Do EVs Make Good Cents or Sense?

Posted on January 3rd, 2013 by

David Herron of Torque News stated in his article “60 kWh Tesla Model S rated at 208 mile electric driving range by EPA:” 

“The 85 kilowatt-hour Model S, $77,400 for 265 miles range, or $292/mile of range. The 60 kilowatt-hour Model S, $67,400 for 208 miles range, is $324/mile of range. The other electric cars cost a lot more per mile of driving range. [1]

Taking this comparison to the next logical step, a cost analysis of EVs and gasoline powered passenger vehicles was conducted to determine their comparative Life Cycle Cost. This analysis included 30 vehicles (2013) ranging from a Mini Cooper to a Ferrari F12. Vehicles represented high-end and low end models from a sampling of manufacturers.

Only Teslar’s Model S all electric vehicle was considered in this study. Results may look somewhat different with other manufacturer’s lower end all electrics cars.

Items evaluated included:

  • Engine Power (HP or kWh),
  • EPA’s MPG Combined Fuel Economy Rating or kWh /100 mile rating
  • Fuel Capacity (gallons).
  • MSRP less delivery, tax, title and license
  • Range (= Combined EPA rating x Fuel Capacity)
  • Cost per Mile ( = MSRP / Range)
  • Cost of Gasoline over 60,000 miles [ = (60,000 / MPG) x cost of gasoline]

Cost of Electricity over 60,000 [ = (60,000 /100) x (kWh/100 miles x cost of electricity)]

  • Total Cost (= MSRP + Cost of Fuel)
  • Cost Difference from Telsa S 60 kWh (= Total Cost – Total Cost of Telsa S)

Data for each vehicle was obtained from the EPA and manufacturers’ technical specifications. The cost of gasoline ($3.257 per gallon) was obtained from the EIA – U.S. National Average for Regular Grade, 12/24/2012. The cost of electricity ($0.1187 per kWh) was obtained from the EIA – Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Residential Customers; rolling 12 Months Ending in October for 2012.

The analysis did not include costs for tax, title, license, routine service, unscheduled maintenance and towing cost for discharged batteries or running out of gasoline.  The fact that electricity is primarily generated by fossil fuels was not taken into account in this study.

It is suggested to view the entire spread sheet (.xls) attached or at: 

The summary is as follows; from largest to smallest cost savings or cost differential from Tesla S 60 kWh at 60,000 miles:




Cost Savings

Toyota Camry LE Sedan


Toyota Camry LE Sedan Hybrid


Mini Cooper S Coupe


Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL


Ford Taurus Limited


Dodge Charger Daytona R/T Plus


Lexus ES 300h Sedan


Buick Lacrosse Premium 1


Cadillac CTS Coupe


Nissan Maxima 3.5 Premium


Chrysler 300s Sedan


Lexus GS Sedan


Audi Q7 TDI


Infiniti M37 Sedan


Audi A6 3.0 TFSI


Corvette 1LT


BMW 535i Sedan


Cadillac XTS Premium Sedan


Tesla Model S


Land Rover Sport HSE


Cadillac CTS- V Coupe


Tesla Model S


Jaguar XL


Lotus Evora S


Mercedzes-Benz  S550


Nissan GT-R


Porsche 911 Carrera 4S


Corvette ZR1


Bentley Continental GT


Lamborghini Gallardo (2012)


Ferrari F12 Berlinetta  Coupe


In closing, the data speaks for itself. From a pure cost basis only Teslar S with either 60kWh or 85kWh versions make little financial sense. Critically acclaimed cars such as Audi A6 and Q7, Cadillac CTS, BMW even the base Corvette are better deals.

The problem is society’s need to get off fossil fuels. With high cost EVs that show little or no cost savings, it’s difficult to motivate consumers to purchase EVs – even if it benefits all of us in the long run.



The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author Dr. Barry Stevens, an accomplished business developer and entrepreneur in technology-driven enterprises. He is the founder of TBD America Inc., a global technology business development group. In this role, he is responsible for leading the development of emerging and mature technology driven enterprises in the shale gas, natural gas, renewable energy and sustainability industries. To learn more about TBD America, please visit:



Barry Stevens, Ph.D.


TBD America, Inc.

December 28, 2012


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4 People have left comments on this post

» EVman said: { Jan 9, 2013 - 02:01:05 }

Some salient points you missed.
1. Tesla model S is designed to be a premium sedan – not a Ford Taurus
2. Your gasoline fuel cost is way off base. The national average for 2012 was $3.60/gal. and the costs are likely to go higher ($4.00 gal isn’t unreasonable). This is nowhere near the $3.25/gal. that you used to slant your results.
3.  I pay 0.06 kWh to recharge my Model S
4.  What about things like oil changes that are required for a gasoline powered car – at least 16 for 60,000 miles. They are not free and require time (see last point).
5.  Time savings. I plug in my EV as I walk in my garage to my back door. I never have to wait in line or stand around waiting for my tank to fill at a gas station.

» David Herron said: { Jan 9, 2013 - 05:01:59 }

Thank you for noticing my article on TorqueNews, and for going into further analysis. I went over your spreadsheet and think your use of “Life Cycle Cost” is inaccurate because you’re leaving out some costs, plus you’re not accounting for the residual value of the vehicle at 60,000 miles. I posted a longer reply on my blog at Re: Do EV’s make good cents or sense?

» Barry Stevens said: { Jan 14, 2013 - 07:01:40 }

1. Correct, the price for Tesla is a premium car; nor is:
Lexus ES 300h Sedan
Buick Lacrosse Premium 1
Cadillac CTS Coupe
Nissan Maxima 3.5 Premium
Chrysler 300s Sedan
Lexus GS Sedan
Audi Q7 TDI
Infiniti M37 Sedan
Audi A6 3.0 TFSI
Corvette 1LT
BMW 535i Sedan
Cadillac XTS Premium Sedan

How much did you pay for your Tesla.

2. The gasoline price was is not off base. Figures used was from the EIA; see
3. Noted you pay “. I pay 0.06 kWh to recharge my Model S.” Not clear if 0.06 is USD or Euros. If it is USD, let us know your electricity retailer and what utility rate plan you are on. If variable rate, please advise all prices on times of use.
4. Yes, there are savings for reduced maintenance costs for both EV and natural gas fueled vehicles (NGV). This omission was mentioned. Reason is there is insufficient history with EVs owned by public to make a reasonable comparison.
5. Noted, there is a convenience with home charging as there is with CNG fueling of NGVs. Are you charging at level 1 or 2. What happens on the road if your batteries become fully discharged? Also, in the morning is your battery pack fully charged?

I included a link to the spread sheet and welcome to develop or modify the sheet with any parameters you choose, as long as you state a reliable source for the data.


» Barry Stevens said: { Jan 14, 2013 - 07:01:29 }

I do like to play the strawman. It brings out new points and figures. My analysis is not inclusive. I never claimed to have all points covered. I leave it up to the readership to provide a quantitative analysis with valid numbers of their choosing. That’s why I made the spread sheet available.

Though I received many extremely negative responses with this article, at least I did not receive a death threat as I did with my posting noting a demise in New Jersey’s solar power industry due to a decline in SREC pricing.

Residual value is a good point. I did not have figures for the residual value of all vehicles noted in this piece. For example, the residual value of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta owned by Justin Bieber would be $0 USD in 6 months.

Can you paste your reply in this discussion?

I sincerely appreciate your reply!


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