Predicting when EVs will go mainstream is finding the intersection of increasing gasoline cost and decreasing battery cost.

The conventional wisdom is the average consumer will not accept an EV with less than 200 or 300 miles in range.

It is difficult to predict how the minimum range requirement will decrease as the cost to operate an ICE increases, but it certainly will.

If your choice is an EV with only 160 miles of range versus an ICE you cannot afford to drive at all – you choose the EV.

Assumptions:

A 40kWh battery provides 160 miles of EPA driving range.

Battery prices start at $450 per kWh in august 2012. The cost of the battery improves at 8% per year in the future ( and degrades at 8% in the past ).

The gas price curve uses historical data til mid 2012 and then projection based on the trend from 2001 to 2012.

Each chart shows 3 things.

The red line is the cost of gasoline per month to drive 1000 miles averaged over 5 years from that point in time forward.

The blue line is the EV range you would have if you spent exactly as much money on the battery as you would to buy gasoline over the 5 year period.

The purple line is the cost to finance a 40 kWh battery over 5 years at 3% interest.

( left scale is dollars for the red & purple lines, the right scale is miles for the blue line )

Note that your battery is 100% paid for at the end of the 5 years, and then you have a vehicle much much cheaper to operate than an ICE ( this leaves a lot of EV benefit uncalculated, but we assume the average consumer will not be willing to think beyond the term of their car loan. )

We assume that an equivalent quality EV ( minus the battery ) is the same price as an ICE – this is very pessimistic to the EV, because an EV drivetrain is less expensive than an ICE one.

Thus we are comparing an ICE loan cost + fuel cost to the EV loan cost ( including its battery ).

This chart is for a 25 mpg ICE:

Interesting data points:

Right now – today – taking the same dollars you would spend on gasoline to buy a battery gets you a 95 mile range EV.

The cost of gasoline per month exceeds the cost of a 40KWh battery for the first time in november 2015 – so at that time you can buy an EV with at least 160 miles of range that is less expensive than the equivalent ICE over a very short period of time – excluding depreciation and maintenance ).

A 200 mile battery is the same price as gasoline in march 2017 – if you won’t buy an EV until it achieves a 200 mile range at the same cost as an ICE, wait another 16 months or so.

If you wait until november 2020, the EV that is the same “price” as the ICE achieves over 350 miles of range.

This chart is for a 30mpg ICE:

Interesting data points:

Right now – today – taking the same dollars you would spend on gasoline to buy a battery gets you a 79 mile range EV.

The cost of gasoline per month exceeds the cost of a 40KWh battery for the first time in december 2016

A 200 mile battery is the same price as gasoline in may 2018.

This chart is for a 35mpg ICE:

Interesting data points:

Right now – today – taking the same dollars you would spend on gasoline to buy a battery gets you a 68 mile range EV.

The cost of gasoline per month exceeds the cost of a 40KWh battery for the first time in december 2017

A 200 mile battery is the same price as gasoline in may 2019