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FlyinLow

Enjoy the journey
Feb 5, 2018
335
328
29036
Maybe this is the right area to park my thoughts and encourage others to post theirs...

I appreciate the people that come up to me and want to convince me that driving my Tesla Model S 85 is a bad idea. Buying a car can be an emotional experience, but for those looking to do a little more fact finding I'd like to share info from the research I did before buying a used Tesla. I made an effort to site the sources I found in notes at the end so anyone reading my thoughts can make their own conclusion. It is possible there are other sources that have good counterpoints. I apologize for the length, but a thorough review of technical topics deserves real examples and some data.

Please add info for or against in this thread, as it might help prospective future car buyers come to their own conclusion in an informed manner, instead of an emotional one. Many people want an electric car, but some just can't justify it.

First of all, I acknowledge that the notion of electric cars is an ongoing discussion. It is worth checking into whether or not an electric car is a good idea or not, and for what reasons. Much like the decision about what car to buy in general, we will each have to evaluate our transportation needs on a regular basis. I own a 2014 Tesla Model S I bought used and have been asked why I chose to spend my hard earned money on an electric car. Admittedly, switching to an all electric car was a significant lifestyle change since driving is such a large part of my life. Someday it may be the obvious choice for most people, but are we there yet? Maybe not for everyone, but for some, yes. Batteries as we know them are getting better, however we definitely need some improvement in storing energy to reduce cold weather energy loss. Electric trains prove we already count on the torque and reliability of electric motors over internal combustion engines when moving people day in and day out with very little down time. Almost all trains are electric. I can't think of any that aren't, but there might still be some out there. Diesel-electric trains have large diesel generators that produce electricity to drive the motors at each wheel on the locomotive. We see diesel-electric trains pulling long strings of cargo cross country. Subways and local transit trains are all electric, using wires or track transmitted power. When we examine the pluses and minuses in applying this to automobiles I'll bet you'll agree that it is mostly an energy storage problem the engineers are working to solve. The market is already responding with better batteries and charging options that are widespread. Businesses are eager to supply power in exchange for shopping at their store (note 1).

My personal frustration as an admirer of technology - in the 1960s VW produced the Bug, an efficient compact car that got more than 30 miles per gallon on gasoline. That was pretty good. In the 1980s VW scored again with a small diesel engine equipped Rabbit that upped the standard to the 40 mpg range. Fuel efficiency, even for gasoline sub compact cars, has not improved since then. My Honda Civic gets only 40 mpg on gasoline, which is great compared to all other gasoline cars on the road (note 2). Sad that we haven't made any more improvement in the last 40 years! There has to be a better way. Introducing a complex mixture of gas and electric propulsion in cars does not seem to be the answer either, as demonstrated in the inefficiencies of the hybrid Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius.

Fundamentally, gasoline vehicles are only at best 50% efficient, with half the energy produced being dissipated as heat. So, even if coal is used to produce electricity, the efficiency of transmitting with a 5% loss (note 3) and charging electric car batteries is 4% (note 4), it is vastly more efficient to use electricity to provide torque to the wheels of a car than gasoline or diesel.

Quick summary of the explanations below: Many states lump road taxes in with registration fees for Electric Vehicles (EVs). Teslas charge most efficiently at 25A so most people have a 50A RV plug installed at home that can easily handle the current. Electric cars can use 110V/15A outlets up to 75A home quick chargers if they are hard wired into the breaker box. To drive the same 10000 miles a Tesla Model S costs $218 and a BMW 7 Series costs $1754 (details below). A Tesla is a unique computer on wheels with lots of interesting features only offered on future design concepts of other companies. American innovation is alive and well with Tesla. Of all car companies, Tesla is the only vehicle 100% US built. I like to buy American. Ford is 64%, Chevrolet 73% and Dodge 80% built in the US (note 5). My Tesla uses energy 100% produced in the US whether it be coal, nuclear, wind or solar produced electricity. The gasoline we consume is 75% domestically produced, at the highest today since the 1970s, but we still import 25% of our oil from other countries (note 6).

1. Electric Car Owners do not pay road taxes through the gas pump. True. There are 17 states (note 7) and growing that require additional registration fees for people who own electric cars to cover the road taxes. Pennsylvania is not one of them. Many states consider electric cars as an overall savings, offsetting the cost of the wear they put on the roads with reduced emissions (exhaust and oil that breaks down the asphalt, eliminates processing used oil and transmission fluid from lack of changes and greatly reduced emissions).

2. Electricity infrastructure cannot handle multiple electric cars on the same street being charged at the same time. Many older houses have 100A service while most modern construction is likely to have 200A service. Similar to when someone takes up welding, it is important to check into a house's electrical power capability before installing an outlet that will charge an electric car at more than 110V/12A. During daylight hours when most electric cars are not being charged, the grid is supplying a massive electrical demand to home and office air conditioners, heaters, etc. At night, when much of the commercial electrical load is not being drawn and typically household HVAC systems use less energy, is when most cars will be charged. Many states have tiered rates, so charging at night is less expensive after midnight, for example. Charge rates. While a Tesla is capable of charging at 70A or higher with a high power DC charger, those are less common than the 50A rated camper plug (NEMA 14-50) that will charge at a max of 80% of it's rated capacity, or 40A. Additionally, the most efficient charge rate for Tesla lithium ion batteries is about 25A, so that is the rate most people are using for home charging. This will fill a Tesla from empty to full in about eight hours. The vast majority of brands of EVs charge at a lower rate than Tesla and have much smaller batteries. Electricity cost includes a transmission fee as well as an infrastructure fee to cover maintaining and upgrading the community's grid. It is best to contact the local power company to let them know you have an EV so they can invest some of that money into upgrading local infrastructure if necessary. The Pittsburgh area has decided they want to encourage EV adoption, so they are already improving the grid and are selling more electricity to customers.

