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When you drive a plug-in vehicle for the first time, it's common to get the "EV grin" that advocates have talked about for a long time. But, once that initial thrill quiets down a bit, something else can happen – you start to think about the bigger picture.

That's the road that Mini E (and now BMW ActiveE) driver Peder Norby is on, and so he did a few calculations to extrapolate his particular set-up – driving electric cars that are powered by the solar panels on his roof – to a lifetime of driving and wanted to share it with AutoblogGreen. We can argue the pros and cons of gasoline cars and the limitations of EV all day long, but Norby's numbers are impressive. His bottom line: just for the fuel, a gasoline-car driver will pay $275,000 over 50 years while a solar-powered EV driver will pay just $12,000.

This can be, of course, highly variable. Norby uses a 20-mile-per-gallon gas car and an average price of $3.50 as his fossil-fueled example. We all know that 20 mpg cars will not be available much longer. Still, the exact numbers don't matter as much as the gist. And Norby could have included other costs in the chart. He writes:

[The chart] does not include external cost such as the protection of oil, propping up oil supplying countries, clean up of oil, environmental or healthcare cost, nor does it include the cost of grid electricity at night when an electric car normally charges. ... Nor does the graph include the price of the cars themselves. A reasonable argument can be made for both the gasoline car and the electric car as to which one will be cheaper to own and maintain for the next 50 years. I'm betting on the electric car :)

We imagine that if our readers apply the math to their own situation, they'll also find it makes sense to put money down on EVs. Does it?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 217 Comments
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see the point he's trying to make, but, wow, these numbers don't add up. The biggest, most glaring error is that he adds the pump costs to the oil infastructure cost. Essentially, the infastructure cost is rolled into the pump cost. That would be the same as adding the puchase price of the PV system to the cost of the factory where the PVs are made. The second is that the purchase price difference between ICE car and EV is not taken into account, but I guess that technically, the infograpic is just talking about fuel cost. That's just two of the errors. I've got more. With proper math, solar might still come out ahead, but I doubt it. Also, if you did a third column with an EV just chraging off of the grid, that would definately be cheaper than EV/solar.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        the infrastructure cost included is only that which is in the gas price, 3.5$ per gallon. so you are wrong
          BipDBo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          The infastructure largely is paid for by the oil companies out of revenue. Exceptions are few, but may include the road where tanker trucks drive, which are paid for mostly in pump tax.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Dan is quite correct. All the infrastructure is paid for by the price you pay at the pump.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Dan is correct. The diagram of all the steps is there just to show all of what goes into that $3.50 price that is used for calculations. Nothing is added into the math above the pump price itself. Long term expenses are amortized into the price of each gallon of gas. That is how gas prices work. The cost of the Solar Panel infrastructure is also rolled up into the price of the Solar Panels. The purchase price of each car isn't included, because it simply isn't part of this particular math. The fuel costs remain the same whether you drive a 20 year old junker for another 20 years, or whether you buy brand new cars every 3 years. This is a calculation of fuel savings. But if you want to throw in new EV vs. new gasser numbers, that is easy. It is a known fact that the median price of a brand new gasser is roughly $30,000 dollars. We now have a partial year worth of EV sales we can now look at too. We also know that the price after rebate for a base Leaf is 28K, and 32K for the Volt. The sales of these two cars was slightly skewed to the lower priced Leaf, putting that median price right around 30K. Which happens to be the median price of gas cars sold in the United States. Those are the facts of the sales that have already happened. Looking into the future, we also know that CAFE standards are going to increase the average price of new gas cars by approx 10% over the next decade. We also know that both Nissan and Chevy have made comments that their prices for the Volt and Leaf will drop. GM has said by this summer for the Volt, and Nissan has said that when their US plant comes on line. We also know that lithium commodity battery prices have been dropping, and there is another announcement every month about a new technology that could cause future battery prices to plummet. So we've got a known future where gasser prices WILL continue to increase, while we have a known future where EV prices WILL continue to decrease. It doesn't take a math major to realize that at some point in our lives the cost of an EV will be less than gassers, and that gassers will be the vehicles that will carry a price premium.
