Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

October 12, 2008

The do-it-yourself electric truck — saves money?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:07 am

Instapundit links to this story about a guy who converted his pickup to run on electricity. Here are the stats:

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) _ Finding cheap gas is no longer a major concern for Frank Lawrence.

Instead of filling up at the pump, he’s charging up his 1993 Chevrolet S-10 to run on two dozen 6-volt golf cart batteries.

“You know what you spend a week on gas, and all of a sudden your money disappears,” he said. Lawrence estimates he was spending $100 a week on gas before the conversion.

Total investment for the truck and conversion was $12,000. The batteries cost $150 apiece and should last for about 20,000 miles.

Lawrence said in the long run, he’s saving money because it only costs about $1 a day to charge the batteries. He typically drives the truck about 40 miles a day.

Let’s see how much money he’s saving:

Charging adds $1 to his electric bill, and gets him 40 miles. That’s 2.5 cents per mile.

The conversion cost $12,000, and is supposed to last 20,000 miles. That’s 60 cents per mile.

Total cost: 62.5 cents per mile.

Now, a normal Chevy S-10 has a mileage rating of 16 to 27 miles per gallon, depending on the specific model, and whether it’s the “city” or “highway” rating. Let’s be as generous as reasonably possible and assume he got 15 miles per gallon before the conversion. That means at 62.5 cents per mile, his cost is equivalent to spending $9.375 per gallon.

Gas is now between $3 and $4 per gallon.

How much, again, is he saving?

Sounds to me like his “investment” is losing money hand over fist.

And that’s not even taking into account the implied value of all the labor hours he spent doing the conversion!

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