Author Topic: Electric Cars  (Read 6693 times)

AZDude

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Electric Cars
« on: June 15, 2015, 04:05:18 PM »
Hi, new to the forum. This is my first post.

No FI yet, but doing well. We all hate cars for their expense, etc... I get it. I live in a very auto-centric city,though, and I commute about ~40 mins one-way to work. Once I am off probation at my new job, I can work from home part of the time.

Anyway here in the work parking lot there is an EV charging station, which is usually unused. Given that biking is improbable given the distance and the fact that its 110F outside, I was considering trading in my craptastic old Pontiac sedan that currently leaks oil, has no working headlights(think its bad wiring in the steering column), and gets ~20MPG in for a used electric car. Saw several on autotrader for less than $10K, and if I only or just mainly use it to get to work and back, and there is a free charging station here... Well, thats basically like not paying for gas.

Any thoughts while I peruse the forum?

Chris22

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 04:12:48 PM »
Leasing isn't popular here, but I'd look at what you could lease a Nissan Leaf or Fiat 500e for.  If you charge at work, you can probably drive for "free" given that your gas costs will be zero and lease payments are generally <$200/mo.  Assuming a $50 tank of gas per week, you'd be break even. 

ChrisLansing

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 04:19:58 PM »
If you are buying a used e-car how long before the battery bank needs to be replaced?   At what cost?   

AZDude

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 04:24:48 PM »
They come with 8 year warranty when sold new, not sure if the warranty transfers over. Regardless, I would assume the battery has a ~9 year useful life. So a 2012 model should have 5-6 more good years before needed to be replaced.

someday

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 04:41:16 PM »
I am an electric car lessee.  I’ve done the math, and if you have free charging at work, it is a no-brainer to lease an electric car.

Assume you have a 20 mile commute.  Round trip, it is 40 miles.  Your car gets 20 mpg currently.  Just in commute costs, you will incur $126/mo in gas (assuming 21 commute days, gas is $3/gal).  This does not take into account servicing costs to your vehicle, nor depreciation.

If you live in CA, you can find leases on electric cars around the $100-150/mo range, with zero down.  This is net of the $2,500 CA rebate.  At this price, you are pretty much break even.  Electric cars do not need servicing – no oil changes, no timing belts, not even brake changes since the engine goes into regen mode under coasting and braking.  With a lease, your depreciation is paid for each month, so you really have zero depreciation since your monthly lease cost is equivalent to your monthly fuel costs.  Your only added costs would be insurance (assuming you have liability only, you will need full coverage) and registration fees.

I charge my car daily at work, and over 11,500 miles, I have probably paid ~$20 or so to charge at home on very rare occasions.  My EV gets between 85-100 miles per charge – more than enough to get home from work (20 miles), errands at night, plus back to work at which point I get the free charge.

The big concern would be losing the free charge at work.  There are several chargers at work, but they’re always being hogged by hybrids who don’t move their car after the charge is complete.  We’re talking Prius plug-in hybrids that get 11 miles on pure EV, but also have the regular Prius hybrid engine that gets 50 mpg.  Luckily, the structure has plenty of regular 110v outlets, so I just plug in my own charger every day and do a slow charge.  Without the free charge, the math changes dramatically and it is no longer a no-brainer.

One last thought – I do not recommend getting an EV as your only car in the household.  The low range makes road trips impossible.  We have a economical 4 cylinder used Honda/Acura in the garage for that duty. 

Ricky

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 05:18:15 PM »
We all hate cars for their expense, etc... I get it

I can only imagine someone hating their car for expenses if it's an unnecessary expense, ie: driving too much, too much car, senseless modifications, etc. Overall, owning a practical car is laughably cheap for the benefit you get out of it. Driving 2 miles to the post office when you could easily bike is where the site argues that driving is stupid, and I'd agree.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 05:44:07 PM »
Most EVs will struggle to do 80 miles round-trip with the kind of A/C use you'll need in Phoenix or Tucson in the summer.  I'm guessing by your username and 40 miles one-way commute you're in either Phoenix or Tucson.  Nissan, for example, only warranties their batteries when they drop below 70% of capacity, although there is no federal law on this, so any EV maker can set the bar at whatever they want right now.  Most EVs have around 75-90 miles of range so 70% of 75 miles puts you at 52.5 miles.  That would be possible if you could charge at work, but there's no guarantee you can charge at work unless you can reserve the chargers and have people towed for using "your" charger.

I would personally just get something like a 2010 or later Prius and wait until EVs with longer range make it to market.  The 2016 Chevy volt would be a good fit, as the EV range is estimated at 50 miles, versus about 37 for the 2015 model.  So a Volt would likely go both ways all-electric as long as you could charge at work, but if you couldn't get a charger at work, at least you can drive home on gasoline.  You're never stuck when you have a Volt.  If you're looking at used Volts, even the 2011 had a decent 35 mile EV range (which you can beat with hypermiling) and those things are dirt cheap off-lease nowadays.

forummm

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2015, 06:25:49 PM »
I have 2 Leafs. I bought them both new. I think buying new actually is a pretty good deal if your state has any kind of tax credit.

The used Leafs have a battery that has been more prone to early degredation in very hot climates. All Li-ion batteries degrade over time. The 8-year Leaf warranty is just that the battery won't fail (i.e. have dead cells or something like that). There's a separate capacity warranty of 5 years and 60k miles. You get a replacement if the battery goes below 67% before that time/mileage. I'm sure that someone (Tesla perhaps) will start selling replacement batteries for Leafs really cheaply in the next 5 or so years. Nissan sells them for $5500 now.