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          BipDBo, The 3.5% being too high...Possibly. But even 2.5% still comes out with a better case for the EV. And I think this is more than balanced out by the assumptions he built in that gas prices will stay at $3.50!!! As for misreading the charts: We've all done it. It's cool that you can simply say "oops" and move on. That makes for better discussions this way where we can debate what we actually disagree on instead of misunderstandings :-)
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Ahhhh, I thought Peder was doing a present value of money case and assuming 3.5% inflation. I didn't realize he was using historical avg of 3.5% for the rise in gasoline prices. OOPS! LOL Anyway, I think 3.5% is pretty generous considering how much more expensive it is to drill for oil these days and the outlook that it will become more scarce. Tar sands is expensive to extract and get to market...and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with the cost of cleaning up the mess it leaves. That should be factored into costs going forward as well.
          BipDBo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          I at first misunderstood the infographic. The price of fuel heshowed was much higher than I had calculated for 50 years at $3.50 per gallon and 20 mpg. I thought this was due to extra infastructure cost. The higher price was actually due to a speculative 3.5% inflation. I would argue that this assumption is too high. See my explanation below. I then I misuderstood the statement by Dan.
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Hi BigDBo, I don't add the factory cost that make the tankers, pipeline, trucks, pumps of refineries either. Essentially oil and sunshine both start out as free. One is finite, the other infinite. The conveyance system for oil to your car is long and expensive, thus the price of gas is expensive. The conveyance system for Solar PV is much shorter (about 30 feet) and less expensive. Cheers
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Guys, I'm outta here. Have fun in your little green circle jerk.
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        Don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out ROFL
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          or..... "Hit the road Jack, and dont you come back no more....." or "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye...."
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          + a million!!!!!
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        SVX -- Since you completely failed the math test, it's a good thing you're outta here. All of your guestimates sank like rocks when real math was applied. It was a good choice for you to turn tail and run when confronted with real numbers. But I'm sure Marco with his brilliance will come and convince you. Did you know that he owns a Hybrid? And that he manages a fleet of EV's? Marco claims that his material possessions make all of his opinions correct, and you will have no choice but to be convinced that he is right!
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        As a conservative ( root word is important ) I've never been part of a green circle jerk before.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        SVX, I agree that he should use different numbers that make it a better comparison. But you out-right lied with this claim: "And for the record, that 20-year old SVX will get more than 30 mpgh (500 miles, less than 17 gallons). That is proven fact. " That is a lie: http://www.mpgfacts.com/?did=247&year=1992
      Schmuck
      • 3 Years Ago
      What if would like to drive more than 40 miles in my battery powered car? I certainly don't want to pay $100k for 120 mile range.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Schmuck
        Schmuck, good news. The Tesla Model S will have a 160 mile range for $56k. ;)
        Naturenut99
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Schmuck
        There is no 100 mi. range EV that costs $100,000. The Leaf (73mi. EPA) up to 100mi EV roughly $35,000 The Coda up to 120 mi EV roughly $40,000 The Tesla Model S 160 mi. $57,000 300 mi. $77,000 ....All rough numbers and without any tax deductions or rebates. But NONE of them cost $100k. The 300 mi. Model S comes close, but thats for a 300 mi range not 100. And it's still $20,000+ cheaper than $100,000.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Schmuck
        A 300 mile range Tesla Model S is less than 100K. If I'm not mistaken, 300 miles is quite a bit further then 40. Now there are 40 mile range EVs, but they usually cost less than $20K.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Schmuck
