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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

My wife's lease on a Honda Fit is ending mid-2019. While this is a bit early, I thought I'd do some polling to see if anyone has ever heard of any vehicles that could fit what I'm looking for.

We're looking for something compact SUV-like in appearance/ride height, purchaseable for under $30K before credits, and would prefer a PHEV/EREV with at least 50 miles. Her commute is about 33 miles each way, so, pending a lower price than anticipated, I don't think the 20-30 mile options out there really move the needle. I think an EV would work well for her, but that might require some significant convincing.

So far, the only cars I know about that are somewhat like this are the following, which I don't like for a few different reasons.

Crosstrek PHEV -- I think we'd like something a little larger/taller than a Crosstrek, and given that the PHEV system is sourced from Toyota, I only anticipate we'll get 20-25 miles of range.

Ford Escape PHEV -- The Escape could be perfect, but is rumored to only have 25 miles of EV range, and I don't know if it will be a standard Ford job that basically makes the cargo area unusable.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV -- Again, range is a little shorter than I'd prefer, but I could live with it given the size of the vehicle and getting a better tax credit. My hangup here is Mitsubishi. I don't want to be left without anywhere to get this serviced if they leave the US.

Kia Stonic EV -- Well, it may not exist. So that's a problem. If it does exist and comes in around 200 miles and $26K before credit, it could be the ticket. Maybe a little small.

Hyundai Kona EV -- Don't love the styling, a little high on price, particularly where we have a Volt in the house already to serve road trip needs, super long range doesn't seem terribly necessary.

Chevy Bolt -- It's a little smaller than what we'd prefer, which would optimally be in the RAV4/CR-V size range. That said, I love GM's EV tech and think I could locate a good deal on one. Could use more ride height too.

Any Niro variant -- I think it'll be too low to the ground and a bit too small.

Any thoughts? Future models I don't know about?
 

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I hadn't even heard of the Stonic, and I keep up on EV news...

Ford currently does not use any sort of TPM system to maintain the battery temperature in the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi (however they do on the Ford Focus Electric). Many people with those vehicles besides the focus have had their battery life greatly diminished due to heat (it's all over the Fusion Energi and C-Max Forums). If a Ford Escape PHEV does not have a TPM system, I'd stay away. If its range is barely enough to begin with, it will definitely not be enough as the vehicle ages.

I've seen many Mitsubishi vehicles throughout Canada (I'm in Ontario and Quebec often for work), and even if they pull out of the US market, I doubt they'll leave Canada at the same time unless stuff goes very badly, meaning parts will still be available. Just my own opinion. I wouldn't avoid them out of fear of them leaving just yet.

Personally I love the Kona EV styling, and as soon as they hit the used market, they're one of my top picks. The battery is very large, however that also helps longevity.

On the other hand, while I love the Bolt platform, the bolt itself is not something I'd personally want to be driving around in. Not enough "cool" factor for me personally, but if they transfer the powertrain to other vehicles like the new Blazer, I'm all on board. My dad loves everything about the Bolt, and to each their own.

So much is supposedly coming out in the next few years, I think it's just too early to really start narrowing things down.

Another argument for going full EV, though, is that the charging infrastructure nationwide is constantly growing, and by then there may be enough chargers everywhere you go where the comfort of a PHEV is no longer an advantage.

You didn't mention the new Leaf, although it's probably too small for what you're looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Yup, new Leaf is too small/low/similar in size to the Fit. While the Fit was great for the city, after we moved to the burbs it feels unnecessarily small. With a mostly highway commute, I can't blame her for wanting something a little taller and that feels more substantial.

Yeah, all the news on the Stonic is weird. It seems to overlap the Niro/Kona in terms of size and form factor. Not sure what it offers that others don't.

I also just read about a Volvo XC40 EV, which would be amazing, as long as they get somewhere around 100 MPGe and stay below $40K base. Not sure on release date. Electric Efficiency has not been their strong suit of late, with the XC60 T8 plug in only returning 59 MPGe, making me wonder what the point of it is.
 

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The outlander hits a lot of boxes including dual charger outlets (J1772 plus CHAdeMO) and 4WD, the only thing is a shorter EV range than we might expect using the Volt as a standard but after all it is a PHEV and that's what the ICE is for. Air cooled battery but I was told a ten year warranty so maybe they have an answer. Best selling PHEV in Europe and they are planning a big come back into US with possibly borrowing models from Nissan (rebadging?), never really left especially in Canada so I don't think that's an issue.
 

