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Quick math tells me gas is cheaper than public electric chargers?

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I'm currently researching whether or not I should buy an EV.  I'm currently considering the Hyundai Kona Electric.

A Better Route Planner was extremely helpful in looking into the implications of long distance travel.  I checked the route from Louisville, Kentucky to Dallas, Texas.

Waiting for charges would extend a traditionally 12.5 hour trip to 17.5 hours--a trip longer by 40%, or 5 hours.  At 30mpg and $2 per gallon, this trip would cost $55.73 with a gas vehicle.  This all begs the question: how much is your time (5 hours of waiting) really worth?  If you ignore charging costs, waiting 5 hours to save $55.73 would "earn" you just $11.15 per hour (decent pay for just twiddling your thumbs, but still not great).

But the real kicker is this: these electric charges are not free.  Every stop along the way is at Electrify America, who charges $1 per session and 35¢ per minute.  That would total to $80.10 for a very long electric road trip, versus a much quicker gas trip totaling $55.73.

Were my assumptions preposterous, or is this the reality of long-distance travel in a Hyundai Kona Electric?

Edited by tie

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On 3/7/2019 at 8:10 PM, tie said:

But the real kicker is this: these electric charges are not free.  Every stop along the way is at Electrify America, who charges $1 per session and 35¢ per minute.  That would total to $80.10 for a very long electric road trip, versus a much quicker gas trip totaling $55.73.

Were my assumptions preposterous, or is this the reality of long-distance travel in a Hyundai Kona Electric?

I charged my Chevy Bolt once at Electrify America to “baseline” planning for a 650 mile trip. My average cost per kilowatt was $0.70 with a charge rate of 34.5 kWh in 60 minutes of charging. At home, where I charge 95% or more my rate is $0.12-$0.10 per kWh. On the other hand, there is a ChargePoint DCFC 20 miles north of the EA Charger were I pull the same charge for about $7  

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Absolutely depends on who you charge with.  EA is very much priced assuming faster charging (Like all the Audis / VWs / Porsches that are coming to market in the near future that charge at 120kW+).  It's specifically designed to disincentivize people with current-gen <50kW charging cars from hogging a stall for hours at a time when they don't have to.  Kona Electric is still a pretty slow charging car, even though it can hit 70kW or so:
Image result for kona charge curve

Other charge networks are quite a lot more reasonable price-wise.  I charged pretty much exclusively with EVGo on a recent road trip in a Bolt EV.  I made one stop at an EA station, which was admittedly fairly expensive, but I didn't take much charge (only what I absolutely had to).  The rest of the ~1000 mile trip was with EVGo and free destination charging at hotels / family homes etc, and it only cost me $41.  Compared to making the same trip in a 40mpg car in a similar class (which is optimistic), that would use ~25 gallons of gas, and even at Texas prices, would cost around $50.

It really depends who you charge with.

To work around that, since we don't have costs implemented for these networks yet, I would suggest finding the cheaper networks you're seeing around you and click on one of their chargers on the map.  If you select "Prefer {this network} Chargers" we'll try to use those chargers more than others when possible.

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One other component you commented on is the extra time.

I can only speak for myself, but with two adults and 3 boys in the car a Bio Break, takes a minimum of 30 minutes, and with decisions over snacks etc. can easily take 45 min.  We are probably slower than average, and certainly if it is just me on a long hard drive, I take much faster breaks, but... wit the EV you do these things while you charge, vs the ICE process of take care of the people, then take care of the car.

Depending on your situation, the "extra" time to charge is not nearly as bad as it seems.

If you time for the trip already included these stops, then some of the charge time will just be those breaks.  If the time was just pure drive time, then you would need to add some time for gas and Bio anyway, so again the charge time is not as bad as it first appears.

AS for the price, well see the other posts, but even at the EA chargers you still need to consider you mix of long high way trips vs. urban driving.

If you are buying an EV for primarily long distance trips you might want to be looking to spend the cash on a Tesla.... Just saying.

But if it is mostly for commuting with the occasional LD trip, well even at EA rates you will be saving vs. ICE (over the year)

 

Cheers,

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 1:10 AM, tie said:

Waiting for charges would extend a traditionally 12.5 hour trip to 17.5 hours--a trip longer by 40%, or 5 hours.  At 30mpg and $2 per gallon, this trip would cost $55.73 with a gas vehicle.  This all begs the question: how much is your time (5 hours of waiting) really worth? 
...
Were my assumptions preposterous, or is this the reality of long-distance travel in a Hyundai Kona Electric?

Definitely good and valid points 🙂 I have a few thoughts:

I drive Tesla, around 27.000 miles p.a., 10%-ish of my charging is at Supercharger (I've used 3rd party charger but like "almost never" ...). I am out-of-range about 2 days a month (and on those days sometimes two Supercharger stops). I have never driven "coast to coast across Europe", so for me its "out and back" or "Long journey to Friends house and back a few days later"

27,000 miles p.a. in ICE requires a fill-up once a week. Here in UK (i.e. pay-at-pump is rare) that is 5 minutes stand-and-pump and then 5 minutes queue-to-pay (PLUS any time I then have a pee / get a coffee). For people who stop at Supermarket for cheapest possible petrol then add another 5 minutes to wait for a pump to come free 😢

10 minutes once a week is nearly 9 hours a year ...

