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USA;Tesla comes to KoP; electric cars get boost

As might be expected, the newest store for high-end merchandise at the King of Prussia Mall is just down from Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Neiman Marcus.

Except this one doesn’t sell purses or perfume.

It sells cars.

Tesla, the maker of high-end electric cars, opened its storefront at the mall a few weeks ago.

It happened just in time for a few announcements that should serve as boosts for electric cars.

Yesterday, the Electric Power Research Institute said its analysis showed that costs to own an electric vehicle are competitive with conventional and hybrid vehicles.

Researchers at the independent, nonprofit research organization based their study on pricing for the automotive products for the 2013 model year — but not, apparently, the Tesla. They compared the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf with gasoline-fueled cars, looking at gasoline and power prices, incentives, financing, driving patterns and maintenance.

Not surprisingly, they found that the cost advantage of plug-in electric vehicles increases along with increases in the price of gasoline.

“If a buyer finances a vehicle purchase, total monthly expenditures for all options will be within 15 percent of the conventional vehicle purchase, so buyers can reasonably make a purchase decision based on their personal preferences,” the researchers found.

Meanwhile, the U.S Department of Energy launched eGallon — a way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving on gasoline.

The calculator lists the current price of a gallon of unleaded gas at $3.54. In Pennsylvania, the eGallon price — the cost of the electricity that will get you as far as a similar vehicle could go on a gallon of gas — is $1.21.

In New Jersey, where electricity rates are higher, the cost of an eGallon is $1.51.

On average, fueling your car with gasoline costs roughly three times more than fueling with electricity, the DOE found.

So the Tesla Model S, which starts at $62,400 (after a federal tax credit of $7,500) is looking better all the time, no?

Plenty of people think so, evidently.
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