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Old 07-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes, the cost of an EV purchase at the moment is too high, in many cases. Robert Llewellyn has the same guesstimate on why that is -- and like any new technology that has yet to get into mass production, it will be much higher than many people can afford. But, I don't think you can dismiss it for this reason either. The maintenance costs of an EV are virtually nil, and the electric motor should last long enough to let you recoup your money.

In fact, if you do the cost comparison of energy to run and cost to maintain, the EV will easily save you enough money in just 100K miles to more than pay for the new set of batteries that you may need. Newer lithium batteries may well last you 200K miles, and in which case the cost of purchase will be easily offset.

But Mike Boxwell's numbers on carbon footprint approximately confirm the numbers mentioned by Robert Llewellyn -- EV's are 50-60gm/km on the existing UK grid. Mike Boxwell adds the "full coal" number that still slightly better than the gasoline alone. and it is the embedded energy in the gasoline that we need to get a handle on.

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Old 07-08-2010, 05:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
In fact, if you do the cost comparison of energy to run and cost to maintain, the EV will easily save you enough money in just 100K miles to more than pay for the new set of batteries that you may need.
I highly doubt that. Please provide your numbers.

As my post above shows, you can buy 4 NEW Aygos for the price of one iMiEV. You can drive an Aygo til it drops and just buy another one and still be money ahead. The iMiEV will never pay for itself on money saved vis-a-vis a gas car.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Patrick, I did not say you'd save the original cost, just the cost of a new pack.

Using the RAV4 EV and the ICE powered RAV4, and compare the costs for 100K miles:

RAV4 EV has a range of 80-120 miles on it's 27.4kWh NiMH battery pack, and cost about $3 to charge the pack, so

~100miles per charge = 1,000 charges x $3ea = $3,000 for electricity, and $0 for regular maintenance (on the EV drivetrain).

Being fairly generous, the ICE RAV4 can get 25mpg (the actual average of the 6 listed in the EcoModder Garage), so it would burn 100,000 / 25 = ~4,000 gallons of gasoline x $2.75 gallon = $11,000 (if you get 22mpg which is the average EPA Combined, the cost goes up to $12,500 - a increase of $1,500 for the 3mpg drop...)

The difference in energy cost is $8,000. Now for the maintenance, at the dealer:

Minor Service every 5K miles = ~$50 (I actually just paid $63.79 for my Scion xA) x 13 = $650
Intermediate Service every 15K miles = ~$150 x 3 = $450
Major Service every 30K miles = ~$450 x 3 = $1,350
Total for regular maintenance = $2,450

So the total cost difference is $10,450 per 100K miles.

There is also likely brake service on the ICE (EV's use regenerative braking and probably would not), and/or transmission/clutch service, too. The common costs would be for tires, and things like wiper blades, and washer fluid; and so these more or less cancel out.

Now the batteries will likely last longer than 100K miles -- say 150K-200K would be very possible, so adjust the cost savings accordingly: $15,675 - $20,900 plus any major repairs on the ICE drivetrain.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Newer lithium batteries may well last you 200K miles, and in which case the cost of purchase will be easily offset.
I'm very skeptical on this point. They may well last that long, and they may well not.

It takes the average person 16 years to drive that far. We have seen some batteries in the lab that could possibly last that number of cycles, and plenty that don't. I haven't seen Winter and summer shortens a battery's life faster than laboratory conditions, as can underuse and overuse.

If 2/3 the price of the iMiev comes from its battery, imagine what a six year old iMiev with a dead battery is worth.

I really can't see EV's taking off until the price comes down below that of a hybrid, especially considering the EV's disadvantages: larger carbon footprint, limited range, battery depreciation. I certainly wouldn't recommend one to family or friends if they were for sale right now.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Doug was speculating that the cost will come down when they make real battery factories for cars.

But even then, the cost is still largely a function of supply and demand, and not terribly indicative of efficiency.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hmm. My regular maintainence on the Insight for the nine months it's been on the road is up to $24.99 for oil and a filter, plus $165 (would have been $450 at fair market value) for a junkyard battery pack and the equipment to refurbish it. At the dealer, it would have been $50 and $3000. Not really relevant to the topic at hand, but still,
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Matt,

How can the RAV4 EV that gets ~111MPGe have a larger carbon footprint than the 25MPG ICE RAV4? That is less than 25% of the energy consumed, and the carbon from that is no more than 1/3 as much as the gasoline alone; and does not count the embedded energy to produce the gasoline. The source-to-wheels of the EV is about 1/3 of the tank-to-wheels of the gasoline.

