How Much Does it Really Cost?

Eric Peters ( posted a link to this video:

So, I decided to investigate a bit further.

For starters, let’s try some (possibly more representative) numbers.
California numbers, for example.
It happens that I live in California, but so do 39.24 million other Americans, out of 331.9 million U.S residents, or 12% of U.S. population, which makes it the most populated U.S. state. Texas is second at 29.5, Florida third at 21.8, and New York fourth at 19.8 million.

But first, the replacement cost for an IC engine. The video does not specify whether the replacement is a brand new, or a re-manufactured engine. Judging by the $10,000 price, I would guess brand new. I also surmise that a Ford (or any other make) dealer service department would refuse to install a re-manufactured engine (prove me wrong).

The *installed* cost for a NAPA remanufactured 300cid straight six in my ’89 F150 was ~$5,500 five years ago, of which, IIRC, ~$3,500 was the cost of the engine. I do not recall the independent repair shop’s labor rate at that time, but I guarantee it was less then the local Ford dealer’s shop rate.

So, we can, and should, discuss shop labor rates. According to the video, dealer shop rate in Alabama was (205)/(15) = $135/hr.
The Ford dealer in Norco, CA (Hemborg Ford) charges $159/hr, last I checked. Independent shop will generally charge less, sometimes quite a bit less, because they want and need your business. But, for now, let’s compare apples to apples. So, dealer labor rates are evidently (159)/(135) = 1.18 the cost of Alabama prices. (20 hr)*($159/hr) = $3180.

Now let’s talk about fuel costs for IC versus battery powered, using California prices, paid by 12% of U.S. population.

First, gasoline costs. California has notoriously high gasoline prices, due in part to high fuel taxes, in part to special anti-pollution fuel formulations, etc. CA prices are significantly above national average, which was used in the video.
National average price = $3.93/gallon (presumably 87 octane unleaded)
One recent California price = $4.80/gallon (87 octane, Chevron or Mobil, ZIP Code 92882)
So, name brand 87 octane in CA costs (4.80)/(3.93) = 1.22 the national average.
(maybe more in L.A., maybe less in Stockton, idk)

Next, let’s look at electricity costs in California, versus the rest of the U.S. California is notorious, not only for high gasoline (& diesel) costs, but also high electricity costs. As a customer of Southern California Edison, I am most familiar with SCE rates, so will use those for purposes of this discussion.
SCE offer two pricing plans, the first being “tiered” pricing,” the second being “time of use.”
Tiered rates are given here:
whereas a TOU plan designed specifically for electric vehicle owners is given here:

If you choose tiered pricing, you are certain to be paying the Tier 2 price to charge your EV, or $0.42/kwh. If you select TOU-D-PRIME, available only to EV owners, you will pay $0.26/kwh off peak, and a whopping $0.66/kwh for all electricity used between 4PM and 9PM weekdays. You know, the time of day when you get home from work, crank up the A/C to cool down your house, maybe turn on the TV to catch the evening propaganda (excuse me, “news”), and fire up the good ol’ electric cookstove you have been “mandated” to use in order to “save the planet” while cooking your dinner. But wait, your EV is knackered from a hard day’s commute, and you need to juice it up for 30-45 minutes to make a fast grocery run for the “exotic” ingredients in that new Thai recipe you wish to try, plus a bit of liquid refreshment to aid in winding down from the work day’s stress. Ka-ching! $0.66/kwh, comrade. It’s either that, or eat raw worms and drink brake fluid. Well, maybe straight rotgut whiskey, or methanol.

Now, let’s put it all together.
For the battery powered model,
Using the (installed) EV battery prices from the video, and assuming 200,000 mile battery life:
“Standard” EV battery = $32,000/200,000 mi = $0.16/mi. battery cost
“Extended Range” = $40,230/200,000 mi = $0.20/mi. battery cost
Electricity consumption is given as 48 kwh/100 mi, or 0.48 kwh/mi.
Charging only off-peak on a TOU rate plan yields an energy cost of

(0.48 kwh/mi)*($0.26/kwh) =$0.12/mi
Using Tier 1, the energy cost would be
(0.48)*($0.32) = $0.15/mi
Using Tier 2 (more likely)
(0.48)*($0.42) = $0.20/mi
Lowest total cost (standard battery + off peak TOU electricity):
$0.16 + $0.12 = $0.28/mi
Highest cost (extended range battery + Tier 2 electricity):
$0.20 + $0.20 = $0.40/mi

And for the IC model,
Ass-u-ming a remanufactured V8 can be purchased for 75% of the cost of a new engine (actually, this is a guess, as I have not priced a remanufactured V8)
Estimated engine cost = (0.75)*($10,000) = $7,500.
Sales tax @ 8.75% = $656.
Installation by independent shop which charges $150/hr. shop rate
(actual current shop rate of a reputable shop in ZIP Code 92882)
20 hr. @ $150 = $3000.
Installed cost (estimated) = $7,500 + $656. + $3000. = $11,156.
Assuming an engine life of 230,000 mi (my actual experience with the factory 300cid straight six in my 1989 F150) gives engine replacement cost of
$11,156/230,000 = $0.05/mi.

The fuel consumption estimate is 19mi/gal, which at $4.80/gal gives:
($4.8)/(19) = $0.25/mi

Engine replacement plus fuel cost = $0.05 + $0.25 = $0.30/mi

Now, the above figure *does* *not* *equal* the total operating cost of an IC engine, because it omits normal IC engine maintenance and repairs, which are *NOT* negligible. To list just a few:
— scheduled oil changes
— spark plugs, plug wires, coil, distributor cap
(typical “electrical tune up”)
— replacement starter battery (12V)
— belts and hoses

Nor have I considered power transmission to the wheels. An IC engine which uses a manual transmission also requires a clutch, and the clutch disk, at east, *will* need replacement, at some point, which is expensive, due to labor involved. Also likely candidates for replacement will be clutch release bearing, clutch slave cylinder and/or slave cylinder hydraulic hose, clutch master cylinder, and the actual clutch assembly. All this shit is expensive to replace, so you should not ignore the cost when estimating total cost of propulsion.

My experience with manual transmissions is they last a long time, provided they are not abused, such as by attempting to transmit more power than they were designed for (i.e., “hot rodding” the engine). The Borg-Warner T18 in my 1989 F150 is just as installed at the factory. Some day, of course, it will inevitably break, if operated long enough, but “someday,” knock wood, is not yet here. About automatic transmissions I know very little, so will say nothing.

What components are likely to break when transmitting power from an electric motor to the drive wheels of a vehicle? I think *no* one* knows the answer to that question, because these devices have not been around long enough for anyone to know.

And that’s my US$0.02

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