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Savings come slowly for hybrid, electric car owners (Volt pays for itself in 27 years)

Post in 'The Green Room' started by BrianK, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2012/04/savings-come-slowly-for-hybrid.html

    Savings come slowly for hybrid, electric car owners

    Nashville Business Journal by Nevin Batiwalla, Staff Reporter
    Date: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 12:09pm CDT
    If you're thinking about buying a fuel-efficient hybrid, electric or otherwise eco-friendly vehicle as a way to save money over time, do your homework — or be prepared to wait.
    Buyers who choose Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($28,421) over its approximate gas-powered equivalent, Nissan's Versa ($18,640), will likely wait nearly 9 years until they break even, according to a new report by The New York Times that examines the cost of fuel efficiency.
    For drivers of the Chevrolet Volt ($31,767), the wait is even longer— 26.6 years.
    A few vehicles begin paying off relatively soon after leaving the dealership. Two hybrids— Toyota's Prius ($23,537) and Lincoln's MKZ ($33,887)— as well as Volkswagen's diesel-powered Jetta TDI ($25,242) all take less than two years before they start saving their owners money.
    Check out this chart by the Times that breaks down the savings delay for many popular fuel-efficient models.
    The high price tag of many fuel-efficient vehicles — including the Nissan Leaf, which will soon be made in Smyrna, Tenn. — is one reason consumers have yet to embrace them with open arms.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    One thing lacking from that comparison chart is maintenance costs. This is particularly apparent with the Nissan Versa vs Nissan Leaf.
  3. macmaine

    macmaine New Member

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    One thing lacking from that comparison chart is maintenance costs. This is particularly apparent with the Nissan Versa vs Nissan Leaf.

    1+ BeGreen
    Brake Pads : Oil changes: belts: spark plugs; mufflers; serpentine belt; radiator ; water pump; the list goes on and on.
    The Volt will have a lot less wear and tear as well as most drive >75% of the time in all electric.

    Another thing lacking is the assumption that the "real life" MPG is the highway MPG. They always assume we all drive
    55 mph from our house to work and never putter to do errands or go to the dump etc.
    Most driving is a combination of city and highway not all one or the other. ICE cars will vary much more than EV
    as EV never have to "idle" at stop light or behind school buses, etc

    What the authors of these articles fail to realize is how incredibly cheap the fuel is for these vehicles. Electricity is only a couple hundred dollars a year.
    My overnight charge costs me about 50 cents! That gets me 35-45 miles of driving. How far can a CRUZE go on 50 cents of gas?That is 1/8th of a gallon and
    Lets see that looks like 4 miles.

    Another thing that is lacking is the apples to oranges argument.
    Those in the market for a Volt are NOT looking at Cruze, which is a nice car.
    Why not buy a used Corolla? That would be cheaper than a new Cruze? Heck why not buy a skateboard instead of a Leaf or Volt or Cruze?
    I guess I get tired when "experts" who have never owned let alone driven these cars sets up a straw man by comparing an econobox to a prius or a volt or Leaf.
    They then jump up and down and shout "see how expensive this is"!!
    Why not compare the Leaf or a Volt to mid level car like Acura or A4?
    That is if you are going to pay 350+ a month for a lease why not get the car that is maintenance and almost fuel cost free?
    I drove a Chevy Impala today brand new nice car but not even close to the fun of an electric car.



    Another thing lacking is the concept of externalities. Currently ICE vehicles puff out CO SO2 CO2 and there is a cost to that. Currently drivers of ICE do not pay any DIRECT cost for this. Of course the public does pay a collective price from smog air pollution, and yes global warming. Health care system absorbs the cost of this pollution with Asthma Heart Attacks COPD all worsening with worsening air quality. See Los Angeles. EV markedly decrease this even if powered by some coal.

    Question for the author of the NYTIMES article : You are stuck in middle of the Holland Tunnel in NYC at rush hour
    You have a choice of having all the vehicles EV or all of them ICE, you are stuck there for a few hours?

