By 2030, will an electric car be the most economical car you can buy in the US?

Market resolves to YES if Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, Consumer Reports or another similarly credible source estimates that a BEV/electric car legally sold in the U.S with a minimum range of 120 miles has a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) per mile over the lifetime of the vehicle when excluding depreciation and all tax credits than any new ICE/gas-powered car of the same model year before year end 2030.

To my knowledge, the lowest TCO BEV available in the U.S today is a Tesla Model 3, at one point available for 39,900$. I suspect that it costs roughly 28,000$ to build a Tesla Model 3. I also believe that a Tesla Model 3 sold for 28,000$ would be cheap enough to resolve this question to YES, due to to the low fuel costs for the Tesla Model 3 (~3 cents per mile assuming average electricity cost of 12c/kWh and 4 miles per kWh).

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TomBouley avatar
Tom Bouley

To be clear, according to Kelly Blue-Book the car with the lowest 5-year total cost to own is currently the the Chevy Bolt at $25,223 but this includes ~$7500 in incentives for electric car ownership and if you remove this the car with the lowest 5-year total cost to own is the Mitsubishi Mirage at $28,004 a gas power car.
All of these numbers include “depreciation” but “depreciation” is essentially just the sticker cost of the car spread out over the car's usable life, so excluding it doesn’t really make sense.

1 reply
ThomasBernardBrastad avatar

@TomBouley I wanted to exclude depreciation because to my knowledge, depreciation is affected by resale value. And I was thinking about a car "driven to destruction" by something like a taxi company. If depreciation is unaffected by how well a car keeps its value, then I will absolutely accept the depreciation estimate as part of the cost of the car.

Also, absolutely crazy that the Bolt has such a low TCO. I've written 2 short Twitter threads about Tesla's extremely good market position. As far as I can tell, it's really only sticker shock and cannibalization worries stopping Tesla from wiping the floor with the entire U.S auto industry, by selling the Tesla version of a Mirage (tiny car, tiny engine, tiny battery) with a relatively low profit margin. It might even be on the way!

kenakofer avatar
kenakoferbought Ṁ10 of YES

Coming from a boost. I would appreciate spelling out the acronyms in the description.

2 replies
ThomasBernardBrastad avatar

@kenakofer Updated the description, thanks for the advice.

kenakofer avatar
kenakoferpredicts YES

@ThomasBernardBrastad You could also make the title more engaging, like Will the cheapest car per mile in the US be electric by 2030.