        Then wait and be a late adopter of 2nd Generation EV's that will have longer ranges. 2nd Gen Nissan Leaf's have been leaked to be 200 mile range vehicles. Or buy a PHEV or REEV like the Volt or the PHEV Prius. Or any of the 2nd generation PHEV/REEV's coming from many car makers in the next ~5 years. Or wait and buy a used 300 mile range Tesla in a number of years for a fraction of the price new. Save enough money in the long run that you can buy a dozen used/refurbished replacement battery packs and still come out ahead. (Go look up used/refurbished Prius battery packs -- they are a fraction of new. EV's will be the same.) Or just continue to whine like the Schmuck you identify yourself as. We all know that actual answers won't impact you.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          There were about 20,000 EV's sold in the US in 2011 (rounded to the nearest 10,000). In the next 5 years (the 1st Generation of EV's), sales will hopefully ramp up to be in the 100,000 range (rounded to the nearest 50,000 units). That means that out of the roughly 300 million people, roughly 300 million people (rounded to the nearest 500,000) will have to wait. Waiting isn't a question of being wise, it is a numeric necessity forced upon the majority regardless of their desires. Not too many people will be able to buy the 1st Gen. EV's before the 2nd Gen of EV's start rolling out. There won't be enough EV's built to fulfill the needs of all the people for whom an EV is suitable right now today. Talking about even 2nd generation EV's fitting "everyone's daily driving needs" is a complete non sequitur, at the level of trying to talk about a Corvette or a 1-ton K3500 dually diesel fitting "everyone's daily driving needs". It just doesn't matter. Either it suits your needs and you can reap the economic benefits, or it doesn't. I KNOW I will not pay a $10K premium even on my first EV, as I already know how much it is going to cost me when it is ready for delivery. I also expect that I will not pay a $10K premium on later generation EV's, especially as we start talking 20-50 years out. In fact, I'm expecting brand new gas cars to cost a premium over EV's at some point in my own lifetime. I don't assign a single penny of cost to my EV sitting at home charging because it can't do more than 150 miles in a charge. That's because like millions of households with 2+ cars in the family, the EV will be sitting safely at home in the garage while the family takes their non-EV car on a trip of over 150 miles. It will be YEARS before enough EV's are built to replace even one car in the millions of typical 2+ car households who can easily take advantage of the limited range of first gen EV's. I listed plenty of options TO make it work, but you will always come back to excuses NOT to make any of these options work. I'm certainly open-minded to you completely bucking my expectations, and coming to the realization that there are at least a half-dozen different ways all your objects can be worked around in your own real life. If you don't want any of these options to work for you personally, and you are searching for reasons to make sure it can't work for you, you certainly are free to choose the more expensive route. Just as I am free to point out the many other ways that will work for folks who are searching FOR a way to make EV's/PHEV's/REEV's work for them.
          Schmuck
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Waiting would probably be a wise thing. Considering a plug-in in a few years might also be a smart choice as it would likely have the fewest compromises. The point of my comments was that there are several factors left out of the analysis - most of which benefit the solar car. -Cost -Range -Charge Time The issues with range and charge mean that today's EV's, and perhaps next gen EV's, aren't suitable for everyone's daily driving needs. Let's say you replace your car every ten years and you have to pay a $10k premium for the EV. That should be factored into the equation. And what cost do you associate with the fact that you might have to spend a night waiting for your car to charge after only driving it 150 miles, that is if you can find a charger (yes I know ranges are growing - but they aren't there yet, and not without a huge cost premium. I also realize that access to charging stations are growing, but they aren't there yet. Nor a quick charging stations.)? A lot still has to fall into place, and there are a lot of ifs remaining. Perhaps a 100 mpg plug-in hybrid will arrive in a few years. That changes things dramatically. Please tell me what I said initially that suggested to you that answers won't impact me. I was simply pointing out that the study makes some favorable assumptions and leaves out some significant costs.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Schmuck
        Hey Schmuck, you can buy an EV with a 120 mile range for $40K. And that is before the tax-credit. The Coda.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I purchased a 2009 Yaris conversion that will go over 120 miles for 15k dollars off eBay. It will take some technical effort to keep it going over the years, it is no OEM vehicle for sure but comfortable and I like learning about EV's so it will work for me.
