Recently we brought you an article from the French research group IFP in which they point out that plug-in hybrids make economic sense for buyers, but what about full electric vehicles?  Well, IFP has done the research on that too and the results are not as promising.

According to Philippe Pinchon, the director of the IFP's research center, "At the current price of diesel fuel and Li-ion batteries, electric vehicles don't make economic sense over their lifetime."  IFP has provided research examples to support the statement above.

Using a similar comparison as the other article on plug-ins calculating total out of pocket expense, electric vehicles cost significantly more over their lifetime. 

For the comparison, they pitted a compact diesel against a 16 mile electric only range plug-in hybrid.  The diesel came in at $21,500 to purchase.  Adding the cost of fuel and maintenance over the 124,000 mile life of the vehicle would result in a total out of pocket expense of $41,523.

The plug-in they choose is a hypothetical vehicle that achieves a 16 mile electric only range before using gasoline.  The battery pack for this vehicle adds $8,591 in up front costs to bring the purchase price to $30,091.  The fuel (some of which is electricity) and maintenance costs bring the total out of pocket expense for the life of the vehicle to $42,953.

Now onto the electric vehicle.  A subcompact EV with a 93 mile range would cost $52,834 over the life of the vehicle or nearly $10,000 more than the plug-in and almost $12,000 more than the diesel in the comparison.  France offers a $7,140 incentive for buying an EV, but that would still not be enough to make up the difference.

The statistics used in the comparison could change over time as the price of diesel fuel increases and the costs associated with Li-ion batteries decreases, but for now EVs don't quite make economic sense.  They certainly make environmental sense and hopefully they will soon conquer cost related issue and become an economically sound choice.

Source:  Wards Auto  (Login required)