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I own a Bolt and Volt. Both are fine cars for what they are. But for a second vehicle where you already have a ICE, I wouldn't even consider a PHEV. I'd go BEV all the way even if you must wait another year to get the one you want. There is just no comparison driving the Bolt and Volt, or even the Volt in EV mode vs hybrid mode. You don't mention if you have driven a Bolt. If not I encourage you to give it a try. The ride height is high enough to have improved visibility relative to a Fit or any sedan, but you don't have to climb into it like some SUVs. I really like my Volt, but I absolutely love the Bolt. As always, YMMV.
 

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Colleague at the office just got the Outlander PHEV. Styling-wise, it's identical to any other Outlander with just a PHEV badge--if that matters to you. It doesn't stand out in any way--although that can be said about many of the new plug-ins, including Gen 2 Volt--Clarity excluded.

The 2019 Outlander has a larger battery--I can't recall offhand how much more range but you should check out the updates. I would definitely wait for the newest model as it's got paltry range right now (20-25).

With that said, if I wanted a CUV-style vehicle, the Bolt would be top of the list. Really, really fun to drive--and reasonably priced.
 

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Maybe some time in 2025.

Until then you have to make a bigger compromise.

Maybe look for another cheap lease and see what happens.

In China the Buick Velite 5 was a Volt clone.
Velite 6 will be a hatchback and may indicate what Chevrolet will do around 2022 to replace the Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I own a Bolt and Volt. Both are fine cars for what they are. But for a second vehicle where you already have a ICE, I wouldn't even consider a PHEV. I'd go BEV all the way even if you must wait another year to get the one you want. There is just no comparison driving the Bolt and Volt, or even the Volt in EV mode vs hybrid mode. You don't mention if you have driven a Bolt. If not I encourage you to give it a try. The ride height is high enough to have improved visibility relative to a Fit or any sedan, but you don't have to climb into it like some SUVs. I really like my Volt, but I absolutely love the Bolt. As always, YMMV.
That's a fair point. I haven't driven it, but the Bolt is definitely on my list to check out. I suspect it will be a little smaller and lower than we'd like.

The reason for going for a PHEV rather than the BEV is range anxiety. Having driven a Volt 90% in EV mode with only 50ish miles of range, I think I'd be ready for a Bolt, but I don't think she's there yet. Ideally, I'd pass the Volt to her and go get some kind of EV, but she really doesn't like my Volt and finds it claustrophobic and hard to see out of. Despite the fact that the Fit is much smaller, I have to agree with her that it feels airier and more spacious somehow.

I get a kick out of car shopping and deal hunting, so if it were my car, I'd be all over the idea of buying a cheap used Civic or Corolla for a year or two with virtually no depreciation until the market for EVs improves both on price and selection. My wife, unfortunately does not enjoy car shopping like I do, and she'll want something that we can keep for at least 5 years. I'm thinking the interim move might be another lease, if I can find the right deal. I'm not convinced that gas will stay cheap, and I don't want to make a long term commitment to a 25 MPG crossover.

I think it might take some effort to get her on the EV bandwagon, and asking her to give up the type of car she wants probably won't help. Holding out hope that the Kona EV or Stonic feel bigger than they look and come in at a reasonable price point on the lower range models. Also hoping that maybe something else is coming in the next year that suits our needs. I also did some research just now and learned that the Niro is 8" longer than the Kona, which is surprising to me, and means it might be the right car for us.
 

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I hadn't heard of the Stonic before, and it looks like it's not coming to the US. If it does, it'll be a few years at least. Kia is planning to release a Niro EV supposedly next year in the US. You mentioned it's too small, but I believe it's actually larger than the Kona.

If the Kona and Niro EVs are available for a decent price early next year, they may be a replacement for my Volt. I considered the Niro PHEV, but it's lack of electric heat is a very big turn-off for me.

The Bolt is definitely too small for me. I need something that my dogs can fit behind the rear seat. From what I can gather, the Niro has a lot more room in the trunk.
 

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Toyota RAV4 EV

How about a used Toyota RAV4 EV?

I am also looking for a small crossover EV (hatchback, mini-suv) about the size of a Honda HR-V, not CR-V. The Kona EV is cool, but it's about the size of the Bolt, so it's too small. It's selling like hotcakes in Norway. I sat in a Kia Niro, and it's the right size, but the EV version is not out yet. The hybrid gets about 50 MPG, and the PHEV should be trickling out by now, and that might get about 30 MPC, which pales in comparison to the Volt.

