Living with an electric car in Wisconsin: The Price

As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought my 2016 VW e-Golf for $10,640 but it wasn’t the first electric car that I looked at.  Before that, I tried to lease a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV but no dealer anywhere near me was willing to provide one.  At the time, they were offering them for $79/mo with $999 down.  Before that, I put $100 down on a 2019 Sondors EV (that is yet to be anywhere near shipping).  The 3-wheel Sondors promised 75-100 miles of range for a base price of $10,000.

If you check Autotrader for used, low mileage electric cars, you can find a ton of Smart ForTwo ED, Fiat 500e, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric, and Mitsubishi i ES models available for under $11,000.  These tend to be lower-range (under 100 miles) “compliance” cars.  If you want to get above 150 miles of range, you can get into a Leaf for around $17,500 and if you want to get into a 238 mile range Bolt EV, you can do so for just under $20,000.

Personally, I just cared about having something that looked cool, had a big enough cargo area for a 50lb black lab, and could get me to work and the grocery store reliably.  I was considering the BMW i3 for a while but you pay more money for the badge.  I rejected the concept of the first generation leaf because of the looks (the new leaf looks much better) and the air-cooled battery.  The e-golf seemed to be the perfect option, for now.

Since I predominantly charge my car at home or at work, I pay next to nothing (or just nothing) for the juice.  I averaged $30/week for gas for the Subaru.  That averages out to $1560/yr in gas.  Over five years, that is $7800.  I averaged around $80 for a synthetic oil change with the Subaru.  If you get your oil changes once every three months, that is $1600 over five years and if you get it changed every six months, that is $800.  According to my bank statements, I paid the local oil change place $1,504.55 over the past five years, so that sounds about right.  So, if we add the cost of gas and oil over five years, we are up to $9304.55.

Electric cars (having nothing internally combusting and few moving parts) are supposed to require very little maintenance.  Over the past five years, I have apparently (I checked my bank statements) paid the the shop at the dealership $2,658.57.  This won’t be a comprehensive cost because I tend to get things like tires and brake pads elsewhere.  It is generally cheaper that way.  If we add that to the number above, we are up to $11,963.12.

This means that if I keep the e-golf for five years (a number that makes sense to me) and nothing catastrophic happens, the running costs should completely offset the initial cost of buying the car.  I guess time will tell in the end, though.


[ Cover photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash ]

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