Electric Vehicles: to Buy or Not to Buyby@ktamrakar4
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Electric Vehicles: to Buy or Not to Buy

by Kushal Tamrakar January 24th, 2022
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It's easy to get caught up in the hype of electric vehicles (EVs) such as Tesla, as we watch the stock price rocketing and hear about how the company increases its deliveries by 50% on a yearly basis. In 2020, Tesla was on track to deliver well over half a million vehicles. But should you buy one? Let this story (hopefully) help you answer some of the basic lingering questions that tend to pop up whenever you see an aesthetic, luxury, and all-electric vehicle cruising around you.

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It's easy to get caught up in the hype of electric vehicles (EVs) such as Tesla, as we watch the stock price rocketing and hear about how the company increases its deliveries by 50% on a yearly basis. In 2020, Tesla was on track to deliver well over half a million vehicles.

You have probably seen a few Teslas going around on the roads and had a lot to ask yourself. Why EVs? What are the pros and cons? Do I need to buy one? Should I buy one? etc.

Let this story (hopefully) help you answer some of the basic lingering questions that tend to pop up whenever you see an aesthetic, luxury, and all-electric vehicle cruising around you.

Here’s a fact about EV sales in the United States, a heavy consumer nation. In 2018, EVs made up a little bit more than 2% of universal car sales in the United States. To make it more comprehensible, the total number of vehicles sold in 2018 was 17,274,250, and 361,307 of which were EVs.

Certainly, we are by no means in a world where everyone is going out buying electric cars, especially not the car enthusiasts with their love for V8 engines. So, for now, you don’t need to worry about being the only person in the near future with an ‘old school’ gas-run vehicle, and here is why:

  • We have a very established infrastructure built around gas cars today that will remain intact at least for the next few decades. Jobs such as automotive engineers, car mechanics, and maintenance are a huge portion of this infrastructure. It's going to take time as well as a new playbook and skillsets to switch over to EVs. We’re talking about retraining, evolving, and redefining the job itself for millions of automotive workers.
  • Gas stations are an essential part in people’s lives, not only for gas but also for pit stops, snacking, and quick gadgets. Can you imagine road trips without making stops at the nearest gas station for bathroom breaks, buying snacks, and refueling your cars? This will have an impact on the nation’s economy as well. It’s estimated that around 10.3 million jobs are currently supported by the U.S. oil industry which contributes to 8% of gross domestic product.

So now the question is how will the U.S. adapt to the growing EV industry? Will the majority of gas cars and gas stations be replaced by EVs and EV charging stations? If so, how long will that take? The answer is: long enough for you to do your research and decide if you want to invest in an all-electric vehicle.

Elon Musk mentioned that even if the world were to ban sales of all gas vehicles today, it would still take around 30-40 years to eliminate most of the gas vehicles on the road.

The conclusion so far is that gas cars still dominate the automotive industry and will continue to do so for the next three or four decades. Your Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. However, the foreseeable future will also consist of raising concerns about the eventual depletion of natural gas and climate change. Even if the production of fossil fuels increases in the future, CO2 emissions trapped in our atmosphere will lead to rising global temperatures, which will force us to look for alternatives and more sustainable solutions.


What Should You Consider Before Getting Yourself an EV?

Now for all the EV fans, environmentalists, and new drivers, this next section will analyze important factors to consider before buying an EV. Whether it is because you want to reduce your carbon footprint, for advanced technological features, or you just want to follow the culture and trends, here is a basic layout of EV logistics you might want to examine.


By investing in an all-electric vehicle, you are doing the planet a favor. By reducing your carbon footprint in any which way possible, whether it's by using public transportation, biking/walking to your job, or if you are considering buying an EV, you are doing your part in combating pressing concerns of climate change.

(US Energy Information Administration)

To explain shortly, ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles or gas-dependent vehicles emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide which accumulate in the atmosphere over time. Excess emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere radiate and absorb heat that causes the Earth’s temperature to rise out of balance aka global warming. In the U.S., petroleum and natural gases contributed to around 4000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018. (See image above).

(Tesla 2020 Impact Report)

In 2020, Tesla sold over half a million cars, which enabled its consumers to avoid emitting five million metric tons of carbon dioxide. With almost a million vehicles sold in 2021, we can assume that Tesla saved around 10 million metric tons of CO2 from being emitted. A reminder that EV sales contributed only 2% of universal car sales in 2018. Now if I do the math right, with Tesla’s consistent sales, by 2040, Tesla will be on track to save a hefty 200 million metric tons of CO2 from being emitted.


Here’s the bottom line: in terms of gas, a Tesla EV would save you on average $7,000-$8,000 over the lifetime of one car assuming 8 years or 100,000 miles of average battery life. I did my calculations by comparing a 2020 Toyota Camry to a Tesla Model 3 (Standard Range Plus). [Note that the calculations can vary depending on many factors].

A 2020 Toyota Camry with an average mileage of 30 mpg will require 3333 gallons of gas to drive 100,000 miles. With the average price of gas in the U.S. being $3.326 today (01/21/2022), the total cost of gas to drive 100,000 miles would be $11,085.

Meanwhile, a Tesla Model 3 (SR+) can go 250 miles fully charged, so you will need 400 charges to go 100,000 miles. With a 50 kWh battery and the cost of $8.24 to fully charge at home, the total charging cost to drive 100,000 would be $3,296. This number will differ based on various factors such as using a supercharger which costs more than a home charger. All in all, with a Tesla Model 3 (SR+) you will save around $7000 over the life of the vehicle.

All of these savings that come from owning a Tesla do come at a cost, well, at least at first. The cheapest EVs cost around $28,000 and can go up to hundreds of thousands. Granted you will owe more when you first buy an EV, but eventually, EV’s will pay you back in terms of lower maintenance costs and lower cost of charging compared to the cost of gas:

(Source: by the M.I.T. Trancik Lab)

An obvious incentive to increase EV sales is to make it more affordable and convenient. It's not surprising that because of the higher costs and inconveniences, EVs are more likely to be seen in high-income neighborhoods. According to Cross-Sell, Tesla registrations in California increased up to 85% in 2021 compared to a year prior, a state with a median household income of $75,235 in 2019. Moreover, San Diego holds up to 1,100 charging stations for EVs, with 18 Tesla Superchargers at the One Paseo Mall.


So far, under the Biden Administration, the senate has authorized $7.5 Billion to build electric vehicle charging stations across the United States. This ties in with the convenience factor where the more money the U.S. invests into building charging stations as well as lowering the costs, the more it will incentivize the consumers to purchase EVs.

All things considered; the conclusion (for now) is that you’re not missing out on anything if you stick with your gas vehicles. EV industries and the U.S. government are still finding new ways to fit in to make them affordable, easily accessible, and more convenient. Gas-powered vehicles are more convenient, it's the norm, and you might even be better off with it today.

However, if you are considering buying one, not only will you be contributing to a greater cause for the environment, you will also be saving more money in the long term. Buying an EV today is no different than any other ‘green initiatives’ such as recycling, reducing plastic usage, and anything else that reduces your carbon footprint.

We can all expect a shift in the automotive industry and its culture in a couple of decades. The pressing issues of climate change and the depletion of natural gases will eventually drive us into looking for alternate solutions like zero-emission vehicles and other machines that will benefit the planet and its future. Consequently, as EVs evolve from being the luxury vehicle to basic but essential vehicles, their cost will also become more affordable for everyone.

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