3. Putting the math on paper. Watch decimal points and rounding errors when doing the math yourself. The numbers look like this: Real world driving takes $218 at $0.12/kWh (average residential rate in the US) at 25A and a 92% charging efficiency (including transmission loss) to power a Tesla Model S through 10,000 miles commuting and requires no oil changes. A comparable car in features and size (BMW 7 Series) uses $1354.54 in premium gasoline ($2.98/gal) to go the same 10,000 miles (22 mpg) and requires two oil changes that costs about $200 each for a total of $1754.54. Vehicle purchase price, tires, wipers and washer fluid costs nearly the same for these two vehicles of comparable in size and weight. When doing the math for electric cars vs. gasoline or diesel, be sure to use an apples to apples comparison. Charging an electric car is about the same as running a clothes dryer for a few hours in the middle of the night. Even a plug in hybrid like the Chevy Volt can work for short commutes on electricity alone. At the national average of $0.12/kWh, the cost is $0.07 per mile to drive the Volt on its electric motor, similar to a gasoline car getting 32mpg. It is true no one is going to make up the difference in cost between a new compact electric hybrid car like the Volt or Prius and its gas powered counterpart. Hybrids like the Volt and Prius are very expensive due to the fact they have both an internal combustion engine and electric battery pack connected to another motor. Hybrids are for those not ready to commit to all electric driving and I'll discuss purchase price comparisons.

5. Charge time. An average miles per hour comparison can be made while on a trip, but counting charge time before and after a road trip is assuming a person needs to be present while the car is charging. Unlike a gas pump, which needs a person to pump the gas for five minutes to fill an empty tank, the electric car can recharge on its own as long as the owner plugs it in. A Tesla allows charging to be scheduled when the off-peak cost of electricity is the cheapest. Before and after a trip charge time can be ignored. Time at a charger during a road trip must be included. The following is a real world example from my recent experience driving a Tesla Model S 85 in winter conditions, with rain and temperatures between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit. On a recent 560 mile trip I spent 8 hours driving and 2.5 hours total charging. By staying hydrated, using the restroom every couple hours and eating twice on the way I arrived ready to continue my day. I have made the same trip with a gasoline Honda Civic with 8 hours driving with a 1.0 hour break. I arrived fatigued because I took fewer breaks than is really smart, didn't drink water and only snacked while driving. Maybe I'm slowing down as I get older, or starting to enjoy the journey more, but I liked stopping more often while driving the Tesla. With dogs and/or kids I find that my family stops every two hours anyway. On shorter trips most charge stops are about 15 to 20 minutes since I just need to charge enough to make it two hours to the next supercharger about 150 miles away. I have no experience driving other brands of electric cars on road trips.

6. Purchase price. Anyone can buy a less expensive car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and the true cost to own is less than a BMW or Mercedes. I agree that the economy car market right now is owned by gasoline cars in the cost department. An all electric base model Chevrolet Bolt EV is $37,495 new, a base model Tesla Model 3 is $35,000, Nissan Leaf $30,000 compared to an all gasoline Honda Fit at $16,853 or Ford Focus at $18,298 there doesn't seem to be much incentive to endure the lifestyle change that is required to adopt electric power. At a different, price point, the base BMW 7 Series lists at $79,660 and a base Tesla Model S is $74,500 (note 8).

7. Determining value is a very personal thing. I drove an all electric car on a few test drives and observed people I know who have them. I decided the super smooth, quiet ride and time saved by not going to the gas station (mostly home charging) and not doing oil changes was important to me. The technology is interesting to me. Trip charging was paid for by the person who bought the car new, so I benefit through buying a used car that has unlimited supercharging. Tesla has proven themselves as a company, and I believe they will be around to back up their product that has an 8 year, unlimited mile warranty on the battery and drive-train.

8. Bottom line: I'm driving a car I enjoy and spending 1/2 as much for fuel as I did in the Honda Civic, a car not even in the same category of features or performance. I'd spend a 1/4 as much on go juice compared to a full sized car of similar size and features. Price a new car that is full sized, has FIVE heated seats, a 17 inch touch screen, traffic aware cruise control, auto-steering, a 5.4 second 0-60 time, five-star safety rating in ALL categories, air ride suspension and four-wheel drive (note 9). Years ago when I bought a Corvette to drive to work as a daily driver no one asked me how much that cost to drive. Foolish? Maybe. I never did calculate the cost per mile, but instead enjoyed a unique experience. Life is short. I drive a Tesla Model S for me, not for the benefit of anything or anyone else.

I'm open to counterpoints and intelligent discussion on this issue, as it is an important subject.

