09:52:08 pm on
Monday 06 Dec 2021

Gas vs EV
Matt Seinberg

When I needed a new car in 2020, I did not consider an electric vehicle (EV). I gave a brief though to a hybrid, but, unfortunately, Chevrolet doesn’t offer the Equinox in that version. I enjoyed my leased 2018 Equinox and decided I wanted to buy my next one, so I went with a 2020 Equinox with the 2.0 Turbo engine, which is way more powerful than the 1.5 engine.

The turbo 2.0 is a Cadillac engine.

The salesman told me that the 2.0 engine came from Cadillac. Having driven both of cars, an EV and 2.0 Turbo, the bigger engine has more get up and go. The other reason I didn’t consider electric were the costs involved installing a charging station and upgrading my electrical panel in the house.

I have a neighbour who is an electrician. He’s not licenced in Nassau County, where I live. He once referred us to a friend that is licenced, but money versus a favour or discount is a big difference.

The cost for us to upgrade our panel is approximately $10,000. Our panel is maxed out and the only way to add anything is a full upgrade. For example, if we wanted to add central air conditioning (AC), we’d have to upgrade the panel in addition to the cost of the AC units.

The same thing goes for an electric car. There are three types of chargers. A Level 1 charger only needs 120 volts and gets plugged in to a regular outlet; every hour charging translates to a five-mile range. Level 2 chargers require 240 volts and that provides sixty miles per hour. Level 3 chargers require 480 volts, which equals 249 miles for every hour charged.

So how much do these chargers cost? The costs I quote are averages and likely vary, depending on where you live. There are also local and federal rebates available as well that are not factored in here.

Let’s believe that the home has a 120-circuit available for Level 1. The cost for the charger will be between $1300-1600 installed. Level 2 will be between $1700-2700. Level 3 is a whopping $20-50,000, with all needed electrical work.

Add the kilowatt per hour charge.

In my case, we’re looking at about $13k for a Level 2 charger. Then add in the cost of charging. Here in Nassau County under rate plan 180, our kilowatt per hour service charge is a whopping .044 up to 250 kwh. The first 250 kwh is billed at .0871, and over that it goes up to .1101. Don’t ask for overall costs because I’m not the math guy.

As I have solar panels, my daily costs most likely would be less. My monthly solar bill is $112 because I leased the system for 20 years and we just hit the five-year mark. If I invested $5,000 in two Tesla wall batteries, my costs could be even less. That’s a conversation for another time.

The average cost for a new car this year is about $40,000 and EVs are even more. I bought my Equinox before all the shortages and supply chain issues kicked in. I got a very deal on it.

The reliability has been good, as has been the gas mileage. On long trips, I can average anywhere from 25-37 mile per gallon. Local driving can be anywhere from 15-22 miles per gallon.

The other issue as I see it is where are you going to charge that EV if you’re travelling? I just found out that in the shopping centre where I work, Tesla charging stations were being installed and, in the centre next to it, regular stations are being installed. I don’t know the costs per hour that are going to be charged.

I also read that along the New York State Thruway (Route 87) charging stations will be installed at the newly constructed rest stops. Half of them are closed now and when they are done, the other half will be redone. Again, charging costs are unknown.

Will the state offer fast and free charging or will it be pay as you per kilowatt per hour? I imagine that they will be Level 2 or 3 chargers, as most people won’t want to sit for hours waiting for their EV to charge. They want to get moving on as fast as they can.

The final point is how long do these EV batteries last? What I do know is the replacement costs hover around $25,000. Our next-door neighbour has a Prius and that’s what he was quoted for his replacement batteries; he got rid of his Prius, waited a year and bought a new SUV. Don’t get me started on what it takes to build lithium batteries from rare earth materials.

Research all costs before buying.

Before you jump on the EV wagon, research all your costs. If you are more of a local driver, it may work for you. If you do a lot of long-distance driving, a gas or hybrid model may be the way to go.

For now, gas, from an economic point of view, gas seems the better alternative. EVs are still too expensive to buy an operate. Happy motoring.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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