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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2017, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Default Do Hybrid Cars and EV's Really Save You Money?

Do hybrid cars and EVs really save you money?

Published: Oct 12, 2017 9:22 a.m. ET

Does the hype justify the price?



This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

Electric and hybrid cars have been touted as money-saving “green” alternatives to gasoline-engine cars. For some people, it goes far beyond that; the car becomes a symbol of their desire to save the planet. Car makers play into these attitudes with advertising campaigns that hold up electrified-vehicle owners as thrifty environmental heroes.

Such grandiose claims might feel good to many drivers, but these green cars, while saving money on gas, come with a high sticker price. And with gas prices low for the past several years, getting high fuel economy has lost some appeal.

So how much can you really save? And do the other benefits of electrified vehicles live up to their billing?

The answers depend on personal preferences that can’t be quantified and on financial considerations that can. The financial considerations are a good place to start.

Will an EV or hybrid save you money?

The simplest way to answer this is to look at the payback time — how long it will take for gas savings to make up for the extra amount, or premium, you pay for an electric vehicle or hybrid.

Consider the payback calculation on hybrids. Car makers often offer the same model car with a gasoline powertrain or a hybrid system, which uses both gas and electric power — and which is more expensive, typically by about $2,500. Over time, that premium is offset by savings on gas.

You can calculate the payback time quickly using’s trade-in tool, which calculates gas savings when you switch from a gas guzzler to a fuel-efficient car. While the gas savings may be modest and the payback time could be many months, the outcome can change quickly based on these factors:
•The cost of the hybrid
• Fuel economy of each model
•Cost of gas
•Distance you drive

For example, compare a hybrid that sells for $30,000 and gets 48 mpg with an identical gas-powered car that sells for $27,500 and gets 28 mpg.

If you drive 1,250 miles each month and pay for gas at $3 a gallon, the hybrid would save you $56 a month, and it would take you 45 months to pay back the premium, according to Edmunds. However, if gas jumped up to $4 a gallon, the hybrid would save you $74 a month, and it would take you only 34 months to pay off the premium. In this sense, owning a hybrid can provide some peace of mind because it’s insurance against future gas price hikes.

The payback time for EVs, which command an even greater premium than hybrids, is harder to calculate because there are so many moving pieces: federal, state and local incentives and tax credits, electricity and charging costs and the cost of a home charger.

Lifestyle considerations

Green cars can demonstrate your values. People who want to show they’re doing their part to help the planet might want a car with the word “hybrid” or “electric” adorning the side.

Hybrids have lower emissions. Whether or not you want to telegraph it to the world, hybrids release fewer pollutants. Use to compare a hybrid with a gas-powered car and you’ll see a huge difference. Also, hybrids have “auto stop” features that shut off the car’s gas engine when the vehicle is stopped — another fuel-saving feature.

EVs have no emissions (in a sense). Electricity, used to charge an EV, is produced in a variety of ways. In some states, it’s produced by hydroelectric power, a clean power source. But other states still produce electricity with coal-burning power plants that emit carbon dioxide, a contributing factor to global warming. So one could argue that although EVs have no emissions “at the tailpipe,” they still contribute to global warming.

Hybrids and EVs drive differently. EVs accelerate briskly, have no “shift shock” from a transmission changing gears and handle well thanks to a low center of gravity produced by a heavy, low-mounted battery. Though early hybrids were considered painfully slow and unexciting to drive, their performance and fuel efficiency have improved. Also, going to the pump and buying only a few gallons of gas after traveling hundreds of miles is a great feeling for anyone.

Perks, incentives and tax breaks. Many state and local governments reward EV and hybrid drivers with carpool lane access, free parking or tax rebates. In some cases, carpool access alone pushes people toward EVs.

Putting it all together

As you can see, the economic incentive to buy an electrified car isn’t overwhelming. The payback time depends on various factors, and everyone will weigh the personal lifestyle considerations differently. That’s why, in the end, you might wind up saying that you did it “because it just felt right.”
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:23 PM
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The electric vehicle is the quintessential example of a concept championed by the utopian left that is the opposite of what is advertised. It is a government boon-doggle through-and-through, and one of the great American myths in modern times.

Consider this:

Touted as "green" vehicles by the Government, with consumers getting anywhere from $5K to $7500 tax credit to buy one, electric cars are anything but green: If you ask the typical liberal where the power comes from to propel these things, he will smartly say "the wall plug-in".

That would be wrong. The power comes from the electric company, and most of the time, the electric company derives its power from ... you guessed it....fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. Two thirds of the power in the U.S. is generated by fossil fuels. And of course, fossil fuels are the bane of the liberals, yet they power most electric vehicles. Furthermore, more energy is spent generating the electricity than the electric car can ever save in fuel economy.

The electric vehicle is also a money pit: Chevy is getting a $9000 per unit governmental subsidy to make the Volt, and even then, it is costing GM approximately a $49,000 loss for every unit it makes. Estimates are that the Volt costs GM anywhere from $79,000 to $88,000 per unit to produce, yet the vehicle has a sticker price (which it rarely fetches) of $39,995. Tesla could not be in business were it not for the huge governmental subsidies. Combined with the tax credits given to the end user, the government is subsidizing these fossil fuel vehicles at a rate of $16,000 to $20,000 per car, with your and my money!

So toss the electric car to the pile of other failed liberal junkers.