FlyinLow

References

Note 1: A competitive market for electric car charging has more options available than you might think, check them out in your area here https://www.plugshare.com

Note 2: Fuelly tracks actual miles per gallon of vehicles and they can be researched here http://www.fuelly.com

Note 3: Trasmission efficiency from the U.S. Energy Information Administration How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 4: Many primary references available here as part of the sources for this information on energy efficiency Engine efficiency - Wikipedia

Note 5: Time reported on how much of each "American" car is actually made in the USA See Which Car Companies Make In America

Note 6: US gasoline production is at an all time high, but we still rely on foreign oil How much oil consumed by the United States comes from foreign countries? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 7: More states are adding registration taxes for EVs to pay for road infrastructure States Charge Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Owners for Share of Road Costs

Note 8: True Car reports what people paid for cars purchased in the United States Car Prices & Inventory | Savings on New & Used Cars | TrueCar

Note 9: Tesla features and options are configured and the price goes up from the base model if exceptional acceleration or more premium interior options are desired
Tesla
 

Sprandt23

Member
Sep 13, 2017
248
171
St. Louis
What a great accumulation of thoughts and notes, I can imagine the time it took to compile those together. I agree with you, there are likely countless points to consider when going to an EV, but for me your last point (8) hits the mark - I really, really enjoy driving this car. I am not a previous supercar owner by any means, but have driven my fair share of decent cars over the years. This is by far the most expensive car I have purchased - for me, totally worth it, but that is a decision every individual must justify on their own based on their own research (with help from great posts like yours).
This is my daily driver car, putting 10k miles on it in the last 6 months. You could keep a car like this for the weekends or beautiful summer days, but for me I am getting the most out of this car by driving it as much as I can. I'm sure at some point I will feel the mileage depreciation, but for me that can be made up for in that I just truly love this car.
Thanks for your thoughts @FlyinLow , it is this forum that helped me with my decision and has provided great insights and advice along the way since becoming an owner.
 

arcus

Active Member
Aug 11, 2017
1,301
958
Denton, TX
Thank you for putting it together. While most of us can be considered an early adopters or enthusiasts it might take a bit to get the masses convinced on making the switch. Recently a guy in a heavy duty Diesel work truck stopped behind the SC when I was charging, walked to one of the stands to read what the sign was saying, then approached me to ask some basic questions about how it works (how long to charge, how far can you go etc.). I'm always happy when people ask, as we can educate the folks - one at a time.

I think one other point that will help the transition: there's virtually no ground-breaking improvements to ICE technology anymore, whereas there's a continuous technological advancement related to both batteries and electric motors.

It will take time to get a mass adoption, but it is already happening and accelerating. I really think 2017 was a breakthrough year and it will only escalate from now on. Tesla might not come out as a leader of the mass market, but nobody can discredit their contribution to getting this revolution started.
 

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
A better question would be to own a car or not. The fact that car needs to be capable of getting its fuel from solar or wind if you chose to own a car is a forgone conclusion....

You don't need a car. Nobody does.

You can want a car, but it's not necessary for life. Take your solar and wind and reduce emissions for China and India so they don't have to.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,253
6,767
Canyon Lake,CA
Have a friend who began to defend his purchase of a BMW ICE over my Tesla. Better range, gas station on every corner, Tesla is going broke, gas is cheap, falcon wing door are just a gimick, global warming is a scam... on and on forever.

When I agreed that for him the ICE was a much better choice he just stood there with his jaw dropped. He expected a fight, and got none out of me. Seemed a little dejected that I gave in so quickly.

Kind of like riding a Harley or driving a Jeep. Some things are not worth arguing about and many are still not open to other options that differ from their preconcieved opinions.

Love my Tesla, but I feel no obligation to try to convert the world to my choices.

Tesla....it drives like no other.
 
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FlyinLow

Enjoy the journey
Feb 5, 2018
335
328
29036
Kind of like riding a Harley or driving a Jeep. Some things are not worth arguing about and many are still not open to other options that differ from their preconcieved opinions.

Love my Tesla, but I feel no obligation to try to convert the world to my choices.

Tesla....it drives like no other.

Exactly. Electric cars speak for themselves. Not everyone needs a car. Driving an electric car is a fun challenge and it’s easy now compared to 2012 when the true early adopters took the plunge.
 

FlyinLow

Enjoy the journey
Feb 5, 2018
335
328
29036
The primary purpose of this thread from my perspective was to consolidate information for those searching to flush out information to help them make informed decisions about electric vehicles. Some people in the US choose to continue driving a horse and buggie. It works for them.

Here is a link to an informative video of a Stanford University presentation by Dave Duff, a Tesla Engineer:

Skip to about 18 minutes into the video, that is where Dave starts talking.


He discusses energy efficiency and practical use.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: EV-lutioin

dhrivnak

Active Member
Jan 8, 2011
4,416
3,577
NE Tennessee
Maybe this is the right area to park my thoughts and encourage others to post theirs...

I appreciate the people that come up to me and want to convince me that driving my Tesla Model S 85 is a bad idea. Buying a car can be an emotional experience, but for those looking to do a little more fact finding I'd like to share info from the research I did before buying a used Tesla. I made an effort to site the sources I found in notes at the end so anyone reading my thoughts can make their own conclusion. It is possible there are other sources that have good counterpoints. I apologize for the length, but a thorough review of technical topics deserves real examples and some data.

