Honda Fit EV's ROI is a little skewed

Honda Might Be Bending the ROI Logic for its Fit EV Too Much

Desperate times call for desperate measures and the automobile industry has been known to twist and bend reality in order to sell its cars. When it comes to the new field of plug-in hybrids, PHEV and electric car, EV, this could back fire for companies guilty of pushing the message too far. It certainly doesn’t help push the technology forward.

The problem is companies and politics treat people as working drones with very limited thinking capacities. Any glimpse at TV commercials and most ads would be enough to feel you are being intellectually slapped across the face. Selling at any cost means choosing the lowest common denominator to make the message as idiot-proof as possible. This eventually backfires. So is Honda guilty as charged? Probably, but it’s not the only one.

Return On Investments For EVs. One of the most crucial key component to choosing which car makes most sense is return on investments, ROI. Calculating budget, average miles traveled, gasoline and electricity price is just the tip of the iceberg. The pitfall is we are a busy nation with little time to strategically think things through. Marketing campaigns that distort the truth don’t help. From political to automobile, the message is clear: “We are the best, the others are bad”.

Is Honda guilty of twisting its message by saying that its Fit EV’s cost of powering is $3,981 less over three years than an average of small and compact gasoline-powered cars? In one sense it is, since the car can only be leased for no more than 36,000 miles after which you incur a penalty of $1,800. Manufacturers need to be more straightforward with their messages since not too many people will drive more than 36,000 miles a year in an electric car?

But before we crucify Honda to the stake, the company is not the only one. GM’s insistence its Volt is not a plug-in hybrid but an extended range electric vehicle whose engine only recharged the battery were debunked, since the definition of a hybrid is that it has two sources of energy, electricity and gasoline and that the engine does indeed drive the wheels when needed. The Volt is a great plug-in hybrid, period.

What we need is a clear, straightforward message not more confusion. Yes, electric cars are great and excel in certain situations, namely in city driving. Yes, plug-in hybrids are fantastic. Yes, these are all solution to a thorny problem we have, high pollution and an unsustainable pace of industry. But no, they are not the only answer and we still need to see better ways of easing the strain we put on this rock.

Honda’s Fit EV is a great electric car that pushes performance. The Chevy Volt is a great plug-in hybrid, but let’s present both by bending its reality. The sooner carmakers get onboard, the sooner we get intelligent advertizing we deserve and they are able to concentrate on their strong points, giving us the choice we crave in automobiles.