Back in 1998, I bought a VW New Beetle diesel. I wanted a New Beetle, and the TDI option offered an 18 month payback in fuel savings for me. 10 years and 300,000 miles later, it was time for a new ride. The dollar/euro ratio put the VW diesel I wanted out of my price range. My choices for a hatchback got down to a Honda Fit or a Toyota Prius. Even figuring on $5/gallon gasoline, I couldn’t get the payback for the Prius’ better fuel economy under 400,000 miles–and I wasn’t considering the higher maintenance costs for the Prius. (A coworker just replaced his battery at a bit past 100,000 miles for $3800!) The NYT has a story running that reviews the poor return for most hybrid and plugin vehicles.

And that assumes that you’ll be able to find the charging stations for your EV. One of the companies that was supposedly using stimulus money and a DoE grant to build and install charging stations is not only running behind schedule but has attracted the attention of the SEC for insider trading.

UPDATE–More bad Karma?

UPDATE 2–Tina Korbe says,

The day I can recoup the upfront costs of an electric car in fuel savings in six years or so without any kind of a tax break, I’ll consider buying one. I suspect other consumers would be more amenable to electric cars at that point, too.