Please add info for or against in this thread, as it might help prospective future car buyers come to their own conclusion in an informed manner, instead of an emotional one. Many people want an electric car, but some just can't justify it.

First of all, I acknowledge that the notion of electric cars is an ongoing discussion. It is worth checking into whether or not an electric car is a good idea or not, and for what reasons. Much like the decision about what car to buy in general, we will each have to evaluate our transportation needs on a regular basis. I own a 2014 Tesla Model S I bought used and have been asked why I chose to spend my hard earned money on an electric car. Admittedly, switching to an all electric car was a significant lifestyle change since driving is such a large part of my life. Someday it may be the obvious choice for most people, but are we there yet? Maybe not for everyone, but for some, yes. Batteries as we know them are getting better, however we definitely need some improvement in storing energy to reduce cold weather energy loss. Electric trains prove we already count on the torque and reliability of electric motors over internal combustion engines when moving people day in and day out with very little down time. Almost all trains are electric. I can't think of any that aren't, but there might still be some out there. Diesel-electric trains have large diesel generators that produce electricity to drive the motors at each wheel on the locomotive. We see diesel-electric trains pulling long strings of cargo cross country. Subways and local transit trains are all electric, using wires or track transmitted power. When we examine the pluses and minuses in applying this to automobiles I'll bet you'll agree that it is mostly an energy storage problem the engineers are working to solve. The market is already responding with better batteries and charging options that are widespread. Businesses are eager to supply power in exchange for shopping at their store (note 1).

My personal frustration as an admirer of technology - in the 1960s VW produced the Bug, an efficient compact car that got more than 30 miles per gallon on gasoline. That was pretty good. In the 1980s VW scored again with a small diesel engine equipped Rabbit that upped the standard to the 40 mpg range. Fuel efficiency, even for gasoline sub compact cars, has not improved since then. My Honda Civic gets only 40 mpg on gasoline, which is great compared to all other gasoline cars on the road (note 2). Sad that we haven't made any more improvement in the last 40 years! There has to be a better way. Introducing a complex mixture of gas and electric propulsion in cars does not seem to be the answer either, as demonstrated in the inefficiencies of the hybrid Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius.

Fundamentally, gasoline vehicles are only at best 50% efficient, with half the energy produced being dissipated as heat. So, even if coal is used to produce electricity, the efficiency of transmitting with a 5% loss (note 3) and charging electric car batteries is 4% (note 4), it is vastly more efficient to use electricity to provide torque to the wheels of a car than gasoline or diesel.

Quick summary of the explanations below: Many states lump road taxes in with registration fees for Electric Vehicles (EVs). Teslas charge most efficiently at 25A so most people have a 50A RV plug installed at home that can easily handle the current. Electric cars can use 110V/15A outlets up to 75A home quick chargers if they are hard wired into the breaker box. To drive the same 10000 miles a Tesla Model S costs $218 and a BMW 7 Series costs $1754 (details below). A Tesla is a unique computer on wheels with lots of interesting features only offered on future design concepts of other companies. American innovation is alive and well with Tesla. Of all car companies, Tesla is the only vehicle 100% US built. I like to buy American. Ford is 64%, Chevrolet 73% and Dodge 80% built in the US (note 5). My Tesla uses energy 100% produced in the US whether it be coal, nuclear, wind or solar produced electricity. The gasoline we consume is 75% domestically produced, at the highest today since the 1970s, but we still import 25% of our oil from other countries (note 6).

1. Electric Car Owners do not pay road taxes through the gas pump. True. There are 17 states (note 7) and growing that require additional registration fees for people who own electric cars to cover the road taxes. Pennsylvania is not one of them. Many states consider electric cars as an overall savings, offsetting the cost of the wear they put on the roads with reduced emissions (exhaust and oil that breaks down the asphalt, eliminates processing used oil and transmission fluid from lack of changes and greatly reduced emissions).

2. Electricity infrastructure cannot handle multiple electric cars on the same street being charged at the same time. Many older houses have 100A service while most modern construction is likely to have 200A service. Similar to when someone takes up welding, it is important to check into a house's electrical power capability before installing an outlet that will charge an electric car at more than 110V/12A. During daylight hours when most electric cars are not being charged, the grid is supplying a massive electrical demand to home and office air conditioners, heaters, etc. At night, when much of the commercial electrical load is not being drawn and typically household HVAC systems use less energy, is when most cars will be charged. Many states have tiered rates, so charging at night is less expensive after midnight, for example. Charge rates. While a Tesla is capable of charging at 70A or higher with a high power DC charger, those are less common than the 50A rated camper plug (NEMA 14-50) that will charge at a max of 80% of it's rated capacity, or 40A. Additionally, the most efficient charge rate for Tesla lithium ion batteries is about 25A, so that is the rate most people are using for home charging. This will fill a Tesla from empty to full in about eight hours. The vast majority of brands of EVs charge at a lower rate than Tesla and have much smaller batteries. Electricity cost includes a transmission fee as well as an infrastructure fee to cover maintaining and upgrading the community's grid. It is best to contact the local power company to let them know you have an EV so they can invest some of that money into upgrading local infrastructure if necessary. The Pittsburgh area has decided they want to encourage EV adoption, so they are already improving the grid and are selling more electricity to customers.

