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Is buying a Kia plug-in hybrid worth it?


Recently I noticed a lone 2017 Kia Optima PHEV (new) on sale at a local dealership. I drive 65 miles a day round trip to work. Since I work non-standard hours, I don’t run into a lot of traffic, but it can occasionally be stop and go.

This particular model has an amazing 29 miles of range on battery alone (/sarcasm.) But mileage is claimed to be up 46 mpg highway.

In theory, I like the flexibility of being able to charge up out of an outlet or going to a gas station, but I don’t have any idea what the cost would be to install a residential charging station. (I have a house with a driveway, but no garage.) There is also a serious dearth of charging stations in my metro area (maybe 5 in the whole city.)

At $30K, would this thing be worth buying? Are federal tax rebates still in effect for electric vehicles?


For that vehicle yes

Worth buying? what is your current vehicle if you have one? obvious way is to math out x fuel saved over y time - z cost of Optima


My current vehicle is a 2015 Kia Forte LX, which gets about 33mpg (or at least that’s what my odometer says.)

In the course of researching this vehicle, I found out that my employer is planning on putting in charging stations at the office. I’m not sure if the power will be free, or if it will be metered. That still won’t be quite enough to get me home every night, but it could take a serious chunk out of my fuel costs.


I was suggesting the Ioniq as a hybrid. But it too has only 32 miles on battery only.

So far i only researched the all electric Ioniq which has 155 full electric miles on the spec sheet.

Anyway. Just as a suggestion, the hybrid gets few miles more and starts at 22k. But i think the US prices are without tax. Weird system. :slight_smile:


@lightonflux Thanks for the suggestion. I found a local Hyundai dealership that has a well equipped PHEV model for $28K. Plus, unlike the Kia, its a current year model.

I don’t want to go all-in on a pure EV until the infrastructure is built out for them.

EDIT: Drat. The local Ioniq is a standard hybrid, not a PHEV.


I would say if it’s for daily commuting I don’t think you will need to install a charging station at your house. Yes it’s gonna be slow but just plug it in a standard outlet when you arrive at home at night and unplug it when you quit for the job in the morning. It’s gonna be well enough, especially considering how small is the battery.

As for the car and the price, I would maybe look for a Honda Clarity PHEV. It’s rated for 42mpg and 47 miles of ranges on battery. 33k

Although a Chevy Volt, 42mpg 53 miles of range, would be cheaper at the end because it has a large enough battery for the 7500$ EV credit. 38k-7500=31k

edit: oh the Honda Clarity PHEV would also qualify for the tax credit, so I would definitely go for the Honda


Check your state; some have additional rebates to get you going. Where I live, I am eligible for $2.5k on a new BEV/PHEV’s.

And +1 for the Clarity. The looks might grow on you; specially after sitting in the Touring model.


Your commute sounds too far to really take advantage of a plug in hybrid since it sounds like 90% highway driving. A full electric would make sense at 150mile+ range but not a phev because they really shine at short commutes


Full electric might be interesting to consider as well considering they’re probably cheaper by the mile and your commute is ~long. … even before the wear and tear. … I wonder how the math works out there.


PHEV doesn’t seem worth it with your situation they are better in constant stop/go traffic and where congestion charges are applied to non-battery cars. The cars get complicated with the additional battery/electronics where a more simple but efficient ICE car would be fine.

Choice was easy for me to go full BEV in an i3 as I do 34 miles each day and even with the ~80 mile range I can do two days on a single charge. Here 220V is standard so I didn’t even need a 7kw charger to be installed but with a 75% discount up to £500 grant from the gov I got one installed for £260 which included an additional 32A circuit added to my domestic board.

Full BEV is definitely possible in your situation though as 150+ mile ranges are becoming the norm. Average speed and temps can reduce those ranges significantly so never take the stated range as gospel.


Thanks for all of the advice. It seems the PHEV is not the best option for my situation.

There are no additional credits/rebates in my state, but there is a discounted power rate available from the power company.

I’m uncertain about the viability of charging at home. I don’t have any exterior outlets, nor do I have a garage, so charging at home without a station would be a challenge. However, if my employer follows through on installing charging stations that might seal the deal.

As an aside, how does one go about charging an electric vehicle outdoors in the rain? Seems like it would be a major shock hazard.

At this point it seems best to hold onto my current gas-powered vehicle for a while. It doesn’t help that I’m underwater on my auto loan either.


That is not a problem as chargers are always weather proof and federal laws require compliance to safety requirement, including shock hazard, in the first place.


Good point, but I was thinking of a scenario like running down to a big box hardware store, buying an extension cord, running it to a standard household 120v outlet and plugging the car in. Or does it use something other than a three-prong household plug?

Installing a fully featured 240v charging station seems like an expensive proposition.


If it’s a good quality, heavy duty extension cable, I would not see a problem. And you can use asafety seal if you want for extra security. Just keep the prongs in a dry place when you don’t use them, and try to have the least cable length possible to minimize wattage drop, which would require an higher gauge cable then.

And if you plug in an outdoor outlet, it is likely protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.


Just make sure the cable is at least 12 Gauge. Tapping 1.2kW continuously generates a bit of heat with thinner wires. Also, make sure the plug is dry and super tight to the extension cable; moisture can bridge the leads, you’ll end up with a singed receptacle from the bypass.

EVSE’s(car charger) are made to weather some pretty tough elements. I’ve left my car plugged in at times where the sky’s dumped buckets. No issues yet…


The thing with my grant application is you need to prove you have an EV or have one on order. So as I had my i3 already I could only charge it from a house outlet (220V) while I waited for the application to process. The i3 comes with a 3 pin charger as the battery isn’t that big (Other EVs come with a cable for rapid charging) and initially I had to use an extension to reach the car. I had it joined under my other car on a piece of wood to lift it off the ground in case of rain.

I made sure it was a decent one and checked several times for heat build up but it was never more than mildly above ambient even when drawing 3.3kw. Still took up to 7 hours though to charge the i3s 22 kw (18.8 kw accessible) battery.


BTW: the 2019 i3 gets a bigger battery.


Yeah I’ve been keeping an eye out for this confirmation as it’s pretty amazing how the power density of the battery pack has doubled in the life cycle of the i3. The i3 is also very easy to swap out a battery pack though I assume due to current battery supply they currently discourage this via high pricing. Give it another 18 months or so and I might be able to upgrade mine economically.

However there will be so many more car launches in that period that something else may come alone that appeals more such as the Honda Urban EV.


Video from May on the i3

Seems new is price where the issue is. Used seems like the only way to go imo.


Yep don’t pay RRP even with the EV discount the options add up. Unless you really need that 120 Ah battery I paid less than $20K for a 3 year old car.

So much quality tech for the money at those prices!