Are Electric Cars More Expensive? 


Many people I know are very hesitant to buy electric cars because they see Teslas and think that they will never be able to afford that kind of electric car. Are electric cars really more expensive than any other gasoline-fueled sedan or truck? If you end up buying an electric car are you going to spend more or less money than if you were to buy its internal combustion-engine cousin?

Are electric cars more expensive? Electric cars are not necessarily more expensive. Depending on what brand and model of electric car you buy and what non-electric vehicle you are comparing it to, you can actually end up saving quite a bit of money with an electric car. There are many electric cars nowadays that can be purchased brand new for $25,000 to $40,000.  

There are many factors besides the initial price that should be considered when making the purchase of the vehicle because, over time, all of those other expenses are going to add up. Considering things like fuel prices, maintenance costs, and resale value can help you get the idea if the true price of one car is going to be better than another. 

What Is The Initial Purchase Price?

The honest truth is that most electric cars are going to have a higher initial price. You can find new internal combustion-engined cars for anywhere between 20 and 25 thousand dollars while your average electric car will be between 30 and 40 thousand new. Electric cars are still on the rise in popularity and with so much of the technology in electric cars still being developed and new, you usually will see this initially higher price. 

Even with conventional cars, it is not uncommon to see luxury cars or bigger vehicles like trucks be up in the price range of 70 to 100 thousand dollars. Nicer electric cars, like Teslas, for example, will also be up in a similar price range. It really comes down to what you expect. The higher the price is with an electric car usually means that the car will have better mileage, which may be needed depending on what activities you enjoy doing. In conventional vehicles, a higher initial price usually converts to a fancier interior or more powerful engine. 

Cost Of Fuel

It would be pretty hard to not notice that the price of gas has increased over the past few years. Every time you go to a gas station to fill up you can’t expect it to be cheap. Most sedans with 30 mpg and only a 12-gallon tank will cost you around 40 dollars to fill up. If you drive an older vehicle that gets less mpg or even say a truck that will have even less and usually bigger gas tanks, you could be looking at prices from 50 to even 100 dollars every time you go to fill up the tank. 

I am sure you get the idea that it can get really expensive to fill up your car, but how does charging an electric car compared to that? Just like the size of your gas tank will affect the cost of filling it up, the size of the battery on your electric vehicle will affect the cost. The average cost of 1 kWh is $0.13 in the US. This means that if you have an electric vehicle with a 100 kWh battery, it is going to cost you around 13 dollars to completely charge the battery. And this would be the price if you are charging your car at home. 

Having an electric charging station installed in your home can be a great way of saving money with electric vehicles. Installing an electric charging system has a fixed price when you buy it and it will last much longer than your electric vehicle ever would, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it. I will be going into more depth concerning what it would cost you to have an electrical charger at home at the end of this article. 

If you were to use a charging station then there will be extra fees that apply so it will end up being more expensive. According to Mach1 Services, the average price of a public level 2 charger is between $0.20 and $0.25. Using a level 3 charger will be at an even higher price per kWh usually anywhere from $0.40 to $0.60. The total price to charge a 100 kWh battery would end up being between $20 and $25 if you were using a level 2 charger. The price of fully charging a 100 kWh battery with a level 3 charger would end up being $40 and $60 dollars. 

From a fuel cost standpoint, you can potentially save quite a bit of money with an electric vehicle. If you stick to using level 2 chargers and even more chargers just from home, you can end up saving quite a bit of money. The cost of fueling your electric vehicle for the week can end up being cut in half or even end up being a third of what it would cost you for gasoline. Think about this from a standpoint of looking at an entire year and that can add up to a few hundred dollars in savings, something an internal combustion car could never give you.

Cost Of Maintenance

The cost of maintenance is a big thing to consider when making the purchase of a vehicle, whether it is electric or not. The cost of maintenance can vary significantly depending on the manufacturer of your vehicle. With gasoline-fueled cars, there are many components of the vehicle that need maintenance compared to an electric vehicle. Gasoline-fueled vehicles need air filter changes and oil changes quite often, whereas electric vehicles need neither of these things. Maintenance on electric vehicles is relatively low. 

According to AAA, the average maintenance on an internal combustion-engined vehicle will be around $1200 a year depending on the amount you drive it and who the manufacturer is. This all comes from tires, oil changes, and parts breaking. The cost of maintenance can be significantly higher if you end up breaking something like an engine, transmission, or radiator. Luxury cars like Audi or Mercedes-Benz are going to be even more expensive because they require higher grade oil and parts. 

On the other hand, electric cars don’t have to worry about all the fuss of doing oil changes and they don’t have many complex components, so big expensive parts don’t often break down. AAA estimates the yearly cost of maintenance on an electric vehicle to be somewhere around $949. Again that comes down to the cost of possibly new tires and if something in the car does go wrong and there are needed repairs. 

