Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, was on KCRA, an NBC affiliate in Sacramento, CA talking about alternative energy sources and how much they cost per mile.
When people shop for a car they buy for functionality, what they need in a car. Some families need space for seven; some need room to carry their animals. When we shop for an alternative power source vehicle, we need to take our personal needs, and desires, into account. Do we want to get completely off of oil, or are we happy with getting off of oil most of the time, but still want to be able to go anywhere, anytime we want?
EV – Electric Vehicle, this vehicle will only run on electricity. The Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, Tesla Roadster, CODA, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and are all cars with just electricity.
PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, this vehicle can be energized with electricity or gasoline and run. The Fisker Karma, Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, and Chevy Volt can all run with a combination of electricity and gasoline.
Let’s take an example using fueleconomy.gov numbers –
If your car gets 25 miles per gallon and you drive 50 miles back and forth to work it is going to cost you about $7.88 to go back and forth to work every day.
To drive an all-electric vehicle 50 miles, it will cost you anywhere from $1.80 to $2.70. We’ll round it off to $2.
2012 PHEV energy cost, courtesy fuelconomy.gov
If you use a PHEV, it becomes a little more complicated. The Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid only gets 11 miles to the charge, so you will need to combine electricity and gasoline. The cost will be about $3.50 to go 50 miles.
The Chevy Volt gets 35 miles to the charge, so you will still need to combine electricity and gasoline. The cost will be about $3.20 to go 50 miles.
If your car gets 25 miles per gallon and you drive 100 miles back and forth to work it is going to cost you about $15.76 to go back and forth to work every day.
If you go 100 miles to work and back everyday, you won’t be able to use an all-electric vehicle. According to fueleconomy.gov NONE of the electric vehicles get 100 miles on a charge.
Cost of Energy, courtesy fuelconomy.gov
That leaves only a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and a Chevy Volt. The Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid would cost $7.30 for 100 miles, while the Chevy Volt would cost $8.71.
The reason the Chevy Volt costs more than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) the longer it runs is that the Chevy Volt uses premium gasoline and gets 30 miles to the gallon, while the Toyota Prius plug-in gets 51 miles to the gasoline gallon and uses regular gasoline.
So, depending on the length of your commute every day, you have different options of vehicles for your needs and desires, even in the alternative energy arena.
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Now, as people shop, in addition to wanting to get a better price on cars, of course, they’re looking at the mileage and how much they can get for their gallon of gas. Joining us is energy expert Lou Ann Hammond this morning. Good morning, thanks for being with us.
Lou Ann Hammond Drivingthenation: Thank you.
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Let’s first break down, is that what’s topping the list for people who are going out and shopping for cars right now; they’re looking at fuel efficiency?
Lou Ann Hammond Drivingthenation: They are looking for fuel efficiency, but always they’re going to look at what their personal needs and desires are. If you have a family of five, you may want an SUV, or you may want a sedan, and there may be certain things in that car or SUV that you need. The difference is, on the fuel efficiency cars, we can look at different alternative power sources and say ‘what is the cost of an energy source?’ So if you have a gasoline vehicle, you know that to go twenty-five miles or to go fifty miles, you know exactly how much it’s going to cost. But what is it going to cost if you have an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle?
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Okay, let’s talk about those differences. With the electric vehicle, what are we looking at here? Different cars, for example, the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, Tesla, what seems to be the most popular here, and the best one of them?
Lou Ann Hammond Drivingthenation:On the electric vehicle, it’s all electric. You have to plug in. The two most popular… the first one is, of course, is going to be the Nissan Leaf: It’s been out the longest. Then you have the Ford Focus which is coming out as well, and they have a plan with sun power that could also give you some solar panels for a little extra money. CODA is a Chinese car that’s coming over; they are electric. And then you have a Mitsubishi car, a smaller car. So those are the four you have. Toyota Rav4 will come out as an electric vehicle in very small numbers.
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Okay, so what about the plug-in hybrid now? Would these cars be more for, say, longer road trips, maybe an SUV for a bigger family?
Lou Ann Hammond Drivingthenation: Right, so you have the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. And those are the two you want to look at and compare against the electric vehicle because the Chevy Volt will give you thirty-five miles of electricity. So that’s domestic energy, that we keep
all the money inside of the United States, thirty-five miles first, and then you go to gasoline. The Toyota Prius electric vehicle gives you eleven miles, according to feuleconomy.gov, and then you go to gasoline fifty miles-per-gallon.
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Real quick, I just want to ask you, are we seeing that the look of them is becoming a little bit better? Are they sticking to their own, I’m going to say this nicely, unique look? Because you know the electric vehicles and plug-ins, they seem to look a certain way, rather than the more sporty type.
Lou Ann Hammond Drivingthenation: Yeah, I like the Fisker Atlantic and the Fisker Karma because they are breathtaking cars. And the Tesla Roadster is based on the Lotus, so you’re going to get some beautiful cars. They’re understanding a little bit more; they’re giving the designers a little bit more free reign. They need to provide them with a little bit more free reign.
Mae Fesai KCRA Sacramento: Yes, looking a little bit more cool on the road. Okay, thank you so much Lou Ann Hammond for being with us today. For more information on fuel efficient vehicles, we’ll post a link on our website for you.