Electric Car Costs vs Gasoline Cars vs Hybrids

March 8, 2012

Learn how to compare electric car costs against those of gasoline cars and hybrids.

Electric car costs are generally not limited to the purchase price of the vehicle itself. While electric cars are certainly cheaper to operate than gas vehicles, gasoline offers much better efficiency. Though there are other costs to be considered. This article will address typical costs associated with electric, gasoline, as well as hybrid vehicles.

Electric vs. Gasoline: The Initial Costs

Electric cars have decreased in price considerably over the last 10 to 15 years. However, some electric cars still remain very expensive. Today electric cars can be purchased in the $10,000 to $15,000 price range for very basic entry models, and go all the way up to over $110,000 for some of the most advanced models. This is similar to many vehicles that use gasoline engines as well. The similarities and costs seem to stop at the initial purchase price.

Continued Operation Costs

With a gasoline-operated vehicle, buying gas in order to drive is a never-ending process. With the ever-increasing cost of gasoline and oil, operating a gasoline vehicle tends to be very expensive. While there are some types of smaller gasoline vehicles that get much better gas mileage than larger SUVs or pickup trucks, even the most efficient gasoline models will generally require a substantial investment every month.

On the other hand, electric vehicles do not require gasoline to operate and use standard electricity plug-ins to charge their batteries. In fact, some electric car manufacturers claim that their vehicles require as little as $0.01-$0.02 a mile to operate. Compare this to an average minimum cost of about $0.08-$0.10 per mile for even the most fuel-efficient gasoline engine vehicles, and you can quickly see how electric cars can offer a lot of savings for daily commutes and short range driving.

Other Considerations
While electric cars are certainly more efficient and less expensive to operate, and prices have now dropped to levels that rival some many popular gasoline engine vehicles, there are certain things you should consider that may not be able to be gauged in terms of cost or value.

For example, you will not always be able to simply jump into an electric vehicle and take off. This is because electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries that can take considerable time to recharge. In fact, one of the major complaints against the election vehicles is the lengthy charging time that is required. For many electric cars, it can take between 8 to 12 hours to fully recharge an empty battery cell.

Electric vehicles are severely limited in the ranges they can travel. Typical electric cars can only maintain a charge and be driven for distances between 60 and 150 miles. Even the most expensive models tend to top out at a range of about 200 miles. Contrast this with the standard gasoline engine vehicle, and you can see how many people would consider a gasoline-operated car or truck a better choice regardless of fuel costs.

Electric vs. Gasoline vs. Hybrid Car Pricing

Of all the information that you are going to want to compile when researching and purchasing a new car, car pricing is probably the most important piece of data you want to have. As one of the most important factors to consider when deciding on which car to purchase, accurate car pricing information is essential to finding the best deal on the car you are interested in. Whether it's figuring out the MSRP of this year's crop of new models or soliciting new car quotes from multiple dealers in your area, having a clear picture of how much your new vehicle is going to cost can help you avoid overpaying and get the car of your dreams at the best price.

Because of the multitude of factors that can go into determining the price of a new car, it helps to have as much information as possible on how these prices are calculated and how you can find a way to pay the lowest price possible. While researching new car prices, take some time to read through the expert articles and advice that we have collected here to help you understand the mechanisms of car pricing and give you strategies for how to make the most of your money.

Electric vs. Gasoline vs. Hybrid Car Costs: What's Cheapest in the Long Run?

When thinking about electric car costs, one might wonder if it really is cheaper to go electric in the long run. Electric cars are often considered to do great on gas and help the environment, but there has been talk they are expensive to maintain and do not run like a normal car should. However, when looking at hybrid cars and electric cars, it is clear that they do have their advantages.

