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Old 04-06-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default The Exorbitant Cost Of Savings: Don’t Buy A Volt If You Value Your Money



Quote:
Two years after the Volkswagen Golf was launched, it received a fuel sipping diesel in 1976. I presented the launch campaign in Wolfsburg, and the ground shook. It wasn’t because of my campaign. It was because of the body stamping presses. The offices of the Zentrale Absatzförderung, VW’s advertising department, were two floors above.

I presented a campaign that was all on savings. The Golf D had one of the, if not the best mileage of all compacts. Herr Plamböck, the gentleman who had to vet the campaigns before the big boss would see them, looked at my grand savings plan, and said: “Let’s have lunch.”

Over a Currywurst, Hartmut Plamböck said: “Bertel, did you check the added cost of that engine?” I forgot how much it was, but it was a lot. “You will have to drive 80,000 kilometers to get your money back!” Mr. Plamböck thundered. The plastic forks jumped as Plamböck pounded the table. He looked around, lowered his voice and added: “And then, the engine will fall out of the car.” At that time, Volkswagens had a bit of a corrosion problem.




I was reminded of that story when I came across a story in the New York Times that provides a sanity check on savings at all costs. Rarely does one recoup the added investment into fuel savings. Little has changed since my Wolfsburg Waterloo. Fuel savings come at a price, and you have to decide whether you pay at the pump or to the dealer. Paying at the pump makes more economic sense, but more often than not, emotions trump math.
One of the worst investments, says the New York Times story that uses data compiled by TrueCar, is the Chevrolet Volt. Says the Times:
“The Volt, which costs nearly $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, could take up to 27 years to pay off versus a Chevrolet Cruze, assuming it was regularly driven farther than its battery-only range allows. The payback time could drop to about eight years if gas cost $5 a gallon and the driver remained exclusively on battery power.”
Mind you, the 27 year payback time is based on the TrueCar calculated $31,767 price of the Volt. Without the generous government rebate, financed by your tax dollars, the Volt would still be upside down long after it landed in a museum. At full retail, it would take 45 years to get you your money back. Payback is a bitch.

Driven fully on battery power, the Volt would needlessly drag around its heavy range extender machinery, but at least it would compete with Nissan’s LEAF in the ROI race. The Leaf takes 8.7 years to recoup the investment.

According to the study, “eco” upgrades usually are not worth the money. A Ford Fiesta SFE saves you $23 a year at the pump and on average. With these meager savings, the Fiesta actually beats the Volt in the senseless savings discipline. It would take 26.8 years to get you your money back.
As long as fuel saving cars carry huge premiums, you need to pray for higher gas prices, and you need to pray a lot. A survey by Lundberg says that gas prices need to go to $12.50 a gallon for the Volt to break even. The Leaf would be competitive with gas at $8.53 a gallon.

Are there savings that make sense?
If you really want to reconcile eco and economics, the sixth generation descendant of the Golf Diesel, the Jetta TDI, would recoup the added money before the warranty is up, says the Times. So do the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Not only is their mileage much better than the comparison model, their price premium is so low that it can be easily recouped. As Toyota’s Satoshi Ogiso demonstrated a few months ago, savings at no added costs are the true engineering achievement.
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...ue-your-money/
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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Analysis is flawed, unless I missed something they did not account for end of life value -- the volt will be worth a lot more than a Cruze when you trade in. I think the Volt is a turd, but these analyses should be fair.

Edit -- what the hell is up with them pitching a softball for Toyota, comparing the camry to a prius when the proper comparison would be a camry hybrid
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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That's very interesting data for people that think they're saving money going with some of the hybrids.

The only thing that surprised me was that they chose to compare the Prius with the Camry. That seems like an unfair comparison, since the Prius is much closer to the Corolla in size and performance. The Corolla is $7000 cheaper than the camry, though, and gets better gas mileage, so it would probably take almost 8 years to break even on gas savings if they used it as the basis. Makes you wonder if Toyota was involved in generating the data.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:21 AM   #4
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Good comparo.. but the HS 250H is nothing like the IS250
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
Makes you wonder if Toyota was involved in generating the data.
Smart marketing on Toyota's part -- call the Prius a midsize often enough and a lot of people will start to believe you .
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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Yeah it is completely stupid and flawed, but that is generally what they do with these analysis. Similarly the MSRP for a cruze eco with all the BS a volt comes with puts you at about $24k (touchscreen nav etc). As they said
Quote:
assuming it was regularly driven farther than its battery-only range allows
Why in the hell would you buy a PHEV if you planned to regularly drive it past its battery range? You may as well buy a hybrid or regular vehicle then.

Actual volts are doing 75% of their driving using only electricity and averaging like 145 MPG. Of course who knows what "regularly" means.
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty View Post
Yeah it is completely stupid and flawed, but that is generally what they do with these analysis. Similarly the MSRP for a cruze eco with all the BS a volt comes with puts you at about $24k (touchscreen nav etc). As they said

Why in the hell would you buy a PHEV if you planned to regularly drive it past its battery range? You may as well buy a hybrid or regular vehicle then.

