Electric Car

I was driving (yeah, like I’d never be doing that) along side a Smart car the other day and was curious if it was electric or gas. It turns out it is fuel. However, the price starts at $12K. I’ve heard about Chevy coming out with an electric car (the Volt) that you can plug into a standard outlet to charge it up instead of relying on a fuel engine that charges the batteries (which apparently, it still has a fuel engine, but different from a hybrid). I found out that Chevy plans on releasing this car starting at $40K or so. Really? I did the math. You can buy a Kia for about $12K these days. So to get the Chevy Volt, you’d have to spend an extra $28K. One of the selling points of an electric/hybrid vehicle is the “mpg” fuel savings. Gas it currently going for $2 a gallon. Do you know how many fill ups $28K (how much more you’d be spending to get the Volt) translates into? At $2 a gallon, that is 14,000 gallons. Let’s assume the Kia has a 12 gallon tank. That is 1166 fillups. Let’s assume you fill up once a week (you don’t go far to work or something). That is 22 years (longer than the Kia OR the Volt would last) of fill ups at $2 a gallon. If it were up to $4 a gallon, well, just half everything, so 11 years of fillups at $4 a gallon.

So where am I saving on fuel? My electric car still needs fuel. It needs expensive batteries. I can’t just go about anywhere to get it serviced (in fact, is there even a place in Polk County that will service, or carry parts for the internals of a hybrid). I’ve heard there are subsidies, but only $7,500. Ok, so 16 years of fillups at $2 a gallon.

So in conclusion, I will not be spending anywhere near $40,000 for an electric vehicle. A $12,000 Kia would be fine for me. If you’d like to play with the numbers, here is the spreadsheet (Excel XLS/OpenOffice ODS) I created to do the math.


Father of four, amateur chicken farmer, tech enthusiast, primitive camper.

One thought to “Electric Car”

  1. Did you factor in the sales tax on the 28k extra? how about interest? When you plug these cars in the outlet, does the electric meter spin backwards?

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