Elizabeth, I do agree with you on EVs should be affordable and also should be reliable. So battery warrantee is playing a major role in decision making process. Mercedes Benz new S-class Hybrid is offering a 10 Year warrantee for the battery.
Good analysis, Dave. The scenario you've described is reasonable for the majority of vehicle owners. Of course, if you double it and drive 24,000 miles per year, then you can hit the break even point in half that time. And if you keep it for 200,000, as many people do now, you end up ahead. (I have 198,000 on my car.) So the bottom line is it may not be feasible for a lot of car owners, but those who drive a lot of miles and keep their cars for a long time can realize the benefits.
@Charles: Okay, so let's compare apples to apples: 2014 Accord ($23,625 MSRP, 30 mpg combined) vs. 2014 Accord Hybrid ($29,155, 47 mpg combined). Assuming that you drive 12,000 miles per year and gas costs $3.50, the hybrid will save you about $500 a year on gas. Since the difference is MSRP is over $5000, that means it will take over 10 years to pay for itself.
Of course, if you drive a lot more miles, or if gas gets a lot more expensive, the payback period gets shorter. But it will still be over 5 years for most people. Chances are, your gas savings will never offset your higher car payment until you're done paying for the car.
Interesting point about the Volt battery, ChrisSharek. I recently talked to an EV engineer who told me that he thought the Volt's liquid cooling system was overkill. But your experience tells a different story. I think GM will be glad they took the liquid cooling route in the long run. Check out this story from the MIT Technology Review last year:
Electric vehicles certainly get better mpg, ChriSharek, and I'm totally with you on the advantages. But at this point I don't think EVs are a viable option for everyone, though hopefully soon that will change.
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.