Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Mopar Announces Details of Ram Runner Kit for Off-Road Enthusiasts

Turn Your Ram Truck into a Desert Racer

– Mopar® Ram Runner kit offers performance on par with off-road race trucks
– Suspension and shocks included in the Mopar Ram Runner kit are superior to the competition
– Mopar Ram Runner kit boasts aggressive, attractive styling that will also turn heads on the street
May 26, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Ram Truck owners may now transform their truck into a Mopar-powered desert racer.

Just a little more than one year after Mopar debuted its Ram Runner image vehicle to much acclaim at the 2010 Moab Jeep® Safari, the brand today announced details of its new Ram Runner kit for off-road enthusiasts.

“At Mopar, our image vehicles showcase potential directions that we may take and the new Ram Runner kit is a good example,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO, Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “We saw the reception that Ram Runner received last year and quickly moved to offer kits that will allow off-road enthusiasts to transform their stock Ram 1500 into a desert racer.”

The Mopar Ram Runner Kit, developed with successful Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker, includes the following: Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit, off-road front bumper, off-road front and rear fenders, off-road rear-tire carrier, sport performance hood and cat-back exhaust. Each element of the kit may also be purchased separately. The street-legal kit may be installed by do-it-yourselfers or in a Ram dealership.

The Mopar Ram Runner Kit is equal to or better than its competitors on a number of fronts. The heavy-duty suspension system can handle practically any abuse the off-road dishes out. Front upper and lower control arms, which are three inches longer than production arms, provide added width and allow greater wheel travel over rough dirt trails.

Front lower control arms are constructed of 4130 chrome moly steel in order to withstand off-road punishment. Upper control arms include rebuildable high-angle ball joints. Both inner and outer tie rods are substantially strengthened and contribute to the rugged, off-road steering characteristics and capabilities. Outer tie rods, constructed of forged steel, measure 1-inch in diameter. Inner tie rods also are nearly 20 percent beefier, increasing from 0.62 inches to .75 inches.

At the rear, a 5-link coil spring rear suspension is utilized and helps provide a 30-degree departure angle.

The Pre-Runner Stage II kit offers a boost in suspension travel, 14 inches both front and rear, which is superior to the suspension travel on the Ford Raptor. The Ram Runner kit, which includes Fox 3-inch internal bypass shocks, offers performance on par with that of an off-road Baja race truck and outperforms the 2.5-inch shocks of the competition.

Ground clearance is approximately 13 inches at the center of the front cross-member and 16 inches at the rocker panels.

Body parts included in the Mopar Ram Runner Kit, created with Trophy Truck inspiration, feature a tough-yet-stylish look built to handle the rigors of the off-road while turning heads on the street. The front bumper is constructed of steel with an integrated aluminum skid plate. With a 41-degree approach angle, ample clearance is assured over the deepest off-road obstacles.

Front and rear fiberglass fenders are lightweight, tough and durable with wider wheel wells that allow for tremendous suspension articulation with zero tire-to-body interference. The three-inch wider track also provides an imposing, aggressive look.

The stamped aluminum, dual-scooped sport performance hood adds even more to the forceful appearance of the Ram Runner kit. The spare-tire carrier is located in the bed of the pickup and enables easier access and provides the ability to transport a larger spare tire, contributing to the overall appearance and “Baja truck feel”.

Ram Truck and Mopar are joint sponsors of The Off-Road Championship (TORC) Series in 2011. Both brands will share sponsorship of the Traxxas Racing team fielded by Mike and Mark Jenkins along with the Menzies Motorsports team owned by Steve Menzies. Ram will be the official vehicle of the TORC Series and the Mopar Ram Runner will serve as the official pace truck. The Mopar graphic that appears on the Mopar Ram Runner pace truck will also be made available to consumers.

