DAYTON, Oh. – New research from AAA finds that more than five years and 75,000 miles of driving, the annual cost of owning a new compact electric vehicle is only slightly more expensive―about $600 annually―than its gas-powered counterpart. The study also revealed that the experience of owning an electric vehicle eases one of the biggest fears associated with these cars: range anxiety.
According to AAA’s survey, prior to owning an electric vehicle, a majority of owners (91 percent) said they had at least one concern. The most common worries were over insufficient range, implications for long-distance travel and finding a place to charge. Post purchase, however, many of these worries disappeared.
AAA believes if consumers have a better understanding of the real cost and experience of owning an electric vehicle, then the gap between expressed interest and adoption will begin to close.
“Although 40 million Americans have shown interest in going electric with their next car purchase, actual adoption is happening at a much slower rate,” said Jon Bucher, AAA Tire & Auto Manager, Beavercreek. “AAA wanted to understand what kind of impact the experience of actually owning an electric vehicle has on earlier concerns and, perhaps more importantly, if EV owners would buy electric again.”
AAA’s survey of electric vehicle owners―71 percent of whom were new to EV ownership―revealed some interesting results:
- The majority (96 percent) say they would buy or lease another electric vehicle the next time they were in the market for a new car.
- Two in five (43 percent) say they drive more now than when they owned a gas-powered car. On average, electric vehicle owners drive 39 miles per day.
- Three quarters (78 percent) also have a gas-powered car in the household, yet they report doing a majority of their driving (87 percent) in their electric vehicle.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the survey was the impact ownership has on commonly held fears about electric vehicles, including those that have deterred consumers from making the leap to EV ownership.
Previous AAA research has found that the top two reasons why Americans shy away from purchasing electric vehicles are, not enough places to charge (58 percent) and the fear that they will run out of power while driving (57 percent).
Almost all owners surveyed (95 percent) report never having run out of a charge while driving and on average, they do three fourths (75 percent) of their charging at home. As a result, a majority of those who were originally concerned about insufficient range said they became “less or no longer concerned” post-purchase (77 percent).
“Range anxiety has been synonymous with electric vehicles from the beginning,” said Bucher. “Hearing firsthand from owners that this is no longer a worry may change the mind of those who have otherwise been skeptical to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.”
AAA calculated the costs for owning a new compact electric vehicle as compared to that of its gas-powered counterpart. Although the study found that overall cost of electric vehicle ownership is 8 percent more per year, individual categories such as fuel and maintenance/repair are lower.
- Fuel. The electricity required to drive 15,000 miles per year in a compact electric vehicle costs an average of $546, while the amount of gas required to drive the same distance costs $1,255 (or 130 percent) more.
- Maintenance/Repair/Tires. Electric vehicles do not require as much maintenance as gas-powered ones since they don’t need oil changes or air-filter replacements. If maintained according to the automaker’s recommendations, electric vehicles cost $330 less than a gas-powered car, a total of $949/annually.
Vehicle ownership, whether electric or gas-powered, is a personal choice that should take many factors into consideration. For consumers who are interested in electric vehicles, AAA recommends visiting a dealership, test driving an EV and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.
The electric vehicle and internal combustion engine driving costs in this study were established using the proprietary methodology employed for AAA’s Your Driving Costs (YDC) project. The 2019 electric vehicle models selected for this study were: Chevrolet Bolt (LT), Hyundai Ionic Electric (Base), Kia Soul EV (+), Nissan Leaf (SV) and Volkswagen eGolf (SE). The 2019 internal combustion engine vehicles selected for the comparison were: Chevrolet Cruze (LS), Honda Civic (LX), Hyundai Elantra (SE), Nissan Sentra (SV) and Toyota Corolla (SE). This methodology models the purchase of a new vehicle for personal use over a period of five years and 75,000 miles. A copy of the 2019 AAA Your Driving Costs brochure with the latest study results is available at https://bit.ly/35I5GG8.
The survey of electric vehicle owners was conducted using a consumer panel maintained by a third-party electric vehicle research firm. The online panel consists of more than 40,000 electric vehicles owners, weighted to balance drivers by vehicle type, make and model. In total, 1,090 surveys with plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners were completed during a 24-hour period on October 1, 2019.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.