          Grendal
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Or $50K and get a Model S.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Better, a LOADED Ford Focus EV. A Leaf. An IMiev. A BMW 1 EV Lease now.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would be really nice if Norby would stop telling untruths about what power his car. Unless he leaves the car at home in the day and drives it only at night he is driving his car on off peak grid energy, not solar power. He benefits outrageously at the expense of poorer people such as those who live in rental accomodation in both having much of the cost of the solar array paid for him, and in ridiculously high feed in tariffs for the power he supplies the grid during the day. He deserves congratulations for being a successful parasite who is playing the system. However his notion that he is driving his car on solar power is a fantasy. Stating that he is doing so makes him a liar as well as a burden to the poor. Shameless.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        DaveMart, he's not a parasite, he's a HERO. He's producing Solar during PEAK Demand, where the Utility would have to fire up a Natural Gas generator, producing MORE Carbon Dioxide output. Notice, it's a bit warmer this year? Notice, that national drought from CA to FL? Notice those brush fires in Texas, and CA? We are now at 391 ppm: Parts Per Million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The more in the warming we get. That extra ppm is costing us a Forture in lost agriculture and ranch output[ cattle ]. You're seeing global warming at your local McD's, as your hamburger is now more expensive.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Thanks Ford!! You nailed it. It is rare that people can find situations where they can both Save money and help a cause they believe in all at once. This is a no-brainer for anyone who can afford the up-front cost.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        DaveMart, you really don't know the Califorina solar market. There is no "ridiculously high feed in tariffs" at all. Only net metering. And the California PV subsidy has pretty much dropped to zero. The only tax-credit you get now is from the federal government. So just stop . . . you are spewing a bunch of lies because you don't know what you are talking about. You are merely project your hatred for your local politics on others. You are sounding like a fool.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Correction . . . you don't get a tax-credit from the federal government . . . only a tax deduction.
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        DaveMart, I'm not sure of the specifics of where Peder lives in California, but in many places in the US, they have serious problems with peak power during the day, in particular during hot summer days. And it cost a fortune for them to crank up "peaker plants" during the day where the cost, not what they charge customers, but the actual cost do create the electricity, can be well above 30 cents/kWh. They are begging people to do things to either cut usage during the day, or use solar tied into the grid to help offset those hours. They simply can't afford the upfront capital to handle any new facilities right now. That is why they are willing to pay 17cents/kWh for people who tie their solar to the grid. It is simply cheaper for them to handle the peaks this way. Otherwise, they really are stuck raising rates for everyone to cover those costs and THAT is what hits the poor. No, on this one, Peter is pushing an agenda that is very attractive to most of the US utilities. I know this is the case for Georgia Power after talking with them over the last few months.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          Exactly . . . it is a win-win. Peder does not have to buy batteries for his PV system and the utility gets peak power generation during the day in exchange for low-demand power at night.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Go be an A-hole someplace else. There is this nice thing called "the grid" that will transport his electrons from his home PV system (or a bunch of them from his neighbors) and allow him to charge at work. Or maybe he is off the grid and has enough batteries to charge, or works the 5am-1pm shift and can charge in the afternoon. The math and facts aren't on your side. You lost this time.
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Hi Davemart, The grid is indeed a bank. I make deposits during the day and withdrawals at night. If you put $100 in a bank on Monday is it still your $100 on Tuesday? of course it is although not the same exact $100 bill. When my system supplies energy to the grid during peak hours it is at a higher rate due to the demand and expense of peaker plant supplied electricity. When I charge at night it is super off peak when demand and prices are low. Cheers
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      These numbers seem skewed to make solar look more favorable, but to my calculations, even being *real* nice to the oil side, solar still wins. One thing that must be considered is the battery replacement cost. This is not figured in. Assume you will replace the buffer batteries every 10 years at an absolute maximum. 5-10kWh of battery every 10 years does add up. 1 more thing, while i am playing devil's advocate.. do solar panels really last 30 years? what happens as they age?
