True cost of electric cars

I got this in an e-mail.
I’m neither promoting the author’s position, nor trying to incite a philosophical debate on the subject.
I’m only curious if any of you can speak intelligently to the numbers herein----the science/economics.
Personally, I don’t think I am paying anything near that much for electricity. But then, I did hear (maybe 8 years ago) that our electric cooperative members were paying less per kilowatt hour than anyone else in the country. The carbon footprint legislation stuff did make it go up some in recent years----not sure where we stand now relative to other consumers…::::::::::::::::::::::::

How much does it cost to operate a hybrid electric car???
Just passing this on unverified. But stand to reason…
What about boats and ships…

Electric Car Cost…

Ever since the advent of electric cars, the REAL cost per mile of those things has never been

All you ever heard was the mpg in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity to
run it.

This is the first article I’ve ever seen and tells the story pretty much as I expected it to.

Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power things yet they’re being shoved down our
throats………Glad somebody finally put engineering and math to paper.

At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, a BC Hydro executive. I asked him how that
renewable thing was doing.

He laughed, then got serious. If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, he pointed out, you had
to face certain realities. For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service.

The average house is equipped with 100 amp service. On our small street (approximately 25 homes),
the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than 3 houses with a single Tesla, each.

For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.

This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles … Our residential infrastructure cannot bear
the load.

So as our genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged to buy the
damn things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive, new windmills and
solar cells, but we will also have to renovate our entire delivery system!

This latter “investment” will not be revealed until we’re so far down this dead end road that it will
be presented with an oops and a shrug.

If you want to argue with a green person over cars that are eco-friendly, just read the following:

Note: If you ARE a green person, read it anyway. Enlightening.

Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors…and he writes…For four days in
a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline

Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including
the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and
you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging
time) would be 20 mph.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to
charge a drained battery.

The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for
electricity. I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 16 kwh x
$1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.

Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon
divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

The gasoline powered car costs about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000…So the American
Government wants loyal Americans not to do the math, but simply pay 3 times as much for a car,
that costs more than 7 times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across the country…


Put it this way, the cold will keep the unskilled or unprepared away, probably why Canada was never invaded. :wink:

Like Bill S says about northern Minnesota, it seems like gods country to those who know it and it’s advantages, outstanding growing season, and the cold itself has many advantages for a list of activities, gives life a real rhythm.


That’s interesting thought. I noticed something similar in the Andes.

The honey bees in the higher regions will make honey and store it up. But if you take them to the lower regions in the jungle where there is a lot of vegetation----where you would think they would make lots of honey----after a generation or two they stop storing honey and just kinda live off the available nectar.

You can even see it in the different cultures in the Andes. The highlanders’ cultures (quechua/ aymara) are all “prepared” , more reserved, having to look toward the future more to store up for colder or drier times. The low landers seem to have a much more laid back, take it easy kind of lifestyle. Fruit is always ripening on the trees, the crops are always growing. Most of the time they don’t have to think so far into the future. It seems to show as a stereotype in the cultures.

But as to the question of invasion: I was curious so I looked it up.
Turns out ya’ll have been invaded several times.

  1. In 1775 the US tried to annex Canada to wweaken England during the Revolution.

  2. In 1836, An American named James Dickson invaded Canada with 27 men to declare himself president of a new “Indian Federation”

  3. In 1837 a man named William Lyon Mackenzie, with several hundred followers, occupied a small island near Niagra Falls and declared himself president of the Republic of Canada. fighting occured. one American killed. US sent 400 across border and kinda got their butts whooped.

  4. Then in 1866 1100 Fenians invaded Canada from Maine in an attempt to hold Canada hostage in an exchange for a free Ireland.

  5. Let’s not forget the dangerous Japanese. A lost Japanese submarine shelled BC during WWII. And they dropped numerous “balloon bombs” on many unprepared spruce trees and even one wayward lynx.

  6. And my favorite of all…In 1990, an armed band of Mohawk Indians from the US invaded Quebec to protest the expansion of a golf course on tribal lands.

Okay, so none of that really counts as an invasion…But it is kind of funny…:grinning:

Maybe I can go to Canada and declare myself supreme emperor or something…hahaha


I think American presidents already reserve that right. :slight_smile:

You forgot about the war of 1812 - 14, in which the state of Maine was lost, and the original white house was burnt, heavy losses on both sides of the border on that occasion. But good old winter seems to have been our most severe ally.

