A Florida family bought their teenage daughter a 2014 Ford Focus EV for $11,000 with 60,000 miles on it. The battery failed shortly after purchase, making the car inoperable. And the cost to replace the battery ($14,000) is substantially higher than the value of the car. The cost, however, is somewhat irrelevant because Ford can no longer get the battery. (source)
Now while thoughtful, nothing about that purchase was necessarily smart. It was never a good car to begin with. BUT – the story is a real-life, unbiased case that illustrates some concerns:
1) EV activists talk about the money they save at the pump… as if that offsets the higher selling-price of the car.
That’s fair. But they never seem to add resale value into the equation. We’re now approaching a point in the EV timeline where we’re going to start seeing more & more of these total-failure scenarios arise. It’s important to think of EVs as electronics just as much as you think of them as vehicles. And electronics become obsolete… fast. In this case, the EV mentioned is 8 years old (just a couple years outside of most car loans)… and not worth fixing because of a single-issue fail point.
2) Also keep in mind…
Electric vehicles are not serviceable, rebuildable, and/or repairable like traditional ICE vehicles. It’s true they have less moving parts. BUT – the components tend to be much more expensive if/when they do fail. Like… terminally expensive. As we see in this Ford Focus EV example, after 8 years, the car is worth more recycled than it is fixed.
Here’s a comparison:
8 years ago, you could easily purchase a new Jeep Wrangler Sport for $30,000. Same as a Ford Focus EV. If you put 60,000 miles on that Wrangler at 18 MPG, and averaged gas prices at $3.00/gallon, you would have spent $10,000 on fuel… for a rough total of $40,000 ownership cost. BUT today – you would own a vehicle that’s worth about $28,000 in today’s crazy market. And even if you had catastrophic engine failure in the Jeep Wrangler, it would be fixable & worth fixing. Plus it’s about 100x cooler, more capable, and more soulful than an EV Focus… but I guess that’s a matter of opinion. So now let’s look at that Ford Focus EV. You would have spent the same $30,000 on it 8 years ago. And for argument’s sake, let’s just throw out any charging costs whatsoever. Today – 8 years later, you have a vehicle that’s worth f*ck all. Be sure to follow S3 for more financial tips lol.
To read more controversial EV stuff, check out this Tesla “Texas Charging Limitations” article.
Or for some positive EV news, check out what Hyundai is doing.