Plug-in hybrid cars

Got any data? While there is a certain stereotype of EVs for short commutes, no such pattern is likely to exist for Tesla owners.

Sure! As noted upthread, it’s people who live in rural areas that tend to drive a lot longer distances than people who live in denser, urbanized areas. Not because of the car they drive, but because the really big mileage drivers are (almost by definition) people whose destinations are very far from where they start. If you drive nine miles to the grocery store instead of half a mile (for example), you’re going to just end up using your car more.

So we see that while the national average for miles driven is about 14.5K, a lot of that is racked up by drivers in rural areas. In areas where drivers are more likely to be living in rural areas, you have a much higher annual average mileage than more urbanized areas. So drivers in Mississippi, Montana, and Missouri are averaging around 19,000 miles per year, while the drivers in California, Oregon, and Washington are averaging around 11,000-12,000 miles per year:

https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/average-miles-driven-per-year…

I fully expect that pattern would hold for Tesla users. I would expect that Tesla users are far more likely to live in urban areas than rural ones than the population at large. Heck, we know they’re more likely to live in CA or OR or WA than any other states, which are among the lower-mileage states.

Albaby

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Albaby, are your numbers only for fuel or are you including all expenses, insurance, maintenance, etc?

Thanks.

The Captain

Is it really just about saving a few bucks a year, or not saving a few bucks?
Study after study shows that driving via electricity (in an EV or a PHEV) is thermodynamically 2x - 4x more efficient. And, thus produces less CO2 per mile from the equivalent ICE car. And produces much less smog forming emissions. Especially locally produced smog.

It depends on what the question is.

If you’re asking what type of vehicle is best for the environment, an EV is the obvious choice. The next obvious choice is a super-efficient ICE hybrid (like the Prius). The next obvious choice is the most fuel-efficient ICE car in the smallest vehicle class that meets your needs.

But I daresay most consumers don’t care about those things. Sure, they’ll say they care about them - but efficiency of transport (whether measured in thermodynamic energy or CO2 emissions or anything else) has typically not ranked very high in consumers’ actual purchasing decisions except when gas prices are high. IOW, when it’s about the bucks.

So if you want to drive adoption of EV’s in the U.S. (and arguably anywhere), whether you’re saving or not saving money is going to be a big factor in consumer decision-making. Which matters a lot if your public policy goal is to maximize adoption. Which means that if a suggested solution to range anxiety is “you can always rent a car the two or three times a year you need to make a long road trip,” it probably won’t work - because that solution costs so much money relative to the putative savings from electrification.

Albaby

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You are only talking about brake pads - what about rotors and calipers and brake fluid.

Calipers? I’ve never need to have a caliper on a vehicle in my lifetime of ownership. That includes my last vehicle that I drove 217k miles.

Pads are usually changed every 40,000 miles - some sooner some later.

That’s one reason I don’t rely too much on EV comparison articles. They often have numbers like this. They’ll list coolant every 30,000 miles. On my last vehicle, I got 100,000 miles on brake pads and the coolant was extended life every 100,000 miles as the manual recommends.

PSU

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Except, of course, the whole notion that EVs are not suitable for long distances is mostly ignoring Tesla. Yeah, yeah, one can dream up driving requirements which a Tesla won’t work that great for, but for a very large number of uses, the supercharger network makes it every bit as suitable as an ICE car.

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It depends on what the question is.

For most people money beats climate change. You can’t buy nothing with climate change at the corner’s grocer. :frowning:

The Captain

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Albaby, are your numbers only for fuel or are you including all expenses, insurance, maintenance, etc?

That post was just about fuel. Though if we’re talking very broad generalities, as noted in the Consumer Reports study that jaagu linked to, while there are some other savings for maintenance and repairs, the vast majority of the lifetime savings that owners will experience come from fuel, and not those other items.

That’s especially the case if you keep your discount rate low (which you have to, in order for EV’s to have a fighting chance in these comparisons) - because the difference in maintenance/repair costs are much greater in later years relative to the difference in fuel costs. If you use a normal discount rate, then an even greater proportion of your savings comes from fuel.

Albaby

Except, of course, the whole notion that EVs are not suitable for long distances is mostly ignoring Tesla.

True - but Tesla’s aren’t exactly cheap. So for people who are not in a position to afford a Tesla with access to the supercharger network (which is most people), the original question still has relevance: can it make economic sense to buy a non-Tesla EV and “supplement” the range for long trips by renting a car for such trips? I suspect it doesn’t - that since overall annual savings for drivers are already well under $1K for non-Tesla cars, adding several hundred dollars per year in rental costs keeps this from being a viable option.