Very sound observations about seasonality driving a culture. Better have the wood dry and piled, and hay made herr before winter, food stored, or else.

Correct about the bees too, the tropics are only marginal, but this regiin is highly productive.


Different story across the pond.

Gasoline: $6.33 per gallon
Electric: $0.10 per kWh

the price of wood is about the same. Comes charged. No extra charge :smile:


Doing a quick search I found this older article from 2012 on the cost of an ev per mile. I don’t know how the person in the article drove his chevy bolt but a friend of mine has one that he has driven for several years now. He routinely gets 50 to 55 miles per gallon of gas out of it and drives it about 45 miles to work then home and plugs it in so 90 miles a day. The bolt isn’t really a fair comparison though because it still has to carry around alot of gas car stuff. A true ev will get closer to 100 mpg equivalent gas to electric. I was part of the Tour De Sole races back in 95 when I was in college. Back then the best little aluminum cars with 10 lead acid batteries would go about 100 miles 10 miles per deep cycle lead acid battery seemed about the avg. And the lightest cars would be 80 to 100 mpg equivalent gas milage. The race provided the formula based on the conversation of gas to electricity at a power plant all industry standard numbers if you know how to look it up. Even took charging losses and line looses for typical power company to your house transmission. I was actually shocked recently when I saw the same gas equivalent calculation done for the Leaf EV and it came out at right around 100 mpg gas car equivalent. Electricity is also the cheapest energy you can buy. If you question that compare a gas powered air compressor with an electric one of the same rating the electric will be alot cheaper to run.


$6.33 ----- We’d probably have a revolution here at that… I bought ethanol gas yesterday for $1.83. Non-ethanol is about $2.09 I think. We run ethanol in the newer vehicles. Non-ethanol in the small engines.Many states have no non-ethanol option I guess.

Yeah, thanks Garry. I missed that one. I think it was basically the same situation from 1775 through war of 1812, right…?

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My 2005 Toyota Echo consistently got 53 mpg highway in summer driving. Imperial gallons, mind you. As plain as could be, nothing pushing technology frontiers, not even a minimal frontal area. I feel the corporate powers that be aim to maximize consumption, so they tend to avoid real efficiency, instead playing obscure games.

Volvo just announced the end of production of pure gas vehicles soon. Now the industry will start to bring out opposed piston onboard generators, perhaps even aim to reduce curb weight, rolling and wind resistance.

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Hey Billy,
I don’t know where that email came from (a Petroleum Company?) , but it is filled with fuzzy math and “Damn Statistics”. First of all, If you can afford a Tesla, you can afford to upgrade your electrical service. USA homes with electric heat have had a 200 amp service panel since the 1970’s. Second point: If you are fast-charging your car, you would do that ideally off-peak in the middle of the night at reduced kWh prices (smart metering). Third point: He must be buying his power from Neiman-Markus, I pay about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, fees included. (Rural co-op). Fourth point: Anyone who owns a Chevy Volt knows the total electric range is about 30 miles. It is designed to save you money on your daily commute, not driving for free all the time. People (Corporations) who have been milking us for years are starting to realize that their gravy train is nearing the end of the line. Storage of electric energy is getting cheaper, lighter and better all the time. (think about Moore’s Law of computing applied to batteries). Final point: Electric Cars are NOT for everyone, and nobody is forcing you to buy one.
Drive on Wood! Avoid the middle-man!! :grinning:


The trouble is there are only so many entries in the periodic table. Very unlikely now that there will be continual improvement in batteries, or even markedly better performance than we see presently. Perhaps there could be breakthroughs in material engineering, ie nanotechnology.


I think the volt is a full size bigger and alot heavier then a Echo I thought 50 to 55 us gallons pre mile was pretty good for a car that size. Now if he didn’t drive it 3 times the electric range everyday to work I am sure it would save him alot more money. I do agree with you that the volt isn’t designed to be really fuel efficient it is a big luxury ride compared to what you need or get in a lower end car but then it comes with a big sticker price. I wouldn’t expect a car in its class to do much over 25 to 30 mpg

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My first car was a 1984 mercury lynx (ford escort) hatchback 2.0l diesel 5 spd. It would get over 50 mpg highway back then. I think the best we ever did was 53 mpg. Never won any drag races though. Took a couple miles to get up to speed. haha :worried: Is it gonna make it over the hill this time??? Actually, I just remembered that I still have that car. Maybe I should drag it off the hill and see if I can make it go again.

