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The thing is both gas and electricity are a moving target.
And both are quite high in California .
Its about 3 dollars for gas now never went down that much but was
up to 4.5 at its worst . I can imagine it going through that again.
Watts per mile is starting to be a common measurement for electric cars.
There may be more factors to owning a vehicle than it's bottom line
cost like what you can carry or haul with it.
They sure can be moving targets. Electric rates have stayed steady for me for the past decade (most of my local power comes from nuclear and hydro), so those are easier to predict, but gas goes up and down a lot. I'd say Gas can't get any cheaper than it is now, and it's unlikely to go more expensive than 1.50$ more from what we're currently paying (as this will prompt more drilling in the US). But what do I really know? Oil predictions got hard once covid hit.... I will say, even with my math, I figured the payback time was close enough to breaking even with how long I typically own cars for (6-8 years), and I want the prime for the faster acceleration and the idea of driving on full electric more often. Tesla's cost wayyyy too much, and I honestly don't think they're even that nice, so that's why I'm here! hah
 

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The thing is both gas and electricity are a moving target.
And both are quite high in California .
Its about 3 dollars for gas now never went down that much but was
up to 4.5 at its worst . I can imagine it going through that again.
Watts per mile is starting to be a common measurement for electric cars.
There may be more factors to owning a vehicle than it's bottom line
cost like what you can carry or haul with it.
For some inexplicable reason the EPA decided to use MPGe for EV efficiency. I kinda get what they were going for, trying to provide something that can be compared to the gasoline unit we already know, but it utterly fails to do that. kWh/mile is the only reasonable metric to use in the US. Fortunately it's pretty easy to convert between them if you have a calculator: 94 MPGe is 33.7/94 = .359 kWh/mi. Drive 10 miles, you use 3.59 kWh. A 3.3 kW charger needs 1.09 hours to charge. At $0.12/kWh that costs $0.43. Nice, easy units for people to work with.
 

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The best way to determine cost savings is to use the value of about 3 miles / kWh, and then figure out your kwh price for whatever time window you'll be charging your Prime. I pay about 5.5 cents per kWh on off-peak, so it's about 2 cents per mile. Then you just need to guess how many miles a year you'll be driving electric. Subtract all this by what your milage/cost per gallon is for your current car.

All this is of course assuming your alternative car (current vehicle, or a choice of a R4H instead), gets the same MPG. If they get different MPG, you'll just want to compare the gas mileage between the two.

The following will help you save more money when buying the prime vs the hybrid:
cheaper electricity
expensive gas in your area
lots of daily trips where you happen to use close to the full battery amount (example, if your commute is only 6 miles per day, you're probably better off with a hybrid because you'll never be able to rack up a lot of electric/gas-saving miles)

Since electricity in my area is about half as expensive as national prices, and gas is about the same nationally, I automatically have a 2x quicker pay back period than most. I used to commute to the office 5 days a week (36 miles round trip) pre-pandemic, so after running all the numbers in excel, the car would have paid for itself over the hybrid version in like 2-3 years I think. Now I work mostly remote, but post pandemic I plan on working 3 days a week in the office, so when I start going in to the office more, it might be more like a 4-5 year payback period.
The savings with Prime over a hybrid rav4 is just an illusion because there is whole lot of depends... If you manage to get Prime after credits for same price or lower then a comparable hybrid then you will be saving immediately, but what if it comes up 5k more with markup etc... then it will take a decade to pay off with average 12k miles per year.
 

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Well, I can give y'all my real-world experience. We've put 9,000 miles on our PEHV and bought 35.2 gallons of gas. We get 47mpg, which corresponds to about 1650 miles on the ICE. We've therefore put about 7400 miles in EV mode at ~3m/kWH, or 2470kWH, which cost us about $300. 7400 miles at 47mpg would have been 157 gallons of gas which, in Seattle, would have cost about $450. So yeah, $250 a year savings is about right. Plus, fewer oil changes, of course.
 

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Recent article on fuel cost savings:


In short, they estimate $3k to $10k savings over 15 years, or $200 to $700 per year depending on prices where you live.

Keep in mind that this is an article summarizing a journal paper, which is behind a paywall so there's a lot of unknowns. For example, what gasoline cars were they comparing against? The comparisons we've been doing here are RAV4 Prime vs the RAV4 Hybrid, which is going to be a far smaller savings than when compared against the RAV4 ICE.
 

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very little saving.. so we are basically paying a bunch of extra money just for 305 hp. At least right now, we get back a bunch from the gov. and dealers may do 5k mark up for these lol. Once these incentive expires, wonder how Toyota gonna sell these plug in?
 