If the Volvo XC-40 EV comes in at under $40k I'd give it a serious look. Beyond that, things get real expensive, into the Model X territory, with Mercedes, Audi e-Tron, and VW ID's about to add to the EV mix. Damn, I wished they'd hurry up to market.
 

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I've been watching for more info on the Suburu Crosstrek and VW Tiguan PHEVs, both supposedly due by end of year and lacking any concrete details on what to expect.

We have a family and the Volt is too small for our needs as the kids grow, still I'm seriously considering it. We already have a big SUV for trips. I can charge for free at work so a PHEV will save us about $150/mo in gas, plus it has a cool factor. My current Saab is aging quickly and I don't want to wait until 2020, which could turn into 2021 or 2022 especially if gas prices stay cheap.

Hopefully there will be some great incentives on 2019's as GM nears the 200k mark. I think sales will slow after the 7500 incentive is halved even with additional discounts, so I hope GM takes advantage of the free money and sweetens it more to get these flying off the lots. One just might be mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I think the Niro EV is probably the closest I'll get, unless the XC40 EV comes in below where I think it will. Good news is that it seems to be on the way, at least to some states, by Winter 2018.... and it's liquid cooled!!

https://www.kia.com/us/en/content/vehicles/upcoming-vehicles/2019-niro-ev

The RAV4 EV is an interesting option and one I never thought of. If I could get one for about $15K I'd be into it, but I know nothing about their battery tech, degradation possibility, and even the 114 mile advertised range seems a bit tight. Good idea though.

Unforunately, it doesn't seem worth the research at this point, as there's literally only 1 RAV4 EV within 500 miles of me, it costs $21,000, and has I think 25K on it. Not awful, but can't hold a candle to the new tech out there and all the tax credits available on them.
 

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My wife has also had similar views of my Volt, and wanted something a bit larger. Bolt is definitely larger, roomier than the Fit or Volt, but yes, not quite RAV4 size (which I've also driven). I've been pleasantly surprised by it's size and ride height, having the Bolt 12 months now. The only thing about Bolt I'd note is it's wheelbase. It's a short car. So for fast highway driving, it can be a bit twitchier than I prefer. At 80mph (I'm in TX), Volt is the more comfortable highway cruiser (gen1 statement).

Range anxiety is an interesting thing. For 99% of my wife's driving, there is no range anxiety and no gas station anxiety. It's a pleasant feeling coming from Volt, which can be a bit of a game, always planning ahead of time to know "if you're going to make it on EV". Bolt you really just drive without worry, like a gas car, except you plug in at the comfort and security of your own home, compared to an unknown, dirty, possibly dangerous gas station. I can think of a few cases myself, where I'd find myself pumping gas in a sketchy neighborhood returning a rental car at an airport at 4am. With a PHEV, and your wife's commute, the gas station experience probably doesn't change significantly. My wife had a C-MAX for 3 years. It was still a stop for gas experience. Including her anxiety of stopping at gas stations. Bolt-EV has eliminated that.

And in those 1% of cases where we've needed to charge on the road, we're stopping at a shopping center or winery.
 

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I've been watching for more info on the Subaru Crosstrek and VW Tiguan PHEVs, both supposedly due by end of year and lacking any concrete details on what to expect.

We have a family and the Volt is too small for our needs as the kids grow, still I'm seriously considering it. We already have a big SUV for trips. I can charge for free at work so a PHEV will save us about $150/mo in gas, plus it has a cool factor. My current Saab is aging quickly and I don't want to wait until 2020, which could turn into 2021 or 2022 especially if gas prices stay cheap.

Hopefully there will be some great incentives on 2019's as GM nears the 200k mark. I think sales will slow after the 7500 incentive is halved even with additional discounts, so I hope GM takes advantage of the free money and sweetens it more to get these flying off the lots. One just might be mine.
Crosstrek wil make use of the system in the Prime. So don't expect any wondrous EV capability.
 

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Any future plug in hybrid electric vehicle will have to be a true plug in electric vehicle first, and when the electric charge is gone, a hybrid.

All the current run of so called electric hybrid plug in electric vehicles, except the Volt, only operate on electric when driven in warm weather, some if not most gas engines will come on for heating capability, and when propulsion power is needed for full power the gas engine will kick in to assist the electric motor, even with a full charge of electricity in the battery. So, at that point in that vehicle operation you have a hybrid, not an electric vehicle, even with a full charge of electricity in the battery.