Here’s more information on the Mopar Ram Runner kit, which is available for owners of 2009 to 2011 model-year Ram 1500 models:

MOPAR RAM RUNNER KIT (Each part of kit may be purchased separately)

Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit: 5-link coil-spring rear suspension, 4130 chrome moly lower control arms, upper control arms, rebuildable high-angle ball joints and forged steel, high-angle tie rods. Fourteen inches of suspension travel in front and rear, 3-inch internal bypass Fox shocks. (MSRP: $13,270, Part No. P5155662)

Off-Road Front Bumper: Steel construction with integrated aluminum skid plate, high approach angle of 41 degrees provides greater clearance over off-road obstacles. (MSRP: $1,250, Part No. P5155663)

Off-Road Rear Tire Carrier: Rear placement allows for easier access and ability to carry larger tires needed for the off-road. (MSRP: $1,010, Part No. P5155664)

Off-Road Front Fenders: Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheel wells allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive look. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)

Off-Road Rear Fenders (6’4″ bed): Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheel wells allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive appearance. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)

Sport Performance Hood: Stamped aluminum, dual-scooped hood with molded bezels adds to the forceful appearance of the Ram Runner Kit. (MSRP: $978, Part No. 82211065AD)

5.7L Cat-back Exhaust: Dual exhaust with chromed tips for bumper with cut-outs. (MSRP: $1,135, Part No. P5155280)

Mopar-First Features

Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
– Camper trailers: first to introduce off-road camper trailers
– Vehicle-information smartphone apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
– Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format
– Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to introduce new vehicle tracking system that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on set parameters
– 2011 Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
– WiFi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
– Brand-specific customer care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours for customers
– WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network

About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand.

Mopar distributes approximately 280,000 parts and accessories in more than 90 countries and is the source for all original-equipment parts for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat North America vehicles. Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered and tested with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat North America vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at

More than 70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.

Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It also was widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.

Northville Farmers Market

Every Thursday
May 5, 2011 – October 27, 2011
Located in the Northville Downs parking lot. Corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon Rd

The Northville Chamber of Commerce hosts the Northville Farmers’ Market. With the beginning of each new growing seasons, the market has something for everyone.

Over 125 MICHIGAN GROWN-MICHIGAN MADE PRODUCTS featuring: flowers, herbs, vegetable plants, seasonal produce, berries, organic produce, roses, flowering shrubs, local honey, bread & bakery items, seasoning mixes, dog food, homemade pasta, jams & jellies, salsa mix, garden art, jewelry, juried artisans & crafters, furniture, and much more. Also offering casual lunch food service, cold drinks and shaded picnic tables.

-Master Gardeners weekly 9:00 to 12:00
-Fresh food collection for Northville Civic Concern begins in July
-Weekly search for the “TOP BANANA”
-Coloring pictures always available
-Knife, scissors, and garden tool sharpening
-BETTERFINDS, a DNR approved grower of native Michigan plants & wildflowers will be at the Market the first 3 weeks. Wild orchids, rescue plants of protected species, and rare varieties are included-all Michigan.

Peace, Love & Planet
-On site weekly May & June, first Thursday of July & August.
-Bring clean garden pots, flats, trays and other garden plastics for recycling.
-Thanks to the efforts of PLP, Meijer , Home Depot and Waste Management now recycle these plastics.

-9:00 – 10:00 AM
-Every third Thursday, plus several “bonus” sessions
-Local chefs take a walk through the Market, do a cooking demonstration, provide a recipe and samples.
-No fee or reservations needed

More information on the Northville Farmers Market Click Here

Chrysler has three of the “Ten most improved cars of 2011” spots!

The Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey and Jeep Grand Cherokee are three of the “Ten most improved cars of 2011.” Among the crop of new cars out for 2011 it’s worth singling out those vehicles that have shown significant improvement.

2011 Dodge Durango

The original Durango was a monstrous, thirsty body-on-frame truck that had worse handling and fuel economy than the larger Chevy Suburban, but with less space inside than the Tahoe. The new Durango is built on a new unibody chassis shared with the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and R-Class crossover SUVs and it is outfitted with either the company’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine or the latest version of the company’s heralded Hemi V8, with cylinder deactivation for better gas mileage when cruising on the highway. Mercedes’ ride and Hemi power? That’s a tough-to-beat combination.