Albaby

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Except, of course, the whole notion that EVs are not suitable for long distances is mostly ignoring Tesla. Yeah, yeah, one can dream up driving requirements which a Tesla won’t work that great for, but for a very large number of uses, the supercharger network makes it every bit as suitable as an ICE car.

It’s not the driving distance. It is the cost of the vehicle. If you are happy with a Model 3, then the cost comparison isn’t so bad. Now if you want a larger SUV, then the fuel and maintenance savings would never get a Model X costing $121k (entry level) to a Toyota Highlander, Honda Passport, Ford Explorer costing $45k.

PSU

So for people who are not in a position to afford a Tesla with access to the supercharger network (which is most people)

A distinction which is changing since other cars are going to be able to use the supercharger network.

ptheland asks,

If I’m paying $50,000 or $60,000 for an automobile, I expect it to meet all of my needs. Just like the automobiles I’ve purchased in the past.

Have you ever rented a vehicle while still at home? For moving? For transporting a large bit of something or other? Or borrowed one? If so, your car of that moment did NOT meet all of your needs.

I’ve occasionally rented a truck for a few hours to move something, but never an automobile while my personal car was operative.

Some people have complained that plug-in hybrids combine the maintenance issues of both EVs and ICEs, but I don’t see that as a problem if you’re buying a Toyota or a Honda, something with a history of reliability.

Also if you live in an area subject to hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, or floods, having a vehicle that can use both electricity or gasoline may be an advantage in the evacuation.

intercst

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But I daresay most consumers don’t care about those things. Sure, they’ll say they care about them - but efficiency of transport (whether measured in thermodynamic energy or CO2 emissions or anything else) has typically not ranked very high in consumers’ actual purchasing decisions except when gas prices are high. IOW, when it’s about the bucks.

Heartily agree. Full size trucks and SUVs are consistently at or near the top of USA best seller lists. Those vehicles are both expensive to buy and expensive to operate. Except when gas prices are high, consumers seem to want to spend as much money as possible.

Instead of the strict price angle, I’d frame the EV/plug-in hybrid argument like this: EVs and hybrids are straight up superior and more convenient for the way most people drive. Even if you need to occasionally rent a vehicle for applications when the EV is not suitable, most drivers will still be happier with an EV. Assuming, of course, you have a convenient way to charge.

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Also if you live in an area subject to hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, or floods, having a vehicle that can use both electricity or gasoline may be an advantage in the evacuation.

For sure, although evacuations are a rare use. During the Hurricane Rita evacuation, cars idling in traffic ran out of gasoline and were abandoned on the freeway by their owners and gas stations ran out of gas.

EVs barely existed back then, but if a modern EV were available it would have been a far superior evacuation vehicle because EVs don’t suffer mileage penalties in stop-and-go traffic. Most EVs today easily have enough range to make it from Galveston or Houston to a refuge city.

https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Hur…

A distinction which is changing since other cars are going to be able to use the supercharger network.

Eventually. And in the intermediate-term, you may see third-party companies also building out fast-charging capabilities - whether existing service station chains or charging-station companies.

Ultimately, though, even superchargers take a sufficiently long enough time that the consumer experience degrades terribly if they have to queue for an open charger. It will be interesting to see how Tesla’s pilot experience opening up the superchargers in Europe (where very few EV’s are Teslas) ends up.

Albaby

Jaak:"Your costs are unbelievable. You are only talking about brake pads - what about rotors and calipers and brake fluid. You may get higher mileage by lots of highway driving in flat states. City and hilly areas put more wear on brakes. Based on your statements, I would never get into your car with your unsafe brake maintenance. You also probably drive on bald tires.

Brake pads, rotors (brake discs) and brake fluid should be checked every 20,00 miles. Pads are usually changed every 40,000 miles - some sooner some later. Rotors are usually turned or replaced at 50,000 - 60,000 miles. Auto manufacturers recommend brake fluid changes every two years."

Horsemanure…

My car goes in for dealer inspection every oil change which is about 8000 miles. It has an oil life indicator and when it gets down to 20% or so, I get it changed. They check the brakes, brake fluid, etc. Every time. If you change brake fluid every 2 years, you bought a crappy car to start with!

You don’t need rotors till you feel pull or have squeaky brakes.

I drive mostly on trips, poke along, leave lots of room in front.

