How Much Could You Really Save by Switching to an EV?

Would switching from petrol to electric help you cut costs and your carbon footprint? A new tool could help you find out from the comfort of your own laptop.

Author Sarah-Indra Jungblut:

Translation Sarah-Indra Jungblut, 09.27.17

Despite news about Tesla and co’s latest inventions in electromobility seeming to make the news every other day, the numbers of electric vehicles currently on our roads are still pretty modest. One reason for that is electric cars’ (still) very large price tag. While “filling up” and maintaining an electric vehicle is cheaper than a car with a traditional motor, those savings aren’t seen until a few years down the line.

And while electric cars are heralded as an eco-friendly alternative to normal vehicles, there’s a lot of room for improvement there too. As long as they’re being charged with power from non-renewable sources, the CO2 savings are going to remain pretty limited. And the energy-intensive production of the batteries that go into an EV means a few minus points too. But all that said, switching from petrol to electric power can still have benefits for drivers and the environment.

Germany’s Öko-Institut (The Institute for Applied Ecology) has developed a couple of tools that can help you work out how much money and emissions you could save by switching over to an EV, with separate calculators for personal and commercial use.

Online Cost Calculator for Private Users

According to information from the Öko-Institut, around 40 per cent of new electric vehicles are sold to private consumers. “With this tool you can work out the total cost of ownership – from purchase to use and resale – and also compare its CO2 emissions when compared with conventional vehicles,” explains Lukas Minnich, a researcher at the Öko-Institut. “You can also input individual variables, such as the electricity source and the amount of kilometres you travel each year.”

So, how many greenhouse gas emissions can be saved by switching from diesel and petrol vehicles to electric?

Looking at one of the example calculations on the site, scientists have come to the conclusion that using the current electricity mix, electric cars actually end up producing around three tons MORE CO2 than conventional vehicles. Used over eight years however, they produce around ten tons LESS.

Does an electric car make sense for you? Check the Electric Vehicle Cost Calculator to find out.

Is Electromobility a Good Fit for your Company?

The Öko-Institut also offers an e-mobility calculator for commercial vehicle fleets as part of the project “ePowered Fleets Hamburg”. This research project has followed around 500 electric vehicles in more than 230 Hamburg companies to see what effect switching to electric has on CO2 emissions and overall costs. A commercial switch to electric has the potential for huge change – of the 3 million vehicles that are sold in Germany each year, around 800,000 of those are for companies.

You can check out the commercial vehicle calculator right here.

This article is a translation of the original which first appeared on RESET’s German-language site.

Need to Charge Your Electric Car? Just Plug It Into a Lamppost!

The idea is as clever as it is simple: Ubitricity's EV charging system allows cars to plug into the power source offered by city lampposts. In London, the scheme is already underway, with streetlights around the city transforming into charging points. Could the system be coming to a city near you? Time to take a closer look.

Vehicle-to-Grid: Using Electric Cars To Store Renewable Energy

Electric cars that aren't currently on the move could be used to help stabilise energy grids, make electricity from renewable energy sources more viable and generate extra income for EV owners. That's the goal of the Munich-based company The Mobility House and their smart Vehicle-to-Grid technology.

Could Share & Charge Be the Airbnb of Electric Cars?

E-mobility meets sharing. Share & Charge is a new platform that has a fresh idea for how to tackle the problem of insufficient of charging points for electric cars - by connecting EV drivers with people and their private charging stations at home.

When There’s a Will, There’s a Way? Oslo Is the Electric Vehicle Capital of the World

Oslo City Council's commitment to electric vehicles, and their record numbers on its roads, are second to none. What lies behind such an impressive growth? What's the city's secret, and can it be reproduced elsewhere?

How Green Is E-Mobility? It All Depends on the Power Source and Where the Battery Ends Up

Electric vehicles are currently touted as the most eco-friendly way to get from A to B. But what's the truth behind their supposedly green credentials? We've taken a closer look at their life cycle to see how they really shape up.

Wireless Wonder: The Electric Car Of The Future Will Charge Itself

Calling itself "the future of wireless power", Blue Inductive has made a bold statement. But maybe there's something in it. The German startup, based in Freiburg, has developed a technology that allows electric cars to be charged not just quickly but completely cable-free.