The Leaf battery pack will probably cost ~$9,000, and maybe less in 10-12 years when you replace it. The RAV4 EV battery packs have lasted more than 150K miles -- and they are NiMH.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
Patrick, I did not say you'd save the original cost, just the cost of a new pack.

Using the RAV4 EV and the ICE powered RAV4, and compare the costs for 100K miles:

RAV4 EV has a range of 80-120 miles on it's 27.4kWh NiMH battery pack, and cost about $3 to charge the pack, so

~100miles per charge = 1,000 charges x $3ea = $3,000 for electricity, and $0 for regular maintenance (on the EV drivetrain).

Being fairly generous, the ICE RAV4 can get 25mpg (the actual average of the 6 listed in the EcoModder Garage), so it would burn 100,000 / 25 = ~4,000 gallons of gasoline x $2.75 gallon = $11,000 (if you get 22mpg which is the average EPA Combined, the cost goes up to $12,500 - a increase of $1,500 for the 3mpg drop...)

The difference in energy cost is $8,000. Now for the maintenance, at the dealer:

Minor Service every 5K miles = ~$50 (I actually just paid $63.79 for my Scion xA) x 13 = $650
Intermediate Service every 15K miles = ~$150 x 3 = $450
Major Service every 30K miles = ~$450 x 3 = $1,350
Total for regular maintenance = $2,450

So the total cost difference is $10,450 per 100K miles.

There is also likely brake service on the ICE (EV's use regenerative braking and probably would not), and/or transmission/clutch service, too. The common costs would be for tires, and things like wiper blades, and washer fluid; and so these more or less cancel out.

Now the batteries will likely last longer than 100K miles -- say 150K-200K would be very possible, so adjust the cost savings accordingly: $15,675 - $20,900 plus any major repairs on the ICE drivetrain.
Neil, why'd you pick the RAV4 EV to compare? They haven't been made since 2003 and the prices are obscene. If you get one, you will probably have to replace the pack soon, further increasing the cost and the gas version's advantage. Check how much a used gas RAV4 costs compared to a RAV4 EV and you again will see that you will never save any money driving the EV version. You must include the purchase price, as that's part of the ownership experience. Mr. Boxwell conveniently left that out of his video in an attempt to make EVs look better than they are and lure people into buying his book. Same thing with Llewellyn: he says how great the Tesla is, but doesn't tell you that you have to spend $109,000 to buy one. You can buy 2 optioned-out Lotus Elises for the price of one Tesla.

Maybe someday EVs will be affordable and can compete with gas cars, but they just aren't there yet.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi Patrick,

The RAV4 EV is the best apple-to-apples comparison we have right now. And again purchase cost is much higher now because the RAV4 EV's are in such demand, and the supply is very limited.

The Tesla is much faster than the Elise. And the Tesla is faster and less expensive than a Ferrari. Remember, apples-to-apples; and more importantly, EV's have to get into production for costs to come down. You could compare the Leaf to the Versa, or even the Leaf with the Prius, I suppose.

Are you going to ignore my numbers, after asking for them?
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Matt,

How can the RAV4 EV that gets ~111MPGe have a larger carbon footprint than the 25MPG ICE RAV4? That is less than 25% of the energy consumed, and the carbon from that is no more than 1/3 as much as the gasoline alone; and does not count the embedded energy to produce the gasoline. The source-to-wheels of the EV is about 1/3 of the tank-to-wheels of the gasoline.

The Leaf battery pack will probably cost ~$9,000, and maybe less in 10-12 years when you replace it. The RAV4 EV battery packs have lasted more than 150K miles -- and they are NiMH.
I think he was talking about EVs vs. hybrids. I just went to fueleconomy.gov and compared a 2003 RAV4 EV to a 2010 Toyota Prius. Guess what the carbon footprints were? 3.8 tons/15,000 miles for both. The EV had NO advantage. I can buy 2, 3, or 4 brand new Prius for the price of one used 2003 RAV4. If I only buy one (actually, I did), I'm way ahead on money and my carbon footprint is the same. And, I have a brand new car, with warranty.

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