2011 Dodge Journey

Dodge briefly ran tongue-in-cheek television commercials touting the Journey mid-sized crossover as the best car in the world. It was a joke because the old Journey obviously wasn’t, with its appalling cabin materials and thirsty V6 engine.

But the 2011 Journey was the recipient of the company’s most lavish makeover, with a positively opulent interior that welcomes customers inside. Under the hood it also gets the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, with its accompanying improvements in power, smoothness and efficiency.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep The Jeep Grand Cherokee suffered during the years when the Jeep brand was controlled by then-DaimlerChrysler. Now that the company has split from the Germans and aligned itself with Fiat, the result has been, incredible as it may seem, a gigantic improvement. The old Grand Cherokee was as capable off-road as ever, but budget pressures robbed its once-luxurious cabin of premium materials.

Today’s Grand Cherokee returns the premium materials to the cabin, while revving up the styling and installing the company’s efficient new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine or the latest version of the powerful Hemi V8. For off-road enthusiasts it is a restoration of the Grand Cherokee to its deserved position as a premium off-road wagon.

We are excited to have several vehicles make this list!

I-275 Bike Path Re-Opens!

Grand Re-Opening Celebration Schedule of Events

 June 4, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
 9:00 a.m-3:00 p.m. – Open riding, in-line skating, walking, and jogging between Michigan Ave and 7 Mile Rd (cyclist and in-line skaters must wear helmets)

9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Participant registration at Ford Rd/Lotz Rd (look for the gazebo in front of Sweet Bikes) and Schoolcraft College south parking lot along Haggerty Rd

Events at I-275 Metro Trail South (Hines Dr to Michigan Ave)

9:30 -10:00 a.m. – Organized ride from Canton Lower Rouge Trail to Cherry Hill rest stop – cyclists must wear helmets (meet at the trail head north of Michigan Ave at Morton Taylor Rd)

 10:00 a.m.-Noon – Band entertainment at Cherry Hill rest stop
 10:30-11:00 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting and speeches at Cherry Hill rest stop
 11:00 a.m.-Noon – Children’s Bike and Helmet Decorating and Parade at Cherry Hill rest stop

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Guided ride through Plymouth – cyclists must wear helmets; bright clothing is helpful (Meet at Wilcox Lake parking area on the south side of Hines Dr., east of Northville Rd)

Events at I-275 Metro Trail North (Hines Dr to 7 Mile Rd)

10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Geocaching demonstration at Schoolcraft College

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Children’s helmet fitting and bike safety clinic at Schoolcraft College (free children’s helmets while supply lasts)

10:00 a.m. & Noon – Bike safety talk by Officer Jim Fisher, Northville Township Police Department at Schoolcraft College

10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – Cycling a smoothie (make a smoothie by pedaling away)

10:30 a.m.-Noon – Guided urban walk/hike around Haggerty Rd and trail (meet at registration table, south parking lot at Schoolcraft College)

2:00 p.m. – Drawings for prizes at Schoolcraft College

 :30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Learn the Hines connector (Volunteers with be available to show you how to get from the “north” end of the trail to the “south” end)

Cherry Hill rest area is south of Ford Rd and the Cherry Hill overpass at I-275

The registration table and Canton DDA gazebo are on the northwest corner of Ford and Lotz Rd in the Sweet Bikes strip mall.

Schoolcraft College is located on Haggerty Rd between 6 Mile Rd and & 7 Mile Rd. We are in the south parking lot, which is closer to 6 Mile Rd.

Welcome Girl Scout Troop 40217

A Big “Thank You” to all the great girls in Troop 40217 who came out and did a fantastic job at our Car Care Badge Clinic last Thursday, May 12th. We had a fun time showing the girls all the important things to watch for and check on a vehicle to keep it running top notch!

Each girl received a Car Care Badge Clinic workbook to be completed as we discussed and demonstrated each aspect of taking care of a vehicle. From the dashboard lights, dials and gages to the importance of properly inflating and rotating the tires. We also explained how some vehicle parts can even be recycled and the proper way to recycle them.We also went out into our Shop to see hands on how to maintain a vehicle and complete a safety check. The girls especially enjoyed the Question and Answer session with our Technicians.

