Electric Car Smackdown The True Cost of Buying a Volt CBS News

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Electric Car Smackdown: The True of Buying a Volt

Last Oct 22, 2010 11:03 AM EDT

The automobile had only just begun to get test drives of the Chevrolet when a highly-charged argument out this week: Is the Volt a electric car? Under the GM Lied, a slightly overwrought ewer at Edmunds Inside said the auto company was a fib by claiming in promotions that the was an all electrically driven vehicle. In said the reviewer, the Volt (at is more like a plug-in

General Motors shot that the Volt’s gas engine has no mechanical connection to the wheels but that the gas motor is in effect the wheels at times. GM said it had not explained the system earlier for reasons while it had patents approval.

Why should you care about engineering altercation? Two reasons: the distinction means the car can go a lot farther you need to plug it in (or fill it Second, because it can have a big on how much the car will cost

For most people, Federal and tax credits are crucial in bringing the cost of the pricey $41,000 (See Electric Cars: Buy or ) The question is whether the Volt is a electric like its competitor the Nissan Leaf, or if it is, as critics more like a plug-in which is subject to fewer in some states. As a driver, the big comes when you head out on a road trip: The Volt can going once the battery has run after 25 to 50 miles. (Nissan the Leaf has a 100-mile battery then has to be recharged).

Here’s a look at the financial of the case:

Will the Volt get the federal tax credit . Yes. The credit depends on the size of the in the vehicle. It starts at $2,500 for a measured at four kilowatt and steps up to a maximum $7,500 for of 16 kilowatt hours and larger.

The and Leaf meet that standard, as does the Toyota plug-in hybrid planned for next year. The credit, due to in 2014, will also end for any manufacturer after the sale of electric vehicles. Sen.

Levin (D-Michigan) proposed week that the cap ought to be if the government truly wants to electric vehicle development.

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Will the Volt get all state tax . It will get most but not all of the extensive tax credits for electric cars. The will not qualify for a $5,000 from California (better a tax credit because you get a rebate soon after the purchase). rebate depends in part on emissions and the Volt does not as an Advanced Technology Partial Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) in convoluted classification. That is of air pollution problems during starts, according to GreenCarReports.com. The plug-in hybrid, on the other will qualify for the rebate it’s equipped with designed to cope with the problem.

For the same reason, Volt miss out on another cherished perk available to Leaf and plug-in owners: the ability to in high-occupancy vehicle commuter even with only the on board.

What about the equipment? Installing special home charging units average about $2,000. A tax credit for half that is in for any unit bought before the end of The higher-voltage charger will cut in the full-charge time on a regular household outlet.

On the regular the recharge would take hours for the Volt and 16 hours for the which has a bigger battery You can apply for subsidies for the special from other federal if you live in areas where the and Leaf are being sold That includes Arizona, District of Columbia, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

What about gas mileage . The Protection Agency has not yet announced its for assigning mpg-equivalent ratings to vehicles. GM rashly came out year and said the Volt have a 230 mpg equivalent based on EPA methodology — but then GM had to Popular Mechanics. in a test calculated that the mileage, the distance traveling on battery was 37.5 mpg in the city, 38 mpg in highway That is significantly lower the rating for a regular hybrid of 51 mpg in city driving, 48 highway.

Of a commuter who drove a Volt than 25 miles a day and recharged at wouldn’t buy any gas at all. And overall of pollutants and greenhouse gases depend on how the electric power was (See Electric Cars: How Are They Really? ).

Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

from MoneyWatch

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