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Old 24-06-2019, 08:58   #1
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Electric Car Economics

I've been living without a car now for a few years but the time has come when I need to be motorized again -- my work has greatly intensified and in the city where I'm spending most of my time I can't get a taxi sometimes at peak hours, and it is too cold to use a bicycle in the winter (-30C and even colder).


Shopping for cars is kind of fun and there are lots of interesting choices, but I think I'm going to plunk down on an ELECTRIC car this time. It's the ecologically responsible thing to do (especially in a country with a carbon-free power grid), plus an electric car will just be a terrifically fun technological toy.


I think I've decided on a BMW i3 with the little range extending generator.


The first generation ones, even with only 20k - 30k km on them and only 3 or so years old, cost half what the new ones do, so I'm tempted by this, but I'm trying to figure out the economics of used electric cars, which are obviously different from IC cars.


Mainly, the amortization of the battery pack. It looks like the BMW one is good for over 200 000km, and the cost to replace (actually, upgrade to a larger one is something less than Ä10 000, so straight line depreciation would make the battery cost like Ä0.05 per km which seems pretty decent.


Otherwise, there doesn't seem like too much difference to an IC car -- electric motor is practically maintenance free, but then a modern IC car engine can also be expected to go 200k km without any investment.


Actually the economics of an electric car do not seem to be compelling at all when compared to a very efficient IC car like a BMW 118d which incredibly only burns 4.5l/100km in city driving, while emitting less than 100gm/km of CO2. That's only 270 liters per year of diesel fuel the amount I drive -- a trivial cost even in a land of highly taxed and expensive fuel.


But I will go with the electric car purely for fun. The BMW i3 is an extremely cool vehicle, with exposed carbon fiber structure, silent running, packaging different and much better than an IC car (park in any space; almost as short as a Smart while having more interior volume than a 1-series).



Grateful for any tips.
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Old 24-06-2019, 09:02   #2
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Old 24-06-2019, 09:33   #3
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Re: Electric Car Economics

I canít speak to the economics, but if we werenít heading back out in a few months Iíd grab one for my daily commute. If for no other reason to eliminate oil changes and trips to the gas station!
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Old 24-06-2019, 09:51   #4
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Re: Electric Car Economics

I have not found most bmw's to be trouble free. I don't know about their electrics though. They are fun cars but more maintenance prone than others in my experience. They build mini coopers which have a terrible repair record compared with japanese cars. My friend finally got rid of hers which she never knew from day to day if it was going to start. Electrical problems.... which doesn't bode well for an electrical car!
Just throwing this out there for thought....
I'd probably go a Prius myself, although I hate how they look. Super well proven and no range issues.
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Old 24-06-2019, 10:05   #5
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I have not found most bmw's to be trouble free. I don't know about their electrics though. They are fun cars but more maintenance prone than others in my experience. They build mini coopers which have a terrible repair record compared with japanese cars. My friend finally got rid of hers which she never knew from day to day if it was going to start. Electrical problems.... which doesn't bode well for an electrical car!
Just throwing this out there for thought....
I'd probably go a Prius myself, although I hate how they look. Super well proven and no range issues.

I don't really care that much if it breaks once in a while. I'm not really car dependent so it doesn't matter that much to me. Anyway I've owned BMW's since the 1970's, and all of them have been utterly bulletproof except the first 2002 (but it was fun to work on) and the last second generation X5 (total POS even worse than my last car, a Range Rover, and less fun to drive).



I'm sure the BMW i5 will be fine, and anyway if I buy one it will be under warranty.


Its function as a TOY is as important as anything else, so PLEASE no Prius or Leaf or other humorless ugly Japanese device. The i5 is just so cool!!
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Old 24-06-2019, 10:31   #6
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Re: Electric Car Economics

There's no such thing as a carbon-free power grid.
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Old 24-06-2019, 10:41   #7
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Originally Posted by jmorrison146 View Post
There's no such thing as a carbon-free power grid.

The local grid I'm on is carbon free -- exclusively biomass, hydro and nuclear.



The whole country will be carbon neutral in 2035.


No fossil fuels were harmed in the production of this power!
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Old 24-06-2019, 10:56   #8
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Re: Electric Car Economics

Keep one thing in mind with the Hybrids. Almost no Hybrid owners ever charge (at home, at a charging station etc) - they just switch over to the petrol engine and off they go. Because of this there will be a time (quite soon I suspect) where you won't see Hybrids classed as EV's. Instead they will carry the same tax/congestion charges as regular ICE cars.
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:06   #9
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Re: Electric Car Economics

Do you have access to charge points at "home" or your work locations? If so, I'd jump on an electric (especially used). For a 2+2 (the back seats are slightly bigger than a 911's...), the I3 is a neat city drive. Otherwise, I'd get a diesel estate (1 series are fun drives as well) that will be easily driven around London and inexpensive. BTW, What about taxes for vehicles in the city? Is there a break for the EV's?

Quote:
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The local grid I'm on is carbon free -- exclusively biomass, hydro and nuclear.



The whole country will be carbon neutral in 2035.


No fossil fuels were harmed in the production of this power!
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:29   #10
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Originally Posted by kevinof View Post
Keep one thing in mind with the Hybrids. Almost no Hybrid owners ever charge (at home, at a charging station etc) - they just switch over to the petrol engine and off they go. Because of this there will be a time (quite soon I suspect) where you won't see Hybrids classed as EV's. Instead they will carry the same tax/congestion charges as regular ICE cars.
Source?