Zenn electric cars, for example, are relatively cheap to purchase. A Zenn is a fully-enclosed, three-door hatchback built on a road-tested chassis. Many might think that electric cars take too long to charge, but the Zenn can charge up to 80% capacity in just 4 hours off of zero charge. With an electric car like the Zenn, maintenance is not an issue due to Zenn having less parts than a normal vehicle. A Zenn does not require oil and filter changes or emissions testing to save you plenty of money on a yearly basis along with the costs of gas. The Chevy Volt has huge talk and is expected to deliver a city fuel economy of 230 mpg while achieving up to 40 miles of electric-only driving in both city and highway test cycles. Hybrid cars deliver great gas mileage as well, but nothing compared to what Chevy is promising with the Volt.

When considering overall costs of driving an electric car versus a hybrid or standard gasoline car, electric cars are a very good investment financially in the long run. Without the need to spend money on gas, oil changes, filter changes and emissions on a yearly basis, electric cars a sought after investment. Although they may not be as powerful or have as many luxurious features as other cars, electric cars will get you from point A to point B with as little maintenance and costs as possible in the long run.

New Electric Car Costs vs. New Hybrid Vehicles

How do hybrids compare to the even more environmentally friendly electric car costs?

Becoming the Norm
Nearly every manufacturer now offers some sort of version of the hybrid car that combines electric engines with traditional petroleum engines. This allows consumers to use much less gasoline than normal as well as emit a lesser amount of CO2 into the environment. The options for these greener cars have increased over the years to provide not only standard economic cars, but larger SUVs as well. Because of the demand for hybrids, the average cost for each vehicle has actually decreased. Allowing more individuals the opportunity to purchase one, and essentially, saving money in the long term due to reduced trips to the pump.

The hybrid ultimately saves money in fuel and runs for about $30,000-$45,000, depending on the make and model you desire. While they have lower emissions and require less frequent trips to the gas station, you'll still have to pay to keep it running. Maintenance is low, however, gas prices are still increasing in cost. Even though you won't pay as much as the average person, you will still be paying something.

The Wave of the Future
Electric vehicles are actually not really a futuristic concept. Some of the first automobile prototypes only used electricity to run their engines. The only problem with this is that they didn't run very fast, nor did they run for very long without a need for recharging. That's why the traditional engine using petroleum replaced all electronic forms of transportation.

Years later, and with a depleting oil economy, there was a need to revisit the electronic vehicle. To manufacture anything that would be remotely suitable for transit, proved it would cost a fortune for the consumer once completed and ready for market. Once the first marketable electric car came about, it was priced at nearly $110,000. The upside to paying this kind of cash is that there wouldn't be any fuel costs at all for the life of the vehicle.

Now there is not only a reasonable solution to having an electric car, but one that is stylish and sexy that anyone would want this vehicle. Tesla Motor Company created the first, affordable roadster at half the price of previous street friendly vehicles at just under $50,000. Its sleek, its quiet and will never need refueling. It will also travel up to 300 miles without having to need a recharge, which really will only take 45 minutes total to complete. The Tesla Roadster S is the first in its kind to be an electric car and go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds, as well as being able to hold up to seven passengers.

Cost of the Future
Both the hybrid and the electric car are economical forms of transportation once the initial cost has been paid for. When electric cars like the Tesla become the norm, the cost benefits will be unchallenged.

Related Questions and Answers

Does a Hybrid Car's Electric Motor Cost More to Repair than Standard Gas Engines?

A hybrid car electric motor is usually easier to work on than the standard gasoline engine just because of its construction. Since it is an AC motor, the current needed to generate the electricity is created by a rather large magnet that spins around inside a wire basket. If you will, as the magnet spins, it sets up a current that either spins the wheels or, if there's enough current to keep the wheels spinning, then the excess charge is pushed into the storage batteries so that when it is needed in traffic, it is there. Generally, it is far easier to pull a wheel and magnet assembly or to swap out an inductor (basket) assembly than it is to find which of the 15,000 or so parts in your standard gasoline engine is not working properly.

Are there any Three Wheel Electric Cars for Sale?