Actual volts are doing 75% of their driving using only electricity and averaging like 145 MPG. Of course who knows what "regularly" means.
Why would you ever buy a plug in car with an engine if you never drive beyond the battery range?
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:17 PM   #8
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Analysis is flawed, unless I missed something they did not account for end of life value -- the volt will be worth a lot more than a Cruze when you trade in.
On a percentage of purchase price basis? I tend to doubt it. At any rate, it's rather worthless to take end of life value into account here because it's anyone's guess as to what that might be for both cars. For the Cruze, I suppose we could take the defunct Cobalt's residual value into account(despite the fact that the Cruze is a much better car, by all accounts), but the Volt is anyone's guess as it's only been out slightly longer than a year now.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vostok 7 View Post
Why would you ever buy a plug in car with an engine if you never drive beyond the battery range?
Do you have trouble reading? 25% of the miles were beyond battery range in the example I gave. Last I checked 25% is more than 0%.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FaastLegacy View Post
On a percentage of purchase price basis? I tend to doubt it. At any rate, it's rather worthless to take end of life value into account here because it's anyone's guess as to what that might be for both cars. For the Cruze, I suppose we could take the defunct Cobalt's residual value into account(despite the fact that the Cruze is a much better car, by all accounts), but the Volt is anyone's guess as it's only been out slightly longer than a year now.
Take a look at Toyota RAV4 EV values. Residual values greater than 200%? I bet the Volt and its kin will hold their value well.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rootus
Smart marketing on Toyota's part -- call the Prius a midsize often enough and a lot of people will start to believe you .
I wouldn't consider a Corolla because it isn't nearly as well equipped as a Prius. The biggest issue, though, is the lack of a hatch. It gives up people (baby) carrying ability and cargo space to a Prius. A comparably equipped matrix is pushing $20k if you're looking at a Prius 2.

When I was deciding what to order, the Camry hybrid, Prius v, and Prius liftback were all in consideration. The v ultimately won out based on the hatch, but the Camry is a better people carrier. The Matrix and Corolla weren't considered because they are small and feature limited. FWIW, I ordered a Prius v Five (nav, entune, LED headlights, leather, etc... None of which are available on the corolla/matrix).

I fully realize that I won't "save money" on a hybrid in the short term. It fits my needs: space, efficiency, and comfort. I've also insulated myself against rising gas prices.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:41 PM   #12
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How slow is the Prius V? I actually really like the vehicle from looking at it as I walked by on the street, but then when I looked up the vehicle is was so astonishingly slow in 0-60 time that I wondered if it would be bothersome to drive. Of course you may be biased since you bought it , but I figured you could say if it annoyed you by being slow or not.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #13
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This type of "research" also completely fails to mention that the Volt is a fairly nice car with some neat whiz bang stuff in it. Paying $32K (after the tax credit) to drive around one of the most modern cars ever produced isn't that much of a stretch. People drop $40K on a BWM or Merc and no one blinks, the customer bought the car because they wanted it and could afford it. Then someone buys a Volt and everyone on the internet is like "LOLOLOL YOU IDIOT YOU COULD HAVE PURCHASE A CHEAPER CAR AND SAVED MONEY LOLOLOL". Its not always about saving money, some people need to get over it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:22 PM   #14
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I call shenanigans!!

The MKZ repays in 1.2 yrs time, but the Ford Fusion hybrid takes 8.5? Is that because they are comparing a base Fusion, where the hybrid likely comes with more features?

And yeah, the Volt has interior features more in line with the Buick Verano, not the Cruze. If we want to save $$ but that crap base Versa, or better yet a 92 Corsica.

But, I do agree that all the current (get it?) electric cars are more for the joy of no gas, not saving $$. Gas would have to climb closer to $10 for that to tip in that direction imo. So in about 5 years the way things are going.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty
How slow is the Prius V? I actually really like the vehicle from looking at it as I walked by on the street, but then when I looked up the vehicle is was so astonishingly slow in 0-60 time that I wondered if it would be bothersome to drive. Of course you may be biased since you bought it , but I figured you could say if it annoyed you by being slow or not.
It certainly isn't fast, but it isn't too slow to merge or anything. The Camry hybrid drivetrain is quieter and pretty damn quick. Toyota is crazy if that drivetrain doesn't find its way into the Venza, Sienna, rav4, Avalon, CTh, and possibly even the highlander. Anyway, the V feels pretty good when put in power mode, which should be sufficient for passing and merging without the car second guessing you mashing the throttle.

The cargo space was the break over point where we decided it was the right car. It has nearly as much room as my 4Runner inside so I no longer have to drive my 22mpg SUV when I need a lot of cargo space. The back seats slide and recline so it is very configurable in the back.

Honestly, a Camry hybrid wagon would be perfect. Sad they don't offer it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #16
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I'd rather just have a car with enough power, and a well geared transmission...

