Every auto enthusiast knows that the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered. Yes, it will take decades for them to be phased out but the benefits of electric motors are impossible to ignore and regulation will only speed up the process. Lower priced EV’s with decent ranges like the Chevy Bolt and Hyundai Kona EV are finally proving that the average car buyer can afford a useful electric vehicle. Why then will I not be purchasing an electric vehicle anytime soon?
The cost. I don’t care how many times someone tells me that electric cars are way cheaper per mile of usable range than they have ever been, they are still way too expensive and make a terrible value proposition. You can in fact buy a good EV for the price of the average vehicle transaction in the USA, but the average transaction is a pick-up truck, not a subcompact hatchback. Size for size and equipment for equipment an EV is still 50% more expensive even after factoring in the $7500 federal tax credit.
The only reasonable way to buy an electric car right now is the used market where they tend to depreciate as well as ICE vehicles. This only reveals the second problem, the technology is advancing so quickly that an EV from only a few years ago is very outdated compared to a brand new one. Buying a 3-4 year old EV means living with a useable range of less than 100 miles and questionable battery quality. Remember that the Nissan Leaf, which is the cheapest used EV around, does not have liquid battery cooling and is more susceptible to battery degradation.
I currently have three ICE vehicles and they are all in perfection condition with a very long useable lifespan remaining. They do use more energy and cost more to maintain than an EV, but the cost to convert to an EV is not offset by those factors. Further, every year I wait to convert allows more time for better EV’s with longer range to hit the used market and become more affordable. The absolute best thing I can do right now is keep my ICE vehicles until EV technology begins to level out in performance and price.
Depreciation of electric vehicles will continue to be poor until the technology matures and finds a common useable level of performance and range. Who’s going to buy an EV with 200 miles of range and 200 hp when the next model has 300 miles of range, 300 hp and charges quicker?
Your personal situation might be difference, but if you currently own a fuel burning vehicle, it will probably make the most financial sense to hold onto it a bit longer.