Questioning Plug-in Car's ROI

Irwin Greenstein finds the decade or longer return on investment in a plug-in hybrid conversion Lusciously 'ludicrous.'

Published: 06-Jan-2009

Forget the fact that you’re an investor with a penchant for green opportunities, and instead consider yourself a hard-nosed businessman looking for the best return on your money. You run a spread sheet to determine the ROI of electric cars, based on current gas prices, and suddenly you’d be looking elsewhere for investments that would ensure your retirement.

I’ve been reading about a new crop of garages that convert hybrid cars such as the popular Toyota Prius into all-electric vehicles. Once you consider the economics of this folly, you see why electric cars are a fallacy for both the owner and investors looking for a toehold in this burgeoning market.

I read my first story a few months ago. It was about the Luscious Garage in San Francisco. Run by women, they carved out a juicy niche for themselves by yanking out the gas engine in hybrid cars and replacing it with another set of batteries. The job cost about $7,500.


Purportedly capable of hitting 0-to-60 in under 6 seconds, the plug-in hybrid Karma can hit 125 mph. The company hopes to sell 15,000 of the luxury electric cars annually.

GM's newest fuel economy fighter is the Cruze.

Analysts note that General Motors has made dramatic improvements in its vehicles over the last decade. Pictured is new small call, Chevy Cruze.

Volvo C30 is plug-in hybrid concept that utilizes electric wheel motors.

The real problem we face - and in the US it's far worse, with car makers bleeding money - is that the car is unviable and has been for a long time, contends Larry Buttrose.


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