P.S. I owned a Chevy Volt for two years.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Last edited by TexasHusker; 10-12-2017 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:31 PM
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Good analogy Husker.
I think you would come up with very similar conclusions for these big wind generators and solar systems if you took an honest look.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:13 PM
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While I do agree that hybrids and EVs are often hyped up, I still think they can save the consumer quite a bit of money.

Here's one such example: A gently used Nissan Leaf, for example, can be had for $10k on Sure, it has some limitations, but for basic commuting purposes, that value is very hard to beat.

Priuses are what's typically on the road, but again, a gently used one can be had for around $17k. That one has no range limit.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:56 AM
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No question, if one of these vehicles is bought right, it can save you some money. I bought pratically no gas when I owned a Volt. But it depreciated about $18,000 in 24 months, so I gave all that savings back, plus a bunch more.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:19 AM
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No subsidy or incentive program here but understandable since this is oil patch HQ. In our area we are required to install a auto designated plug-in [looks different than typical outdoor outlet] to meet code and I can hardly imagine the boondoggle requirements to be imposed by the condo Board.

I've yet to catch a discussion on the efficacy in extreme cold weather and drastic wind factors. We see Prius [hybrids], TESLAs but rarely Volt/Leaf type vehicles on the streets. Our water generated electric rate is expensive since they add on charges for: delivery, distribution, transmission, balancing allocation, rate riders administration and City tax. Last month our $ 10.50 kWh charge generated $ 45.65 in fees. Plugging in a vehicle overnight will easily double kWh and that increases fees.

I presume hybrid and electric cars are a secondary vehicle as the highway stations and rest stops are not yet fully equipped to charge multiple vehicles. What happens if USA government who doesn't believe in global warming withdraws the subsidies to industry and purchasers? What do you see 5 years later when the battery no longer holds it's charge? Will costly, after market batteries be as effective?
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:57 AM
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Ok, so here's a sample chart showing Lithium Ion battery capacity versus temperature:

This is intended for the Volt, but for the sake of conversation here, we can see that battery capacity will basically be reduced to half as it reach towards 25 degrees and less. Heat is also an issue, albeit less so.

What that means to me anyway is that something like a pure electric like the Leaf would be less than ideal for in colder regions of the country, but even so, you still have a potential maximum of roughly 40 miles on a Leaf, or a 20 mile range for a round trip. Is 20 miles enough to get the job done for you? This is using the most conservative battery capacities available, since newer Leafs are now fitted with higher capacities that can reach ranges of 110 miles and more.

As for refueling cost, I've read that electricity is still half the cost or more than when compared to gasoline, though of course, there are lots of variables to consider, including where you live and even when you charge if your electric provider have concepts like peak usage....

Hybrids are capable of being your primary vehicles. The Prius operates just like any other vehicles, but yeah, something like the Leaf would work much better as a secondary/commuter car only. We lack the infrastructure for electric vehicles, and even if we have it, I don't deny that charging currently takes longer than refilling a tank of gasoline.

Pure EVs are actually very cheap to produce, and with few moving parts, also cheaper to maintain. Much of the production cost actually comes from the battery itself, and that's why Elon Musk is trying to mass produce them via Gigafactories to try to drive the cost down. That said, hybrids are a different story as their engines are a complicated interconnection of both powertrains.

Still though, I can personally attest that Priuses anyway are not much more to maintain than any other gas cars, and I recall reading that their batteries are secondary anyway, and replacements don't break the piggy bank at all. There are also anecdotes of Priuses that are more than 10 years old and still running just fine without any replacement batteries.

Now, pure EVs, and hybrids that use electric power as a primary source of power, that's a different story. Yeah, replacing those are going to be expensive, although if you think about it, the Leaf is so cheap, you could probably just replace the entire car. The Volt is indeed expensive, but again, that's a hybrid so it can run for much longer, even with reduced battery capacity. The gas generator will just kick up earlier, and use more gas, but even then, it's still fairly fuel efficient in gas mode so I don't see how that would be much different from a conventional gas car. Oh and the volt's battery is also smaller to begin with, so the replacement cost shouldn't be too harsh.

Politics aside and personal preferences aside, I think EVs and hybrids are indeed a sensible option to consider. Again, I also think they sometimes get hyped up too much by certain interest groups sure, but in this thread anyway, I can not help but sense that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far to the other end. This community is good at making fair, objective financial decisions here. Just take a look at the options that exist out there, and decide for yourself if something will work for you. If not, that's fine too.

Last edited by Tabs; 10-14-2017 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:34 PM
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Our Chevy Volt would go around 36 miles per day on a charge in the summer, and in the winter on very cold days, it could be as low as 22-24 miles.

Batteries don't like cold.

It is true that the Chevy Volt is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it should be for a $89,000 compact car. We enjoyed it.

My advice is to go find you a 5 year old one for $less than $10K.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
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Old Yesterday, 08:54 PM
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Many people seem to put a lot of belief in Elon Musk I do not see the results.. he seems like a snake oil salesmen ideas do not equal results....

Tesla financial officer quit after releasing financial statements last summer saying that Tesla only had about 6-9 months of cash left.
immediately after he took large deposits for solar tile roofing he was suppose to be building in Buffalo NY as yet he has not broke ground on the factory that NY and buffalo gave a lot of concessions on to get JOBs .....
Now Tesla had fired 400-700 workers after poor evaluations ??????
Sounds super fishy to me his preorders for the sedan 3 that was suppose to be affordable have dropped significantly.

I live in an area with horrible traffic how does battery life hold up if sitting in bumper to bumper for an hour ????
Plug ins are often harder to find then gas stations.. and yes cost vary greatly depending on the local main source of electricity.
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