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Anyone have a Prius Plug-in without access to a charging station?
Old 05-23-2015, 02:24 PM   #1
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Anyone have a Prius Plug-in without access to a charging station?

Ok, my daily driver/car is about 8 1/2 years old with about 138k miles. It gets about 20 - 21 mpg in bumper to bumper driving/traffic and 28 mpg on the freeway without traffic. It won't get much $2k - 3k as a trade-in so nothing really. It runs fine, but I'm thinking I should join the electric hybrid group before a major mechanical issue.

I'm thinking of a new 2015 Pruis Plug-in. It lists for 31k, but with discount and rebate, I'm seeing it for $27k plus tax, title, etc. In addition, Federal and CA State tax incentives are $2.5k and $1.5k respectively, so the base will be $23k, Southern CA resident.

The benefits:
- new car with better gas mileage (about 50 mpg)
- new car warranty and maintenance
- CA HOV green sticker to us as a single occupany until Jan 2019

The caution
- current daily driver/car is still good
- won't use the plug-in as work and apt charges about $1 an hour so gas is cheaper (benefit is in the HOV green sticker)
- Plug-in is more expensive that the regualr hybrid model, but HOV sticker is worth it (estimated 30 minutes a weekday saved)
- may only live in CA for a few more years.
- higher insurance as I only carry liability

Other - I'm considering a PenFed auto loan of 1% but have cash to pay in full. Financing rate is so low, I might want to use the cash on an investment property or stock market.

What else should I consider? Any feedback?
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:46 PM   #2
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I like the Prius, but the plug-in model makes little sense to me in at least 49 states. But if you're after an HOV sticker, I am sure you have the list of other cars Eligible Vehicles - Single Occupant Carpool Lane Use Stickers
[OP is a good example of the laws of unintended consequences...]
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
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Hi Midpack - Thanks for the list, yes, I've viewed before. I feel my recent relocation to CA is an example of laws of unintended consequences. ;-)

I would of never considered the Prius Plug-in without the HOV sticker, so perhaps, I'm just buying the sticker for 30 minutes per day back in my life. ;-)
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:30 PM   #4
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sad
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:42 PM   #5
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sad
Thanks, I think. Can you expand on that?

I do have a more fun weekend car, but it only gets about 17 mpg in the city.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:06 PM   #6
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Reportedly, the resale value of some hybrids and EVs are well below their conventional IC counterparts of late (related thread here). If the HOV sticker is the big draw, maybe get it "on sale" by buying a heavily depreciated used Chevy Volt for about $13K. They are supposedly okay cars, and if your move out of SoCal materializes you could sell it without taking a big hit. Same HOV sticker and reduced commute time as the Prius, but $10K less out of pocket . . .

If you still want the Prius, be advised that the Prius C has not gotten the glowing reviews of other Prius variants (discussed a bit here). Is that the one that is on sale?
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Aiming_4_55 View Post
It won't get much $2k - 3k as a trade-in so nothing really. It runs fine, but I'm thinking I should join the electric hybrid group before a major mechanical issue.
The new car will depreciate more the moment you drive it off the lot than your current vehicle is worth, so you're operating at a loss from day 1, plus have lost the potential investment earnings of what the car cost to purchase.

What if that possible mechanical issue doesn't happen for 5 years? Based on your car's current value, you would have given up close to zero in depreciation over those 5 years. A new car will depreciate by at least half its value in the first 5 years.

Another thing to consider...how much better will the hybrid technology be in the future as compared to that of a car you buy today? And, what if a major technological advancement comes along a year or 2 from now? Suddenly your 2-year old hybrid loses take a big depreciation hit.
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Old 05-23-2015, 11:27 PM   #8
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I'm certainly not one that goes around encouraging people to run out and buy a new car, but...

Your situation sounds pretty unique - Plug-in Prius @ $23k, in the state with the highest gas costs of the contiguous 48 states, enables you to get an HOV sticker that allows you as single occupant to use the HOV lanes saving you ~30 minutes a day (and I assume using HOV also lowers your stress level).

Your existing car has 138k on it, it's not like its a low-mileage car that you are turning, and the increase in insurance cost is going to happen in a while anyway, unless you instead decide to buy a string of older well-used cars and run without collision and comprehensive.

If you are OK with driving a Prius, why not?
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Old 05-24-2015, 06:09 AM   #9
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Where are you going to charge it if you don't have your own station? How long does that take? Is it available when you want it? If you buy a station for your home how much does that cost? If you buy a new electric car will that make it rain?
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:46 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

samclem - I recall seeing that after you linked it. I'm leaning toward new for the 8 year battery warranty, 2 year free maintenance, 3 year warranty, free oil changes and free tires every 18 months. These VIP programs to get customers in the door is nuts, sure I have to read the fine print. The $13k Volts are 4 years old, higher miles and get less mpg.

Music Lover - the $4k tax incentive will give me the car in some sense for free for the first year. Used 2014 Prius Plug-ins are going for $24k - 25k and 2013 are going for $21 - 22k, so if I don't like, I will sell it. I've been deferring original strut/shock/coil spring replacement for about 6 months, parts alone would be about $400-500. Hybrid technology is like the iphone, if I wait something new with more promise will come alone. The green sticker will run out in a few months and expire in 2019. Passively earmarking ER in 2019
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:55 AM   #11
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..... (and I assume using HOV also lowers your stress level)....
Yes to the stress of driving in traffic.

.... If you are OK with driving a Prius, why not?
...
Driving a Prius Yeah, that's the thing and delayed my purchase for a year now, but the incentive to stay at the current job is there now with new stock options and RSUs awards.

At least my weekend car has over 400 horsepower and the top is removable
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:02 AM   #12
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Where are you going to charge it if you don't have your own station? How long does that take? Is it available when you want it? If you buy a station for your home how much does that cost? If you buy a new electric car will that make it rain?
It can plug into a standard 120V and takes 3 hours for a full charge but don't have daily access to charge from my rental unit (Yes, I own multiple properties, but don't live in any of them). I do have access to "pay" for public charging stations, however gas is generally cheaper per mile. I will probably charge every few weeks or so, but it's not a priority for me.

Since I have limited access to "power", I'm just really looking at the MPG and HOV sticker.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:03 AM   #13
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So, has anyone heard of the Prius Plug-in going bad if the battery is seldomly charged and only gas is used for extended period of time?
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Old 05-24-2015, 12:19 PM   #14
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So, has anyone heard of the Prius Plug-in going bad if the battery is seldomly charged and only gas is used for extended period of time?
I would think (but don't know), that the regen braking, or even just charging it from the engine power would be used to keep the battery up to any minimum level that might be needed. If it is too low, they just won't draw it down further for acceleration, and the engine will need to do all the work.

The batteries are expensive, and under warranty, so my gut says the engineers have accounted for this possibility. But maybe check one of the prius forums?

The 'unintended consequences' are just stunning (though I don't blame you for trying to optimize your situation). Drag extra battery capacity around that you aren't using, that had environmental impacts on it's own, and the lawmakers think this is a good thing to encourage?

I'll also repeat, I don't like the term 'unintended consequences' - I think that lets the decision-makers off the hook, as if they could not have foreseen these things. No, they were just too lazy to not fully evaluate the consequences, and/or had other motivations (which I will not go into, for fear of hitting political hot-buttons). I think 'not doing their job' is a better description.

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