Author Topic: At what point does it make sense to purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle?  (Read 2403 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 55
My partner and I are looking for a new family car.

She currently owns a reliable Toyota hatch with many years left and I own a 1997 Nissan station wagon with not many if any years left on it.

Our reasoning is to buy a few years old, generally ex-lease or rental and own for decades.

The idea of purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle might be an option.

Car will mainly be used for family trips/holidays and sports gear. Also for driving to work several days a week when I don't bike in.


  • Walrus Stache
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I have a Ford escape hybrid with 227k miles for our for 4500 4 years ago with 150k miles.  Still running strong pulls 40+ mpg summer time back and forth to work. 34 mpg sub 40 degrees.

My next car will likely be a self driving 3-5 year old Tesla model 3. I wouldn't buy electric right now


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Posts: 3053
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Is the drive to work under 50 miles round trip? Can you easily charge at home?

If so I think getting a PHEV could make sense. They are getting cheap used. I pretty much only use gas to go out of town.

I have one of the shorter electric range ones (Ford C-Max Energi) and I'm surprised by how little gas I've used.

This is a good page for determining which plug-in could meet your needs.

Jon Bon

  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Location: Midwest
Posting to follow.

I feel while the Nissan leaf might be a great deal used at 5-8k it still makes no damn sense as a car. I feel like driving a car that is "a quarter tank full" at best would be pretty terrible.

I am curious about what it is like owning a PHEV, especially the Cmax that shoulder thing has. I dont know anyone with one of those, but have seen them around.

Maybe share a little more about your experience with that car? How is it around town, on trips? Roomy? Fast/slow? How often do you remember to charge? What do you like/hate? etc etc.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 152
If you are considering it for trips, then a hybrid may be the way to go. It is hard to beat 40+ miles per gallon. I don't think a pure electric car will give you the range you need.

With a roof rack and a cargo box I can fit at least as much gear as my old SUV.  I have a Prius.

I have been looking at the plug in Prius because it gives you hov access in CA. They go for a bit of a premium to the plain hybrid.  I have not run numbers, but I doubt the extra mpg would be worth it. And, I think you give up cargo space for the extra batteries.


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Posts: 3053
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Maybe share a little more about your experience with that car?

Bought it in May, used. Mostly for around town, but I dtive an hour away a few times a year and I've taken it to New England twice. I've put 6500 miles on it and put 4*3/4 tanks of gas in it.

How is it around town, on trips? Roomy? Fast/slow?
Electric driving is great; using the engine it isn't as responsive but it's absolutely fine. Has no problem getting up to 70 and staying there, but you'll get better mileage at 65. The interior is very roomy, the three car seats fit fine. Cargo is a little compromised compared to my Honda Fit but it fits buckets of mulch fine.

How often do you remember to charge?

I had a Level 2 charger installed; it's much less annoying than buying gas. And using the app I can heat/cool it in advance using house power. There's a substantial tax credit for installing a home charger. I've used public chargers a few times when convenient but home charging fills all my around town needs. I charge it daily when I use it; it is very quick to plug it in while walking into the house.

What do you like/hate? etc etc.
The only thing that really annoys me is when the ICE kicks on just to run the defroster. The infotainment is finicky but fine. I think Ford made it better after the 2013s.

Electric range is lower in the winter but not nearly as much as I had believed it would be. We got about 25 miles in the summer and 20 in the winter. Preheating the cabin usingvhouse power helps with that.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2017, 02:59:28 PM by ShoulderThingThatGoesUp »


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!