And if I really needed fuel sipping... a TDI econo-box.

No thanks to a big lithium boat anchor in my car.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:20 AM   #17
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Whats so special about the Volt anyway that other electric cant do?
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ysidro
Whats so special about the Volt anyway that other electric cant do?
Look up the prices of other plug-in hybrids and get back to me.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
It certainly isn't fast, but it isn't too slow to merge or anything. The Camry hybrid drivetrain is quieter and pretty damn quick. Toyota is crazy if that drivetrain doesn't find its way into the Venza, Sienna, rav4, Avalon, CTh, and possibly even the highlander. Anyway, the V feels pretty good when put in power mode, which should be sufficient for passing and merging without the car second guessing you mashing the throttle.

The cargo space was the break over point where we decided it was the right car. It has nearly as much room as my 4Runner inside so I no longer have to drive my 22mpg SUV when I need a lot of cargo space. The back seats slide and recline so it is very configurable in the back.

Honestly, a Camry hybrid wagon would be perfect. Sad they don't offer it.
Hey thanks. I drove a 1990 4runner before and it was so under powered you had to plan passing very carefully. I don't know if you remember them that far back, but they were pretty gutless then. I would not want a vehicle that was so slow again (especially after my current vehicle ). I looked it up guess what it was

Quote:
1990's worst? Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 with a time of 15.7 seconds!
Can you fold seats down and fit a bike in with wheels on? There was a rumor they were going to make a plug in version of the V at some point as well, which would be cool for me. I wish toyota would target 20 miles though instead of 11 they get on electricity in the plug-in prius. For 11 miles I might not even want to plug in.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:26 PM   #20
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Hey thanks. I drove a 1990 4runner before and it was so under powered you had to plan passing very carefully. I don't know if you remember them that far back, but they were pretty gutless then. I would not want a vehicle that was so slow again (especially after my current vehicle ). I looked it up guess what it was

Can you fold seats down and fit a bike in with wheels on? There was a rumor they were going to make a plug in version of the V at some point as well, which would be cool for me. I wish toyota would target 20 miles though instead of 11 they get on electricity in the plug-in prius. For 11 miles I might not even want to plug in.
I've never driven a 2nd gen 4Runner. My 5th gen is decently quick if you put your foot into it.

I haven't tried fitting a bike in the back. I have a Thule 914 hitch rack and it is fantastic. I'm hoping that I can mod up a 2" receiver for the v so I don't have to do an adapter. I don't really want to do an adapter because it adds add'l length to an already long bike rack. I think my road bike would fit in the back of the v with ease thanks to the compact nature of road bikes. My mountain bikes only see the inside of a car when they are going to and from the dealer for major servicing (i.e. they are clean and I've FUBAR'd something). I just received my BoB Revolution SE jogging stroller and it is actually shown, the CE version, on the toyota website. It is a pretty sizable stroller, so I think it gives you a good idea of how much space is back there.



I think Toyota's philosophy on the whole plug in thing is to move slow and steady. I could commute on all electric with a PiP, but all my money spent on gasoline is the 500 mile roundtrips I take to visit friends/family a few times a month. With my driving scenario, the extended range gas mileage matters a whole lot more than the plug-in range. A super cheap, 40mile range EV motorcycle would be both fun and efficient for my commute.

Last edited by quentinberg007; 04-07-2012 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:18 AM   #21
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I can actually fit a stroller into the back of my impreza (I have a mountain buggy terrain which is similar to the revolution most likely in size). I do have to place it carefully. This looks much more roomy. Anyway I will quit taking this off topic now, but I appreciate your thoughts on the V.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:02 AM   #22
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People still buy GM products???

I can't believe folks would buy a car with a fake grille painted on... Let alone the shock of how much the turd costs.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty
I can actually fit a stroller into the back of my impreza (I have a mountain buggy terrain which is similar to the revolution most likely in size). I do have to place it carefully. This looks much more roomy. Anyway I will quit taking this off topic now, but I appreciate your thoughts on the V.
Just for the record, I'm enjoying the Prius V discussion.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:25 PM   #24
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Toyota Camry $24,253
Toyota Camry Hybrid $27,124

Toyota Camry $22,097
Toyota Prius $23,537

Umm, Why two different prices for the Camry? Did they not want to have the Camry Hybrid even worse off when compared to the Camry?

--kC
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:02 PM   #25
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Camry Hybrid comes as LE and XLE of which there are equivalent Camry (LE and XLE) models. The numbers they quote are XLE versus Hybrid XLE. They are probably comparing the base Camry (L, I think) to the base Prius.

I've driven a new Camry XLE hybrid and the regular gas 2.5L + 6AT in the last gen Camry. The 200hp hybrid AR is a fantastic drivetrain and easily worth the extra money over the 180hp non-hybrid. It drives much better, IMO. Motor Trend said the Camry Hybrid put up 0-60 and 1/4mi numbers very close to that of the 270hp 2.0T Sonata.
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