Why you’re going to feel Stupid if you buy a hybrid vehicle.

Okay, this feels like it’s going to be another one of my long-winded posts so I’ll summarize at the top then go into the TLDR section below:

You better not buy a hybrid vehicle because:

  1. The whole concept of hybrid vehicles is already outdated.
  2. Hybrid vehicles are (generally speaking) weak.
  3. Hybrid vehicles are more expensive upfront than regular combustion cars and more expensive long term than electric cars.
  4. Hybrid vehicles don’t solve any currently-existing problems. They were originally posed as a “best of both worlds” solution straddling the combustion and the electric vehicle worlds. Now that modern electric vehicles have far more range than the vast majority (read: nearly 100%) of users use in the vast majority of their days (read: over 95%) there is no point in buying a hybrid “just in case” because it will cost you more than a combustion car upfront and “range” is a nonexistent problem.

Hybrid vehicles are Big Auto’s way of limping into electric vehicle production.

Big Automakers can’t stand the thought of consumers realizing the jig is up; that there is no point in buying the only thing they’re good at building:


Which are good for nothing, aside from pissing off


The most insidious part, and the part you’re 100% guaranteed of not realizing until I point it out in the next sentence or two?

The fact that hybrid vehicles in an automaker’s portfolio are the key element of their strategy to

KEEP PRODUCING LOTS OF LOW FUEL ECONOMY GAS VEHICLES. Particularly trucks. (Yes, Ford, I’m looking at you.)

The jig is up, losers. No one is going to buy your godforsaken hybrid vehicles now that people they know the truth!

Well yeah actually, they probably will. Because very few people are probably going to read this, and even the ones who do will probably persist in their confirmation bias, or even worse yet, suffer from the backfire effect.

They’ll probably just go on believing a nice [pointless] hybrid is a good middle of the road solution.

Even though it isn’t.

Okay, let’s run down the list. These are the top rated hybrids of 2018 (according to Kelley Blue Book):

Oh, Kelley Blue Book, FOR SHAME! Your top rated “plug in hybrid” gets WORSE fuel economy than the new vehicle fleet average for 2018! How tone deaf can a company be? Weighting system much?

Oh boy, with that as their starter, this REALLY oughta be good…

Yeah, no. It’s worse. Worse than I expected.

It took some real bravery on the part of Kelley “Our mission is to sell gas no matter what the cost” Bluebook to put a 24-mpg Volvo at the top of their top-rated hybrids list — the lot of which checks in at a paltry 34.4 mpg average and an average bottom sticker price of $44,203.50.

Not. It didn’t actually take any bravery at all. It indicates old KBB are a bunch of industry sellouts, IMHO.

Now I’m sure if people want to pay more to feel they’re doing right by the environment, I could just as easily have directed them here:

…er rather no, I couldn’t.

Because then they would be paying LESS for their greenwashing not MORE.

The reality of it is, there is not a single car in that entire lineup that can performance OR price compare to an electric.

And that includes you, Ms. Prius C.

Here’s why:

These, dear friends, are your costs of fuel + oil changes + depreciation for end-of-life 15 years given the referenced mileage traveled per year.

Okay, so that’s not entirely fair.

After all, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets the $7500 Federal incentive and that knocks it down a pretty penny. And you can only fit 54.55% of a soccer team in a Tesla Model S, so you’re going to be comparing that Chrysler minivan to a base Model X…which could get…um… ‘tricky…’

It’s also not very fair because I used the lowest-price spec in each case.

(and if you want to get pedantic, I overestimated a bit for oil for some of the cars because not all of them use quite 6 quarts…)

Your costs, on the other hand, for the top ten electrics…

AH, well darn!

Kelley Blue Book wasn’t nice enough to have a top ten list for electrics. The best I could find was “Top Five Electrics under $40,000.”

…and their list wasn’t updated for 2018 yet, despite that it’s almost the middle of July. But could I have expected better from…

Kelley “Our mission is to sell gas no matter what the cost” Bluebook?

