Despite GM’s moving price point for the Chevy Volt, it’s becoming clear that it will retail for $40,000 or more. That’s nearly the same price as buying TWO Toyota Priuses. So which scenario makes more sense economically: one Chevy Volt, or two Toyota Priuses? The numbers tell an intriguing story.
First, it’s important to note that some hypothetical points are necessary to create a level playing field. In the calculations below it’s assumed that both vehicles could be purchased with a 0% 5-year loan, and that a previous vehicle was in use providing an average of 24 miles per gallon. After that, the numbers dive into how long it would take for the gas savings to pay for the purchase price.
At first glance, buying a single Toyota Prius seems to pay for itself in less time than a Chevy Volt. But, that’s assuming the driver is traveling further than 40 miles per day and is realizing the 150 mpg estimate. The Chevy Volt has the potential to use no gas in a typical commuting situation and that would skew these numbers significantly. At that point the variable would become accessibility and changing prices for electrical energy.
Comparing the purchase of two Toyota Priuses with a single Chevy Volt, the savings trend slants sharply toward the Volt. It takes almost twice as long for the two Priuses to pay for themselves, but that scenario provides each adult with his or her own vehicle.
This example also assumes that GM will stick with its estimate of $40,000 for the Chevy Volt. Bob Lutz, vice chairman of GM seems to confirm that when he indicated “the first-generation Volt will retail for about $40,000 and generate no profit for GM. The company hopes to make money as it rolls out later versions of the vehicle and other plug-in models,” according to the Seattle Times.