3. Putting the math on paper. Watch decimal points and rounding errors when doing the math yourself. The numbers look like this: Real world driving takes $218 at $0.12/kWh (average residential rate in the US) at 25A and a 92% charging efficiency (including transmission loss) to power a Tesla Model S through 10,000 miles commuting and requires no oil changes. A comparable car in features and size (BMW 7 Series) uses $1354.54 in premium gasoline ($2.98/gal) to go the same 10,000 miles (22 mpg) and requires two oil changes that costs about $200 each for a total of $1754.54. Vehicle purchase price, tires, wipers and washer fluid costs nearly the same for these two vehicles of comparable in size and weight. When doing the math for electric cars vs. gasoline or diesel, be sure to use an apples to apples comparison. Charging an electric car is about the same as running a clothes dryer for a few hours in the middle of the night. Even a plug in hybrid like the Chevy Volt can work for short commutes on electricity alone. At the national average of $0.12/kWh, the cost is $0.07 per mile to drive the Volt on its electric motor, similar to a gasoline car getting 32mpg. It is true no one is going to make up the difference in cost between a new compact electric hybrid car like the Volt or Prius and its gas powered counterpart. Hybrids like the Volt and Prius are very expensive due to the fact they have both an internal combustion engine and electric battery pack connected to another motor. Hybrids are for those not ready to commit to all electric driving and I'll discuss purchase price comparisons.

5. Charge time. An average miles per hour comparison can be made while on a trip, but counting charge time before and after a road trip is assuming a person needs to be present while the car is charging. Unlike a gas pump, which needs a person to pump the gas for five minutes to fill an empty tank, the electric car can recharge on its own as long as the owner plugs it in. A Tesla allows charging to be scheduled when the off-peak cost of electricity is the cheapest. Before and after a trip charge time can be ignored. Time at a charger during a road trip must be included. The following is a real world example from my recent experience driving a Tesla Model S 85 in winter conditions, with rain and temperatures between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit. On a recent 560 mile trip I spent 8 hours driving and 2.5 hours total charging. By staying hydrated, using the restroom every couple hours and eating twice on the way I arrived ready to continue my day. I have made the same trip with a gasoline Honda Civic with 8 hours driving with a 1.0 hour break. I arrived fatigued because I took fewer breaks than is really smart, didn't drink water and only snacked while driving. Maybe I'm slowing down as I get older, or starting to enjoy the journey more, but I liked stopping more often while driving the Tesla. With dogs and/or kids I find that my family stops every two hours anyway. On shorter trips most charge stops are about 15 to 20 minutes since I just need to charge enough to make it two hours to the next supercharger about 150 miles away. I have no experience driving other brands of electric cars on road trips.

6. Purchase price. Anyone can buy a less expensive car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and the true cost to own is less than a BMW or Mercedes. I agree that the economy car market right now is owned by gasoline cars in the cost department. An all electric base model Chevrolet Bolt EV is $37,495 new, a base model Tesla Model 3 is $35,000, Nissan Leaf $30,000 compared to an all gasoline Honda Fit at $16,853 or Ford Focus at $18,298 there doesn't seem to be much incentive to endure the lifestyle change that is required to adopt electric power. At a different, price point, the base BMW 7 Series lists at $79,660 and a base Tesla Model S is $74,500 (note 8).

7. Determining value is a very personal thing. I drove an all electric car on a few test drives and observed people I know who have them. I decided the super smooth, quiet ride and time saved by not going to the gas station (mostly home charging) and not doing oil changes was important to me. The technology is interesting to me. Trip charging was paid for by the person who bought the car new, so I benefit through buying a used car that has unlimited supercharging. Tesla has proven themselves as a company, and I believe they will be around to back up their product that has an 8 year, unlimited mile warranty on the battery and drive-train.

8. Bottom line: I'm driving a car I enjoy and spending 1/2 as much for fuel as I did in the Honda Civic, a car not even in the same category of features or performance. I'd spend a 1/4 as much on go juice compared to a full sized car of similar size and features. Price a new car that is full sized, has FIVE heated seats, a 17 inch touch screen, traffic aware cruise control, auto-steering, a 5.4 second 0-60 time, five-star safety rating in ALL categories, air ride suspension and four-wheel drive (note 9). Years ago when I bought a Corvette to drive to work as a daily driver no one asked me how much that cost to drive. Foolish? Maybe. I never did calculate the cost per mile, but instead enjoyed a unique experience. Life is short. I drive a Tesla Model S for me, not for the benefit of anything or anyone else.

I'm open to counterpoints and intelligent discussion on this issue, as it is an important subject.

