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TECHNOLOGY

Buying An Electric Vehicle? Here’s The 1 Astonishing Reason Why They Just Aren’t Worth It

It all seemed to point to good sense. Then this data came out.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 03 Sep 2017
Tell yourself it's not about the money.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

Is trying to save the world really worth it?

Look around you and consider whether all your fellow humans really deserve this lovely place.

But, wait. You're of a more optimistic spirit.

You recycle. You compost. You crave a Tesla. Or, while you're still trying to raise VC money, a Nissan Leaf.

You know that the government gives you a $7,500 first-year tax credit if you buy an electric car, just to make your guilt-driven choices feel a little better.

In any case, electric cars don't use gas. They're just plug in and go. They save you money, right?

Well, yes. And then, no.

The Bay Area heatwave had confined me to cooler indoor climes. I'm in the middle of (perhaps) buying a new car.

And I accidentally fell upon AAA's new Your Driving Costs calculations.

Scroll down and you'll see that small sedans are cheap to run, large sedans are more expensive.

But you'll finally descend to AAA's first-ever attempt to present the true costs of owning an electric vehicle.

There, you will find the sort of pain that your sanctimony just doesn't deserve.

Yes, electric cars are much cheaper to run than your average gas-guzzling, old-world monsters.

There's just one problem. They depreciate quicker than the average president's popularity.

Every year that you own one, says AAA, you lose $5,704 of the car's value. This compares to the average depreciation on a car of $3,172 per year.

So own your electric joy for five years and there goes $28,520. That's $12,660 more than your average car devaluation.

I look online and I see that a Nissan Leaf starts at $30,680 and a Chevy Volt is $33,220.

After five years, these cars are, according to AAA, worth little more than a weekend in Vegas.

You, though, are a calculating sort. You know that you can lease or buy used.

But Americans do love to own things. As many things as they can, in fact.

I can, therefore, only offer you a couple of ways to get over this uncomfortable information.

One, buy a Tesla.

Luxury electric vehicles aren't covered in AAA's study. And Teslas have that aura that declares: "Hey, look. I'm driving a luxury electric car, which means I'm almost in Elon Musk's social circle. Well, I follow him on Twitter."

Or.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself: "It's not about the money. It's not about the money. Really. It's not about the money."

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