E-mobility: What are the real costs of owning an electric vehicle

According to automotive authority TheStreet, the EV story seems to have changed recently from expectations of rapid adoption and frenzied production to the reality of frozen interest and declining investment.

General Motors has delayed its electric car goals and delayed its upcoming line of electric cars in what it called an effort to ensure profitability. Ford postpones $12 billion investment in electric cars Hertz is slowing electrifying its fleet, in part because of low resale value. And Tesla is still engaged in a price war to attract skeptical buyers.

The idea of ​​widespread adoption of EVs appears to have hit obstacles.

While some data shows EV adoption is on the rise, with EV sales accounting for a record 7.9% of total industry sales in the third quarter, consumer interest continues to wane.

A survey by S&P Global Mobility in May found that only 67% of respondents were willing to buy an electric car, a significant drop from the 86% of respondents who were willing to make such a purchase in 2021.

While EV adoption may be increasing, growth in the industry is slowing as consumer concerns about price and range dampen interest.

S&P: The biggest barrier to EV adoption is cost

It’s no accident that Tesla remains so committed to lowering its prices. The biggest push to switch to EVs is price, not so much charger availability or charging time, according to the S&P survey.

Part of the gap in the adoption curve involves other differences between the early adopters of electrification and the general mass of consumers.

Jeremy Michanek, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, told TheStreet in August that early adopters tend to have garages so they can charge their electric vehicles overnight at home. For the second, larger wave of adoption, who do not have access to overnight charging, the key concerns are better charging infrastructure, more robust batteries and longer range.

Fossil fuel activists: Owning an EV equals €4.50 per litre

An October report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation argues that once all the hidden costs of owning an EV are taken into account, the price becomes far more important than an internal combustion engine vehicle.

The foundation is considered a “conservative” think tank that was primarily funded by Exxon Mobil, Chevron and the Koch brothers, according to its 2012 tax returns. According to the New York Times, the foundation has been trying for years to support fossil fuels while pushing for a return to America’s transition to renewable energy sources.

The group has campaigned against green energy and last year the organisation’s chief executive tweeted: “Today I am grateful to live a high carbon lifestyle and wish the rest of the world could do the same. Energy poverty = poverty. Decarbonisation is dangerous and deadly.”

The group’s report adds up the costs of government subsidies, charging facilities and other burdens on the electric grid, and claims that “the actual cost of powering an EV would be equivalent to an EV owner paying $17.33 per gallon of gas” ($4.55). per liter).

When owners of internal combustion engines pay for gasoline, according to the anti-environmental group’s report, they pay for “the entire infrastructure for refining, transporting and marketing that gasoline.”

“When an EV owner connects to the grid, how much will they pay for the additional generation, transmission and distribution costs they impose on the grid, and will these built-in costs increase over time?”

The report identifies three different areas of hidden costs of EV ownership: the first includes direct subsidies, such as a $7,500 federal tax credit; The second concerns indirect subsidies, particularly the avoidance of state and federal fuel taxes.

This is problematic, according to the report, because such taxes are used to fund road construction and maintenance. As EVs are heavier than comparable petrol vehicles, EV owners should pay more rather than less in fuel taxes.

One element of this indirect subsidy relates to the additional costs to the electric grid from electric vehicles.

“EVs affect the generation, transmission, distribution and overhead costs of utilities, and it is critical to the future of the electric grid that EVs are charged during periods that reduce demand volatility, rather than increase it as is often the case today,” the report says .

A positive view of EV adoption

But Consumer Reports found in May that electrifying the entire U.S. light commercial vehicle fleet by 2050 would require less than a 1% annual increase in electricity generation. The report found that if 25% of the entire US passenger vehicle fleet were electric by 2032, the grid could meet that demand with only a 6% increase in electricity generation.

Lindsay Buckley, spokeswoman for the California Energy Commission, said last year that EV charging accounted for less than 1 percent of the total load on the grid during peak hours. By 2030, that number is expected to be around 5%, a “small amount” of added demand.

While the report highlights subsidies for electricity, it ignores those subsidies that exist for fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies rose to $7 trillion last year, according to an August study by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF has predicted that if these existing fossil fuel subsidies were removed, 1.6 million premature deaths could be avoided and the world could move closer to meeting its global warming targets.

“If governments removed subsidies and imposed remedial taxes, fuel prices would rise,” the IMF wrote. “This will lead companies and households to consider environmental costs when making consumption and investment decisions. The result will be significant reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions, cleaner air, less lung and heart disease and more fiscal space for governments.”

The final category of the institution’s report includes regulatory mandates for energy production and emissions.

Taken together, the report found that these hidden costs add $48,000 to the price of an average EV built in 2021 over 10 years.

Even with recently reduced prices and tax incentives, the report says, electric vehicles will remain more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts for years without “increased and sustained government favors.”

A key element of the cost of electric cars revolves around their battery cells. And while electric cars are generally a greener solution to travel (depending on the energy composition of the grid they charge on), the raw materials needed to make their batteries are somewhat problematic.

Both cobalt and lithium have been linked to environmental and human rights issues, according to the Times. The cobalt mining process produces hazardous slag that is released into the environment. Lithium mining uses huge amounts of groundwater.

Toyota, which remains firmly committed to hybrids, said in May that the same raw material used for one long-range electric car could make 90 hybrids. According to Toyota, the total carbon reduction of these hybrids would be 37 times higher than that of a single electric car.

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