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Friday, 27 May 2011

Electric cars


It would seem that our American cousins like to throw money down the drain faster than us

The federal government has figured out how to save $116,000 per year … and it only costs $4 million to do it! The pilot program in San Diego and four other American cities will take no more than, oh, 39 years for the savings to pay back the cost of the vehicles:

San Diego will be one of five cities in which the federal workers will test plug-in cars for government use.

The General Services Administration said Tuesday it plans to buy 116 plug-in electric vehicles, including 101 Chevrolet Volts and 10 Nissan Leafs.

It will put 13 Volts and four Leafs with San Diego workers, and will also install charging stations to serve them. The cars will go to workers with the Navy, the Marine Corps, Veterans Affiars and the Department of Transportation. …

The purchases announced Tuesday are expected to cut gas usage by almost 29,000 gallons a year, saving taxpayer an estimated $116,000 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 257 metric tons, said GSA administrator Martha Johnson.

I’ll give the financial analysis a whirl:

101 Volts at $38,500 equals $3,888,500. Add to that 10 Leafs costing $33,000 and you get $4,218,500. Now add 5 EV’s at $32,500 and the grand total is $4,508,500. At a savings of only $116,000 a year in petrol it would take 39 years to offset the costs of the cars.1

Doesn’t make much sense to me? The battery life of these cars will not last more than ten years (And that’s a conservative estimate. There are some quotes of only half that.), the last time I checked.So the costs of buying new “green” cars will never be offset.

Oh and not withstanding the cost  of all those charging points they are going to install.

Makes you wonder what world those people live on.

1 I’d convert to sterling if I could be bothered. But I’m sure you’ll get the picture.


  1. Two minor omissions from the calculations:

    Nobody seems to have factored in the cost of the energy needed to propel the vehicles.

    They've also conveniently forgotten to add the weight of CO2 generated in providing that motive force.

  2. "Nobody seems to have factored in the cost of the energy needed to propel the vehicles."

    Because it comes free from the electricity fairy. Everyone knows that.

    And they haven't factored in the cost of disposing of the batteries either.

  3. Captain Haddock27 May 2011 at 11:09

    There's only ever been one kind of electrically powered car which was worth a wank ..

    And they were marketed by Scalextric .. ;)

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Also not withstanding the massive amount of damage to the environment the manufacture and disposal of (merury, lead, arsenic etc. in) green cars themselves do. Over a lifetime they cause more environmental damage than your regular 4x4 capitalist pig gas-guzzler.

  6. The US gets almost 50% of its electricity from coal, so these 'electric' cars are substantially coal-powered.

    Fantasy vehicles in other words. Should be tootling around Disneyland, not on the highway.

    Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA)2008.

  7. The petrol engine went from invention to useful in about 5 years. The electric car has been 150 years in the lab - and its still useless. Worse, it shows no sign of getting very much better any time soon. Not a penny of my money.

  8. And they don't like the cold. Batteries hate it. And don't even think of using the heater!

  9. Captain Haddock27 May 2011 at 20:04

    "And don't even think of using the heater" !

    Or the wipers, indicators, horn ..and as for the radio/CD player ..

  10. Anyone for a battery powered Morgan 3 wheeler? - By the time you've left off the energy consuming devices you will be at the same level of sophistication...

  11. The other thing that is never disclosed is the cost of the money, because the government just takes it out of your pocket and then pats itself on the back for being so good at it.

    Never mind the NPV and all that financial shit, you and I would have to borrow the money from the bank and they all have calculators to tell you how your 35000 will be when paid back over the period of the loan and what your loan will actually cost you. So 35000 over 10 years at 8.5% is really 52100.

    That makes it an even better proposition, but I won't be buying one.


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