What made me finally considers electric car?

Fast keyword: Cost per kilometer.

Just like Newton’s third law, for every action there’s an equal reaction, in economics we say everything has a price. In economics, a price is not always something of value with a price tag but also something of value to trade. In physics, we trade fuel as energy source, turned into a mechanical action to move the person riding in a particular vehicle. In economics, we spare our hard earned money that we trade our own life time for a work.

Cost of living is something we gloss at as we get busy, and if we are willing to focus on the details of the cost, then we can miss a lot. Transportation cost is something that we have to calculate carefully as it becomes something that we have to do everyday to do our work. For those owning a vehicle, cost of ownership doesn’t just revolves around fuel cost, but also saving for maintenance for said vehicle and hidden costs such as accidental repairs.

Let’s not get too far ahead and let’s do a deep dive to operation cost of a car and compare it to an electric car.

Cost per kilometer (or mile if you live somewhere with imperial measurements) is the easiest metric to calculate your daily commute costs. The formula is simple, calculate your vehicle fuel consumption per kilometer divide it with the cost of fuel per liter. On my car (2015 Honda Brio), I get about 16 Kilometer per liter on my daily commute, and with the price of fuel is at Rp. 13,300 per liter, my cost per kilometer is Rp. 831.25.

Now for electric car, I use Wuling Air EV as comparison and here’s how to calculate its cost per kilometer. I take my home electricity cost which is Rp. 1,669.53 per kWh, multiply by the battery capacity (17.3 kWh) and then divided by the range which results in cost per kilometer of Rp. 192.55

Air EV Standard Range
Battery capacity17.3 kWh
Electricity costRp. 1,669.53
Cost per kilometerRp. 192.55
So why I put asterisk on the table? Because it’s my own worst case estimate as Wuling only said the range of the Air EV Standard Range as 200 Kilometers. As of 2023, Indonesia does not have governmental body who oversees fuel consumption or energy consumption of electric cars, so any figures are manufacturer’s claim which not might be true or at least resulted from the manufacturer ideal testing methodology which often negate real world condition. I put 150 Kilometers adding aircon power draw and/or rough driving which definitely will demand more power from the battery.

In nutshell, even at worst condition at 150 kilometer range, the cost per kilometer of Wuling Air EV is insane. On my daily commute of 60 Kilometers, that means if I drive Wuling Air EV, I only need to pay Rp. 11,600 (rounded) while I have to pay Rp. 49,900 (rounded) on my 2015 Honda Brio. If a cost saving of almost 4x does not open your eyes, hey congrats, you have made it in life and money is not an issue, for me though, that fact alone truly made me consider of buying an electric car.

One thing to note, the cost per kilometer is still very much a theory as I still haven’t confirm it. It might be worse, but still, even at the very worst, 100 Kilometers of range, the cost per kilometer still comes back to Rp. 17,330, more than x2 improvement from the 2015 Honda Brio.

So this is one thing to consider of owning an electric car… And if your only transportation means revolves around using a 4 wheeler, then the cheapest electric car will do… So hello Wuling.

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