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very little saving.. so we are basically paying a bunch of extra money just for 305 hp. At least right now, we get back a bunch from the gov. and dealers may do 5k mark up for these lol. Once these incentive expires, wonder how Toyota gonna sell these plug in?
They'll cut prices once the incentives drop off. Initial R&D and scaling up manufacturability of a large component (in this case batteries), costs a significant amount of money. Those costs are paid for by the higher initial cost of the vehicles with the added incentive. Once toyota sells enough (just like Tesla), the remaining costs to continue building the batteries goes down significantly. That's part of the genius of the federal tax credit, it's a way to build up a new supply chain. Toyota is smart and is likely going to make PHEV and hybrids a big part of their future, the incentive gets them started. It worked for Tesla.
 

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Recent article on fuel cost savings:


In short, they estimate $3k to $10k savings over 15 years, or $200 to $700 per year depending on prices where you live.

Keep in mind that this is an article summarizing a journal paper, which is behind a paywall so there's a lot of unknowns. For example, what gasoline cars were they comparing against? The comparisons we've been doing here are RAV4 Prime vs the RAV4 Hybrid, which is going to be a far smaller savings than when compared against the RAV4 ICE.
So you overpay for electric car by $10k only to save that much over 15 years? All these comparisons are entertainment only... for most there are no savings if you just take your calculator out and plug the numbers in. Besides how many people do you know who are still driving even a 10 year old electric car... 15 years forget about it... only hardcore enthusiasts maybe.
 

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They'll cut prices once the incentives drop off. Initial R&D and scaling up manufacturability of a large component (in this case batteries), costs a significant amount of money. Those costs are paid for by the higher initial cost of the vehicles with the added incentive. Once toyota sells enough (just like Tesla), the remaining costs to continue building the batteries goes down significantly. That's part of the genius of the federal tax credit, it's a way to build up a new supply chain. Toyota is smart and is likely going to make PHEV and hybrids a big part of their future, the incentive gets them started. It worked for Tesla.
Toyota did the same thing with the GEN2 Prius when the credit ran out.
 

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So you overpay for electric car by $10k only to save that much over 15 years? All these comparisons are entertainment only... for most there are no savings if you just take your calculator out and plug the numbers in. Besides how many people do you know who are still driving even a 10 year old electric car... 15 years forget about it... only hardcore enthusiasts maybe.
It kind of funny. One the one hand, lots folks are complaining that Toyota is not going to make enough of the RAV4 Prime, and complaining bitterly. On the other hand, "it's too expensive and won't save any money". Fine. Go buy a Corolla hybrid and shut up. Or a Yaris. There are at least some folks who have cheap electricity. Myself, I have solar and have a massive credit on my electric bill. They won't give me cash. So one way to extract the money is to have a PHEV. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the country with this problem. Some people do have inexpensive electricity. It's a pretty good bet that the price of gas WILL go up. So I'm confident that this car is financially sound for at least a few people. Beyond that, why do people buy sports cars, or car about the color. It's not just about the money. I can get free parking and charging in Boston, (but serious limitation apply) And if you have ever tried to park in Boston, you know that's worth something. Maybe not enough to buy the car, but add that to other little stuff and it helps.

It is going to be a fun car.
 

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It kind of funny. One the one hand, lots folks are complaining that Toyota is not going to make enough of the RAV4 Prime, and complaining bitterly. On the other hand, "it's too expensive and won't save any money". Fine. Go buy a Corolla hybrid and shut up. Or a Yaris. There are at least some folks who have cheap electricity. Myself, I have solar and have a massive credit on my electric bill. They won't give me cash. So one way to extract the money is to have a PHEV. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the country with this problem. Some people do have inexpensive electricity. It's a pretty good bet that the price of gas WILL go up. So I'm confident that this car is financially sound for at least a few people. Beyond that, why do people buy sports cars, or car about the color. It's not just about the money. I can get free parking and charging in Boston, (but serious limitation apply) And if you have ever tried to park in Boston, you know that's worth something. Maybe not enough to buy the car, but add that to other little stuff and it helps.
And there will be some who fail at simple math or can't read. Even if your electricity is completely FREE and you are planning to put only electric miles you will need to be well above average driver to make up the price difference. For argument sake lets say it will cost $7k more for Prime with markup and after credit over a loaded rav4 hybrid which you can buy at discount already. Here is a simple math for you:

12k average miles / 40mpg * $2.60 per gallon * 9 years = ~ $7000 in gas

So 9 years is just a break even to make up that $7k difference for you and since not everyone has "FREE" electricity then breaking even may not even happen.

Plug your own numbers.

