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Sun Jan 26, 2020, 05:58 PM

Buy an EV, or, never buy another car?

Stanford economist Tony Seba predicts that by 2030, 95% of people wont own a private car. https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/12/tony-seba-2030-95-people-wont-private-car-automaker-death-spiral-coming/

I want to buy an EV because I want to drive a car that has no emissions. Yes, I am aware of the various factors that make EVs not totally environmentally friendly, so, please, do not go there.

Another negative factor about EVs is their cost. I am able to purchase an EV for up to $60K, but, I don't want to make the purchase if the cost of using ride-sharing companies with self-driving EVs is less than ownership.

My current vehicles: a 2018 hybrid and a 2012 ICE car. Both cars are in good, if not great, shape with plenty of miles left in them, but they both use fossil fuel. If I buy an EV, the ICE car will be sold and the hybrid will be kept.

If you were me, what would you do? Buy an EV, or never buy another car and wait for ride sharing companies to offer self-driving EVs with costs less than ownership?

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8 votes, 0 passes | Time left: Unlimited
Buy an EV.
7 (88%)
Never buy another car.
1 (13%)
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Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

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Reply Buy an EV, or, never buy another car? (Original post)
Quemado Jan 2020 OP
Fresh_Start Jan 2020 #1
Phoenix61 Jan 2020 #2
exboyfil Jan 2020 #3
PoindexterOglethorpe Jan 2020 #4
Quemado Jan 2021 #20
PoindexterOglethorpe Jan 2021 #22
kimbutgar Jan 2020 #5
doc03 Jan 2020 #6
Mopar151 Jan 2020 #7
Freddie Jan 2020 #8
progree Jan 2020 #9
Miguelito Loveless Jun 2020 #11
progree Jun 2020 #12
Miguelito Loveless Jun 2020 #13
progree Jun 2020 #14
Miguelito Loveless Jun 2020 #15
progree Jun 2020 #16
Miguelito Loveless Jun 2020 #17
Calculating Jan 2020 #10
Miguelito Loveless Jun 2020 #18
mac2766 Jan 2021 #19
Quemado Jan 2021 #21

Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 06:05 PM

1. use the 2018 and save your money

and plan your travel to minimize fossil fuel usage

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 06:17 PM

2. That depends on what other options

are available in your area. There is, for all intents and purposes, no public transport where I live so going carless is not an option.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 06:36 PM

3. The same for me

My 2002 Cavalier just died (I am mourning its loss). My daughter, who had been driving my Cavalier, went out and bought a $20K+ used car (I cannot even fathom it), but she has to have something reliable and that can handle the snow because she is a nurse and just can't call in. She has been working for two years driving my car and living at home so it is not an unreasonable purchase.

Right now my wife and I are sharing a 2009 HHR. My mom wants to help me buy a car (she doesn't have the money for that), and my son in law is pushing me to get a newer car.

If I could go without a car, I would happily do it. I think I can manage getting to work by walking when the snow and ice finally go away, but right now my wife is bringing me to work (about four miles). We started doing it when I broke my foot, and my daughter started driving my car. It works for us.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 06:45 PM

4. Are those the only two choices?

For me, until an EV has the range of a gas vehicle, and can be recharged as quickly as I can fill up a gas tank, I won't be buying one. No doubt those things will eventually come about, although given my current age (71) I may have stopped driving by then. Perhaps I will some day relocate to a city with much better public transportation, or move to an independent/assisted living place and be driven everywhere.

Meanwhile, I take several long driving trips every year, which is why I need the range and ease of refill of a gas car. There's no need to own two cars. Oh, and I cannot even begin to imagine paying $30k for a vehicle, let alone double that. So until they come down in price to that of, say, a second hand Honda, I (and a lot of other people) won't be even considering an EV.

My current car is a 2017 Honda Fit, which I purchased September, 2019. It replaced a 2004 Honda Civic I'd owned since 2007, so I do tend to keep cars a long time.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 31, 2021, 12:00 PM

20. No, there are at least two other choices.

1. Using robotaxis. Unfortunately, this might not be a reality for a few more years.

2. Live in an area with short walking distances to shops and stores and places of employment, and excellent public transportation, where car ownership is not necessary.

