Financial Advantages of an Electric Car

Electric Dreams A couple years ago, I had this vision of going completely solar and driving a Tesla to work everyday. While that didn’t quite pan out, I did get enough solar to offset about 25% of my electricity costs each year, and got a used Nissan Leaf. It was a pretty basic model, no backup camera or anything, but it did have one neat feature… no gas! Used Leafs are actually great for an everyday commuting car and around town shopping. Used Leafs can go for about $7k to $10k in SoCal, that is right away a very reasonable vehicle price. The numbers I drive about 36 miles per day each weekday (roundtrip) and my Leaf tells me that I’m getting about 4.2 miles/kWh, so about 8.57 kWh per day used. The Leaf can hold about 24 kWh. The math isn’t perfect, and real world performance is somewhat degraded since there are lots of hills in Southern California. I still think I’m coming out ahead. Since power for me averages around  $0.30/kWh, I can “fill” up my car for about $7.02. That should theoretically get me to work and back more than 2 times, but I’ve never tried to do more than 1 trip because of the hills and the RANGE ANXIETY! So how does this compare to gas? To get to work and back for me costs about  $2.55. Assuming gas is $4.00/gallon, and assuming a regular car averages 30 miles/gallon, that would cost me about $2.70. Not a huge difference, but over a year that is about $600  for the Leaf vs  $900 for a gas equivalent, that’s about $300 dollars in savings over a year and going up as gas prices skyrocket! If you play with the numbers, get a more efficient car, or the price of gas goes down, or the price of power goes up–some of the hybrid vehicles come very close to owning an electric.

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