It is going to be a fun car.
That's been the only reason to get it really for it being faster than hybrid
 

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If I run the numbers with the federal and state incentives, it's actually cheaper than an equivalent standard hybrid that I had optioned out as I wanted. So that's immediate money savings here, at least. Some of that, in my case, is eaten up by the higher sales tax and ownership tax (since those are based on MSRP in Colorado), but it comes out to about even then. I'll happily take the extra power and slightly cheaper fueling option for no extra cost besides a little longer wait.

As for these incentives expiring -- the price will go down, or Toyota will still get a bunch of money from people that don't sit down and run the numbers or just want the extra power and electric perks at whatever cost. I would just be buying a standard hybrid myself right now if not for the tax incentives. I suspect competition will drive prices down a bit once the credits run out anyway and expect more mainstream AWD PHEVs to be available at that point.
 

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assuming you can get one for the msrp price and with tax credits it might be cheaper but if you are dealing with markup like I am it's just not worth it
 

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I had a friend who had a Ford plug-in. I thought I was going to impress him with my then 41 MPG. He was getting 84 MPG.

When I look back over the last ten days driving, I can only come up with one trip where the entire to and back trip wouldn't be on electricity. While gas prices may drop as shutdowns resume, the investment oil companies aren't making to replace their reserves will eventually affect prices. Now how that lines up with EV adoption is anyone's guess.

My point is perhaps only that your driving needs/habits can significantly affect the point where plug-in makes sense. That and your negotiating skill, and when you buy and what that difference in cost could earn before the payoff period.
 

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assuming you can get one for the msrp price and with tax credits it might be cheaper but if you are dealing with markup like I am it's just not worth it
Yeah, absolutely agreed. I wonder how they find people willing to pay so much for it? I'd be looking at a class above this vehicle if I had an extra $10k sitting around for it :)
 

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Yeah, absolutely agreed. I wonder how they find people willing to pay so much for it? I'd be looking at a class above this vehicle if I had an extra $10k sitting around for it :)
Early adopter fee. They do that all the time when limited supply and hot item. My dealer said he had 50 or so people in waiting list already.
 

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Early adopter fee. They do that all the time when limited supply and hot item. My dealer said he had 50 or so people in waiting list already.
My plan is to just ask for it near MSRP, then wait till someone can give it to me at that price. In a good economy, that would have never happened within a year or so, but we're not in a good economy right now, so maybe i only need to wait a few months?

At some point someone will be willing to sell it to me at MSRP. question is, when?
 

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And there will be some who fail at simple math or can't read. Even if your electricity is completely FREE and you are planning to put only electric miles you will need to be well above average driver to make up the price difference. For argument sake lets say it will cost $7k more for Prime with markup and after credit over a loaded rav4 hybrid which you can buy at discount already. Here is a simple math for you:

12k average miles / 40mpg * $2.60 per gallon * 9 years = ~ $7000 in gas

So 9 years is just a break even to make up that $7k difference for you and since not everyone has "FREE" electricity then breaking even may not even happen.

Plug your own numbers.


That's been the only reason to get it really for it being faster than hybrid
I agree, if it's marked up $7,000 I'm not getting it. Not yet anyway. But for me, in my state, and buying at list price, it's maybe $1,500 more. Not so unreasonable for a cool car.

One of the odd things about comparing any car that (already) gets good mileage is that there is sort of a point of diminishing returns. It's one thing to go from a 4Runner to a RAV4. The RAV4 will save you $2,000/year, even if you only drive 12,000 miles. But going from 40mpg to 50 mpg only saves $240/year. And going from 50 mpg to 60mpg saves $160/year. So from a purely $$$ perspective, what's the point. On the other hand, electric mode has about 1/2 the pollution of gas mode. So there's that.
 

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One of the odd things about comparing any car that (already) gets good mileage is that there is sort of a point of diminishing returns. It's one thing to go from a 4Runner to a RAV4. The RAV4 will save you $2,000/year, even if you only drive 12,000 miles. But going from 40mpg to 50 mpg only saves $240/year. And going from 50 mpg to 60mpg saves $160/year. So from a purely $$$ perspective, what's the point.
Here's an article on the subject explaining this. Like you say, mpg has diminishing returns. Probably the regular RAV4 is the cheapest overall, especially if it's marked down several thousand dollars from MSRP. And a used vehicle is cheaper still. One reason for this is eventually if you burn out your traction battery, the $2k or so replacement cost negates some of your gas savings.

As others will be quick to point out, with the prime you are also getting hugely more power, a more responsive drivetrain at low speeds and power levels, and AWD is standard.
 
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