With the Volkswagen ID.4 just entering the US market, I decided it was time to see how this new electric SUV compares against gasoline-powered compact SUVs it is theoretically competing against. I started off with a comparison against the ID.4’s own brethren, a variety of Tiguan options. This piece goes outside the family and pits the ID.4 against one of the top selling SUVs in the United States, the Hyundai Tucson (the 14th best seller, a bit higher than the Tiguan’s ranking of 22nd).
There is only one version of the ID.4 available on the US market right now, the ID.4 Pro. The ID.4 Pro have several features the lower-trim Tucsons don’t have, and some that the highest-trim Tucson doesn’t even have — such as a full glass roof (though, the highest-trim Hyundai Tucson Ultimate does have a panoramic sunroof), 20″ wheels, and a 10″ touchscreen (instead of 8″). The only thing I found that the Tucson Ultimate has that the ID.4 doesn’t have is rear heated seats (it does have front heated seats and a heated steering wheel). Plus, the ID.4 has silent instant torque, zero emissions, and the convenience of home charging. The overall point is: the ID.4 Pro is a better vehicle than the Hyundai Tucson. The core question is just if the higher upfront cost can be justified. Let’s have a look at the 5-year cost of ownership estimates to consider that.
To my surprise (honestly), the ID.4 came in at a lower cost than the 3 highest Tucson trims and almost equalled the cost of the Tucson SEL.
Naturally, almost everything that goes into a total cost of ownership analysis is an assumption. Aside from the upfront price and the $7,500 US federal tax credit, all of the other core elements are assumptions you can modify (just copy that sheet into a new one of your own and get to work playing with numbers).
The first big assumption is resale value, and I left that blank in my analysis. I would assume the ID.4 holds its value better, but this is a very controversial topic. On the one hand, there’s the $7,500 tax credit available for a new ID.4 that basically cuts the value of a used model with 1 mile of use by $7,500. On the other hands, in 5 years, who in the world would be willing to pay much for an inefficient, expensive, old-tech, fossil-fueled Tucson? Make your best guesses and insert them into the analysis if you dare.
Next up is price of gas. The average price of gas in the United States three days ago was $2.224/gallon. The figure in the sheet is an average for the 5 years of ownership. I assume an average price of $2.50 a gallon. Again, though, it’s anyone’s guess what the future of gas prices actually is, so put in whatever you feel most comfortable predicting.
Then there’s the average price of electricity for charging your car over the ownership period. It was 13.6¢/kWh across the United States in October 2020. Check your own electricity bill. However, also recall that not all charging is done at home. Some charging might be done at free charging stations at work or other places, and some might be done at high-cost ultrafast charging stations. I’ve spent $0 charging my Tesla Model 3 over the past 16 months because we don’t have home charging and we have free charging stations all over the place where I live. Clearly, this is a highly variable assumption and it’s best to consider your own situation and potential future and input your best guess at an average electricity price. (Also consider that rooftop solar power can also bring your costs down a great deal.)
Average miles driven per year are 13,000 miles in my sheet, but can of course vary widely. You may drive 5,000 miles a year. You may drive 30,000 miles a year. The good thing about this one is it’s a bit easier to estimate than some of the others.
Want to have your own go at a cost of ownership analysis? Feel free to copy this Google Sheet and create a new one of your own.
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