high-end luxury SUV like the Mercedes GLE, you should consider the Tesla Model X as an alternative. Yes, the initial cost is significantly higher, but the cost of fuelling the Mercedes is $4671 a year compared to the $840 a year for the Tesla.

And the case for the Nissan Leaf is even more compelling. $28,000 up front and virtually no cost for charging…compare that to the $20,000 Toyota Yaris which is a fuel miser in its own way, but will still cost about $1800 a year to fuel.

And finally, I have not even considered maintenance costs. There are no oil and lube jobs for electric vehicles and no tune-ups to change spark plugs or other filters. Another cost saving.

Looking at the dollars involved and my driving habits, I know that my next car will definitely be an electric vehicle.

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2 Responses to Electric Vehicles Vs Gas Powered Vehicles

  1. Robert says:

    Another consideration is that you can drive an electric vehicle in the HOV lanes which saves a bit more money but also time.

  2. Pat says:

    I think one of the most overlooked benefit of owning an EV is the maintenance costs. I have owned an EV for 5 years now and have spent no more that $25/yr on maintenance – total cost over 5 years of less than $100. Imagine going into your dealer or repair shop with your gas car – and hearing the mechanic tell you that your “whatchamacallit” is getting worn out and needs replacing (and freaking out about how much that will cost you) – that vanishes with an EV – and is such a blessed relief!!!

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