walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Why I Never Bought a Hybrid, or the Fit EV

I asked R. which car he thought I should buy. He remarked that he thought I would be better served by waiting and buying something in a few year's. This is why I call myself a second rank sheep: I am _not_ an early adopter, but I tend to do things relatively soon after the early adopter phase has passed and before the great mass of Normal People have decided to participate.

But it is worth reminding myself why I never bought a HEV, a PHEV or, for that matter, the Fit EV, to assess whether those reasons might apply to the current plan to buy a BEV.

The Prius is heavier, more expensive and has less interior space for passengers and cargo than an ICE or BEV would have -- there's just more going on in there and it takes up room. And until you could plug one of them in, the best you could do with it was improve your miles per gallon. And honestly, the improvement in mpg versus buying the Fit (specifically, the Fit) was not impressive. So, no Prius. But why not a plug in? Well, by the time there were plug ins (that weren't people adapting existing hybrids, but manufacturer supplied), BEVs were pretty clearly on the horizon. Again, the battery only range on the PHEVs was pretty limited.

So why didn't I buy the Fit EV (which has recently been discontinued, as near as I can tell)? Because I distinctly remember being so excited about that that when I bought my current car in 2011, I asked them to put me on the list to call if/when the EV version came out. I got a postcard. I looked at it and said, W.T.Everloving F. Because you couldn't buy it, only lease it. It didn't have the Magic Seats. And the flat load was gone. Basically, it wasn't the car I know and love any more, it was just another cheap, uncomfortable subcompact that wasn't so cheap, had a drastically reduced range and was only available on lease terms which I found way too expensive compared to my preference which is to pay for a car without financing.

Why wasn't I on the Tesla waiting list? Too expensive for me to buy without knowing what other people thought about it. I got interested this time around because of all the Love -- but it turned out not to be for me.

Why not the Leaf when it came out? Or when some of the additional incentives became available? Range anxiety.

I remain unconvinced that BEVs, or even PHEVs will ever become widespread. They might -- they might not. If gas got _way_ more expensive, the calculus would surely favor BEVs and PHEVs. Fuel cells are tantalizing, particularly in conjunction with common rooftop solar installations via companies like SolarCity. OTOH, if you know anything about hydrogen, you have to sit there and wonder whether it's really that good of an idea to drive around with a bunch of it in the vehicle with you -- or how well you would sleep with a bunch of it stored in the basement after a full day of the solar panels collecting sunshine in the summer. Predicting more of the same is the easiest thing to do: hybrids will continue to sell well, PHEVs will become increasingly popular, the infrastructure for fast charging stations will get built out a bit more by companies like evGo and others, so it will become normal to plug in your car when you run to the store for groceries, and apartment buildings and employers will routinely offer -- for free, or for a price -- the ability to charge in their garages and parking spaces while you sleep or work. Perhaps ICE car sharing will become more common, as a way to handle range issues.
Tags: icevsev
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