FlyinLow

References

Note 1: A competitive market for electric car charging has more options available than you might think, check them out in your area here https://www.plugshare.com

Note 2: Fuelly tracks actual miles per gallon of vehicles and they can be researched here http://www.fuelly.com

Note 3: Trasmission efficiency from the U.S. Energy Information Administration How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 4: Many primary references available here as part of the sources for this information on energy efficiency Engine efficiency - Wikipedia

Note 5: Time reported on how much of each "American" car is actually made in the USA See Which Car Companies Make In America

Note 6: US gasoline production is at an all time high, but we still rely on foreign oil How much oil consumed by the United States comes from foreign countries? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 7: More states are adding registration taxes for EVs to pay for road infrastructure States Charge Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Owners for Share of Road Costs

Note 8: True Car reports what people paid for cars purchased in the United States Car Prices & Inventory | Savings on New & Used Cars | TrueCar

Note 9: Tesla features and options are configured and the price goes up from the base model if exceptional acceleration or more premium interior options are desired
Tesla
I like this and agree with most of it except the Chevy Volt. A Volt will go 38 miles on 10.4KWh for $.033/mile or less than half the cost you cited.
 
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FlyinLow

Enjoy the journey
Feb 5, 2018
335
328
29036
I like this and agree with most of it except the Chevy Volt. A Volt will go 38 miles on 10.4KWh for $.033/mile or less than half the cost you cited.

Excellent. Im glad a Volt is more economical. Part of the purpose of writing down my thoughts was to respond intelligently to a friend who emailed me an opinion with the Volt as an example. His math was off, he had misplaced a decimal so he thought driving a Volt was ten times the actual cost.
 
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Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
2,742
2,669
Austin
I love those comments about everyone can't charge their car at once because the grid can't cope non-statements :)
Its exactly the same as saying that everyone can't dry therir clothes or cook at the same time - which obviously there is no issue with.

I switched to electric almost four years ago now and haven't looked back since.
ICE is just a stinking, low performing, noisy, complicated mess I'd rather not have any part of any longer - its been the past for a while now, but most people haven't figured it out yet.
As someone said, horses used to be the only transport, not a small number of people hang on to them for pleasure - that's where ICE is heading.
Some old guy complaining about how "modern" cars can't be fixed like they used to.

Fast forwarding to the future for me :)
 
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Reciprocity

Active Member
Feb 27, 2017
4,160
10,905
Chicagoland
Maybe this is the right area to park my thoughts and encourage others to post theirs...

I appreciate the people that come up to me and want to convince me that driving my Tesla Model S 85 is a bad idea. Buying a car can be an emotional experience, but for those looking to do a little more fact finding I'd like to share info from the research I did before buying a used Tesla. I made an effort to site the sources I found in notes at the end so anyone reading my thoughts can make their own conclusion. It is possible there are other sources that have good counterpoints. I apologize for the length, but a thorough review of technical topics deserves real examples and some data.

Please add info for or against in this thread, as it might help prospective future car buyers come to their own conclusion in an informed manner, instead of an emotional one. Many people want an electric car, but some just can't justify it.

First of all, I acknowledge that the notion of electric cars is an ongoing discussion. It is worth checking into whether or not an electric car is a good idea or not, and for what reasons. Much like the decision about what car to buy in general, we will each have to evaluate our transportation needs on a regular basis. I own a 2014 Tesla Model S I bought used and have been asked why I chose to spend my hard earned money on an electric car. Admittedly, switching to an all electric car was a significant lifestyle change since driving is such a large part of my life. Someday it may be the obvious choice for most people, but are we there yet? Maybe not for everyone, but for some, yes. Batteries as we know them are getting better, however we definitely need some improvement in storing energy to reduce cold weather energy loss. Electric trains prove we already count on the torque and reliability of electric motors over internal combustion engines when moving people day in and day out with very little down time. Almost all trains are electric. I can't think of any that aren't, but there might still be some out there. Diesel-electric trains have large diesel generators that produce electricity to drive the motors at each wheel on the locomotive. We see diesel-electric trains pulling long strings of cargo cross country. Subways and local transit trains are all electric, using wires or track transmitted power. When we examine the pluses and minuses in applying this to automobiles I'll bet you'll agree that it is mostly an energy storage problem the engineers are working to solve. The market is already responding with better batteries and charging options that are widespread. Businesses are eager to supply power in exchange for shopping at their store (note 1).

My personal frustration as an admirer of technology - in the 1960s VW produced the Bug, an efficient compact car that got more than 30 miles per gallon on gasoline. That was pretty good. In the 1980s VW scored again with a small diesel engine equipped Rabbit that upped the standard to the 40 mpg range. Fuel efficiency, even for gasoline sub compact cars, has not improved since then. My Honda Civic gets only 40 mpg on gasoline, which is great compared to all other gasoline cars on the road (note 2). Sad that we haven't made any more improvement in the last 40 years! There has to be a better way. Introducing a complex mixture of gas and electric propulsion in cars does not seem to be the answer either, as demonstrated in the inefficiencies of the hybrid Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius.

Fundamentally, gasoline vehicles are only at best 50% efficient, with half the energy produced being dissipated as heat. So, even if coal is used to produce electricity, the efficiency of transmitting with a 5% loss (note 3) and charging electric car batteries is 4% (note 4), it is vastly more efficient to use electricity to provide torque to the wheels of a car than gasoline or diesel.

