Monday, October 01, 2018

Want to Buy a New Car for Free in 10 Years?  Buy an Electric Car Today.

Average 10 year fuel & maintenance costs of ICEVs and BEVs per households (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
In Canada, buying an electric car means your next car is “free.”  Or at least, that’s what a just released report from the 2 Degrees Institute (2DI) of Canada indicates.

2DI has been around for 14 years, although it rebranded in 2015 to align with its focus on helping individuals and families make better decisions to shrink their carbon footprints.  The organization wants to enable people to do their part directly, as there are many NGOs focused on pointing governments and industry in the right direction.  The 2 degrees part is, of course, a reference to the 2 degrees Celsius agreed-upon limit to warming, set at the COP21 conference in Paris.

2DI has an excellent group of science advisers stocked full of solid researchers, science communicators, and several respected institutions represented.
  • Dr. Pieter Tans, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory
  • Dr. James Hansen, Columbia
  • Dr. Paul Slovic, UofOregon
  • Dr. Jeremy Shakun, Boston College
  • Dr. Hendrik Wolff, Simon Fraser
  • James Hoggan, DeSmogBlog
  • Dr. Edward Maibach, Center for Climate Change Communication
  • Dr. Geoff Dutton, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
According to Ryan Logtenberg, 2DI’s Director, the Board has accrued slowly over multiple projects and years as the Institute grew and developed its network and strength.  The Institute is mostly self-funded, but Logtenberg told me that the second-largest source of income is through an annual grant from the BC’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

For the report in question, Logtenberg pulled together a small team including himself and two regular collaborators, Prof. James Pawley of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a 2DI Board member, and Barry Saxifrage, self-proclaimed chart geek with the National Observer and Visual Carbon.  They realized that while there were good studies done in other parts of the world, they wanted to create a Canada-specific version to help families in each province make better choices for themselves and their children.

Their methodology is transparent and good.  They gathered gasoline, electricity, and vehicle maintenance costs for each province from credible sources.  They selected basic family cars available in Canada in both internal combustion and electric drivetrain options, the Volkswagen Golf and the Kia Soul.  No Tesla Model S100D drag racers in the group, just cars that average families might own.

They looked not at the annual distance individual cars were driving, but at household mileage to ensure that families would have information most relevant to their needs.  They looked at both a 10 year and 250,000 kilometer (155,000 mile) lifespan of cars to ensure that they were not artificially picking a sweet spot.

What they found surprised even them.
We knew that EVs were less expensive to operate, but after running the numbers, we were completely surprised by how substantial the savings were.
— Prof. James Pawley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Read more at Want to Buy a New Car for Free in 10 Years?  Buy an Electric Car Today

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