We really enjoyed helping everyone better understand why Car Care is such an important part of owning a vehicle!

If your organization is interested in participating in one of our Clinics please contact our Service Manager Joe Prokes @ 734-451-3535.

Chrysler Extends Minivan Month AND Announces New May Deals

Chrysler said Wednesday that it is extending its Minivan Month
promotion as well as its RamBox and no-charge HEMI engine promotions
through the end of May, while also revealing a few new incentives for
the month.

Back in April, Chrysler had revived its 60-day â??Minivan Pledgeâ?? to
kick off Minivan Month. The pledge â?? which lets purchasers of 2011
Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan models bring back
their ride within 60 days â?? has been extended through the end of May.

Other deals associated with Minivan Month are as follows:

â??Buyers of the 2011 Town & Country can receive either $750
Consumer Cash or as low as 2.9 percent financing for 60 months (for
qualified buyers). These buyers are also given $750 in Bonus Cash.

â??Those buying the 2011 Grand Caravan can either receive Consumer Cash
of $2,000 or go with financing as low as zero-percent for 60 months
(assuming the customer qualifies) for most models. They also can get as
much as $1,500 in trade-in support.

Chrysler also shared its new incentives for May. It broke the deals down by brand:

Chrysler Brand

â??On the 2011 Chrysler 200, buyers can pick between $1,250 Consumer Cash
or as low as zero-percent financing for 36 months on most 200 vehicles.

â??Consumers who buy the 2011 Chrysler 300 can take advantage of
financing as low as 1.9 percent for 36 months or financing up to 4.9
percent for 72 months.

â??There are also lease deals and Lease Bonus Cash for all 2011 models.

Dodge Brand

â??2011 Dodge Avenger customers can either get $1,750 Consumer Cash or go
with as low as zero-percent financing for 60 months, excluding the
Express model of the Avenger.

â??Dodge is also providing lease deals and Lease Bonus Cash on most of its 2011 lineup.

Jeep Brand

â??To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jeep, Mopar is providing $500
Mopar Bucks to accessorize 2011 Jeep Wrangler models. Buyers of the 2011
Wrangler can receive $500 worth of accessories.

â??Jeep said it is providing â??attractiveâ?? leasing deals on its entire
2011 lineup. Furthermore, certain Jeep Compass, Patriot and Liberty
models come with
Lease Bonus Cash.

Ram Truck Brand

â??2011 Ram pickup buyers can either receive a HEMI engine in their
truck for free or pick Engine Bonus Cash, which comes with most 2011
V-6, V-8 or Cummins diesel models.

â??On the 2011 Ram 1500 Crew Cab, buyers can tap into $500 RamBox Bonus Cash.

Indian Motorcycle Vintage Indian Motorcycle News THE HISTORICAL VIEW

Vintage Indian News
These vintage magazines bring the classic Indian experience to life! See what has changed about riding Indian Motorcycles throughout the years … and what has remained the same.

Click Here to Read Vintage Indian News Magazines!

Jeep Wranglers Take On Hell’s Revenge in Moab, Utah

No way in hell can you stop a Jeep 4×4.
Time:01:14 More inAutos & Vehicles

Nissan earns $6.27B in CY 2010

Nissan’s strong sales and increased revenue led the automaker to a $6.27
billion operating profit for 2010. Nissan, which counts January through
March as its fiscal fourth quarter, managed overall revenue of $102
billion, while net income came in at $3.72 billion after taxes.

The automaker’s recipe for success had everything to do with product, as
sales jumped 19 percent compared to 2009 numbers. The automaker moved
4.185 million vehicles in total, up over 600,000 units versus the prior
year. The automaker’s China sales were also quite successful, with a
35.5 percent increase year over year.

Nissan managed hefty
profits in spite of the March 11 earthquake in Japan, which contributed
to many production disruptions. Results for the fiscal fourth quarter
were down considerably to $380 million; a trend that is likely to
continue as Nissan continues to struggle to get its plants running at
full capacity again.

