Electronics and Semiconductors

Big money can be saved by driving electric vehicles, study says

23 June 2020
Driving an electric vehicle could save consumers as much as $14,500 over 15 years of owning the car. Source: NREL

New analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) shows that consumers could save as much as $14,500 on fuel costs over 15 years driving an electric vehicle (EV) instead of one fueled by gasoline.

The cost of charging is compared against the price of gasoline to estimate the fuel cost savings over a vehicle’s lifetime. The study factors in state-level assessment of the cost of EV charging that considers when, where and how a vehicle is charged, and the electricity retail tariffs and real-world charging equipment and installation costs.

“Finding out the purchase price of a vehicle is relatively simple, but the savings related to fuel aren’t readily available, especially since electricity cost varies greatly for different locations and charging options,” said Matteo Muratori, a senior systems engineer at NREL.

NREL found the costs to charge an EV vary widely with factors such as the price of electricity, the types of equipment used for charging, the cost of installation and vehicle use. The national average cost to charge an EV battery ranges from about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour to 27 cents with an average of 15 cents. This compares with an average lifetime fuel cost savings of $3,000 to $10,500.

These costs vary from state-to-state with some gasoline prices better than others and some installation and financial incentives better than others. However, NREL and INL examined vehicles of the same class and side and driven the same number of miles a year.

The nature of charging stations was also taken into consideration as a traditional outlet at home without any special equipment might be cheaper, but the charging time is slower. Whereas a higher-powered residential charger costs about $1,800 including installation but charging is faster and could be done at night when costs are cheaper.

The full research can be found in the journal Joule.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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