No doubt the tech exists to far exceed that number today even with simple combustion engine.

Thanks, everyone for the responses. I haven’t followed the subject of electric cars.


Yes, that’s the sad consistency of the corporate approach, push sometimes very good technology, only bringing it out 20 years after available, but with the bottom line to maintain consumption roughly equal. Very frustrating to see curb weight of vehicles rise, 17" tires, and vehicle complexity exponentially increase, with little or no practical saving.

Pushing half a ton more of vehicle needlessly large for the same fuel economy is no achievement if the resource drawn down is finite and highly valuable for the society’s future. Here I’m thinking of farming, the fundamental base of all societies. I am astounded with Jo’s population density figures, that describes an incredible productivity that can’t be sustained without chemical fertilizer based on natural gas, motor oil, lubricants, and diesel fuel. To burn it up on highways at twice or more the rate necessary is unconscionable, regardless the technical achievements.


I found an interesting fact that surprised me on this point. According to the 1995 housing survey conducted by the U.S. Census—I know that’s been a while---- the % of housing in the US that was built since 1970 was only 4.9%.

I found the same chart from the 2015 census. housing built since 1970 was %60

That still leaves 40% of private housing with old or since-updated service.

I agree that this guy’s numbers are greatly exaggerated. We pay $.11/ kwH . That makes his supposed $18.56 charge cost only $1.76 at my house.

Maybe he works for the marketing dept at Exxon or something. :grinning:


My over 100 year-old farm house has a Square D 200 amp service panel upgrade some time ago, before my wife and I bought the place about Y2K. They had electric baseboard heating, now using propane central heating. Still expensive. Someday may get (make?) a back yard wood-fired boiler when I get my wood-based economy going!


I want to do that too, to get the fire/dust/dirt out of the house. But there are a lot of projects on the list. I think the first half of my house was built in 1908. It was upgraded too, along about 9/11. I would imagine that a great many of the pre-1970 homes have been upgraded—probably most of them…

Anyway, gotta go. Friends of ours have a son who has meningitis and also need some help getting someone to the airport…They’re off to the hospital So I get to do one of my favorite things today: Go to HotLanta in July. FYI. for anyone who passes through that way, the best seafood buffet in the south is at exit 34, I-20 west of Atlanta. :smile::sushi:


Most all the houses have been upgraded to atleast a 100 amp fuse box this was common in the late 80s. The farm house I live in was built in 1901 and has the 100 amp service. In the 1990 s the standard went to 200 amps. What drives the updating of home wiring in the usa is insurance companies refusing to cover the old systems or the sale of a house. So yes most all houses now have a 200 amp service at the very least a 100 amp service with breakers not the old glass fuses. When my grandfather passes away the other house on the property here built during WWII was upgraded to a 200 amp service from the old glass fuses and I think a 60 amp service at the time. My mother couldn’t continue the insurance in her name without getting a contractor to do the upgrade even with the same company that had insured the house since it was built for my grandfather.


Chris can we move this discussion to a new thread? I really enjoyed reading why everyone wanted to burn wood when I joined and was just thinking we should clean this thread up a little.


I ran the numbers a while back based on real world charging times and range numbers from a Tesla forum for a Tesla S including efficiency losses while charging. In Ontario, it cost about the same money per km to run a Tesla S as our 9 year old Civic… - in the summer time.

Best as I can tell, the range of a Tesla S drops about 20-40 percent from 0 degrees to -20 degrees. At -20 with snow on the roads and commuting in the dark - you get less than half the range you did on a nice summer day.

Electric cars are for urban use where there are charge stations, in locations near the equator, and in jurisdictions that charge less than .10/kwh for electricity.

Anywhere else just get a truck and DOW :slight_smile:


I think you just hit the nail on the head. And that won’t even be the whole picture. In any given area you probably would have to triple or more the electrical grid to provide the power for the style of personal transport we expect.

An impractical goal, I contend. In Manitoba we have 95% green hydro power, but new dam sites are few, and costing in the billions. Never mind the transmission lines.

Electric scooters, trolley cars, and trains, anyone?

Agree with Dan, we have derailed this thread, but the discussion is worthy of a thread.