The new batteries which are in all 2015s (and rumor is some 2014s) are supposed to be specially formulated to survive in the heat. Nissan baked them in an oven at 140 degrees for a year to make sure they actually worked as designed.

You say 40 minutes. How many miles is that and how fast are you driving those miles? The range of older batteries will be more limited than a new battery. And the way you drive affects that. I get about 100 miles on my stop-and-go driving, but I rarely use A/C. If you are going 80 on the freeway blasting the A/C with a 4 year old battery, your range will be much less.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/nissan-leaf-almost-paying-me-to-drive-it/

Bob W

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 07:31:57 PM »
Would go with a 10k 50k Prius and call it good at 50 mpg.

AZDude

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 10:28:53 AM »
Thanks for the info. Was thinking about the lease, and that seems like it is the way to go. I drive about 20 miles one way.

Lease - $200/month
Less gas - $120/month
Less VLT reduction - ~$10/month (Arizona offers reduced registration fees for electric cars)
Less oil change cost - ~$7/month(4 changes per year at ~$20 per change)

True cost of leasing new car - ~$63/month

Not a bad deal at all. Plus, use of the carpool lane on the way to work and not having to get emissions tested. Plus, reliability of a car under warranty and thus less in the way of future repair costs.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 02:16:40 PM »
I drive about 20 miles one way.

Sorry, I had misread your original post where you said "40 mins" as "40 miles".  I'm not used to minutes being a unit of measure for calculating the range of a car.  :)  Yes, at 20 miles each way any EV on the market will easily meet your needs.  Feel free to post and update if/when you do pick a new car, regardless if its an EV or not.

Chris22

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 02:42:00 PM »
Would go with a 10k 50k Prius and call it good at 50 mpg.

Would you?

20 x 2 x 5 = 200 miles week / 50mpg = 4 gal/wk X $3.50/gal* = $14/wk x 4 = $56/mo

*probably a little high NOW but likely to be reachable in the context of this calc

$200 lease - $10 (registration advantage) - $7 (oil change advantage) = $183/mo

$183 - 56 = $127/mo.

$10,000 (initial Prius investment) / $127/mo = 78.7 months before the Prius is a better deal. 

And that assumes NO maintenance on the Prius aside from oil changes, which in 6.6 years is not reasonable.

It also ignores the opportunity cost of having $10k in a depreciating asset.

MoneyCat

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 02:45:58 PM »
Get an electric car and drive it for 20 years.  It's not going to break down as much because there is no ICE, no oil, etc.  My wife is currently driving a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and it's worth it, especially if you install solar panels on your house.  Then you are basically driving a car that runs on sunlight.

uspsfanalan

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 02:49:13 PM »
Last week I purchased a 2013 SV (Mid level) LEAF for 12,500 with 23,500 miles on it. With misc licensing etc it came to 13,200. The real kicker is that I have a free charging station at work. I live in NC so the incentives weren't nearly as good for buying new. Otherwise I would have bought a new leaf.

The car I traded in was a 2005 Nissan 350Z roadster that averaged 23 MPG on premium gas. Hard to pass up getting out of that gas hog while the price of gas is down. Got 10k in trade in value. I imagine I may miss driving it on the blueridge parkway, however I only got to do that once a year or so. The LEAF is way better for my day to day driving needs.

ChrisLansing

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 02:56:41 PM »
Quote
  I'm not used to minutes being a unit of measure for calculating the range of a car.  :) 

AZDude, are you from Michigan? 

Jeremy E.

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 03:40:33 PM »
Quote
  I'm not used to minutes being a unit of measure for calculating the range of a car.  :) 

AZDude, are you from Michigan?
I'm guessing he's from arizona since his name is AZDude and there is 110 degree whether where he is

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 05:00:06 PM »
Would go with a 10k 50k Prius and call it good at 50 mpg.

I saw another user build a cost model around this and I'd like to take a moment to point out that it's unreasonable.  A Prius with 50k miles in the Phoenix area will generally run you a good deal more than $10k, especially when compared against a brand new leased EV.  In other words, a car with no mechanical problems and a warranty.  The most comparable example of such a thing would be a CPO Prius.

A quick search at ToyotaCertified.com for zip code 85004 (central Phoenix) with 25 mile radius shows the cheapest CPO Prius with under 60,000 miles to be a 2012 base model with 42k miles for $15,495.  All prices increase from there.  The statement that you can get a Prius with 50k miles for $10k underestimates the price by at least 50% when talking about CPO.

If not talking about CPO, then you really need to include a savings holdback for the maintenance that can be required for a non-CPO car versus the lease of an EV which requires no maintenance during the lease period.  Even just a simple set of tires can be $500 with mount, balance, and alignment.  Again, that's something you'd almost certainly not wear out on a lease car during the lease period.

I'm not trying to be difficult, just introduce some real numbers for cars that are more comparable to what you really get when you lease a car: something that's in near-flawless maintenance condition and includes a warranty.

ChrisLansing

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2015, 05:27:34 PM »
Quote
  I'm not used to minutes being a unit of measure for calculating the range of a car.  :) 

AZDude, are you from Michigan?
I'm guessing he's from arizona since his name is AZDude and there is 110 degree whether where he is

He may have grown up in Michigan.   

forummm

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Re: Electric Cars
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2015, 05:42:14 PM »
Due to the tax credits, lack of maintenance, and cheap or free energy costs, brand new electric cars are often much cheaper than an ICE--even an older one. As my Leaf thread (linked above) discusses, it was cheaper for me to buy a brand new Leaf than to keep my reliable 5 year-old paid-off Corolla. I could still sell my Leaf right now for more than I paid for it.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!