    Peace Tom
    Dune likes this.
  4. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Don't get me wrong, I am for hybrids and smaller cars, but based on GM's reliability record I think I'll wait to see how much the volt does/doesn't cost one over a span or 5-7 years. Once reliability is established, I think more folks will turn to hybrids.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    While the Leaf and Volt may be relatively new to the game, the Toyota hybrid platform has been on the market for 15 years. TDIs have been around even longer. While I'm not sure I would run out and buy a high mileage used one, I wouldn't think twice about replacing our 2008 Camry hybrid with 75K on it and not one single issue other than gas, oil, tires and brakes with a new one. There is no question that we were far better off buying the hybrid than a comparably equipped V6 both economically and environmentally.

    I think the market is moving in the right direction. I hope the American companies can compete in it going forward or they will be left behind.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Since the VOLT is a high end high tech luxury car IMO you have to compare it to a CADDILAC or BMW not a CRUZE. So now the whole projection changes. Plus if your not financially challenged why not buy whatever you want,Id like an electric hummer or large pickup. I dont care if it never pays for itself.
    Dune likes this.
  7. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    The only thing i ever bought that paid for itself is rental property.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  8. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    The article's #s look good to me. I really do like the new hybrid and electric technology and am glad people are buying these cars cause eventually, they will be price competitive and mainstream. When we bought our Toyota Yaris in 2008 I did my own price comparison with a Prius and came to the conclusion that it made no sense for us to spend the extra money from a simple payback perspective. I know a Prius is a nicer car and probably more comfortable, but to me a car is a car, and we like small, compact and cheap to run and maintain. The argument that maintenance is more for conventional cars doesn't hold true for me, for the newer cars. I used to work on cars for a living. I've only had to do routine oil changes on the Yaris so far, tires, and an air filter or 2. More than 60k on it and I've never had to do any brake work yet (and we live in a hilly area). I would argue that the more complicated control and electrical systems in the hybrid and electric cars might need more in the way of service work over their lifetimes.