Perhaps in 2031, after owning the Fit for 12 years, there will be EVs under $30k that can re-charge in 10 minutes and can go 500 miles on a single charge.

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Response to Quemado (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 31, 2021, 01:11 PM

22. I don't want to wait another ten years or more

for the EV that's under $30k (which is still about $10k more than I've ever paid for a car), recharges in 10 minutes, and can go 500 miles on a single charge. While I'm currently not making long drives, they will be happening again much sooner than 2031.

At an earlier time in my life I was without a car for seven years, and only finally got one when I wanted to return to school and the logistics of taking public transportation just wouldn't work.

I am constantly astonished at how much money people think is necessary to spend on a car. $30k? Really?

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 06:50 PM

5. I'm thinking about buying a used EV

Was told you can get great deals on older models. 2017 fiat for under $10,000

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 07:05 PM

6. I was considering a hybrid for my next car a Toyota RAV4. The ICE RAV4 gets 38 MPG

highway and the Hybrid RAV4 gets 41MPG highway. I drive about 12000 miles per year so at $2.50 a gallon for gas I
would save $58 a year in gas. But Ohio just implemented a $100 a year tax on hybrid vehicles so it would cost me $42 more a year
for the hybrid not including the $1500 to $2000 extra I would pay for the hybrid. In addition hybrids all have a CVT transmission instead of gears. The CVTs have a lower towing limit, that tells me they are not built for hill country.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 08:38 PM

7. Give the market time to sort out..

Even a couple years, will mean lower prices and better cars, as some of the "majors" (i.e. VW) are introducing new product lines of EV's.

The Tesla model of customer service, is very similar to modern farm or construction equipment - ONLY THE FACTORY CAN TOUCH IT - the owner has no "right to repair". According to said factory.... I'd try to stay off that anthill, myself.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 09:13 PM

8. My husband often says this

In a few years there will be Uber and other such services everywhere and not many people will have cars. I disagree. We live in a pretty spread-apart exurb, there is nothing within walking distance and absolutely no public transportation. Were used to getting in our cars for *everything* when we want to, not waiting for a ride. Maybe that will be true in cities and closer suburbs but not out here.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 05:35 AM

9. I read that GHG emissions to build a car (either EV or ICE) are about the same as what an ICE car

emits driving an average amount over the car's lifetime. So if you can figure out how to do without a car, that would be a big deal for the environment (though if you use taxis or Ubers one has to figure that the car use per trip in miles is as much as double what it would be if you had a car -- because the Uber driver has to drive to your place, and then when done with you, drive to its next pickup point, and I read that about 1/2 of an Uber driver's mileage is other than carrying a customer. Or was it 60%?

On most U.S. electric grids, an E.V. is not much cleaner as far as GHG emissions than an ICE car, given the low 30-40% efficiency of the electric power plants, and that the load-following plants on an electric power system are mostly fossil fueled. But that will change with time, but right now EV's are not that much cleaner when all that -- and transmission line losses from the power plant to where you charge your car -- are considered.

But if you charge mostly overnight, and are on a grid with a sizable amount of wind energy, I think the picture is much improved because a lot of wind is dumped during low-load nighttime hours by utilities -- and by charging at night, that's that much less wind energy that is dumped. An environmental freebie.

During higher-load daytime hours, the wind energy is used to the maximum of its capacity, likewise solar; and any increment of the utility's system load (such as caused by charging a car) will come from fossil-fueled plants. (I worked in the planning and the system operations departments of an electric utility).

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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 02:08 PM

11. Even in regions with mostly a coal powered grid

an EV has longer lifetime emissions than an ICE. That said, the grid is getting greener over time, as coal plants are being retired at an accelerating rate. We used to have a Leaf and a Volt. We would rotate cars leaving one at home to charge during the day using our solar array, taking the other one to work. The Volt was our "distance" car, which we sued when we went on vacation or business trips. We went from burning 800+ gallons a year with two ICE cars, to 48 gallons with the Leaf/Volt. In 2018 we replaced the Volt with a Model 3, and have not burnt a drop of gasoline since.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 02:21 PM

12. I'm trying not to buy another car at all, because the GHG emissions to build a car are about half

of what an ICE car burns in fuel being driven over its lifetime. Whether the car is an EV or an ICE.

