Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Question: Why Electric - Part II [The Error In My Math]

So today in the local paper I saw a dealership ad for the Chevy Volt starting at $33K (including the Canadian Government $5000 rebate and manufacturer's rebates). That's $10K less than what I thought, and that sort of changes the tune from what I wrote a few days ago, hey?

Strictly numbers speaking, this means that in the Cruze vs. Volt cost per kilometer average it would only take 174,029 km for the price premium of the Volt to offset its fuel savings. That's much better!

This got me thinking even more. Who buys vehicles based on price per kilometer anyway? I mean, to a point we do, but only when looking at a few similar vehicles that we desire like, say, pickup trucks, which 75% of people who own don't actually need. People (including myself) buy vehicles that put smiles on our faces, and that usually involves a price premium.

If this were not the case, every person who needed a commuter car would buy a sub-compact. Everyone who needed haul stuff once in a while would buy a sub-compact with a hitch and a matching utility trailer to pull behind. But, there would be much fewer smiles on faces.
Back to the Chevy Volt. I dare say that a Chevy Volt would put a smile on my face, and therefore would be worth a price premium. I would probably purchase a Volt if it wasn't a first attempt by GM (okay, maybe if it wasn't built by GM at all) and if it had more than two seats in the back and if it was a wagon like our Toyota Matrix. I guess what I am really saying is that if a car company decides to release an electric Toyota Matrix clone with a range extender gasoline engine, I will definitely be tempted.

What's the chances of that happening?

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