    My daughter just bought a new Hyundai Accent, another small very efficient car. I used to think the Hyundai cars were just built cheaply and never had an interest in buying one (old mechanic's prejudices). I was totally impressed with the 2012 models and their warranty. Hyundai has come a long way. She also looked at a Prius C. Also a nice car, but money won out in the end. The Prius C's 53 mpg fuel economy over the 40 mpg Accent alone can't justify the 4-5k difference in price. In the end, that's a 92 gallon difference in fuel per year (15k driven per year), or around $368 / year. 4k divided by 368 is 11 years, more time than she will own it. Of course it is more complicated than that. You have to look at length of ownership, fuel price increases, resale value, etc, but I think the numbers in the Times article make sense.
  9. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    There are people(myself incuded)who keep a vehicle for 10-15 years and longer. no telling what gas prices will be by the end of that cycle. Peace of mind is worth something as well.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    As noted, the Prius to Yaris is not a direct comparison. The Prius is a much roomier, more comfortable car with significantly more standard features. If the goal is the cheapest transportation then perhaps a bike or bus pass is even a better comparison?
  11. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    I don't disagree with that (I mentioned that in my original post). Actually, my bike does better than that...I ride a bicycle to work most days. My point being, I am glad that people buy the hybrid and electric cars. They are making a difference. But the reason for purchasing them has to be more than just the economics of fuel savings, cause that argument doesn't work. The Times article's #s make sense. When the pricing difference comes down enough for me to personally justify it, I'll jump right on that bandwagon. Until then, my approach is to go small and efficient, but conventional, albeit a little cramped. Actually, you can't believe how much stuff you can fit in a Yaris hatchback!
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I tip my hat to your frugality. You rock.
  13. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    With the economic problems we are facing down the road, less is more.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Not for everyone, otherwise we would all be driving something like the Lada. People still pay for styling, comfort and features that satisfy their needs and aesthetics just like wood stoves. And as the Prius is proving, it comes out as less in the long haul. Locally the cabbies are adopting the Prius with a vengeance.
  15. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    What major reliability problems did GM have ? All of them I've ownwed have been pretty reliable.
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  16. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    begreen-all I am saying spending less money on a car right now might not be a bad thing, for me my Fit is a luxury car after driving a Geo Metro for over 13 years, as far as maintenance cost goes my small cars have had very few problems, had a 1980 Datsun 310 bought new that cost me very little in 180,000 miles of driving (finally hit a deer). I could have bought a nicer car but I did not see the point and so far my I like the Fit a lot and usually get about 38 miles to the gallon and have pulled up to 42 on the interstate.
  17. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Exactly woodmaster ,i think GMs reliability issue was blown way out of proportion.
    To all the GM bashers:
    I prove you wrong each and every day as i get in my 17 Year old Silverado with 180,000
    miles on it and do another days work. Flawlessly,dependably, GM trucks never let me down in 35 years of driving them. Only BAD truck i ever had was a late model rust bucket toyota tacoma.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The essential point missed by the article is that there is a diverse market of consumers out there. Different cars fit the needs of different people. Some folks are happy with the cheapest econoboxes, but a lot are not. What the article missed are the other motivating factors like clean emissions, personal pleasure, resale value, etc. Still, there is a trend toward these cars becoming a lot more popular. Chevy sold over 2000 Volts in March. What's encouraging is that America is finally waking up and realizing that burning 12mpg in the latest SUV is not the most efficient or practical way to daily commute to work. As we move towards higher CAFE mpg goals the options are continuing to get more interesting. It's about time.
  19. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep-what I love is the 4 wheel drive pickups with big tires going 60 to 65 mph in a 55 mile speed zone not giving a crap how much 4 dollar gas they burn.
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Ding, Ding, Ding - we have a winner.

    I have been saying this same thing for a while now. Is a full electric with a 50 (just throwing a number) mile range for everybody - NO. But there is a market. If you are a person that works in a city with a 12 mile round trip to work through city traffic, it could be a good fit.
  21. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    I still wonder why we are not inundated with hybrid tractor trailers and box trucks. Its all well and good to build efficient cars to save (or maybe not save) money for average people, but you'd think, wth the miles traveleed and the fuel saved, it makes for a good financial argument to have these things already, like yesterday even.
  22. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Call me an optimist(not), but these vehicles are the wave of the future. All new technology starts off sky-high, remember when the CFL's first came out? They were $20 each back then, now I can buy one for about $2-3. Am I going to go right out and buy a Volt or a Leaf? Heck no. Will I buy one in the future? I sure hope I can sooner rather than later.
  23. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I have to vehemently disagree on the maintainence issue. At 60K on the Yaris, you shouldn't need to have replaced any parts yet. You have changed the oil and filters 6-12 times already though, which would not have been required with an electric car. Soon you will need to change the timing belt and brakes, not so with the electric. Next will come exhaust work, radiater/water pump and hoses. Fuels system issues, from the tank itself, fuel pump, filter, injector pump, injectors. Brakes again, Oil changes the whole time.
    Then there is engine maintainence itself. The maintainence of a heavy duty electric motor is virtually non-existent. Replace the bearings for $3 each (there are two) every forty years or so. I have some 80 year old electric motors with original bearings. The complexity of the electric vehicle controll system does not come close to making up for the number of entire systems eliminated by electric drive. There is simply no comparison.
  24. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Our 2006 Civic has 265,000 kms on it. It gets an oil/filter change every 12,000kms, and has had the front brakes done once. That's it (aside from tires). Gets an honest 45mpg (Cdn.). I'm going to find it awfully hard to justify not getting another Civic when it comes time to replace this one.
  25. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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