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- If you’ve been paying attention to the development of electric vehicles for long enough, you know that there are endless factors that go into how clean, dirty, cheap, or expensive they are.
- To give buyers an estimate, the Anderson Economic Group released a paper trying to understand the real cost, in time and money, of switching from gas to electricity.
- While the study authors pointed out a number of legitimate factors that make charging electric vehicles longer than buying gasoline for your car, what they did not do is post an honest and realistic look at how easy it is for some people to reload. It is an exercise in finding practical ways to minimize the pros and highlight the cons.
The last “Electric vehicles are scary!” study is over, and this one is a doozy. A new article from economics consulting firm Anderson Economic Group (AEG) is doing new things by trying to understand the full spectrum of costs associated with switching from a gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. The problem is, the perpetrators can’t hide their biases in their quest to tell everyone that gasoline vehicles can refuel in less time than it takes to charge an EV.
For example, based on gasoline prices in Michigan, where AEG is based, the study states that the “direct monetary cost to travel 100 miles in an internal combustion vehicle (ICE) is between $ 8 and $ 12. $, and in an electric vehicle is between $ 12 and $ 15. “This sounds alarming, and the results show that regardless, it costs more to fill up with electricity than gasoline.
But take a closer look at Table 2, and you’ll see that three types of gasoline cars are listed: entry, mid-range, and luxury. For EVs, there are also three columns, but these include a mid-priced EV and two luxury EVs (one that’s “mostly” charged at home and one that’s more often charged on a public charger). In other words, any cost benefit associated with purchasing an entry-level electric vehicle is not included in this table.
More importantly, the study assumes strange habits for an EV driver who charges “primarily” at home. So bizzare? The study assumes that it takes 2.5 minutes per day to charge using an installed home charger. It seems a bit too long, but if we accept their assumption and use an average 30 day month, we can see how they calculate that home charging consumes 75 minutes of time per month. But the newspaper doesn’t use 75 minutes as an example of home charging. Instead, it also assumes that people with in-home charges actually make 40% of their charges at a public commercial station. This allows the study to state that they spend 4.5 hours per month recharging their car.
Charging at home or away from home
The ability to charge at home is key to the cost of ownership equation, and we would expect the charge rate for many EV owners to be closer to 90/10 percent in favor of charging at home. residence. Over the past two years, our long-term Tesla Model 3 has been running at a 55/45% split in favor of home charging, and we expect our numbers to be on the high side of commercial charging as the ours are constantly trained. by people who do not have a 240 volt connection at home and who also make long journeys.
Here is another example of the less than honorable methodology of the study. The paper argues that charging an EV takes longer than a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. That’s true for anyone who can’t charge at home – and it’s undeniably a real problem – but then, in order to calculate the dollar cost of the extra time it takes an EV driver, the authors assume an annual salary of $ 70,000. According to the Social Security Administration, however, the national average salary index for 2020 was just over $ 55,000. ZipRecruiter says the average annual salary of a US national is just over $ 74,000 per year, but also says that “the average salary range … varies widely (up to $ 52,500 ). ”
Either way, using the highest estimated salary, the study authors are able to show that electric vehicles “cost” more because they assume that every minute of time it takes to charge is worth more money. than if they had used a lower annual salary. Practice.
Next, let’s see how the authors of the study treat “free” public chargers. They admit that these options exist, but then say they “recognize that [‘free’ chargers] involve a cost that must be paid, and which may be included in property taxes, tuition, consumer prices, or investor charges. [the free chargers] using commercial rates. Well, isn’t that convenient? And you can probably guess how they treat the various free charging packages that some car makers offer with the purchase of a new electric vehicle. It’s true. Instead of seeing it as zero cost, they set it like other commercial tariffs.
Consumption vs Efficiency
There is more. Although the paper mentions that “electric vehicle buyers typically receive a level 1 charger with their car purchase,” they still include a $ 600 fee to purchase one in their cost statement. They also make another blunder when calculating the amount of power needed for each vehicle. Although they cite our article on pressure drop, they apparently forgot to read the one on consumption versus efficiency, as they use the combined efficiency figures from the EPA in their calculations – these already include the pressure drops – then add another 88% factor to account for the load. losses. The outcome of the double counting reduces costs by more than a dollar a coin between $ 11.72 and $ 12.97. And if you assume home charging in a 90/10 percent split instead, the cost of the luxury electric vehicle drops to $ 10.50 per 100 miles, handily beating the gas-powered luxury example. As we also pointed out, the commercial load percentage makes all the difference, as our Model 3 is no cheaper to power than our long-term BMW M340i when it is still charging on the much more expensive public chargers.
The authors at least admit that what they’ve created here isn’t exactly a scientific study, noting that they include data from electric vehicle drivers “posted on forums for Taycan and Tesla drivers; Reddit; and applications serving electric vehicle drivers such as PlugShare and ChargePoint. “In other words, all the squeaky wheels that went to file a complaint got the grease here, while all the people who had uneventful charging sessions – and therefore didn’t post – were ignored. Practice.
Perhaps most practical, however, is how the Anderson Economic Group paper ignores any mention of emissions or climate change. Say what you want about this hard-to-calculate number, but it seems misleading not to at least bring it up.
And it’s not like no one has tried to calculate the different emissions between ICE vehicles and EVs. The recent Polestar Life Cycle Assessment comes to mind.
To be fair, completely seamless charging of electric vehicles remains a pipe dream for most people. Changing the world’s transport infrastructure takes time and it’s complicated. The examples the newspaper cites of broken or non-functioning charging stations are very real. The paper can argue that for people who are unable to charge at home, electric vehicles present problems that gasoline vehicles do not. “Dead miles” when you have to do your best to find a charging station can be overwhelming and should be taken into account.
Conclusion: do the math yourself
The best thing to do, if you want to know more about the real costs of charging and driving an electric vehicle, is to find an online calculator from a trusted source (some utilities offer these to their customers) and to grab yours. information. It’s also good to read this article to see how some people will frame the debate. The auto industry must absolutely continue to have honest discussions about the difficulty for some drivers to charge their electric vehicles. This document, however biased, should not be taken as part of this discussion.
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