I think that’s time to stop comparing electric cars between them if they have little in common other than the powertrain. In order to the electric cars become mainstream we have to compare them with similar gas cars, where the main difference is the powertrain.
We all know the many advantages electric cars have when compared to their gas counterparts, but most persons only want to know how much money in gas would they save by switching to electric. Saved money first, then higher torque, quietness and cool gadgets come as bonus.
Let’s find out by comparing two similar cars, but with very different powertrains. The Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Note.
Since Nissan Iberia (Portugal and Spain) is the first to have the 30 kWh battery available in the entry level Visia trim, I’ll use Portugal as an example to compare the Nissan Leaf to the Nissan Note.
In both cases, the following prices require that you trade in a car. In the Leaf’s case the car for trade in must have at least 10 years because the price also includes the Government subsidy of 2.250 € – to get rid of old and more polluting cars – on top of the Nissan’s incentive.
Price: 12.450 € – 14.265 € (trims for gas versions only, no diesel)
Consumption: 7,1 L/100 km – 9,869 €/100 km (1,39 € per liter)
Price: 26.015 € (entry level Visia with 30 kWh)
Consumption: 16 kWh/100 km – 3,2 €/100 km (0,2 € per kWh)
You save 6,669 € per 100 km by using the Nissan Leaf.
I used the highest gas Note trim versus the lowest Leaf trim with the 30 kWh battery. The higher battery capacity is important because the more range you get, the faster you can reach the tipping point where you saved enough gas to compensate the price difference.
The price difference between the two cars is 11.750 € and it takes 176.188 km in the Leaf to break even. That’s more than the battery warranty of 160.000 km.
If you are able to charge it for free you save 9,869 € every 100 km by driving the electric car. Then it would take 119.059 km to break even.
At least in Portugal the Government is in the right track by progressively increase gas taxes while keeping electric cars free from most taxes. As a result the tipping point where the lower running costs compensate for the initial higher purchase price will be easier to achieve.
I think that in most cases it’s crazy to buy a new car, especially an electric car that has a high depreciation rate, great deals can be found in pre-registered cars. You can save as much as 4.000 € and then buying a Leaf 30 kWh is a no brainer.
Also with new generations coming, buying an used first generation electric car will be cheaper and more appealing for those who want to save money by switching to electric cars.