1998-11-30

An Assessment of Electric Vehicle Life Cycle Costs to Consumers 982182

A methodology for evaluating life cycle cost of electric vehicles (EVs) to their buyers is presented. The methodology is based on an analysis of conventional vehicle costs, costs of drivetrain and auxiliary components unique to EVs, and battery costs. The conventional vehicle's costs are allocated to such subsystems as body, chassis, and powertrain. In electric vehicles, an electric drive is substituted for the conventional powertrain. The current status of the electric drive components and battery costs is evaluated. Battery costs are estimated by evaluating the material requirements and production costs at different production levels; battery costs are also collected from other sources. Costs of auxiliary components, such as those for heating and cooling the passenger compartment, are also estimated. Here, the methodology is applied to two vehicle types: subcompact car and minivan. A procedure for amortizing purchase price, replacement battery costs, and operating costs over the lifetime usage of the vehicle is a part of the methodology. The procedure computes power requirements, purchase price, initial and replacement battery costs, and operating cost for EVs. Battery costs are allocated to the individual pack's lifetime usage. The EV's discounted salvage value is deducted from the purchase price, excluding the first battery pack cost, and the balance is allocated to the lifetime distance traveled. Finally, the EV's lifetime costs are compared to the costs of similar conventional vehicles. The results indicate that battery costs constitute a substantial part of an EV's life cycle cost. Continuing research and development efforts to improve battery characteristics and cost are needed for EVs to be cost-effective. The methodology can be used to conduct sensitivity analyses and to evaluate alternative scenarios.

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