MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Thursday, General Motors announced a plan to phase out gas-burning vehicles and replace its fleet with electric burning cars, SUVs and trucks by 2035. This comes as the Biden administration has announced it wants to replace all 645,000 U.S. government vehicles with electric ones.

So, what are the costs and benefit of electric vehicles? Good Question.

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“The break-even cost is right around 5 years,” said Justin Dritz, owner of a 2017 Chevy Bolt, who compared his car to similar gas-powered vehicles. “We plan on keeping this car until we run it in to the ground.”

Justin and his wife, Amy, are used to answering questions about their battery electric vehicle, like how quickly can it accelerate (“quite quick”) and how long can you drive on one charge (up to 250 miles in summer and between 150 and 170 miles in the winter).

Consumer Reports estimates a savings of $800 to $1,000 a year in gas savings and a savings of $4,600 in maintenance over the lifetime of the car. Because they are more simple that gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles require little maintenance.

“The dynamic with an EV today, it may be more expensive in terms of upfront costs, but over the lifetime, you’re saving so much money on fuel on maintenance,” said Brendan Jordan, the facilitator of Drive Electric Minnesota, the state’s electric vehicle partnership. “The more you drive it, the more you save.”

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Jordan said over the lifecycle of the vehicle, the electric ones are more environmentally friendly. More emissions are created upfront during the manufacturing of the EV battery, but according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the emissions from charging are one-third of the emissions from gas-powered vehicles.

“The emissions are so much lower with even today’s electric grid that you eliminate those upfront emissions pretty quickly,” said Jordan.

Right now, there are about 15,000 battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Minnesota. There are about 1,300 public charging stations across the state as well.

Insiders says more of those are needed, but have been added over the past few years.

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“In Norway, more than half of the cars sold are electric,” said Jordan. “You can kind of see the future looking at the places that have rally promoted the technology and I think more of the world will start looking like that over time.”

Heather Brown