The Costs of Electric Cars: Upfront Costs vs Long-Term Savings

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If you’re anything like many of us in the green business scene, then making the leap from buying fuel-efficient vehicles to considering the purchase of an electric car for yourself or your business isn’t a very big one.

The long-term fuel (and environmental) savings can be quite considerable, which helps bolster the economic argument for choosing electric cars over gas vehicles. But as most of us who’ve looked at the price tags for new EVs can attest, the upfront costs of electric cars can be considerable, even with recent drops in pricing for new models.

Buying and operating an electric car can still be a very viable option for many people, and worth the initial outlay to invest in a cleaner, greener, and yes, more affordable, option than conventional gas cars.

The folks over at CoverHound put together a graphic about the costs of electric cars (below), along with this additional information:

Counting the cost of electric cars

When it comes to the auto industry, it’s clear that more consumers are liking electric vehicles and other alternative fuel choices. Touting long mileage on a single charge and the promise of never paying at the pump, drivers might be excited by the potential savings on gas and maintenance.

What drivers need to consider are not only the long-term fuel savings, but the upfront costs as well. While some electric vehicle models are competitive with their non-EV comparisons on the market, the luxury Tesla Model S comes in between $71,070 and $91,070.

In terms of insurance, electric cars are less expensive for the most part. That may be because insurance companies view EV drivers as more responsible, and therefore less likely to get into an accident or get a traffic violation. For example, the Chevy Volt costs an average of $1,452 to insure for one year, while its non-electric counterpart, the Cadillac CTS, is $2,024. The Nissan Leaf – which was the most popular electric vehicle in 2013 – has an average of $1,513 for a year-long policy, compared to $1,801 for the Nissan Altima.

However, not every electric vehicle is cheaper to insure. In general, new technology – like that seen in electric vehicles – can come with a pricey repair tag. While it depends on which policy you have, switching from a Ford F150 to a Chevy Volt can raise your insurance rate by as much as $200.

Fuel economy is where electric vehicles shine, with the Nissan Leaf costing an average of 3.5 cents per mile and the Chevy Volt with an average cost of 3.8 cents per mile. By comparison, the Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra cost 11.9 cents and 13.1 cents per mile, respectively.

Based on the overall cost of owning – including depreciation, taxes and fees, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and tax credits – the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are less expensive to own over four years than the Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra. As these vehicles continue to improve with new technology, it is likely that more consumers will flock to these automobiles in the hopes of saving money and cutting their carbon footprint.



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