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        "These numbers seem skewed to make solar look more favorable" No kidding, the numbers are skewed pro-solar: - ZERO cost of install solar system & Level 2 charger ($2k) - ZERO cost premium for EV ($10k per car) - NEVER drives more than 40 miles per day - ALWAYS sunny (SoCal / AZ) - only 20 mpgc for the gasburner What's obscene is that he factors 3.5% inflation for gas, but doesn't factor anything for the additional upfront cost premium of the solar system or EV. Capital isn't free. If you do it "right", the solar system and Level 2 are financed like a 15-year HELOC at about 6%, while the $10k EV premium should be financed for 5 years at around 4% (good incentive). And as we're looking at a fuel economy case, assume 30 mpgc, not a mere 20 mpgc. This brings the size of the gasburner in line with the EV. Gas = base price of car + $1400 in fuel (3.5% annual increase) Solar = $10k EV car premium (@ 4% financed) + $10k solar & L2 premium (6% financed) Over a 30-year (i.e. traditional mortgage) lifetime (three cars), the solar & EV combination is about 15% more expensive. At year 37, the solar & EV combination crosses and becomes more efficient. 37 years is a very long time to get payback, and doesn't sustain a rational business case.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          And you failed to account for higher resale value (This is HUGE on it's own). And you failed to account for the price premium shifting to gas cars being more expensive than EV's over time. And you failed to account for the lower maintenance cost of EV's over gas cars. And you failed to account for the Zero Interest rate GM loan: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?5980-7500-Zero-Interest-GM-Loan And you failed to account for buying EV's USED for cheap as time goes by. And you failed to account for the tax savings in states that don't include the taxable value of the solar panels in property taxes, and/or in sales taxes. And you failed to calculate replacing that stupid 10 mpg Hummer you bought when gas was a buck a gallon. And you failed to account for dropping EV charger prices. You can beat that $2K price even today. And you failed to account for Volt users who don't even bother with an L2 charger. And you failed to account for the profits made from charging at night at a lower rate, while selling your daytime electricity to the grid at peak rate. And you failed to account for the lost capital costs of having to pay an additional $250,000 over the years, and not being able to invest that money instead in a 401k or other tax-deferred account. And you failed to account for having to put your gas purchases on a high-interest credit card because you couldn't make up for the $250,000 dollars in lost savings and you are over-spending your yearly income and were forced to finance your gasoline addiction on 29% interest Visa cards. All because if you would have gone with the Solar/EV combination you would have been able to stay within your monthly budget, but you didn't, so you are screwed when massive gasoline price spikes crush your monthly budget exactly the way it crushed the budgets of folks in 2005-7 pushing people over the edge and into debt. I could go on. If you are going to go into that level of detail, you can't just go on one side.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          resale value is irrelevant? What do you do, own a trailer house and park all your old cars up on blocks in your yard??? Of frickin' course resale value is relevant. Because you recoup part of your purchase price when you sell your car. How can you possibly leave that out of the math? Because the only possible way resale value wouldn't matter would be if you stacked up 50 years worth of cars you purchase on your front lawn and never sell them. I did the math for you in a post towards the top, since you are incapable of math yourself. When you account for resale value AND depreciation, over 5 years the cost difference between a Leaf and a similarly equipped Sentra is between just $2,000 dollar more to buy the Leaf. With State tax credits, the cost can shift to being $4,000 dollars CHEAPER to buy the Leaf and drive it for 5 years. Me STFU? Do the math yourself, and then STFU, fvcking a-hole. Or run away because the math destroys your argument. Which ever you prefer.
          SVX pearlie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Higher resale value is irrelevant. But depreciation costs will matter, and the higher the MSRP, the higher the depreciation. The rest is pure conjecture and hyperbole. What proof do you have that EVs will cost less? NONE. The Volt isn't a "pure" EV so is a poor example. Where is the 10 mpg HUMMER coming from, given that we're starting clean slate? Again, if you can't be halfway inteligent, STFU.
        PeterScott
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        http://www.solarpanelinfo.com/solar-panels/solar-panel-cost.php "Solar panels have an effective lifespan of about 20 to 25 years, and their value and wattage output decrease steadily over time. "
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Well said, 2WM. The numbers are definitely skewed, and sadly, can be easily ridiculed. But you're correct that their overall premise is sound. The positive statement will be lost in the deluge of attacks from opponents. This is the same sort of statement that allowed EV opponents to bring up "you're just moving the pollution to the coal fired power plants!" Nice try but needs to be more realistic in the numbers.
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Hi 2 wheeled menace, generally agree on the battery comment however even today battery cars have the same or longer warrantee than gas cars. Gas engines/transmissions/exhaust are not cheap to replace either. Solar is warranted for 25 years of production at 80% of initial output. real world is 10% degradation over 25 years so they double that for warrentee. Panels today will easily last 40 to 50 years and beyond. Cheers
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peder Norby
          I think he was referring to batteries for the solar system, not your car. And I suspect that you don't have any such batteries.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        They should last 30 years . . . but this has them lasting 50 years. That is a stretch.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          They are guaranteed for ... whatever the specific maker lists it as. A standard est. is they are still producing at least 80% of rated power after 20, 25, 30 years. Depending on what they guarantee them for.
