One year ago, I bought a 2022 BMW i4 M50, which I’ve named “Mr. Freeze” (more on the name below). Over the past year, I’ve driven Mr. Freeze 6,519 miles with my longest trip being about 150 miles. Here’s my perspective on owning an EV for the past year.
My i4 cost a few thousand dollars more than its gas-powered equivalent (which is a BMW M440i), but after the $7,500 federal tax credit, it was cheaper by a few thousand dollars. Plus, my i4 has upgraded electronics to the M440i and is faster. But they are pretty similar cars (and they look nearly identical).
Over the past year, I’ve spent $201 in electricity to charge my EV. That translates into $0.03 per mile. My driving is mostly around town and step down on it a lot (I love the acceleration), so my EV version of gas mileage probably isn’t great. As a comparison, the M440i gets 22 mpg around town. Premium gas prices have averaged about $4.25 per gallon over the past year, which translates into about $0.19 per mile or $1,260 of gas. So my i4 has cost about $1,000 less in energy costs than its gas-powered sibling.
I have had no maintenance (including no oil changes obviously) for my i4, and my first scheduled maintenance is in one year and is just a “vehicle check.” My BMW service advisor told me that for the first 100,000 miles they expect that the only things I’ll need to do to service the car is to replace the tires, wiper blades, and washer fluid. An EV doesn’t have many moving parts — mainly just a battery and two electric motors. The brakes hardly get used due to regenerative braking. Periodically, software updates are downloaded via the car’s 5G connectivity.
So, it’s been a very cheap car to own, just $201 in electricity. Installing a garage charger was $2,400, but I got a $1,000 federal tax credit to help offset costs.
I first drove an EV in 2017 (a Tesla Model S). I loved the quiet power and the stunning acceleration on demand. Since then, I’ve wanted to own a powerful EV for the amazing driving experience. For various reasons, I chose to buy a BMW EV instead of other models (mainly because I’m used to BMWs, as this is my fifth).
Mr. Freeze is stunningly fast. 536 horsepower and 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. And because it has no torque curve, it feels faster than that. It’s crazy. And I love it.
I named it Mr. Freeze after the rollercoaster at Six Flags that is a similar color and launches riders out of a tunnel using electromagnets (0-70 in 3.8 seconds). My car feels like that.
I am often asked about my car’s range. Fully charged and driving on the highway it should go at least 270 miles and many owners are reporting 300 or more. But I’ve not taken it on a trip. My longest round-trip in it has been 150 miles. Because I drive it shorter distances, I have zero range anxiety. We don’t take it on trips because we don’t want to mess with finding chargers and waiting for it to charge. My wife’s car is not an EV so we take her car on longer trips. If we had only one car, it probably wouldn’t be an EV due to lack of reliable charging infrastructure.
I put in a charger in my garage and plug it in about 2x a week. I LOVE not having to fill my car up. I never go to gas stations. My car is always adequately charged. It’s a real luxury.
What About the Environment?
I am vegan primarily for my own health reasons but I feel good about the environmental and animal aspects of not eating meat. Similarly, I own an EV primarily because it is amazing to drive, but I also feel good that it is better for the environment for than internal combustion cars. I know there have been reports saying EVs aren’t as good for the environment as gas powered cars, but based on my research, I think EVs are more environmentally friendly. Here’s a study from Yale University published in Nature that finds that EVs are substantially less carbon intensive than gas-powered cars after accounting for both direct and indirect emissions. But how clean your EV is depends on how clean your electric source is. Here’s a link to a calculator that compares your EV to a gas powered equivalent car for your location and EV model.
Here’s another IFOD from last August I wrote on EVs: Why the Future of Cars is (Probably) Electric