This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.


Do EVs Make Good Cents or Sense?

Ben Lack's picture
Chief Conversationalist Interrupt Media
  • Member since 2011
  • 31 items added with 13,001 views
  • Jan 9, 2013 8:00 pm GMT

Your access to Member Features is limited.

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

Ben Lack's picture
Thank Ben for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Max Kennedy's picture
Max Kennedy on Jan 9, 2013

You mean like the TRS 80 model II that sold for nearly $4000 in 1979 with a whole 64K of memory?  Or maybe we shouldn't have the 4K TV's because they are so expensive nad go back to the black and whites?  Comparing new tech costs with old and tired tech is a red herring.  Also using a high end all electric instead of something like the Nissan Leaf or the soon to be released all electric Smart Car is either just plain stupid or a deliberate attempt to mislead.  Having noticed the trend for TEC posters to be pro fossil fuel it's likely both are true.

Dennis Hucul's picture
Dennis Hucul on Jan 9, 2013


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.


Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »