Summer time is here and so starts the road trip season. If you’re loading up to pick your child up from college, or if you’re finally taking that family trip to the Magic Kingdom you have to factor in fuel cost. But in today’s economy you not only have to factor in fuel costs for road trips but also daily usage of vehicles. Enter Electric and Hybrid vehicles such as the Buick LaCrosse pictured above and the Mitsubishi iMIEV pictured below. If you were to purchase one of these vehicles, the thinking is you will see immediate returns at the gas pump….umm I mean the electric outlet or charging station. But is the true cost of ownership really understood? Edmunds.com published an article about how to decode the MPGe listed on electric vehicle window stickers. Our own Mitsubishi iMIEV touts a healthy 112 MPGe. So to the lay person such as myself; you can’t contain the excitement…”wow, 112 MPG” But wait, the iMIEV doesn’t have a gas tank sooooo how the..?
So here’s the breakdown, there’s two figures that are factored, MPGe and also range. Let’s start with the MPGe To create the mpg equivalent, the EPA uses an established energy standard of 115,000 BTUs (British thermal units) per gallon of gasoline. Translation, if you burn 1 gallon of unleaded gasoline, it would generate that much heat. To create the same amount of heat, you would need 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity. So if the iMIEV traveled 100 miles on 33.7 kWh of electricity it would receive an mpg equivalency of 100 mpg-e. The iMIEV requires less than the 33.7 kWh gallon-of-gas equivalent to travel 100 miles, so it gets a 112 MPGe. You can’t directly equate this to fuel cost however.
What really matters to you should be the range, the amount of miles you receive per charge. The iMIEV is rated at 63 miles per charge, so if you have a daily commute of less than 50-60 miles per day…this would be a perfect option for you. If your commute is longer the eAssist LaCrosse may be a better option. You can still receive the fuel efficiency but you will not have to worry about mileage range or the availability of charging stations. If clean energy is what you’re seeking then the iMIEV is a great choice. No matter what your decision is, you need to factor in the true cost of ownership. Will you have a charging station installed, or use the included adapter? What is the kilo watt per hour rate in your area? All of these are factors you should consider when seeking fuel efficient alternatives. But whatever the decision is, make sure you are knowledgeable about your purchase! Happy fuel efficient trails!
King’s Car Guy