Is the investment worth it? Analyze the economics of electric vehicles

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – As we see another summer come to an end, this one will be remembered with some infamy due to record high gasoline prices. This added cost of fuel has put more people into, or at least considering, the transition to an electric vehicle, or EV. That’s when automakers are looking to meet that demand by rolling out new battery-powered models.

EVs are already becoming more familiar on the roads of Wichita, so we caught up with three local EV (Tesla) owners to find out what the switch looks like and what it means to drive electric.

Jared Vaughan of Wellington owned two Teslas. He drove an older Model S for about a year and traded it in for a Model 3 earlier this year.

“I mean, I’m definitely an all-day nerd,” Vaughan said. “I kind of accept to change the way my life is. It’s just kind of intriguing. They said in the year 2000, and I’m 41, we were supposed to have float cars, but we don’t have that. So an electric car is the next best bet.

Vaughan said it was like most other cars he drove, with a few more bells and whistles and quirks.

“How deep he (Elon Musk) went, I mean my car can fart. He had too much fun with that one,” Vaughan said. “You can do the light show and color your car.”

Brad Williamson, from Derby, has owned his Tesla Model Y for about a year.

“I wouldn’t consider myself an early adopter at this point, anything in my life. This is the first thing I got before a lot of people. I think it’s great to see more EV options, more people driving electric cars. I think, especially because Tesla is probably the high end of the market in terms of price, it will be other options that are considered more affordable,” Williamson said.

He said it took a bit of persuading to go electric when he was considering buying a new car last year.

“I was initially not interested in buying an electric vehicle,” Williamson said. “I do 2,000-2,500 miles a month. My car had 250,000 miles. There was a head cover gasket leak so I was looking to get a new vehicle in general. A friend of mine told me that you should consider buying a Tesla. I was like, I’m not buying a Tesla, this is ridiculous. Famous last words.”

Williamson said after looking at some gas-powered cars, he started looking at what EVs could offer and if it was worth it.

“I felt pretty comfortable with the brand and with their concept and proof of concept up to this point,” Williamson said. “I said they got ahead of the market by building the supercharger infrastructure. That was a big part for me is that I have to use it. Superchargers were great. Battery health has been pretty solid. The range, I bought the long range Model Y because I needed more range, and the whole concept was good enough to consider against anything I was comparing it to at the time- the.

Since the purchase, his son, Bryce, has become a huge fan.

“I wasn’t entirely sure of them. I was like ‘another car, you get a new car? OK.’ He told me ‘it’s electric, it can drive itself’. Then I was like, “I have to learn more,” Bryce Williamson said. “Now I know almost everything.”

Brandon Devlin of Wichita has been driving his Tesla Model 3 since last December.

“Just enough where I’m past the rookie stage but I’m still learning things every day,” Devlin said.

Devlin said he had been considering buying an electric car for some time, and last year things lined up where it worked.

“I’ve always been kind of into the tech world, smartphones, smart home tech, all that good stuff,” Devlin said. “When I saw Tesla start to gain popularity and some of the technologies behind…

These three Telsa drivers point to cost savings as one of the main benefits of electric driving. Electric vehicles that stand out often have higher sticker prices than their gas-powered counterparts.

“These vehicles aren’t terribly inexpensive compared to some other vehicles, some alternatives, but one thing to consider is the five-year cost of ownership,” Devlin said. “They may be a bit more expensive for the vehicle, but you save so much on maintenance and energy savings.”

Williamson said when he considered buying a Tesla, he sat down and did the numbers. Now that he has one, he still tracks the numbers in a spreadsheet.

“If you do the math, on a 20-mile-per-gallon car, you get about 18, 20 cents per mile. All my driving, highway, city, everything, I get about 4 cents per mile,” Williams said.

“I currently work from home so I don’t drive much but just drive around Wichita, east to west, it’s maybe $1.20 (bill home) per night,” said Devlin. “The last 31 days it was about $30.”