Record global sales; Nissan LEAF heralds start of affordable zero-emission mobility

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced financial results for the
fiscal year 2010, ending March 31, 2011, and filed the following results
with the Tokyo Stock Exchange:

Net revenues of 8.7731 trillion yen (US $102.37 billion, euro 77.57 billion);
Operating profit of 537.5 billion yen (US $6.27 billion, euro 4.75 billion);
Ordinary profit of 537.8 billion yen (US $6.28 billion, euro 4.76 billion); and
Net income of 319.2 billion yen (US $3.72 billion, euro 2.82 billion).

In fiscal year 2010, Nissan’s global sales reached a record-high
level. In a year when the total industry volume was up 12.6% – from 64.5
million units in fiscal 2009 to 72.6 million worldwide in fiscal 2010 –
Nissan’s global sales increased 19.1%. Vehicle sales grew from 3.515
million to 4.185 million units. For the full year, overall global market
share stood at 5.8%.

“Fiscal year 2010 was a record year for Nissan in terms of sales and
growth,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Our recovery
efforts were effective, and new models launched in the second half –
including the all-electric Nissan LEAF – boosted our brand and sales
power in the world’s major markets.”

In fiscal year 2010, 10 all-new products were released by Nissan
globally: Juke, Elgrand, Serena, Moco, Infiniti QX, Quest, Murano
CrossCabriolet, NV series, Sunny and the zero-emission Nissan LEAF.

Nissan sold a total of 4,185,000 vehicles worldwide in fiscal year
2010, a 19.1% increase compared with the prior year. Sales in China,
Nissan’s largest single market worldwide, reached a record 1,024,000
units, a 35.5% increase. In North America, sales were 1,245,000 units,
up 16.6%; United States sales were 966,000 units, up 17.3%. Across
Europe, sales were 607,000 units, up 19.3%. In Japan, sales were 600,000
units, down 4.7%. Other markets totaled 709,000 units, up 28.2%.

“The March 11 earthquake in Japan significantly disrupted our
operations, but Nissan is once again proving its resilience in the face
of adversity,” said Ghosn. “We have repeatedly demonstrated our
experience in recovering short-term performance while protecting
strategic, long-term priorities. Although the effects of this tragedy
continue to affect our operations, we are poised for a robust recovery.”

Note 1: On February 9, 2011, Nissan filed the following forecast with
the Tokyo Stock Exchange, based on foreign exchange rates of 85.4
yen/dollar and 112.5 yen/euro, for the fiscal year ending March 31,

Net revenues of 8.8 trillion yen (US $103.04 billion, euro 78.22 billion);
Operating profit of 535 billion yen (US $6.26 billion, euro 4.76 billion);
Ordinary profit of 530 billion yen (US $6.21 billion, euro 4.71 billion); and
Net income of 315 billion yen (US $3.69 billion, euro 2.80 billion).

Note 2: Amounts in dollars and euros for the results are translated
for the convenience of the reader at foreign exchange rates of 85.7
yen/dollar and 113.1 yen/euro, the average rates for the fiscal year
ending March 31, 2011.

Cheapest Commute: Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, Ford Focus or a Train? – KickingTires

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to commute in a plug-in car versus a hybrid or a gas-only model? After we published our exclusive comparison test among three different plug-in electric vehicles, many people asked us to test additional fuel-conscious options.

Among them was Roz Varon, the transportation reporter from Chicago ABC News affiliate ABC7.
So partnered with ABC7 and pitted the Chevrolet Volt
and Nissan Leaf against a Toyota Prius, a high-mileage Ford Focus
hatchback and a commuter train to see how much each costs in a typical
round-trip commute from the suburbs to the Loop, Chicago’s central
business district.

Four Different Drivetrains
The cars represent four separate drivetrain approaches: The 2011 Leaf
is all-electric; the 2011 Volt runs on electricity alone for roughly 30
to 40 miles and then switches to premium gas; the 2011 Prius relies on
electricity and regular gas; and the newly redesigned 2012 Focus uses
regular gas. The Focus is part of the new crop of high-mileage compacts
that can achieve close to 40 mpg on the highway with an automatic
transmission. Unfortunately, the only diesel in our test was the
locomotive that pulls Metra’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe line. For the
record, that’s a diesel-electric series hybrid, but we won’t geek out
on mass-transit technology.