Resale Value And Total Cost Of Ownership

Resale value isn’t something a lot of people think about when they buy a car, but it is a very important factor when buying. When you resell your car, you have an automatic way to get some of the money you spent back. Choosing to purchase a vehicle that has a good resale value versus one that doesn’t can be the difference of as much as thousands of dollars. How does the resale value of conventional vehicles compare to the resale value of electric vehicles? 

Your average conventional vehicle will depreciate by about 39% and after three years and a truck will depreciate about 34% after three years according to hotcars.com. The first year is always the worst with the vehicle losing about 20% of its value. According to Carfax’s data, they state that according to its data a car will lose about 15% of its value after the first year. That means that a vehicle that was bought new for $40,000 will be worth about $16,000 after five years.

The sad truth about electric cars is that their resale value plummets very violently. Most electric vehicles will depreciate by 52% in just three years! In only three years, an electric car is losing more than half of its value, which is insane. This is true with pretty much all electric vehicles except for Teslas. Teslas hold their value well, especially due to the high demand for them among electric cars. Their depreciation rate resembles more closely to a conventional car. 

Taking into account those two differences in depreciation, you really need to calculate how long you plan on driving a vehicle. If you are planning on driving either vehicle until it dies, then you have a better chance with the conventional car because most electric vehicle batteries won’t make it past 8 years. Even if you are only planning on driving a vehicle for about 5 or so years before you resell it, the conventional vehicle is going to have a better resale value. 

The market for used cars is really good right now and you should be able to sell your conventional vehicle at a good price. But when dealing with electric cars, there isn’t much of a market for them, again other than Teslas. When you buy an electric car new, there are usually a lot of rebates and benefits that come with it. Some of which you don’t get when you buy an electric car used, and this draws a lot of people to want to buy new electric vehicles. 

When looking at the true cost of a vehicle, conventional vehicles have electric vehicles beat by a long shot in this category. Electric vehicles can save you money when it comes to fuel and maintenance but don’t count on getting a lot of money back through reselling your electric vehicle. A conventional vehicle that is 6 or 7 years old can end up fetching double the amount of money that an electric vehicle that began at the same price will give you. 

Installing A Charging System At Home

When you are driving an electric car all day, you will most likely want a charging system at your home so you can wake up every morning with a car that is charged and ready to go. Electric vehicle charging stations at home can be expensive to install but in the long run, they can save you a lot of time and money because otherwise, you will have to use public chargers. Electric vehicle charging systems aren’t exactly cheap but how much exactly are we talking about? 

The exact cost of the EV charging system that you want to install is going to depend largely on the type of charger that you are going to want to install. There are three levels of chargers, 1-3. As the number increases, the speed at which the charger charges your car increases as well. But as the speed of the charger increases, so does the price of the charger. 

Level 1 chargers are fairly cheap seeing that they just use the standard 120V electricity that is in your home. For this reason, you can get a level 1 charger for anywhere from $0 to $300. Yes, you can get a level one charger for $0, a lot of electric cars come included with chargers that just plug straight into your outlet at your home. Other level one chargers can be pretty simple to install as well since you just have to mount them to the wall and then plug them into an outlet. Because of that, there shouldn’t be any cost for installation unless you need to route a new outlet or something like that. 

Level 2 chargers will cost you anywhere from $300 all the way up to $1200 dollars. Level 2 chargers are super convenient and can charge your electric vehicle’s battery almost three times as fast as a level 1 charger can. Level 2 chargers are hooked up to a 240V outlet, so if you need one of those then make sure to first see if your home’s electrical system can support it. Don’t be afraid to talk to an electrician if you aren’t sure what to do for the installation itself. The fee for the labor and installation of the charging system will usually be anywhere from $400 to $1000 depending on where you live and who you have to do it for you. 

For level 3 chargers I will start off by saying that they can be insanely expensive. Level 3 chargers are the fastest by a long way adding around 150 miles worth of charge to a battery per hour of charging. Level 3 chargers usually start around $12,000 and some brands even sell them for upwards of $50,000. Yes, that is much much more than level 2 or level 1 chargers. You could buy a second electric car for that price! Installation adds another $1000 or so depending on the breadth of the work that needs to be done to your home’s electrical system to support the level 3 charger.  

What it really comes down to is what type of charger you want at your home. A little warning I would give when considering what charger to install in your home would be that level chargers charge electric vehicles at such a rate that could damage the car’s battery at a faster rate than normal. No matter what charger you use your car battery is going to deteriorate but the fast charging done through the level 3 charger causes this process to quicken. 

Not only do level 3 chargers cause your vehicle’s battery to deteriorate more quickly, but as explained above they cost significantly more than a level 2 or a level 1 charger. I would suggest the level 2 charger if you want to install a charging system at your house. The level 2 charger charges the vehicles at a reasonable pace while still being somewhat reasonable with the price. Level 1 chargers may be free in some cases but you may have to wait up to multiple days for your car to be fully charged if the battery is completely empty.

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