Honda has New Electric Car that gets 118 Miles per Gallon of Gasoline

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 10th, 2012

Week in Review

Honda is selling an electric car that can get 118 miles per gallon of gasoline.  Even though this car doesn’t consume a drop of gasoline to go those 118 miles (see Honda electric car gets 118 mpg, but costs add up by Jonathan Fahey and Tom Krisher, Associated Press, posted 6/7/2012 on Yahoo! Autos).

At 118 miles per gallon, the Honda Fit electric vehicle is the most fuel-efficient in the United States. But getting that mileage isn’t cheap — and it isn’t always good for the environment…

The electric Fit has an estimated price tag nearly twice as high as the gasoline-powered version. It would take 11 years before a driver makes up the difference and begins saving on fuel…

People drive an average of almost 13,500 miles a year, so a typical driver would spend $445 on electricity for an electric Fit over a year, and $1,552 on gasoline for a regular Fit…

A fully charged Fit EV can go 82 miles, meaning a daily commute could cost nothing for gasoline.

First of all the 118 miles per gallon is meaningless.  An electric car doesn’t go a single mile on gasoline.  So if you divide the miles you’ve driven by the amount of gasoline you used to go those miles you’re dividing by zero.  When you divide anything by zero you get infinity.  But 118 is NOT infinity.  So there is a formula they use to give you a comparable mpg by calculating cost per mile.  But as gasoline prices and driving distances vary this number is a moving number based on some assumptions.  And, in the end, meaningless.

And speaking of driving distances, who has ever leased a car?  I have.  My lease was for 15,000 miles per year, though.  Not 13,500.  And I went over on miles.  About 3,000 miles.  So let’s assume that the average miles people drive per year is 18,000.  If you divide 18,000 miles by 365 (the number of days in a year) you get 49.3 miles per day.  Leaving you a cushion of 32.7 miles (82-49.3).  Unless you’re running the air conditioner (or heater in winter).  If so subtract about 20% from that 82 miles.  Giving you a range of 65.6.  And a cushion of 16.3 miles.  Or less if you’re car pooling (more weight means shorter battery life).   Or if you’re stuck in rush hour traffic with the air conditioning (or heat) on.  Or run an after work errand.

Pretty soon you’ll be worrying about making it back home.  We call this range anxiety.  Also, few people own a car for 11 years.  The two-year lease is a popular lease for the car may remain under the factory warranty for the term of that lease.  But if you buy an electric car and hold it for 11 years to get your investment out of it there’s a chance it will be out of warranty when you’ll need some big ticket repairs.  Such as replacing the batteries.  It’s why a lot of people lease.  They’ll live with a car payment forever just to have a car that is no older than 2 years and will always start when they need it.  And never have to deal with the hassle of taking the car in for service.  Or get a very expensive out or warranty repair bill.

The electric car market is confusing.  Because we understand gasoline-powered cars.  We understand mileage.  How far we can go on a tank of gas.  And know that it takes only a few minutes to top off the tank.  Which feels like forever if you’re in a hurry.  Imagine having to wait an hour or two to recharge.  That will really feel like forever.  But if you never drive more than 20 miles a day and don’t care about cost savings, you can enjoy driving a car without ever having to visit another gas station.  Which wouldn’t be bad for a retiree.  But not very practical for someone who really puts some miles on a car.

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