If this is true, an EV on a perfectly clean grid would still be half as bad as an ICE over the full lifecycle that includes producing the materials to build the car, and building the car). Any grid dirtiness adds to that 50%. (And grids will always be somewhat dirty -- even 100% solar + wind + batteries require a substantial amount of GHG to construct.)

I don't say don't buy an EV -- if the choice is between an EV and an ICE -- a reduction of up to 50% over the full lifecycle compared to an ICE is obviously better than no reduction at all.

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Response to progree (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 02:36 PM

13. Then I would recommend a used EV

Last edited Wed Jun 17, 2020, 04:05 PM - Edit history (1)

as the carbon cost is already there, so you are not creating demand for a "new" vehicle.

I would also point out that EVs are on track to have much longer road life, since they have several orders of magnitude fewer moving parts. Electric motors can easily last up to 500K miles before failure, and battery packs are good for 80% capacity at 200K miles (there are some exception in early model Leaves (2011-2014).

After the battery pack is no longer suitable for an EV, it can have another decade's reuse powering a house, or for grid storage. So, you would have to amortize the carbon footprint over that time as well. After than, it can be recycled to recover graphite, cobalt, copper, manganese, aluminum and lithium.

Solar PVs do require GHG to create, but once created last 25+ years producing up to 80% of their rated capacity (they lose 1%-2% their first year, then about 0.5% a year thereafter. Also, there are tech upgrades in the work which will mean increased efficiency, longer life with lower degradation, and greener power source as manufacturing facilities begin using their own product. A prototype wind turbine made of layered interlocking wood is being set up in Sweden, and if successful, would dramatically lower the energy used to build and transport them.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 03:09 PM

14. I'm struggling with the used car thing, I feel even if I buy it used, I am still responsible

for part of the construction emissions. Since virtually all cars are run until they are essentially worthless, whether thay have one owner or multiple owners. I just don't think I can put all the construction emissions on the first owner, and feel guiltless because I wasn't the original purchaser. By being a second or third owner, I'm part of what makes a car valuable to the first owner, because (s)he can then sell it to someone else after the "newness" wears off. It's all part of a chain or market that 2nd and 3rd buyers make possible.

One thing for sure, I won't be buying an EV. A year or two ago, the economics was that cost wise, including gasoline or electricity, and including maintenance (where yes, ICE costs more to maintain than EV), it was economically break even only if driven like 15,000 miles/year or more for the car's lifetime in order to break even with the higher purchase cost.

I drive less than 1,000 miles/year. I know that's pathetic, I know that's not "real man", I know it proves I don't have a life and all that. But it is what it is. I really believe we have to start living way differently if we're going to have a snowball's chance in hell of arresting global warming. I know that makes me sick, nut, whacko, flake, kook, and ding-dong. But it is what it is.

Anyway unless I see different numbers than I've seen, it would cost way more for me to buy an EV than it would save in "fuel" and operating costs. I think that extra money would be better spent in other directions. For example, I gave my farm away to Population Connection (full disclosure: in exchange for a charitable gift annuity, but I still figure it was a net $125,000 gift even considering the present value of the annuity plus the tax savings and no selling costs). IOW, I'm willing to spend money to save the planet, I just don't think buying an EV is the most effective per dollar way to do it for me.

Edited to add: I also live in a townhome association that is about as green as Exxon. They aren't going to rewire our garages to support charging plug-in hybrids or EVs, and individual owners doing that isn't feasible, so they say. And it would be a huge huge huge huge multi-year project to sell this place and move, and I'm just not going to do that.

Or I would have to fight with the homeowner association for years and years with little chance of success. One thing about homeowner associations is that they are just about the most dictatorial governing entity that's ever been conceived.

