Study shows EVs still cost more

Last year, Patrick Anderson went electric: He got a Porsche Taycan EV in dark blue.

Anderson, who is CEO of East Lansing-based economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, loves the zippy acceleration and “exciting” features the car offers. He also gets satisfaction in knowing that driving an EV benefits the environment, he said. 

But Anderson’s joy comes with a dark side.

Learning to charge an EV is comparable to learning how to pump gas for the first time – electric car chargers are designed to be easy to use.

“They are a wonderful driving experience. But at the same time, they’re an enormous burden in time and in energy in finding chargers and getting them charged,” Anderson said. “And you’re not really saving much in terms of charging costs … you may be paying more.”

Costs to drive an EV compared with a gasoline car are detailed in a report Anderson Economic released Thursday called “Comparison: Real World Cost of Fueling EVs and ICE Vehicles.”

The study has four major findings:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage. 
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices. 
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers — even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

It is the first of a series of reports Anderson Economic Group will release. It started the project — an independent report — more than six months ago.

Patrick Anderson with his Porsche Taycan EV in dark blue in June 2020.

Anderson has worked with the auto industry for 20 years and given the industry’s transition to EVs, the group decided to do the studies to assess the likelihood consumer will adopt the cars.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are banking on such a switch. Both are investing tens of billions of dollars to go all-electric in the next two decades. GM has promised to double its revenues largely on the backs of new EVs.