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Not really, panels installed in the 80s are still chugging away just fine. The low rate of failure and modest level of degradation suggests they have many more years of production left.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        What buffer batteries are you talking about? No need for that. Just do grid-tied solar.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I do believe he is talking about battery/off-grid system vs grid tie like you suspected above. Like you said grid-tie is the more cost effective. But battery backup can be a good thing depending on your circumstance and available funds. Plus now there are intermediate systems. Grid-tied systems with battery backup, usually much smaller battery "pack/system" then in a standalone/off-grid system.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          IMHO, the only reason you have batteries is because: 1) You are in the middle of nowhere and there is no grid; or 2) You are a paranoid survivalist type that thinks society is going to collapse soon. Those don't apply to most people. Grid-tied is really great . . . the power company wants your solar power during those peak demand hours and they are more than happy to sell you power back at night when they have excess capacity. It is a win-win for everyone . . . they get peak electricity from you and you don't want money on an expensive battery system that requires maintenance.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          There are plenty of reasons to use batteries, without needing extreme reasons for doing so. I live in an area where not to infrequent outages happen. Plus anything electronic gets interrupted/stopped/shutoff during those times (I'm not a fan of shows not being recorded because power went out before or during) I prefer to come home to a garage door that will open, that lights will turn on, that I can flush the T, or have water pumped, etc. etc. etc. Yes grid tie is more economical, but how many things do we do or buy that are more expensive than another option just because thats what suits us.?.? Personally, I would choose at least a small battery backup or another form of energy storage if one becomes reasonable for home use. Its still a year or so before I will make a decision, unless things improve quicker. I am very curious as to alternate options to batteries though.
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      OMG! According to these numbers, I'm going to die at just 70 years old!! Damn EV death panels kill old people!! /sarc
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        when I am old, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather did. Not yelling and screaming, like the rest of the people in his car.... :O
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Dave :D
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          OMG!!! Thank you so much! I needed that laugh.
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        ROTFLMAO your not going to die, just won't be driving :)
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peder Norby
          Darn. I was hoping I could just go to Colorado Driving School for the Blind and keep driving, just like all the other folks on the road out here. ;)
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peder Norby
          Well you really shouldnt be driving at 70+... think EZEE explains one of the many reasons why in the post below...
      Peder Norby
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, it's my chart based on my experience real world. The BMW ActiveE is based on the BMW 128 which gets 21mpg EPA combined. I rounded down to 20. This is similar to the US fleet average for passenger vehicles. You could to the math very easy weather you drive a Prius or F350, if you drive 4000 miles a year or 20,000 miles a year, then you would have your scenario..This chart represents my scenario and real world experience. Cheers
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would a BMW 1-series skew the numbers badly, when his EV he drives is a BMW 1-series ActiveE? It don't think there is any better apples-to-apples comparison than that. If you are going to generalize it to something else, the national fleet average is as good as any. If you want more personalized numbers, then calculate the savings of using a Model X to replace a Hummer, and a Leaf to replace a nicely equipped Sentra (not a base model) and then post a range of savings. Otherwise you are just cherry-picking. At least the national average number doesn't cherry-pick. I look forward to your numbers for both ends of the range.
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Still, the exact numbers don't matter as much as the gist." If the gist is all that matters, Norby would have used realistic numbers. He would have shown a Prius at $110,000 for 50 years. At $2,000 per year, is the convenience worth it? Dunno. Norby also doesn't make time value of money adjustments for inflation (convenient b/c that would reduce the long term cost of gasoline, but not the upfront cost of solar equipment). I'm also not sure 3.5% is a realistic escalator b/c the world is dedicated to reducing consumption, and we have the technology to do it. Historical data doesn't reflect that reality, and it is a bit unusual that he would use an aggressive price escalator when this diagram is about the new reality of alt energy. I think EVs and plug-ins are important, but I don't like it when someone "feels" something is right, and he massages the numbers until he gets a buzz-worthy graphic.
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylexicon
        Quick, whip out your crystal ball and give us the actual correct figures and end all this debate! Thanks!!!!
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      What's the cycle rate of the batteries? Still 1000 cycles. But, if you go 20-40 miles every day, then recharge, that's NOT a cycle correct?
        HVH20
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Depends on DOD, 40 miles a day on say a nissan leaf can be close to 50%. Still, at that rate, is still several thousand cycles. Somewhere around 3000-5000.
