The question as I see it was incomplete. It should have read "Why would you buy a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt. Batteries are just not the answer, but we seem to be stuck in the battery mode. When something that makes sense, I'll look at it.
I hear that you have to drive a Volt 450k miles to amortize its cost. The leaf needs about 300k miles to amortize. Not me. I'm on my 4th Gen 1 Prius (2002) with a new factory battery. Battery life averages 150k miles, so for under $6000 I have another 6-8 years before it needs fixing. Nothing else seems to break. If gas prices keep going up, it will keep its value. When batteries have a breakthrough, or fuel cells become practical, I'll update - likely with Toyota for reliability.
Bought a Volt and it is really paying off for me. I drive 80 miles one way to work (as a Project Engineer) and my work lets me charge at work. No range anxiety here. The Volt is not for everyone and neither is the Corvette, Suburban, Prius, Civic/Civic Hybrid, F-150,......... If you spend the time to understand your driving needs and budget, then it's a personal choice. I tell people all of the time that it's perfect for me, but your needs may be different. Over 4 to 5 years I will recover the difference over a car that is $10k less than mine and gets 35mpg compared to the 70mpg I am getting (http://www.voltstats.net/#monthlyTab electra in Oklahoma). I am excited to own a car that is the direction we need to go. Some of you are fear mongering indivuals that fear change and that's to be expected of narrow minded indivuals.
Economic justification and convienence are the rules of the road, if you want a 2nd car that does a few miles a day and one to actually travel electric vehicles may have a place for the rich, but in the end, its just bad timing
Logically we could have oversized busses, which have the right of way on the lightless highwyas that connect our nation, traveing 24 hours a day, in a horizontal position from NYC to LA for 100 $ in 24 hours, a good rest, with music, or the movies of your choice. I spent a few nours modeling it out, Bus Trains---Not like the bkackhound who spends hours driving to the inner city, but an actual Bus-Train, that stops for fuel and does 100 + MPH. In mexico the buses recline into beds i went from Vearacruze to brownville in 17 hours, for 85 $ 960 miles
A lot of people argue for mass transit as the way to get around. I agree, for somewhere like San Francisco or New York. But around most of the country, there either is no mass transit option or a very poor bus-only system. Mass transit is a great option when it's there, but there will always be plenty of room for other alternatives elsewhere.
Regarding the Volt kicking on the engine under heavy load during the first 35 miles -- I believe this is untrue. I own a Volt, and have never had the engine come on during the EV range, regardless of how I have driven it. The electric drive motor provides about 150 HP, which is plenty, so there would be no need for it. And it would go against Chevy's intent of it being an EV with extended range.
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