Aug 03
what is energy consumption in electric vehicles?

What is the energy consumption of electric vehicles?

The energy consumption of electric vehicles is like fuel consumption of diesel vehicles, it measures how efficient you are. As more companies transition to electric fleets, understanding the energy consumption of different electric vehicles becomes paramount, as it will have a major impact on the financial bottom line of an organization.

As an electric vehicle user you probably hear this term used a lot, but how is it measured and what are some common values? This post dives into the details behind this term.

Diesel vs Electric Energy Consumption 

Let’s start by comparing how energy consumption is measured in diesel vehicles to how it’s measured in electric vehicles. 

To measure the fuel consumption for diesel vehicles divide the liters of fuel used, by the kilometers driven. The convention is to show this value for 100 km: L/ 100 km. If you’re in the U.S.  it would be measured by the gallons of fuel used divided by the miles driven: miles/ gallon or MPG.  

For electric vehicles, fuel consumption is measured by the kilowatt-hours divided by the distance driven: kWh/ km or kWh/ mile. The equation is similar to European convention but the energy type within the equation is the main difference.

Note: if you are used to MPG, the distance is now in the denominator when calculating electric energy consumption!


Energy Consumption Cost Benefits

A key benefit of electric vehicles is low fuel costs. Let’s take a look at some examples of the cost to run an electric vehicle using their consumption. 

The data from over 1000 vehicles in ViriCiti show that a 12 m transit bus uses on average 1.31 kWh/km. A kWh for industrial users is usually 0.07-0.09€. To go 100 km, you would need just over 130 kWh. The energy cost to drive this 100 km would be 9.1-11.7€.

OR

In terms of US measurements 2.11 kWh/miles for a 40 ft (12 m) bus. This bus uses just over 210 kWh per 100 miles. A kWh for industrial users is usually between, 0.08 USD and 0.11 USD. The energy costs to drive this 100 miles would be 16.80 USD – 23.10 USD

Now let’s compare with diesel fuel costs for the same distance:

A diesel bus consumes around 35-50L/ 100 km. A liter of diesel costs right now around 1€ per liter for the transport agency. This means around 35-50€ per 100 km. These calculations are based on the same 12 m transit bus.

Based on these calculations, you’d save 29.4€- 40.1€ per 100 km with an electric bus compared to a diesel bus. 

OR 

For US measurements a diesel bus consumes around 4.7-6.7 MPG. Diesel costs right around 2.50 USD / Gallon. This means for 100 miles it costs 37.31- 53.19 USD . These calculations are based on the same 40 ft (12 m) transit bus.

So based on these calculations you’d save 20.51 – 30.09 USD per 100 miles with an electric bus compared to a diesel bus.

If we assume a bus will drive on average about 300km/day (185 miles/ day), this means that each year a single 12 m (40ft) electric bus will save approximately 31,500€ in Europe or 13,875 USD in the US, compared to a diesel bus. 


ViriCiti analyzed a year of driving for over 1000 vehicles and generated the average consumption values by vehicle length below. Please note these are average values and will vary by route types, driving conditions, or season.

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