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Response to progree (Reply #14)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 03:35 PM

15. All valid points, and I would like to make plain

I understand and agree with the analysis. We bought used until recently, and then made sure that our cars went to folks in need of reliable and cheap transport afterwards. With ICE cars we were usually the 3rd owner, with EVs the 2nd. In the face of plummeting gas prices, the cost per mile is harder to make, though when you factor in maintenance EVs still come out ahead. My wife and I are older, have paid off our house, and are using some of our savings to pollute less. The ROI of what we have built, has probably gone from 7 years to 10 years with falling oil prices, but, a war in the ME could reverse those savings fast. However the GHG breakeven point is about 5 years for our EVs and our solar. Excess power we don't use during the day is powering multiple houses on my block. A neighbor down the street stopped by in January to ask me a bunch of questions about our panels. He installed his own array a month ago, so between us we are producing about 90-150kWh a day. Another neighbor has also been asking questions, so perhaps I've started something.

To us, it is about clean air, and freedom from gas stations (which are really quite smelly and grimy once you spend a few months away from them), and freedom from power outages (we are in tornado/hurricane country).

I would not think to impugn your masculinity or humanity because you only drive 1000 miles a year. I would point out though, that there are a number of used EVs, under $10K, that could handle such a light driving load.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #15)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 03:43 PM

16. If I buy, it will be used, and I'll certainly look at EV's. However, the homeowner association

makes that impossible until something changes. (My stuff on the homeowner's association was a late edit to my #14). So pricing EVs would be just for my curiosity.

That breakeven thing in #14 was based on $2.50/gallon gas.

Yes, I think electricity prices are more stable and more likely to be stable in the future than gasoline prices.

PV's aren't anywhere on the horizon for this homeowner's association either.

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Response to progree (Reply #16)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 03:49 PM

17. If we get the current troll out of office

we (our renewable advocacy group) hope to get a law passed overriding HOA about solar and EVs.

All that said, if you get a chance, drive one. It actually makes driving fun again, like it was when you first get your license and will grab any excuse to drive anywhere fun.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2020, 03:10 PM

10. Yeah, uh, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for those robotaxis

Nor would I want to depend on Uber for everything. The self driving car thing is still in the infant stage, and nobody really knows when or if it will be ready for prime time. As for ev's, they actually emit more carbon than ice if you're not charging them with green energy. I wouldn't recommend them unless you have rooftop solar. Better to just drive a fuel efficient ice vehicle right now.

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Response to Calculating (Reply #10)

Wed Jun 17, 2020, 04:02 PM

18. Agreed, but with one nitpick

I am a huge EV fan, and robotaxis are WAY overhyped.

However, the Union of Concerned Scientists studied GHG emission from EVs for their entire life cycle, even factoring in different grid fuels, and EVs still pollute less.

https://evtool.ucsusa.org/

In my neck of the woods, using grid power means 104g/mile for my EV (an M3), versus 381 for an ICE car, and 194 for a plug-in hybrid.

As we use solar to charge it, our actual GHG emissions is probably under 10g/mile factoring in the life of the car and the PV panels.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 31, 2021, 11:04 AM

19. I'm sold on EV's

 

We're driving a 2010 pickup and a 2016 SUV. Both ICE vehicles. I feel very confident that the truck is going to last me another 5 years or so... hopefully more. both cars have been paid off for quite some time. I hate pumping gas into my truck. As much as 50 bucks a week some weeks.

We've agreed that we will never buy an ICE vehicle again.

We have a 10kW solar system. When we go to the EV's I'll install another battery on my system for EV charging. I'm hopeful that EV to Grid is accepted by then. It would be very nice to be able to take advantage of the EVs battery when the sun goes down.

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Response to Quemado (Original post)

Sun Jan 31, 2021, 12:09 PM

21. OP here: My wife and I ordered a Tesla Model Y.

Yes, I know, the car has a carbon footprint from its manufacture.

When charging from home, the car will draw electricity from a grid that gets its part of its power from coal. However, my electricity provider, as of 2019, gets 44% of its power from renewable sources. And the provider intends to phase out coal completely by 2042: https://www.pnm.com/energy-sources

2019 - 44% emissions free generation
2032 - 86% emissions free generation
2042 - 100% emissions free generation

I agree with the previous post about robotaxis in the future. Im not holding my breath waiting for robotaxis. Eventually robotaxis will make their way into the transportation marketplace. The question is: what is the cost of using robotaxis vs the cost of owning a car? Would you want to use a robotaxi during a pandemic? Would the robotaxi be sanitized after each use? I think sanitizing a robotaxi after each use would significantly increases costs that would be passed along to the customer.

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