ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

Gas to Electrons

Now that the electric Porsche is roadworthy, let’s discuss the real benefits of owning an EV in terms of battery life, range, and energy expense. One way to compare gas to electrons is by breaking down the cost of charging the batteries in relation to miles driven and lifespan.

The lithium iron phosphate cells in my EV’s traction pack are rated for 2000 charge/discharge cycles. That 2000 cycle figure is based on 85% discharge of the cells, beyond which there is a risk of internal damage to the batteries. An 85% discharge of the full pack would provide an effective range of about 80 miles, which I would rarely need on my 14 mile round trip commute to work. If I were to drive and charge 365 days per year, that would give me about 5 1/2 years of effective service. But if the pack is only partially discharged on a daily basis, I can spread those cycles out to 3000 or more, giving me over 8 years of service.

Now let’s compare to the cost of my petroleum consumption.  Given the $60 per week I currently spend on gasoline, I’ll be saving $3,120 per year, and $24,960 for the life of the battery pack (calculated at 8 years). Using the approximate figure of $3.00 per charge, I’ll spend $1095 per year on electricity, for a total of $8760 over a period of 8 years. The savings in the cost of gas to electrons is $16,200 over 8 years.


The savings could even climb higher for a few reasons:

* The pack will not be fully discharged every day, requiring less time to charge every night, or possibly every two or three nights.

* Charging at night during off-peak hours will reduce the cost of electricity even further.

* Reduced electrical utility rates are becoming more available for those who charge their EVs at home.

* My personal costs for electricity are already offset by an investment in rooftop solar panels.

* Gas prices will certainly escalate.


Calculating a yearly 5% fuel price increase over 8 years returns an adjusted total of $29,792 not spent on fossil fuels. Using that figure, gas would be $7 per gallon after 8 years. If I cut my electrical costs in half due to lesser charge times, off-peak energy rates, and solar energy offsets, then my charging costs drop to $3880 over 8 years. My total possible savings over the life of the battery pack could reach $25,912. That’s enough to build another EV!



7 Responses to “Gas to Electrons”

  1. But don’t you feel bad NOT giving $25,000 to the oil companies? What are THEY going to do??? I knew there was a downside to these efforts. Great seeing you and your e914 Mark. She’s a gem and I look forward to diving in myself soon.

  2. Chuck and Dave Koch aren’t gonna like this! 😉

  3. Mark,
    Having grown up with a neighbor of German decent, restoring the 914 and 916 Porsche, I’ve always had a liking of these cars. Even my nickname back then was Porsche…I’ve been following your progress from your very first posting through EV World and I have to say you’ve done a great job on the restoration and the conversion. I’ve always been interested in anything EV including workng for Mercedes Research and now Chrysler/Fiat here in Michigan. The detail you put into this vehicle is amazing – Clean and Functional. Again, great job and please keep us up to date on any(If at all) problems that may arise once you have miles on her. Thanks for the wonderful step-by-step documentation.
    George Rule-Greet

    • Thank you very much, George. I am glad my high profile readers have remained interested and entertained. In that case, my mission has been accomplished. Regarding further work, I have been suspicious that the front suspension is in need of an overhaul, due to some shimmy at speed, and some unwanted noises when backing up while the wheel is turned. So I have ordered tie-rod ends, ball joints, control arm bushings, and struts. I’ll drive the car in the meantime, but when that shipment arrives, I will spend another weekend wearing my black nitrile gloves.

  4. Brems,
    I love your car and I am curious about your concern for our environment. Since most of our electricity comes from coal and nuclear energy, what’s the point of an electric car? Seems like the benefits are laced with smoke and mirrors. What do you think?

    • The answer to that question is not simple, and reflects the complexity of our energy future. The amount of energy used to produce and distribute electricity is much less compared to the energy used producing and distributing gasoline. The calculation of petroleum consumed by regular gas vehicles also needs to include the refining, transport, storage and delivery of petroleum to distribution channels (also known as “well to wheel”). Here’s a link to a video clip that makes the point pretty quickly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=YfTiRNzbSko#t=362s. Also, EVs won’t be putting much additional demand on the grid, since most electric vehicles will be charging at night during off-peak hours. All of my personal night-time charging that uses non-renewable energy sources is offset by the renewable power I generate during the day with my rooftop solar panels. Great question, and one that will confuse the general public for years to come.

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