So I figure if I Supercharge 9 hours a year I'm evens.  Typical Supercharger stop for me is 15 minutes (e.g. just enough to "get back home"). 3 times a month and that's also 9 hours 🙂

However, at Supercharger I plugin and walk-away. I can have pee / get coffee, or eat a meal (IF I can judge a long charge to be exactly at meal time and IF I can find the sort of food I want at the Supercharger stop ... that's not an easy combination, but there are some). Or I can sit in Car / Starbucks and do emails. If my normal day is "Visit client, do Emails in evening" then "Visit client, do emails whilst Supercharging, no emails in evening" then the charging time has cost me nothing, and I have had a sensible, enforced, break of my journey (its over 200 miles, so probably 4+ hours driving that day) ... but it is worth considering that if you have a passenger then a Charging-stop is just "longer journey", particularly if with ICE you would just change-driver every 2 hours with no delay. With young kids in the car its fine of course, they need time to eat, pee, play, etc.

Price: Charging at home (here in UK at least) is 1/4  the price of Petrol / Diesel. So some "high price road charging" still works out cheaper overall, for me. 

But ... I charge at Supercharger. its the perfect experience. Plug-in-and-walk-away, never known one be broken (but known plenty of 3rd party chargers not working / problems connecting / very few stalls + all occupied etc. etc.).  Once all charging is 300+kW the stop will be same duration as Petrol (except you will only add,. say, 150 miles per stop whereas with Petrol an average car will add 500+ miles per stop).

However, ignore all that: my wife tells me that stopping for 10 minutes every week is absolutely not the same as stopping for 15 -30 minutes a couple of times a month ... 🙂

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A couple of thoughts, mostly to make sure we compare apples to apples:

  • I'm not sure where gas is being sold at $2/gallon right now - AAA reports the average price has been around $2.30 and more for some time now, which is more like $65 for gasoline for this trip (assuming regular gas).
  • When I ran a generic route from Louisville to Dallas it did come up with 17:17 hours driving+charging, but the charging time is only 3:31, so it is not adding 5 hours for charging. If you've been able to do the trip in 12.5 hours in an ICE, then you might very well do this trip in 16 hours or so in your Kona (unless you have to slow down to make it to the next charging station - as in that first leg to Nashville).

If you are doing a lot of road trips, you might want to make a different trade-off between the initial purchase price of the EV and the cost/availability/convenience of the charging network available to that car.

If you are only doing the occasional road trip, then I think you can still consider all of the benefits of around-town and commuting EV use against some possible additional time/inconvenience on road trips, assuming your chosen EV has the range needed to make it between charging stations on your specific road trip routes.

I hadn't really looked into the charging side of things that much before, but it does seem like the Tesla charging world might be a little (dramatically?) different from that of other EVs.

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A lot of public chargers in the New England area are free. They seem to be a part of local municipalities effort to "be green." Although I have a NEMA 1540 in my garage, I occasionally plug in for an hour or so when I'm at a meeting. Convenient and nice.

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Rural gas prices near me in Maryland are $2.80 - $2.90 a gallon. On a 425 mile trip to Massachusetts which I have done several times, I need a little less than 2 hours of charging time along the way for my Bolt.  We stop to change drivers and take a bathroom break and also stop for lunch,  It ends up being about three 20 minute break stops and an hour lunch stop with charging at each stop. If not for charging we would probably save about half an hour on the stops with a gasoline vehicle because we would break and eat a little quicker.  I charge for free at a Maryland rest stop.  I charge for free at a Massachusetts rest stop. It was about $20 for the paid charging in between.  Let's say the gas cost would have been $40.   Local driving is nearly free with home charging.  Comparisons are very location and route dependent. Hope that helps.

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I recently bought a Chevy Bolt, trading in my Mini Cooper S. Average mileage in the Mini was about 30 mpg. I filled with premium so prices here in New England averaged $3.00 over the past year.

At this point I have paid very little for the first 900 miles in my Bolt. I did charge at home one weekend just to prove that it could be done using the factory charger but the rest of the time I have managed to charge using L2 charging at my workplace and one short charge at a dealership using their DC fast charger (free).

This weekend I am planning my first long distance trip, about 300 miles, where I will have to stop at public charging along the way. I plan on using one L2 charging station at $1 per hour for a few hours in a public parking garage but that extended stop is planned anyway for other reasons. I will probably need to stop at one fast charger along the way somewhere to add some range but I am thinking that will probably only cost me $5 or so. Total charging cost for the trip should be about $10. The same trip in the Mini would probably have cost me about $30 in gas.

So, I may be fooling myself, but I think so far I am way ahead as far as cost driving the Bolt versus the Mini. Of course, YMMV.

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