Also are you confusing Hybrid with Plug-In-Hybrid?

I know a handful of PIH owners and they most certainly charge at home.
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:29   #11
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Originally Posted by Go Wildcats View Post
Do you have access to charge points at "home" or your work locations? If so, I'd jump on an electric (especially used). For a 2+2 (the back seats are slightly bigger than a 911's...), the I3 is a neat city drive. Otherwise, I'd get a diesel estate (1 series are fun drives as well) that will be easily driven around London and inexpensive. BTW, What about taxes for vehicles in the city? Is there a break for the EV's?
This is not for London, but for a cold Nordic country which has so little need to reduce carbon compared to the rest of the world that there are no subsidies whatsoever for electric vehicles.

As little as I will be driving, this makes no economic sense, but I don't really care. I just wanted to make the right decision as between used vs new.

I will be able to charge basically for free which will improve the ecomonucs somewhat.

Although the i3 with Rex is technically a hybrid, its not really a hybrid like a Prius, as the two cylinder generator does not produce enough power for sustained petrol-driven motoring. The fuel tank only holds 9 liters!
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:38   #12
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Re: Electric Car Economics

Not a huge issue but you have both drivetrains to maintain...still think a plug-in-hybrid is where we should going. You can get 80-90% of miles on electric while not giving up the convenience of a 5 min fill up.

Big question is what is your use pattern and where can you charge?

Except for the cold weather...if it's to address urban short range driving (I assume this if replacing taxi rides), I would look at the twizzy to keep cost down and help with maneuvering tight areas.
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:41   #13
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Electric Car Economics

By all means buy the used car, electrics ought to outlast their IC brothers, and donít worry about the battery, long before you will need one, people will be taking the old ones and refurbing them for a small fraction of the cost, and provide a warranty, or you can buy new, but you wonít have to.
That is what happened to Prius batteries, years ago. I can have one delivered and installed at my house or work here in Jacksonville for less than a grand, same exact battery but a higher price if you want a longer warranty.
https://batteryrepairexperts.com/2nd-gen-prius-battery

Your only issues really with electric cars is range and availability of recharge, if that isnít an issue go for it.

For whatever reason, they all depreciate very fast, I assume the newness and coolness wears off for some and the shortcoming become very real, so they sell. But if your aware of the shortcomings, only a foolish person would buy new.
I think they are a fad, or are the socially correct thing to have and show off, but you donít do that with a used vehicle, so the price of used ones is very good.
Now if itís like a Prius, and I think it has to be, providing heat for the car will cut into the range greatly, normally on an IC car heat comes from wasted heat from the engine of course, not so on an electric, and creating heat takes power.

Oh and just as an example our Prius is 10 years old and has 250,000 miles on it, and still has the original battery, with no signs yet of diminished capacity or death, that nonsense of you have to buy a new battery every three years was just that.
In fact due to the inevitable number of accidents that cars will have, there has been a surplus of good used Prius batteries for a long time, they are a dime a dozen, a far cry from the prophecy that said that the replacement costs of batteries will outstrip the money saved in fuel.
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Old 24-06-2019, 11:51   #14
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Source?



Also are you confusing Hybrid with Plug-In-Hybrid?



I know a handful of PIH owners and they most certainly charge at home.
What do you mean a plug in hybrid? It's either all electric or its got an ice engine. They can all plug in but a saw a report a couple of months ago from DVLA (?) where they did a survey of owners and 90'ish % never plugged in simply because the electric range was so small. They might as well drive on ice, charge the battery for the slow traffic bit and then back to ice again.

Let's face it. Unless your miles are very low a hybrid is an ice car with a small battery stuck on.
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Old 24-06-2019, 12:05   #15
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Re: Electric Car Economics

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What do you mean a plug in hybrid? It's either all electric or its got an ice engine. They can all plug in but a saw a report a couple of months ago from DVLA (?) where they did a survey of owners and 90'ish % never plugged in simply because the electric range was so small. They might as well drive on ice, charge the battery for the slow traffic bit and then back to ice again.

Let's face it. Unless your miles are very low a hybrid is an ice car with a small battery stuck on.
I suggest reading up on the subject if you aren't familiar. There are 4 basic drive-train configurations (with a few minor variants):
- Pure ICE: All propulsion comes directly from an internal combustion engine. Electricity use is largely limited to starting the engine, ignition controls and auxiliary devices.
- Hybrid: These come in serial and parallel variations but the primary propulsion comes from the ICE with the batteries used to smooth out the power demand eliminating inefficient low and high demand power output scenarios where the ICE is inefficient.
- Plug-In Hybrid: These cars utilize a battery bank as the primary power source but rather than putting in a massive battery bank to try and compete with Pure ICE on range, they put in a battery bank consistent with typical daily usage: 20-50 miles under battery power. In normal usage, you use exclusively electric but if something comes up and you need to go 200miles, the small ICE just kicks on seamlessly and if necessary a 5 min fill up and you have effectively unlimited range.
- Pure EV: This is a battery only vehicle no ICE included. When the batteries go flat...you are done until you can get a recharge.

I don't know where you got your data but everyone I know who has a Plug-In-Hybrid brags about only using 5-10gal per year because they plug in at night and run almost exclusively on battery.

I suppose it might be a european thing where they put crazy rules out driving the market in ways the buyers don't like. So you have people who want a full function car but they need to drive in an urban congestion rules area, so they really want a Pure ICE but the rules force them into a Plug-In-Hybrid...I could see that as a case where people buy them so they can have full functionality and access to congestion zones.
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