How much money could you save driving an electric car?

BMW i | August 19th, 2015 by 9
BMW i3 charging port 750x500

Aside from the driving range question, one of the most often inquires every time we drive our BMW i3 is in regards to the cost …

Aside from the driving range question, one of the most often inquires every time we drive our BMW i3 is in regards to the cost of ownership. By-passers, friends and family often ask how much does it cost to charge your car, and that answer is never simple. There are a large number of variables that need to be taken into consideration: time of day, public or private station, electricity cost in your area, solar panels, and much more.

A more honest approach to this question would be to look at the cost of ownership of an electric car versus a conventionally-powered vehicle. And DailyFinance has just done that. According to the publication, “If you’re the typical driver who puts 15,000 to 20,000 miles on your car a year, it wouldn’t be uncommon to spend $150 a month or more at the gas pump.”

bmw i3 charging 1 750x422

So what if you drive the same distance in an electric car? Assuming a national average of $2.79 a gallon of gas and an average cost of electricity of 12.64 cents a kwh, the costs to travel 265 miles in a Tesla Model S is $10.74 with a 4.05 cost per mile. The BMW 3 Series’ owners would have to spend $23.10 for the same distance or $8.72 cents. A Ford Fusion Hybrid is a bit more economical with $16.80 and 6.34 cost per mile.

To drive all these three cars for 20,000 miles translates into $810.56 for the Tesla, $1,734.40 for the 3 Series and $1,267.92 for the Fusion Hybrid. BMW 3 Series starts at $32,950 while the Fusion Hybrid sells for $25,990. The basic Tesla Model S starts at $75,000.

Measure Tesla Model S BMW 3-Series Ford Fusion Hybrid
Range/mpg 265 miles 32 mpg city 44 mpg city
Cost to travel 265 miles $10.74 $23.10 $16.80
Cost per mile 4.05 cents 8.72 cents 6.34 cents
Fuel Cost to Drive 20,000 Miles $810.56 $1,743.40 $1,267.92

But the electric car market is evolving and in the next few years, we will see a Tesla Model 3 in the $30k range, a Chevy Bolt at around $38,000 and a Ford Focus Electric at $29,000. All these cars will not only be cheaper to drive per mile, but also easier on your pocket at the initial purchase.


9 responses to “How much money could you save driving an electric car?”

  1. Chris Coza says:

    How much does the BMW i3 cost to run?

    • cros13 says:

      I’ve just passed 20,000km on my i3 which cost me €142.08 (yeah, that decimal point is in the right place and the figure includes charging losses because it’s taken from a dedicated meter before the charger). Most of my charging (around 75%) is at home on 7.4c/kWh night rate electricity (discounted rate available when demand is low and excess power is being fed into the grid). The rest is public charging on our extensive rapid charging network which is free here in Ireland until 2017. My next service is at 50,000km or Jan 2017.

  2. CDspeed says:

    Like I tell a lot of people, I have three cars in my household, one of them being my i3. I got it last August, and after the first month my gasoline bill shot down from around $200 pre month to just $39. I have had $0 months on my gas bill, and on my local electricity I figure a complete charge from dead to full would cost $2.80 but of course I’d have to pull into my garage with the car almost dead to spend the entire $2.80. It’s so cheap to run my electric car I honestly don’t even notice it on my electric bill.

  3. steven75 says:

    “$4.05 cost per mile” should be “$4.05 cents per mile”

    • Ninong says:

      It should be either $0.0405 per mile or 4.05 cents per mile. Drop the dollar sign if you want to call it 4.05 cents per mile.

  4. Bryce says:

    We just bought our second Chevy Volt and love it, Our gas bill for two cars has gone from $300 to about $25 per month, we both drive about 20k each. Our power bill has maybe gone up about $30 per month. We do about 50 full charges per month on the 16kw batteries.

  5. Ninong says:

    The DailyFinance article contains errors. For example, it states the BMW 3-series costs $32,950 and give you 32 mpg city. If you want 32 mpg city, you will need to get the 328d, which has a base MSRP of $39,000 + $995 shpg.

    If you want the 3-series that costs $32,950 + $995 shpg, that’s the 320i and it gives you 24 mpg city.

    Obviously those numbers are for the 2015 models, which are currently out of production.

  6. johnbl says:

    OK to add to an article that is sorely lacking in i3 data..we drive our 2014 BEV i3 in Phoenix and it’s power with solar from roof top PV system.

    The solar lease is costing .056 kWh over 20 years and no increases cause it’s all paid up front while we currently pay $20/ month grid connection fees .. the historical annual cost electric bill about $1000/year now covers the cost of the roof top system and the grid connection. our i3 is using our excess generation about 333 kWh/ month (for the 1500 miles/month we drive)..this is all free electricity.. so our cost per mile is $0.00!

    Furthermore, our gas saving per month is $2.67*75 gals or $200, or $2000/10 months/year, or $20,000 saved in fuel costs over 10 years at $2.67/gal. What do you want to bet that in ten years with zero fuel costs, we actually recoup the $38K cost of this fully loaded i3? This is not factoring in our saving on state registration fees for BEVs, and our saving on repairs, and our saving on insurance.

    Can’t beat the EV/solar panel combo here in AZ.

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