Quick summary of the explanations below: Many states lump road taxes in with registration fees for Electric Vehicles (EVs). Teslas charge most efficiently at 25A so most people have a 50A RV plug installed at home that can easily handle the current. Electric cars can use 110V/15A outlets up to 75A home quick chargers if they are hard wired into the breaker box. To drive the same 10000 miles a Tesla Model S costs $218 and a BMW 7 Series costs $1754 (details below). A Tesla is a unique computer on wheels with lots of interesting features only offered on future design concepts of other companies. American innovation is alive and well with Tesla. Of all car companies, Tesla is the only vehicle 100% US built. I like to buy American. Ford is 64%, Chevrolet 73% and Dodge 80% built in the US (note 5). My Tesla uses energy 100% produced in the US whether it be coal, nuclear, wind or solar produced electricity. The gasoline we consume is 75% domestically produced, at the highest today since the 1970s, but we still import 25% of our oil from other countries (note 6).

1. Electric Car Owners do not pay road taxes through the gas pump. True. There are 17 states (note 7) and growing that require additional registration fees for people who own electric cars to cover the road taxes. Pennsylvania is not one of them. Many states consider electric cars as an overall savings, offsetting the cost of the wear they put on the roads with reduced emissions (exhaust and oil that breaks down the asphalt, eliminates processing used oil and transmission fluid from lack of changes and greatly reduced emissions).

2. Electricity infrastructure cannot handle multiple electric cars on the same street being charged at the same time. Many older houses have 100A service while most modern construction is likely to have 200A service. Similar to when someone takes up welding, it is important to check into a house's electrical power capability before installing an outlet that will charge an electric car at more than 110V/12A. During daylight hours when most electric cars are not being charged, the grid is supplying a massive electrical demand to home and office air conditioners, heaters, etc. At night, when much of the commercial electrical load is not being drawn and typically household HVAC systems use less energy, is when most cars will be charged. Many states have tiered rates, so charging at night is less expensive after midnight, for example. Charge rates. While a Tesla is capable of charging at 70A or higher with a high power DC charger, those are less common than the 50A rated camper plug (NEMA 14-50) that will charge at a max of 80% of it's rated capacity, or 40A. Additionally, the most efficient charge rate for Tesla lithium ion batteries is about 25A, so that is the rate most people are using for home charging. This will fill a Tesla from empty to full in about eight hours. The vast majority of brands of EVs charge at a lower rate than Tesla and have much smaller batteries. Electricity cost includes a transmission fee as well as an infrastructure fee to cover maintaining and upgrading the community's grid. It is best to contact the local power company to let them know you have an EV so they can invest some of that money into upgrading local infrastructure if necessary. The Pittsburgh area has decided they want to encourage EV adoption, so they are already improving the grid and are selling more electricity to customers.

3. Putting the math on paper. Watch decimal points and rounding errors when doing the math yourself. The numbers look like this: Real world driving takes $218 at $0.12/kWh (average residential rate in the US) at 25A and a 92% charging efficiency (including transmission loss) to power a Tesla Model S through 10,000 miles commuting and requires no oil changes. A comparable car in features and size (BMW 7 Series) uses $1354.54 in premium gasoline ($2.98/gal) to go the same 10,000 miles (22 mpg) and requires two oil changes that costs about $200 each for a total of $1754.54. Vehicle purchase price, tires, wipers and washer fluid costs nearly the same for these two vehicles of comparable in size and weight. When doing the math for electric cars vs. gasoline or diesel, be sure to use an apples to apples comparison. Charging an electric car is about the same as running a clothes dryer for a few hours in the middle of the night. Even a plug in hybrid like the Chevy Volt can work for short commutes on electricity alone. At the national average of $0.12/kWh, the cost is $0.07 per mile to drive the Volt on its electric motor, similar to a gasoline car getting 32mpg. It is true no one is going to make up the difference in cost between a new compact electric hybrid car like the Volt or Prius and its gas powered counterpart. Hybrids like the Volt and Prius are very expensive due to the fact they have both an internal combustion engine and electric battery pack connected to another motor. Hybrids are for those not ready to commit to all electric driving and I'll discuss purchase price comparisons.

5. Charge time. An average miles per hour comparison can be made while on a trip, but counting charge time before and after a road trip is assuming a person needs to be present while the car is charging. Unlike a gas pump, which needs a person to pump the gas for five minutes to fill an empty tank, the electric car can recharge on its own as long as the owner plugs it in. A Tesla allows charging to be scheduled when the off-peak cost of electricity is the cheapest. Before and after a trip charge time can be ignored. Time at a charger during a road trip must be included. The following is a real world example from my recent experience driving a Tesla Model S 85 in winter conditions, with rain and temperatures between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit. On a recent 560 mile trip I spent 8 hours driving and 2.5 hours total charging. By staying hydrated, using the restroom every couple hours and eating twice on the way I arrived ready to continue my day. I have made the same trip with a gasoline Honda Civic with 8 hours driving with a 1.0 hour break. I arrived fatigued because I took fewer breaks than is really smart, didn't drink water and only snacked while driving. Maybe I'm slowing down as I get older, or starting to enjoy the journey more, but I liked stopping more often while driving the Tesla. With dogs and/or kids I find that my family stops every two hours anyway. On shorter trips most charge stops are about 15 to 20 minutes since I just need to charge enough to make it two hours to the next supercharger about 150 miles away. I have no experience driving other brands of electric cars on road trips.

