In this section I will cover the difference between the cost of ownership of an EV in three scenarios.
1) cost of ownership differences between an EV and a Gas car for the typical lifetime of a gas car,
2) cost of ownership differences between an EV and a Gas car for the typical lifetime of an EV
3) and finally the cost of ownership differences between an EV and a Gas car over the average persons driving lifetime
The goal isn't to dive deep down into every nitty gritty detail, but cover the high cost items and deliniate the differences between the two types of cars.
Normally, I compare apples to apples and compare my 460 HP Tesla Model 3 Stealth to an equivalent ICE car that matches up well in HP, weight, size (both are 5 passenger sports sedans), and performance (the Tesla has better acceleration and a higher top speed, but close enough). Unfortunately the comparable gas car (BMW M3 G80) costs $25k more than my Tesla so I figured I would spice things up and compare the Tesla to a lower priced gas car that is less powerful and has less features and is RWD instead of AWD. Keeping to American cars I picked the top rated mid sized 5 passenger sedan, the Chevy Malibu. Topped out with at least some of the features my Tesla has, this car comes to $38K vs my car which cost $50K, so close enough to start with.
For reference, here are the numbers I will be using. Expected life of the Malibu is 200K miles. Expected life of the Tesla is 400K miles (I subtracted 50K miles from the expected life of the Battery pack to fall lower on the bell curve). Expected lifetime driving miles in the US is roughly 750,000 miles over 50 years of driving. The mpg of the Malibu is 26 combined. The miles per kwh of my Tesla is 4 miles overall. Cost for gas I will just use $3.00 per gallon, cost for electricity for home charging I will use 10 cents as most people can get that by charging off peak (less actually) and I get that in both our homes which don't have peak rates.
So lets look at the costs of each over the Malibu Lifetime. We will ignore depreciation costs as, well, we are going to drive the cars into the ground. The Mailibu in 200,000 miles will use 7692 gallons of gas for a total cost of $23K. To get to 200,000 miles it should also have at least 50 oil changes during that time (recommended is 3000-5000 miles so picked 4000), so $5,000 for oil changes and another $2000 for other fluid flushes and changes (coolant, transmission, etc). There are a LOT of other maintenance schedule items on this car that we will ignore here (big bill at 150K miles that most people probably skip). I will touch on items that need replacing or done to a gas car that don't exist on an EV later. So, we have $30K for gas and fluids. The Tesla will use 50,000 kwh of electricity in 200,000 miles, so the cost for that will be $5,000. Figure another $1000 to cover a general checkup and fluid flush of the glycol coolant at around 120k miles (high but I am rounding everything to $1k intervals). So we have $6K for total EV costs by 200K miles. so a difference in cost of $24K, but really only a savings of $12K for the Tesla since the Tesla cost $12K more to purchase.
Having done this math, the next set of calculations get interesting. To compare the two cars at the lifetime of the EV (400K miles), we need to calculate one other value...the pity tradein cost for a used Malibu. Lets set that number at $3K as that is the most I would have expected to pay for a 200K mile american car in the past. So, the cost to the buyer of Malibus for 400K miles will be 2x the cost we just calculated minus $3K. So ($38K+30K=$68K)*2=$136K-3K= $133K. The Tesla costs will simply be $50K+6K*2=$62K. The savings now to the Tesla owner over 400K miles is $133K-62K=$71K.
Now the final set of calculations for total cost of ownership for a lifetime of driving 4 malibus into the ground and 2 Teslas into the ground is really easy. We will change that 750K miles in 50 years and just assume we will live a little longer than that (I have already driven 50 years in my life) and round up to 800K miles in a lifetime. So the cost to the Gas car driver will be $266K and the cost to the Tesla owner will be 124K so the total cost savings to the Tesla driver will be $142K.
Keep in mind there are a lot of other costs. Note that I'm leaving tires out of the calculations since both cars will burn though tires at similar rates and tires are roughly the same cost (I bought two tires at firestone plus the one year alignment for $420 out the door...similar to what I would have paid for any car I owned in the past for tires). Ditto for ignoring brake costs (although the Tesla brakes should still be fine at 200K miles...rarely use brakes on an EV). Other items ignored because they are similar in price and repair between the two car types are suspension repairs, cabin filter replacements, windshield wipers, and all lights are LED on the Tesla and I would hope on gas cars by now so those shouldn't even fail in that many miles of driving. Ditto for screens and computers in the cars...both have them and both likely cost the same to replace (Teslas might actually be cheaper due to economies of scale setting in...they use identical equipment between various models). Both have AC systems that may need repair along the way...the Teslas is much simpler design so less likely to need freon fills. Both have radiators, although the Tesla one is used for heating and cooling of the batteries so not as complex as a gas radiator. There are insurance costs obviously as well, but so far I've noticed that the Tesla insurance is less expensive that my previous gas car insurance was. The insurance company said it is just that the Tesla is safer than gas cars.
So, what repair and maintenance costs are there on a gas car that simply don't exist in an EV. Well, the list is quite long. Tesla EVs don't have user replaceable fuses or relays and no fuse boxes to mess with. There are no spark plugs, alternators, belts, pulleys, plug wires, muffler, catalytic converter, carb, MAF sensor, O2 sensors, fuel injectors, engine air filter, fuel filters, oil filters, timing chains or belts, gas caps, exhaust pipes, engine gaskets, valves, starters, fuel pumps, and so on to adjust or replace. Also no rough idles to be diagnosed, no backfires or cylinder misfires to troubleshoot, no need for transmission jobs, and actually no scheduled maintenance visits...basically they are come in as needed. The Tesla EVs have massively fewer moving moving parts to wear out and massively fewer components to break....in fact the car never even has to shift a gear...even going from drive to reverse you can just flip back and forth between the two while moving (slowly) as the car simply reverses the direction of the motor (its a single gear design).
Overall, it is safe to say that the gas car will cost much more than the Tesla when looking at total cost of ownership, even in this example where we gave the gas car a decent edge considering 4 of them will have to be purchased over the years vs 2 of the EVs. A normal thought would be that well, that would leave the gas car owner with more up to date cars that run better. Well, this is where things get even more interesting. The Tesla cars get an update every few months with new features or enhancements to existing features or functionality of the car. This actually keeps the cars from say 2018 on par with the features in the 2022 cars currently shipping and going forwards. For free, over the air through wifi. And as to running better...well, EVs don't idle roughly (they don't idle for that matter) and they don't have a starter, they just turn on and are ready to go when you first press the brake pedal. They won't lag on acceleration and they won't lose acceleration as they get older...the 0-60 in 3.0 seconds will always make you smile. The AC just blows cold right away (no compressor running off the engine to worry about), ditto for the heat (via resistive or the newer heat pump design). You won't form that deep bond that you hated with the service team at your dealer on an EV...mine has never been in a service center in 30K miles...when the temp/humidity sensor behind the rear view mirror started acting intermittent on me (dog mode took three tries to activate once) they diagnosed the problem over the air and sent a service guy out to replace the sensor in my driveway...looked identical to the bad one I had in my BMW X5 from hell in fact. Most studies actually show that lifetime ownership of a gas car in the US costs the driver over $550K in their lifetime and that is just for a small sedan and assumed $2.00 a gallon iirc. Other analysis place the amount higher but that likely is taking into account the more expensive pickups and SUVs that seem to be the prefered choice these days...$550K is depressing enough...twice that if you are a two driver family. And of course it is much much more expensive in Europe and many asian countries to go gas vs EV.