August 14, 2022

The Great Kilowatt vs. Gallon Face-Off

The figures on this page are only one way of crunching the numbers. They focus on the Nissan Leaf, among the first purely battery-powered electrics now on the market. (The much-publicized Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric-gas hybrid.) The comparisons reflect the immediate expense of running the cars or appliances shown — the price incurred from pump or plug to car or device. They do not factor in manufacturing costs or purchase prices; maintenance expenses (like replacing an electric car’s battery); the cost of the car’s home charger; or even home electrical upgrades, if needed.

As for holiday driving, the electric car, for now at least, seems more of a trip-to-the-grocery ride to stock up for the weekend barbecue. It still needs to achieve greater distances to overcome range anxiety — the fear of batteries’ running out before reaching one’s destination — which would lend urgent new meaning to the perennial summer travel question: Are we there yet?

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