      BorisF
      • 3 Years Ago
      Problem is in calculations. Who the hell is going to drive the same car 50 years!!! Chances are that you car will last about 10 years. Also electricity cost will go up because we are switching from coal to gas/wind/solar. Too much exuberance from author. Still if you plan to drive a car 10 years, electric one will cost less. But in US, very few people expect to drive the same car that long. Most people who buy new car expect to drive it 3-4 years and then sell it for new one. There is absolutely zero incentive for them to go electric. That is why electric cars should be marketed to fleet operators. They can calculate total cost. Rest of the public will buy electric only if price of gas skyrocket or when cost of electric car will be no more than 20% more of gas one.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BorisF
        For a comparison, consider how electricity and gasoline prices have increased since the 1970's. Electric rates have just about doubled, while gasoline prices have increased 14x. There is no guarantee that it will continue that way, but it still seems likely that electric rates will not increase nearly as much as gasoline prices. One factor is that the electrical utilities are a regulated monopoly, they must get permission from the PUC for any rate increase, and must justify that rate increase. Oil companies, on the other hand, can raise prices any time they want by whatever amount they want, limited only by their equally greedy competitors and the captive market. (not much of a limit).
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris M
          Chris -- Electricity prices will have an additional price cap also now that residential solar (and even residential wind) is getting more affordable. They won't be able to raise prices too high, because they now compete with people installing their own power generation for cheaper. Electricity just has so many more possible entry points from different energy sources that it can't be held hostage to just one input, the way gasoline is tied to oil. Electricity definitely is the better bet for future pricing stability.
        Peder Norby
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BorisF
        Hi Boris, the point that I make is that you will be driving for 50 years and the cost of fuel for driving those 50 years, not driving the same car. cheers
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peder Norby
          I think the problem is they assumed that the average fuel economy over the next 50 years would be 20 mpg... that is just stupid.
          Neil Blanchard
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peder Norby
          We *could* be driving the same car for 50 years! There is a fellow in CT that is driving a car for over 76 years. Planned obsolescence is the stupidest, most wasteful this we can do, other than drive gasoline powered cars. All companies should use the year that a vehicle is sold as the model year. This takes the pressure off of making change for changes sake. It also (hopefully) will reduce the prevalence of planned obsolescence; and increase the durability and the recycle-ability of the materials used. All these things would greatly lower costs over the long run. All design changes should be based on functional improvements. Imagine it: higher and higher reliability, better and better efficiency, continuous safety improvements, more and more recycled materials, design changes based on owner’s needs — what a concept! Neil
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BorisF
        Boris, This math still works whether folks replace their cars once every 10 years or once every 4 years. The cost of the gas vs. electricity doesn't change or stop just because you swap out cars. The cost of electricity from a utility company doesn't matter if you make your own off of your own solar panels. In fact, increases in electricity rates just HELPS the math in favor of solar powered EV's, because you can sell your excess electricity you generate back to the electric company for even more additional profit above and beyond what is accounted for in this study. Even more money in your pocket if you put electricity into the grid at peak power rates, and take out at discount evening rates. What you call "exuberance" is actually something the author calls "real life experience" that is just being projected into the future.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's not forget a couple things that will make these numbers better. 1) This is a snapshot in time: 2012. - By 2018 Solar will be Cheaper then Coal. Since NOTHING else is cheaper then Coal, then by 2018 Solar will be Cheaper then Everything. [ See Krugman ] 2) EV Batteries: Are improving at an 8% annual rate, with No Major advancements in batteries. - Therefore batteries will be 100% better in 7 years. That's either Double the Range or 50% off the Cost of storing 100 mile range in an EV. - With 1 Big advancement in Batteries, EV's become the BEST Choice for Most Americans. 3) The Venture Capital Money is in Solar, Wind and Battery technology, with many approaches being financed. This is GOING TO HAPPEN.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Never rely on current growth curves of just extending forward indefinitely. Batteries are not going to keep improving at an 8% nor will solar keep getting cheaper at rate. If you make such assumptions, you are making the same incorrect assumption that people have been making about oil production continuing to grow as needed. The laws of physics and thermodynamics intervene. The 'singularity' nuts have the same issue . . . they think computing technology will just keep growing as it has been for the last 30 years. It won't. Nothing grows forever . . . whether it be oil production, solar panel technology, battery technology, computing technology, etc.
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