Here’s the list I patched together:

These prices are obviously before tax, title, registration, and rebates (as are the gas car values above.) The BMW i3 referenced is the projected 2018.5 version with the larger 120Ah pack. The range estimate for the e-Golf is estimated and the Mercedes B 250e includes the reserve capacity.

I’ll use the middle of the road figures for charging cost ($0.126/kWh) though this can vary considerably in either direction depending on how closely you pay attention to it, whether you will need to use fast charging (particularly overpriced CHAdeMO/CCS stations which IMHO are next to worthless in their current configurations/prices) and if you have tiered rates or solar.

I will also use the generic 4 mi/kWh figure for all but the Models S and X. For those I will use 3.7 mi/kWh. Your cost per mile will vary considerably based on where you live, which is why you should start paying attention to your electric bill pretty soon. The figures I am using are essentially worst-case; you can get much better prices if you opt to install solar SOON because the 30% Federal incentive on solar is shortly due to expire (2020 begins phase out, IIRC.)

I truly hope you weren’t actually planning on BUYING that Volvo XC60 “top rated” Kelley Blue Book hybrid. At least, that is, unless you were born July 9, 2018. In that case…

Yes, of course you can argue for the half-walnut-shell of a Toyota Prius C…buying that one will save you almost $4600 in 15 years over the Long range premium AWD Model 3.

…if you only drive it 225,000 miles.

But you can’t really compare those two cars, can you?

Not especially when one is actually fun to drive and the other is a means to from place to place.

No, in actuality you’d probably wind up driving *a lot* more with the…wait, what was it again? Long range premium AWD Model 3.

Maybe like 25,000 miles per year:

Give it up. Give up that STUPID idea of buying a hybrid. I mean RIGHT NOW. Before it’s too late!

Oh hell no!


Don’t tell me…

…he’s not going to bring up that…


OMG! What are those asinine kids jumping and screaming about now? Could it be the adults starting acting like adults and stopped shitting all over the place?

Yep. Yep he did.

He went and pointed out that after rebates, if you install solar on your house and get an amortized cost of even $0.08/kWh (note: the electricity price in Louisiana is already just $0.0837/kWh…I know, I know, you just threw up in your mouth a little, but I told you Big Oil and Big Auto and Kelley Blue Book…)

As I say, if you installed solar on your house…

Good GOD Batman! Is that right? That can’t be right! A new Model X costs LESS than a Chevy Malibu Hybrid over its working life?!

Not precisely, Robin. Experience teaches slowly, Robin. …and at the cost of many mistakes!

The figures you see ARE in fact the true figures for lifetime costs of depreciation plus fuel using solar power. However, they do not adjust for present value of money considerations — which change all the model to model comparisons up or down depending on initial cost, fuel economy difference, investment rate, compounding, etc.

And they don’t take into account a point John Skelly referred to in an earlier post:

Electric vehicles generally last longer and are much less expensive to maintain.

The chart does show that the BMW i3 (especially when you add the range extender, which essentially makes it a hybrid and eliminates the potential issue of range/refueling) and the Chevy Bolt (albeit that it’s produced at a $9000 per unit loss to GM) are very good deals.

It also shows that you should not buy any more ‘range’ than you need in an electric car, and as I’ve clearly demonstrated here:


…you don’t need more than an EPA-estimated 75 miles to go anywhere you like in the U.S.

At the end of the day, this shows that there is no hybrid that is even close to comparing to a Long Range premium RWD Tesla Model 3 when it comes to total depreciation plus fuel.

Even the lowly base model Prius C is 17.9% more expensive.

There’s nothing more to say aside from a little wisdom from the caped crusader:

“…greed is an overpowering emotion Robin. It sometimes dims all the senses, even that of self-preservation.”
Batman, we’ll never outrun those hybrids! No worries, old chum. Their days are numbered.

Please DO NOT follow me if you don’t like smugly-presented excellent information and pointed commentaries. You can know all about gardening, needlepoint, endgame strategies for GO! and the complete team batting averages of the Seattle Mariners, but here you’re in my house.

…and it’s powered with renewables.

I’m a sustainability advocate working to promote proliferation and understanding of electric vehicles and photovoltaic technology. Please send your questions!

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