The Volt, and we have a 2016 Volt Premier, I know will never engage the gas motor to assist in propulsion power unless the battery is empty. Even with little charge in the battery the gas motor will not kick in until the battery is depleted.

Now on our Volt when temps go below 14F the engine will start to assist in heat. Now the 2019 Volt the gas engine will not kick in until 13 F "below zero", and that is extreme cold, not many places in the continental U.S. have that type of constant winter temperature.

So, any future Plug in electric / hybrid vehicle will have to be a true electric vehicle, just like the Volts propulsion operation, and of course with the electric charge gone, a hybrid, if that vehicle has any chance of being in our driveway......
 

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I just want more electric range, at least 100 miles. In my heart of hearts I really want a BEV with 400 miles of range and a reliable charging network but I think that's five years away. The closest thing to that would be a Model 3. The supercharger network in New England has finally reached the point where you could probably go anywhere in New England. However I just spent the last week in Canada, went to Prince Edward Island, and there are no superchargers in the Maritimes at all. It was also not possible to count on destination charging. On our first night in Canada we stayed at a fancy resort that had two Tesla Level 2 chargers but no J1772 chargers, both chargers were ICEed, so if I had been driving a Tesla I would have been absolutely screwed. For our remaining four nights our motel on PEI and hotel in NB had no destination charging at all. The only place that I encountered a Level 2 charger in the whole trip was at a wind farm on the North Cape (we were there for the lighthouse), that charger was broken, the last time it worked was 2013. Tesla has plans for putting in superchargers there, but it will probably be a couple more years before that happens. As for everybody who isn't Tesla, the CCS network is haphazard, what little there is of it seems to mostly be located at car dealers and a few malls, there aren't any on highways. The CCS network will probably take at least another 5 years before it's suitable for long distance travel. Until there is a comprehensive CCS network BEVs from everyone but Tesla will be limited to roundtrip travel within the range of their batteries. As such EREVs are the only viable option for a go anywhere car. However I'd like for EREVs to move closer to pure EVs, and to do that you need to double the range of the Volt. At 100 miles, maybe just a bit more, the car will be an EV for all local travel, Volts only run on battery 75% of the time, doubling the range will make that at least 90%. I think there is at least five more years of window for EREVs.
 

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I just want more electric range, at least 100 miles. I think there is at least five more years of window for EREVs.
I think you pretty much got it pegged although in my situation Gen1 covers my driving in EV just enough so I can just avoid the engine starting every 6 weeks and every year to burn old gas as it is used just enough to be inside those parameters, in other words they got it bang on. Those with longer travels may not be so lucky. The problem is the longer the distance, the bigger that battery, the heavier the car until you reach the point where it's better to toss the weight and expense of the ICE and go all battery and the longer (long enough) range that will give you. 100 miles might well be that trade off point. A big point in that point will also be the CCS infrastructure.
 

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I think you pretty much got it pegged although in my situation Gen1 covers my driving in EV just enough so I can just avoid the engine starting every 6 weeks and every year to burn old gas as it is used just enough to be inside those parameters, in other words they got it bang on. Those with longer travels may not be so lucky. The problem is the longer the distance, the bigger that battery, the heavier the car until you reach the point where it's better to toss the weight and expense of the ICE and go all battery and the longer (long enough) range that will give you. 100 miles might well be that trade off point. A big point in that point will also be the CCS infrastructure.
It's technically possible to double the range of the Volt without increasing it's weight. If you compare the Bolt with the Volt, the Bolt is about 15% more efficient than the Volt, in spite of the Bolts terrible aerodynamics, and it's battery weighs 900lbs vs 410 for the Volt. The Bolt is already two years old so there have been further battery improvements since it came out. A Gen3 Volt that used improved Bolt tech would have twice the range of the Gen2 with no weight increase. One more thing to take into account, you could make the ICE lighter and rely more on batteries by always maintaining enough reserve in the batteries to handle all of the acceleration needs. When I was in Canada I had to drive differently than I do in the US because the roads are much worse. I never do hard acceleration in the US because we have divided highways, but on PEI I had to floor it in order to pass logging trucks, I kept the car in Mountain Mode so I would have the battery reserves, that worked great, the Volt takes off like a rocket when you floor it as long as it can draw on it's battery. They should double down on this, the ICE only needs to have enough power to handle average use plus enough spare power to charge the battery.
 
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