Hidden Costs of Owning an Electric Car

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people become environmentally conscious and look for ways to save money on gasoline. Compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles, electric cars offer many benefits: they are more fuel-efficient and produce fewer emissions, which helps reduce your carbon footprint. But, many people fail to consider the hidden costs of owning an electric car. These expenses may not be immediately apparent, but they can possibly leave you with a much bigger bill in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at some of the hidden costs of owning an electric vehicle.

Initial Costs of an EV

The initial cost of an electric vehicle is often one of the biggest deterrents for would-be EV owners. On average, EVs cost about $10,000 more than their gas-powered counterparts. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering the initial cost of an electric vehicle. Electric cars qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, which can help offset the higher purchase price. In addition, many states offer rebates and incentives for purchasing an EV. Your maintenance cost for an electric car is much lower than when it comes to a gas powered vehicle. On average, you can expect to spend half as much on maintenance costs as you would normally for a gas vehicle.

Although the initial cost of an electric car may be higher than a gas car, there are several factors that can offset that cost over time. However, there are other hidden costs associated with owning an EV that you may not have considered.

Repair Costs of an EV

Electric vehicles have become increasingly popular in recent years, but one of the biggest hidden costs of ownership is the cost of repairs. An electric car has much more complex electrical systems than a traditional gas powered car, and these systems are often very expensive to repair or replace. In addition, electric cars often have parts that are difficult to find and replace, which can also drive up the true cost of EV ownership.

According to data and predictive analytics firm, We Predict, in a three-month time frame, EV repair costs were about two times higher than gasoline vehicle repair costs. Within a year, EV service costs were still about two times higher than conventional vehicle repair costs. We Predict found the average cost of repairs for an electric vehicle average about $300 per EV, while an internal combustion engine ICE vehicle averages about $190.

Another big factor in EV repair costs and the overall true cost of EV ownership is servicing the EV battery. A battery electric vehicle and most other types of EVs run on lithium-ion batteries. They are similar to the batteries used in your phone or laptop but are much larger in size. Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time and the lifetime of an electric car battery is usually 10-15 years. The cost to replace an EV battery is thousands of dollars depending on the make and model of your EV. On the low end, you may spend about $3,000 to replace it, but on the high end, like for a Tesla Model 3, it could cost you about $16,000 to replace it.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the most common warranty for a plug-in vehicle battery is eight years or 100,000 miles so you won’t have to replace the electric car battery that often.

Another hidden cost associated with owning an electric car is the cost of parts. Electric cars often have parts that are difficult to find and replace, which can drive up the cost of ownership. In addition, many vehicle repair shops are staffed with mechanics that are unfamiliar with electric cars for obvious reasons. This means mechanics take longer to diagnose and then fix a problem with an EV, which in turn adds more dollar signs to your vehicle repair bill.

Charging Costs of an EV

A hidden cost of owning an electric car is the cost of EV charging. There are ways to offset the cost of charging an electric car, however. Many utility companies offer special time-of-use rate plans for electric car owners and there are also rebates and tax credits available from both the federal government and some state governments. In addition, some employers offer workplace charging as a benefit to employees who own electric cars. 

If you don’t have access to a public charging station or a workplace charging station, you’ll need to purchase one for your home in order to charge your car. A standard Level 1 charger does come with the purchase or lease of an EV, but it is very slow to charge and most EV drivers install a Level 2 home charger so they can have a sufficient daily charge.

A home EV charger can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000 prior to labor costs, and public charging stations charge by the amount of time you charge or the amount of energy you use. While there is not much you can do to save on public charging stations except for signing up for a membership with an EV charging network, there are many options for saving money on your home EV charging installation. There are many rebates and incentives available to you for your home EV charging station no matter where you live. You can also apply and receive rebates from more than one organization, which could end up meaning you pay zero for your home EV charging station and the installation!

If you do use a home EV charger, you’ll also need to pay for the electricity that you use to charge your car, which can add up over time. It should be noted that although you’ll have to pay for electricity, charging an EV is much cheaper than gas prices. How much you will pay to charge your car depends on where you live. In some states, such as Texas, electricity rates are relatively low, while in other states, such as Hawaii, electricity rates are much higher. No matter what though the average cost to charge your car is much cheaper than paying for gasoline.

According to a study from the Idaho National Laboratory, on average you’ll pay more than double per mile to charge an EV at home than you would pay to drive a gasoline vehicle per mile. If you have a smart EV charger, you have the option of charging your electric car when electricity rates are cheapest, which can save you even more money,

Weigh the Pros and Cons Before Making Your Decision

Electric vehicles offer many benefits over traditional gas-powered cars, but they also come with some hidden costs that can leave you with a much bigger bill in the long run. A higher initial investment, repairs, charging costs, and battery replacement are all costly expenses that you’ll need to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase an electric car.

The initial investment may be higher, but you will save money in the long run on gas prices and maintenance costs. In addition, many electric cars come with federal and state tax credits and rebates, which can further offset the initial purchase price. 

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular as people become more environmentally conscious. The hidden costs of ownership should be considered when making the switch from a gas car to an electric one, but the long-term savings and environmental benefits make electric cars a wise choice for many drivers.