I read the Consumer Reports article describing how the Nissan Leaf would only go 65 miles per charge in Winter, and 75 miles in moderate weather, even though Nissan claims it'll go 100 miles.
Well... I've been keeping track of my gas mileage for over 20 years now, and can tell you with 100% certainty that a gasoline powered car will loose a lot of fuel economy in cold weather.
My Grand Am would get 40 to 45 mpg in Summer, but only 32 to 35 in Winter (we're talking highway mpg here). This is partly due to nearly 50% greater air density, which the car must push. It's also partly due to the fact the engine draws in nearly 50% more air, therefore 50% more oxygen, and therefore the EFI must squirt 50% more fuel for each intake stroke.
BTW, this same phenomenon can be seen at high altitude. The Chevy Astro van I drove on a job would get 20 to 22 mpg around hilly Denver highways. But, it would only muster 17 mpg on flat, straight roads at lower altitude.
Anyway, as the subject of this post indicates, there are a LOT of hidden costs to your vehicle you may not keep track of. For instance, electric cars won't need oil changes, oil filters, spark plugs, spark plug wires, gas station stops, air filters, fuel filters, transmission oil, power steering fluid, fuel pumps, fuel filters, fuel injectors, alternators, starters, radiators, rusty exhaust systems, mufflers, catalytic converters, distributor caps or ignitor units, oxygen sensors, vacuum hoses, MAP sensor, throttle position sensor, this sensor that sensor, a computer and will need fewer brake pads and rotor work since the motor does much of the braking.
I just made that list from memory, as they are things I have replaced myself over the years. All that money can buy me a stack of batteries, eh?
I have been using an electric lawn mower for 6 years and can honestly say it costs pennies per charge, and all I do is plug it in. It's plug n play.
However, as an environmentalist I have determined something SIGNIFICANT. Every dollar you spend ends up paying for some form of energy eventually, as that dollar moves down the "food chain", somto speak. For instance, the extra $5000 it costs for a Prius partially went to mining for lithium or lead for the batteries, partly for transporting it, partly for the labor, partly for paying rent on the building where the subcontractor makes the batteries. The subcontractors rent foes to pay the loan which paid for the construction of the building, where steel and concrete were used. Steel comes from MELTING rock (ron ore) at 2500 degrees, give or take a couple, and melting the iron at various stages in the process. Concrete comes from MELTING limestone at similar temperatures. Later, the steel and concrete need to be moved across oceans of continents to make a structure.
And what happens to the cash you pay workers? They spend it on gas to drive home, and on groceries, which are transported with diesel trucks, harvested with diesel tractors, both made from iron, which comes from melting rocks.
Same "food chain" can be followed for the salesman at the car dealer, the brigh lights on the ceiling, the glass windows from wall to wall. BTW, glass comes from melting sand at 2500 degrees, give or take a couple hundred.
So you see, saving money MEANS saving energy. And saving energy MEANS saving the environment (because fossil fuels have lots of heavy metals and radioactive elements, and are made of toxic organics).
And obviously, anyone spending an extra $5000 on a hybrid isn't doing it for the cost savings, she's doing for the energy savings or the environment. But in reality, if you spend more money, you burn more fossil fuels.
This is where Consumer Reports comes in. Can you please track all the expenses of your hybrids, BEVs and ICE vehicles, and let us know which configuration costs less?
And don't forget, the US coal powered utilities are between 22% efficient and 32% efficient, which is worse than a gasoline car's 25% to 33%, in case any of you are concerned about saving energy.
But, also note that a gallon of gas is around 35 kilowatt hours, and moves you maybe 20 miles in a fuel efficient car in Winter in the city. But the Nissan Leaf completely charges with only 21.7 kilowatt hours, and can go 65 miles with that in Winter, according to your article.
So... even with the utility's efficiency of 22% (a waste of 78%), the Nissan went 23 miles per 35 kilowatt hours of burned coal.
That's better than the ICE would do with 35 kilowatt hours of gasoline. And the Leaf didn't puke oil all over the road while doing it.
So, if you could, make a spreadsheet and figure out which one of the three types of cars uses less energy, that would be awesome!
If my luxuriously appointed 2010 Prius Five model lasts 20 years, and I never need buy another car for that long, I am doing a lot for the old blue ball. At 50 miles per gallon in an age when there are parking lots still chock full of humungous gas guzzling SUV, andMonster Full Sized Pick-up Trucks designed to appeal to the considerable number of men whose masculinity evidently needs some reinforcement. I'm quite comfortable where I am with what I purchased. Good luck with that Big Golf Car though.
Also your analysis of the inefficiencies of the fossil fuel Power Generation Plants doesn't really apply to hybrids who generate electricity from momentum, and save electricity by power management, like shutting the engine off for traffic lights. If batteries improve I am sure the hybrids will get even better, and I really love my Prius, the old 2nd Generation, and the new 3rd Generation with far fewer moving parts to generate friction.