The True Cost of Going Electric

The initial cost of GS equipment cannot be the only determining factor when choosing electric over gas fleets.


When comparing gas and electric fleets, the cost per hour calculation is not a true comparison. Hours on a gas vehicle are measured as the motor is running. Hours on an electric vehicle are measured when the vehicle is actually moving or working. The difference between the two is idle time. An hour meter on a gas unit runs the entire time the unit is idling. The difference can be as much as 65 to 70 percent.

Consider the example above. The gas unit runs for 3.75 hours per day on average. The electric unit only operates for 1.3 to 1.9 hours, but accomplishes the same tasks. Therefore if you consider the cost per hour of a gas to be equal to the cost per hour of an electric, you will achieve 65 to 70 percent more work for the same amount of maintenance. Additionally, if maintenance is scheduled by hours, a gas unit is maintained almost 2.5 times more often than an electric.

Total Cost of Ownership

As illustrated above, the initial cost cannot be the only determining factor when choosing an electric fleet over a gas fleet. To make the best fleet decision, one must consider the total cost of ownership. In the case of a baggage tractor with a useful life of 15 years, the estimated fuel savings alone will be more than $40,000, factoring in new batteries every five years. If maintenance costs an average of $2,000 per year for a gas unit, over the life of an electric the savings would add up to $18,000. Over the life of a tractor, that is an annualized savings of $3,866 per year per unit.

For those who are considering making a switch from Gas to electric fleets, there are clear benefits not just financial but environmental and staff health.

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