Especially with gas prices this year, it’s a wise investment for these drivers.

“I still have gasoline cars, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t want to fill them up. But I do if I need to,” Vaughan said.

consumer reports looked at the cost of owning an electric vehicle in 2020 compared to driving a comparable gas-powered car. In 2020, when the national gasoline average was around $2.20 a gallon, electric vehicle owners saved $800 to $1,300, depending on car type, for every 15,000 miles, distance average covered in one year.

Consumer Reports conducted the same analysis earlier this yearwhile the national average for gasoline was about $4.30, and found savings ranged from $1,800 to $2,600.

Consumer Reports found that, on average, electric vehicle drivers spend 60% less on powering their cars and half as much on maintenance.

“The car battery under the hood that runs it all, the air conditioner, the windows, and it’s easy to take apart and change out like you would in your normal car. Windshield washer fluid is the only fluid you need to worry about. There’s no oil change,” Vaughan said. “Tires. Tires are probably going to be your biggest expense.

The battery is the main component of concern, but for these three riders, it comes down to simple maintenance.

“Always want to keep your car serviced at a charge. It even says in the manual that a plugged-in Tesla is a happy Tesla because you’re not just servicing the battery you’re sitting on, you’re servicing the battery under the hood. said Vaughan.

“I just try to stay above 10% and not charge more than 90%,” Williamson said. “Other than that, everything I’ve read is really, really simple. I don’t care about hot weather, I don’t care about cold weather. I just come home at night, plug in, put a cap on the battery change.

In 2020, Consumer Reports calculated the lifetime savings of an EV compared to top-selling gas-powered cars.

At the bottom of the scale was the Ford Mustang Mach E with around $3,000 in savings.

On the high end was Tesla’s Model 3, with savings totaling $17,600.

U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted a fuel savings review earlier this year and found that driving an electric vehicle for 15 years could save up to $14,500.

While fuel prices – as we saw in 2022 – weren’t a primary reason for Vaughan, Williamson and Devlin to buy their Tesla, they’re glad they made the investment when they did. do.

“Every Tesla owner I spoke to said, ‘I wish I had done this sooner. I wish I had done it earlier. I wish I had done it sooner.’ Williamson said: “Three months after ordering, I took delivery and I’m glad I got it sooner. It’s a surprisingly good buy.

Now it gets other people asking them to make the switch.

“Let them drive or take a ride with them, and they will fall in love immediately. They always said, “Well, you know, I don’t know if EVs are right for me.” Then they take a ride and they’re sold,” Devlin said.

Car dealerships equipped with electric vehicles are also feeling this demand, such as at Eck Auto Group.

“Huge. Demand far exceeds production. Everyone is curious. Not everyone is ready to do this, but those who are are very happy not only with the quality and the vehicle itself, the production. We could sell them all day,” said Eck Automotive Group Operations Manager Alex Tilma.

Ford is one of the automakers marketing new electric vehicles. The Ford F-150 Lightning pickup filled orders when it launched and people are waiting for delivery.

“About 6-9 months, but if I could tell you if it was worth the wait, it would be. I have fleet companies that have ordered 40 of these things,” said Kyle Eck, CEO of Rusty Eck Ford / Eck Auto Group.

“I like how Ford is doing with the electric version of the F-150 because it’s actually one of their best-selling products, the F-150,” he added. “When people can get in a truck like this, the sticker is $43,000, while some people think an electric vehicle will be $60,000, $70,000, $80.”

The Mach-E and KIA electric vehicles sold by the dealer also left as soon as they arrived.

With this growing demand, there remain questions about what it will all look like.

“There is always a question when you have something brand new. Everyone has a question. I heard about the electrical networks, will they be able to take all the energy? These are the kinds of questions you can probably answer five, 10, 15 years from now, but right now I don’t think you need to worry about the difference between gas and electric,” said Ek.

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