By Tom Rhodes, 7/14/2013
Chevy Volt a bad idea in 1913 a bad idea in 2013. For well over 100 years auto makers have been trying to sell electric cars as a better solution to the internal combustion engine. Here’s an ad from 2013.
For 100 years the technology has failed. The promises of better batteries soon to be developed that will be cheap to eliminate the range and other problems of the electric car in a century of development have never materialized. Battery tech has come a long way in the past 100 years but the Internal Combustion engine hasn’t been at a standstill either. The economic advantage of the EV vs IC is fiction. It’s a simple matter of chemistry; the energy density electric storage is not competitive with the energy density of gasoline. Of course the energy density of ethanol, hydrogen, propane, NG, etc, also make them less competitive, but for this article we’ll just look at costs over time and use of electricity vs gasoline.
Compare the Chevy Volt to the Chevy Cruz, they are the same platform vehicle made by the same company. We’ll use 3 year walk away leasing prices to determine the cost per mile of owning the EV power vs same car configured with IC power.
You can Leases for the Cruze for about $149/mo for 36 months with $1200 at signing, the Cruze gets 28 mpg city and 42 MPG hwy. Total cost to lease for 36 months is $6600. Testing shows the Cruze in the real world gets around 30mpg. So to drive it 12,000 miles a year for 3 years if Gas costs an average of $3.62 cents the total fuel costs over the life of the lease will be about $4400. Total cost of lease and fuel to drive the Cruze for 3 years is $11,000.
Leases for the Volt are now about $269 a month for 36 months, with $2,399 due at signing, the Volt get 38 miles per charge (we’ll assume you always drive less exactly 38 miles between charges and never use gasoline). Total cost to lease for 36 months is $12,100. The cost per charge for electricity is about $1.25, simple math shows electric cost for the 36,000 miles over the lease is about $1200. Total cost of lease and fuel to drive the Volt for 3 years is $13,300.
Comparison is simple cost to own and drive the same basic car IC vs EV and the conclusion is the same today as 100 years ago. Electric is a loser, over a 3 year lease a Volt costs over $2000 more to own than a Cruze and that’s only if you never put gas into the volt and limit yourself to 38 mile trips.
In the real world, people will drive the Volt on its gas engine, so spend more. Real world tests of the Volt using both Electricity and Gasoline it does admirably and gets around 60 mpg. So in the real world it’s fuel costs would be right hat half the Cruze’s fuel costs, totally about $2200. That means In the real world the Volt costs $4500 more over a 3 year lease to drive. The reality is that rationale people who need a car for transportation not to make a political statement, when given the choice between two pretty much identical vehicles will choose the one that cost’s less. GM sales and leases of the Cruze vs. Volt pretty much tell the story, in the real world the Volt goes up in flames.
Not only does buying a volt demonstrate you’re an economic idiot, if you own a Volt you’re a tax dodger just as guilty as GE or any other corporation that “evades” paying taxes. Not just the thousands of wasted tax dollars as an incentive to get you to make a stupid economic decision, but for every electric mile the Volt driver get’s the benefit of not paying taxes for the road use of her vehicle the same as Cruze driver pays, because of gasoline taxes. Using the same logic that slams Apple and GE for avoiding taxes, leasing a Volt makes you an immoral tax evader. An average of around 50 cents per gallon in taxes is paid over that same 3 year 36,000 mile lease lease driving a Cruze instead of a Volt. Volt drivers evades from $300 to $600 in taxes that the driver of the Cruze pays but still get’s to use the road that the Cruze driver’s taxes pay to maintain.
If the EV had to compete on a level playing field against IC we wouldn’t even have this discussion. The Detroit Electric Car tried to compete without government help, it lost, and it’s been out of business for 80 years. The physics of energy density cannot be beat by the desires of greenie-wienies who care about how they think things “should” be now how things are. To make them feel better about their stupid economic decision to buy a Volt, they are allowed to join the ranks of Microsoft, Apple, GM, GE, and millionaires everywhere and screw the people out of tax dollars; so not only are Volt owners economic idiots, they’re also tax dodging scum.