The three-wheel electric car has been for sale for some time now, although they are classified as electric motorcycles, rather than as cars. For example, according to our research, a vehicle called the Bandit has been on sale for some time, and it is a three-wheel electric vehicle. Another vehicle that's more at home on a golf course than on a major interstate, the EZ-Go, is also on sale and it is a three-wheeler. These vehicles have been for sale for the last several years and seem to be becoming more popular, especially as gasoline is creeping over $3 per gallon again.

Do Battery Operated Motors Last Longer than Gasoline Engines?

In general, you will find that battery operated motors may last far longer than standard gasoline motors. The reason, quite frankly, is that there are fewer moving parts. Essentially, each wheel is a huge magnet spinning inside a rather large coil generating electricity. There are very few parts to that. Or looking at it another way, how long has your current microwave been running? It has a similar electrical motor. While it may not be complicated by things like regenerative braking systems and an automatic transmission, you will find that your microwave will last easily for at least 10 years. If you don't beat it up too badly, then why not electric cars?

Are All Electric Cars Street Legal?

Street legal electric cars are all the rage right now and, in fact, a couple of Canadians have built their own legal version of an electric for about $672 that is certainly legal on the roads to the country to the north of us. There are many other kits and conversions that will also result in street legal versions of electric vehicles. The only issues here would be to make sure that your Department of Motor Vehicles and inspectors are involved in every step of the conversion process, as are federal authorities. You wouldn't want to invest a couple of hundred hours in a conversion only to find it shot down in flames because you forgot a bracket or a brace.

Does Porsche Make an Electric Car?

Right now, Fiskcars is the only 200-mph-plus Porsche electric car on the market. Porsche has active plans for a hybrid electric performance vehicle that will likely really stretch the margins of what battery technicians can do over the next year or so. However, according to various sources and interviews that have appeared on the Internet, Porsche is planning for a monster 550-horsepower hybrid that should really peel the doors off anything that is silly enough to get in its way. The Porsche, according to various sources, will likely make its first appearance next Summer. Test mules are undergoing hot and cold work around the world to determine the kind of performance the vehicle will have in Greenland, Iceland or Australia.

Do Dealer Incentive Programs Cost More in the Long Run?

Dealer incentive programs usually refer to programs that are run by the auto maker in order to boost the sales of specific cars. These programs are usually regionally oriented. Normally, a manufacturer will give discounts for new car dealers to buy specific car models to boost sales or run out current inventories. Sometimes a dealer will pass these cost savings on to the customer. Dealer incentives given by the car makers are normally transparent to the car buyer. This is because most dealer incentive programs aren't announced to the public, but only to the dealers themselves. Because dealer incentives usually cause dealer costs to be lower, they will usually not cost the consumer more in the end.

Are Electric Car Prices Going Up or Down?

Because the technology wasn't fully developed, and still isn't, electric car pricing started very high. In the first few years of mass production of any type of vehicle, the cost to the manufacturer to produce these cars can be considerably higher than once the particular model is established.  This is because plants will have to upgraded, new supply lines will need to be established and plant personnel training are all expensive. This technology has become well established and is now out of its infancy, thus the costs of production are starting to decline significantly. As an example, the Nissan Leaf, due for release very soon, can be bought for under $25,000 in some places. Electric car prices are definitely on the way down.

Are Electric Car Repairs Much Higher than Gas Power Car Repairs?

You're considering an electric car, but you're curious about the difference in prices with electric car repairs. General maintenance type repairs, such as brake jobs, tire replacement and tire rotations shouldn't cost much more than they would with a regular car. However, there aren't going to be any qualified technicians outside of specialized dealerships to work on the complicated and expensive electrical motors, speed controllers and battery systems. If something goes wrong in one of these systems, you will end up paying more for a similar amount of time spent in the repair shop. However, most of these components should remain under warranty for the next few years, so you shouldn't have to pay for any repairs to these systems for some time to come.

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