6. Purchase price. Anyone can buy a less expensive car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and the true cost to own is less than a BMW or Mercedes. I agree that the economy car market right now is owned by gasoline cars in the cost department. An all electric base model Chevrolet Bolt EV is $37,495 new, a base model Tesla Model 3 is $35,000, Nissan Leaf $30,000 compared to an all gasoline Honda Fit at $16,853 or Ford Focus at $18,298 there doesn't seem to be much incentive to endure the lifestyle change that is required to adopt electric power. At a different, price point, the base BMW 7 Series lists at $79,660 and a base Tesla Model S is $74,500 (note 8).

7. Determining value is a very personal thing. I drove an all electric car on a few test drives and observed people I know who have them. I decided the super smooth, quiet ride and time saved by not going to the gas station (mostly home charging) and not doing oil changes was important to me. The technology is interesting to me. Trip charging was paid for by the person who bought the car new, so I benefit through buying a used car that has unlimited supercharging. Tesla has proven themselves as a company, and I believe they will be around to back up their product that has an 8 year, unlimited mile warranty on the battery and drive-train.

8. Bottom line: I'm driving a car I enjoy and spending 1/2 as much for fuel as I did in the Honda Civic, a car not even in the same category of features or performance. I'd spend a 1/4 as much on go juice compared to a full sized car of similar size and features. Price a new car that is full sized, has FIVE heated seats, a 17 inch touch screen, traffic aware cruise control, auto-steering, a 5.4 second 0-60 time, five-star safety rating in ALL categories, air ride suspension and four-wheel drive (note 9). Years ago when I bought a Corvette to drive to work as a daily driver no one asked me how much that cost to drive. Foolish? Maybe. I never did calculate the cost per mile, but instead enjoyed a unique experience. Life is short. I drive a Tesla Model S for me, not for the benefit of anything or anyone else.

I'm open to counterpoints and intelligent discussion on this issue, as it is an important subject.

FlyinLow

References

Note 1: A competitive market for electric car charging has more options available than you might think, check them out in your area here https://www.plugshare.com

Note 2: Fuelly tracks actual miles per gallon of vehicles and they can be researched here http://www.fuelly.com

Note 3: Trasmission efficiency from the U.S. Energy Information Administration How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 4: Many primary references available here as part of the sources for this information on energy efficiency Engine efficiency - Wikipedia

Note 5: Time reported on how much of each "American" car is actually made in the USA See Which Car Companies Make In America

Note 6: US gasoline production is at an all time high, but we still rely on foreign oil How much oil consumed by the United States comes from foreign countries? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Note 7: More states are adding registration taxes for EVs to pay for road infrastructure States Charge Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Owners for Share of Road Costs

Note 8: True Car reports what people paid for cars purchased in the United States Car Prices & Inventory | Savings on New & Used Cars | TrueCar

Note 9: Tesla features and options are configured and the price goes up from the base model if exceptional acceleration or more premium interior options are desired
Tesla

Only one question.. solar? Adding solar to a model 3 can make it very competitive with $18000 cars when you consider TCO over 10 years and residual value, even without tax credits. I know it's tough for someone buying an $18k car to have that kind of but picture view. The more miles you drive the better the value as well and the more valuable the solar can be as an investment.
 

Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,765
1,292
Sonoma, California
I love those comments about everyone can't charge their car at once because the grid can't cope non-statements :)
Its exactly the same as saying that everyone can't dry therir clothes or cook at the same time - which obviously there is no issue with.

I switched to electric almost four years ago now and haven't looked back since.
ICE is just a stinking, low performing, noisy, complicated mess I'd rather not have any part of any longer - its been the past for a while now, but most people haven't figured it out yet.
As someone said, horses used to be the only transport, not a small number of people hang on to them for pleasure - that's where ICE is heading.
Some old guy complaining about how "modern" cars can't be fixed like they used to.

Fast forwarding to the future for me :)
Totally agree, if you have watched Tony Seba’s disruptive technology series and go back to 1900 where he shows a picture of horse and buggy with 1 vehicle. Everyone believed it was a fluke and said the horse and buggy is here to stay!
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,276
Texas
An electric car--at least a Tesla--is just a better experience. We have a Tesla and a Leaf. There's no issue with the Leaf as long as it's understood that it's just a short distance commuter car and that the dealer won't likely have a Leaf certified technician. Fortunately, the Leaf doesn't need much service. The Tesla just just better in every way than a gas car.
 
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Asymmetry

Member
Jun 22, 2015
164
133
Australia, Sydney
Good post!

Personally I'm going to buy another ICE this year rather than a M3. Once I have solar with a battery then will consider M3. Also by then Model 3 will be made better and probably model Y will be available.
 
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Asymmetry

Member
Jun 22, 2015
164
133
Australia, Sydney
By the time you wear out this car you’ll have a lot of electric options for sure! Seems like 2020 is the magical year.
Yes seems a lot of manfactures are going to build Evs which is great. Even my beloved Subaru are planning on releasing EVs 2025ish.

Subaru wont wear out, my current one is 15 years old with 50% depreciation in that time. Only upgrading because I want an automatic for daily driving.

Here in Sydney, there is only 3 supercharger stattions for the entire city. not sure how people will cope that cant charge at home. my guess not well
 
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