I make $66,000 per year and I can afford an electric vehicle — because they’re affordable!

My 2020 Chevy Bolt charging at a DCFC station in Green River, Utah during a 2,400-mile round trip road trip between Littleton, Colo. and Goleta California in Summer of 2021. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
editor's blog logoAfter 13 years of advocating for electric vehicles and eight years of driving one, I am still fighting the same battles on misinformation about EVs: One of the biggest myths about EVs is that they are “too expensive.”

This myth is perpetrated all over the place, including in this “winner” of a recently published non-story by Bloomberg News reporter David Welch, “Electric vehicles out of reach for most Americans.”

No, not true. Mr. Welch — with whom I got into it on Twitter and eventually ended up blocking because he decided it was okay to attack me personally — basically takes the average price calculated across all EVs, which includes fairly high-priced Teslas such as the Model S and X and higher-end Model Ys and 3s, among others, and claims that, based on this average, which he says = a monthly average car payment of $691, EVs are essentially “out of reach” for most Americans.

Not true!

A whole lot of EV owners are paying a lot less than $691 per month, including me, and I am hardly an exception!

I pay $289/month with zero down and I get 12,000 miles per year in my 2020 Chevy Bolt. That is, in fact, a fairly average EV lease for an EV like a Bolt, a Nissan LEAF, a Hyundai Kona, or a Kia EV6. Many people, especially those in California — have gotten much better deals in the past than what I have here in Colorado on Bolt leases.

(Yes, I did divide a $2,000 Colorado State EV Tax Credit across 39 months and subtract that figure of $51 per month from each monthly payment to get to my figure of $289/month; this is 100% legitimate, because in Colorado EV drivers do get paid out by the state for that money.)

A Chevy Bolt parked in Estes Park, Colo. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
You see, Mr. Welch, completely ignores EV leasing, which is incredibly affordable and typically considerably more affordable than buying a new EV outright — not to mention, given the way EVs have added range over the years, probably a smarter move than buying an EV. Mr. Welch ignores EV leasing entirely despite the fact that up to 80% of EV drivers in the United States lease.

Let’s compare my $289/month payment for my 2020 Bolt to the average monthly new car payment in the United States right now: According to Edmunds.Com, the average payment for a new car in the United States is $636 (notice that Mr. Welch does NOT include this figure in his story about EVs allegedly being beyond the means of most Americans, though it is rather close to his figure of $691 for EVs).

Hmm…..I am paying about $350 LESS per month to lease my “unaffordable” 2020 Chevy Bolt than that figure of $636/month.

Let’s now compare my “unaffordable” monthly lease payment of $289/month for my 2020 Chevy Bolt to the average monthly payment for a used car in the United States: According to TheDrive.Com, the average used car monthly payment in the United States is now $520/month, or about $230 MORE per month than I am paying for my “unaffordable” 2020 electric vehicle.

Hmm….what exactly does Mr. Welch — and the countless other people who, across the years, have uncritically regurgitated the false claim that EVs are “unaffordable” — mean by (un)affordable?

The 2014 Nissan LEAF (black) that I leased for $289/month for three years, parked next to the 2017 Chevy Bolt that I leased for the same amount for three years. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
Last time I checked, $636 and $520 per month are a lot more than $289 per month.

And, of course, I pay much less to fuel my Chevy Bolt. It costs me just $300 per year to fuel it for 12,000 miles. That’s $1,620 less per year to fuel than it costs to fuel a gas car that gets 25 miles per gallon calculating this with a $4/gallon average price of gas.

So, are EVs “unaffordable” and “out of the reach of most Americans”?

No, not at all, though EV cost myth perpetrators will continue to try and have us believe they are.

The truth is that countless EVs are eminently affordable — even for someone like me trying to live on a sadly paltry $66,000/year journalism professor’s salary. In fact, many EVs — not all — are a lot more affordable than many gasoline cars, which also vary hugely in price, by the way. And, EVs are cheaper to fuel and maintain, plus a s—load better for our lungs, our health, the environment — and future of all living beings on planet earth.