With a few years experience of running cheap electric cars, I can answer this with regard to fuel and maintenance costs.
Are affordable EV’s Mechanics reliable?
Mechanically I have had no problems whatsoever whilst running the cars. My first car had a couple of problems on delivery which were easily fixed. The rubber sleeves on the steering rack were perished. I can’t understand why this should have been the case on a new factory-delivered car. The radio did not work. Both of these problems were fixed very quickly as the factory sent replacement units by courier.
Is Recharging expensive?
Let’s talk about fuel. My affordable electric car runs on a 4kw motor which is driven by 6 x 12volt 100Ah batteries connected in series to give 72 volts to a 72 volt motor. Why do we connect them in series? Could we not connect them in parallel and have a 12-volt motor? There is a very good reason for this. Let’s look at the math. If the motor is 4 kW and runs on 12 volts, then (4000 divided by 12 = 333) the current in Amps is 333.3 A.
That’s a lot of current which means very heavy battery cables must be used to carry that current. If however, we use 72 volts to power a 72-volt motor to 4kW (4000 divided by 72 = 55.5) we get a current of 55.5A. This is much more manageable so far as our cables are concerned, so reliability and efficiency make for less running and maintenance costs.
Because they are connected in series, we have to think of them as one 72-volt battery. When we have to charge the batteries, our charger must supply a steady charging voltage of about 72 volts to the batteries. How long the charging time is depends on the state of charge i.e., how much power we have taken from them since the last charge. Obviously, the lower the batteries are, the longer it will take to charge them. All of these things are involved in how much it costs to run the cars.
Batteries should NEVER be run down to the point where the motor stops running
When the charge indicator in the vehicle shows 50% remaining, it is unwise to take the vehicle out. Charge immediately. The reason for this is that to get the best life out of the batteries, they should be kept fully charged whenever the vehicle is not being used. This will not in the long run cost any more than charging from say 50% to full than it does from 80% to full. The reason is that to charge from 50% will take a long time, but from 80% to full will take a much shorter time. This isn’t the only reason, however. If the batteries are run down to say 50% constantly before recharging, their lifespan will be much shortened due to sulphation inside the battery which will have a big long-term effect on the cost of running the car.
Onboard generator fuel
My little electric car is used almost every day for running around town and is always charged on return home. I have noticed only a very small increase in my electricity bill from before I had the car. Probably less than $20 per month. I know this for a fact as in the summer months, my total electricity bill is often little more than $20 altogether. The only other cost is petrol for the onboard generator which I use only when I go over the mountain pass near my home to the nearest large town. The petrol tank is ten litres capacity and I fill it from about 1/3 remaining to full once a month. With my normal running around the town and visits to the town some 16 km away, I have calculated my overall costs at about $28 for the month.