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I think the simplest explanation is that the components are too variable in efficiency, leading to specific untis dramatically underperforming others. It's too emergent a technology to be as reliable as an ICE. I'd suspect the batteries for one. Isn't that what Honda blamed? Some batteries were unable to sustain their charge as long as required, so the car spent too much time with gas support?

That's the biggest thing I question with these cars. Is the technology really far enough along to be reliable? Not Fords. Not Hondas. Not Toyotas. Rather, hybrids in general. You can find plenty of complaints about any of them. There have been a lot of stories about companies scrambling to line up batteries the last few years. Is QC up to snuff on the batteries in a sellers' market?

A bad battery that won't hold charge really screws up the equation. Another poster mentioned that gas savings aren't a huge issue in the grand scheme of things when buyers are paying $30K for a car. From a dollars and cents perspective, I tend to agree; at least at first glance. The one item I'd point out though, is that these buyers often aren't buying these cars to save gas money. Their object is often to save gas, not gas money.

Hybrids have been peddled to us as a lower carbon alternative, and plenty of buyers adopted them because of that "fact". But are they? Is the mileage really that much better? Not really. Especially if you consider that individual unit variance may be large, and may erode severely as the battery degrades. How much gas is really being saved? When you consider rare materials that go into those batteries, is it really as low footprint environmentally as many argue? Is Ford right that next generation ICE is a better option? They've had their problems as well, though. Perhaps this is just the cost of pushing technology along too fast. My Father always said never to buy a car in its first model year, to let them work the bugs out. It's the opposite of today's habit to buy the newest, shiniest, coolest, fresh product.

My first question from a personal point of view is how much risk I'm assuming if I buy one of these new plug-ins. There seem to be a lot of complaints from all manufacturers. That could just be the nature of our elecctronic world. It's just too easy to find dozens of complaints aboout everything...

I'd also prefer that cost of operation was a lot more transparent. It's tough to figure out how efficient the vehicles are on a power consumption basis, because of the stupid emphasis on "MPGe". Last time I checked, you can't buy MPGes; you buy electricity.

Looking at the Focus BEV, it says that its on board charger is 6.6 kW and that it takes 3-4 hours to charge. I'd suppose that means that a full charge is 26 kWhrs? That's about $3.00, which sounds good for a 75 mile range. Is the calc this simple? If so, I'd prefer for them to put that out there front and center,and explain the cost of operation on the website. It seems like a critical selling point. It would be nice to see the range provided front and center. This EPA "MPGe" is stupid. I'd prefer real numbers over some contrived metric.

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