Author Topic: Should I buy an electric car  (Read 4838 times)

Derek

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Should I buy an electric car
« on: October 25, 2013, 09:26:50 PM »
I am considering buying an electric car.  We currently have a 2012 mini van and an old 4 cylinder pick up.  We spend $450/mo on gas.  We have no debt except for a mortgage (will be paid off in 5 yrs), 1+ million in assets, and $240k/yr income.  We save 50% of after tax income.  Most of the driving is due to our kids private school/sports and is non negotiable with the wife.  Due to the short multiple distances an electric car could be the primary car and realistically cut our gas bill to 100/mo with an additional $50 in electricity.  The car (a nissan leaf) will be about 24k after taxes and rebates (used electric cars are non existent in this part of the country).  I could pay cash but financing is only 0.9% and I get a much better return on my investments.  We plan on keeping the other cars as the minivan is great for trips and I use the pickup for our farm (it's not worth much anyway).  I live close to work and the kids school situation will only be for another 3.5 years.  Does this make sense?

randymarsh

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2013, 10:36:01 PM »
I doubt it's the best financial choice. 24K buys a shit ton of gas*. That said, you can clearly afford it and it could make sense from the perspective of being an early adopter and wanting to encourage the further development of these vehicles.

*6857 gallons at $3.50/gallon. At 20 MPG (assuming this is what the van gets), you could drive 137,140 miles.

dadof4

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 08:21:22 PM »
If you're saving 300-350 a month on gas, that electric car will literally pay for itself. Plus you're helping the environment, reducing noise and air pollution where you live.



Nords

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 07:30:50 PM »
I am considering buying an electric car.  We currently have a 2012 mini van and an old 4 cylinder pick up.  We spend $450/mo on gas. 
Most of the driving is due to our kids private school/sports and is non negotiable with the wife.  Due to the short multiple distances an electric car could be the primary car and realistically cut our gas bill to 100/mo with an additional $50 in electricity.  The car (a nissan leaf) will be about 24k after taxes and rebates (used electric cars are non existent in this part of the country).  I could pay cash but financing is only 0.9% and I get a much better return on my investments.  We plan on keeping the other cars as the minivan is great for trips and I use the pickup for our farm (it's not worth much anyway).  I live close to work and the kids school situation will only be for another 3.5 years.  Does this make sense?
First, can you make the expected trips without "range anxiety"?  EVs with an 80-mile range are great on our 30x40-mile island, but I know one guy with a 50-mile round-trip commute who always worries about going up the mountains on the way home.  Our neighbor has a 30-mile round trip and she's very happy with her EV.  If you're in a warm/cold climate, how much is the range reduced by having to heat or cool the interior?  Even if there are charging stations along the route, you need a contingency plan when they're taken up by other EV users.  Hawaii is already starting to see bickering among EV owners for the charging stations at various shopping malls around the island.

As others have mentioned, you have to do the math.  How much are you spending for the driving that you're doing now?  Since you're keeping your other vehicles, what's the additional insurance cost?  How do the brakes, the tires, and the air conditioning on an EV compare to the repair/replacement costs on your current vehicle?  How many months will it take for the payback?  In most cases, the EV costs more money and tends to push the payback over a decade.  But you might find a bargain.

Another option would be to wait a few years and go even cheaper with a desperate EV seller on Craigslist.  We've started keeping our eye on that option, since you'd be able to negotiate at least a 25% discount over new.  If the used EV has some cosmetic dings then it's an even better deal.  Of course if the main commute is for your kids then even 3.5 years may not be enough time for a payback.

We've reluctantly concluded that an EV is best when coupled with a grid-tied photovoltaic array.  You can generate excess power during the day (which is dumped into your local utility's grid) and recharge from the grid at night.  Otherwise the expenses have too long of a payback, and our Prius is "good enough".  However I reserve the right to change my mind if our local Leaf prices on Craigslist collapse because something "better" comes along.

Emg03063

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 07:12:37 PM »
Consider buying a used Prius on eBay ('04 or later), and converting it to a plug-in.  It may come out better for you financially.  The best conversion I've found is here: http://www.enginer.us/, but there are others.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 12:05:31 PM »
I don't see the cost of electricity going down anytime soon, if ever... the price of gas does so at least, to a degree.

fauxjargon

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 12:32:07 PM »
Here's the thing, if you have a cheap car, you only really need liability insurance.  If I wreck my car and am at fault, I can buy another one just like it tomorrow.  If I bought a Leaf (which would cost me about $200/mo more than my current car if I charged it for free at work), I would not be comfortable driving it without the car actually being insured.

clutchy

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 02:40:30 PM »
for me it's a hedge against all kinds of stuff; that is of course if you end up with solar panels.

You can effectively fix your A/C costs and if the system is big enough you can fix your fuel costs as well.


from the women owners I've talked to they all love the leaf.  "best car they've ever had" comes up a lot...


my next car will be electric.  Currently a leaf is called for but if my old maxima lasts another 3-4 years I'll get the new Tesla.

cdub

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 03:56:52 PM »
I LOVE my Leaf.

:) Haven't been to a gas station since June 2011. :)

theSchmett

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Re: Should I buy an electric car
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 07:15:42 PM »
Mr. Macinstache I respectfully disagree.

Gasoline prices are on an upward trend almost forever, and there are only two sources of fuel for gasoline cars, gasoline itself and ethanol (and I'm just being generous towards ethanol here).

Electricity may not be going down, but its far less volatile and less prone to price shocks (although not immune) and there are MANY ways to generate electricity, giving the market a little more flexibility.

ALL  THAT SAID - the OP needs to do the math on the purchase. I calc'd it for my situation and it doesn't save money. Your situation sounds different.

Keep us all informed on what you do and how it works out please!