Usually by the time I need pads, I need the rotors done too.

https://my.gmc.com/content/dam/gmownercenter/gmna/dynamic/ma…

This is a dealer of course and they do a lot of ‘wallet cleaning’. Yours. Spark plus last an easy 100,000 and I changed mine at 140,000 miles and they looked like brand new. The only reason to change them at all as if you don’t change them, then at 200,000 or 250,000 miles they might be hard to remove. It’s not days of old where you replace plugs every six months with ‘leaded gas’.

Car runs fine, stops fine. It’s flat here but I’ve been up and down a 100 mountain passes in Colorado, WY, etc. That’s what downshifting and six speed transmission can do for you. Not like days of old when your 3 speed didn’t have enough downshift to slow you much braking.

t

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I don’t know where you live, but car rental prices went through the roof when companies downsized their fleets and are short on rental vehicles:

Have you ever looked into car rental through Turo?
Rented a Tesla S 2019 for $50/day.

Turo.com

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Which, of course, gets mostly eaten up if you end up spending $4,500 on renting an ICE twice a year over that 15-year lifetime. It then disappears entirely for cars if you also use a more realistic figure for annual miles driven, rather than the 15K figure that CR uses, since people driving EV’s aren’t going to drive as much (on average) as people driving ICE’s.

Albaby

==============================================

An EV will save you close to $10,000, so renting an ICE twice a year for 15v years still leaves you with about $5000 in savings. Plus you have saved 9,000 miles on the use of your EV (30 rentals x 300 miles/rental = 9,000 miles) which will reduce insurance, maintenance and charging costs.

Jaak

That’s one reason I don’t rely too much on EV comparison articles. They often have numbers like this. They’ll list coolant every 30,000 miles. On my last vehicle, I got 100,000 miles on brake pads and the coolant was extended life every 100,000 miles as the manual recommends.

PSU

=========================

You have the t attitude to car maintenance. I guess I have lived much longer than you and driven hundreds of thousands of miles more than you in cars dating from 1950s to present. And as a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in car repair and maintenance I offer the following:

  1. I have had calipers replaced on several of my vehicles since disc brakes first came out.

  2. I never wear brake pads down to steel. I would not feel safe in a car with 100,000 miles on brake pads.

  3. With regard to coolant as I said before it is insignificant in costs in comparison to brakes. Therefore, I have always followed the 30,000 mile rule. It is worth the small amount of money for the following reasons:

Coolant can deteriorate over time and should be tested to see if it’s still good, as it can be hard to tell just by appearances. Even if the coolant reservoir shows sufficient coolant level and testing shows the cooling and antifreeze protection are still adequate, a coolant drain and antifreeze flush may be needed.

The coolant can become more acidic over time and lose its rust-inhibiting properties, causing corrosion. Corrosion can damage the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system, as well as to the vehicle heater system. And that can cause a car engine to overheat.

Thus, the coolant in any vehicle with more than about 50,000 miles should be tested periodically. That’s to look for signs of rust, leaks and to make sure it has sufficient cooling and overheating protection, even if the cooling system seems to be working properly and the reservoir is full. The cooling system can be checked with test strips that measure acidity, and with a hydrometer that measures freezing and boiling protection.

If the corrosion inhibitors have deteriorated, the antifreeze coolant should be changed. The cooling system might also need flushing to remove contaminants no matter what the maintenance schedule calls for or how many miles are on the odometer.

Jaak

2 Likes

That post was just about fuel.

Thanks. Of course future cost comparisons have a lot of guesswork built in but it seems to me that with infrequent long trips and the increasing buildout of chargers, not just by Tesla but the government incentivising the charging infrastructure, you might as well enjoy the benefits of an EV and likely still save money long term. The EV credits are coming! Sorry about the politics!

I’m no longer in the car market. A decade ago I would not have bought an EV. Now I would. Nice to smell the roses, not the petrol fumes. :wink:

The Captain

Hawkwin
Who reserved his new EV on Friday for delivery by the end of the year - cause if he waits until 2023, he loses his $7500 tax credit.

Nice. Whatya getting?

We’ve been looking at the ID.4, which qualifies for the current tax credit. It should also qualify for the new one now they’ve started production in Chattanooga.

Our Bolt is now 13 months old, 21k miles. We’ve are happy with it. If the new tax credit applies to the Bolt (very likely), and GM don’t raise prices, a Bolt next year will start at $19k, less any state incentives. That’s a great deal for those that are happy driving a small hatchback.