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Holden Volt $2.50 to fill? But it costs more to run than a big SUV

The Holden Volt

The Holden Volt is an electric hybrid car that, according to advertisements, costs only $2.50 to fill. Thanks to a polished ad campaign, there are probably people out there who think it might be cheap to run.

The ads don’t mention that if you are an average driver, doing about 40 km a day, you’ll need to fill it every day. It still only has a 60-80km range on electric power, before it has to switch to petrol. (The charge will take about four hours from a home socket). Even so, it almost sounds useful, except that it costs $60,000. (And don’t even think about the network grid infrastructure we’d have to build if everyone drove one).

When RACQ (Royal Automobile Club of Queensland) looked at the average running costs of different models the five year total costs of a Volt were $74,000 – $78,000.  The five year cost of running, say, a 2 ton Ford Territory (medium SUV) came in at $63,000.

So it’s cheaper to run an SUV for five years than it is to run a Volt

If you commute 60km a day, and can pick up one of these second hand, and drive it for years, you might end up saving money. Though at the moment it’s still $50k for a used one, and there are not many around. Annual Volt sales were projected to be in the “hundreds”.

Perhaps these total costs come out better over ten years?

Share the cost? We all pay more for a Holden Volt, even if we don’t own one

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released a warning in December that electric cars will cost a lot more than just the purchase price and the electricity:

Electric vehicles in particular are another new “appliance” which is set to place new demands on Australia’s power system. This review has found that each electric vehicle could impose additional network and generation costs from $7500 up to $10,000 per vehicle over the 5 years from 2015 to 2020 in the absence of appropriate pricing signals and efficient charging decisions.

Who pays that extra $7k – $10k per car? It is shared by all consumers… lets just hope not too many people buy a Volt.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I want everyone to be able to afford to drive across as much of Australia as I have, and if one day an electric hybrid makes that happen, I’ll be delighted.

Compare your car to the rest

Vehicle running costs for medium cars

  • Ford Mondeo LX 2.3L 6sp Auto 5dr hatch, |   Avg cents per km 77c |  5 year cost   $57,754.84
  • Holden Volt EV 1.4L/Electric CVT 5dr hatch  |   Avg cents per km 98c    5 year cost  $73,888 – $79,887

Vehicle running costs for small cars

  • Mazda3 Neo 2.0L 5sp Auto 5dr hatch |   Avg cents per km 62c  | 5 year cost  $45,880.39

Vehicle running costs for light cars

  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric CVT 4dr Sedan  |   Avg cents per km 84 -90c |  5 year cost $63,026 – $67,906
  • Mazda2 Neo 1.5L 5sp Manual 5dr hatch   |   Avg cents per km 50c  | 5 year cost  $37,599.64

Vehicle running costs for SUV medium cars

  • Ford SZ Territory TX (RWD) 4.0L 6sp Auto 4dr wagon | Avg cents per km 83c |  5 year cost $62,351.56

There are many more cars on the RACQ page.

Image: Holden Volt by Jeremy

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