More Fuelish Thoughts

We are still considering selling my beloved Insight for a 4 seat vehicle. Looked at many options, including a TDI Passat Wagon, a few 04-07 Priuses, and several 2008 Civic Hybrids. The hybrids are nice with lots of added utility over the Insight, but any one of the takes us into a 50% cut in mileage from what I am used to. Also, the value of my Inisght is going up almost weekly, with comparable ones on E-Bay going for 10-20% more than the $12,600 I paid for it 30,000 miles ago. I had not intended “going green” to be an investment, but apparently Good Things do happen to Good People sometimes.
The long and short of it was that their is nothing on the market compelling enough for me to take on debt and sell my baby. I am REALLY fond of my little blue “pod” -something I had not fully realized until we were very close to trading it on a ’08 Civic. I am also vain and shallow enough that I place alot of emphasis on having “special” cars. I like to tinker with my cars, and the fact that the Insight is the most effeceint car in America holds alot of sway. I had begun looking into plug in conversion kits, but they are all located in California or WA and driving 4600 miles to save gas seemed ridiculous. I had decided to peg my hopes on the 2009 Prius -it was strongly rumored to get 20% more mileage for the same money. But those rumors are drying up and after calling about 8 dealers to find someone savy enough to talk intelligently to me about them, I am mostly convinced that Real Change in the Prius market will not happen until late 2010.

But then, Hybrid Cars spilled the goods that Hymotion, one of the more reputable Plug In kit designers, was releasing a 2nd Generation kit. The Hybrid Car blurb had me from the first sentence: Lithium Ion battery pack, full crash test compliance, MIDWESTERN installers (MN), 3 yr warranty, and turn key price (including installation) of $10k.

Could this be The One? 100+ mpg is certainly a step in the right direction, it solves the “soccer problem” with its 4 seats, and being one of the Early Adopters pushing a new world changing technology is right up my alley. There are currently less than 250 plug in vehicles on the road -most in Public Utility fleets. I would be VERY pleased to add my name to that List of Honor.

But wait a minute -used Prius are not cheap -figure $20k for a lightly used one- and I’m adding $10k to that! WTH am I thinking? We’d be switching the 25k miles we drive on the Forester (26-7 mpg) to the 4 Door Hybrid. Even with a Civic 47mpg we were saving $75/mo. Jumping to 100mpg and that savings gets close to $280 at $4/gallon. Wait a gal darn minute, we don’t spend that now! But the truth of the matter is that with a 1400 mile range in combined driving I’d only be filling up every other month unless we took a long trip. Payback on the plug in kit is about 3 years with those numbers, not counting interest.

Suffice it to say that I am calling Hymotion and their MN dealer today to ask some questions.


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