Are Electric Cars Worth The Price?

Are Electric Cars Worth The Price? July 26, 2011

I saw a Chevy Volt in a parking lot the other day, and I have to say, it was a pretty cool looking car.  To be honest, I hadn’t realized that you could actually purchase one already, so I was taken by surprise a little.

“That’s got to be expensive,” I thought as I drove by.  But then I started to wonder if the price of an electric vehicle was actually worth it because of the potential savings involved.  With a little research, I found this.

Cost of Chevy Volt: $40,280

Tax Credit: up to $7,500

*According to the IRS website, the tax credit is outlined as follows:

For vehicles acquired after December 31, 2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.

Advertised Price (including tax credit) $32,780

That’s still a little too pricey for my taste, but if you’re in the market for a brand new car and that fits your budget, we might be onto something here.

OK, What about the gas mileage?

The Volt claims 35 miles on a single charge, which is estimated to cost $1.50 in electricity.  What a minute?  That sounds like $1.50 ‘a gallon’ if we’re comparing it to a car that can get 35 MPG with gas.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch, remember?

Once the initial charge is used up, the Volt will kick in a gas powered generator that will charge and power the car for hundreds of additional miles.

According to fueleconomy.gov, the Chevy Volt averages about 90 ‘MPG’ on electricity only and a combined 37 MPG on premium gas only.

The annual fuel costs between a Chevy Volt and a Honda Accord are as follows:

Chevy Volt: $594

Honda Accord: $2,042

With the sticker price of the Accord at $20,000 and the after-rebate price of the Volt at $32,000, it would take about 8 years of driving the same Volt to recoup the difference in cost (of $12,000)

(I just used the Honda Accord because it a very popular vehicle.  Run a similar comparison on fueleconomy.gov for another car)

I won’t be purchasing a brand new electric vehicle any time soon, but it’s interesting to see how they’re starting to become more popular.  Just remember to do your research and don’t let the hype of new products keep you from making a smart financial decision.

Would you ever consider purchasing an electric vehicle?

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