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Federal Aid For Electric Cars - Good or Bad Idea?

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    edited June 2012
    From today's Detroit Free Press...

    "At an equivalent of 118 m.p.g., the electric Honda Fit is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the U.S. But getting that mileage isn't cheap.

    Honda announced the eye-popping figure Wednesday, making the small, four-door hatchback more efficient than electric rivals like the Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It goes on the market this summer in Oregon and California.

    The electric Fit has an estimated price tag nearly twice as high as the gasoline-powered version. It would take 11 years before a driver makes up the difference and begins saving on fuel.

    With gas prices falling, high sticker prices for electric vehicles are becoming more of a barrier for American buyers, even though the vehicles are far more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts.

    Through May, carmakers sold just over 10,000 electric vehicles, less than 0.2% of U.S. car and truck sales.

    That's because the numbers don't add up for the average consumer.

    • The electric Fit needs 28.6 kilowatt hours of electricity to go 100 miles. At a national average price of 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour, that costs $3.30.

    A gas-powered Fit, which gets 31 m.p.g., needs to burn 3.2 gallons to travel 100 miles. At the national average price of $3.57 per gallon of gasoline, that's $11.52.

    • People drive an average of almost 13,500 miles a year, so a typical driver would spend $445 on electricity for an electric Fit over a year, and $1,552 on gasoline for a regular Fit.

    • The price of an electric Fit is $29,125 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. That's $12,210 more than the gas-powered Fit -- a savings of $1,107 per year to make up the difference between the electric and the gas-powered version.

    'Customers don't want to spend the extra money up front and wait for years for payback,' said Geoff Pohanka, who runs 13 dealerships in Virginia and Maryland.

    'People are smart. They're looking for the deal,' he said. 'Is somebody going to fork out $15,000 more for something that gets them less range than their car now? It's not happening.'

    At first, Honda will be leasing Fit EVs only in Oregon and California, for $389 per month. The subcompact seats up to five people and can be recharged in three hours with a 240-volt charging station. A fully charged Fit EV can go 82 miles, meaning a daily commute could cost nothing for gasoline.

    Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for the car buying site TrueCar.com, said he tested an electric Chevrolet Volt, driving it less than 35 miles a day from his Los Angeles-area home to work and back. The cost of leasing it -- $369 a month -- is comparable to the $300 he would spend on gas.

    'In a lot of these cases, I'm surprised that people are not lining up to get these things,' he said.

    The comparison between gas and electric cars also can vary with geography, largely because energy prices vary wildly across the country. In Oregon, where gasoline is 18% more expensive than the national average and electricity is 16% lower, an electric Fit will save $121 per month in fuel. In Connecticut, which has the highest power prices in the country, the monthly savings are just $83."
  • You could lease a Hybrid or an EV.

    I know Ford Gave us $10,750 in lease incentives on our new Focus Electric.
    Basically the manufacture gets to keep the tax rebates, but Ford then offers it to you as an incentive to buy by reducing the purchase price.

    The C-max Energy has about $4,000 in incentives.
    Check it out on Fords web site.
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