Select Page

Electric cars may cost more to buy, but they’re really cheap to run, according to our tests of the Chevrolet Volt and theNissan Leaf.

The pure electric Nissan Leaf costs just 3.5 cents a mile based on the national average of 11 cents/kWh of electricity. That’s less than half of what it costs to drive the most fuel-efficient four-door car we’ve tested, the Toyota Prius. (This calculation doesn’t include other costs such as maintenance or depreciation. But maintenance on an electric car is theoretically miniscule compared with gasoline cars. And depreciation is unknown for such a new technology.)

The Chevrolet Volt, which runs on electricity for the first 35 miles, is heavier and therefore costs a little more to run—about 3.8 cents per mile on electricity. After that, the Volt uses a gasoline engine to extend the range another 300 miles. In gas mode, the Volt ties the Toyota Corolla in overall fuel economy at 32 mpg, although the Volt uses premium fuel. That gives the Volt a fuel cost on gasoline of 12.5 cents a mile once the batteries have been exhausted.

The farther you go, the more you save–up to the Leaf’s maximum range of about 75 miles on average. Trips longer than that are impractical in the Leaf, because it takes about 6 hours to recharge before going the next 75 miles. Even on longer trips, the Volt running on gasoline is still cheaper to drive than the Toyota Prius hybrid, the most fuel-efficient vehicle in our database, because of the money you save driving the first miles on electricity. The Prius has the advantage on trips over 100 miles.

Read the entire article at Consumer Reports

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.