Our route was a 64.5-mile round trip from headquarters,
which is about two blocks from Union Station, to the train station in
the populous suburb of Naperville. The drive covered interstates,
surface roads and a frustrating crawl through the Loop. All four cars
traveled in a caravan, so they all encountered the same traffic and
conditions. Each of the four drivers took turns over four legs to
normalize driving styles. Successive traffic levels for the legs were
moderate, light, light and maddeningly heavy. Temperatures ranged from
47 to 50 degrees. The cars started out fully charged and fueled.

*Premium gas required for Volt

The tables above show our results, which we must emphasize are a
single snapshot. The Leaf ended with 11 miles of range left, so a longer
commute and/or less ideal conditions (cold weather, for instance) mean
it would lose â?? in dramatic fashion. Likewise, shorter trips improve the
Volt’s standing, and longer ones the Prius’.

Plug-Ins on Top
The two plug-ins fared the
best, with the Leaf’s all-electric drive exploiting more of the cheap
electricity than the Volt, which switched to gas power just over halfway
through. While the Prius doesn’t plug in, its hybrid system delivers an
estimated 50 mpg in combined driving; in our test, it was 53.4 mpg.
Once the Volt’s battery is spent, it gets around 37 mpg, so the shorter
the trip, the less gas is burned relative to the Prius. For our
64.5-mile commute, the mpg was 84.9 mpg, but the premium gas requirement
increases the cost a bit. The Prius was right on its tail, costwise.

Gas-Only Brings Up the Rear
The Focus’ 30.7 mpg
average was just shy of the 31 mpg EPA estimate for mixed driving. We
expected better because most of the trip was at higher speeds, but the
Focus was fresh off the production line, and mileage typically improves
as a car breaks in. Its cost of operation was more than three times that
of the Leaf, illustrating just how painful the high gas prices are.
Note that the price at the time of the test was $4.15 per gallon for
regular and $4.38 for premium. It has since climbed. We pay 11 cents per
kilowatt-hour, which is the national average.

Train: No Purchase Required
The commuter
train’s cost says as much about the pricing scheme as anything. Two
one-way tickets cost more per trip than the most-expensive car commute.
With a monthly pass, it beats all but the Leaf. Bear in mind, though,
that you don’t have to purchase a train before you can use it.

To that end, none of the above takes into account the initial price
of each car, either. We’re reluctant to present a time to break even on
the plug-ins’ higher prices due to many unknowns, among them:

Likely cost of ownership, especially regarding the reliability of the new plug-ins

  • How much the $7,500 tax credit for the Leaf and Volt translates to in real money, depending on your tax liability
  • Cost to install Level 2 charging at your home (essentially required for the Leaf)
  • Availability of plug-ins and true purchase price of all cars during a
    gas crisis (likely to favor the Focus, which is the least expensive
    contestant but costs the most to fuel)
  • Cost of electricity and gas in your region â?? current and future
  • Your mix of low-vs.-high-speed driving, as low favors the plug-ins and hybrid
  • Your climate, as cold favors the gas-only car over the others

That being established, if you’d like to bust out your calculator, have at it:

*Total price includes options and
destination, Nissan Leaf/ Chevrolet Volt are in limited production and
distribution; higher transaction prices are likely.

[1]Automatic required for best mpg

Just to throw another spanner into the works, here’s the reality of
public charging where you can find it: It’s usually free. If we charge
only at work, the Leaf runs for free and the Volt would have cost us
$3.33 in this test. Fast-forward to when charger scarcity sets in and
we’re hooked on “the juice,” and this cost could exceed the price of
home charging â?? or even petroleum. Now how much would you pay?

Time Factor
Another interesting tidbit is the
time involved. The cars drove 62 minutes to Naperville (excluding driver
changes) and 82 minutes back to HQ. The commuter train takes
roughly 34 minutes for express and 69 minutes for local, each way. How
much is an extra 40 minutes a day worth?

The Competitors: Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, Ford Focus, Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Express Train