Avoid a price jolt: The backend costs of electric vehicles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been the rev of the engine to get car lovers fired up. The new sound of accelerating technology is more of a hum.

More and more automakers have launched new electric vehicles – or have plans to introduce a new one soon.

I spoke with an expert from Tom Bush BMW about the E-V craz and what you need to know before you buy one.

“Electric is the new frontier and that’s where everything is going,” said Rob D’Augustinus, the New Car Sales Manager at Tom Bush BMW.

The numbers back him up. If you watch Super Bowl LVI, you saw seven car commercials. Six of those inlcuded EVs. According to market research firm Canalys, nearly 6.5 million electric vehicles — including fully electric and plug-in hybrid passenger cars — were sold worldwide in 2021. That’s a 109% increase from 2020. But EVs still only make up 9% of the global market.

D’Augustinus gave me a tour of one of the BMW hybrids – and discussed some of the technology that may be new to you.

”You can plug-in directly to your home or you can have a home charger installed. They’re readily available and really not that expensive,” D’Augustinus said. “A lot of the new homes that are coming out are actually giving that as an option. When you have a home built to have the home charging station.”

There are public charging stations across the country with more on the way. On Feb. 10, the Biden administration announced it’s plans to have states build EV charging stations as part of the bipartisan infrastrucutre bill. And Florida has to submit its plan for the project by the end of 2022.

D’Augustinus said there are different ways to charge your car at home. “So, each manufacturer is going to have a different look to it. But effectively it’ll do the same thing. It just plugs directly into the car. These hybrids do come with home charging systems where you don’t need one of these. You can actually plug the car directly into a regular outlet. Obviously a small outlet,” he said.

That’s a Level 1 home charging station. If you don’t have a normal 110 volt outlet conveniently placed in your garage or on the outside of your home, JD Power and Associates says that could cost you anywhere from $180-:300 for an electrician to instal. A Level 1 charging station is the slowest way to charge.

If you want to speed up your charging, that would require a Level 2 charging station - they use 240-volt circuits, the kind you’d use for your washer and dryer or other large appliances. Cost: between $1,000 and $2,000.

But if money is no object and you’ve got to get juiced up quick, the Level 3 charging station is for you. These are those commercial charging stations in public: mall parking lots, at stops along the interstate, that sort of thing.

Those charging stations use much higher voltages and the battery in your car charges faster than it would from your at-home charging station. The trade off, if you want one at home: pretty costly. Like, $50,000.

D’Augustinus said electric cars don’t sacrifice the performance of a gas engine.

“Well, it would be performance. It would be for environmental reasons. I mean, these vehicles just do everything. Performance, safety, environment, and the sustainability. That’s a big thing. With BMW, their new vehicles come out of factories that are solar and wind power. Everything in the new iX and i4s are fully sustainable and recyclable. So, there’s a lot of reasons to go with those cars,” he said.

So, what about your electric bill? According to Kelley Blue Book, it depends on where you live and how much you drive. Their formula pegs your at-home EV recharging bill at $25 to $33 per month (based on the calculation of 3 to 4 driving miles equaling one kilowatt-hour). So, compare that with what you pay for gas each month to determine the savings.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.