The Internet is full of information about the benefits electric vehicles, and usually only mentions the limited range as the drawback. The lifetime of the battery and the cost of replacement is quietly avoided. In my example I’m going to use the Nissan Leaf, because its weight is close to the average weight of a car, and there is some information about what a new battery costs. We don’t know what a battery for a Tesla costs because Tesla won’t sell one to the public, they will only sell one to an authorized repair facility at a subsidized price to be installed in a vehicle, and I believe they keep the old battery.

I’ll exclude the benefit of reduced maintenance cost in an EV, since that balances out with the inconvenience of reduced range compared to a fuel burning vehicle. I’ll also exclude issues with battery degradation over time on infrequently driven vehicles, and battery issues from prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

I’ll also exclude the cost of electricity to give the EV an advantage. I will only consider the cost of the lithium ion battery.

The 24kWh battery leaf gives you 72 miles of range. The typical life is around 100,000 miles, and by that point the usable range (the battery life bars on the right side of the charge level indicator) are down so much that the range is down hear half of the original 72 miles.

A new battery costs $6000 or so. So it cost you that much to drive 100k miles. That’s $0.06 per mile for an efficient EV, not including charging costs. A good gasoline powered car that is around the same size will get you 30 miles per gallon. To get $0.06 per mile from 30 MPG, gasoline needs to cost $1.80 per gallon. If your car gets 40 MPG, gasoline needs to be $2.40. If you drive a Prius that gets 50 MPG, gasoline needs to cost $3.00 per gallon to equal the Leaf. I know the Prius needs a $4000 battery replacement somewhere up around 200k miles, but I also didn’t consider the charging costs of the EV.

If the charging cost of the Leaf is considered, and it takes 333W-hr to go a mile (24kWh / 72), and electricity costs 10 cents per kWh, that’s 3.33 cents to go a mile. Add that to the battery cost of 6 cents and now it costs 9.33 cents to go a mile. A non hybrid Honda Civic that gets 36 MPG (EPA) will need to have gasoline cost over $3.36 to cost more to drive than the Leaf.

My example used a compact electric vehicle, with the smallest battery option. If the math for something a lot heavier like a Tesla is done the numbers will get a lot worse.

It doesn’t seem like even a compact EV saves you much money, even at times when gasoline prices are very high. It only makes sense for extreme city driving and minimal highway use.

Source:

`https://www.motorverso.com/nissan-leaf-battery-replacement-cost/`