The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) has launched a comprehensive research project with the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems to compare the total cost of ownership between internal combustion engines (ICE) and electric vehicles (EVs).
The study looks at primary factors that contribute to vehicle costs; where, when and for whom EVs are most cost-effective, and government policies that could have the greatest impact on reducing EV costs. Five vehicle classes – compact sedan, midsize sedan, small SUV, midsize SUV and pickup truck – are examined in 14 cities.
“We use representative generic vehicle data rather than data for specific models so that we can make apples-to-apples comparisons between BEV and ICE vehicles,” Gregory A. Keoleian, director of the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems, told Repairer Driven News. “We also consider the life cycle cost of HEVs, but the focus is on the BEV-ICE comparison. Within BEVs we have data for 200 mile, 300 mile and 400 mile range vehicles. So in total we have 25 vehicles with these combinations of class, powertrain and range.”
Vehicles will be examined in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Manhattan, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Cities were chosen to represent key vehicle markets and a wide range of climate, electricity markets, gas prices and levels of policy support such as government stimulus programs, Keoleian said.
“The Responsible Battery Coalition is dedicated to developing and disseminating the latest scientific resources to help Americans understand the impact of electrifying the transportation sector,” said Steve Christensen, executive director of RBC, in a statement. “This independent, comprehensive study will build on our green principles and help the RBC better understand current consumer costs when a circular economy for EV batteries is not yet achieved.”
According to RBC, understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an electric vehicle, and not just the purchase price, is becoming an increasingly important factor in consumer decision-making. A vehicle’s TCO includes custom accessories, enhanced propulsion systems to increase vehicle range, taxes and other fees, and long-term operating costs, including fuel, maintenance, repairs, and insurance. The lack of clear comparisons between the two vehicle options is a factor that RBC believes is slowing widespread EV adoption and decarbonization.
“Our research partnership with RBC will allow us to perform a more in-depth analysis of EV costs versus ICE vehicles by considering vehicle type, user behavior and where the vehicle is purchased and operated,” said Keoleian . “For example, we will consider regional differences in total cost of ownership related to charging installation costs, electricity and gas costs, temperature effects on fuel economy and insurance, and federal and state EV incentives and policies.”
Christensen added that research will show whether EVs exhibit cost parity with internal combustion engines over their lifetime, such as B. EV battery recycling, in addition to emission savings.
“The research complements our work in defining the best practices for managing all batteries throughout their life cycle,” Christensen told RDN. “This study aims to inform consumers and industries that manufacture, sell, use, reuse or recycle EV batteries. We hope policymakers will find it useful and look for ways to support EV adoption and battery manufacturing domestically.”
The project will consider regional factors that RBC and the University of Michigan say have not been thoroughly studied, including:
- influence of local climate on vehicle fuel consumption;
- fueling patterns based on driver time rating;
- forecasts of future gasoline and electricity prices; and
- Expected Driving Patterns.
In addition, the research team will assess the CO2 reduction potential of electric vehicles and calculate the social cost of CO2 using regional estimates of greenhouse gas emissions developed by the Center for Sustainable Systems and Ford Motor Co.
The first phase of the study is expected to be completed in December. The results will be made available to the public shortly after the peer review. The second phase runs from January to December 31, 2023.
Photo credits: Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) and University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems